(Replaced with an extended and re-edited version on February 9, 2017)
TO BE CONTINUED?
by B.L Sharp
Marley Stein was beyond shock as she read the text message from her neighbor, Jessica. Still, she stared intensely at the threat conveyed in the message and displayed so vividly on her phone screen. Jessica had borrowed $4,000 from Marley a while ago, stating it was to recompense the funds she’d overdrawn from the joint bank account she operated with her husband. But, when the time to repay Marley arrived, Jessica refused to take her calls or respond to any one of Marley’s text messages for two weeks. It took a direct ultimatum asking her to ‘either pay up or deal with a court case’ to get a response from Jessica.
The response, in any case, turned out to be a direct threat to Marley’s livelihood, delivered in a curt manner. Jessica warned that, if Marley ever threatened to sue her again, then she would ‘tank’ her business and credibility.
Marley was a real estate entrepreneur and for over three years, had built herself a multi-million-dollar empire by buying and selling commercial real estate. And, she wasn’t going to put up with anyone who threatened to ruin her reputation or business. The 5’2 120lbs raven-haired tycoon sat up and placed a call to a close friend.
“Hey, Francine, this is Marley. You busy?... I was wondering, could you do me a favor and set out some uniforms for me, please? I’ll be there in an hour.”
As soon as she ended the call, Marley put on her sneakers, grabbed her purse before dashing out to meet with Francine.
Francine Uniform and Depot specialized in selling all types of uniforms wholesale, to the public, at a discounted price. The uniforms ranged from security outfits, white robes for doctors and scrubs for nurses, to wears for hotel personnel, chauffeurs and even overalls for construction workers. Marley walked inside the large warehouse and was greeted by a very curvy, black woman in her mid-forties. She walked up, shook Marley’s hands as the two ladies exchanged pleasantries.
“Francine, thank you so much for doing this for me.”
“No problem, these are interesting uniforms you’ve chosen,” Francine told the short woman.
Marley recounted in detail to Francine all that had taken place between her and her neighbor, Jessica. How she avoided her, purposely missed her calls and refused to repay what she owed. She also told Francine the true reason she requested these uniforms. Francine smiled.
“That’s really clever, come onto the back, I’ve got everything you asked for,” she said and guided Marley to the back of the store.
She led Marley to a room sat in the far, left corner of the warehouse, it was no larger than a conference room. Laid out on a fairly large table was everything she’d demanded. Six pairs of maid uniforms in two different colors; three black uniforms and three pink ones; six frilly, white, tea aprons; maid’s cap, gloves, stockings, white socks and three pairs of white slip on clogs that nurses wear in hospitals. Out of curiosity, Francine asked her friend why she’d decided on socks and shoes over heels.
“Professional women wear heels. Wearing socks, shoes and especially an apron drives home the point of your social standing with me. It implies that you are a lowly maid, a servant,” she explained.
Francine bagged the items and presented a bill of only $700, which Marley promptly paid her. She waved Francine goodbye and set out on her preparation to teach Ms. Jessica a lesson not to be forgotten.
Jessica Brand was a 42-year-old executive who made the mistake of borrowing money from her neighbor Marley Stein. Marley had been calling and texting incessantly demanding to know when she was going to repay her debt. The recent texts she received angered her to the point of responding with a threat to ruin Marley, with a warning that she did not wish to be contacted again. She sincerely did not mean to be so cruel, but as soon as Marley threatened to sue, it was pretty much back-against-the-wall.
Jessica hoped that Marley got the message she sent in response to the threat. Having an hour to spare, she walked into a neighborhood bakery she had been going to for years. Grateful that it was empty, she went to the counter and paid for her cup of coffee and bagels. She picked a seat and settled to enjoy her order. As she made to take the first bite, she noticed a short raven haired girl sitting across from her playing with her phone. Jessica almost did not recognize Marley with her hair in a bun. It had been three days since she sent the threatening text. She decided to walk over to Marley’s table and smooth things over.
“Good morning, Marley,” Jessica said greeting her as she walked over.
Marley fumbled with her phone while ignoring Jessica. Jessica thought this was out of character for her neighbor to disregard her greeting.
“Hello, Marley,” Jessica said again trying to be conciliatory.
Nothing! Marley continued to ignore her. Jessica tried to get Marley’s attention but she never looked up for once. Not accustomed to being ignored and spoken to, Jessica got slightly angry it reflected in her tone when she spoke.
“Marley, you hear me talking to you. Is there a problem?” she asked.
This proved sufficient in getting Marley’s attention and for the first time, she looked up at Jessica, gave her a cold, emotionless stare and responded.
“Problem? You tell me?”
“I said hi to you a few times and you ignored me. You’re not mad because of the text I sent you a few days ago, are you? You threatened to sue me. I didn’t take that threat very well” Jessica retorted.
“How many times did I call you Jessica? For the past two weeks, I have called you and left you text messages. You never responded, it’s like you’ve been dodging me. When are you going to pay me back my money?” Marley dished out the question furiously.
“I told you, I will pay you back when I can. Pestering me is not going to make me pay faster” Jessica said in a tone that Marley really did not care for.
She was simply fed up with Jessica’s evasiveness and attempts to weasel her way out of settling the debt. The time for talking was over.
“Jessica, you’ve been evading me long enough. It’s time you paid back what you owe me. We’ll do this in two ways; either we negotiate an agreement where you pay in installments or I inform your husband Brandon about the real reason you took the loan.”
“I’m very certain he’s not going to be pleased to learn you overdrew on your joint bank account to pay off the debt you incurred from online gambling. So, what’s is it going to be?” Marley asked giving her an ultimatum with a sprinkle of blackmail.
Jessica reacted in shock, her eyes widened in terror as she listened to Marley’s threat to expose her gambling debt to her husband. It baffled her to know how Marley knew about her gambling addiction. The last time she gambled her husband Brandon temporarily left telling her he will not come back until she completed gambling anonymous. It was the tensest six weeks of her life. She was told in certain terms that if he ever found out she had been gambling again, he’d be getting a divorce. There was no way she’d let him know that she had been taking money out of their account to feed her addictions. It could result in the demise of her marriage and to compound her issue, she’d signed up a prenuptial agreement that would leave her broke.
“Come on Marley, you cannot tell Brandon about this. I will repay you. Please don’t do this. I beg you.”
“I gave you ample amount of time to address this debt; you chose to avoid me and also sent me a threatening text. That offer I gave you with the installment plan has expired. Either you pay me in full or your gambling secret becomes headline news.”
“Please Marley; I am sorry for threatening you. Don’t do this please, I beg you. I don’t have the money. I will pay you back. I sincerely beg you, please don’t tell Brandon. Please!” Jessica replied sobbing.
She had been reduced to pleading just so as to keep her secret. Satisfied at this outcome, Marley felt she had the other woman exactly where she wanted he to be.
“Stop crying, you’re ruining your makeup. There is something that you can do to substitute compensation for the loan. This is a one-time offer and it will end in 10 seconds.”
“I’ll do anything to pay you back. Just don’t tell Brandon, please,” Jessica replied as fast as she could.
“If you accept this offer and follow my instructions without reluctance or complaint then this secret will never leave this bakery. My offer is this; I’m a very busy woman and I don’t have time to maintain my home and cook… That’s where you come in. You will take 45 days leave of absence from your job. During the 45-day time-frame, you will be my live-in maid. You will cook, clean and maintain my house. You have 10 seconds to decide, after that, the offer will be gone and I’ll call your husband and tell him what you did,” Marley said giving Jessica 10 seconds to decide this offer.
To say the offer shocked Jessica would have been an understatement. She barely cooked or attended to the menial chores of her own house. Now she was being forced to decide to be a maid, taking care of someone else’s household. It wasn’t as if she had a choice in this. Marley leveraging her gambling secret over her head was already definitive. Fortunately, Brandon was out of town for an extended business meeting. She had no idea how long he’d take. Hopefully, he’d be back only when the 45-day period was over.
Right now, she had no choice but to take it. Nodding submissively, she answered: “I will take the offer.”
“Very wise choice, henceforth you will refer to me as ma’am or Miss Marley. Understand?”
“Let’s go, you’re coming home with me. Your duties begin now,” Marley ordered.
Jessica, still sobbing silently, followed Marley out of the bakery to begin her descent down the social ladder.
Marley had a very nice 4,200 square feet lot in the suburbs situated at the end of the cul-de-sac. It was a 6-bedroom, 3-bathroom ranch house with a detached three car garage. Jessica walked into the house behind Marley and was told to remove her heels. She was about to protest but knew better than to argue with Marley especially in the position that she was in. Unfastening her straps, Jessica removed her heels, put them by the door and walked barefooted to the master bedroom.
“Your uniform is on the bed, put it on and meet me in the living room.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Jessica said submissively. It surprised her to see the standard maid uniform laid out on the bed. The black dress had buttons in the front and the skirt looked short, just above the knee. Next to the dress was a frilly white apron and next to that was a pair of ASOS denier 40 semi-sheer black pantyhose, white socks, and white slip on clogs. With a sigh, Jessica undressed and folded her pantsuit neatly on the chair by the corner of the bed. Walking over, she looked at the pantyhose instantly deducing that they were cheap.
She rolled them up her legs to her waist. Next, she slipped on the white socks which looked like they had been used. She put on the dress which was so tight on her body it felt deliberate. She took the white apron and tied it around her waist, tied her hair in a tight bun, took the maid’s cap and put them on. Lastly, she slipped the gloves on, went to the mirror and looked at herself. She’d gone from a professional executive to a lowly maid in a matter of ten minutes. Eyes still red from tears, Jessica walked out the bedroom and into the living room to await Marley.
Marley came in the living room, took a satisfying look at the newly transformed Jessica in her servant’s outfit. Pleased with what she’d seen, she said;
“Like I told you, you’re going to be staying here as my maid for 45 days. You will cook and take care of the domestic responsibility of this house which includes cleaning the kitchen, bathrooms, vacuuming, dusting, mowing the lawn and any other chore I lay out for you. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am, I understand,” Jessica responded.
“You’re going to begin your duties by cleaning the kitchen, there are dishes that have not been washed. Then you’re going to clean the bathroom before you start cooking dinner. I have guests from out of town that will be here for a get-together tonight. Get to work. You will do a curtsey after you address me. Understand?”
Is she serious? Jessica thought, it’s bad enough that she had to wear this awful uniform and serve Marley as a maid for 45 days. Now she has to bow every time she was addressed or addresses her? Could this humiliation get any worse?
“Yes, ma’am,” Jessica said and doing a curtsey before leaving the living room. She walked into the kitchen and noticed the sink was filled to the brim with dishes. Tired and defeated, she walked to the sink, cut the water on warm and added soap. She began scrubbing the dishes. Jessica noticed it was not really that bad. An uncommon type of calm washed over her body and for the first time she felt relaxed. She was the kind of person who was always in control over everything she did, especially at her job.
She found it eerily gratifying to have the control she once had taken from her and being forced to follow orders. She started to find it a little pleasurable and in no time, she was done with the dishes. She began cleaning the top of the cabinets, the island and wiping down the stove and fridge. Jessica had been here before, so she knew where the cleaning supplies were. She opened the door to a pantry and noticed a cleaning bucket with gloves and supplies and no mop. Jessica remembered Marley never had a mop.
With a shrug, she grabbed the bucket and put on yellow gloves. She filled the bucket with hot, soapy water and got on her knees to scrub the kitchen floors. This took her over an hour to do. Then she hand-scrubbed the toilets, sink and bathtub in the master bathroom. Satisfied that the kitchen and bathroom were clean, she washed her hands and began preparing dinner for the guests who were to arrive later that night.
90 minutes later, dinner was set and Marley came in very impressed with how clean the kitchen was.
“Good job, Jessi, you will be addressed by that name. Is that a problem?”
“No, Miss Marley.”
“Start getting ready, the guest will be here in thirty minutes,” she told Jessi and she left the room. Sighing Jessi followed her out the room getting ready to start her first day of officially hosting a gathering as a maid.
Forty-five minutes later, the doorbell rang, Jessica answered the door and greeted three friends of Marley who’d arrived from Israel. Taking the coats Jessica hung them up in the closet next to the door. Marley and her Israeli friends bantered, exchanged pleasantries when she nodded to Jessica. She approached the table and nervously told them;
“Dinner is ready,” she informed with a curtsey and walked out into the kitchen where she brought out the piping hot platters of vegetables, roasted duck, squash and a bottle of German Riesling white wine circa 2012.
After serving Marley and her friends, she went to the kitchen where she fixed her plate and began eating with mineral water to support. She was summoned back out and noticed their napkins was on the plate. Jessica took the plates, returned to the kitchen, and cleaned them immediately. She overheard the guest talking with Marley about how good and obedient her maid was, begging and pleading with Marley to loan her out to them for a weekend during the 45-days trial period. Jessica was relieved when Marley told them she was not for lease.
“Jessi, you can clear the table,” Marley said.
When the guest left, Marley came in the kitchen very happy and pleased. The night had been perfect and it went without a hitch. Jessica felt grateful that Marley had no complaints.
“Well done Jessi, this is what I expect out of you for the next 45 days. Good job! Keep up that momentum. I don’t want to see you frowning, moping or pissed. I don’t want my friends to think I have an unhappy and miserable maid. That will make me look really bad”
“I won’t make you look bad I promise,” she responded with a fake smile.
“I know you won’t because if you do mope or act pissed, making me look horrible in the process, I will make sure these 45 days become the most miserable of your life. Am I clear?”
Marley made sure to address Jessica in a tone that was neither nasty nor angry; although, it did have a very hard and authoritative edge to it. Jessica had never seen this side of Marley before. Her heart beat faster with the way she was being talked too. Not only was she scared, she was equally aroused by this new side of Marley.
“Crystal clear, Ma’am,” Jessica answered in a submissive tone. She was dismissed and retired for the night. She went to her room and immediately pulled off her uniform. Leaving only her bra and pant on, she ironed the uniform after which she hung them up. She took a hot shower and hopped into the bed crashing. She fell into a deep sleep getting ready to repeat the same process the next day. One day down, 45 more days to go.
Through the 45 days of servitude, Jessica got to the point where she automatically knew what she was to do as soon as she got out of bed. It became second nature. After week one of her 45-day period, she became very sore, barely walking. By week three, the calluses on her hand had become very hardened. In addition to that, she put on about twenty pounds in weight, making her uniform a size or two smaller. She’d become so detached from her servitude so much so that it diminished her social life to the point of non-existence. She ended up serving a few more of Marley out-of-town guests from Israel. And Marley made sure she stayed compliant by operant conditioning. Whenever she did really good, she would be rewarded with a 60-minute additional break; when she did not do a good job, an hour is tacked on her daily routine. The positive and negative reinforcement happened in unpredictable intervals making Jessica work even harder to satisfy Marley.
Being manipulated like this and not even aware of it, Jessica would do anything to keep from having an hour added on to her duties, preferring to have an hour break instead. She would do things that were well beyond her normal daily tasks like rubbing Marley’s feet, giving her massages sensually; sometimes, literally bathing and cleaning her to afford the privileges of getting that hour rest as against having an hour tacked on to her job. Her mind basically belonged to Marley to bend to her own will.
THE FINAL DAY
Jessica walked in the kitchen with a bag of groceries she from the store. As she went into the kitchen she saw Marley sitting at the table typing on the computer. She looked up and smiled sweetly at Jessica before giving her a;
“Congratulations Jessi, you survived 44 days. For your final day of serving me I have 3 special guests who will be having dinner tonight. You will prepare the following items I have on this sheet of paper” Jessica took the paper and read it. She breathed easily and was relieved that it was something she was very familiar with. Her husband loved this type of dinner. She would cook it every thanksgiving. This shouldn’t be a problem, she thought.
“Yes ma’am, I get started on it now”
“Before you do, I want you out of that uniform. I have another uniform laid out for you. Get dressed right away.”
“Yes ma’am,” Jessica curtsied and walked out of the living room into the bedroom. To her astonishment, laid out on the bed was a pink, maid dress; next to it was a bib apron, white opaque pantyhose tights, pink frilly socks and pink three-inch heels. She wondered what the special occasion was that required to dress in such a uniform. She’d stopped trying to figure out Marley’s motive a long time ago. Jessica removed her black uniform, hopped into the shower and cleaned herself thoroughly. She put on the pink lace bra and panties which Marley had also made sure to pick out for her. She slipped on the tights and socks, then pulled on the dress making it tight with her belly protruding slightly through the material. Jessica had no idea she had put on so much weight. She slipped on the maid’s cap and gloves followed by the heels.
Jessica returned to the kitchen to an amazed Marley who looked on seductively while licking her lips at the maid’s outfit. Jessica blushed furiously looking down at the floor.
“You can start cooking, but stay in here until you are called”
“Yes, Ma’am,” Jessica curtseyed and began cooking. It took two hours to prepare the food for the guests. She began setting the table, placing 3 plates on the table and the utensils like she’d been trained. She returned to the kitchen as she awaited the guests’ arrival. Not too long afar, the doorbell rang. Marley, went to the door, took a peek before opening the door. Greeting her was an African-American gentleman who looked to be 6’2 tall, a heavyset, black woman who appeared to be in her early fifties, and an equally tall older gentleman in his sixties.
Jessica’s eyes widened in terror, she covered her mouth to keep herself from screaming. Her body trembled involuntarily from sheer shock. What the hell was her husband Brandon doing here? When did he get back? This can’t be happening. Why would Marley do this? So many questions flitted in and out of her head. She couldn’t come out there looking like this, in a maid’s outfit. It’s bad enough, his parents didn’t fancy her because she was white, not to mention their opinion that she’d ‘stolen’ their son from them. Tears ran down her cheeks, Jessica knew if she came out looking the way she did, and Brandon found out she’d been Marley’s temporary maid, her life would be over along with her marriage.
Marley went inside, appearing very pleased with the terrified look on Jessica’s face.
“Oops, I forgot to tell you I invited your husband over. Oh well! Get ready to start serving. Remember the consequences if you make me look bad”
“Please Miss Marley, don’t make me go out there, at least not dressed like this. Please, I can’t face my husband like this” she begged her.
“Yes, you will go out there. You will also tell them why you are dressed like this as my maid. If you don’t, I will literally drag you out there. You don’t want me dragging you out there, do you? You better move it” Marley said and this time her voice took on a very nasty edge to it. She took her suit jacket off and prepared to drag her maid out of the kitchen. Jessica, not too keen to be dragged out of the kitchen and already convinced Marley would carry out her threat, saw her deadlift, 225lbs in the garage a week before. So, this is how it ends? Jessica thought to herself. Her life was about to be over officially. Marley’s nasty tone had also taken her by surprise, it turned her on. She began to see her neighbor in a new light.
Seductively licking her lips, Jessica warmly smiled at Marley and replied; “Yes ma’am, your wish is my command” in a very gentle tone. She walked out of the kitchen with a purpose and Marley, who stood by the kitchen door, looked on for the fireworks.
“Jessica, is that you? You look right at home in that outfit”
“You got that right; I think you found your true calling”
“JESSICA? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON HERE? WHY ARE YOU WEARING A MAID’S OUTFIT?” Brandon screamed at the top of his lungs horrified and embarrassed that his wife was in a servant’s outfit. Marley, enjoyed every minute of the scenario, watching Jessica explaining why and how she’d come to be in her present predicament. But Marley, had no idea how much damage she had done to Jessica’s marriage. She would find out very soon.
“Jessica, please answer the phone. This is Marley, call me back when you get this.” This was the tenth time and the tenth message she’d be leaving in a bid to reach Jessica. It had been three weeks since she embarrassed Jessica, making her a maid for 45 days as payment for the loan she gave Jessica. Ever since that embarrassing evening, she had not heard from Jessica Brand. It was almost as if she’d dropped off the face of the earth. Marley thought if she humbled Jessica to get her to pay for the loan, then she would have a different outlook and be more responsible when it comes to borrowing money.
Her plan backfired horribly, because of what she’d put Jessica through, she felt responsible for the pending divorce the young couple was going through. She sincerely had no idea how bad the blowback would be. She heard from the neighbors that after Jessica’s final night as a maid, she explained what she had done to a very furious and enraged Brandon who kicked her out the house. And also told her to expect a call from his divorce lawyer, Jessica had not been heard from since then.
Marley called her again and got a voicemail, and this time she left a sincere apology as a message. “Jessica, please answer the phone. I am so sorry for what I’ve done. I had no idea that it would end up like this. Can we talk please? Please, call me back,” Marley said, genuine concern etched on her face.
Marley headed to the bedroom to take her mind off Jessica for the time being and focused on the gray maid uniform lying on the bed. She grabbed the dress and noticed it was her size. Shedding her sweats Marley slipped the maid uniform and found it felt very good against her skin. Going to the dresser, she grabbed a pair of opaque black tights and slip them up her legs. Next, she grabbed a pair of black socks and slipped them on her feet, and lastly, slipped on a pair of white canvas sneakers. She went to the bed and took the white apron, she felt the soft fabric of the item that was sure to tank her social status the moment she tied it around her waist.
The thrill of looking like a servant fascinated Marley. She exhaled slowly and tied the apron around her waist. She put her hair in a ponytail, slipped on the maid’s cap. Now she definitely looked the part. She went to the mirror and gave herself a look. liking what she saw, she blew a kiss in the mirror and did a curtsey. “I look the part, might as well play the part. Let me scrub the kitchen floors.” She said to herself as she left the bedroom closing the door behind her.
To ensure privacy and guaranty that nobody looked inside and see her dressed like this, she closed all the windows in the house making it a little dark. Satisfied that nobody will see her in this situation she went to the kitchen and grabbed a bucket and a scrub-brush. Humming a happy tone, she went to the sink and filled it up with warm soapy water. She got on her knees and began scrubbing her own kitchen floor. Marley was just playing the part of the maid and not actually the maid. There was one thing Marley forgot to do; close the kitchen window. This costly mistake turned out to be her ultimate undoing.
Just behind Marley’s house, a very spiteful and revenge-driven Jessica filmed her ex-neighbor in the kitchen on her hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor in a maid’s uniform. She thought of a thousand and one ways to make the bitch suffer for what she had done to her. After her final night of serving Marley, she had a brutal falling out with Brandon ending with her getting kicked out and served with divorce papers. With her debt, higher than her income, she could now only afford to stay in a studio. Filming Marley was simply the icing on the cake.
Jessica was going to make sure she made Marley suffer the same fate she endured. With her social status ruined, she’d been forced to live in a questionable neighborhood under subpar living conditions. her studio was the cheapest she could find with the little savings she had. Not only that, she had to deal with the inconvenience of riding public transportation to work and living on a strict budget. After filming enough to ruin Marley completely, she made a call on her cell phone. “Hello, Cheryl? You’re Marley’s business partner, right? I’m Jessica, a friend of Marley’s. I am calling you because I have a video to share with you. It may be of extreme interest to you because it features Marley. I will send it to you now. Call me back when you see the video and let me know what you think,” Jessica said. She smirked as she watched her ex-neighbor play the part that she was forced to do not so long ago.
“I see you want to play the maid, huh? Let’s see how well you like it when you actually become one,” Jessica said, taking one last look at Marley. She adjusted her black maid uniform and left her house, ready to start her second job as a chambermaid in a downtown hotel. She would love to be the fly on the wall when Marley tries to explain to her business partner why she was in a maid’s uniform, cleaning her own house. Jessica believed in ‘an eye for an eye’. And in this case, it was ‘a maid for a maid’.
TO BE CONTINUED?