The following week was also rather quiet. Trixie continued to work with Mr. Vossen on her project and it slowly took shape. She made an appointment with Mr. Bergmann for the following week, during which she wanted to explain her planning to him and hear his opinion. For Mr. Vossen, she arranged a two-week programming course to take place during her Dubai vacation.
At the HR department, she asked if she could get twelve days of vacation. The employee did some quick math and told her that would fit. She also said that there was a note from Director Bergmann that he had promised Trixie this leave as part of the hiring process. Trixie wondered, but when she asked Beate about it, Beate explained that she had arranged it that way at the interview.
When they met for their weekly meeting on Friday as usual, Beate came in with red eyes. Everyone wondered, but Gaby immediately took the floor. "Dear ones, you have really made me feel welcome here and you have made me some really great offers. The offer to move in here permanently, especially, was probably the best offer I've ever been made. But, as sorry as I am, I cannot and will not accept it. You have a way of life here that I can't get along with. That is not up to you, that is up to me. And that's why I ask you for your understanding if I refuse the offer and that also applies to the great vacation. It would be wrong for me to go along with it."
"I've thought of something like that," Antje said. "Sure, it's a low blow for Beate. She was looking forward to staying here with you. And she wants to protect you. We'd like to help her with that, too."
"That's sweet of you," Gaby said, "but I have to find a job and an apartment first. Maybe I can stay here for a few more days, that would be a big help."
"Of course you can stay here for now," Siggi said and the others nodded.
"I would also know a job for you," Antje added. "Nothing great, but at least a start. But not here in Cologne, but in Porz. That wouldn't be so far away and you and Beate could then see each other from time to time or you could visit us here."
"That would be great," Gaby said in surprise. "What would that be?"
"There's an opening at the branch of my car rental company at the airport. It means shift work, but if you could get comfortable with that ..."
"I wouldn't want me to get any preferential treatment now, though," Gaby interjected.
"No, but you're not being treated any worse either. By the way, in the car rental business, we change cars every one or two years, depending on the type. That's why you can get a used one that you can pay off with small money. And an apartment is no problem either. The HR department in my chemical company has contacts with various real estate agents. We need that when we hire skilled workers. I had already guessed your decision and there would be an apartment. Two rooms, kitchen, hall, bathroom and garage. Five minutes to the airport and three quarters of an hour to our place. Well, how about it?"
Beate gave Antje a grateful look. At least this way Gaby would stay close by. Gaby's tears were coming now, too. The sisters hugged each other. Then Gaby got up and went to her room. She had nothing more to do with the meeting.
After the meeting, Trixie went to Gaby's room. She found Gaby lying on the bed.
"You think I'm pretty ungrateful now?" Gaby asked.
"No. I had thought it wouldn't fit, too. When I first came here I doubted too, but after only two days my doubts were gone. I just want to tell you that we all understand you. Sure, Beate is sad, of course, but she will get through this. And if you really visit us from time to time, that will help her, too. But I want to tell you, whenever you need help, call me. No matter what it's about. OK?"
Later that evening, Beate knocked on Antje's door. When Antje answered, she entered. Antje was lying in bed and looked at her. "I wanted to thank you for what you are doing for Gaby. I don't know how to make it all up to you."
Antje flipped the covers up and Beate slid under the covers with her friend. "Silly, I'm happy to do this for you. You're my best friend after all."
The last days before the vacation passed uneventfully. On Sunday, everyone packed their suitcases and got everything ready for departure on Wednesday. Antje asked her friends to pack only the medium-sized suitcases of the sets they owned and then put them in the large suitcases. That way, each of the WG would have a large suitcase for their purchases for the return flight. Antje also ordered a large van for the five of them from a chauffeur service, which took them to the Düsseldorf airport the following Wednesday.
This time there were no problems at the checkpoint either. Trixie had feared that one of the others would play a trick on her, but they were all looking forward to the vacation too much to get any stupid ideas. They passed the time waiting in the Emirates lounge, but then, at Trixie's urging, they soon went to the gate after all. Trixie went to the window in front of which was the huge Airbus 380. She saw the plane and stood motionless. The others noticed this and looked at her with amusement for a moment. But when she still hadn't moved after ten minutes, Beate came to her. "What's wrong," she wanted to know.
The plane," Trixie replied, "It's talking to me."
"The plane is talking to you," Beate asked incredulously. "And what is it saying?"
"It wants to fly. It wants to take people to other places. It's talking about the joy it has at altitude, flying over lands and seas. It says ‘come, get on board.’"
Beate went to her friends. "Trixie says the airplane is talking to her," she shared, "It's telling her it wants to fly. Trixie is totally blown away."
"I can understand that," Antje countered. "When I had to get off at an airfield some time ago and not at the terminal, I stood in front of the plane, too. Those jet engines are incredibly big. And there I also had the impression that the thing just wants to fly."
Fortunately, the boarding call came just before Beate finally lost her composure. When the friends boarded the plane, they were all extremely impressed. Each was assigned her own private area. The service was friendly beyond measure and the stewardesses anticipated their every wish.
After takeoff, they met at the first class bar and shared a glass of champagne, toasting their upcoming vacation. They were looking forward to seeing Natalie again soon and Beate had also calmed down enough to enjoy the vacation because she knew that Antje would take care of Gaby. The flight passed them actually almost too fast and they landed in Dubai in the early morning. Neither of them had slept much, so they were looking forward to the time ahead.
Behind the passport and customs control the first surprise was waiting. Antje was in fact running a small office in Abu Dhabi as part of her chemical factory, only three employees, and the office manager was waiting for them at the exit. Antje greeted her with a kiss on the cheek. "May I introduce Tessa, the manager of my field office in Abu Dhabi. Tessa will take care of us during our vacation and show us around."
Tessa smiled kindly at them, "Welcome to Dubai, the craziest city in all of Arabia. I hope you will enjoy your time here. I am available to answer any questions you may have. Which one of you is Trixie?"
Trixie stepped forward, a bit puzzled. Tessa grabbed her by the arm. "Please wait here for your friend from London, she has to come out here in a few minutes too. In the meantime, Trixie and I will go to the car rental agency, take care of the formalities." Obviously, Tessa was a bundle of energy and she was instantly likable to everyone.
Sure enough, after barely 5 minutes, Trixie was holding the keys to a van. They went back to the others and sure enough, Natalie was now waiting. Natalie and Trixie hugged but held back a bit so as not to offend anyone. After all, Dubai remained an Arab country.
Together they then walked to the exit of the airport where the van was already waiting for them. They quickly loaded the luggage, then they were off. Tessa sat down next to Trixie and would show her the way to the hotel. "Don't be intimidated by the traffic," Tessa advised Trixie before they left. "It's chaotic and there will be honking from time to time. But they'll quickly realize that people give them enough room anyway, and no one likes an accident. Watch out for pedestrians, they're actually allowed to cross the street here. There's consideration there, too."
In fact, the traffic was extreme. The roads were wide and 4 or 6 lanes but still barely enough. Trixie stayed in the right lane until Tessa told her they needed to turn left in two hundred yards. To her great amazement, what Tessa had said was really true and she was in the far left lane in no time with no problems.
By the time they arrived at the hotel, Trixie felt as if she had never driven anywhere else. Trixie pulled up at the main entrance and let the others out because she wanted to pull the car into the parking lot. To her surprise, a bellhop came and politely knocked on the door of the car and opened it. "May I have the key please, I'll park the car for you. Here is your receipt. If you need the car, just leave the receipt at the entrance and I'll bring it right away. Such a service is perfectly normal in such hotels, but for Trixie it was new. The luggage was also already taken care of.
Antje was already at the reception desk and picked up the keycards for all of them. A bellhop rolled ahead of them to the elevator with a luggage cart. On the 12th floor the elevator stopped and they found themselves in front of their rooms. Since Antje had originally booked a room for Gaby as well, she had come up with the idea of offering Tessa the spare room. The rooms were all next to each other and had connecting doors. Only the connecting door to Tessa's room remained closed, as Antje didn't want her to feel bothered by the WG's casual lifestyle.
When Trixie entered her room, she was totally surprised. There was no simple hotel room, but there was also a living room. The bedroom and living room were both much larger than the rooms in the WG. The bathroom was super equipped and Trixie wondered if she should really dare to wash herself in such a room. When she came out of the bathroom, Siggi had come into her living room. "Isn't this amazing," Siggi asked excitedly. "I've never seen anything like it. And they don't even have to be the most fancy suites."
They freshened up a bit first, then met as they had arranged at the hotel bar, where Tessa was already waiting. "So, what do we want to start with," Tessa asked.
"The best thing to do is to take a tour of the city. Then we'll get a first impression. Tomorrow we want to make the Dubai Mall unsafe and of course on the Burj Khalifa. The day after tomorrow and Sunday are then Abu Dhabi and the Formula 1." Antje had taken over as trip organizer.
"Let's get going then," Tessa said. We can stop for lunch in Deira later. This is one of the liveliest neighborhoods in Dubai. In fact, I end up there all the time."
They drove around the city for the next few hours while Tessa explained everything. Trixie, of course, had to focus mostly on the traffic. Finally, Tessa asked Trixie to park the car so they could have lunch. Tessa led them to their favorite restaurant, where they were already expected. "To get you in the mood, I took the liberty of ordering in advance so you could get a taste."
They sat on the restaurant's terrace, the heavy pedestrian traffic passing them by. Waiters brought flat plates of a paste and fresh, hot flatbread. "This is hummus, a paste made from chickpeas, with olive oil and pine nuts. Dig in."
The mixture looked strange, but tasted good to them. "For the main course, we have lamb," Tessa announced. "Only the best for my guests, fresh lamb eyes. They'll love it!" The six got bites stuck in their mouths. "No," laughed Tessa, "I was joking. But this place has the best lamb chops in the world."
Tessa leaned over to Antje. "Say, the others in the office are politely inquiring if you'd like to come into the office sometime. They'd love to meet the big boss sometime, of course."
"Not really," Antje replied, "This is a private vacation, after all."
"Never mind," Karin interjected. "We understand, don't we? How about we all meet somewhere nice for lunch. Would be okay, don't you think?"
The others agreed with Karin and Antje conceded defeat. "What would you recommend," she asked Tessa. Tessa whispered in her ear, then Antje grinned. "Organize it, please. We'll be at the mall tomorrow anyway."
"And as for you guys," Antje said, "I'll do you well. I don't like to mix business and pleasure, except with LLL. I already know what I'm doing with you guys."
After a delicious lunch, they decided to return to the hotel and relax by the pool. The overnight flight had been a bit tiring after all.
The next morning they drove to the Dubai Mall, which is the largest mall in the world with 1200 stores. But even before that, there was a highlight for Trixie as she drove the van along the highway in Dubai's skyscraper canyon. She was intimidated and almost hit the brakes full on. Tessa quickly guided them into one of the side lanes where they stopped and took in the sight.
After a few minutes they moved on and came to the mall and the Burj Khalifa standing right next to it. "We're going up there around 5 o'clock and we're going to watch the sunset and the water games there. Until then, we'll go shopping first and if we split up, we'll meet at the aquarium at 2 o'clock, at the bottom part on the 1st floor. Natalie, I have a credit card for you too so you can strike. You probably want to go with Trixie?"
Natalie hadn't expected this at all; her father had provided her with generous pocket money that she would surely find a use for. But Karin offered to accompany Trixie and Natalie. She suspected that both would otherwise be too shy to shop sensibly. Siggi and Beate left together and Tessa went with Antje in another direction. On the way, Tessa told them about the preparations she had made and with which Antje was very pleased.
It wasn't long before they found a store that specialized in pantsuits. Karin had tried to talk Trixie into a fancy mini, but Trixie thought her legs looked like stilts in something like that. So she opted for pantsuits when it came to something more formal. They found plenty in the store and when they left it after a good hour, Trixie had acquired three complete suits and some matching blouses that she could mix and match. Karin was reasonably pleased with the selection. They didn't have to bother with bags, since everything would be delivered directly to the hotel. Over the next few hours, Karin and Natalie also found some things they liked. But also with swimsuits and fashionable sportswear the selection was really excellent.
At some point Karin pointed to the clock and said that they should slowly go to the aquarium. Until then, Trixie had only seen the indication on the signposts. When they got to the huge aquarium, they were more than impressed. The front of the aquarium is over 30 meters wide and 8 meters high. The biggest fish, sharks, are over 2 meters long and a display board explained that 33000 fish were swimming there. They couldn't get enough of it. Trixie especially liked the rays that were swimming in their lanes.
Soon Antje and Tessa joined them. They waited a little longer, which was not difficult for them with this sight, then Siggi and Beate also came. They all explained that they had made plenty of loot in the mall and that everything would be delivered to the hotel.
Tessa then said that her colleagues would be waiting for them at 'Joe's Crab Shack' on the 2nd floor. They went to the next floor and then saw the restaurant. Siggi and Beate were a bit surprised, because they had expected something very fancy, but it looked rather simple. Would Antje feed her employees in a cheap snack? That was not like her. Tessa headed for a large table where a man and a woman were seated. The two rose to greet her and everyone was introduced.
Beate took Antje aside. "Say, isn't this a little easy," she asked quietly.
But Antje only answered quietly, "Wait and see."
They sat down and immediately the waitress brought a tray of fruit cocktails. Afterwards she came again and brought plastic aprons for all of them, which they tied around the astonished guests. They had to wait a moment more, then two waiters brought small buckets with huge crab legs sticking out of them.
"My dears," Antje had stood up, "and I also welcome you, my employees, you surely remember that documentary on TV with the crab fishermen in Alaska. The Toughest Job in Alaska or something like that. Well, these are the king crabs caught there. Well, bon appétit."
They still needed some instruction from the waiters, but then it really became a feast. And they quickly understood why they were wearing plastic aprons. The shrimp in garlic butter with potatoes on the side tasted delicious, and the portions were so large they could barely manage them. Karin's employees repeatedly emphasized how great it was to be invited to this restaurant, which was so unassuming from the outside. They talked about their encounters with the locals and the sometimes annoying sheikhs. Trixie was amazed to learn that they were very well off as ex-pats and wanted to stay in Abu Dhabi as long as possible, they all had family with them and all mentioned that they had 2 or 3 Indian maids. Antje explained that this was so common here. With the Indians jobs with ex-pats were particularly popular, because the wages were better there.
After Antje's employees had said goodbye, not without thanking her again for the visit and the invitation, they strolled together to the elevator of the Burj Khalifa. There they first went to the level "At the Top" and looked around. But unlike the name says, it goes even further up to the "Sky" level. The view from 555 meters was breathtaking and they enjoyed the sunset with some cocktails. In addition, they could admire the unique water games deep below them, which were over much too quickly.
The evening ended with a small snack at the hotel. The next day, Abu Dhabi and Formula 1 were on the agenda.
The next morning, after breakfast, they left for Abu Dhabi. They were not dressed quite as casually as the day before. Trixie had put on one of the new pantsuits while Natalie, Beate and Karin arrived in minis. Antje and Siggi had opted for designer jeans.
From the hotel, they first hit the expressway. When they reached the canyon of houses with the skyscrapers on both sides, Trixie said "Well, I could fall in love with this sight. How wide do you think the road is here?"
"Let's take a rough guess," said Siggi, who had the best sense of proportion. "So there would be 6 lanes, then comes this little green strip. Then the parking bays, the local road and the sidewalk. All that times two plus the median. If we assume four and a half feet per lane, I'm coming up with 90 to 100 feet."
"And I suspect," Karin interjected, "That some architects have had to listen to reproaches from their clients as to why they put such puny buildings here. Some of them are barely a hundred meters high, and I don't think any of them are much more than 300 meters."
"It's quite a stretch," added Beate, who was also impressed. "How far do you think it goes?"
"Not very far anymore," Tessa replied. "After a few kilometers, the expressway narrows and then between Dubai and Abu Dhabi it has only 4 lanes. In each direction, of course. But trucks are only allowed to use the right lane."
"Very gratifying," Trixie agreed. "Hopefully there won't be any traffic jams then."
Tessa noticed the sarcasm in Trixie's statement. "If you think there would be no traffic jams on an 8 lane highway, you need to take a look at what's going on in the morning on the highway from Shardsha. There, 2 hours of traffic jam is quite normal."
After a good hour, they reached Abu Dhabi. Tessa guided them through the city and pointed out some buildings. The new mosque was especially worth seeing. There, everything had been decorated with real gold, using over 120 kg of gold leaf. At some point, she pointed out a rather ordinary skyscraper. "That's where we have our office on the 38th floor. If you want to visit it, I'll be happy to show you, but it's nothing special. They then drove to one of the shopping malls. But they soon realized that Abu Dhabi was nowhere near as bustling as Dubai.
After a coffee break, it was time to go to Yas Island. Trixie and Siggi especially wanted to ride the roller coaster at Ferrariworld. The entrance tickets also included access to this. They were directed to a parking lot and from there by a feeder bus to Ferrariworld. First they got red fan shirts and caps and many other small things, then they went to the roller coaster. Antje, Beate and Tessa only took one look at the part, then they said they wanted to do without. "If I ride it, I can enjoy the delicious King Crabs from yesterday again, but I'll pass anyway," Beate said.
The other four grabbed the front row seats. Especially Trixie screamed her head off. She and Siggi immediately got back in line to ride a second time.
After that, they finally went to the race track. Antje had booked a whole box, as was to be expected from her. But when they looked around a bit downstairs first, Trixie then stopped in amazement.
"What is it," Antje asked.
"We're in an Islamic country here, after all, where you're not allowed to drink alcohol in public. But over there I see people drinking beer and wine."
Tessa laughed. "That's a matter of interpretation. There are some partitions around that area, right? That makes it a segregated 'private area' and you're allowed there."
"Hello Tessa," suddenly said a man behind Tessa. Everyone looked at him, apparently a sheik or something like that was standing there in a white robe.
Tessa wheeled around. "Hello your highness," she said, "May I introduce you to my companions? This is my boss here with your girlfriends. Ladies, Sheikh Ahmed bin Hafez al Maktoum."
"Pleased to meet you," Antje said.
The sheikh bowed slightly. "Is this your first time in our country? Do you like it?"
"It's very exciting here," said Antje, who had to do the talking as the boss.
"Tessa," the sheik said, "you should have told me you were having such a distinguished visitor. We should have arranged something."
"Forgive me, Your Highness," Antje objected, "But this was supposed to be a private vacation. My companions are not employees, but we live together in a residential community."
"Oh, indeed? Very interesting." Antje and the Sheikh chatted some more, then he took his leave.
"Who was that exactly," Antje asked Tessa.
"Sheikh Ahmed belongs to the ruling family, as the name suggests. Al Maktoum. A cousin or something like that with connections to the ruling family in Abu Dhabi. I negotiated the last two shipments of crude oil with him. Nice guy, but tough as nails when it comes to business."
"Then I should take him up on it," Antje said, "but not this time. Maybe I'll come back here again when I get a chance."
They then went to their box to watch the qualifying. Fortunately, Beate had gotten the hearing protectors. The screeching sound of the engines went through their spines.
After the qualifying was over, they enjoyed the concert that followed until they headed back to their hotel around midnight. Trixie was tired, but she still drove home highly concentrated.
The following day they left a little later. Trixie had spent the night in bed with Natalie and was unslept. Therefore, Tessa volunteered to drive the van. Trixie and Natalie were cuddling in the back seat, which caused Tessa to frown.
"Are they involved," she asked Antje, who was sitting next to her.
Antje decided to come clean. "No, per se, Natalie is more of a friend. But the rest of us, you could say we're all involved with each other. There are no exact ties or rules, everything is very loose."
Tessa thought about it. "Is that why the door between my room and yours is locked?"
"Yes, we didn't want to embarrass you. With us, you never know who's sleeping in which bed."
"Oops," was Tessa's only comment.
Tessa parked near the new mosque. It was truly a magnificent building that impressed them all. Especially the huge carpet that covered the whole floor was incredible. After visiting the mosque, they drove to the coast and spent a few hours there until it was time to go to the race track again.
This time they took the opportunity to walk through the pit lane. They found it exciting to see the famous race drivers from a short distance, as well as other celebrities. After that, they took their seats in the box again. Shortly before the start, there was a knock at the door. A messenger brought a letter addressed to Tessa. She opened it and read through it.
"You will remember Sheikh Ahmed, whom we saw yesterday. He is inviting us all for the day after tomorrow. He has a small desert camp in a remote corner of the desert. There he would like to receive us and show us among other things the hunt with falcons. So if you are interested in something like that, this is a rare opportunity. His hunting falcons are famous and he pays tens of thousands for their care.
Antje looked at the others. It was a stupid situation. But this time it was Siggi who saved her. "Why not. Hawking is supposed to be very exciting."
Antje took it upon herself to really compensate her friends for these interruptions. The messenger had been waiting for a reply, and Tessa told him they were glad to be invited. The messenger took out a second letter and handed it over. When Tessa opened it, she found directions, which she desperately needed for the trip.
Then the race started. The start was incredibly loud. Soon the favorite, Hamilton, prevailed. But actually none of them were Formula 1 fans. They found it interesting, but that was it. The concert afterwards was great again, but since they were all still tired from the day before, they left before it was over.
The next morning brought more sightseeing. Antje had asked Tessa that they visit the spice souk. Trixie, however, following Tessa's instructions, parked the car on the other side of the creek that almost divided Dubai. From their parking spot, Tessa took them to the ferry boats that connected the two halves of the city. The crossing was a great experience, with Beate and Trixie sitting right up front and screaming at the top of their lungs at the wild ride of the boat.
It was only a few steps from the dock to the spice bazaar. From one of the vendors, Tessa purchased something that she showed to her friends. It looked like colorful little stones, shiny, white and light blue. All possible shades of color. "Have a taste," Tessa demanded and put a little stone in her mouth. Everyone followed suit. When the mass melted in their mouths, they were amazed. Chocolate.
"This is chocolate made from camel's milk," Tessa explained. The tour continued, and suddenly Beate had disappeared. When Antje looked around, she noticed that Siggi was gone, too. They looked around to see where the two of them were. Then Beate came out of a small store with a paper bag. "Saffron," she said, grinning broadly. A minute later, Siggi was back, too. She too had a bag in her hand. "I bought us some saffron for the kitchen," she explained. Everyone looked at each other, puzzled, then laughed. Only Siggi understood later why they were laughing.
Antje led them a little further down a street and they were already where Antje wanted them to be: In a shop window was a huge ring made of gold. According to the description next to it, it was the biggest gold ring in the world. The whole shop window was hung with gold jewelry. Also the windows beside it showed enormous amounts of gold. Wherever they looked, everywhere jewelry: gold, diamonds, watches, pearls. It was clear they were in the gold souq. Amazed, they walked from one window to the other. As they stood at a store that displayed watches, Antje pointed to one of them. "Look Beate, wouldn't that be something for you?"
Beate looked at the watch. "Looks good, but way too expensive."
Antje didn't seem to be listening. "And there on the left are the watches. Wouldn't that be something for Trixie? Did you see the cheap watch she's wearing? I bet she's into a high-tech watch like that." Antje turned around, "Come on, let's go in there."
Inside the store, they were greeted by a man who must have been the owner. Antje explained her wishes to him and he brought out watch after watch. Antje urged her friends to try them on. She herself also picked out a watch. Antje didn't stop until everyone, even Tessa, had chosen a watch. Then Antje looked around, grabbed the man by the arm and walked with him into his small office.
"Poor sock," Beate commented.
"I know," Tessa commented, "It's going to be expensive. One can feel sorry for Antje."
"Who's talking about Antje," Beate laughed. "I feel sorry for the guy. By the time Antje is done with him, he'll be lucky if he can afford another coffee."
Sure enough, it took Antje half an hour to emerge from the office grinning. She handed the owner her credit card and entered her pin. Beate saw the amount for a second: $42,000. But for Antje, that was beside the point. The main thing was that she could give her friends a present.
They spent the afternoon and most of the following day at the hotel's swimming pool. Trixie fiddled enthusiastically with her new watch and tried out what it could do. Meanwhile, Beate wondered if her patients would appreciate her taking their pulse with an $8,000 watch.
In between, Trixie and Natalie disappeared into her room. After 10 minutes, Trixie rejoined the others. Only Natalie stayed away from the group.
"What about Natalie," Karin asked as they were ordering some snacks for lunch, "Isn't she hungry?"
"No," replied Trixie, "She's watching a riveting movie right now."
Beate looked over at Trixie, shaking her head but grinning as she did so. Except for Tessa, everyone knew what was going on.
They arranged their trip to the desert camp so that they arrived there just before four in the afternoon. The sheik was already waiting for them. He showed them his birds and they loved petting such magnificent creatures. Then the sheikh sent one of the birds hunting. Although everyone felt sorry for the hare that the bird killed, it was an impressive display.
In the meantime, servants of the sheikh had made a bonfire and were roasting mutton there. Shortly after 6 o'clock it became night, only the campfire gave off some brightness. At Karin's request, however, this was also extinguished and they all lay down in the sand and looked at an unforgettable starry sky.
The days went by much too fast. They spent a lot of time at the pool, but also made some trips to the Indian Ocean, where they all jumped in, and they visited the Dubai Mall and a few other shopping centers several times. Still, none of them could even come close to meeting Antje's requirement of maxing out their credit cards. After a week, Tessa said goodbye to them as they were to leave for Musquat the next day.
The flight to Musquat took them to another world, far from the glitz of Dubai. They saw the prosperity there too, but the hustle and bustle of Dubai was missing. But even that had its charm. Everything was very clean and tidy. Trixie was amazed to be handed some car wash vouchers at the car rental agency and asked to drive through the car wash once a day. The employee explained to her that the ruler of the country did not tolerate dirty cars on the roads.
Finally, the last highlight of the trip was upon them: When they landed back in Dubai, Antje led her friends to another area of the airport. There, to their surprise, was a helicopter with its rotor running. Antje shooed her friends into the cabin and they were flown to the Burj al Arab, where they landed on the platform.
This hotel topped the vacation. They had already indulged in luxury at the first hotel, and now it went even further. Antje had ordered three suites that were next to each other and connected by doors. Two of the friends moved into each of the suites, Siggi moved in with Antje, Karin with Beate and Trixie of course with Natalie. Each suite had its own butler to take care of them. They toured the hotel from top to bottom. Gold and the finest wood everywhere. The restaurants were incredibly good, but they couldn't do more than eat. Karin in particular snacked extensively on the confectionery that was in the rooms, but the supply never ran out.
Nevertheless, the time passed. Soon, everyday life would have them back. But they did not regret it. It was a memory they would think back on for a long time.
Nevertheless, there was still a surprise that no one, not even Antje, had expected. The night before last, Mortimer, Natalie's father, called and talked to Antje for over half an hour. The others followed the conversation and saw that Antje eventually gave in. But she said nothing when the conversation ended.
They spent their last evening at the Burj in Antje's and Siggi's room, where the three butlers put on one last feast menu.
The next morning they were picked up by a limousine, a Rolls of course. Their luggage followed in a second car. They joked about how they would be received with all the excess luggage. But after barely three minutes, Trixie realized something was wrong. They should have turned left onto the expressway toward the airport, but instead the limo turned right. Trixie had acquired enough local knowledge from her driving to notice immediately.
"Hey, where are they taking us," she exclaimed in alarm.
"That's all right," Antje explained. "You remember that conversation with Mortimer the day before yesterday? He's always on my case that I need to cause more operating costs. His favorite thing would be for me to acquire a private plane. What for? To fly from the WG to the store? Complete nonsense. But he talked to an aircraft company. In a nutshell: For advertising purposes, they fly us home in a private jet. The latest model of Learjet."
Silence spread in the limousine, then suddenly everyone spoke in confusion. None of them had expected anything like this.
"To be perfectly clear," Antje said when the others had calmed down a bit, "I'm not buying this plane, no matter what Mortimer says. We have our life and we want to keep it that way. The vacation was really cool, I agree with you. But on Monday Karin is back in her workshop, Beate is in the hospital, Trixie is with her Mr. Vossen, Siggi is a carpenter again and I open the store at 11 o'clock sharp. Only Natalie doesn't fly back home until Monday."
Everyone agreed with her. They wanted to go on living as before. And then Karin reminded them that the remodeled WG was still waiting for them. No one had remembered that there was still something waiting for them.
Antje had arranged everything with the chauffeur service, and so not only was a limousine waiting for them at the airport, but also a VW Bulli for their now really extensive luggage. Each had one or two bags of clothes in addition to their two suitcases. Also waiting for them was an employee of Antje's chemical factory, who was there to take care of any customs matters. He got a mountain of receipts from the girlfriends for their purchases. Trixie had entered all the receipts into her laptop during the flight and gave him the list on a USB stick. He would then take care of the proper processing.
When they arrived back in Cologne, they were of course curious to see what their apartment looked like now. Antje had not told them all the details. She simply enjoyed surprising her friends. They unloaded the suitcases from the van on the street level and got everything into the elevator. Antje and Siggi took the first tour upstairs and put the suitcases in the hallway. Then, one by one, the other suitcases came upstairs and finally the girlfriends came up.
None of them wanted to go to their room first, but they let Antje go first. Siggi had quickly fetched a tray of champagne and glasses from the kitchen at Antje's request, and so they walked together to the door to the back area in her playroom. There, Antje awkwardly opened the champagne and calmly poured the glasses. She loved to keep her friends in suspense like this.
"Now come on," Karin urged.
"Take it easy," Antje replied. "First, a toast to the wonderful vacation and to the dedication of the new part of the apartment."
They clinked glasses, but Antje realized she really couldn't stop the others now. She opened the door and walked slowly. The first part was a hallway like the one at the front of their bedrooms. On the right and on the left there were two doors. Antje opened the first door on the left and entered the room, followed by the others. On the left now stood the washing machine and the dryer, in addition a large table, at the window side an ironing board. On the right side were shelves.
"Here we can store mainly the suitcases and larger parts," Antje explained. The others followed her into the second room. Here there were two rows of shelves and at the front were two large new freezers.
Then they went into the first room on the right. Beate was thrilled. Here was a real couch for the treatment, which could also be electrically moved down or up. On the side were cabinets and shelves.
"How did you manage that in such a short time," Beate marveled. Antje just smiled and everyone understood that it was just a matter of bonus. >From this room we went to a small storage room, which was already filled with various medical supplies. However, this room was not accessible from the hallway. Prescription drugs were not available, of course, but everything else was, up to a defibrillator and an ECG.
The second door on the right led into a tiny room filled with electronics. "This is the control center for our solar power system. We can use the electricity ourselves or store it up to a certain amount as well. The rest then goes into the public grid," Antje explained. Trixie was especially interested in the technical side.
After that, we went to an open area that was still completely empty. "This is where our fitness area goes," Antje explained. "I didn't want the workers to go into our apartment, there would have been STUPID questions. Only the architect has been with us with two of his employees and has made a few minor changes. This means that we have to move the fitness equipment ourselves in the next few days. This also applies to the old supply room. Siggi can then convert the rooms into more bedrooms. But she already knows that."
Attached to the fitness area was another large sauna complete with plunge pool and shower. Behind it was a new door. When Antje opened it, everyone was stunned. The ceiling to the roof had been removed and the old roof had been replaced by huge glass elements. "The roof elements can be pushed into each other," Antje explained. "Then we have a kind of penthouse here."
There were several normal loungers but also two solariums. Opposite, a whirlpool had been built in, into which they all fit, and then came the highlight. Across the entire width of the room there was a swimming pool, a good 10 meters long and 4 meters wide in total, with a rim about a meter wide all around as a running surface. Some steps led up from the normal level to this edge.
They stood there stunned for a moment, then Siggi literally tore off his clothes and ran to the pool. Without a second's hesitation she jumped in and after a few moments came splashing back to the surface at the other end. "It's wonderful," she exclaimed enthusiastically. Two minutes later, everyone was with her in the pool.
Antje also had the roof raised once, but now in December it was actually too cold for that. Beate went to the front again and got another bottle of champagne and the glasses and they then had another drink in the pool. Everyone thanked Antje, not only for the remodeling but also for the great vacation, which was rather unpleasant for her.
They spent the rest of the weekend unpacking their suitcases. They soon realized, however, that Siggi would probably have to build additional cabinets. In between they visited the pool again and again and Siggi tried out the sauna together with Karin and Antje.
Nevertheless, this weekend also came to an end at some point. On Monday morning Beate had early duty and also Siggi and Trixie went to their work. Antje and Karin, who didn't open the store until noon, took Natalie to the airport beforehand.
Trixie was already in the office shortly before eight o'clock. Mr. Vossen arrived just a few minutes later. He told her about his SQL course. He had been excited about the course and was now bubbling over with ideas on how to improve the future program. Trixie listened patiently and took notes. Some of the ideas really weren't bad.
When she got home in the evening, she met Beate in the underground parking garage. Beate had done some more shopping and Trixie helped her carry it upstairs. In the kitchen they found a note from Karin, who was the mistress this week. She ordered them to undress and put on heavy chains. This order also applied to Siggi, if she would come later. Of course they obeyed this order immediately, even before they put away the groceries. This was also a sign that everything should go as usual.
They were still busy putting away the groceries when they heard the apartment door open. Actually, it was still a little too early for Siggi, but then they heard her calling for them: "Beate, Trixie, are you there already? Please come here quickly, I need help urgently!"
Beate and Trixie could already tell from Siggi's tone that it was really an emergency. They ran as fast as their chains would allow into the hallway. There they found Siggi with a woman dressed in rags. Siggi had to support the woman because she was apparently too weak to hold herself up. Trixie helped Siggi hold the woman.
"Into the treatment room," Siggi asked.
Beate looked at the woman for two seconds. "No, better to the outside room. I don't see any obvious injuries. What happened? Who is this and where did she come from?"
"I'll explain in a minute," Siggi gasped. "First I need to catch my breath and the woman had best be on a bed."
Together with Trixie, Siggi took the woman to the stranger's room and laid her on the bed there. Only now Trixie and Beate could see her face, because before the long hair had covered it. They estimated her to be about 30 years old. She was pale and had sunken cheeks and dark circles around her eyes.
Beate began to carefully undress the woman. She resisted quite easily, but even with chains Beate had no trouble getting her way. In the meantime, Siggi went to the kitchen and got the keys to the girlfriends' chains. The woman said something, but it was unintelligible.
"I think she's asking why we're naked," Trixie guessed. "That apparently scares her."
"There's nothing we can do about that right now," Beate explained. By now, the woman was also naked except for a pair of panties she had apparently been wearing for some time. She had not worn a bra. Beate noticed that the woman was shivering. She concluded that she was slightly hypothermic, since the thermometer had been hovering around freezing for the last few days. In addition, they all now saw that the woman was emaciated. Her body had a multitude of fading bruises. "Obviously she's been abused."
Beate sent Siggi to the kitchen, where she was to heat up a chicken soup they had recently frozen. "Not too hot, it won't do any good if she burns her mouth. Just stick a finger in to see if it's not too hot."
Trixie was sent to Beate's room where she was to retrieve her cell phone. When she brought it, Beate quickly picked out a contact and called, "Hello Doctor Kiefer, Beate here. I need a favor from you. Can you please come over to my apartment real quick, there's something I need you to look at. But please don't say anything to anyone. I don't know much either, but it would be good if you came quickly."
"Do you want me to get us something to wear," asked Trixie, who was worried about someone stranger seeing them all running around here naked in the apartment.
"You can get us robes, but it's not really necessary. He's already seen you naked and he's even fucked you. You know Dr. Kiefer as Dieter."
"The one from the dungeon, perhaps?"
"That's the one."
Still, Trixie quickly went to her room. Without further ado, she put on a pair of gym shorts and a T-shirt, and then went to get a bathrobe for Beate. When the doorbell rang shortly afterwards, Trixie opened it after checking the monitor to make sure that it was really Dieter, who had bought her at the auction in the dungeon and then, together with his wife, had given her quite a beating.
When Dr. Kiefer entered the apartment, Trixie was red-faced. But he only gave her a fleeting kiss and a light pat on the buttocks. "Well, where's the fire?"
Trixie led him into the stranger's room, where Siggi was meanwhile pouring the woman some soup. "Hello Dieter," Siggi greeted him, since she also knew him from the dungeon.
Beate was a bit more professional, which seemed appropriate to her, and greeted him "Hello Dr. Kiefer. This is Tatiana, she is from Murmansk, Russia. But that's all we know so far. Take a look at her body, please."
Dr. Kiefer took a stethoscope from his doctor's bag and examined Tatiana very carefully. "Severe abuse. And she must have been starving recently. I should also examine her genitals, but I guess that would only frighten her. Even so, I know she's been raped."
"What should we do with her," Beate inquired, though she knew the answers.
"To the hospital is probably out of the question," Dr. Kiefer guessed.
"Better not. It's a gut feeling," Beate agreed.
"Well, you should build her up slowly then. Washing, clean clothes, light food at first but as often as possible, but only a little at a time. The stomach must first get used to the food again. What worries me is that she's from Murmansk."
"Why?" asked Trixie.
"That's where the Red Fleet is, and that's where they're scrapping her. That means a lot of radioactivity because they don't care that much about environmental protection. I need to take some blood samples for the lab. Vitamin shots and bed rest. Maybe it would be better if you took the blood samples, Beate. She might be less afraid with a woman. I'll take the samples to the lab later and call you tomorrow at the station. OK?"
Dr. Kiefer then said goodbye to take the blood samples to the lab. Beate decided to let Tatiana rest a bit more first. Siggi brought a second plate of the chicken soup. This time Tatiana tried to use the spoon herself, but she was still shaking and then let herself be fed. Siggi then wanted to explain where Tatiana came from, but Beate said that Siggi should wait a little longer, since Antje and Karin would be coming soon and then Siggi wouldn't have to tell everything twice.
Tatiana ate about half of the soup, then sank exhausted into the pillows and fell asleep. Beate gave Trixie and Siggi a sign, then they left the room after turning out the light.
When Antje and Karin came home, they sat down in the kitchen and Siggi then told them what had happened: "You remember the doghouse that Trixie lived in a few months ago. The hut is still outside the workshop on the left side. Everything was normal today, but around 3:30 a.m. a delivery man came and brought me the wood I need for the new cabinets. As we were unloading the stuff, I noticed more out of the corner of my eye a movement in the doghouse. Then when the guy was gone, I went to check it out. I was pretty startled at first. But somehow I had the impression that it wasn't some bum who had taken up residence there, but that something else was behind it. What exactly, I still don't know."
"Didn't she say anything," Karin asked.
"It was totally incoherent. She may have escaped somewhere and she's terrified of being hit. She doesn't want to be taken back, but where, I don't know. Then she said something about men, but that was incoherent too."
"I have a very dim idea," Beate agreed. "But I want to try to get more out of her first."
"Say it, even if you're completely off the mark," Siggi now demanded.
"Well," Beate said, "she's from Russia, has been beaten and probably raped and held captive. That fits a forced prostitute. I've heard of cases like that. Young women are either kidnapped or recruited under false pretenses and then end up in some brothels."
"That's disgusting," Trixie agreed. "Do you think something like that was done to her?"
Beate shrugged. "Would fit, but like I said, we need to know more first."
"In any case, one of us should stay home and take care of her for the next few days," Antje said. "The store opens around 11, Karin might be a little later. What time does your shift end, Beate?"
"I could leave from about one or half past two at the company this week," Trixie offered, "I don't have set hours, except on Friday."
"Okay, let's do it that way then," Antje said. "Karin and I will then put her in the shower together tomorrow, two of us should be able to do that."
Beate checked on her guest periodically that evening, but Tatiana seemed to be fast asleep. Siggi cooked semolina porridge and put the bowl with a spoon on her bedside table so that she would have something to eat at night. They also put another bottle of fruit juice next to her bed.
When Beate went on duty the next morning, Tatiana was still asleep, but when Siggi got up a short time later and checked on her, she was awake. She was anxious and asked where she was. But Siggi calmed her down and sat on her bed. Shortly after, Trixie also came to check on her. They both talked to Tatiana, but something seemed to irritate the young woman. But from their conversation it came out that Beate had apparently been right with her guess. Then Karin also joined them. She was wearing a bathrobe for once, which apparently calmed Tatiana down a bit. It dawned on Trixie that it worried Tatiana that she and Siggi were naked as usual. Apparently Tatiana feared that she had ended up in a brothel again, where everyone had to be naked. Trixie whispered to Siggi that they should get dressed first and then they could come back. Maybe that would calm Tatiana down.
In fact, Tatiana calmed down a bit when Siggi and Trixie sat next to her in their everyday clothes. Antje then joined them, she too in her bathrobe. Trixie prepared breakfast for Tatiana with toast and scrambled eggs, plus coffee and orange juice. Tatiana was still very weak, but managed to eat it all. Siggi and Trixie then went to have breakfast themselves and then left the apartment while Antje and Karin continued to take care of Tatiana.
They learned that Tatiana had been an accountant in a small business near Murmansk. On the weekends, she often went to one of the discos that had been opened there in the meantime. One day she had been drinking with a nice young man and suddenly fainted. When she woke up again, she was tied up in a cellar.
In this cellar she had been raped by the man and his friends and later sold to another man. She had been smuggled in a truck to the West, where she was passed onto the next man. This man ran a brothel. All his women had been subdued by him by force. Tatiana had been beaten and whipped several times until she finally did what he wanted. After a few weeks, one of this man's customers had been careless and she had escaped. She didn't know where to go, though. She didn't want to turn to the police, since they tended to work with the mafia in Russia. By chance, she had found the doghouse at Siggi's workshop and then hid there for over a week.
Antje and Karin assured her that she was safe in the WG. Tatiana was unsure, however, because she had seen some of them walking around naked. She still feared that she had ended up in a brothel again.
"Please, you have this completely wrong," Antje explained. "We are just friends living here together. We've all had bad experiences but we've developed our own way of life from them. We just like to have sex, and we all have a preference for quite rough sex. But it's all voluntary."
"I thought you were something like slaves," Tatiana replied.
Now Karin had to laugh. "You're right about that. We are slaves. At least temporarily. This week I am the mistress here and the others are my slaves. Until next Sunday evening. Then after that, Trixie will be the mistress. That's the little redhead. Then I will be a slave again. And after that Beate, the blonde is the mistress. But no one will be forced to do anything."
"That's crazy," Tatiana agreed.
"Maybe, but we like it," said Antje. "We all have normal jobs, at least more or less. I have a store where I sell fetish clothes. Karin is my employee there. But now, this week, she's my mistress and I follow her orders."
Tatiana shook her head. "I don't understand that yet. But something else: Can I go to the bathroom?"
"Of course. We'll prop you up until then. And how about a hot shower afterwards? You smell pretty bad."
Tatiana agreed. Karin then joined her in the shower as well. Afterwards they gave her clean underwear and a bathrobe and slippers. Then it was also time for Antje to go to the store. Karin sat down with Tatiana in the living room.
"It's all very nice here and so clean," Tatiana commented.
"Shall I show you the whole apartment," Karin offered, "We just had a lot of things remodeled, and we're not quite finished yet. But you'll make eyes."
Together they first went to the kitchen, which Tatiana was thrilled to see. Then Karin showed Tatiana her room and let her look around thoroughly. After that, she opened the others' rooms, but said that since these were their rooms, she was only allowed a quick look inside, which Tatiana understood. Since the five had already moved the fitness equipment over the weekend, this room was empty and Karin explained what was to be done there.
When they entered the playroom, Karin wanted to quickly usher Tatiana through, but she looked at the equipment there. "What is this?" she wanted to know.
"Antje told you earlier that we're into some pretty rough sex. Well, that's what's taking place here."
Tatiana looked at her doubtfully, but then looked at the next devices. Karin also opened a few cabinets and showed her chains, whips and more.
"And all voluntary?" Tatiana asked.
"One hundred percent. Nobody is forced to do anything. Everyone has their own limits, for me the others are usually a little too soft. But we get it done."
Then she showed Tatiana the treatment room and the supply rooms. But when they got to the spa area with the whirlpool and swimming pool and sauna, it was almost beyond Tatiana's comprehension. "This is all just for you guys?" she asked.
"Yes. Actually, it's all Antje's, she's crazy rich. But she's sharing it with us."
"Is she part of the mafia?" Tatiana wanted to know.
Karin started laughing out loud. She couldn't contain herself at all. "No," she said when she had calmed down a bit, "Antje and Mafia, that doesn't work at all. Antje is the most honest person you can imagine. She won't even file a false receipt with the IRS."
Tatiana looked at the swimming pool. "Are we allowed in there, or do we have to ask permission?"
Karin ripped off her clothes. "Come with me," she called. Tatiana also quickly undressed and followed Karin.
After swimming, Karin made lunch for them both. Tatiana laid down for a bit afterwards and soon fell asleep. When Trixie came to relieve Karin, she first looked into the stranger's room only briefly and then went to the kitchen.
That evening they all sat together with Tatiana in the living room and she repeated her story. She also told about her past, about growing up in an orphanage and about her dreams. She wanted to travel and see the world and she wished for a more beautiful life than the one she had led so far. She knew that this was not possible without work, but she was ready for anything, except to work as a prostitute. However, she had no illusions that she would have an easy time in the West with her education.
That Tatiana had been kept as a forced prostitute gnawed at them all. "We'll have to do something about that," Siggi said.
"Are there other women in your situation," Antje inquired.
"Yes, there were eight of us," Tatiana replied.
"Who can we turn to?" Antje asked, looking at Beate.
"Police," was the answer. Tatiana was frightened and everyone saw it on her face. "You don't have to be afraid here," Siggi said, "We will turn to whom we can trust one hundred percent. The police here are not corrupt. And we can protect you."
Suddenly Karin said, "Antje, there used to be this guy, a senior prosecutor or something, who ordered this see-through latex costume. Minte or something like that."
"I know who you mean," Antje said after a moment's thought. "Mintlein. Yeah, he'd be good. He can also make sure Tatiana is protected. I know where his office is. I'll pay him a visit tomorrow."
They had to persist longer with Tatiana, who was very frightened. But she realized that if possible she had to help her fellow sufferers.
The next morning, Antje set out around nine to visit Mr. Mintlein. He was a little confused and embarrassed when he recognized Antje, but after she explained what it was all about, he immediately composed himself. He picked up the phone and called the responsible police station. Within half an hour, four high-ranking police officers were in his office listening to Antje's report. Tatiana had fortunately remembered the address of the house from which she had run away. Before noon, an inconspicuous observation was set up.
Antje promised Mr. Mintlein to talk to Tatiana so that she would testify to him and also in court. In return, however, she demanded a new identity and passport for Tatiana. In addition, she would testify in court only in disguise. Mr. Mintlein agreed to the conditions.
Antje drove back to the apartment. She sent Karin to the store and then discussed everything with Tatiana. It took her quite a long time to convince her that she could trust Mr. Mintlein and the police. Antje didn't go to the store until Trixie came to relieve her.
Trixie and Tatiana talked all afternoon. Trixie also told Tatiana her own story. That Trixie had been in prison until a few months ago stunned Tatiana. And her experiences since then were almost more than she could believe.
Finally, Tatiana asked very carefully and sheepishly, "Tell me, there in that playroom, there was a device like that. Karin called it a pony. May I try it out?"
"Of course you're welcome to try it out. But I can only warn you. It hurts like hell. I sat on it for an hour once and it was really hard."
"But did it excite you? Did you have an orgasm?"
"Yeah, I did. But to start with something like that right away, I think that's wrong."
"It's not like I'm going to start with it," Tatiana said.
"I don't understand," said Trixie.
"At home, in Murmansk, in my room, I sometimes tied ropes around my belly and then between my legs from front to back," Tatiana confessed with her head high.
Trixie looked at Tatiana with her mouth open. Then she recovered from the shock. "Then let's go."
Chapter 34 Liberation
When Beate came home from work, she went to the guest room to check on Tatiana. Not finding her there, she thought Trixie was safely at the pool with Tatiana and headed there. But when she got to the playroom, she found the two of them already there. The sight took her breath away.
Tatiana was sitting on the pony, her arms tied behind her back and pulled up to the ceiling with a rope, so that she had to bend her upper body far forward and thus sit right with her pubic on the crossbar. Trixie had also clamped alligator clips with weights to her nipples.
"Are you crazy?" Beate asked in horror. Tatiana's body showed countless marks of the abuse she had endured before she had run away.
"I wanted that," Tatiana said somewhat wearily. "It really appealed to me."
"How long has she been sitting there like that?" Beate wanted to know.
"Longer than I'd like," Trixie confessed. "But she won't give up."
"That's enough," Beate put her foot down. "You're coming down from there now. You're nowhere near ready to play games like this."
Together, Trixie and Beate lifted Tatiana off the pony. Tatiana struggled slightly as she stood back on her own two feet. Nevertheless, she smiled at Beate and thanked Trixie for her help as well.
Beate shooed Tatiana into her treatment room and had her lie down on the couch there. Then she began to massage Tatiana. She started at the back of her neck and gently worked her way down. She felt that Tatiana was severely emaciated and the bones were much too close under the skin. When she was done with the massage, she handed Tatiana a bathrobe.
"Can't I stay naked instead?" Tatiana asked. "You all usually walk around here naked, too. Trixie confirmed that to me, too. In the last few days you've put on some clothes out of consideration for me, but I don't want to inconvenience you."
"You're not inconveniencing us," Beate replied, "But if you really don't mind, then we can go back to walking around like we always do. But if you get cold, at least put a blanket on, promise?"
They then walked together into the living room, where Trixie was already waiting for them. Beate shooed Trixie into one of the cages. Immediately, Tatiana also got down on her knees and crawled to the cage that was next to Trixie's. Beate opened the cage for her and let her crawl inside. They then talked and Tatiana described her self-bondage efforts in her small apartment in Murmansk. Later, Siggi joined them, and finally Antje and Karin. When Karin saw the scene in the living room, she went to her room and came back shortly in her iron chastity belt and heavy chains.
"I am the mistress this week," she explained, "But I missed that for a while. You couldn't do that in Dubai, after all, and here we did almost nothing for the week. I need that now."
Everyone thought it was good that they could walk around naked again as usual. Later, the doorbell rang. Beate went to look, then let Dr. Kiefer in. He came into the living room. "This is kind of what I imagined this place would be like," he said as he looked around. "A dream, even if I only get to look and not touch."
Tatiana was let out of the cage. She stood in front of Dr. Kiefer, who looked her over thoroughly. He saw the fresh bruises on her breasts and pubic area. When he raised his eyebrows, Tatiana hastened to assure him that everything was fine and that these were just insignificant marks from a game.
"I see," he said with a grin. "I don't know if Trixie told you what my wife did to her a few months ago. Anyway, I'm not shocked by this, but I'm asking that you really back off a bit. At least until you put on a little, say, five pounds. But other than that, I can give you the all-clear. You only got bruises from your tormentors but no venereal disease. But there are still a few minor problems, but they are really manageable: First of all, you need vitamins. Besides lots of fruits and vegetables, you also need a vitamin supplement. I brought you some. And I would suggest that your family doctor give you a complete set of vaccinations: measles, mumps and all the childhood diseases. I tend to be a little leery of Russian vaccinations. In itself, however, I was more concerned about how you mentally cope with the past months. But if you join the games here, I don't have to worry so much about that. I'm sure Beate will keep an eye on things. If something happens, she can talk to me or a colleague."
Then Dr. Kiefer wanted to leave again, but Karin stopped him for a moment. "Dieter, can I talk to you again in private for a moment?"
Dr. Kiefer nodded and Karin left the living room with him. About a quarter of an hour later, the others heard Karin say goodbye to Dr. Kiefer at the door and thank him. Even before Karin came back into the living room, Siggi said, "Tatiana, don't be alarmed. Karin is just a bit extreme." Tatiana but also Trixie looked questioningly at Siggi, while Beate got up and walked towards the door. "I'll be right back with everything."
Karin entered the living room. Antje walked over to her, grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her around so Tatiana and Trixie could see her back. It was covered with welts, a whole row bleeding.
"Now was that necessary?" Antje asked.
"Yes, slave," Karin replied. "How dare you question your mistress' actions?"
Beate also came back. She had disinfecting materials and band-aids with her. "Twenty?" she asked.
"Thirty," Karin replied with a grin.
Then on Friday evening, as usual, they sat in the kitchen for their weekly meeting. Tatiana was also there, of course. Karin, as mistress on duty, presided. "So, tomorrow it's first cleaning as usual. Later, we'll go to the store. We'll all meet there at two o'clock. If we close on time, we can easily make it to the grace yard by three. That's where the inauguration of the dog area will take place. Beate, can you buy some clothes for Tatiana in the morning? And on Sunday Siggi and Tatiana can go to Roermond. And do some shopping there."
"I don't need anything," Tatiana protested, "and I don't have any money."
"Not this discussion again," Antje groaned. "We've already had it with Trixie. Trixie, you should explain to Tatiana how this works."
"Can I go with you to Roermond on Sunday," asked Trixie.
"Sure," Karin agreed. "Anyone else? You guys can take the van."
"What are we going to do in Roermond," asked Tatiana.
"Shopping," said Siggi.
"I thought the stores were closed here on Sunday," said Tatiana, uncertainly.
"Roermond is in Holland," Trixie explained, "Different rules apply there."
Then on Saturday, everyone started cleaning. It was Trixie and Tatiana's turn to do the hallway and the wellness area. Tatiana went to the kitchen once in between to get another pick-up. When she returned, she was confused. "You, Trixie, When I was just in the kitchen, Antje was kneeling on the floor mopping it up."
"Yeah, so? Does she do it thoroughly or were there spots she left out?"
"You said she was so rich," Tatiana agreed.
"It doesn't matter. When it's her turn to do the bathrooms, she even cleans the toilets. There's no extra sausage for her. But I know what you mean. I checked her once when she was cleaning, and because I found something that wasn't a hundred percent, I had to give her a couple with the cane."
"You hit her with a cane," Tatiana asked.
Later, Trixie still asked Tatiana to help her in the garage. They rode the elevator down together, both naked, although Tatiana was very self-conscious. The red Mini was loaded to the driver's seat with packages. Trixie explained that the packages had to be transferred to the van. "What's all this," Tatiana asked.
"We're going to the sanctuary later. I put a call for donations on the bulletin board at the company on Monday, asking for in-kind donations. Most of it is the result of that. But on the way home yesterday, I stopped at a dog food store and did some shopping."
"What's the mercy yard? You guys keep talking about it, but I don't even know what it's about."
Trixie now explained to Tatiana what the mercy yard was all about. "You do that for animals?" Tatiana asked in amazement. Trixie then went on to tell her about the various actions she and the others had done for this good cause.
When they were back in the apartment, Beate was also back with some clothes. Tatiana looked at the things. "I never had clothes this good at home," she enthused. Beate had gotten two pairs of jeans, a couple of sweaters, warm boots with fur inserts, and a thick parka. The clothes were just right for that day because it was sunny but quite cold.
They later drove to the store to pick up Antje and Karin. Tatiana visited Antje's store in amazement. Some of the items there attracted her like magic, which the others noted with amusement.
Then they went on to the farm. There was a real hustle and bustle going on. Hundreds of visitors were present. The director of the farm greeted them enthusiastically. They unloaded their gifts at the office, but Trixie took a big bag with treats for the dogs but also carrots and apples for the other animals. Antje inconspicuously slipped the manager an envelope. When he looked inside, he gave Antje a big hug and a kiss.
Then they walked around the farm. They handed out treats to the animals and enjoyed the day. Trixie noticed that quite a few of her colleagues were there too, which was probably a result of her posting. Even Director Bergmann had come and Trixie greeted him. She showed him the pond that she and her friends had dug, and she even told him the specifics. Mr. Bergmann looked at her and said, "I would have liked to have watched. But for the life of me, I can't rule out the possibility that I would have remembered seeing it."
As it was getting dark, the friends headed back toward the WG. But at Beate's suggestion, they stopped at a restaurant and ended the day there.
On Sunday, they all slept a little longer. After breakfast, Trixie approached Siggi about leaving. To her surprise, however, there was a slight change of plans. Instead of Siggi, Karin drove with them to Roermond. Siggi explained somewhat unclearly that she had something important to do.
In Roermond, once again, all hell broke loose. Already on the approach to the outlet center there was a traffic jam. When they finally parked, it was already after eleven o'clock. Tatiana was amazed at how many people were here on a Sunday. They visited various stores. It was really fun for Trixie and Karin to buy something for Tatiana, as she was happy like a little child about every item. One jacket they bought she immediately put on and strutted around in it. During the break they took in a restaurant, Tatiana didn't even want to take the jacket off, even though it was well heated there.
Later, as usual, they went to the supermarket, which was about two kilometers away from the outlet. After they had finished their shopping list there and were just returning the shopping cart to the market, Trixie's gaze fell on the electronics market, which was located in the same complex. She nudged Karin and briefly pointed her head in that direction. Karin understood and so the two of them pulled Tatiana into the electronics market. An hour later, an iPod with headphones and a cell phone were in the basket. Tatiana also had to drag a package with a laptop to the checkout. When she burst into tears, Trixie and Karin took her in the middle and hugged her warmly. Tatiana felt like she was in seventh heaven. But neither Trixie nor Tatiana had any idea of the surprise that awaited Tatiana in the WG. Only Karin was in on it.
Back in Cologne, Trixie and Tatiana headed for the stranger's room. To their surprise, however, the door was locked. Tatiana was helpless and didn't know what that meant. She feared that she would have to leave the WG. When Trixie went to the kitchen, she found the others looking worn out. A little tired, they rose.
Siggi grabbed Tatiana's arm and led her to the former supply room next to Beate's room. "We are of the opinion that you will stay here with us for quite some time. Whether permanently or not, we can't say, of course. But until then, we think the little guest room is not for you. It's much too small and the furniture is really old."
Tatiana protested. "But this room is so great. It's much bigger and nicer than my room was in Murmansk."
"Maybe," Antje interjected, "But still. The storeroom was going to be remodeled into a WG room anyway. Most of it was already prepared. And Siggi had already stored the furniture in her workshop for some time. So we got all the stuff and built it up. We only needed to buy a new carpet." She opened the door and pushed Tatiana into her new room. They saw the large room, the new furniture and the generous decor that rivaled that of the other rooms. With tears in her eyes, she turned to her friends and hugged them in turn.
On Monday, however, Tatiana's past caught up with her again. Trixie and Siggi had already left for work and Beate was also slowly getting ready when Mr. Mintlein, the prosecutor, called. He asked to be allowed to speak to Tatiana together with a detective. Antje and Karin could gladly be there. With a heavy heart, Tatiana agreed.
Shortly thereafter, Mr. Mintlein and the commissioner arrived at the WG. They reported that the observation of the address mentioned by Tatiana had already provided important information. They explained that they wanted to strike that very day. But they asked Tatiana to help them. She should sit in one of the observation vehicles and add her knowledge. It was important that all the perpetrators were gathered there. Tatiana was terrified that she should go there. She was incredibly scared, but Antje and Karin talked her down. Finally, Antje made a compromise proposal, which Tatiana very reluctantly accepted.
At Antje's suggestion, they drove the WG's van to the vicinity of the address. Karin stayed behind the wheel the whole time and the key was in the ignition. Antje sat with Tatiana, Mr. Mintlein and the commissioner in the darkened part of the van. On the way, two armed policemen joined the group in the car. They also brought bulletproof vests for everyone and several handheld radios. Karin parked the van about a hundred meters from the entrance on the opposite side of the street. It was agreed that they should leave the scene ten minutes before the planned action.
All day they watched the entrance with binoculars. Tatiana identified several men and a woman who left and later re-entered the house. Mr. Mintlein had stayed with them and spoke over the radio with the SEK squad that would storm the house. Finally, he instructed Karin to start the car and drive back to the WG.
But Tatiana suddenly said, "Stop."
Astonished, everyone looked back at her. "What is it," Karin asked.
"I want to see," said Tatiana.
Karin looked at her. She could tell Tatiana was having a hard time saying it, but she could also see her determination. She nodded to Mr. Mintlein and he gave the command.
Suddenly, two VW buses pulled up in front of the house and a dozen men jumped out. Within seconds, the front door was smashed in with a battering ram and the men stormed the building. A few minutes later, the message came from the radio that everything was secured and that the victims of the criminals were being brought out. Some ambulances came and stopped in front of the house. Karin counted nine women who were taken out of the house and put into the ambulances.
"Didn't you say there were eight of you?" Karin asked. Tatiana nodded.
"What's going on?" asked Mr. Mintlein over the radio. "It's not all clear yet, we have to investigate thoroughly first. The nine women were chained in a room there. From what we've learned on the fly, two more women joined them last week."
"What happens to them now," Tatiana asked.
"They're going to the hospital first, and later to a rehab clinic. They need to be taken care of medically and also psychologically. We will offer them all that they can either go home or get a residence permit for Germany. Probably they can also get a German passport. I will treat this very generously, trust me."
"And the criminals?"
They'll end up in jail. It will take two or three months until the trial. They'll probably get eight to twelve years. Unless we find out more, like murders or something. I don't want to rule that out, with this scum. And after the verdict, we'll make them an offer."
"What kind of offer?" Tatiana wanted to know.
"If they talk, they can serve their sentence here. If not, they'll go to Russia. There are arrangements with the authorities. Compared to Russia, a stay in a German prison is like a stay in a health resort. With luck, we can break up the whole organization."
"And what about me?" wanted to know Tatiana.
"Well, you'll stay in the WG for now until the trial, that's what we agreed. You'll also get a kind of salary until then. And after that we'll see, but don't worry, we'll find something suitable," said Mr. Mintlein.
"And we're still here," said Karin, stroking Tatiana's hair.
Chapter 35 The Mistress Again
This week was the second time Trixie was the mistress. She gave her friends a series of rather innocuous instructions, taking care not to give instructions that lasted longer than the following day, as she had the first time. Tatiana had asked to receive such instructions as well, but especially with her Trixie was careful not to be too strict. On Tuesday, she put heavy hand and foot cuffs on her and ordered her to clean the spa area thoroughly. She told her, however, that she was only allowed to work for a maximum of one hour at a time and then take a break for an hour. Siggi overheard the orders and whispered to Trixie that this was very appropriate for Tatiana. However, Trixie was definitely not to do anything with cleaning or the like on the other days so that Tatiana would not feel exploited as a cleaning lady.
When Trixie came home after work, Beate was already there. She asked Trixie if she could talk to her in the kitchen. Since Christmas was coming soon, she wanted to talk slowly about the preparations. Trixie had time, but she suggested that Tatiana also join the conversation. That would involve her more in the WG and she would also see that they placed great value on her opinion as well. So the three of them then sat down at the kitchen table.
"Well," Beate began, "we always put up a Christmas tree with a root ball in the hallway. Then, on the days before Christmas, we decorate it. We have a nursery that delivers us a great tree every year with a very large root ball, so that it also grows safely later. It will go to the small forest on Antje's gravel pit at the beginning of January, where we have already played a few times. We'll have to see who participates in decorating the tree.
"Can I join in on that?" Tatiana asked. "It's not like I have anything to do, and that would be really fun for me."
"If you like, it's no problem. We have the decorations in a couple of boxes in the garage," said Beate. "About the presents. That's mostly for you, Trixie. With us there are no gifts at all. What could we give Antje, for example, she has everything. And the rest of us always buy what we need. That's why we said right at the beginning of the WG that we would avoid this stress. But what we do have is first-class food. And plenty of it. But most of the time none of us really wants to cook. I'll do some on the holidays, but I have a double shift on the 24th."
"Why is that," Trixie asked. "Of all days."
"It's perfect in reality," Beate explained. I start at six in the morning and finish at nine in the evening. The people with kids then have a chance to celebrate at home with their loved ones. The hospital discharges as many patients as possible anyway, and there are no scheduled surgeries or anything. Only if there is an emergency. To make up for it, I have the following two days off, and on New Year's Eve I'm off from one in the afternoon and we can celebrate into the New Year."
"That sounds really reasonable, so everyone is served," Trixie said.
"Trixie, I've noticed you're a pretty good cook. Would you be interested in cooking some things for Christmas? Nothing too elaborate, though. High quality, but time saving, if you know what I mean."
"Sure, I'd enjoy that. How about a turkey and potato casserole to go with it. That'll leave something for a second day that's tasty, too. And it's not a lot of work."
"What's a turkey," Tatiana asked.
"A turkey is kind of like a big version of a chicken," Trixie explained. "A very big version."
"A turkey? That's a lot of work, isn't it?" said Beate, "Would be relatively lean meat without much fat, of course. But isn't it dry? And potato casserole? Sounds good, too. But there, too, I'm afraid you'll make too much work for yourself."
"Let me worry about that. I've got a perfect recipe that takes no more than half an hour for the turkey to be in the oven. Of course, without the shopping. Do you know a farmer that raises turkeys around here? And the potato casserole isn't much more work either. I need jacket potatoes for it, though. Maybe Tatiana can help me peel them there?"
"Absolutely," Tatiana said enthusiastically. "I can't wait to see how you do it."
"And that's supposed to be ready around 9:30? Since we have the second oven now, where the washing machine used to be, it's easy to prepare it in parallel. Before, I would have had to prepare the casserole in the microwave, which also has convection."
"Yes, when I get off work, I come as quickly as I can. But the others are sure to be hungry by then.
"Well," Beate said, still a bit skeptical. "What else do we have to think about? Antje will definitely take care of the drinks, for both parties. I don't need to tell you that you can expect quite a bit there."
"How about homemade cookies," Trixie suggested.
"Do you have a flash recipe for that, too," Beate asked.
"Something like that. But it's going to take two or three evenings."
"I know a recipe, too," Tatiana interjected. "If we can buy the ingredients together, I'll have another day to do it."
"This is working out better than I would have thought," Beate said. "And on New Year's Eve, we traditionally have fondue. There'll be seven of us, so we can make a fat fondue and a cooking fondue at the same time."
"Seven of us? Is Gaby coming?" asked Trixie.
"No, I asked her, but she doesn't want to. Not yet. Too bad, but she needs some more time. But Natalie is coming."
"What, Natalie? Great!" Trixie was looking forward to it.
The next day, Trixie came home from work at the same time as usual. She said nothing to Beate, who was also already home, but locked her and Tatiana in the cages in the living room. The two thought nothing of it. Once they were in the cages, Trixie took the elevator to the garage and got a rather large but flat package from her car and hid it in her room under the bed. She planned to have fun with her friends in the playroom on the weekend and prepared a surprise for Karin, who could never have a hard enough time.
She also secretly went into Karin's room once and opened her closet where she kept her toys. She found the TENS device that Karin had bought after the visit to the dungeon. Trixi opened the case that contained the device and stole the instruction manual, which she studied that evening. She made some notes to take with her the next day when she visited an electronics store.
On Saturday, everything started as usual. However, Trixie ordered everyone to do the cleaning in heavy chains. Since Beate had been on night shift, Trixie had Tatiana help her with her precinct. The others thought that it would probably be relatively easy on Trixie that weekend. They whispered a bit among themselves about it. After cleaning, Trixie sent Antje and Karin to the store while the other three did the shopping. Trixie used the time to get everything ready. She got the package out from under her bed and brought it into the playroom. She opened it and took out a collapsible cage.
When the shoppers came back, Trixie took Siggi aside and brought her into the playroom. There, Siggi had to lean her back against a bar, squatting down. Trixie tied Siggi's arms behind the pole. Also, Trixie tied Siggi's lower legs to her thighs. Lastly, Trixie shoved a rather large dildo into her friend's pussy.
Then Trixi brought Tatiana into the playroom. With her, Trixie wanted to go a little easier. She felt that Tatiana needed some more sparing. Therefore Trixie got a big box from a corner. There Tatiana had to lie down on her stomach and Trixie gave her a tight hogtie. When she was done with that, however, she at least closed the box, leaving Tatiana in the dark.
Trixie looked at the clock. It was only half past two and she expected Antje and Karin to be out of the store for another hour. Therefore, she sat down in the living room with Beate and talked with her until they finally arrived. She then asked Karin to wait for her in the living room and went with Beate and Antje to the playroom. There she tied their arms on their backs and also put a spreader bar on each of their ankles. Then they both got ball gags in their mouths. These balls had some holes in the surface so that the wearer could also breathe with her mouth and, if they vomited, spit it all out. Through two of these holes Trixie threaded thin ropes, which the two did not understand. Now she helped them to lie down. When they were lying on the floor like that, they each got a vibro egg in their pussies and a dildo in their butts. She then locked the pussies with padlocks. Trixie had chosen vibrators that were connected to the controller via a cable. First she set the vibrators to deliver only 10 minutes on medium and then paused for 10 minutes. The dildos in the butt would then start working during that break. But then Trixie pushed Antje close to Beate, but in such a way that one's mouth was right up against the other's pussy. Now Trixie threaded the thin ropes from the ball gags through the locks in the pussies. Both were already very slightly excited by the vibro-eggs and the scent rose to the girlfriend's nose. Gladly now would have liked to lick their girlfriend, but the gags and the locks prevented that. Both realized that they would have to lie there for hours, aroused on a low level, unable to satisfy their desires.
Only now Trixie went into the living room where Karin was still waiting. Trixie gave her a latex suit that had holes and a zipper, respectively, in the strategic places, i.e. the breasts and the crotch. So Trixie took her to the playroom. There she first tied her arms behind her back as well. Then she took out her purchases from the electronics store. When Karin saw very strong alligator clips in a small plastic bag, she suspected that today would be harder than she had believed. But first Trixie put a leather hood over her head, which didn't let any light through. Trixie then put the clamps on her nipples, clit and labia. With each clamp Karin pulled in the air sharply between her teeth. Then Karin had to crawl into the wire cage. There Trixie tied her feet spread as wide as possible to the bottom of the cage. Then she pushed a bar under Karin's belly through the cage. Then Karin had to bend over until her head touched the floor. Trixie now pushed another bar over her neck. So Karin was already completely unable to move. But that was not enough for Trixie. She got the TENS device from Karin's room and put it on the cage. She connected the cables of the TENS device to the alligator clips and then let the device run on high. Alternately, a light current now flowed through her breasts and pubic area, which was slightly uncomfortable at this strength. But Karin guessed that Trixie would let her stew like this for hours. But at the same time, she liked it. Trixie added one more detail to the ensemble. She put a switch in Karin's hand that was connected to a bell.
"Like this, you decide for yourself how long you're going to hold out. When you can't take any more, all you have to do is press the switch. But there's a little problem with that: if you press it, I won't come right away, but an hour later."
With that, she left Karin alone. She went to Beate and Antje and changed the setting on the remote control for the vibrators. She also went to Siggi and hung some weights on her nipples. Then she went into the living room and watched a movie. Every now and then she got up and went to the playroom to check on her friends and change the bondage a bit. She saw that especially Antje and Beate were soaking wet by now. She also knocked on Tatiana's box once and asked how she was doing.
Only after the movie was over, she released Tatiana first. In the meantime Siggi was moaning heavily, because the squatting position was very exhausting. In addition, Trixie had also hung small weights on her labia. But Trixie decided to wait a little longer. But finally Trixie released Siggi as well. Siggi first had to lie down on the floor for a bit because her legs were hurting quite a bit.
Finally, Trixie decided that it was time to free Beate and Antje as well. The two had spent more than three hours in their position and Trixie was sure that both were now extremely horny. Tatiana helped her to untie them. As soon as the two were freed, Beate grabbed Antje's hand and disappeared with her into her room. There they made up for what had been denied them before. Trixie called out to them that they were forbidden to shower.
Together with Tatiana and Siggi, Trixi waited in the living room until Beate and Antje had had a good romp. The sight of the two sweaty bodies also excited the girlfriends. Both Antje's and Beate's juices had flowed down their thighs and they smelled very strong.
"When are you going to release Karin?" Beate asked. "I've seen the position she has to kneel in there. That's going to be pretty hard in the long run."
"I've set midnight as the extreme limit for me," replied Trixie. "But Karin can stop any time before that. That's why she got some kind of alarm button. But I told her if she pressed that, she'd have to wait another hour. But I just want her to believe that, I'm definitely not going to make her wait more than 15 minutes."
"You're a beast sometimes," Antje remarked. "But that actually serves Karin right. After all, she always wants it harder than the rest of us."
"All right, get some more rest for now. I'll go into the kitchen with Tatiana and prepare dinner." With that, she grabbed Tatiana's hand and disappeared through the door.
After half an hour, Trixie then called the others to dinner. When they entered the kitchen, they did have to laugh. Trixie had tied Tatiana on the kitchen table and then prepared dinner on her body. It looked so much like Trixie had done in the dungeon at the time. Tatiana had been thrilled with the idea and of course had gone along with it. On her belly a big salad was arranged and her breasts were the cheese platter. Her pussy had been filled with chicken salad and the sausage had been spread out on Trixie's legs.
The four sat down at the table and enjoyed the supper, but of course they kept feeding the helpless Tatiana and also gave her something to drink.
Shortly after 8 p.m., however, the alarm sounded from the playroom. Apparently Karin had finally had enough. Beate and Antje had just asked whether they should free Tatiana, but since it just fit well, Trixie said that Tatiana should hold out a little longer, to which Tatiana laughingly agreed. So Karin would also be able to enjoy the evening buffet. But first they cleaned up the kitchen, because they wanted to let Karin stew a little longer.
Only then did they go into the playroom together: Siggi had fetched the video camera because she wanted to have a recording of what it looked like when Karin was finally done. Trixie first pulled the bars out of the cage that had forced Karin into this uncomfortable position. Then she loosened the other restraints that held Karin in the cage. Only now was Karin allowed to crawl out of the cage. However, her arms were still tied and she still had the mask on. When she stood up, she swayed slightly and Antje preferred to hold her by the arm. Trixie loosened her alligator clips one by one, which Karin answered with a groan.
Finally she was able to free herself from the suit and also pull the mask off her head. Beate handed her a bottle with a mineral drink, which Karin emptied in one go. "How long was I in there," Karin wanted to know.
"About five hours," Trixie said.
"Only five hours?" Karin asked. "That seemed like two days. I came so many times, it was really exhausting."
How many times?" Siggi wanted to know.
"I don't know, after the eighth time I stopped counting."
Now everyone had to laugh. "Where is Tatiana," asked Karin, who was surprised that she was missing.
"She's watching dinner," Trixie said, which earned her a questioning look from Karin.
"Come with me and you'll understand," Antje said, leading Karin into the kitchen. When Karin saw Tatiana tied up, she had to laugh out loud. "I hope you took a picture of the buffet before it looked so chewed up."
Chapter 36 Christmas
In the week leading up to Christmas, things were starting to get a little festive in the WG, too. Already on Monday, as promised, the nursery brought a wonderful fir tree in a Big Tub and placed it in the hallway. Tatiana got the ornaments from the garage and decorated the tree. When the WG residents came home that evening, they could admire the tree.
Trixie had gotten a shopping list from Tatiana and brought everything in the evening. She had also bought the ingredients for her own Christmas cookies. She asked Tatiana to help, which she gladly did, and they baked a big mountain of butter cookies that evening. Of course, her friends came and snacked, first on the raw dough and later in the living room a plateful of the evening's produce. Tatiana promised to bake her cookies the next day, too.
Also on Thursday, Trixie was busy shopping after work. Beate had found her the address of a poultry farm where Trixie had ordered a large turkey. When she picked it up, she also saw the other offer in the store belonging to it and bought bacon there, and she also found the potatoes of the variety she particularly liked to eat.
The following day there was a Christmas party at the company and Mr. Director Bergmann gave small gifts to all his employees. When Trixie opened her present, she had to laugh. In a small box was a "Ring of O." Director Bergmann looked at her and she smiled at him and put the ring on her right ring finger.
On Saturday morning, everyone set about cleaning the WG as usual. Only Beate had left for the hospital before six for that day's double shift. During breakfast, Tatiana asked Antje why she wanted to open the store that day, too.
"That's just the way it is here," Karin explained with her mouth half full. "Christmas comes as such a surprise to some people that they still desperately need a present. You wouldn't believe the ideas some people have. They want a custom-made dress to go right away. But for that, many people buy really expensive things. And then half of it gets exchanged before New Year's Eve."
The cleaning was done quickly that day, because Tatiana had already cleaned most of the rooms on the previous days, despite protests from the others against it. She had always argued against it, that otherwise she would get bored. She had even baked bread herself the day before. Although she was not yet fully familiar with the stove, the bread simply tasted too good.
Siggi went to the supermarket again to buy a few last things, mainly fruit, and she picked up a large package at a fish store that Antje had ordered. When she returned around half past twelve, Trixie and Tatiana were sitting in the living room drinking coffee.
"Well, you guys are cozy," Siggi commented. "Do you have everything ready and in the oven?"
"Why," asked Trixie, "we still have plenty of time. The bird won't be in the oven until five, and the potato casserole even later."
"What about our appointment at two? Did you forget?"
Trixie and Tatiana looked at Siggi in wonder. "What appointment? We don't know anything about anything."
"Oh, crap. Didn't Beate tell you guys? We have to be at the hospital by two. Trixie, the ovens do have a timer. Please get everything ready quickly and then we'll program the ovens. I'd be happy to help you, though."
Trixie stormed into the kitchen followed by the other two. Fortunately, Trixie had already cooked the jacket potatoes that morning and they were in a large pot of water on the kitchen counter to cool better. By now they were also well cooled. Trixie asked Siggi and Tatiana to peel the potatoes. The two sat down at the table with the potatoes and immediately got to work, but watching Trixie.
Trixie got a deep baking sheet and a rack from the one stove and put everything on the kitchen counter. Then she took aluminum foil and placed it across, with the foil still very much overhanging the sheet. Where the sheet was under the foil, she then covered the foil with slices of bacon. Then she went into the pantry and got the turkey she had bought the day before from the spare icebox. The giblets that went with it were in a plastic bag.
When Tatiana saw the turkey, she could hardly believe it. "I thought you said a turkey was something like a big chicken."
"Yes, it is. This chicken just weighs almost six pounds."
Tatiana looked at the turkey and continued with the peeling, but at the same time watched closely what Trixie was doing. She washed the turkey thoroughly, then salted and peppered it and put some marjoram inside. She then laid it on top of the bacon slices.
Now she took several cans of fruit salad out of the cupboard, opened them and poured the contents into a sieve. She caught the juice in a plastic bowl. With the fruit she first filled the turkey and what fruit was left she poured all around the turkey on the bacon. Then she took more bacon slices and covered the top of the turkey with them. She also placed the giblets next to the turkey. Then she folded the aluminum foil over the turkey and sealed everything as best she could. She opened the oven and put the turkey in along with the baking sheet. She programmed the oven so the turkey would cook at 180 degrees for about four hours.
"That was fast," Siggi commented. "That was barely 15 minutes. And that's going to work?"
"Certainly. How far along are you with the potatoes?"
Trixie looked at the potatoes, then got two large casserole dishes and from a drawer two egg slicers. She stood in front of the one dish, took the egg slicer and put a potato in it. She fanned the cut potato slightly and placed it in the mold. Siggi and Tatiana understood this, found the use of the egg cutter for it funny but practical and did it after her. Quickly both molds were filled with the cut potatoes in a very decorative way. Then Trixie got started. She first salted everything, then pepper, some nutmeg and fresh herbs of Provence came over it. Tatiana peeled some garlic cloves and these were sprinkled on top as well. From the icebox, Trixie first got bacon cubes, which followed the spices, and then some cheese pieces.
She took her electric cheese grater and pushed several pieces of Emmental, Dutch and Parmesan through the grater, one after the other. She gathered everything uin a bowl and mixed it up. This mixture was then sprinkled thickly over her potato. Now Trixie got several cups of whipped cream from the freezer and poured 3 cups of the liquid cream over each cheese. Finally, some aluminum foil went over each dish and both went into the Second Oven, which Trixie set to convection and programmed so that the casseroles would cook for a good hour.
"Done," Trixie commented, looking at the clock. It was just a quarter past one and they had plenty of time to get dressed and then head to the hospital. But Trixie and Tatiana still didn't know what that was all about and Siggi didn't give anything away but just grinned.
In fact, shortly after two o'clock, all the WG members met in the hall of the university hospital. "What are we doing here," Trixie wanted to know.
"We're playing Christkind," Antje said. She pointed to several wheeled carts standing next to the reception area, filled with gift boxes.
"The hospital has sent patients home as much as possible. But still, many patients have to stay here over the holidays. And they get a surprise. Trixie, Tatiana, you put on the angel costumes that are on the left two carts. Then you take these carts and go to the children's clinic. Each client gets three presents. On the packages there is always an age indication and the packages that are more for girls have pink ribbons, the ones for boys have blue ribbons. If something doesn't fit, just give the person another package. There are enough packages, and what is left over, the nurses get for their children. The rest of us take care of the patients here in the bed tower."
"Where did the gifts come from," Tatiana wanted to know.
"I ordered them and the apprentices in my company packed the packages the previous week," Antje explained.
On the way to the children's clinic, Tatiana asked Trixie, "Tell me, this costs quite a bit of money, doesn't it?"
"That's typical Antje. Money doesn't mean much to her. But if she can make us or others like now here the patients a joy, then she enjoys it."
On one of the trolleys there was a small music system with a CD player and when Trixie turned on the system, Christmas carols were playing. The two felt a little strange in their costumes, but when they arrived at the pediatric ward, they were greeted joyfully. Seeing the children in their hospital beds almost brought tears to their eyes, but then they saw their joy. They spent several hours going through all the rooms and found it simply wonderful. The nurses and caregivers helped them and many parents were there. They often sang a few Christmas carols and watched as the children excitedly opened their packages and for a short time forgot their illness.
It was already after eight o'clock when they were all back home again except Beate. The smell of food already filled the apartment. Trixie looked after the food and then later took the foil off the casseroles and also opened the packaging of the turkey. Antje and Karin stayed in the kitchen and prepared appetizer plates with salmon, oysters and lobster.
Beate also returned shortly after nine. She quickly undressed, then everyone sat down to Christmas dinner, naked as usual. When Trixie served the turkey, everyone was amazed at how well Trixie had once again managed to conjure up a delicious meal with relatively little effort. For dessert, they had a tiramisu that Antje had brought from a pizzeria near the store.
When everyone was really stuffed and the table was cleared, Antje rose.
"My dears, first I want to thank Trixie for this delicious meal. We will still have enough of it tomorrow, so we won't have to stand in the kitchen for long. But now something else. We don't give presents, it's been our custom since we started living together. But today there is an exception, for one of us." She pointed at Tatiana. Antje reached for a briefcase that was under the table and put it on the table. She opened it.
"For me?" asked Tatiana, her eyes wide. "But you gave me such a gift."
Antje took a small flat envelope from the case and handed it to Tatiana. "This is not from Us, we are just delivering it."
When Tatiana opened the envelope, she found a small red book inside. She looked inside: her German passport. She looked at it, stunned, then pressed it to her chest with both hands and tears came.
"There's more," Antje said, handing Tatiana a leather cover. When Tatiana looked inside, she found her new ID card, a health insurance card and an account card. Then Antje gave Tatiana a thin folder in which she found a naturalization certificate, a confirmation from the pension fund for deposits from her 18th birthday and an authorization for a monthly payment for the next few months. Tatiana looked at everything and passed the things to the others so they could look at them too.
Then there are a few more things coming from us," Antje said. "So, if you're interested, this is a job offer in the chemical company. In the accounting department, you are supposed to take care of the customers in Eastern Europe and Russia starting January 16." She handed Tatiana a letter to that effect. "And then, since you have to get into the company somehow, but you don't have a driver's license, here's a voucher for the driving school down the road a bit. After a phone call between the DA and the DMV, you'll be allowed to take your test on January 12 or 13." Again, Tatiana received a letter.
"You can take a car from the pool down in the garage then, Trixie will explain it to you. But since you'll need gas and other things, here's your credit card."
Tatiana sat in front of a small mountain of documents, hardly knowing what hit her. There before her was a whole new life, even better than she had ever dreamed. She began to cry unrestrainedly with joy. She came to her new friends and hugged them all and kissed them. Then she sat down again and wiped her tears of joy.
They then went into the living room and had another drink. Tatiana held her new passport tightly the whole time. At some point Karin went *into the kitchen to get another bottle of champagne. But she then returned additionally with the casserole dish in which a remnant of the potato casserole had remained. "You have to try this, it tastes so awesome," she exclaimed, handing out a few forks. Indeed, the only lukewarm casserole was a delicacy.
"Now you know why I made two molds of it. One was enough for tonight, the other will be there tomorrow."
The next two days were also very peaceful. On the second holiday, Natalie arrived from London and would stay in Cologne until New Year's Day. Tatiana and she got along very well right away. Mr. Bergmann's tool factory had always been closed between Christmas and New Year's Day for many years, so Trixie had time to do some things with Natalie. Tatiana even got her first driving lessons during this time. But she still had time to join Trixie and Natalie.
But Trixie and Natalie also spent a very nice afternoon tied tightly together in the playroom, where Tatiana had shown them what she knew about bondage. Tatiana had tied the two of them really tightly together and they were glad when they were freed again. Afterwards, the three of them went to the sauna together, where they enjoyed not only the outside heat.
Two days before New Year's Eve, the public prosecutor, Mr. Mintlein, accompanied by a commissioner, came to the WG for a meeting. Tatiana had asked that her friends be allowed to attend. "The interrogations with those arrested went very well," the commissioner explained. "They are all singing quite vigorously and some additional things have come to light."
"Why are they singing?" Tatiana asked, confused. "What's that?"
Antje had to reassure her. "When a criminal confesses, it's called 'singing,'" she said. Now Tatiana understood.
"We have a whole new set of findings. What I'm about to tell you must not become known under any circumstances: We have spoken with our colleagues here in Germany, and also in Belgium and Holland, and have arranged an action. On New Year's morning, we will appear very suddenly in various brothels in our countries and we hope to be able to free more victims there. We have chosen this date because on New Year's Eve all brothels are in full swing and in the morning everyone is still very tired and probably still half drunk. And then we want to distribute lots of our fashionable bangles, like the ones you sell in your store."
"How many more victims do they expect you to be able to free?" Antje wanted to know.
"We can't say that exactly, but it could well be twenty. Besides, other crimes have come to light. Mainly narcotics trafficking and also two or three murders. Plus, of course, the rest of the small stuff like assault, extortion, and so on."
"I think that's very good," Antje agreed. You know what? I'm going to set aside a small fund at my bank for all the victims, so that rehab measures can be guaranteed and a small compensation or other help can also be paid for the victims. Business in my chemical company has been so extremely good this year, I can do something like that."
The prosecutor and also the commissioner were totally surprised and delighted. They thanked Antje in advance. Tatiana also gave her a grateful look, not only because she had taken care of her, but because Antje also wanted to take care of her fellow prisoners.
The last two days of the year were spent mostly in Antje's store by Trixie, Natalie and Tatiana. Tatiana only left a couple of times in between to take more driving lessons. Trixie wore her pony costume, while Natalie usually went around in a more or less transparent latex suit. Tatiana also wore a latex suit, but it was darker in color because the last bruises were still visible. However, several fresh welts were also clearly visible on the others. All three friends were constantly carrying collection tins for the mercy yard, which were rapidly gaining weight.
Chapter 37 (Year) End
On New Year's Eve, Antje closed the store shortly after 2 o'clock and they all drove home together. Siggi and Beate had done the last of their shopping and it would be a relaxed afternoon. They went to their new wellness area and swam a bit and also went to the sauna. In between, two or even three would say goodbye for some time and retire to one of the rooms.
At seven o'clock in the evening they all met again in the kitchen. Beate had prepared everything for a feast. In addition to a fat fondue, there was also a fondue bourguignon. Both were something completely new for Tatiana, but Trixie also knew only the fat fondue.
For dessert, Beate put a chocolate fountain on the table, which spit out partly white and partly brown chocolate. But actually all were already so full that only relatively little of it was taken.
Afterwards they watched the inevitable 'Dinner for One' together on TV, which Tatiana in particular found stunning.
Around half past eleven Karin disappeared, but none of the friends thought anything of it. They assumed that she must have had to go to the bathroom. About 10 minutes before midnight, Karin reappeared.
"Dear ones, may I ask you to follow me very discreetly?" She turned and left the living room again. The others rose and followed her. They wondered what Karin had to show them that was so important right now. Karin led them to the spa area where she had placed dozens of candles and tea lights. There Karin asked them all to join her in the whirlpool. Next to the whirlpool, champagne was ready on a table and the water was preheated to a very pleasant temperature. Karin had the roof moved to the side and they had a clear view of the night sky. They all lay in the pool and each got a champagne glass in her hand. As the last minutes of the year passed.
"Dear friends," Karin began, "A year ago there were four of us and we spent the New Year in front of the TV. That was really nice, too. But the past year, especially the second half, really had it all, and now there are seven of us. Trixie, the whirlwind, has really stirred us up. She then also pulled Natalie ashore across the channel. We have experienced a lot and just before Christmas we got a kind of Christ Child in the form of Tatiana. If this continues, I don't know how the next year will end. But I'm sure we're all satisfied with this year. So let's have a toast and welcome the New Year."
Everyone leaned forward and toasted as the first fireworks rockets rose into the sky above them. In their pool, they all relaxed and each one also indulged her thoughts a bit.
Trixie, in particular, had to think about how much her life had changed. She had left prison behind, made new friends she loved. Plus a whole new lifestyle. She had a new job that was fun and challenging at the same time. She thought of Director Bergmann and Mr. Vossen, who was a really nice guy. She had gotten to know new cities that she would never have dared to dream of.
Trixie closed her eyes and submerged herself so far that her nose was just above the water. Her friends were talking quietly and rockets were popping high above.
There was a strange feeling inside her that she couldn't really interpret at first. Then she realized it: SHE WAS LUCKY!
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