“Cassie! Over here.” Cassie looked to her left as she entered the big warehouse and spotted Belinda waving her down. She changed course and joined her friend. “Glad you could make it today. We’re almost ready to put the props up in the theater, this year’s production of Cyrano de Bergerac is going to be the best production we do all year!” Belinda said enthusiastically.

“You know I’d be here, when do I not show up?” Cassie replied.

“Just keep her away from the paint this time.” Dominic, one of the carpenters teased as he walked by. Cassie gave him a glare but he smiled.

“You can’t blame him for that, he was the one who had to clean up your spill.” Belinda reminded her.

“I know and I said I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the can was that heavy, it slipped through my fingers.” She tried to defend herself.

“Well, we’re in need of painters plus a little sewing for the costumes, we’ve got to make some last minute adjustments. Can you help?”

“You know I can.” Cassie said enthusiastically and they sat down together to let out Mr. Henderson’s pants. “He’s gotten so big so fast.”

“Rumor is he’s doing Henry the Eighth this summer down in Los Angeles and he’s taking no chances. He’s out to gain another hundred pounds.” Belinda reported.

“My God! He’s a fanatic, I couldn’t do that.” Cassie said. She was 18, young and pretty with the physical build of an active teenager so the idea of her gaining two hundred pounds to play a monarch was very funny to Belinda. “What’s so funny?” Cassie asked.

“Nothing dear. It’s just that when it comes to working in productions like these it’s about taking that extra step to ensure the best possible scene. Mr. Henderson is doing just that and he says when he’s done he’s going to lose it all, right back down to his weight before he got the part.” Cassie gasped. That was a lot of dedication and Cassie wondered if she had that kind of determination in her.

They went back to work on the seams of Mr. Henderson’s pants but she couldn’t help give the man furtive glances, watching him work and she noticed that despite his heavy weight, he was working hard. They weren’t doing rehearsals yet, this was all stage work but here he was, one of the main actors with real talent and he was working right alongside the stagehands.

Cassie admired that. She finished up with his pants then grabbed a paintbrush. Dominic appeared out of nowhere. “Keep a firm grip on that brush, girl.” He teased but disappeared before Cassie could shoot back a retort. Jim, the Art Director stepped over and showed her where to paint.

She endured some hooting and a few cheers but her lapse of judgment last weekend wasn’t going to keep her from helping out, she’d learned her lesson. She helped fill in a backdrop then stained some wood for Dominic over by the saw horses.

She didn’t want to do too much painting because she wasn’t dressed for it. She was planning on going to the mall to meet friends after work. Tommy was supposed to be there and she’d been trying to catch his eye for weeks so she’d dressed in a short flowery red skirt that showed a generous amount of leg. She coupled that with a white shirt that fit her snugly under the breasts to accentuate them. She’d hook him in and make him sorry he hadn’t noticed her earlier.

“Cassie.” She heard her name and turned to see Mr. Strauss, the woodworker calling for her.

“Yes Mr. Strauss?” She called out as she put her brush down. Mr. Strauss had been her shop instructor at school and she felt like she was stepping back into class instead of standing in a theater. She had graduated High School but she couldn’t help seeing Mr. Strauss as the authority figure.

“I’ve finished fixing up the stocks after the locking mechanism broke. I’ve repaired it but Lynn isn’t here to test it on. You’re about her height so if you wouldn’t mind, could I borrow you for a moment?” He said and she gave him a warm smile. She remembered not being very good at woodworking in school but he’d passed her with an A.

“I’d be glad to help.” She replied brightly. He gave her a smile and returned to his work. The stock was built sturdy, looking more functional than cosmetic. The wood was thick and strong with a base standing about four and a half feet high. On one end the hinges looked thick enough to lock a bank vault.

The scene called for Lynn to be locked in it and struggle to get out when the Spanish attacked but on her first try Lynn had broken the locking mechanism apart. Mr. Strauss had made it so that it would come apart easily and give some mental comfort to the poor girl but it couldn’t survive the stress so the Director had ordered a real locking mechanism with a stage hand whose sole purpose was to let her out if she cried foul.

Mr. Strauss joined four friends standing there admiring his handy work but they all gave time to smile at Cassie. “John. That is a fine piece of work. What are you going to do with it when the production is over?” Raymond the Assistant Director asked.

“No plans I’m afraid. It’s a very good piece so I suppose I’ll keep it but what use do I have for it?” Mr. Strauss replied.

“Use it on your students. Failing grades? Step up here.” Christian said. Cassie nearly blushed when she realized that she was calling him Christian after the part he was playing, she didn’t know his real name. The others all laughed and Mr. Strauss looked down to Cassie.

“If you’d please step up and put your arms and neck in the proper spots.” She did as she was told, having to bend over to fit. Mr. Strauss put the upper board down over her and locked it in place. “Notice the large button at the end of the board. It will pop the lock and free the girl instantly, no key necessary.” He said proudly.

“Anyone can use it.” Charles, an actor playing a count remarked.

“Except the girl.” Jason, one of the Carpenters pointed out as he walked up. He put his fist against Cassie’s then looked at her wrists. “The holes for her arms and neck are pretty small.”

“Yes. To save space I made the stock with the girl in mind. A man is too big to fit in the stocks but a girl is securely restrained.” Mr. Strauss said.

“Sexy.” Jason said looking at Cassie. She blushed slightly but was pretty sure it was hidden by her hair as it fell forward across her face. She should have put her hair up but she didn’t want to chance it becoming unruly before Tommy had seen her.

“I second that.” Nicholas, one of the Spanish soldiers said from behind her.

“What are you men staring at?” Belinda said as she came floating by. She stopped in front of Cassie. “You’re skirt’s a little short to be locked up like that. They can see your panties.” She warned.

“It’s okay.” Cassie replied. “If I don’t test the stocks Lynn could break it during a performance. We’re too close to opening night.” She pointed out.

“If you think that’s best.” Belinda said. Cassie could only think of Mr. Henderson and his sacrifices. So what if some guys could see her panties for a few minutes? Mr. Henderson was going to spend months working off that weight. Belinda looked up at the six men gathered round. “I’ll be watching you, no funny stuff.” She huffed then walked off.

The men watched her go and the conversation became more subdued. It was like the men were lost in their own thoughts and Cassie began to wonder just how long she was going to be stuck there. Suddenly Mr. Strauss seemed to come out of his thoughts. “Cassie, why don’t you try to get out of the stocks, as hard as you can. We’re going to withdraw for a bit so Belinda doesn’t think we’re taking advantage of the situation.” He said and she watched the six men walk off, all of them talking about stocks, restraint, pretty girls and flowery panties. She was wearing flowery panties and she knew they were talking about her panties. She felt her face flush hotly.

She began to struggle, trying to lift the beam off her but she heard the mechanism lock against her efforts, she tried slipping her hands through the openings but no matter how small she made her hands, they wouldn’t slip through. She was stuck. She wasn’t strong enough to lift the stocks off its base to turn it onto its side and she couldn’t reach the button.

“Okay Mr. Strauss. I can’t get out, it’s pretty solid.” She called out. Mr. Strauss came back over with Nicholas and Christian in tow.

“Solid enough?” Mr. Strauss asked.

“I think so.” Cassie said but Mr. Strauss started looking at the lock and hinge, keeping her locked up in the meantime. She watched him and wished she could just get out, especially after Christian walked behind her.

“I can see why they used these stocks.” Cassie felt Christian put his hand on her ass, a quick movement to cup her butt and by the time she could gasp in surprise Christian was moving innocently towards the front. When he came into view she could see the dark look in his eyes. “Cassie’s been a bad girl.”

“You mean the paint can?” Nicholas asked. Christian nodded.

“We should leave her locked up as punishment.” Christian said and some of the stage hands nearby laughed at hearing it. Cassie struggled a bit as she panicked but Mr. Strauss just stepped back and stared at the mechanisms as she struggled to see if they held.

“Do that again.” He commanded and she all too gladly struggled. She couldn’t get free and it was strange that she was really trying to get free while Mr. Strauss watched his stock to see if it worked right. “I think that’s a good idea. She needs to be punished.” He looked at her. “And she should do her best to get out of them. Nothing’s unfair but don’t try to lift stocks off the floor. It’s too heavy for you.”

She didn’t know what to say to that but Mr. Strauss didn’t give her a chance, turning on his heel and walking away, both companions in tow. She struggled for a bit but nothing had changed, she was a prisoner.

She couldn’t believe she was stuck like this, knowing her panties were showing made her feel vulnerable but it was Christian’s reaction that really sparked something inside her. If only Tommy would look at her that way. Boys were too fickle and stupid, it took them forever to see the hints and if they did, they came on too strong. She felt helpless and in a way it turned her on.

After some time had passed Belinda floated over to check on her. “How are you doing Hon? You want out?” Cassie glanced over to the guys huddle together talking quietly and occasionally sparing her glances. They’d been busy talking since she’d been locked up, giving up any pretext at working.

“I don’t think I’m doing any good like this anymore, am I?”

“Other than exciting every guy in the building?” Belinda asked.

“I didn’t mean to. I’m going to the mall after this and I just wanted Tommy to notice me. I wasn’t going to bend over at the mall.” Belinda eyed her. “Well maybe, if Tommy was the only one watching. But I want him to like me!” She said and Belinda gave her a pat.

“Let’s test the mechanism out, the boys have had their fun.” Belinda said as she pushed the button. The lock sprung loose and the upper beam unlatched but Belinda struggled a bit to get the beam up. Mr. Strauss rushed over to help.

“Are you having a problem lifting the weight or is the lock stuck?” He asked quickly, his attention focused on the mechanism in single minded determination.

“The lock is stuck I think.” Belinda said as she tried to lift once again.

“Hold the button down.” Mr. Strauss ordered and Belinda complied as he lifted the upper beam away. “It seems we’ve got a glitch.” He looked at Cassie. “Thank you for your help. I may need you later if that’s okay.” He said as Cassie quickly stepped back out of the contraption. She rubbed at her wrists then gave him a nervous smile.

She wanted to help but being stuck like that made her nervous. She’d been bombarded by thoughts and feelings. The more helpless she’d felt the more excited. Still, if Mr. Henderson could make sacrifices, so could she.

“Sure Mr. Strauss. There’s no one else who can do it anyways.” She looked around but it was already late afternoon and people were going home. She’d been locked up for over an hour. Cassie followed Belinda back over to the costumes and helped make some minor adjustments to a few costumes. “I can’t stay forever if I’m going to the mall.” She pointed out suddenly.

She was torn. She wanted Tommy to see her, but she didn’t want to let Jim down. “It’s all about boys at your age.” Belinda commented. “Just be careful what you wish for. You might get it.” They laughed at that as they kept working.

Cassie needed to darn Christian’s socks. The man was constantly moving and she took a glance in his direction. He was moving back from one cue mark to the next, memorizing distances so that he’d know just about how far he needed to go when he moved.

Mr. Strauss was working away at his locking mechanism, his face so close to it, Cassie was surprised he could see straight. She saw Dominic pack up his gear then leave for the day. Jim walked back over and put his hand on Cassie’s shoulder. “Hey, I don’t know when you were going to call it a night, most people have already left but I need that backdrop painted for Act II. Do you think you can stay and help?” He asked.

“I don’t know, I was planning on going to the mall.” Cassie admitted.

“I’m sorry to ask but I’d do it myself if I could. Brian has a soccer game starting in ten minutes. I’m going to be late as it is.” He looked worried, no one wanted to do the painting, not everyone had talent for the brush. Cassie really wanted to see Tommy but there was no guarantees he’d even notice her. They needed her here.

“Okay. I can do it.” Jim smiled brightly.

“Thanks Cassie, I knew I could count on you. You can leave the paint where it is, just put the top on and I’ll clean up in the morning. I’ve got to go.” He walked away quickly and Cassie noticed only four or five people remained in the place.

“Everyone’s going home for the day.” Cassie commented.

“Me included.” Belinda said as she glanced around. “If I go are you going to be safe with that stock?” Cassie saw the worried look on her face but smiled. A quick look told her that only Mr. Strauss and Nicholas were left.

“I should be fine. Mr. Strauss is here to protect me.” She pointed out. Belinda gave her a smile then put her things away.

“Call me if you need me Hon. I don’t want them getting any ideas.” Belinda offered.

“Thanks! But I doubt it’ll be a problem, just two guys and one of them is Mr. Strauss.” Cassie commented.

Cassie spared Mr. Strauss a glance but he was so busy working on his mechanism he didn’t seem to notice her watching. Nicholas was practicing lines and some fighting steps he’d use during the play. He looked funny working by himself. Cassie thought about the mall then shrugged, getting back to it.

She worked diligently, concentrating on getting it done quickly on the off chance she finished early and could still make it to the mall but by the time she was finished it was dark outside. She made ready to clean up despite Jim’s assurance he’d do it in the morning.

“Cassie, can I borrow you again?” Mr. Strauss asked, startling her out of her own thoughts. He was still at his stocks and been so quiet she’d assumed he’d gone home a while ago. Even Nicholas had stopped reciting lines and she’d thought she was alone.

“Sure Mr. Strauss.” She smiled at the idea of leaving the paints lying around to be kicked by someone else so she wouldn’t be the bumbler anymore. She waited for Mr. Strauss to motion her into the stocks then made sure her hair wasn’t going to get trapped by the descending upper beam. Mr. Strauss put the beam down and Cassie heard the stocks lock.

She tried to get comfortable while Mr. Strauss went back over the locking mechanism. He’d take his time and forget she was trapped knowing her luck. At least no one else was around to look at her panties. She saw Jason the stage hand appear, clipboard in hand taking notes on the far side of the work area. She hoped he didn’t see them and decide to come over for another view.

“What do you think Mr. Strauss?” Cassie asked, trying to hurry the process. She could barely make out his look of concentration from beneath her hair. She cursed herself for not putting it up in a ponytail. Tommy was going to miss out tonight after all.

“I think it’s finished, and fully functional to boot.” He said, tapping the lock then stepping back. “Now try to get out again.” He ordered. She jerked on the beam, pulled, pushed and wiggled.

“I don’t think so.” She said.

“That was half hearted Cassie, when I say fully functional I mean I could use it for criminals who’d desperately try to get away.” He walked all the way around her, as he got behind her she tried to close her legs tightly together hoping that was enough to hide her panties but knew it wasn’t. He passed by without a comment and she couldn’t see his face except when he reappeared in front. “I want you to give it your best shot. I want you to really struggle to free yourself.”

“But I’m trying, honest.” She admitted.

“No. You’re doing me a favor so you’re trying to be nice. Don’t be nice anymore, I want you to try to break it. Seeing you locked up this afternoon got me thinking. It made me think that the stocks would be a good way to punish bad little girls. Little girls that don’t do what they’re told.”

“You’re talking about me.” He nodded with a half smile on his face. “But I’m trying Mr. Strauss! Are you going to punish me?” Cassie said in a dead panic, her heart hammering in her chest. Mr. Strauss stayed eerily silent. “Please don’t punish me Mr. Strauss, I’ll try harder!” She pleaded.

“What have we here?” Nicholas asked as he entered the area holding two drinks in hands. He was watching Cassie, his eyes flicking behind her and she suddenly felt exposed. He handed Mr. Strauss one of the drinks and kept the other for himself. “I had to go across the street, the cafe is closed, everyone’s gone for the night. Raymond was stuck by a light, he’ll be here shortly.” Cassie felt her heart jump. Mr. Strauss had been alone and now there were four counting Jason who was still down at the far end counting.

“I think I’m going to spank Cassie here for what happened earlier. She drew unwanted attention to the stocks, God only knows what Belinda thinks of us now.” Mr. Strauss said. Cassie was overwhelmed. Her protector was the one turning out to be bad. “Of course Cassie, you could always escape the stocks like I instructed you to do.” He added.

She started banging against the restraints, fighting to get free until she was out of breath and her wrists hurt. “I can’t!” She yelled. “Now please, let me go. I want to go home.” She sounded pitiful but she was too scared to care at this point.

Jason heard the commotion and came over. “What’s going on?” He asked then suddenly appeared in front of Cassie. He looked into her face. Why wasn’t he hitting the button?

“Get me out of here Jason! Please!” She begged.

“Do we have a bad girl again?” Christian asked as he walked in with Raymond close behind. Both me were smiling, holding cold drinks in their hands and looking excited. “What has she done now.” He asked in mock exasperation.

“Take your pick.” Nicholas mentioned. “We have her where we want her, we can’t think of a reason to let her go.” He said.

“Interesting.” Charles said as he appeared from the other side. Cassie was now locked in stocks with six men surrounding her. There wasn’t another soul in screaming range. They’d all gone home long ago.

“Let me out of here.” She demanded with as much authority as she could muster. The men hooted with laughter or clapped.

“Listen to our girl giving orders, the sweet young thing.” Raymond said. “Look at that body, would you? Have you ever seen anything so inviting?” Her eyes went wide as he spoke. It wasn’t about her panties showing. They were going to do far worse.

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July 2018
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