IT’S THAT TIME AGAIN


It’s time for the next short story competition.

The topic is “It Was That Time again” or, if you prefer, “It’s That Time again”.

Look at the rules in the February 2020 folder before posting.

Good luck.

Responsibility Day (m+f+/m+f+, m+f+/M+F+, f/m,...) (Chapter 23 added)

Stories that have little truth to them should go here.
Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Oh come on! It was pretty obvious that Jenna has feelings for Aiden. How could he reject her? I understand he is stressed by the game and maybe only sees Jenna as a friend but... Come on!

Having said that... I loved that chapter.

It feels so realistic. The descriptions of each position and tie are great, each conversation... even the fact that Aiden rejects Jenna because his mind has been basically thinking only about the stress of the abductions game, it works perfect because it feels natural... It's really, really awesome. Congratulations
Yeah, that rejection was a bit of an anticlimax. Thanks for the big compliments! I hope you enjoy the next part as it is a little different.

--------------------------------------

18. A cold welcome in the family

Sunday, April 28th, 3 P.M.

“Jenna, are you awake?” Aiden asked. He knew the answer as she panted and lay motionless, instead of breathing regular and twisting. She had done this all night, and Aiden had no idea about the whereabouts of their blanket.

“Yeah, why? Are we getting freed?” Jenna drowsily replied.

“Dunno. Lost track of time. Four o’clock would be my wild guess.”

“Only half-way in the night? Fantastic.”

“Yeah, it’s a rough one.”

“Could be worse. I will endure. Good, comfy knots,” Jenna said while a deep, unabashed yawn left her mouth. “Best bondage I’ve ever slept in.”

“Yeah, these silk scarves are neat. Much better than my cocoon.”

“Your family knows what you can handle, Aiden, so be a big boy and don’t complain,” Jenna said. “Oh, right. Oops. You fell me. Sorry. Am I moving too much?”

“A little, but it isn’t bothering me,” Aiden replied, glad she got his hint. Jenna had kicked his ankles, punched his sides and head, and tossed her long hairs in his face all night. Rolling around and squeezing him against the wall or almost over him had happened a few times. The cellar was less than 3 feet wide, and two slender people fitted in if they lay still. Naturally, or with ropes. Jenna’s bonds were far from secure, but Aiden had not dared to disturb her sleep.

“Sorry. I’ll try to be more careful.”

“It’s no problem.”

“It is. Otherwise, you would sleep like a log now… Or is something else bothering you?”

Jenna sounded alert as silence fell. Not only her twisting and turning had kept him awake, Aiden thought. Maybe she grasped his brain better than himself.

“Ehm, yeah, but it’s a little awkward. You...”

“No worries. Tell. I won’t judge,” Jenna interrupted him.

“Well,” Aiden stumbled. “Tonight, you said something. You know, on my lap, and my reaction was not nice. You caught me by surprise. I panicked. I...”

“You mean me having a crush on you?” Jenna interrupted again. “Don’t worry about that. It’s okay. If being friends means doing this, I won’t complain. I shouldn’t...”

“That’s not what I meant,” Aiden cut back. “I was naive. Blind. I hadn’t considered it and felt forced to reply. It went way too fast.”

“It’s okay. I understand. That was uncool of your family.”

“Yeah, it was. But now I thought about your words and concluded I don’t even understand that sentence. How do you imagine me as your boyfriend? I mean, what would expect of me?”

“Oh, Aiden, we can do it exactly as we want. Our adventure. There are no rules for these things. I mean, some talking, being together, and doing cool stuff together sounds awesome to me. No worries, I have no clear image too.”

“Sounds good to me,” Aiden laughed. “So, eh, Jenna, will you be my girlfriend?”

“Aiden, it’s not supposed to be negotiation,” Jenna laughed. “But yes, I would love to be your girlfriend.”

“Did I mess up already?” Aiden asked. He got no response, as Jenna turned on her stomach and lifted herself up with her hands, kissing his cheek.

Aiden closed his eyes and heard Jenna shriek when she lifted her head up. She had forgotten how low the ceiling was.

“You okay?”

“Yeah, that hurt.”

The baby monitor cracked, and Lilian’s voice filled the cellar. “You sure? I can get you an ice-pack.”

“Nah, I’m okay. Only me being stupid,” Jenna replied to the voice from the wall.

“Lil, have you been listening?” Aiden shouted.

“Nah, that bloody scream woke me. What happened, I should not know? What’s my little bro’s big secret?” she laughed, knowing this was none of her business. “All right, all right, you get your privacy. I mute this thing for half an hour. Don’t wake me again afterward. Okay? Remember, I’ve to untie in the morning.”

Aiden and Jenna spoke some more before deciding sleeping was sounder. Lilian’s final sentence had been a clear threat. Aiden tired, fell asleep first, dreaming about Jenna, knots, the game, Jenna, this cellar, Jenna, oil drums, and Jenna. Jenna kept him asleep, either shifting less or awake, but Aiden did not care. He slept like a rose.


“Jenna, stop...” Aiden uttered hours later, half-dreaming. Someone tickled his feet, and he tried to pull his legs away. His bonds made this hard, and a ballgag disrupted him, throwing him back into reality: Playtime was over. Jenna shared his fate, judging by the sounds of screaming and kicking. The petite girl was quickly subdued by three people, a calm Aiden assessed. They lifted her up and tied her further up on the floor.

Aiden fought his bonds for the first time. Earlier, there had been no reason to escape. The fabric was tight, and he attempted to navigate his fingers out. He got stuck and retried. Failure. The safety pins made this impossible. Meanwhile, Jenna’s noise and banging stopped, so she had not been victorious.

“Either some prank or my end,” Aiden believed while he was raised, received earplugs, and carried in a car’s tiny trunk. He cooperated. He could twist his body, but that was useless and wasted energy. Escaping or overcoming his captors was improbable. Besides, he landed on a soft pile of pillows and blankets. No murderer would do that.

Jenna, on the other hand, arrived squirming. Her head was placed next to Aiden’s as their silent kidnappers closed the door and drove off after a little while, giving Jenna a panic attack. They did not notice or care, so Aiden did what he could: rubbing his cheek slowly against hers soothing her. Her tears stopped as Aiden displayed his calmness. He felt Jenna wore a bitgag, like yesterdays.

From this, Aiden deduced this was family business. The burglars had entered rapidly and found the hatch under the carpet. Then they seized the two bound, sleeping teens without hesitating and threw them in a prepared car. Yeah, that sounded familiar. His mother’s family was involved and brought them to one of their homes. Now the question was, whose and why?

Jenna was the single variable that had changed, so some family initiation, Aiden deemed. Messing with them, as the word of their young relation had spread. So, Aiden guessed, grandpa maybe. Or uncle Mike, always asking him about his success with girls.

After half an hour, the kidnappers halted and drove into a garage. They took Jenna and left Aiden alone, such that he could roll out of the trunk. But freedom was unattainable. His bonds were inescapable. Landing on hard concrete or stone would be his sole feat.

Several minutes later, someone returned to pick Aiden up, threw him over his shoulder, and seated him on a chair. Still not talking to hide his identity, but his posture and huffing were masculine. Aiden’s captor fastened thick woolen shawls around him to keep him in place and removed his earplugs. His blindfold was ripped off at once with the tape, blinding Aiden.

He saw his cousin Colin, wearing a simple camo shirt and blue jeans, and they were in his bathroom. He pressed his left index finger on his lips while pointing to Jenna in her pink checkered pajamas with his other hand. She was in a strict hogtied with black ropes, blindfolded, and gagged, laying on the shower tray. Emily sat on another chair, sipping from her coffee.

Colin removed Jenna’s earplugs and threw them in the trashcan. Then he started the shower, waited until it reached a suitable temperature, and put the showerhead back on its mount, aimed at Jenna.

“Okay, lass,” Colin spoke. “Sorry about the circumstances, but we need to make a living too. You only need to answer our questions, okay? How quicker that happens, how faster you can leave. Simple, isn’t it? If you don’t answer, the water will get colder. If that does not change your mind, some other tools might. Understood?”

Jenna nodded in horror. Aiden assumed she had never been in such a situation as she believed this to be real.

“Now, I’ll remove your gag. Remember, screaming means a colder shower, and we’ll continue by nodding and shaking no. So stay quiet.”

Colin removed her gag, and Jenna panted. Aiden gave her ten seconds to recover. Then he kneeled next to her. “What’s your name, little girl?”

“Jenna, Jenna Lanegren,” Jenna stumbled, speaking to the bottom of the shower tray.

“Good. Age?”

“Fifteen.”

“Still living with your parents?”

“Yes. Yes, I am.”

“Great, is your relationship with them good?”

Jenna was taken back by this question. “Eh, yes, I think. Not sure what you meant.”

“Okay, Jenna Lanegren. This one is on the house, but I expect clearer answers from now on. So, do your parents love you?”

“Yes.”

“Better,” Colin replied, smiling. He was enjoying his playlet while Emily sat relaxed, watching with interest. “So, would they pay a ransom?”

“Yes. I hope so.”

Colin laughed. “Yeah, that would be beneficial for us both. Okay, we also found a boy near you. Do you, by chance, know his name?”

“Aiden, Aiden Gilvear.”

“Nice name. How did you meet him?”

“Classmate of mine.”

“Great, so you’re friends?”

“Well, yes, we’re friends,” Jenna replied. She blushed, and Colin knew he had found a soft spot.

“Friends or something more?”

Jenna’s drenched face was now crimson red. “Yes, he’s my boyfriend.”

“Any sweet stories you want to share? How did it happen?” Colin continued, and Aiden saw Emily had trouble managing her giggling.

“Eh, is that relevant?”

“I ask for it, so it is,” Colin said before the water temperature dropped without warning. Jenna shrieked but recovered, scared for further consequences.

“Okay, Okay! He asked me last night. In that cellar thing.” Jenna was panicking while trying to keep it together.

“Yeah, that was odd. Two teens tied up under a living room. We almost missed you. Kids make more profit than tablets and phones despite being more effort, so we got lucky. How did you end up in there?”

“I don’t know. It went quickly. Stupid joke from Aiden’s family and we went along.”

“Strange family. Do these things occur more often?”

“Eh,
yeah, I believe so. Tonight was the first time I was involved.”

“Cool, typical Arkalay. Those kids are easy prey. I guess they have safewords?”

“Yeah, they have.”

“And the whole family takes part?”

“Yeah, I heard so,” Jenna said, before realizing what was going on. She made circles with her head as good as the hogtie and shower tray allowed.

“Okay, Jenna, you want out?” Colin said in a more friendly tone.

“Yes, please,” Jenna said, unsure what this question meant.

Colin turned the shower off and removed Jenna’s blindfold. She had lost a couple tears as her eyes were bloodred. He let her study her surroundings before introducing himself.

“Hi, I’m Emily, Colin’s girlfriend. I hope he didn’t frighten you too much. You won’t believe me, but he’s friendly and kind,” Emily said. “Mind if I loosen your knots?”

“Yes, please! They’re tight,” Jenna said in confusion. “It’s that water. The ropes contract. Aiden, allow me to ask, were you involved?”

Aiden, still gagged, couldn’t answer, so Colin did. “Nah, he wasn’t. It was a surprise for him too. He would recognize my voice, so I let him watch. At first, we wanted to pretend we would electrocute him with some shocking device for dogs and then tickle him, but you were pretty stressed already.”

“One more question: Why?” Jenna said, still trying to understand what was going on.

“Good question,” Emily answered while untying a particularly nasty knot. “Aiden’s mom mentioned you craved to be kidnapped, so we offered our help. Of course, it had to be unexpected. Otherwise, it would be boring and fake. So, we came up with this. Was this in line with your wish?”

“Not really. It was a bit much,” Jenna said, not wanting to explain she, for real, had feared for her life. These games were more frightening than she had expected, and this family extremer than anything she had been a part of.

Emily took some more time untying Jenna, while Aiden watched and Colin emptied Emily’s mug with coffee. Afterward, Emily examined the severity of the rope marks on Jenna’s arms and legs. Then she left her alone, so she could stretch her muscles and think about the events of this morning.

“Okay, Jenna, take a nice hot shower. Here are your bag and your clothes. You’ve deserved it. Breakfast is served downstairs.” Colin picked Aiden up together with the chair, and they left the bathroom.

Mineira1986
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Post by Mineira1986 »

Oh, so many thoughts... I divide them in two:

First... yay! Aiden and Jenna hooked up! That was a very cute scene, both teenagers forced to spend the night together, and Aiden finally realizing his feelings for Jenna. It was beautiful. But now I can only wonder, once they return to the game, how is that going to be for them? Well, while they are ok as a couple, I guess it's fine that Jenna is still Aiden's protector. But what if they have an argument? Or if Lilian gets captured and Aiden is switched back to Northwood? Will he be able to hang out with Jenna and still play for Northwood? Oh, so many variables. But I'm confident you will somehow deal with them like you have been doing greatly so far.

Second... Colin and Emily... those are really crazy!! Poor Jenna, I just hope she doesn't regret her decision of becoming Aiden's girlfriend since it's pretty obvious Aiden's family can be a little too much for her. By the way, it's remarkable how you describe both Aiden's and Jenna's reaction to the kidnapping. Both opposite, both showing exactly how each of them took it.

Once again: great job!

Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Mineira1986 wrote:
3 weeks ago
Oh, so many thoughts... I divide them in two:

First... yay! Aiden and Jenna hooked up! That was a very cute scene, both teenagers forced to spend the night together, and Aiden finally realizing his feelings for Jenna. It was beautiful. But now I can only wonder, once they return to the game, how is that going to be for them? Well, while they are ok as a couple, I guess it's fine that Jenna is still Aiden's protector. But what if they have an argument? Or if Lilian gets captured and Aiden is switched back to Northwood? Will he be able to hang out with Jenna and still play for Northwood? Oh, so many variables. But I'm confident you will somehow deal with them like you have been doing greatly so far.

Second... Colin and Emily... those are really crazy!! Poor Jenna, I just hope she doesn't regret her decision of becoming Aiden's girlfriend since it's pretty obvious Aiden's family can be a little too much for her. By the way, it's remarkable how you describe both Aiden's and Jenna's reaction to the kidnapping. Both opposite, both showing exactly how each of them took it.

Once again: great job!
Thanks for your comment and kind words. About your first point, I thought about it but forgot to add it to the previous chapter. This chapter will fix it. I will also elaborate on your second point. That might surprise you.

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19. The awfulness of inlaws
"Congratulations, Aiden!" Colin said after carrying Aiden to the tiny study. Colin was thrilled and excited. "My little nephew got himself a girlfriend!"

"Thanks," Aiden said after Colin removed his ballgag. "But why this fuss? You frightened her! I explained our family plays tie-up games. Not these abductions. You guys crossed the line."

"As I said, she begged to be kidnapped. In retrospect, that was a white lie to spend a day with you. My mistake."

Emily joined them with a new cup of coffee. "Yeah, sorry. I'll speak to her, but we were gentle as always. We provided pillows in the car, drove carefully, and untied her at her request. Not even tickling or teasing like abandoning her in the woods like Lilian and you last summer."

"That was different! Lilian and I knew it was fake. In comparison, today was a walk in the park. Yet I can't recall being so terrified as Jenna."

Colin meanwhile removed the safety pins from Aiden's cacoon. "We could have informed you, but we granted you some fun too. Jenna seems strong and will recoverer. I doubt she's angry with us. Next time, she will be less scared."

"You planned a follow-up?"

"Not yet," Emily laughed. "But we will, and you'll piss your pants in fear."

"You scared me for half a second," Aiden said. "Being waken like that confuses me. It's annoying, not frightening. You need to step up your game."

"You should hear yourself," Emily laughed. "Likely the sole teenager who's bored out by abductions."

The safety pins were gone, and Colin helped Aiden to stand up to unroll the wraps surrounding him. "Where has the time gone? Once we could throw you and your sister tied up in our trunk and visit the zoo or camp for a weekend. You used to love that."

A free Aiden sat down on the chair and stretched his arms. "Yeah. Things changed," he said before explaining his attitude toward kidnappings. Then about the game in general: bored, the time it cost, and the endlessness. Northwood had banned his neighbor Katy from taking part in any dare and protected her all time. Winning was impossible.

"Good luck with the game board on Tuesday," Emily said. "I always loved the game and thought it was perfect for you two. Well, I invented some parts. Still, I don't support this dull strategy. You're right."

"Thanks, Emily."

A door closed, and Jenna entered the room in black tights, a black skirt, and a white tank top. "Shower's empty. Aiden, your turn."

Jenna's energy overwhelmed Aiden, and he left. Confident and not bitter. Odd. Aiden cut the shower short; she could feel awkward with her two alien kidnappers.

But, Aiden discovered, this fear was unfounded. Emily braided Jenna's hair as Aiden entered the kitchen in jeans, a black t-shirt, and his red sweater. His family had packed this and passed it to his kidnappers.

"Hey, Aiden. Good morning," Jenna said. "Your family is even crazier than I imagined. This was intense; I never felt so scared in my entire life, but now I see why you consider the game's kidnappings dull. Another thing. Colin said you were tied up in a moving box when they moved in here? Is that true?"

"Also a good morning, Jenna," Aiden replied. "I was in a wardrobe, but Lilian was in a box."

"Cool. That's awesome," Jenna replied. "It's still hard to comprehend how often you're captured. In the car, I kept recalling your approach: Cooperate and hope it isn't genuine. That kept my head clear. Thanks. This was amusing, or well, in hindsight."

"There's some craziness in you too," Aiden smiled to Jenna. He sat down, grabbed a pancake of the pile, and started eating. He had panicked. Not from fear, but because Jenna could have been scarred for life. He still believed Colin and Emily to have been irresponsible.

"And then she kicked me in my groan," Colin grinned, retelling the abduction. "Lilian tackled her and jumped onto her so we could tie her. She's a wild one, Aiden."

Jenna blushed. "Sorry, I took it too seriously."

"No problem. Much more fun than a meek sheep, like Aiden. Next time, we tie you tighter at night," Emily said while preparing a third serving of coffee.

"Sure, but I lack practice with sleeping restrained."

"Have a sleepover with Aiden once a week, and it's second nature in no-time. I'll text Aiden's mom, and she'll get you adequate training."

They continued talking, and Aiden was surprised how well Jenna fitted in. She and Emily was a golden combination. Everything seemed to fall together, and Aiden and Jenna decided to stay until dinner. Then Colin came with slightly disturbing news:

"Here're your phones. Check them. Lilian mentioned something about important messages from the game board."

Aiden's phone was seized during his kidnapping, and his family had kept him bound for the remainder of the time. This meant numerous notifications. First, he clicked through his social media alerts and other irrelevant stuff before opening the Arkalay app. Nine alerts.

Please complete our short survey regarding your recent kidnapping. In this way, we can ensure the quality of the game and provide useful feedback.

Aiden ignored this message and its reminder. This could wait until tonight. He would give Jenna a perfect score, and expected to receive the same, as she received a survey too. The third message seemed to matter more.

Dear targets,

Next week, we provide many dares with many points to earn in the afternoon and evening. Hence, less time remains for homework, so please plan accordingly. Consider this a warning. If you run into trouble, contact your district. They can unregister you from a dare, or find an older student to assist you with your homework. On Monday, we will provide more information.

Good luck,

The game board

P.S. Remember, prizes are awarded at the end of each cycle to the players with the most points.


Aiden sighed and scrolled further through the messages. All from Riverbend members planning his protection for the upcoming week. He answered he was okay with Jenna staying his protector and available to for the dares. The last note was from one of Riverbend's leaders:

Hey! You might have seen the news about the upcoming dares. It is unconfirmed, but we suspect them to be connected to the May Dance.

"Busy week ahead," Aiden said to Jenna.

"Yeah. Wonder what the game board has in store," Jenna said, staring at her phone. "Emily, mind if we study here all day?"

"No problem," Emily replied, cleaning the kitchen table. "If you need anything, snacks, assistance, ropes, or anything, ask. Lilian also packed your books, Aiden. No worries."

"Thanks!" Jenna said. She showed Emily the message, asking what the May Dance was.

"Oh, it's a high school dance organized by the game board," Emily replied while taking a bunch of ropes from a nearby closet. "Tie-ups are often involved."

"Yeah, Lil' took part twice, once as a target," Aiden said, taking his physics book out of his bag. "That time, she could earn points with light challenges. Wear a blindfold for half an hour and such. Nothing too exciting. Last year, she got home with her arms tied behind her back. Never heard why. This year seems to be bigger, and this makes me quite curious."

"Seems cool," Jenna said. "What are those ropes for?"

"Oh, Colin and I made a bet whether you would like your abduction. I won, so I tie him up. Right, you guys also need some." Emily got more ropes and dumped them on the kitchen table. "Good luck with your homework, and enjoy yourself too. I'm in the study upstairs when I'm done with Colin."

"Ah, okay," Jenna replied, painting Colin's upcoming morning in her head. "Emily, another silly question. It's cold, and my hoodie was not in my bag. Have you seen it?

"Nah, but you can lend one if you wish.

Jenna accepted this offer, and Emily fetched a dark green sweater. Jenna unfolded it and read its white lettering: "Go Northwood!". Emily's smile betrayed that she knew Jenna was a Riverbend.

"Eh, you haven't got anything else lying around, have you?"

"I'd accept the offer and take your loss," Aiden said, gazing up from his textbook. "You walked in her trap, and she lowers the room temperature, or whatever. Trust me, she gets you to wear it."

Jenna hesitated to put the sweater on, and Emily departed with her ropes, knowing her absence would ease this.

"Your choice. I won't judge," Aiden said, convincing Jenna to swallow her pride. They started working on their homework. Both relaxed, not stressed, but still making progress. During one of their short breaks, Aiden tied Jenna's legs to the chair.

"Don't look a gift horse in the mouth," Aiden argued. "Not using them would be rude."

Jenna disagreed with the argument, but not with being tied. In this way, they continued working until Emily made them lunch. The three of them ate together, and Emily took the fourth plate with her upstairs as "Colin was busy."

An hour later, Emily returned, demanding to tie Aiden up as pay-back for the food. "Not your best reasoning," Aiden laughed when his body was fastened much tighter than Jenna's. Emily left them, and with his free arms, Aiden continued working. It almost a regular abduction, except that Jenna sat next to him.

Both Aiden and Jenna worked independently in silence, asking only short, relevant questions. Their gazes and smiles met often, but both worked hard, not wanting to miss the upcoming dares. Still, Aiden's head had difficulty concentrating. He thought about Jenna and their young love.

"Jenna, can I ask you something?" Aiden inquired at the end of the afternoon.

"Yeah, three seconds," Jenna replied, busy solving a nasty equation.

"You're my girlfriend now, but have you thought about the game, and what might happen?"

"Yeah, I have. Why?"

"I was wondering what would happen if Northwood takes me. With all these dares, that wouldn't surprise me."

Jenna lifted her eyes from the notebook and investigated Aiden's. "You know there're rules for these things, don't you? I get an exemption for you and Lilian, and won't try to kidnap you. Same rule for family visits, sports teams, and school projects."

"Thanks, Jenna. Forget about that."

"It's okay. These things happen more often. If you're okay with it, I also stay your protector. And if we get sick always being together, others can be your protector too. It's still an assignment for a day. No worries. Little will change."

Aiden nodded, and they resumed their battle against the piles of homework. Despite struggling all day and most of yesterday, Aiden was not done. So he needed the tiny cracks in his schedule to finish everything if he read the next few chapters of Gulliver's Travels this night.

Colin offered to drive them home at six, with clear rope marks on his wrists.

"Thanks. Mind if we take the seats?" Aiden asked when the bags were packed. "I lay restrained during my last four car rides. I should get used to how ordinary people travel."

"The pillows are still in the trunk if that changes your mind," Colin laughed while handing Jenna her sweater that lay neatly folded on the passenger's seat.

"No thanks," Aiden said, taking the seat behind the driver, so Jenna could sit in front. "I'm good."

Colin dropped Aiden off first, who got dinner, completed the kidnapping survey, read his book, and went to bed at ten. A good night of sleep wouldn't hurt, he argued, dead tired and looking back on an eventful weekend. His 24 hours of safety ran out earlier in the evening, and tomorrow half the school focus on abducting him. Again.

Mineira1986
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Post by Mineira1986 »

Great chapter!

I knew you would find a way to solve the Northwood-Riverbend issue around Aiden and Jenna's relationship. I mean, you already had it and it totally works. Seems that Jenna had done her research before confessing her crush to Aiden. I just hope for a couple more sleepovers with Aiden's family, it seems to me that she would totally love it.

And talking about that... it surprised me gladly how well Jenna took her "kidnapping". She is a perfect fit in the family.

Oh, and I am looking forward to the May Dance. Looks that it is going to be really funny (for some people at least)

Great work!

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Post by Solarbeast »

Yet another great story on this site. It's an interesting idea for a story and with the addition of Jenna, it becomes an even more interesting story.

Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Mineira1986 wrote:
3 weeks ago
Great chapter!

I knew you would find a way to solve the Northwood-Riverbend issue around Aiden and Jenna's relationship. I mean, you already had it and it totally works. Seems that Jenna had done her research before confessing her crush to Aiden. I just hope for a couple more sleepovers with Aiden's family, it seems to me that she would totally love it.

And talking about that... it surprised me gladly how well Jenna took her "kidnapping". She is a perfect fit in the family.

Oh, and I am looking forward to the May Dance. Looks that it is going to be really funny (for some people at least)

Great work!
Thanks again for your comment. If you find any more plotholes or things I missed, please point them out. Yeah, Jenna seems to handle the kidnapping fine, but she's far from Aiden's level. Partly, she tries to look tough while Aiden literally couldn't care less. And yeah, the May Dance, is going to be something. The next chapter gives a slight idea of what's coming.
Solarbeast wrote:
3 weeks ago
Yet another great story on this site. It's an interesting idea for a story and with the addition of Jenna, it becomes an even more interesting story.
Thanks for your kind words and comments!

----------------------------------------
20. Dating time!

Monday, April 29th, 7:35 AM

Hey! I hope you slept well. I’ve seen the dare. It sucks. No worries, be yourself, and it’ll be alright. It’s weird but a game nevertheless. I believe in you!

Aiden read Jenna’s text for the fifth time, having trouble to eat his cereal. He had a pit in his stomach, nullifying his energy and motivation for school.

Lilian, in front of him, stowed herself as usual. Five extra minutes of sleep was worth it, according to her. “So, speed-dates. Thoughts?”

“Horrible timing. An awful concept,” Aiden said, refilling his water bottle. “I wonder who considers this to be funny?”

“Me neither. Probably Rachel’s idea. She’s always been busy with relationships and love. We could’ve expected this when electing her to the dare panel.”

“But now? With Jenna? Flirting with ten different girls? No way.”

“Don’t be afraid of girls, Aiden. We ain’t that bad. That you’re more comfortable to talk them blindfolded, bound, and in a creepy cellar than to make eye-contact, is your problem.”

Aiden tied his shoelaces and kicked Lilian’s ankle for this remark. She gobbled the rest of her cereal down, unimpressed by her brother’s violence. “Mess with them. Jenna stays close and knows what’s up. Have fun, and keep yourself out of their fangs. Getting you awkward is their goal.”

“Thanks, Lil,” Aiden said while the doorbell rang. He let Jenna in, hugged her, and watched Lilian running across the house, brushing her teeth, and searching for her math book simultaneously. Together, they walked to their lift.

“Dear Arkalians,” Jenna read aloud from her phone in the car. “The infamous May Dance is next Monday. We, the game board, love our targets and know what they sacrifice for our game: time and freedom. This leaves them little opportunity to find a date for the May Dance. So, as a gift, we aid them in their search.”

“Thanks for the offer, but it’s unnecessary,” Aiden interrupted Jenna. She blushed and continued reading to conceal this.

“During today’s lunch break, we organize speed-dates. Ten classmates from the opposing district receive three minutes to make an impression. The target selects three potential partners afterward and goes on a date with each. Their favorite will be their date for the Dance.”

Their driver, a senior girl who had been silent so far, laughed. “That’s disgusting! What about me. I also need a date.”

The car laughed, and Lilian’s protector, a tall girl Aiden knew to be a cheerleader, took the word. “Jul, I’ll fix one. No need for ten speed-dates.”

With this, the short trip to the school ended, and Aiden and Jenna joined their escort to history. “This is huge,” Jenna whispered to Aiden, holding his hand. “They changed the kidnap rule. If you’re seized now, you stay a Riverbend. Then Northwood can retake you for extra points. Something big has been planned during the May Dance as the target’s don’t change.”

Aiden nodded, unsure if he should be celebrating Jenna to stay a Riverbend for at least a week and spend time with her. Or sad, safety and a stress-free spring were at least a week away.

“And you won’t be safe when a sibling is captured,” a boy behind said. “There’re also other dares planned, so this’s going to be a hell of a week.”

Aiden sighed, agreeing with the last comment. They entered the classroom where Aiden saw, apart from the usual ropes, the Northwood girls chuckling and gazing at him. He offered them a smile, deliberating who his potential dates were. There were only six here, but freshmen from other classes were also options. Northwood’s choice. He was the sole Riverbend boy on the frontline, so he drew all attention.

“Hi, Aiden!” one said. “Why don’t you join us? Might get to know us better.”

Aiden blushed, and Jenna pulled him to their usual spots in the middle of the left row. “See. Just another dare,” she whispered. “Ignore them, or show you don’t care.”

Their teacher, a bald man with a large nose and an unexplainable obsession to berate all unable to answer “basic” questions, closed the door. All went quiet as a tedious hour-long monologue started on the rise of August and corresponding Roman intrigue.

“A perfect way to start a Monday morning,” Jenna called it afterward. Aiden laughed while being escorted to their next classroom. At this moment, the first person suspected they were dating, and this newsworthy fact was promptly known by every freshman. Aiden received even more attention from the Northwood girls and needed the classes to keep his head straight. This was madness.

All morning, he received terrible questions. “What do you look for in a girl?” and “Who would you exchange Jenna for?” we among the most respectful. Jenna and the over Riverbend tried to fence him and enhance his spirit. Aiden, meanwhile, had devised a strategy: Be an absolute pain in the ass.

“Room 104,” Jenna said at the start of their break. “Let’s hurry a bit, getting late costs points.”

Aiden agreed, and together with a small escort, they marched to the classroom. Two Riverbend seniors, a game board member, and two dozen Northwood teenage girls awaited them.

“Into the room,” Jenna murmured. Aiden complied and found a table with two opposite chairs, a lunch tray, some sheets of paper, and a pen. He sat down, and the game board member reiterated the rules: three minutes per girl. Captures were allowed. And most importantly: the lunch was his and free.

Jenna strolled through the room, seeking hidden foes. She found none. “This is ground level. Can we barricade the windows?”

“No,” was the answer. Aiden glanced at Jenna, who saw numerous ways this could go wrong. “Tape me to that chair. That should give you enough time to get in. I don’t mind.”

The Riverbend seniors agreed, got a few rolls out of their bags, and taped Aiden’s legs to his chair at two places. His upper legs, hips, and lower chest followed, but they allowed Aiden to use his hands to eat and pen down notes. Jenna observed them, not reassured, and wished Aiden luck. She closed the door behind her, leaving Aiden alone in the classroom.

“Hey!” Aiden’s first potential date said nervously. Daphne was her name, and they had been in the same primary school class. She took the green garland around her neck in her hands, fiddling with it. “No lies, I like tight ties, your lovely brown eyes, and your French fries.” Daphne took one of Aiden’s fries and ate it. Despite it being cold, Aiden felt robbed and struck down her name in his head. Bad pickup line, ruining this break’s sole positive thing.

“That’s my lunch,” Aiden said, pulling the tray toward him.

“If we go on a date, I’ll buy you some. I promise,” Daphne answered, forcing a smile on her face.

“If,” Aiden answered as obnoxious as possible.

Daphne laughed sheepishly. “True, any reason why you won’t pick me, except there being ten others?”

“You stole my fry.”

“C’mon Aiden... You used to be so sweet.”

Aiden took another fry and put it in his mouth. “Really? Never knew that.”

“Yeah, you were,” Daphne said, annoyed. “If you’re so cranky, why would I go on a date with you?”

“Maybe you like crankiness?”

“C’mon Aiden. Cut your act. I know you and Jenna are dating, so you loathe this dare. Your poker face is horrible. Now think. You’re spoiled with the number of dares you do. Many want to take part and are jealous, waiting for an opportunity. At least try to make some fun.”

Aiden weighed Daphne’s words and concluded his strategy had worked too well. “Honestly, I wasn’t looking forward to having you flirt with me. Sassiness was the logical defense.”

“Yeah, I see. Now cut it. Only one minute remains.”

“Okay, use your time to persuade me.”

“Eh, sure... We’ve known each other for long, and I’ve got the guts to go first today. If we go on a date, I won’t flirt with you, or unsettle you with anything other than ropes and garlands,” Daphne spoke, looking Aiden in his eyes. She paused for a second to hang her garland around her neck. “I promise. Just some plain fun with the occasional danger of being kidnapped, and not to forget...”

“Times up!” the game board member intervened.

“I’ll keep you in mind,” Aiden said, grabbing another fry. She left the classroom, and Aiden was granted a minute to make some notes. The giggling and high voices in the hallway indicated Daphne’s competition interrogated her.

“Hi, Aiden,” Tamara, his next date, said. They shared many classes, but Aiden knew nothing about her. “Daphne and I made a bet. If you pick me, and not her, I earn 20 bucks. I give you 10.”

“Your pickup line is already better,” Aiden said disinterestedly. “Fifteen.”

“Twelve is the best I can do.”

“Deal, if you throw in some fries. Daphne did the same.” Tamara nodded and shook Aiden’s greasy hand. “Bribery is illegal, so this cannot play a part in my judgment.”

Tamara smiled, under the assumption the date was in her pocket. Two minutes remained, so Aiden decided to create some chaos. “So, what pros do you have the other girls have not? Hobbies, cool knots, special perks?”

Tamara laughed. “Special perks. You want to cheat on Jenna already?”

“No. That’s your interpretation. It’s about you. So?” Aiden was dead serious, unnerving the girl from the rivaling team. There were countless ways to confuse the Northwood girls.

Three minutes were gone quick but perfect for some banter. Tamara explained something about her tie-up history, nothing out of the ordinary, and Daphne’s habit of cinching the ropes too tight. Then the time ran out, and another replaced Tamara.

“Let’s get straight to point. I know you want a cool dare. Not me. What’s your offer?” Aiden said, interrupting her cheesy pickup line. Bewildered, she stared at him, and Aiden recognized his victory. He was in control and played hard to get. The girls sweat and stutter, disliking their treatment.

This process continued all break, and Aiden developed. The girls made no chance, despite him playing less irritable. Each opened full of energy and determination to be shot down after ten seconds. He asked open questions, giving them struggles to find an adequate answer. They hated this, and from their perplexed faces, Aiden deduced his previous victims kept quiet. None expected the harch treatment. Some checked his tape, but none dared to try to kidnap him, knowing it was fruitless.

After Aiden had blown off the last girl, Jenna and another Riverbend entered the room to remove the tape. Their next class was in five minutes.

“Tactful, Aiden,” Jenna laughed. “None left particularly delighted. What did you do?”

“I asked them basic questions,” Aiden said, quoting their history teacher. He picked up his notes and stretched his legs.

Jenna scratched the last tape from Aiden’s body, took his hand, and lead him out of the classroom. “Uncool, but I approve it. You showed them. Their faces were priceless. Made a choice already?”

Jenna spoke her last sentence while they forced their way through the group of Northwood girls. “Not yet.” He let go of her hand and took her middle, pressing her against him.

“It’s difficult, and as my protector, you’re involved too. I need your input. We’re doing this together,” Aiden whispered to Jenna. She giggled. They strolled into the classroom and took their chairs.

Aiden and Jenna spent the whole hour penning down the pros and cons of each date, pretending to do geography exercises. Instead of driving them apart, this dare had strengthened their bond. Aiden felt more energetic. The dare had not been horrible, but more came, costing him his spare time. This week of hell was still young, and he had it was only Monday, two in the afternoon.

Mineira1986
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Post by Mineira1986 »

Awww, my, Aiden and Jenna make such a cute couple! And they took this dare in a very mature way, good for them! Although I'm anticipating there will be an eventual argument (not everything can go well for the couple), but for a first time, they did it very well!!

So the rules have changed. It's interesting but makes sense, since targets would be dating the opposite district, if they switched sides it would be complete mess. I cannot wait for the next dares!!

Finally, I wanted to point out: this chapter had a minimum of tying up, but still it was so interesting, building up the anticipation for future dares, the May Dance and how the relationship between Aiden and Jenna evolves. And let's not forget the meeting with the Game Board!!

Great work once again.

Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Mineira1986 wrote:
2 weeks ago
Awww, my, Aiden and Jenna make such a cute couple! And they took this dare in a very mature way, good for them! Although I'm anticipating there will be an eventual argument (not everything can go well for the couple), but for a first time, they did it very well!!

So the rules have changed. It's interesting but makes sense, since targets would be dating the opposite district, if they switched sides it would be complete mess. I cannot wait for the next dares!!

Finally, I wanted to point out: this chapter had a minimum of tying up, but still it was so interesting, building up the anticipation for future dares, the May Dance and how the relationship between Aiden and Jenna evolves. And let's not forget the meeting with the Game Board!!

Great work once again.
Yeah, Aiden and Jenna make a cute couple, but far from perfect. Their chemistry is unnatural, as it partly rests on Aiden being involved in so many tie-ups (which he dislikes at the moment). Wonder how that develops...

I tried to work around the kidnapping rule-change, but this was troublesome. The kidnaps are so frequent that it would leave only a few high schoolers in the same district as targets.

There were no big tie-ups in the last chapter, and spoiler alert, also not in the next. They are neat but make kidnappings harder, as the element of surprise is often lost and often intense for the person tied up. The game board meeting is the day after the events of today, so is happening soon (after what, 12 parts?)

An enormous thanks for your comments, they truly motivate me!

---------------------------------------------
21. An improvised date

“So, who’re your dates?” Jenna laughed en route to the next classroom. “Gotta make a choice in the next ten minutes. Your first date is today, and Northwood has to plan it with the game board.”

“Drawing lots is still an option. I couldn’t care less.”

In secret, Aiden had slight preferences but no deal-breakers. His escort listened, and leaks were probable. Gossiping about his classmates stupid, and Northwood’s selection of potential dates was to his liking. He not only knew all but had been in a tie-up game with all too. He had problems with none, and seven had been his protector. All were fanatics, skilled with rope and tape, and athletic enough to run fast. Jenna liked some girls more, so they had crafted a list of five names they could agree on. Of course, these names stayed secret.

“Sure, fortune will speak during math,” Jenna smiled loud to be audible to all around. Aiden’s four Northwood dates he shared this class with, giggled. They walked behind him, listening, and not even attempting to kidnap him. Only curious how Aiden made his decision.

They sat down at their spots, opened their math books and notebooks, and pretended to do exercises. Jenna wrote the five names on five papers, shuffled them, and Aiden drew three names: Daphne, Maya, and Ariel. Aiden, quite content, texted this to the game board from under his desk. Daphne, next to being in primary school with Aiden, was Jenna’s second cousin from her family’s more bondage-tolerant part.

Maya had been a primary and middle school friend of Aiden, but they had lost touch as they shared no classes anymore. They had been buddies during Arkalay’s summer camps and in the wooden huts in the woods many kids made. She, with her female friends, had played many kidnapping games with Aiden, Micheal, and Elijah in fourth and fifth grade. Jenna knew her form dancing classes were they had become friends, so it was a perfect match.

Aiden and Jenna shared most of their current classes with Ariel. He knew little about her, but she was a chill protector, and not scared of awkward dares. She and Jenna had been in the same class since kindergarten, and their fathers were co-workers. So they were pretty close.

In the following hours, Aiden had to explain his choice many times and got an innocent hug from Ariel, glad he picked her. He ignored all except Jenna, trying to concentrate on his classes. Targets got different activities with their dates, and Aiden did not bother to speculate. His guessing would not alter anything.

“Aiden, come here,” Aiden heard when leaving their last class. Two muscled Northwood seniors were waiting for him. “We’ve to blindfold you and bring you to your date.”

Jenna still clenched his hand, ready to fight if the seniors pulled her away. “What about me?”

“I bet your name is Jenna,” one of the seniors smiled. “No worries, we aren’t allowed to kidnap Aiden. By blindfolding him, his date started. The special rules say, only his date can kidnap him now. No need to blindfold you, but better stay quiet. Spoiling surprises ruins the magic moment.”

Jenna nodded, not letting go of Aiden as he started his blinded journey. He believed they walked for twenty minutes throughout the entire school. Entering and leaving classrooms, being spun around, and elevator rides disorientated him.

“Sit down,” the same senior said finally, and Aiden complied. “We have orders to tie you up and gag you. Nothing scary, so please cooperate.”

Aiden nodded, and they tied him to the chair uncreatively: His hands cuffed behind him, his legs taped the chair, and his hips and chest with tight ropes. Something was placed around his arm, and cloth was pressed in his mouth and secured with straps of tape. Then the feet left the room, which sounded to have a wooden floor. There had been some whispering, but nothing understandable or familiar voices.

Then silence. It felt to be minutes, to Aiden, until something happened. Out of nowhere, someone grabbed his left shoe, untied it, and removed it. Aiden screamed in his gag and received a soft squeeze in his ankle. The other shoe and both of his socks followed. One of his socks was shortly pressed against his nose, giving Aiden one horrible breath of his sweat. The person followed his body, stroking his legs, sides, chest, arms, hair, and finally, his cheeks. It was tender but frightened Aiden. What was going on?

“You afraid?” Some female voices whispered in his right ear. “You’re mine now, and enjoy it. Otherwise, I must hurt you.”

Aiden had a feeling he recognized the voice but could not pinpoint it. She went down to his feet and tickled Aiden’s feet for half a minute. Enough to make Aiden scream in his gag, not to produce uncontrolled kicks that let the chair tip.

“And, sweet Aiden, already an idea who I am?” she said, patting his shoulders. She removed the tape around Aiden’s lips and helped him to spit out the cloth on his lap.

“Yes,” Aiden panted. “Ariel?”

“Correct!” she cheered and pulled Aiden’s blindfold off. The room was dark, except for a stage light aimed at him. He looked around and saw this was the stage of their school’s theater. The auditorium was unlit, and Aiden feared the entire school had watched Ariel playing with him. She was outside his sights, so he assumed she stood behind him.

“Bravo,” a male voice said from the first row. “Ariel, a heartbeat of 182. Quite a good score. Remember, the date who gets the fastest heartbeat gets a bag of gummies at the end of the week.”

Ariel smiled while Aiden realized the function of the band around his arm.

“Oh, sorry, Aiden,” another voice said, this time feminine. “Welcome to your date. We’re Mike and Linda and are part of the theater troupe. We give you two a two-hour improv workshop. From little bits of text, you two play a scene on the spot. Your protector is on the first row and can jump on the podium when Ariel hangs her garland around your neck. So be prepared to run, but before that, any undertones from the game are forbidden, and you can’t flee. Only improv in character. Clear?”

Aiden nodded and waited for further instructions. He had expected a tie-up, free dinner, or a movie night. Not this.

“Hey, it’s alright,” Jenna confirmed from the middle of the first row. She sat next to the two drama kids, who expressed her to be quiet.

“Okay, first exercise,” the male actor said. “Aiden, Ariel has kidnapped you and keeps you captive in her basement. A real abduction, not like in our game. Ariel, you have a little crush on Aiden. His parents paid the ransom this morning, but you don’t want to release him. Action!”

Ariel, wearing a black sneaker, black torn jeans, a green blouse, and an iron time-turner pendant kneeled down in front of Aiden. She wore her garland around her wrist, ready to attack. She fiddled with her brown hair and made puppy-eyes with her hazel brown eyes.

“Aiden...” Ariel stumbled. “Your... your parents paid for your ransom. Ten thousand dollars in cash. As I requested.”

She stopped talking and looked Aiden, who knew it was his turn. “That’s great, Ariel. Awesome. So... you release me?”

“Well, that’s the problem. Ten thousand ain’t much, and you know my face.” Ariel sighed and raised her voice. “What can I do? Flee? To where?”

“Take a new identity. Live on the street. I don’t know!” Aiden shouted. “But let me go! You kept me here for six days. It has been enough!”

“But Aiden… Yes, I kept you here for six days,” Ariel said, keeping herself low to keep the puppy-eye effect. “I’ve cared for you. I gave enough food, drinks, toilet visits. Everything. I even let you play on my Xbox and watch those stupid Youtube videos. I went above and beyond my duties as a kidnapper.”

“So what!” Aiden said in anger. “What? Above and beyond? What do you mean? You bloody kidnapped me! Kept me tied up all night. Gagged too. You fed me my meals. Let me piss in a bucket. You were horrible!”

Aiden had gone all out and saw fear in Ariel’s eyes. His acting and improvisation had not been as disastrous as he had expected. His lines left his mouth effortless.

“That’s unfair, Aiden,” Ariel sobbed. “I never hurt you. Never. Yesterday, we talked about my parents, how they abused me, and how I ended up here. This awful mess isn’t my fault. Not my fault.”

“It is, Ariel. I’m sorry, but this mess is yours, and you’re alone... No excuses. Face the consequences.”

“Consequences! I only wanted to live. Be free, like a butterfly. Now I’m here, stuck to run, or decades of prison. All alone,” Ariel said, lying on the ground, crying. “All I’ve is you, Aiden, and now I should give you away. I don’t want to. I can’t.”

“You should, Ariel. The ransom is paid. Now you should honor your share of the agreement.”

Ariel got a smile back on her face, sat up, and untied Aiden’s hip rope. “The agreement was to let you go. Not return you. Let’s flee together, us forever, walking the earth’s edges.”

“No!” Aiden shouted, a bit too loud. Curse words left his mouth that I better not repeat here.

“Aiden!” Ariel shouted in return. “I did everything. Everything to make you happy. Not to get a lighter sentence or out of spite, but because I love you. You’re so sweet and...”

“Stop it!” Aiden shouted in Ariel’s face. “What? Me going with you? You in love? You are insane! Let me go!”

“Aiden, sweety, I didn’t wish to end this chapter like this, but my life is over.” Ariel took Aiden’s hip rope and lay it around his neck. “We could have been fortunate. Build a family. Forever together. But alas, after this, my life follows.” She winded the rope three times more around Aiden’s neck, and Aiden fell Ariel fumbling with the knot.

“Stop!” Mike, the male workshop leader, said. “That’s enough. Remove that rope, Ariel, before you murder your date.”

“Thanks, Mike,” Ariel said joyfully. “That was fun, and should not have gone on any longer.”

“Great job for a first, Aiden,” Linda stated from the shadows. “Try to be limit solemness a little the next time and lay some more emotion in your words. Let yourself go. It’s acting after all. Ariel, wonderful as always. Your path was a little direct at the end, but the scene was going nowhere.”

Aiden panted from stress when the two seniors stood up, climbed on the stage, and untied him. “Have you had acting classes, Ariel? You were pretty good.”

“Yeah,” Ariel answered with a smile, untying the chest rope. “I’ve always loved acting and play in school and church plays. There’s a reason Northwood gave me this date.”

They talked for a few more minutes about the scene while the sticky tape was removed from Aiden’s jeans. To Aiden’s surprise, his palm-to-palm tied hands stayed tied.

“Okay, lads, time for the real work,” Mike said back at his seat. “This time, there’s a genuine possibility Aiden gets kidnapped. So Jenna, be combat-ready. Ariel, you’re Aiden’s girlfriend. Aiden, you’re in your room, ought to do homework, but Ariel sneaked in your room and tied your hands behind you. Linda, you’re Aiden’s mom and went up to Aiden to bring him a drink. Ariel is hiding under Aiden’s bed, and you have no clue she’s there. Action!”

Aiden sat down on his chair, Ariel lay down on the ground in a corner, and Linda, with a glass of cola, entered the room.

“Hey, Aiden, working hard?” Linda smiled, putting the drink down on the ground. Aiden tried to hide his bonds, and Linda played as if she had not seen them yet. “Any luck so far?”

“Meh, it’s difficult,” Aiden answered, and Linda asked which subject it was. Mathematics crossed his mind first.

“Son, you know I’m a physics major. I can always assist you. Why did you not ask?”

“Shite, Linda was good. Irritating good.” Aiden thought. He looked the pretty blond in her eyes. “It’s my homework. Not yours.”

As Aiden could have guessed, his defense was hopeless. Linda yelled for tricking her after finding the ropes: He could have never done that alone. Aiden tried to deflect her attacks but failed against the storm of daggers. Luckily, Ariel left her hiding-spot, causing Linda to regain her sanity. Who would scream in front of her son’s girlfriend? The scene ended with Ariel being sent away, and Aiden forced to do his homework. The battle had been Linda’s.

The afternoon proceeded with Aiden in the center of attention in scenes about love and ropes. So he was screamed at, tied up, and seduced. Scene after scene, Ariel fell for him, they were dating, or were enemies. He was on a date with her, after all.

Mirth described Aiden’s feelings poorly, but he liked that the date deflected his mind from the game. It was weird, but not awkward, except for the one time Ariel’s and Aiden’s love succeeded. Here, he wore a ballgag, and she kissed his cheek. Aiden was blindfolded during another scene that Linda stopped after a minute. Not his best acting.

But, to Aiden’s surprise, Ariel made no real kidnapping attempt. She fumbled with her garland during the scenes, threatening, but never dared to make a move. A failed attempt would mean the end of the date and would cost Northwood points. She likely saw no possibility, Aiden thought.

In the last scene, Ariel played a prison guard, who unsurprisingly, fell in love with Aiden, a robber. He had real cuffs around his wrists behind his back, and a long chain connected his elbows.

“So, Aiden, if I smuggle your cellphone in, you marry me after getting out?” Ariel asked, standing in Aiden’s prison cell.

“Yeah, that’s the deal,” Aiden replied. “My word.”

“Okay, then I go now,” Ariel blushed, locking his cell and walking off the stage. Mike halted the scene, and Ariel returned with a small black metal box.

“That was a blast,” Ariel said in joy. “This was the final scene, but I fancy to continue our date. Nine o’clock, Blackfield road playground.”

Ariel placed the keys of Aiden’s cuffs in the box, locked the six-wheel combination lock, and turned the wheels. “Be there. Your night will pretty awful otherwise.” She laughed, put the box in her back, and left the theater.

Aiden had already accepted his loss and sat down on the stage. He tried to step over the cuffs, but his elbow chain hindered him. He was stuck.

Mineira1986
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Post by Mineira1986 »

Oh my God!

Like, for real! I loved this chapter. I know it doesn't have new positions, clever ties but it has so many elements I love. Ariel has such control over Aiden, so different than what his family or Jenna had over him while he was restrained. It's all about teasing. That phrase "you are mine now and enjoy it", so powerful. The fact that Ariel could rub Aiden's sock over his nose and tickle him and he was powerless to do anything. And did I read correctly, is he spending all his evening with his hands cuffed behind his back until 9 PM? Awesome!

I also wanted to point out that Northwood knows their game. Aiden decided to be a pain in the ass while speed dating, well, he may be reaping what he sow. I bet this date and the other two won't be very pleasant to him because of his previous actions.

Thanks again for this great story!

Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Mineira1986 wrote:
2 weeks ago
Oh my God!

Like, for real! I loved this chapter. I know it doesn't have new positions, clever ties but it has so many elements I love. Ariel has such control over Aiden, so different than what his family or Jenna had over him while he was restrained. It's all about teasing. That phrase "you are mine now and enjoy it", so powerful. The fact that Ariel could rub Aiden's sock over his nose and tickle him and he was powerless to do anything. And did I read correctly, is he spending all his evening with his hands cuffed behind his back until 9 PM? Awesome!

I also wanted to point out that Northwood knows their game. Aiden decided to be a pain in the ass while speed dating, well, he may be reaping what he sow. I bet this date and the other two won't be very pleasant to him because of his previous actions.

Thanks again for this great story!
Thanks a lot! I added an original tie in this chapter, but I purposely don't have them in each chapter. Extreme or clever restraints like the climbing wall and kidnappings are not always possible. They cost much time to tie, and Aiden needs his rest.
Ariel is taunting Aiden, but she is allowed to and is not a bad guy for doing it.
Of course, the Northwood girls are a little annoyed, but not too much. It's a game, and if everyone got mad for these things, cross-district friendships would be impossible. It's innocent teasing.
-------------------------------------------------
22. A cuffed date

“Never again. Awkward is an understatement,” Aiden said, walking home with Jenna, who would stay for dinner. No car had stood ready, so leaving was safer than waiting.

“C’mon, Aiden,” Jenna laughed. “You sure need to slacken, but you tried and weren’t dreadful. You didn’t stomp out or acted like a total ass.”

“Thanks, if that was a compliment,” Aiden replied. “Acting and standing in the spotlight were never my hobbies. You’d have shined like a star on that stage and enjoyed it.”

Jenna blushed. Due to Aiden’s cuffs, she carried his backpack too and knocked his legs with it in revenge. “Totally, but Northwood would grant me another uncool date.”

Aiden’s excited gaze told her to reveal her phobias. “Dunno, watching an uncool horror movie with jump-scares, a scary abduction, or horses. Ariel knows me inside out and would surely spoil these secrets to her district. I bet Micheal and Elijah ratted yours out.”

Aiden’s mouth had dropped open, unsure where to begin. “You’re afraid of horses?”

“Afraid is exaggerated. A pissed-off stallion kicked me in the stomach when I was five. I never liked horses. Massive, powerful animals.”

Aiden wanted to ask more questions, but they had already entered his driveway, and his mom ran out to greet them. “Hey, guys, good to see you. Lilian is gone all night, so now I haven’t prepared way too much food.”

“Thanks for the invitation,” Jenna said. “Something with the game?”

“Yeah, some girl asked for her overnight bag but assured me Lil wasn’t captured yet. A date she named it.”

Aiden wore his jacket over his body with empty sleeves, and Jenna unzipped it and added it to the coatrack. His mom stared at his cuffs and only nodded unimpressed during Jenna’s swift clarification. “Should I feed him dinner, or do you volunteer?”

“I don’t mind,” Jenna said. After Aiden’s dad had studied the locks and had failed to pick them, dinner started. Aiden accepted the fork stuck in his mouth while the other three talked. He was tired, both physically and of people. Some alone time would not hurt.

“Steel cuffs...” Aiden’s father mumbled to himself. “They ain’t used often. Aiden, your second time for a dare?”

“Third,” Aiden said, after digesting his bite. “Once to force me to get somewhere at night, like today. The other time I spent a night in jail.”

“You? In jail? What’s that story?” Jenna said.

Aiden waited on another bite. “Elijah was my protector that day, and we had to rob a bank with paintball guns. An old shed in the woods. We lost and ended up as inmates in the old town jail. We spent that night handcuffed, but safe from Riverbend.” The old town jail stood empty, and the police lend it to the youth in return for help with maintenance. Now it was used for rebellious adults during Responsibility Day and overnight dares on neutral ground.

“I like it’s almost always ropes and tape,” Aiden’s mom said. “No lost keys, jammed locks, or too many self-bondage accidents. Bonus for needing more restraints to make it inescapable.”

The rest agreed and discussed various forms of bondage. Aiden, exhausted and embarrassed, skipped the dessert and lazed down on the living-room couch. The other three ate their ice-cream, did the dishes, and found Aiden fast asleep. Afterward, he found out his parents had gone up to the study to let him nap in peace. Jenna had messed on her phone on the other couch, watching him.

At 8:30 PM, the doorbell rang, and Jenna woke Aiden before answering it: Their ride had arrived. Aiden’s escort helped him in his jacket while Jenna sought a blindfold from his parents.

It was a five-minute drive to Blackfield road playground, a strategic Northwood pick: In the north, leaning against the forests. Solid Northwood territory. Once there, Riverbend cleared the area from hidden opponents, so Aiden could leave the car. He entered the sandpit with wooden structures he had adored in his primary school years. Good memories.

“You’ve to wait in the wooden tower on top of the slide,” Jenna said, causing Aiden to roll his eyes. The only entrances onto the ten-feet high platform were a cargo-net and the glide itself.

“Ever tried this cuffed?” Aiden asked Jenna, who now saw her boyfriend’s doubts. A quick exchange of words with the senior in charge ended in a muscled football player carrying Aiden up.

“Now I have to blind you and abandon you,” Jenna smiled, to Aiden, who sat down against the wooden pillar in the middle. “Ariel’s words. She’s here in fifteen minutes.”

“So you’re against me too,” Aiden chuckled. “Any allies left?”

“I doubt you get this, but I protect you,” Jenna said, annoyed, blindfolding Aiden with a regular gray sleeping mask. “She also directed you to be gagged with your own socks. I talked her out of it.”

“Great, Jenna. Thanks. You’re my angel. Please text her I won’t tolerate any tickling.”

“I will,” Jenna smiled, sure her friend would not listen. “Bye, Aiden, I have to wait outside the playground. See you in two hours.”

“Bye, Jenna. Love you.”

“Love you too, Aiden,” Jenna said, before diving off the tube slide.

The wood was a bit sandy from the playground but dry as the tower’s roof was remarkably effective. Aiden knew there were little windows in the tower, but his guards could not see inside. Aiden closed his eyes and waited while taking a second nap. The couch had been softer, but sleeping here was not impossible. He was relaxed and not nervous as he had been for the speed-dates.

Aiden never heard Ariel appear, but instead felt a hand shaking his shoulder. “Oh, hi, sorry I fell asleep,” he yawned.

“It was only fifteen minutes,” Ariel said, sitting down next to him. “How did you accomplish that?”

“Dunno, I could not do anything productive to kill time,” Aiden replied, curious why Ariel had not lowered his blindfold yet.

“Good impressions matter for a date, and you also slept after dinner. Tired?”

“Yeah, long, exhausting day. Jenna told you that?”

“Yeah, we texted. I feel the same. I hope you weren’t angry, but the handcuffs weren’t my idea. Part of the date.”

Aiden said he believed her, and after discussing the ridiculous speed-dates and improv, he asked what was up next.

“I got a few ideas. We can talk, sit in silence, or I can tie you up. The latter pays us extra points as I won’t be able to kidnap you. That seems hopeless nevertheless, both in feasibility and hopes you pick me.”

Aiden liked Ariel’s approach to this date and chose the tie. He did not mind, and soon duct tape circled across his jeans. Ariel thrash-talked their teachers and courses while covering him in the sticky gray substance.

“Now it gets complicated,” Ariel said. “Those handcuffs prevent me from mummifying you beautifully. Your coat is also an issue. I need an inescapable tie with some effort for bonus points. Ideas?”

“Suspend my legs to the roof? Hogtied is too cold in my t-shirt,” Aiden suggested. “And dull too.”

“Nah, that reveals my choice to your protection. Boring. I desire some tension.” Ariel searched her bag and told Aiden she only brought five ropes and a roll of duct tape.

“Eh, that glide is pretty steep,” Aiden said. “Tie a rope harness and connect it to the pillar in the middle of the tower. The slide will carry most of my weight, so it checks all your boxes.”

Ariel smiled, removed Aiden’s coat, and started tying him up. Instead of the expected hip harness, his entire upper body ended up in a karada too. Aiden felt awkward due to his blindfold, shivering, and rope passing the tiny crack between the tape and his private parts. In response, Ariel showed no emotions and did not tease her date. She tied him, nothing else. Aiden endorsed her practical approach and said her odds of being his May Dance-date had improved.

When Ariel hung him in the plastic tube, he knew his plan worked. Ariel took a few pictures and sent them to the game board before sliding next to Aiden. She had to grasp his shoulder to halt her descent. “Aiden, you’re a genius! Now I must hold you all night. Very romantic and intimate.”

Aiden confirmed this, and they discussed whether Jenna would be okay with it while Ariel threw his coat around his body. “Doubt it,” Aiden said. “She trusts you and knows we’re dating. If you don’t seduce me or hit on me, it’s okay.”

Ariel agreed and removed his blindfold. This did not help as the street lamps did not penetrate the thick plastic, and the tube’s openings were in the wrong direction. It was pitch-black inside.

“This one is on Northwood,” Ariel said, pulling a pack of chips out of her bag. “I love this date has free food.”

“Yeah, have you done many?” Aiden asked.

“Only a few. I’m not in the standard pool of Northwood protectors and have no good friends on the battlefield who request me. I never liked the protection jobs during dares, so few key jobs. It’s cool you asked me out.”

Ariel gave Aiden some chips. She clamped her legs around Aiden’s, but he did not object. “No problem, you were a chill protector. If I get back to Northwood, I can request you... If you wish, that is. I’ve been a target for so long. I don’t care.”

“Thanks. That’s kind. Many fancy these dares, but few get an opportunity. During the speed-dates, we didn’t fight about you but about an exciting afternoon.” Ariel startled by her own words.“ Nothing against you, but you know, no-one was into you.”

“I know. I was grumpy and annoyed. Doubt, I made myself popular, and now this tired mess lays here.”

Ariel laughed, knowing this was true. She had envisioned another date but did not dislike this. Aiden described his feelings about the game and the lack of freedom without getting emotional. Even though he had told this many times in the past days, it felt good. He barely knew Ariel, but she seemed trustworthy. Then he made excuses for his behavior during the speed-dates.

“Many envy your position,” Ariel laughed. “Always getting the cool shit, but the grass is always greener on the other side.”

“True,” Aiden said. “I will miss them after a few weeks, but want a break.” He did not mention his game board meeting of the following day. Then the subject changed Aiden’s previous dares, including last week’s photo assignment. The time flew, and Aiden enjoyed himself as it was no regular date. Ariel made no effort to make things awkward, create tension, or scare him. Much better than the speed-dates.

“Hey, lovebirds,” Jenna said, climbing on the cargo-net. “Your 90 minutes are over.”

“One last kiss,” Ariel laughed, not executing her threat.

“Oh, there you are,” Jenna laughed, getting down the slide to join them. “I was already wondering if you ran off. You guys had a good evening?”

Aiden felt the growing pressure on his hips as he now had to support the two girls. “Could be worse. At least far better than I had imagined. Thanks.”

Ariel sent another photo to the game board to prove Aiden had been tied for the entire date. “Aiden, I was supposed to extract your phone number and hand you mine. You know, like a proper date. The last six digits of my phone number unlock the box. I gotta go. Mom hates if I’m late.” Ariel grabbed her bag and slid down. “Jenna, can you return my ropes tomorrow?”

“I will,” Jenna shouted in response. She climbed back up, pulled Aiden up, and released the rope holding him to the wooden tower. Then she pushed her helpless boyfriend down the slide. Aiden’s protection cut the tape and helped him out of the karada.

“6, 2, 4, 1, 9, 2,” Jenna mumbled. The box with the 6-wheel combination lock waited down the glide, and she tried to crack it. “That should be it.”

“Does it not open?” Aiden said.

“No. It won’t bulge,” Jenna replied, making the other Riverbend try it too.

“What now?” Aiden said, worried. “Call the game board?”

“Yeah, that’s best,” the senior in charge replied, obtaining the confirmation the code was correct.

Ten minutes later, an anxious sophomore game board member joined them and tried the code herself. She failed to crack the box too. “Sorry, Aiden. This shouldn’t happen. We should have given your date the keys. This box was unnecessary.”

“It’s okay. Not your fault,” Aiden replied, unsure if this was true.

She walked away, made more phone calls while Aiden and Jenna waited on a bench. “I’m so sorry, but we can’t release you now. In school, there is a master key, but it’s locked at night. I should not make this request, but can you sleep like this?”

“Guess I’ve little choice. Mind if I go home? School starts early tomorrow.”

The game board member nodded, and Aiden was dropped off at his home, sad how this evening had ended.

Mineira1986
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Post by Mineira1986 »

Oh, of course I don't expect Northwood girls to mad at Aiden's attitude. But innocent teasing... that just works! I was kind of expecting the cuffs idea was Ariel, not the game board. That makes it so much interesting (also, the fact that Lilian's date required her backpack... would love to hear how that date went hehe).

Still, I am glad to see two things:

First, you are right. Aiden and Jenna's relationship is pretty much based on Aiden's feelings about the game. Now we are seeing that. Aiden annoyed while Jenna is quite calm herself. I love watching their interactions.

Second, somehow you make this feel so realistic. Too many chapters watching Aiden and Jenna's dare and kidnappings and stuff... but there are other boys and girls in Arkalay, and not everybody gets to play in the game. Ariel reflects this very good, and how the girls wanted to be chosen as Aiden's date just to have some part in the game. Really, really great!

Once again, thank you so much for this story.

Beaumains
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Post by Beaumains »

Thanks for your comment!
also, the fact that Lilian's date required her backpack... would love to hear how that date went hehe
I will give a quick summary in the next chapter ;)
Second, somehow you make this feel so realistic. Too many chapters watching Aiden and Jenna's dare and kidnappings and stuff... but there are other boys and girls in Arkalay, and not everybody gets to play in the game. Ariel reflects this very good, and how the girls wanted to be chosen as Aiden's date just to have some part in the game. Really, really great!
Thanks a lot! I try to write authentic characters and base what will happen on what I expect them to do. Of course, this is not always possible as interesting scenes are also enjoyable to write. All get to play in the game, but not as a target, and with large organizational structures like both districts, few constantly get the fun jobs. But it's not like this is their only opportunity to be involved in the dares. It's just that most freshmen have no car yet, which are used frequently. So being a star in a dare is rare for most.
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23. Bureaucracy at best

Tuesday, April 30th, 4:00PM

"To start with, sorry about yesterday, Aiden," Rebecca, the head of the dare committee, said. "Someone screwed up the code, and we should have brought spare keys with us. As payback for your inconvenience, you get some extra points and this."

She handed Aiden a bar of dark chocolate and a bag of fudge that Aiden accepted, still displeased. Not only had he slept cuffed but had worn the same shirt the entire time. So no morning shower. He was freed halfway through the first period, so he had sat in class with a sweaty shirt, and his father had fed him his breakfast et cetera. Not a pleasant morning.

"So, guys, you requested to speak with us," Daniel, the head of the kidnapping committee, said. Next to Aiden, Lilian, Rebecca, and him, Margot, a game court judge, also sat in the spare classroom. "If I understand correctly, you guys are not liking the game anymore?"

Aiden glanced at Lilian, who was not content with these words. Their last conversation had been Monday morning, so they were unprepared, and both waited on the other to respond.

"Well, eh, not quite that," Lilian said after a while. "We really appreciate you and what you organize. The game and Arkalay are terrific, and we would never wish to be raised somewhere else. We won't quit or anything, and being tied up is a non-issue."

Aiden saw the faces of the game board bigwigs light up while his sister continued. "We now have been targets for three months. That's a long time, and expect to stay targets for a lot longer."

"What do you mean?" Margot interrupted.

"Only children in middle school live on both our sides. So they're hard to get already, but due to our situation, their protection is almost perfect. At least six-man strong. Their districts ban them for participating in any dangerous dares. The leaderships of both teams are aware of this situation and exploit it. Not very sportsmanlike, but the best strategy."

"Yeah, and meanwhile, we do all dares as losing us carries no consequences," Aiden added. "Everyone loves the dares, but doing them almost daily takes a lot of time and removes the magic. Combine that with a weekly kidnapping, and piles of homework, visiting friends, and other obligations. Next to that, you can't go anywhere for safety reasons and have to be paranoid everywhere. After a while, it becomes a burden."

A silence fell as the game board thought and exchanged gazes. "I understand you perfectly, and you guys were right to contact us. So what do you propose?" Daniel asked. "Do you have a particular solution in mind?"

Aiden and Lilian stared at each other. "Not really," Aiden confessed. "Changing the frontline seems like a logical option, but that would change nothing in the long run as we could return to this situation. A break would also be pleasant but keeps the problem intact too."

The game board agreed and told them they would discuss it in their next meeting and keep in touch. "But don't expect anything too swift," Rebecca added. "Middle of next week at the earliest, but we will take action."

Aiden nodded as the game board members left. The appointment had been shorter than expected, and no real decisions were made. Still, they listened at least and took them seriously.

"And? How did it go?" Jenna said, rushing in the classroom together with Lilian's sleep-deprived protector.

"Okay," Aiden answered. "But nothing concrete."

The four of them left and got in their ride home, where Aiden and Lilian parted with their protectors. On Wednesday and Thursday, there would be dates, so Aiden wanted a night off. Well, Jenna would join him after dinner for a movie night, so being tied up was not improbable.

"So how was your day?" their father asked Lilian during dinner. Aiden had taken a shower in the meantime and done homework in his room for the remaining time. "I mean your overnight dare."

"Oh, yeah, I was in jail," Lilian explained, taking a bite out her taco. "James, my date, and I shared a cell, just like a Northwood girl and her date. The two protectors split one too and got the other target's cell's key. So they had to keep track of each other all day, although opening our cell door triggered an alarm."

Lilian lively described they had to wear orange prison uniforms, surrender their phones, and linger in their cells all day. They only got a mandatory hour-long evening work-out in the yard and a cold morning shower. Only books and non-electronic homework were allowed into the cells, making it dull and forcing them to chat.

"Yeah, an odd first date," Lilian said. "But despite the lights going out at nine, having a fearful night, and being woken at 5, it was not horrendous. I learned much about him, so it succeeded as a date." She sipped from her glass of water, before putting it down hastily. "Oh, wait, I forgot the most important part: We could request our guards to tie us up for bonus points. So until dinner, we were bound to our chairs, and I was straight-jacketed all night. Quite liked it actually, might buy one myself."

"Good idea, I have to try one for ages," their mother said, and during dessert, Aiden detailed his own dare, and the mistake made with the handcuffs.

"So you had quite a night too," Lilian said. "And these were only the first dates. Now way, the others will be tamer."

"Can't be much good, but at least appreciate our evening off," Aiden said, exchanging the dinner table for the kitchen.

After the dishes were done, he lay flat out on the couch, mindlessly spending the remaining half an hour until Jenna arrived at 8. Too little time for homework.

But the movie night never came. At a quarter to eight, messages from Riverbend members about an incoming dare appeared on his screen, and ten minutes later, they stood in the living room. He tried to contact Jenna but failed, and Riverbend assured him this was the case with all protectors. At eight sharp, he received a message on his phone:


Dear target,

Tonight, it is time for another dare, and your protector has decided to take part! As you might have noticed, we kidnapped them and gave them a dilemma: Be tied up in the eastern forest or go to the old jail.

In the first case, you can find their location in the Arkalay app and have to find and free them. You earn 1000 points if you reach the Arkalay's central park before 10AM. If you fail, they spend an uncomfortable night in jail.

In the second case, your app displays the same location, but your protector will be in jail. This option is worth significantly fewer points, 100 to be precise.

Flashlights and other light sources are strictly forbidden for everyone in the forest. If you go, you go alone. No protection.

Remember, all high schoolers know about this dare, so be careful.

Have fun,

The game board


Aiden looked at Lilian, who had received the same message. "Are you going?"

"Nah, you saw my protector this afternoon. I doubt she fancies another bad night in jail. Way too tired already."

All eyes were aimed at Aiden, who had to judge Jenna's choice. Decision time. What would his girlfriend do? On the one hand, she would never skip a dare, and sending him into danger for nothing was not her habit. In between the dates, she craved to be in the center of attention. If they got to choose, she would love to do this. But, she knew Aiden was tired of the dares and wanted an evening off, might expect him not to show up. Yet, she accepted the dare. If she wanted the movie night, she had declined it.

"I will go," Aiden said. "It's a risk, but I'm willing to take it."

He ran upstairs and changed in suitable clothes: camo pants, black socks, and black running shoes. He took an old, dark raincoat, a balaclava, and three rolls of black tape.

"Help me, guys," Aiden said, and the Riverbends helped to tape all reflective and light features of Aiden's outfit. He put the raincoat and balaclava on, said goodbye to his parents, and got in the car. Without flashlights, he would be invisible.

"A couple ideas," the boy next to him said. "Stay low, move slowly, and don't be afraid to give up. You will be alone, and if you start running, you are toast. Return if you have any doubt, you will make it. A list of possible get-away car locations is on your phone. Good luck."

Aiden left the safe car, and the Riverbends used its lights to flash the forest before releasing him. Aiden left the road and knew he was on his own. Jenna depended on him, and Aiden hoped he made the correct choice.

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