The Hungarian Bride
by Zack

John Smith stared at his computer monitor and wondered how he could improve his drab, lonely life. Objectively, his life wasn't going badly. Just barely thirty, he was already the assistant manager of a major branch of Consolidated Bank, one of the largest banks in the Southwest. He was healthy, he worked out regularly so he was in good shape, and he didn't smoke, or drink to excess. What's wrong with me, he mused. I have a good job, a house, enough money, and I'm not bad looking, except for going bald. Yet I don't have a girlfriend. I've never had a girl friend.

John sighed. He knew very well why he didn't have a girlfriend. He was paralyzed to the point of incoherence whenever he tried to approach an available female. Some of the women at work had made broad hints they were available, but he ignored them, telling himself it wouldn't be proper to date an employee he supervised. Yeah, but how about Karen? She doesn't work for you and you practically ran when she came near.

"Ok, I'm a loser!" he shouted. Luckily, he was at home alone so nobody heard his outburst. John lived on the outskirts of the Phoenix metropolitan area, in a house he inherited from his parents. When they bought it, forty years ago, it was deep in farm country. Now it was surrounded by housing developments, but because it was in the center of ten acres of land he didn't have any close neighbors. The house itself was small, just two bedrooms, but unlike most Arizona houses it had a full basement, used now mostly to store junk.

"Well, if I can't get a real girl I'll have to make do with virtual ones," he muttered. "Let's see what's new on 'Red's Realm'." John selected the site from his bookmarked list and logged in. He downloaded some pictures and moved on to 'Shackled Maidens' and 'Hogtied'. John perused several other sites he subscribed to and was about to shut down his computer when he accidentially clicked on an ad:

EUROPEAN BRIDES AVAILABLE

For those women living in poorer countries in Eastern Europe the prospect of living in America is a factor, but it's usually not the primary one. Most women are simply looking for good husbands. They want husbands who will provide good homes for them, who will treat them well and not beat them or run around on them.They get all too much of that at home and are seeking something better. Wife abuse may occur in the US, but it's not nearly as bad in America as it is in many other cultures. Foreign women know this, and that's the major reason why so many women are interested in finding an American husband. American men treat women far better than do the men in most other countries, extremely well, by world standards.

A recent treaty allows citizens of the European Union to easily obtain a US visa, so there is no longer any of the immigration problems of the past. Fill out the form and specify what you are looking for in a wife, not just her physical appearance but also her interests and education. Also describe yourself, and our computer will match you with someone compatible. We are matchmakers, not procurers, so if all you are looking for is sex go somewhere else. Except for a small registration fee there is no charge until you marry. You arrange travel costs and other expenses directly with the woman involved and we do not take a commission.

John thought, 'What the hell', and filled out the form. He specified a woman in her twenties with some education beyond high school. All of the site photos featured very pretty women, but appearance wasn't that important to him. In spite of what the ad said this was a lot like a meat market, but he was OK with that. (He had had commercial sex in the past during trips to Las Vegas.) He wanted someone to love, and who could love him, and he felt that this was a way to bypass all of the preliminaries that had blocked him. He accurately described himself and attached a photo. He charged the $25 registration fee to the credit card he used for Internet sex and pressed 'send'.

A few weeks went by, and John was about to consider his registration fee as lost to just another Internet scam when he received an email, via the Bride website. It was from a young woman in Hungary. She said her name was Rosza Gabor, she was twenty seven, and she lived in Budapest. She had studied business and English at university and was now a management trainee at Magyar Nemzeti Bank. She attached a photo, and she was beautiful, with blue eyes, black hair, and pale skin. The photo showed her from the waist up, and her modest dress didn't obscure her shapely figure. She included her personal email address and John replied immediately.

They exchanged emails daily for the next several weeks. Most of the conversation was as mundane as one would expect, but serious matters were discussed as well. Rosza said she wanted to leave Hungary because she felt Europe was decaying. She was ambitious, but women were suppressed by the patriarchal society, and she had been passed over for promotion in favor of less-qualified men. She lived with her mother and stepfather and had almost no chance of affording a place of her own. Her stepfather often verbally abused her mother, and most of the men she knew saw nothing wrong with that, or worse. She thought John was very handsome and she wished they could meet.

When John read that Rosza wished to meet him his cynicism kicked in. Yeah, here it comes. She'll need money for airfare, and maybe her mother needs an operation too. So he was astounded when another email informed him that Rosza was flying to Phoenix the next Friday. She explained she had gotten part of the money for the tickets from her stepfather. 'Not that he wanted to give me the money, but he tried to have sex with me, and he doesn't want my mother to know. I said I would say nothing if he helped pay for the ticket.'

John replied that he would meet her at the airport and gave her his cellphone number. The rest of the week dragged by, but finally Friday, the first Friday in April, arrived. Rosza's plane was due to arrive around 10 PM, and John drove straight home from work. He had cleaned out the spare bedroom and put clean sheets on its bed. He dithered around the house, too nervous to eat. Just after six he got a phone call.

"John, this is Rosza. I'm at the airport here in Phoenix."

"What? I wasn't expecting you until ten!"

"Yes, but the flight from Hungary arrived early in New York and I was able to get a better connection. So here I am. I can't wait to see you."

"I can't wait to see you. I'll meet you on the south side of the terminal, on the arrival level. I'm at home now, and it'll take me about forty minutes to get to the airport. I'll be driving a white Honda."

"I'm wearing a blue dress. You know what I look like. I bought a cellphone in New York, so you can call me if we miss each other." She recited the number. "Please hurry, I can't wait to meet you."

John ran out of the house and got into his car. The next thing he knew he was at the airport, without remembering how he got there. He drove into the terminal and there she was, wearing a blue dress and standing next to a large shabby suitcase. He got out of the car and walked to the curb in a daze. Rosza was even more beautiful than she appeared in the photos.

She smiled and held out her arms. "Hello, John. Aren't you going to kiss me?" Without waiting for a reply she put her arms around his neck.

John hugged her tightly and their lips met. Rosza's mouth opened and her tongue flicked across his lips. After several minutes she broke lock. "Wow, that was something special," she gasped.

John noticed his surroundings. "We'd better go. We're blocking traffic." He helped Rosza into the car and loaded her suitcase into the trunk. The passion of the kiss seemed to have inhibited them, and their conversation on the way home was sparse and trivial. Rosza spoke good English, with only a trace of an accent.

Finally they arrived at John's house. As they drove up his long gravel driveway Rosza said, "You didn't tell me you lived on a farm."

"I don't do any farming, but my parents raised chickens as a hobby. There used to be nothing but farms around here, but it's all houses now. My house is kind of old and shabby. I hope you're not disappointed."

"Oh, no, this is wonderful. Besides, being with you is what is important."

They entered the front door and John led the way through the living room and into the hall. "My room is on the right and your room is on the left."

"Don't you want me to share your bed? Does my appearance disappoint you?"

"No, of course not! You are incredibly beautiful. I just didn't want to pressure you."

"In Hungary serious couples are always intimate. Put my suitcase in your room."

John hastened to comply. He asked, "Do you want something to eat? I'm starving."

"No, I had food at the airport. But can I use your computer? I want to send an email to my mother, to let her know I arrived safely."

"Sure, it's in the living room and it should be on. While you're doing that I'll get some food."

John made himself a peanut butter sandwich. When he finished eating he wandered into the living room. Rosza was staring at the computer screen, which displayed a photo of a nude woman, hogtied. John stammered, "Er, that's something that I, that is..."

Rosza interrupted, "Do you like to tie up girls? I like to be tied up."

"Huh?"

"It is good that we share an interest. Why don't we do it now? You can tie me to the bed when we have sex." She walked toward the bedroom.

John wondered if he were dreaming. On the off chance he wasn't he headed for the bedroom, with a detour to the kitchen to pick up a coil of braided cotton clothesline. When he arrived in the bedroom Rosza was naked and sitting on the edge of the bed. She smiled and held out her clasped hands. "Tie my wrists together and then to the head of the bed. We can start simple and go to more secure ties later."

John wrapped the rope around Rosza's wrists with trembling hands. He was very aware that he didn't have a lot of actual experience when it came to tying up girls, but he had a lot of vicarious experience. He cinched the loops and tied a knot where her fingers couldn't reach it. Rosza stretched out on the bed and lifted her arms over her head. The headboard was made of steel tubing, painted black, so it was easy for John to tie off the rope.

She smiled and scrunched down the bed as far as the rope allowed. John reveled at the sight of her naked body. Her breasts were firm, not floppy, just the way he liked them. She had a thick mat of black pubic hair, a dark triangle that almost reached her navel. He wasn't so sure that he liked this, but he figured it was a European style thing and he decided to give it the benefit of the doubt.

"What are you waiting for, John? Take off your clothes and get on the bed."

John quickly stripped. "Uh, I don't have any condoms..."

"Not to worry. I take the pill. Now hurry!"

John jumped on the bed. His hands roamed over Rosza's body, stroking and probing. He wasn't able to control himself for long and he thrust into her body. Rosza screamed and moaned and wrapped her legs around his waist. John was sexually naive, but he more than suspected she was faking it. OK, next time I'll try to make it last longer, so she's satisfied too.

John rested for a few minutes and then turned back to Rosza. He kissed her deeply, and she returned his kiss. Next he stroked her breasts with his right hand while his left hand explored between her legs. He discovered that her thick pubic hair wasn't wiry, but instead it was soft, like moss. After a brief search he found her clit and gently stroked it. Rosza moaned and undulated her hips. As John continued kissing and touching her body Rosza responded with moans, cries, and movement. This excited John, and soon he was erect again. When he entered her again he didn't hurry, and this time her orgasm was real.

* * *

It was early Saturday morning. John was sleeping on his right side, close to Rosza, with his left hand on her right breast. He was dreaming that someone was calling his name, 'John! John!' He woke up and realized someone was calling his name. It was Rosza. He muttered, "Huh? What?"

"Wake up, John. I have to use the toilet and I'm still tied to the bed. Let me loose!"

"Oh, gee, I'm sorry! I fell asleep so fast I forgot all about it." He quickly untied Rosza's hands and got out of bed. She pushed past him, a scowl on her face.

When Rosza returned to the bedroom John apologized, "I'm sorry I left you tied up all night. I just went to sleep."

Rosza smiled. "It's nothing. Actually, it was a thrill for me, except when I had to pee. I like it when I'm tied by you."

"That's good. Uh, could we act out some fantasies? You know, play games where I tie you up? I wouldn't ask this unless I knew you liked it."

"Yes, we could do that. You won't hurt me, will you?"

"No, no, of course not! I'm not into whips or anything like that. I just want to tie you up and watch you struggle to escape. It also turns me on if you pretend to be my slave girl. I don't have any bondage equipment, so we'll have to use rope to start."

"All right. When do you want to do this?"

"Right now, but I suppose we better eat breakfast first." John put his clothes on. "I'll prepare the food while you get dressed."

John started frying eggs. Just as he finished Rosza entered the kitchen, dressed in a cotton robe. She sat at the table while he poured coffee for both of them. John quickly consumed his food but Rosza ate slowly and lingered over a second cup of coffee. Finally John asked, "Can we start now?"

"Yes, I suppose. What do you want me to do?"

"Go into the living room. Take off your robe and lie on the blanket I spread on the floor. I'll get the rope and be right there."

When John reached the living room Rosza was stretched out on her back. He paused, speechless at the sight of her naked body. Finally he croaked out, "Uh, turn over on your stomach and put your hands behind your back, palms together." He wrapped three loops of rope around her wrists and tied a knot. He circled her ankles twice with another piece of rope and tied the ends together. He cinched the ankle tie with a third piece of rope, folded Rosza's legs so her calves were vertical, and used the free end of the rope to cinch the wrist binding and form a loose hogtie.

John said, "There. See if you can escape. I don't have any more rope, so this tie isn't very secure. I'll set the timer for an hour, and if you can't get loose by then I'll untie you." He sat on the couch. "Ready, start!"

Rosza twisted her wrists, trying to gain some slack. After ten minutes of futile struggling she stopped to rest and think. Then she arched her back and pulled up her legs until she could reach the rope on her ankles. Her fingers found the knot and she untied it, releasing her ankles. She scrambled to her feet and ran into the kitchen. Rosza opened a drawer and grabbed a paring knife. She managed to get the blade inside of the loops around her wrists and the sharp knife easily cut the worn cotton rope.

John had been mesmerized by Rosza's struggling body, so he was slow to react. "Hey! Where are you going?"

He ran into the kitchen. Just as he got there Rosza raised her hands over her head in a triumphal gesture. "Ta da!" she cried.

"No fair! You cut the rope."

"You didn't say it was against the rules. So what do I win for getting loose quickly?"

John embraced her and kissed her. "How about sex? That will be a prize for me, too"

"Fine with me." They went into the bedroom.

* * *

John woke up in bed, naked and alone. He looked at the clock and was surprised to see that three hours had passed since he had sex with Rosza. I didn't realize I was so tired. Of course, I've had a lot of horizontal exercise lately. He thought about the latest episode. It was fun, but it wasn't as fun as it was when Rosza was tied up. I must really be a sex pervert. I'm lucky she is too. He got up and put his clothes on.

Rosza was in the living room, reading a paperback book. She was wearing a full cotton skirt colored in red and black stripes, a sleeveless white cotton blouse, and brown leather sandals. "Hi love," John said. "Almost time for lunch. Do you like tuna fish sandwiches? We also have peanut butter."

"I like tuna."

"OK, tuna sandwiches coming up." As John was preparing the food he thought, I seem to be doing all of the work. Maybe Rosza should be a real slave girl, instead of just a pretend one.

After lunch John said, "Let's go outside. It's a nice day." He took Rosza's hand and led her into the yard between the house and the barn. There was a steel pole there, supporting a light. He put her back against the pole and crossed her wrists behind it.

"John! What are you doing?"

"It's time for another bondage adventure. I'm going to tie you to this pole, but I only have enough rope to tie your wrists. Now stop struggling!"

"But I don't want to be tied up outside!"

"Don't worry, you aren't visible from the road." John wrapped horizontal and vertical loops around Rosza's wrists and tied a knot. With his last piece of rope he cinched the loops and tied a knot where her fingers couldn't reach it. "There! Get out of that. You can't get a kitchen knife now. But maybe I should search you to be sure you don't have one hidden on you." He squeezed and stroked her bottom and ran his hands around her waist. "Nope, nothing there." He kissed her. "I've got to do some shopping. I'll be back in an hour or so."

"You are just going to leave me here like this?"

"It'll be safe enough. You won't be hurt if the house catches on fire, and there haven't been any wolves in the vicinity for several months. I'll close and lock the gate on my way out, so there won't be any casual visitors."

Rosza opened her mouth to protest, but then thought, I told him I liked to be tied up. I can't complain now. "Well then, kiss me again, and hurry back."

John drove to a hardware store, where he bought various varieties of rope. After some thought he also bought chain, locks, and zip ties. There wasn't any sex store near by, but he had an inspiration and visited a large pet store where he purchased a heavy-duty leather dog collar. At a fabric store he bought some cloth from the remnants pile.

When John got back home Rosza was still tied to the pole, but now she was sitting on the ground and leaning against it. He said, "Still tied up? You aren't much of an escape artist. Are you ready for our next scenario?"

"I suppose so, but I'd like to rest a bit first, and I need to pee."

John untied Rosza's hands. "Go lie down for a while. I have a some preparation to do. I'll call you when I'm ready." He carried his purchases into the barn.

Rosza stood up and rubbed her wrists. The man's a fanatic. What did I let myself in for?

About an hour later John entered the bedroom. Rosza was face down on the bed, her naked body covered by a sheet. He touched her shoulder. "Time to wake up."

"Huh, so soon?"

"Yep. This is your costume, all of it." He handed her a small paper sack. "Put it on and meet me in the living room and I'll explain the next scenario."

Rosza examined the sack. All it contained was a long rectangle of filmy yellow-orange rayon cloth and a short piece of thin brown rope. The rayon was narrow and had a longitudinal cut in the center. She put her head through the cut. The cloth was long enough to reach her knees in front and back. She tied the rope around her waist as a belt. Rosza looked at herself in the mirror on the bedroom door. She liked the way she looked.

John was sitting on the couch in the living room. Rosza danced in and twirled in front of him. "You like?" she asked.

"Wow. You are incredibly beautiful." The narrow cloth strip left Rosza's hips and the sides of her breasts exposed. Her nipples and pubic hair were visible through the thin cloth. "You are sexier in that than you are when you're naked."

"Thank you, sir. I like it too. Now, tell me what we are going to do."

"OK, in this scenario you are a warrior princess who has been captured and enslaved. Your spirit hasn't been broken, but you've been flogged so often that you no longer make defiant gestures. You address the Duke who owns you (that's me) as 'Master' and you kneel in his presence. He wants to tame you, so he keeps you chained and makes you do humiliating things, such as menial labor. Any questions?"

"You aren't really going to whip me, are you?"

"Of course not. I might spank you, though. But only if you provoke me. Is that OK with you?"

"I don't know, I do not like pain."

"Yeah, the but the game wouldn't seem real if I couldn't discipline you if you were bad."

"Well, all right, but only if it is just play."

"We're agreed then, and ready to start the game." John stood up and grabbed Rosza's arm. "Into the kitchen, slave girl. There is work to be done."

The chains were on the kitchen table. John buckled the leather collar tightly around Rosza's neck and locked the buckle with a small padlock. He put a thick black zip tie through the end link of a foot-long chain and closed it around her left wrist. Another zip tie attached the chain to her right wrist. A slightly longer chain and two more zip ties connected and confined her ankles. John cut off the excess length of the ties with big shears. "On your knees, slave girl."

"Yes, Master." Rosza dropped to her knees. She didn't like the way this was working out. She thought, Submission and sex is one thing, submission and kitchen work is something else. Oh well, it won't last for long.

John opened the cupboard under the sink and brought out a ten foot chain. One end was bolted to the floor inside the cupboard and he padlocked the other end to the D-ring on Rosza's collar. He took a bucket of hot soapy water out of the sink and put it on the floor. "Your task, slave girl, is to scrub the floor. The brush is in the pail."

"You aren't serious, are you? You really expect me to scrub the floor?"

"Of course I expect you to scrub the floor. The floor is very dirty, and a humble task like this is just the thing to break the spirit of a haughty Princess. And you didn't address me as 'Master'." He took off his belt. "Do you want to be flogged again?"

Rosza stood up and backed away from John. "You wouldn't dare!"

She wasn't prepared for his move. He grabbed her around the waist, swept her feet out from under her, and dropped her on the floor. He stepped on the chain between her wrists, which pinned her hands down. Next he pulled over a kitchen chair, sat down, and draped her over his lap. Rosza squirmed and struggled, but John held her with his arm around her waist. He doubled the belt and swatted her across her bottom.

Rosza yelled, "Stop! That hurts!" The thin rayon didn't provide any protection and the belt really stung. John hit her again and she shrieked. After six more spanks she decided there was no real reason that she shouldn't do her share of the household chores. "I'm sorry, Master! I'll scrub the floor. Please, stop whipping me."

"I have another task for you first." John put Rosza on her back, moved the rayon to one side, and released his raging cock. He knelt between her legs and thrust into her. There was no foreplay, but Rosza found that she was aroused anyway. She bucked under his thrusts until they both came.

After he recovered John said, "That was fantastic." He sat up and kissed Rosza. "Now, slave girl, scrub the floor. And if you don't do a good job I'll tell Igor to take you to the torture chamber and exercise his skills on your body for a few hours. I have given him strict orders not to mar your beauty, but you will not have a pleasant time with him."

As soon as John left the kitchen Rosza cleaned herself up at the sink. She opened the drawer where she found the knife, but it no longer contained anything sharp. She pulled on the chain attached to her neck but it didn't move. I don't think I can get these chains off any time soon. And John may not have a torture chamber, but that belt wasn't pleasant either. Rosza looked at the floor. It was very dirty. She dropped to her knees, took a two-handed grip on the brush, and started scrubbing, her wrist chain rattling on the floor. This isn't nearly as much fun as sex, she thought.

After dinner the fantasies were stopped and straight bondage began. John took Rosza into the barn and had her strip. He had some pictures he had downloaded from a Japanese site and he experimented with various oriental bondage positions, starting with mild and working up to more severe bondage. In the ultimate position Rosza's arms were tied hand to elbow behind her back. Multiple strands of rope above and below her breasts welded her arms to her torso, and her legs were tied at the ankles, knees, and thighs. She was thoroughly gagged, her mouth stuffed with a wad of cloth held in place by a tight band of rope.

John tied a rope around her waist, ran it through her crotch and up her back, and tied it off to an overhead beam so she was standing on her toes. There was no longer any pretense that Rosza could escape. She dangled helplessly, and tears started to run down her face as the tight ropes bit into her flesh.

When John saw the tears he realized he had gone too far. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt you." He took out the gag and cut off the waist rope. Rosza sank to her knees.

Rosza knelt at John's feet, her head bowed. She was still naked and still in tight Shibari bondage. It had been a long day and she wanted to be untied, badly. She pleaded, "Please, can we stop? I can't take any more."

"Yes, yes, I'm sorry, I just got carried away. We should have set up a safeword." John quickly cut off the ropes. Rosza's body was covered with red and purple lines. When the last of the ropes were off her body John picked her up and carried her into the house. "That's enough for today."

Rosza thought, For today? That's enough, period.

* * *

Sunday was a true day of rest for Rosza and John. They didn't play any bondage games, but instead indulged in more mundane activities, such as grocery shopping. John discovered that Rosza didn't know anything about cooking, so he prepared the meals. They had just finished dinner when her cellphone rang.

Rosza said, "That is strange. Only my mother has this number, and why would she call?" She answered the phone. "Hello? Who is it?" There was a pause and then Rosza began to speak rapidly in Hungarian. John didn't understand anything of what she said, but she shook her head a lot. She stopped talking and put a hand over the phone. "John, this is someone I knew in Hungary. He wants to stop by and see me."

"Oh? An old boyfriend?"

"No, nothing like that, we were children together. A year ago I loaned him some money when he had to get out of Hungary in a hurry. Now he's driving from Los Angeles and wants to stop by and pay me back."

"How did he know you were here?"

"His mother and my mother are good friends. He must have got the information from them. You are not jealous, are you? There is no reason to be, we were never more than friends, but I would like to see him again, if you permit it."

"OK, if that's what you want it's fine by me."

Rosza smiled. "Thank you." She handed the phone to John. "Could you tell him how to find us?"

Several hours later John heard a car pull into the driveway and park next to the house. He turned on the outside lights and opened the door. A man was getting out of a late-model Mercedes sedan. "Hello! Is Rosza here? I'm her friend, Imre." His English was good, but he had an accent that reminded John of Bela Lugosi.

"Yes, she's here. Come in." They entered the living room and John got a good look at the stranger. He was about thirty, with average features and below average height. He was very well dressed, wearing pressed slacks and a sportcoat, and his shoes were shiny.

Rosza entered the room. "Imre, good to see you." She shook his hand. "John, this is Imre. I have known him for a long time. Imre, this is John, my betrothed."

Imre shook John's hand. "Congratulations. Rosza is a good woman. She will make you a fine wife." If Imre noticed the rope marks still visible on Rosza's wrists he didn't say anything.

Rosza said, "My, you look nice, Imre. The last time I saw you, you were almost ragged."

"Yes, I have done well in America." He took a large roll of currency from his pocket, peeled off ten $100 bills, and gave them to Rosza. "Here is the money I owe you."

"This is much more than I loaned you! You don't owe me so much."

"Consider it interest. You helped me at a bad time and I am grateful. Besides, I can afford it now."

Rosza smiled. "Well, I will take it then. I don't have much money myself and I don't want to burden John. But let us sit down, and you can tell me about yourself. Where are you going?"

John and Rosza sat together on the couch and Imre took a chair. Imre said, "I left Los Angeles this afternoon. I don't know yet where I'm going first, but I need to return to Hungary." He yawned. "It has been a long day. I would like to talk but I am very tired. Is there a hotel near here?"

"John, can Imre stay the night here? Then we can talk at breakfast."

John wasn't thrilled about the idea, but he wanted to please Rosza. "Yeah, he can spend the night."

Imre said, "Thank you, John. I will get my case from my car." He left the house.

As soon as the front door closed Rosza said, "Thank you for letting Imre stay tonight." She giggled. "You can gag me when we have sex so he doesn't hear my sounds."

* * *

Monday morning. John woke up to find Rosza was already out of bed. He showered and dressed and went into the kitchen.

Rosza was wearing her blue dress and was sitting in a kitchen chair. Her wrists were handcuffed behind her back and she was gagged with a knotted dishtowel. Rope was wrapped around her upper body, pinning her arms. Imre was holding a short-barreled revolver, which he pointed at John. He said, "Do not do anything foolish. If you do as I say no one will be hurt and you will have your Rosza back undamaged."

"What do you want?"

"I need some traveling money. You will get it for me from the bank where you work."

"Bank? What makes you think I work at a bank?"

Imre smiled sardonically. "Rosza's mother gave me Rosza's email address and it was not difficult for me to obtain her password, because I know the name of her kitten when she was a little girl. I read everything you sent her. Now get your car keys and we will go outside. Oh, first get rid of your cellphone. Put it on the table."

John got his keys from the rack near the door and took his cellphone from his jacket pocket and put it on the kitchen table. Imre was careful to keep a separation between them so John never had a chance to go for the gun, but John wouldn't have tried anyway. He didn't want to do anything that might cause Imre to hurt Rosza.

"That is good, John. Now park your car outside the back door. If you don't I will be forced to shoot Rosza."

"Don't hurt her! I'll do as you say. I won't risk her to save the bank's money." John got his car from the old barn that he used as a garage and parked it by the back door next to Imre's car, which was painted an unusual lime-green color.

Imre and Rosza were on the back porch. He held her arm with his left hand and pointed the gun in his right hand at her head. "Very good, John. Now open the trunk and get out of the car. Open the rear door." Imre walked down the back steps, pushing Rosza ahead of him. They walked to the rear of John's car and Imre moved away from it, leaving Rosza standing there. Imre pointed to a small cardboard box on the porch. "Put that on the floor of the back seat. Do not drop it, it is a gasoline bomb and we don't want it to go off."

John put the bomb in the car and closed the door. Imre said, "Help Rosza into the trunk." When John had done this Imre tossed him a set of leg irons. "Use these to hogtie her. And do it well, I will be checking your work."

John fastened a cuff around Rosza's left ankle, circled the handcuff chain with the leg iron chain, and locked the other cuff on her right ankle. "Now what?"

"Get in your car. Do not start the engine." Imre reached into the trunk and clicked the leg iron cuffs tighter. He slammed the trunk lid shut. "Now we will drive to your bank. Do not try to run away from me and do not reach for the bomb." Imre held up a cellphone. "All I have to do is press the 'send' button and the bomb will go off. You might be able to escape from the burning car, but Rosza will surely die."

"Don't hurt her! I'll do anything you say. Just don't hurt her!"

Imre got into his car. "Let's go now. When we get to the bank stay in your car until I tell you to get out. Be sure to obey all of the traffic laws. If you are stopped by the police I will use the bomb as a diversion to help me escape."

When he reached the bank John parked in his usual place. The bank was at one end of a large strip mall and Imre parked near the other end of the lot. John stayed in his car, his hands on the steering wheel, until Imre walked up and told him to get out. "So far so good, John. Now go into your office and act normally. I'll be watching you through the window. When you have the money call me on Rosza's cellphone. But remember this! If I see any sign of the police I'll set off the bomb!" He banged twice on the trunk lid. "Don't forget who is in here."

John went into the bank, nodding absently at the greetings from his coworkers. He sat at his desk and wondered what to do. He was worried sick about Rosza and he didn't care about the bank's money. But if he gave Imre the money what guarantee did he have that Imre wouldn't shoot him and blow up Rosza just to eliminate the witnesses? Imre was a ruthless bastard, and John didn't trust him for a second. He didn't doubt that not doing as Imre said would risk Rosza's life. He pondered his dilemma for over half an hour, consumed with anxiety, before he finally determined what he had to do.

John called the police. He was frightened that Rosza might be hurt, but this seemed to be the best way to avoid it. He couldn't face Imre and his gun without help. Eventually he was transferred to Detective Ramos, who wasn't surprised when he heard John's story. Ramos described Imre perfectly. "That what the man looks like?"

"Yes, how did you know?"

"They pulled the same stunt in L.A. a few weeks ago. The MO is identical, they even used a 'European Bride' website to locate their last mark. But he wasn't as smart as you are, so he actually took money from his bank. He may not have to go to prison, but he sure messed up his life."

John didn't hear anything after 'they'. "Do you mean Rosza is in on this?"

"Yeah. Her real name is Rose Nagy. His name is Jared O'Malley."

"Is she Hungarian?"

"Her parents immigrated from Hungary, but she was born in New Jersey."

"I can't believe this! I met her at the airport! She had just flown in from Hungary."

"Did you actually see her walk through the security gate? Or did you meet her outside the terminal?"

"Outside the terminal. She said she got an earlier flight." John moved from denial to grief. "I've been a fool, haven't I?"

"You aren't the only one they've conned. Better to find out sooner rather than later. Now, here's what I want you to do..."

Imre call John a short time later. "Where's the money? Why are you stalling? Don't make me kill Rosza."

"Some clerks are working in the vault. I can't get the money until they leave. Be patient! It won't be long now."

"All right, but hurry!" Imre hung up.

John got another call. It was Detective Ramos. "We're in position around the bank. I talked to your manager and she's prepared a package with some money in it. Take it from the vault and tell Jared to meet you outside the bank."

John got the package from the vault. He called 'Imre', who met him outside the bank's main entrance. As soon as he took the money from John three men closed in. Two pointed guns at Jared and the other displayed a badge.

"Police. I'm Detective Ramos, and you're under arrest. Where's your accomplice?"

"Accomplice? What accomplice?"

"Don't give me that shit, Jared. We know all about you two. Where's Rose?"

Jared looked toward the end of the parking lot. "Well, I see my car is gone, so I guess she's gone too."

"Car? What car?"

John interrupted, "He was driving a Mercedes. It was a funny green color."

"Why didn't you tell me this before?"

John shrugged. "You didn't ask me, and I didn't think of it. I was kind of upset, and it never occurred to me to mention it."

"Do you know the year? The model? Do you remember the license number? "

"Sorry, I just remember it was a new-looking sedan with California plates."

Just then a patrol car pulled up in front of the bank. Ramos said, "I'll issue an APB with what we've got, but if you remember any more details let us know." He got into the patrol car and used the radio.

John was puzzled. "Jared, Rosza was chained up in the trunk of my car. How did she get to your car?"

"I gave her a handcuff key when I checked on her at your house. Rapping on the trunk lid was the signal for her to uncuff herself and slip out of the trunk. My car was unlocked and the key was under the seat. She was supposed to pick me up."

"What about the bomb?"

"That's just a dummy, a cardboard box filled with sand for weight. Why would I need a real bomb?

One of the detectives put the now-handcuffed Jared into the back seat of the patrol car. Ramos finished broadcasting the description of Jared's Mercedes. He said to John, "I can see you're shook up. Let's go into your office and I'll take your statement there. Then you can go home and unwind."

Once in the office Ramos spread a half-dozen photos on John's desk. "Recognize anyone?"

John pointed to a picture of Rosza. "That's her." He sighed and dabbed at his eyes.

Ramos was sympathtic. "Yeah, it's hard, but you got off easy. And you're far from the first man to be fooled by a pretty face. You'll get over it. Now tell me what happened, from the beginning."

John recited the sequence of events, starting from when he answered the ad. Ramos frequently interrupted with questions so it was some time before John finished his narrative. Just as Ramos clicked off his recorder his cellphone rang. "Yeah?... Oh, shit! Well, keep looking, she can't have gotten far."

"Was that about Rosza?"

"Yeah, the car was spotted and chased, but she abandoned it next to the door of a big department store in the mall and got inside before our car caught up. They haven't found her yet, but they haven't completed the search. She won't get away." He stood up. "I'll get this statement transcribed and you can sign it later."

John drove home in a funk. He was terribly depressed, both because he had been fooled and because he still wanted the Rosza he had thought he had. He parked his car in the barn and got out. He heard a faint banging from the trunk and opened the lid. Rosza was still inside and still chained up. He took out her drool-soaked gag.

"Oh, thank you. I was about to choke. Please, get me out of here and untie me. Do you realize how long I've been crammed in this trunk? I hurt all over."

"Why are you still stuck here? Jared said he gave you a handcuff key."

"Yeah, but I dropped it and it fell down into a crack where I couldn't reach it."

"If you're here, then who took Jared's car?"

"How the hell should I know? Some passing car thief. It was a valuable unlocked car, and the key was under the seat." She struggled against the ropes. "Why are you just standing there? Get me out of here and untie me."

John lifted Rose out of the trunk and put her on her knees beside the car. He retrieved the handcuff key, removed the leg irons, and helped her stand up. She asked, "Are you going to call the cops? I'd be really, really grateful if you didn't."

"I figured that. And I think it would be a waste if you were in prison." John backed Rose up to a support post and locked the leg irons back on, with the chain behind the post. He headed for the door.

Rose shouted, "Hey! How long are you going to leave me here like this?"

"Only until I fix up a place for you in the basement. By the way, do you really like to be tied up?"

"No, I just saw the pictures on your computer and decided that pretending I did would make you value me more. I'm not a submissive, either."

"Oh... Well, then you probably won't enjoy our time together. But I'll enjoy it, a lot."

The End

Copyright 2010 by Zack. I welcome your comments. Email me at zack_writer{AT}hotmail.com