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I am a Correction Officer assigned to a maximum-security prison of some notoriety located in Western New York. I have lived alone since my wife passed away two years ago. While the term insurance that I carried on my wife got me out of debt; it did nothing to console my loneliness.

My house is a large three-story brick farmhouse. Large black walnut trees surround it, which afford me shade and privacy. I have a barn on my property as well as a two-car garage. My nearest neighbor lives a mile or so away. I decided to convert the third floor into a four-room apartment with a kitchen and full bath.

When the apartment was ready to rent, I posted a file card on the bulletin board at the prison. As it turned out, I rented to the first person I interviewed.

Her name was Elizabeth, a new employee who had just started working at the prison as a secretary in the Personnel Office. My file card was probably up for less then an hour, when Elizabeth read it, and put it in her purse.

She left work early that day and drove to my house. When I pulled into driveway, I could see an old beat-up red Toyota sedan parked by the garage.

Elizabeth was standing outside in the cold waiting to see the apartment. I got out of my truck and Elizabeth walked over to introduce herself. Her handshake was firm and sincere. She was confident and looked me directly in the eye when she spoke.

I liked her immediately and showed her the apartment without an appointment.

Two weeks later I helped her move her belongings from a small storage unit in Batavia with my pickup truck. After she had lived above me for eight months, I got to know her routine and schedule. Elizabeth was friendly but reserved and tended to keep to herself.

When she first moved in, she offered to help cut the grass. In the spring I taught her to operate the old farm tractor I used to mow the property. Elizabeth helped to care for the perennial flowerbeds my wife planted around the house. In the evening we often sat under the walnut trees. We made small talk and argued current events.

Many nights we just sat outside quietly, enjoying each other’s company in unspoken agreement. That was the extent of our relationship.

Elizabeth never talked about her past, nor I, mine. She was a good tenant except for one thing; she was frequently late with the rent. Annoyed with her, I decided to make some discreet inquiries. On my lunch break I walked to the Personnel Office to speak privately with my friend Margaret.

I allowed Margaret to store her 1967 Chrysler Imperial Convertible in my barn rent free from October to May when the weather turned warm enough to drive it. I knew that she would help me.

The first thing that Margaret asked me when I walked into her office was, ” When are you going to find yourself a nice girl? ” Margaret had over 40 years of state service and keys to every office in the Administration Building.

She knew passwords to access restricted computer files and documents and retrieve them from Central Office in Albany. She was liked by everyone, especially the secretaries working under her. Margaret is like an old mother hen with connections.

I found out that Elizabeth was originally from Buffalo, N.Y. and never married. She was attending Saint Bonaventure College, working as a waitress when her father died leaving her mother without savings or insurance.

Elizabeth dropped out of college and moved back home to support her mom. When she became too much for Elizabeth to handle alone, she went to nursing home and died a year later.

Elizabeth lost the house because of liens filed against it to recover the cost of her mother’s stay. The last occupation listed on her state job application form was at J.C. Penny’s in Batavia where she worked as a salesperson.

Margaret said, ” That’s all you need to know. I like Elizabeth. She is a hard worker. Take my word for it; you are renting to a nice girl.

Margaret has a way with people. She also has to have the last word. Before she said goodbye, Margaret reminded me again to find myself a nice girl. Reminding me there was one living above me.

The official paper work describes Elizabeth as follows: race: white, gender: female, age: 35, Height: 5′-6 “, weight: 125 lbs., Eyes: brown.

That is how bureaucrats in Albany see Elizabeth. I see lovely women with a nice figure, clear complexion and youthful face. I see intelligent hazel eyes, a small turned up nose and sensuous lips.

Without makeup, I thought she wore a little too much; she could easily pass for women in her early twenties. When I described our first handshake, Elizabeth’s fingernails were short and sensible.

They are much longer now with colored nail polish. I don’t like them that way. Come to think of it, when I went to see Margaret, I noticed a lot of secretaries with long painted fingernails. Maybe it’s the new style or something.

All this aside, Beth’s most notable feature was her beautiful thick long hair. It was dark brown with reddish highlights and blunt cut all one length reaching almost to her waist. To her credit she kept it pinned up all neat and proper while at work.

The background information out of the way: It was the first week of August. Elizabeth’s rent was due; she still owed me for July. She promised me a check on Friday for both months rent. We both work the day shift 7-3 and enjoy weekends off. It was hot and sticky that Friday, the temperature in the nineties.

At the last minute, I received a call from the Chart Sergeant mandating eight hours unscheduled overtime on the 3-11 shift. I telephoned Elizabeth and told her I was working a double. I instructed her to get the spare house key hidden in the barn behind an old license plate. The key would let her in the front door and she could leave my rent check on the oak table in the foyer.

At 6:00 PM the Chart Sergeant sent me home early as the Officer I was covering for reported to work. I pulled into my driveway approximately 6:20 PM and parked my truck next Elizabeth’s Toyota in the garage.

I found the front door unlocked. There was no rent check on the table, Pissed off, all I wanted were a shower and a half hour nap in bedroom; it was the only room in the house with air-conditioning.

I walked up the stairs on the way to the bathroom. When I reached the landing, I observed that my bedroom door was closed. I thought I could hear the air-conditioner running.

Suspicious, when I reached the bedroom door I slowly turned the doorknob and quietly pushed it open. I couldn’t believe what I saw. Elizabeth was asleep on my bed wearing her bra and panties with the air-conditioner running. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, held in place with a yellow scrunchie.

My closet door was open on my wife’s side and there were a pile of my wife’s dresses laid out on the bed next to her as if she had tried them all on before falling asleep.

I walked quietly to my dresser and observed my alarm clock was on the left side instead of the right. Upon closer inspection, the clock was set for 10:00 PM, one hour before my overtime shift was supposed to end.

Opening the top drawer I removed a pair of stainless steel Smith & Wesson handcuffs. I quietly walked back to the bed. Snapping the handcuffs in place from behind before she had time to react.

She looked up at me with surprise and confusion. Elizabeth took a deep breath as if to say something. Before she could get it out I slapped her buttocks and hissed, ” Don’t you dare say a damn thing to me!”

I took the end of Elizabeth’s thick shiny ponytail and wrapped my hand around it until it was tight with the scrunchie. I took control of the handcuffs with my free hand, forcing her to stand and pulling her close. I put my face up to her ear, she smelled of my wife’s perfume.

Whispering harshly in her ear, my breath on her face, I said,” You know what you did wrong. Here is the deal. I will forgive everything including both months rent. Starting right now until
Sunday night you are mine.

You will be my surrogate wife since you like to wear her dresses so much and smell like her. I in turn will act like a good husband. We will make love, when and how I want it. You will do as I say. You will dress the way I tell you to. You will fix your hair the way I want it fixed, just like any good wife would. Tugging on her ponytail for emphasis. “Yes or no, do we have a deal Elizabeth?”

“Yes”, she replied, quietly.

Releasing her hair and letting go off the cuffs I told her, ” I am going to take a shower you can wear the pretty bracelets until I am done.”

I took a longer shower the usual making her wait, planning our weekend; undressing her in my mind, like I often did when we sat under the trees. I returned to the bedroom with a basin of cold water, a washcloth and nail clippers.

I made her stand facing me while I washed the tear-streaked makeup from her face. When I finished I commented,” That’s better. You are too pretty to wear so much makeup.” I made her turn her back to me while I took her hands still confined in the handcuffs and clipped her long nails short and neat; commenting,

“Tomorrow we will do something about the nail polish”.

I removed the handcuffs and said, “Wife, take off your bra and panties then take the scrunchie out of your hair and shake your head.” Elizabeth dropped her bra and panties on the floor, reached back and removed the scrunchie shaking her hair loose and free.

I inhaled sharply holding my breath momentarily, unable to speak. At that moment, all I could think of was,” My God, she is so beautiful” When I recovered, I sat on the bed and had her kneel down in front of me on some pillows. She gave me a blowjob while I played with her silky long hair watching her head bob up and down.

After I achieved orgasm, I kissed her cheek and said” Elizabeth, you are incredible. It will be my pleasure to be your surrogate husband.” “You are welcome to use the bathroom, Help yourself to anything you need.” There are unopened toothbrushes, toothpaste and mouthwash in the cabinet.” “There are plenty of clean towels; hell you know what I mean, just make yourself at home. “

Elizabeth picked up her things, went into the bathroom closing the door. I walked over and put my ear on it. I heard her close the shower curtain and turn the water on. After ninety seconds she called out sarcastically,” I know you are standing by the door. Did you have to use all the hot water? That’s no way for a husband to treat his wife.” I got dressed, made the bed, and put Mary’s dresses away in the closet.

When I finished, Elizabeth was still in the bathroom. I knocked on the door and said,” Elizabeth, Beth honey, there is a tee shirt for you on the bed. Would you fix your hair in a ponytail for me?” She didn’t answer. I went downstairs and outside to start up the grill, bringing out some steaks.

About five minutes later Beth came outside barefoot wearing my shirt over her bra and panties. Her hair fixed in a high ponytail. I said, “You look cute with your hair up like that. Elizabeth stood there quietly, watching me cook, a funny look on her pretty face.”

After a few minutes, she said,” could I ask you a question? Richard” I replied,” sure Beth, ask away”. She continued,” Why are you cooking”? I smiled,” Because I’m hungry, what about you, there are tomatoes and potato salad in the fridge?’ Beth added, “You cleaned the bedroom?” I replied, “And”, “But I thought that was my job?” she countered. ” I’ve been married before, Beth. I know what it is like and I miss it. The deal was for a surrogate wife, not a slave”.

“Could I ask you another question then?” ” You sure can, Beth” Appearing more relaxed and sure of herself now Beth asked,” What about the sex part?”

I paused a moment to think.” Well, I’m sorry about the handcuffs, I was out of line, and I won’t make you wear them again.” ” I am sorry I slapped your, ah, bottom. I promise I won’t hit you again if that’s what you are worried about.” ” Oral sex, I will leave that up to you, I won’t demand it. I am a man Beth and you are attractive women.”

“Men have urges.” ” Before just now, I have not been with a woman since my wife died. I guess I just wasn’t ready.” ” Maybe I’m still not ready. Hell, I don’t know. “

“When I was married this used to be our house, now it’s just mine”. “What I do know is I caught you in my bedroom with my wife’s things and sleeping on my bed, that’s the main thing in my mind.”

“Could I ask you a question, Beth; why were you there, can you answer that question?” Beth did not answer; I continued, ” Do we still have a deal Beth?” ” Do you want out of our deal?” ” Just say so. You can leave right now.” ” My word is good. I’ll keep my part of the deal.” ” Do you mind that I call you Beth, Elizabeth?” She angrily relied,” Yes, damn it”, then turned and went back into the house.

When the steaks were ready, I brought them into the house and put them on the kitchen table. Beth had sliced the tomatoes and set out the potato salad along with a complete table setting for two people

Most importantly she answered one of my questions: she was sitting at the table waiting. As for the other question, I said,” Elizabeth, the steaks are ready”. “One of them is rare and the other medium rare.” ” If they are not to your taste I can put one back on the grill for you.”

” While she was doing the dishes I went outside with my cell phone. I telephoned Linda. Linda was my wife’s best friend and her hairdresser. Linda’s husband was a no good bastard that abused and beat her.

He was doing time in Clinton for rear-ending a motorcycle at a stop sign killing the rider. He was drunk at the time of the accident. While in prison, he refused to give her a divorce. I made a phone call to Clinton and talked to a Sergeant I went the academy with.

The next day, her husband was given an attitude adjustment. Afterwards he graciously agreed to the divorce, signing the papers on the spot. He was told never to go near Linda again in his lifetime.

Linda vowed never to have anything to do with men again. He ruined her credit with his gambling and drinking. Fortunately for Linda, she had the foresight to save money in an account in her maiden name that her then husband knew nothing about. She planned to open her own shop.

I cosigned a loan for her to buy a building; she used her savings to remodel. Linda now has 6 employees and paid off her loan early.

Linda insisted that Mary and I would get all of her services pro bono. I made an appointment for Elizabeth on Saturday morning. The shop was closed one week for her employee’s vacations, but Linda agreed to open up, just for us.

I told Linda most of the story leaving out the sensitive parts. I told her ahead of time to exactly what I wanted done, saying it would be a surprise; She thought it would be fun.

Linda met Elizabeth when she came over once a week to bring what she called,” her leftovers”. Actually she was cooking extra for me during the week and freezing mine so that she was sure I ate at least one good meal each day.

She liked Elizabeth and thought she could be good for me. And added “It is not good to live alone, Mary has been gone for almost three years now, you have to move on Richard.”

When I went back in the house Elizabeth was at the sink finishing the dishes. I walked up behind her and put my arms around her waist and rubbed her tummy. “It is my bedtime,” I told her, “I am going upstairs to read awhile.”

“Go to your apartment if you like and get what you need.” ” Do what you normally do before bedtime.” ” Eventually, you will come upstairs; when you get there and if I am still awake, I may want something”.

In the morning I woke lying next to her with my arm around her waist.

I went downstairs and made coffee and returned to get her up. We took turns in the shower.” You go first”, I said, ” but don’t use all the hot water” When it was my turn, I took the cold shower.

I had Elisabeth braid her hair in one thi
ck braid that hung down her back. “We have an 11:00 A.M. appointment with Linda”, I reminded her,” Go to your apartment and pick out a nice dress because I have plans for us afterwards”

Elizabeth returned in a pale yellow summer dress wearing sandals. We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, I sat next to her and stroked her braid telling her not to be nervous about her haircut.

Afterwards, we drove to Linda’s to keep her appointment. When we got there, Linda greeted us warmly, locking the door and closing the shades. ” We are closed this week for vacations “, she explained. “I opened up especially for you Elizabeth.” ” Richard told me that you wanted your hair cut a little shorter but not too short, and made the appointment” “. Just leave it up to me dear.” Elizabeth looked at me and smiled sweetly, and said,” Yes Richard is so thoughtful”.

Linda turned and gave me a look. Elizabeth sat at the manicure station. Linda removed the remaining color, filed, and buffed Elizabeth’s nails finishing with a coat of clear nail polish; when this was done, she had Elizabeth go to the chair at the cutting station.

Linda placed a rubber band on Elizabeth’s braid and handed me the scissors. “Would you like to do the honors Richard?” Linda suggested “Sure, thanks, Linda”, I replied. ” Just cut above the rubber band then”, Linda added. Leaning over I kissed her cheek and whispered,” remember, you agreed to this Elizabeth”.

I will never forget the feel and sound of the scissors while I cut off her thick braid, or the look on her face when I held it in front of her like I just won a blue ribbon at the fair. Now it was Linda’s turn. She had Elizabeth get up and sit down at the shampoo station. She washed and conditioned Elizabeth’s hair: they returned to the cutting station for a comb out.

Elizabeth’s hair had gone from waist length to just below her shoulder blades. It looked thicker and fuller then ever. “Elizabeth, I am going to cut off another inch to even up the bottom.” ” I will cut it straight across like you had it, but will I layer the bottom slightly so it curls under naturally” Linda added. When she was done, Elizabeth’s hair just fell even to the bottom of her shoulders blades.

Linda took me to one side and said, ” I have and idea and want to do something special.” ” I’m going to curl it first.” Linda combed setting lotion through Beth’s hair then rolled it up in, long, round curlers.

While Beth was under the dryer, Linda brought out homemade pound cake and coffee. When the timer on the dryer went off, Linda removed the curlers from Beth’s hair and arranged the curls.

Long sausage curls now kissed her shoulders and caressed her back and framed Beth’s beautiful face. Pulling the curls away from Beth’s face Linda pinned them up on the back of Beth’s head fussing until the curls fell just to the nape of her neck.

Before we left, Linda presented me with Beth’s cut off braid secured with a ribbon. When we got to the truck I tied the braid to my rear view mirror. “You look absolutely elegant, Elizabeth “, I commented, as we pulled away.

I decided that we could hit some of the large shopping malls in the area and spend the day.

It was gratifying to see all the admiring glances from the men that walked past her, particularly since she was with me; if only for the weekend.

We spent the afternoon window shopping and attending a couple of movies in the cinemas in between window-shopping. I proposed that we each select a movie or movies but not mention them out loud, but instead write them down on a piece of paper.

We drew the folded papers out of her purse. Beth won both times, which was fine with me. I was good during the movies and kept my hands out of Beth’s curls.

I stopped on the way home and bought a case of oil and oil filter for my truck. As an afterthought, I went back and bought one for Beth’s Toyota.

We had dinner in a fine sit-down Chinese restaurant then spent the remainder of the evening under the walnut trees.

At bedtime she came to bed wearing only my tee shirt. She took her hair down and shook her head without me asking. When she got in bed, I buried my hands in her hair caressing all those luscious curls.

Beth seemed more relaxed and allowed me to make love to her. Sunday morning Beth asked if we could just hang around the house and I agreed. We showered; I got a cold shower again while she made me a delicious western omelet for breakfast.

We went outside, she watered the garden and I changed the oil on my truck. I was underneath the Toyota removing the old filter when it slipped from my hand, hitting my nose and covering my face and neck with dirty motor oil.

I crawled out swearing a blue streak, banging my head on the bottom of the bumper along the way. Beth at the time was standing by waiting to add the oil as soon as the new filter was in place. She had her hand over her mouth to stop herself from laughing. I just glared at her. “I suppose you think this is funny”. Beth composed her self and just stood there smiling, her eyes shining with mirth.

When I took my tee shirt off and wiped my face with it, Beth just lost it. laughing hysterically. Being alone with her and hearing laugh, stirred feelings in me that I hadn’t had since Mary died. No longer angry, I laughed along with her.

On Sunday evening as Beth and I were sitting in the kitchen having tea. I said,” Elizabeth, in fifteen minutes our deal is up.” ” You met your obligation with dignity and grace.” ” I offered you an out and you didn’t take it; you kept your word” handing her a large manila envelope,’ this is for you”.

Beth accepted the envelope without comment or opening it. She just sat there looking at me with that funny look on her cute face again. At 6:30 PM, she got up from the table and walked out. Inside the envelope was her braid and a receipt for her rent paid in full until the end of December. I went to bed alone that night; I did not sleep well.

Beth was gone before I went to work Monday, the same for Tuesday. On Wednesday evening I was sitting underneath the trees when Margaret pulled up in her convertible. She looked angry. The first thing that she said to me was, “Richard, are you out of your mind? You put handcuffs on her!”

Margaret told me that Elizabeth had not had money for the rent because the Comptrollers Office Albany had issued the wrong tracking number; when she switched from a Buffalo bank to the local credit; therefore no rent check. She said,” Did it ever occur to you dummy, that Elizabeth liked you? ” “So she tried on some dresses, big deal, Elizabeth was just curious’.

“I know you are smitten with her, I can tell by the way you look at her and talk about her.” ” You gave her the key to your house for God sakes”. ” I told her to surprise you, and you put handcuffs on her.” ” Your wife is dead Richard, like it or not, life goes on”.

“You do not have a bedroom, you have a shrine”. The closet full of holy relics.”

“You are right about everything Margaret, does anyone else know” Her tone softened a bit. Margaret replied,” No Elizabeth was discreet about the whole affair.” ” You don’t ever have to worry about her ability to keep a secret and that’s a start.”

“I have some boxes in the car.” ” I was hoping that you would finally come to your senses” “. Now let’s go upstairs and clean out the closet and dresser, it’s time to put things to rest”.

Margaret left with boxes of cloths, shoes and cosmetics, but of course leaving behind Mary’s jewelry.

When she wasn’t looking I took a bottle of perfume and put it in my pocket. The last thing Margaret said to me was,” Give her time”.

It was the middle of September. I watched Elizabeth come and go. We were polite to each other as if we had just met. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have her. One Saturday morning I was leaving to go to my Gun Club and shoot a round of skeet.

Beth was standing in front of the garage, but her car was not there. Beth looked lovely that morning
. She was wearing blue jeans, a faded pink sweatshirt and white sneakers on her feet.

Beth’s hair was pulled back in a ponytail and her face freshly scrubbed. I said,” Is there something wrong Elizabeth?’ Beth told me her car had broke down last night on the way back from Buffalo and added that she called Margaret for a ride home. “

Would you please drive me to it and take a look at it, maybe you could get it started? I smiled, “Sure Elizabeth, no problem, hop in.” As I was backing out of the garage, Elizabeth said, “Stop the truck”. I hit the brakes, put the car in park, and turned the engine off.

Surprised by her outburst and puzzled, I looked at her, waiting for her to tell me why. Beth just smiled and held out her right hand for me to shake.

I was pleased to see that her nails were short. She squeezed my hand, moving closer, grabbing my hair with her free hand, tugging for emphasis.

Beth put her face up to my ear and I could feel her warm sweet breathe on my face. Whispering she said,” I just love it when you call me Beth”.

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