It didn’t take as long for the ambulance to reach the scene as it had the much-longed-for backup. The police rushed forward once the four armed men had disappeared, hurrying to the side of Penelope and Robert Brooks, for this was the name of the young man whose foot was injured by the same bullet that put down Diana Prince’s roommate. The police grabbed a first-aid kit from their car and used pressure to attempt to staunch the flow of blood from Penelope’s thigh. Though the wound was bloody, there was no indication that any serious or permanent damage had been done. Robert’s foot wound was painful, but it too was not serious. The medical people confirmed these police assessments when the ambulance got to the scene.
One policeman bent over the unconscious Wonder Woman and gingerly pulled her breastplate and bustier back over her exposed breasts. The Amazon lay on her back, with her arms falling loosely out in a relaxed cruciform. Her head was facing to the left and her legs made a rough approximation of the figure ‘4’, her right sole and heel lying under her left knee. He turned her face to inspect for injury, for he had been told of the fearful beating she had sustained at the hands of the two large powerful gunmen. He was surprised to discover that there were no bruises or cuts anywhere. He raised her eyelid, looking to determine whether there were unseen injuries, examining for dilation of the pupil and the like. Again, there was no evidence of injury. As he was puzzling over this, the crowd began to push closer to the prone superheroine.
‘Why didn’t she do something?’ one person demanded. ‘Two people shot and she didn’t do a thing.’ ‘There’s not a mark on her. Is she unconscious? How could she have been beaten so much and not have a mark on her? Was it a fake?’ another asked. That would be a question asked frequently over the next two days. It wouldn’t take long for the crowd to turn angry.
‘Some superheroine! Where is she when we’re being shot at?’ ‘It’s her fault this happened! They said they were looking for her. It’s her fault those people were shot!’ ‘She ought to be arrested as a menace. She sent those bullets flying all over the place. Someone else could have been hurt.’ ‘Who needs a superheroine who isn’t doing her job? Get her out of here!’
The officer lifted the unconscious Amazon and carried her to the patrol car parked at the curb. Her carefully laid her across the back seat, then went to the front seat and got a thermos of water. He sprinkled it on her face, the rubbed it on her forehead and the back of her neck. Slowly her eyes opened, fluttering as she tried to focus.
‘Where am I?’ the Princess from Paradise Island asked quietly. ‘What happened?’
‘Wonder Woman, we’re going to have to take a statement from you, so you’ll eventually be coming down to headquarters. Right now, you’re still at the Air and Space Museum on the mall. And, if I were you, I’d stay here, away from that crowd. Two people were shot during the fracas, and some people are blaming you. We’ll determine that when we get statements from you and from some of them.’
‘Two people were shot?’ This shocked Wonder Woman into sharp awareness. ‘Please let me go to them.’ She sat up quickly. ‘Please show me where they are.’
As soon as the policeman began leading Wonder Woman across the plaza toward where Penelope and Robert Brooks were being treated, the crowd started yelling. Some booed; some simply yelled derisively; others made unseemly and insulting gestures or called her uncomplimentary names. Wonder Woman was taken aback by the catcalls, but she wanted to try to reach out to the injured. She was first taken to the young man with the injured foot.
‘Is it serious?’ she asked the man in white who was treating him.
‘No. It’s probably more painful than anything,’ he answered. ‘We’ll take him to the hospital and have them look at it. He’ll probably have to stay off it for a little while, but he’ll most likely go home today.’
‘Get her away from here! I don’t want her around me! This is her fault!’ Robert Brooks complained to the policeman.
‘What?’ Wonder Woman looked shocked. When she saw the anger and pain in his face, she tried to be apologetic. ‘I’m very sorry you were injured. Please, if there is anything I can do to make you more comfortable….’
‘Yes. Just go away,’ he said.
Wonder Woman rose, and immediately the shouting from the crowd began anew. ‘May I see the other?’
She was led to where Penelope was lying. Wonder Woman didn’t see who it was until she had been taken past the crush of emergency medics working around the body. When she saw Penelope’s face, twisted in pain, she took a step back. Dear Hera, she thought. How did this happen? ‘Is she going to be all right?’
‘She’s lost some blood and she’ll probably stay overnight at the hospital, but she’s going to be all right,’ the young medic replied. Wonder Woman didn’t hear all of the response. She just kept looking at her friend and the pool of blood that she was lying in.
Wonder Woman turned and walked toward the centre of the plaza. As she did so, the angry cries of the crowd followed her. She felt a sense of loss in the pit of her stomach and tears began to form around the corners of her eyes. She needed to get away as soon as possible, to compose herself. She turned to the policeman. ‘When do you need me to make my statement?’
‘If you would be at the H Street station in about an hour. Ask the desk sergeant for Sergeant Trower. That’s him over there with the boy.’ He pointed to where Robert was being treated.
‘I’ll be there.’ She turned and, surrounded by the anger of the crowd she walked toward the corner of the building. As she walked she felt the eyes of the crowd on her. Everywhere she went, she knew that that she was the centre of attention. But this time the attention was different, hostile. She felt their eyes on her and the chills of their hatred. Despite the heat, goosebumps formed on her bare back and shoulders. She stiffened as she moved, trying to lessen the satin swish of her costume, anything to remove this now-unwanted attention. She listened as the mob accused her of just walking away from those she had injured, accused her of fraud, accused her of abandoning the injured.
When she turned the corner past the building, she ran quickly alongside the Museum to the back corner and there she finally stopped. She leaned against the wall, her forearms resting between her head and the wall. Penelope. Penelope! How could something like this happen to you? It occurred to the Amazon that maybe Penelope had been right. Maybe she should just disappear. Let fully authorised law enforcement agencies do their job. As the shouts of the crowd still rang in her ears, she cried, worried about her friend, fearful that her years of work had been undone by this one day. Turning corner so that she now behind the building and separated from the crowd, tears streaming down her face, she returned to her Diana Prince persona. She didn’t even care if anyone saw her, but, happily, there was no one within seeing. Then she walked down to the street and sat on the curb. And she cried.
After putting in her appearance as Wonder Woman at the H Street police station, where she made her statement about the events of the day, Diana then rushed to the hospital. She first went to the Emergency Room, to see if Penelope had been admitted yet. It turned out her roommate was already in her room on the fourth floor.
Penelope was alone in the room, the other bed not being used. When Diana pushed open the door, she saw Penelope gazing out the window looking at the sun. The rays struck her in the face, but her eyes were only half-opened. Hesitantly, Diana eased into the room. ‘How do you feel?’
The smile that spread across Penelope’s face wiped away all doubt from Diana’s mind. ‘Oh, Diana. Thank God you’ve come. I was so worried about you.’
‘About me? You’re the one who’s hospitalised,’ Diana responded, entering the room and closing the door. Seeing the tubes entering Penelope’s arms gave Diana a new shock but the attitude of her roommate reassured her of her welcome.
‘It’s just overnight. For observation. There was a fair loss of blood, but the leg will be fine. No bone was damaged, no major blood vessels touched. Just in and out.’ Penelope was speaking quickly now, just like her old self. ‘The doctor was very encouraging about rehab, too. I’ll need to be on crutches for only a short while. You’ll have to help me change the bandages once or twice during rehab. Then the stitches will have to come out.’
‘Is it painful? When I saw you on the plaza, you looked like you were in agony.’
“I was, but that’s because they were using pressure to stop the bleeding. It would have been worse if the bullet were still in there.’
‘The bullet went right through?’
‘Oh, yes. It lodged in the foot of the guy behind me. That probably accounts for his temperament. He hasn’t wanted to talk to anyone, not even me. You’d think that two people wounded by the same bullet would have something to say to one another.’
‘I met him on the plaza,’ Diana recalled. ‘He blamed me for it,’ she said softly.
‘He blamed me for it, too. “If you had just stayed still, none of this would have happened!” God, what a wimp!’
‘Well, he did have a bullet in him.’
‘In his foot, for God’s sakes. He was hardly bleeding, and they were treating him like it was in his heart. Me, I’m laying in blood, barely conscious, going into shock, and they’re looking for a band-aid.’
The image of Penelope sitting in a pool of blood recalled the fear to Diana’s mind. Standing next to Penelope’s bed, she ran the back of her hand across the side of her roommate’s face. ‘Are you sure you’re all right?’
‘It wasn’t as bad as all that. Yes, I lost a lot of blood, and I felt faint briefly, but I wasn’t ready to go into shock. The medics were fantastic and they stopped the bleeding in no time. They even sewed me up in the Emergency Room. Didn’t even have to go to the operating room.’
Diana lowered her head and kissed her roommate on the temple.
‘So, then, tell me what happened to you,’ Penelope inquired. ‘Why were you getting beat up?’
“It was like I couldn’t move. My legs weighed a ton each. I couldn’t turn my body, at least of my own free will.’
‘I’ve told you to cut back on carbohydrates. They make you all stuffy.’ Penelope was smiling.
Diana stared at her bedridden lover for a moment. Finally, a smile edged its way to the corners of her mouth and she finally laughed for the first time since the confrontation on the plaza. ‘I’ve encountered this sort of thing before, Penelope. It’s magic.’
‘MAGIC!! ARE YOU NUTS??’
‘Not so loud. And, yes, magic. It’s the one thing that can affect me in this way. Somehow, those criminals got hold of some practitioner of Magic and….’
‘You mean, like a witch?’
‘A witch, or some kind of magic talisman. Something that could hold me in a spell and allow them to do what they did.’
‘Why aren’t you bruised?’
‘Because I never lost my Amazon power or strength. I simply couldn’t defend myself. What knocked me out was simply the accumulation of blows, like a prizefighter who goes down after being pounded for fifteen rounds. It was the totality of the beating.’
A nurse opened the door, asking about the loud cry she had just heard. ‘It’s nothing, Ellen. My roommate here just promised to clean the apartment while I’m laid up. If you knew her, you’d understand why such a statement is a shock.’ Diana stared at her friend.
‘Well, try to keep the noise down. There are many more patients on this floor.’
Both women apologised for the disturbance. The nurse shut the door. ‘Ellen? You’re getting familiar with the staff here pretty quickly.’
‘She’s nice. She’s a dyke, too, but she doesn’t let on.’
‘She told you that?’
‘I can tell. Anyway, have you run into this kind of magic often? What does it do to you?’
‘Some of my most dangerous opponents are magicians of some sort: Circe, Cagliostro, both have great power. And they don’t have to get me under the control of my magic-please notice, dear, my magic-lasso or bind my bracelets to weaken me. These are the most dangerous enemies I face.’
‘Does it have anything to do with whatever it is you’re investigating?’
‘I… don’t know. But somehow I’m convinced that everything that I’m dealing with has to do with Senator Carlton.’
‘Carlton? From Arizona? You better not accuse him and be wrong. He packs a lot of power and can even make Wonder Woman disappear.’
‘For three days this week, I think he did.’
The conversation turned to the more serious issue of Wonder Woman’s continued career. The only difference this time was that it was Diana who argued for the disappearance of the heroine. The response of the crowd to her failure, worries over the well being of her friend, the dangers to the Amazon as it was obviously now well-known that she had clear weaknesses. All these arguments Diana made. And Penelope responded with Diana’s own well-worn arguments about spreading the doctrine of peace and love, about the Meaning of Princess Diana’s life. They agreed to spend more time talking about it tomorrow, when Penelope returned home. For the moment, Diana would go out and get her roommate a hamburger. They spent the entire evening watching television and discussing the apparently declining quality of the shows. They also agreed that ‘All in the Family’ might represent a new beginning for the tube and the entertainment it offered. At nine o’clock Ellen returned to tell Diana that visiting hours were over. Diana kissed her friend good night and promised to be back the next morning, to take her roommate home.
Wonder Woman was not seen anywhere for the next several days. Diana was half-convinced that she was no longer needed or no longer relevant to the world. She even put her costume into storage, as she reconsidered her role.
Penelope continued to try to get her roommate out of her funk. After trying all of the usual arguments, and listening to Diana talk past her in response to these points, she raised the question which had been giving her a great deal of concern.
‘If Wonder Woman retires, does Princess Diana return to Paradise Island?’
Diana looked shocked. She had not considered this. The end of Wonder Woman’s career could mean a return home, to prepare for her role as ruler. It may even mean a new contest among the Amazons to find a new Champion to take her place. She opened her mouth to answer, but she didn’t know what to say. She thought of having to leave Penelope behind.
‘If it did, would you come with me?’
Now it was Penelope’s turn to be shocked. ‘That’s not a fair question. If you go to Paradise Island, you’re returning home. If I go there, I’m leaving everything I have ever known. I know the stories about you, being offered chances to go rule distant galaxies. Everybody knows Andros made that offer. You turned it down.’
Diana looked embarrassed. ‘I hadn’t though of it that way.’
She walked out of the bedroom, slowly, contemplatively. She closed the door behind her and walked down to the living room. Shortly, Penelope heard a Schumann Piano Quintet on the stereo. Diana was into some heavy thinking, Penelope mused.
The car raced up the driveway to the Senator’s house, spewing gravel and dust in its wake. Before it had even come completely to a halt, the large man pushed open the passenger-side door and ran inside. The car then picked up speed and went around the house toward the garage level.
Inside, one of the men who had confronted Wonder Woman on the plaza raced to the stairway leading down to the guard levels. He was carrying a small stack of tabloid-size newspapers.
When he got to the dormitory rooms, he hurried from room to room tossing one or two copies of the paper inside. ‘Wait’ll you see this! We made the STAR! The Senator is gonna love this!’
Inside the supermarket tabloid, the Star, on page five, usually reserved in Rupert Murdoch’s scandal sheet for semi-nude bikini-clad girls, was the headline ‘What’s Happened to Wonder Woman?’ It blazed across the entire page, above six columns of the story. Included in the story, in fact the principal reason for the story in the first place were three photographs, two of them published in colour. The largest one, spread across the entire page, showed the defeated and unconscious Wonder Woman, supine on the sidewalk, clearly in front of the Air and Space Museum. The photo showed most of her body, cutting off at the top of her boots, her head nearest the camera, facing it, her eyes closed. The tits so many had hoped to see were not quite visible, Murdock being the titillator that he is; there were small strips of black covering the exposed nipples, but the breasts themselves were quite visible. A second photo, this one in black-and-white, like wise showed the beaten Amazon in the same position, but from a slightly different angle, her head still nearest the camera, but the top of her head visible. The third photo, again in colour, showed the superheroine being beaten by the two men, receiving a blow in the head, her body twisting away from the man striking her.
‘These pictures are great! They’re going to make every workshop wall in the country. Guys will be looking at these for years to come. That was a great touch Al added, pulling her top down like that.’ The black uniformed guards gathered quickly, all talking and cheering again the defeat of their nemesis.
One man added, ‘And, you know, she hasn’t been seen anywhere for almost a week. Maybe she’s too embarrassed to come out.’
‘Well, this isn’t going to make her more willing.’
‘’You know, maybe we’ve seen the last of Wonder Woman.’ The level of talk diminished at that. Then it rose again, as they continued their self-congratulation.
Penelope had drifted off to sleep, napping for a couple of hours during the afternoon. The Schumann had that effect on her. When she awoke, it was getting dark, both because of the lateness of the hour and the increasing clouds, portending predicted thundershowers forecast for tonight and tomorrow. In the dim light of the room, she rolled to her left to see the clock radio. She wasn’t sure how late it was, but she was starting to feel twinges of hunger.
She sighed. On the one hand, she thought, I should call Diana to make something to eat. After all, I recovering from wounds received in an attack on the public. She smiled when she thought of that one. On the other hand, if Diana is still puzzling over her dilemma, I shouldn’t intrude on her. She doesn’t need extraneous and irrelevant distractions.
There was a knock at the door, just a light tapping. ‘Penelope? Are you awake?’
‘Yes, Diana. Come in.’
Wonder Woman entered carrying a tray, bearing a bowl of soup and a large salad, large enough for two. The superheroine was fully attired, complete with tiara and boots. Her golden belt was around her waist and the magic lasso was attached at her hip.
Penelope first broke into a broad smile, then a great grin. Sitting up in the bed, she spread her arms to embrace her lover. ‘Put down that tray and come here.’ Wonder Woman placed the tray on the nightstand next to the bed and sat on the bed. Penelope reached around her, pulling the Amazon’s shoulders down to her as she fell back on the bed. Penelope began kissing her roommate, long and deeply. Tears rolled out of the corners of her eyes toward her temples and ears, but she brushed her wrists across the sides of her head to wipe them away.
In a moment, Wonder Woman raised her boots from the floor, and was lying next to Penelope. For her, the approval of her lover for her decision was paramount. The level of understanding between the two women was such that Penelope knew that for the Princess to remain in the United States and to continue performing her duties as Wonder Woman were not things she could or would do on inertia. She had to wish to do so.
Princess Diana’s decision, Penelope knew, was her own to make, a risky personal one. In the first place, Penelope had expressed misgivings about her role as a costumed superheroine. For Wonder Woman to actively decide to continue that role meant risking her relationship with Penelope. Secondly, the heroine was obviously at risk in her ability to defend against the attacks of her enemies. Concerns about her own death were certainly playing around in her head.
By the same token, Wonder Woman recognised that Penelope’s acceptance of her decision was an acknowledgment of the Amazon philosophy, the Meaning they had discussed. Diana was Wonder Woman, and she embodied all of the ideals and virtues, which that figure, publicly represented. Now, the superheroine also recognised, Penelope would need to embrace as much courage as she herself would have to put forth, because Diana and Wonder Woman would have to face one of the most trying episodes of their career.
Penelope penetrated Diana’s mouth with her tongue, running it against the full length of Diana’s teeth, pushing it as far back into Diana’s throat as she could. Diana complimented her partner, running her own tongue around the cheeks of her perspiring and sweaty lover. The breathing of both women grew heavier and deeper as the long moments of oral probing went on.
Penelope’s hands ran into Diana’s hair, running it through her fingers, as she pushed her hands up to the top of her lover’s head again and again. Finding the Princess’ tiara buried in the deep black tresses, she ran her fingertips along the cool metal shape, feeling both the honed edge and the highly polished surface. She felt the tiara all the way ‘round the crown of Diana’s head, the metal offering a new sensuality to the tactile relationship between the women.
Meanwhile, Wonder Woman’s hands caressed the body of her lover. One hand ran into the light brown hair that Penelope now let hang loosely down her back and shoulders. The hair almost reached to the small of Penelope’s back, its fine texture usually glistening in any light. Diana seized small clumps of its fineness in her fist, kneading it in her hand, and drew it up to the top of her lover’s head. Then she opened her hand and released the clump. Drawing the dancer to her, that same hand than ran around the neck and head of Diana’s partner. The other hand worked its way under Penelope’s t-shirt, running the length of her side and back, slowly, sensually, feeling each muscle of her torso, running between the ribs and up and down the vertebrae. When she slid off her lover and lay beside Penelope, this same hand now toured her lover’s stomach, feeling equally sensually the finely tuned muscles of her abdomen. Finally, Wonder Woman’s hand traveled to the large round breasts of her bed-mate, feeling her hardening nipples, her fingernails stimulating their erectness. In a matter of moments, the powerful arm of Wonder Woman tore through the thin cotton shirt, leaving it on the bed beneath the two wrestling women.
Her t-shirt removed, Penelope now felt the coolness of the Princess’ satin uniform against her chest. Her already stimulated nipples brushed against the golden eagle of the breastplate and the sensation drove the injured dancer higher into ecstasies of sensuality. With one hand, Penelope now dropped her exploration of her partner to her waist and hips, the open palm running across the smooth satin of the tights, then rushing up her body to caress the smoothness of the golden girdle. All of these sensations liberated Penelope and she began to lubricate, the joy in her manifesting itself in the turmoil she felt in her groin. Even Diana’s leather boots, rubbing against her uninjured leg, served to raise Penelope ecstasy. Soon she was cumming freely and her breathing was rasping and audible.
The pleasure of her partner heightened Diana’s own experience, as she too now felt herself losing control. Her rate of breathing increased, the lubrication of her own sex flowed freely dampening her star-spangled satin tights, tingeing the blue between her legs a darker colour than the rest of the uniform. Forgetting herself, Diana raised her left leg and dropped it over Penelope’s injured right thigh and both women were brought back to reality by the sharp wincing produced from the throat of the injured girl.
The Amazon Princess slid off her lover, keeping her right arm beneath her neck and shoulders to continue the tactile enjoyment of the moment of love. Together, the two lay in bed. After a moment, Wonder Woman looked at her partner. ‘You really do like the uniform, don’t you?’
‘It’s the main reason I keep you around here,’ Penelope responded. ‘Even if you did give up being Wonder Woman, you’d have keep the uniform.’
They giggled like a couple of teens. Then Penelope continued, ‘I knew you would decide to stay.’
‘Oh, really? And how did you know this?’
‘You were listening to the Schumann. That puts you in a more romantic, emotional frame of mind. It made you not want to leave your life unfinished.’
Diana looked at her partner silently.
‘Now, if you had used the Mozart, I might have been more concerned about your decision.’
‘Or the Bloch.’
‘If you had used the Bloch, we’d be packing our bags now.’
‘Am I that predictable?’ Diana paused. ‘And did you say we?’
‘Yes, and yes.’
They kissed lightly. ‘Just because I approve of your decision doesn’t mean that I will stop worrying about you. You’ve talked about how helpless you are against magic. Were you held by magic the first time they took you?’
‘I still don’t remember anything about that. It’s possible that they used my magic lasso to erase my memory. You saw Kane do that. I suppose it’s possible that they took me that way, but the marks on my wrists and ankles lead me to believe that they chained my bracelets.’
‘If they could do that, then they could overpower you. Oh, Diana, the danger is so great. And these people involved are powerful. Even if they don’t destroy you, they can end your career. Is there anything I can do? I feel so powerless just lying here.’
‘You look so lovely just lying here. I’m going to have to inspect the Senator’s house. According to Steve, that’s where my assignment had taken me when I disappeared for those three days. They may have taken me then, which means that they can do it again. But they may not be expecting me to come back. And, since I know that they represent a genuine danger both to me and to what I believe in, I’ll be more careful this time. Capturing me will be harder. As for you, you can be of some help. Stay awake, stay by the phone, and be prepared to call the police. I’ll contact you, both to let you know how things are going and whether I need help. You can notify the authorities. If you don’t hear from me, it’ll be because I’ve notified them myself, and was able to handle things there.’
‘If I don’t hear from you, it may mean that they’ve taken you again.’
‘Hey, I’m a big girl now. I promise you I won’t do anything foolish. What I’m going for tonight is simply evidence. I’m not aiming to bring anyone in. Besides, the weather will also be working on my side.’ She nodded toward the window. The sound of heavy rain on the windowpane was evident. ‘The forecast says that there will be thundershowers tonight and tomorrow morning. I’ll be safe.’
‘When are you going out?’
‘Probably about midnight. If I’m not back by noon tomorrow, call the police in any case.’
‘And tell them what? That I’m Wonder Woman’s lover and that she went to Senator Carlton’s house and hasn’t come back. Not only does it sound ridiculous, but don’t forget how much power the Senator carries around here.’
‘Just tell them that a friend of yours was supposed to be going to the Carlton house and has not returned. Let the police handle it from there. Also, since a person isn’t missing for twenty-four hours, tell them your friend has been gone for two days.’
‘Wonder Woman! You, the symbol of truth and rightness! Telling me to lie?’
‘Or you can really wait another day and make the call on Monday, after I have been gone for twenty-four hours.’
‘I’ll call at noon.’
The two women sat up in bed and Wonder Woman retrieved the great salad she had prepared. She placed the tray with the soup before Penelope. Penelope sampled the soup and the two friends shared the salad.
Their meal finished, they settled in for an intimate conversation. They spoke of their thoughts and their feelings, conspicuously avoiding any discussion of their fears. This was a time for looking forward, not for worrying about the present.
As it grew darker, Penelope asked Diana to turn on the light. Diana got up and did so, then returned to sitting on the edge of the bed. As their conversation continued, Penelope played with her partner’s costume, drawing her right hand across the satin of the breastplate and bustier, of the tights, of the gold of the belt and lasso. As the intimacy continued, she swirled the strands of the lasso between her fingers, finally slipping it from the Amazon’s hip. Then she dropped it around the throat of Wonder Woman.
‘You know, I never got to control you like this in Delaware,’ Penelope said. ‘I always felt a little jealous of Kane for that reason.’
Diana felt the electricity of the lasso passing through her body. ‘You did control the lasso during our dance, if you remember,’ Wonder Woman corrected her. ‘I saw that in the movies.’
‘Yeah, but I never got to give you orders.’
‘Now you give them without holding the lasso.’
Penelope struggled to sit up in the bed. ‘Lay down here,’ she ordered.’
The Amazon Princess lay on the bed, as the command shot through her being. She lay on her back. ‘Spread-eagled,’ Penelope ordered.
The magic lasso forced the mighty Amazon Maid to obey. She lay with the lasso around her throat, her arms outstretched toward the corners of the bed, her legs reaching toward the lower bedposts. Penelope moved awkwardly, hobbled by her still hurting thigh, running the lasso from the throat of her lover to her right wrist, securing it to the headboard. Then she ran the golden rope to Wonder Woman’s other wrist, where she did the same. After securing the Princess’ ankles to the base of the bed, Penelope sat on the edge of the bed, looking down at her captive. Wonder Woman did not struggle under the influence of the lasso’s magic. ‘I could keep you here if I wanted to, you know,’ Penelope told her.
‘The magic lasso would compel me to obey,’ Wonder Woman replied.
‘Kane was right. That response could drive you crazy,’ Penelope smiled.
The helpless Princess from Paradise Island looked like a fly trapped in a spider’s web. Penelope continued to hold the lasso, wrapping it tightly around her hand. ‘This should keep me from dropping the lasso and losing control.’
‘What are you going to do with me?’ the prisoner asked.
‘Don’t be melodramatic. You’ve been in the position often enough to know when someone means you harm. You should recognise that you’re not in danger now.’
‘When I am under the influence of my own lasso, it is always the time of my greatest danger, no matter who controls it. I may be in the greatest danger when I am a captive of someone I love.’
Penelope reached around the helpless Amazon and released her golden belt. She plucked it from around her middle and dropped it on the floor. ‘You are absolutely helpless when controlled by your own lasso, aren’t you?’
‘Yes. You know that I am.’
Penelope now ran her hands over the exposed body of Wonder Woman. When she ran her fingers up the inside of her thigh, Penelope discovered the wetness at her crotch. ‘Hmmm. This is something that you never hinted at.’
‘When bound by my own lasso, I lose control over myself. The subservience is somewhat exciting.’
Penelope looked longingly at the powerful Amazon, spreadeagle on the bed. She lightly caressed her body, allowing herself to exult in the utter and absolute power over her charge. Then, without another word, she reached up and began to untie her wrists. ‘I really wanted to keep you here, to protect you. I can’t do it.’ She began to cry. ‘I wanted to force you to stay with me tonight, to stay with me until I could go with you, so I could help you. I can’t do that to you, Diana. You are who you are. Your life has Meaning because you give it Meaning. If I force you to act differently, I’m destroying who you are.’
Wonder Woman sat up. As she untied her ankles, she spoke to Penelope, ‘When we became lovers, you knew that there was danger in what I did. You even saw that danger first-hand in Delaware. But you have to trust me. If we don’t trust one another, we can’t survive together.’
The two women looked deeply into one another’s eyes. The love that they shared was present in this look. Penelope continued to cry. ‘I am desperately frightened for you.’
‘You have no idea how much that simple statement means to me,’ the Princess responded, as she affixed the magic lasso to her belt.
‘Please be careful.’