The fittings and pipes in the bathroom were aging brass and covered in green verdigris, but the water flowed fast and hot over Jemima, filling the air with steam and losing the walls in a mist of moist heat. She would have liked to spend more time beneath the cascade and soak up the warmth after the chill of the late autumn evening outside, but there were things to be done and a schedule to be kept to. So she made a quick but diligent job of lathering herself with soap and shampooing her corn blond hair, but took more time and care when it came to running a razor over her body, making sure that there was no stray hair left that could be removed.
Satisfied with the feel of her legs as she ran a hand from the top of her thigh down to her ankle, Jemima turned off the water and stepped out of the shower. Arching a leg over the side of the bathtub, her petite frame almost made the act of exiting the high-sided bath onto the wooden boards of the floor like swinging over a fence. Once out she walked barefoot and naked across the bathroom, her subtle curves moving with her motion and wrapped herself in a towelling dressing gown that had been hung from the back of the door.
She moved quickly to the bedroom of the cottage and sat on the bed within reach of the small travelling bag that had been partially unpacked on the floor beside it. The hairdryer made short work of the wet hair, which when dry was pinned up severely and concealed beneath a flesh-tone swimming cap. The effect was that Jemima seemed suddenly bald and she stopped for a second to laugh at her own reflection in the mirror.
Satisfied with her work, Jemima slipped out of the dressing gown and started to unpack a collection of items from her bag. Each was placed on the bed and examined before the first was opened to reveal another almost flesh-toned garment.
This one resembled another that Jemima had worn in the past, but with a few important alterations. Opened out the garment might have been mistaken for a zentai body-stocking, and in some ways it was just that, but Jemima had specified some unusual requirements when she commissioned it.
Jemima inspected the body-stocking for a moment before sitting on the edge of the bed and slipping her feet into the lower half. As soon as her legs followed her feet into the lycra of the garment, one of the first oddities became apparent. Below the waist the stocking was more like a tube into which both of her legs were fitted tightly together, limiting her movement while showing off the shape of her hips and thighs at the same time. Starting at the bottom of the stocking, where Jemima’s feet were pinned together, a raised hem had been sewn into the lycra so that it spiralled around her legs several times as it made its way up to her waist.
She pulled the stocking over her arms, her hands filling out the mitten-like gloves at the ends, pulled the hood up over her head and zipped the thing closed in one smooth motion. Next she smoothed the stocking wherever she found a wrinkle in the fabric and then inspected the effect.
In the past she had worn a body-stocking intended to mimic the look of a plastic sex doll, but the lycra of this outfit had been made in a very different way. Subtle manipulation of the lycra had given the illusion that the person wearing it was made of a very fine, very pale fabric. The seams were made to look like neat and discreet stitching, as though the skin of the wearer had been sewn together from pieces of cream coloured material.
This time the body-stocking was intended to make Jemima look like a real doll.
But the need for her legs to be hobbled in such a fashion was still a mystery to anyone other than Jemima herself.
Next she unpacked a red dress that in public would have been almost indecent and slipped it over her head. It was strapless and barely covered her below the waist, but the cut of the garment was so simple that it had obviously been designed to fit the image of an imaginary doll that professed innocence in one breath and then took a provocative pose in just that kind of dress with the next.
Moving as best she could with her legs pinned together, Jemima made her way around the edge of the bed to the table where her makeup had been deposited and started to prepare her face. When she had dressed as a sex doll she had exaggerated everything in order to give the impression of being synthetic, but tonight she was aiming for a more subtle effect.
She applied a powder to her face chosen to match the cream of the body-stocking, an even covering that blurred the edges of the hood and blended her exposed skin into the effect of the lycra. Jemima applied circles of red to her cheeks and then to her lips before adding large fake lashes and mascara to her eyes. The final touch for her face was a pair of contact lenses that gave the illusion that the pupils of her blue eyes were subtly larger than normal and gave her the innocent, glassy stare of a doll.
Her last item was a shocking red wig that she skilfully slipped onto her head and smoothed down, arranging the bunches into which it was gathered on either side of her head. Rather than an imitation of human hair, the wig was instead made up of lengths of wool in imitation of the locks of a rag doll.
Jemima took a second to glance at herself in the mirror, cocking her head to one side and making her expression as blank as she was able.
All in all she thought she made a pretty convincing doll.
She glanced at the clock on the bedside table and then grabbed her mobile from beside it, pressing the key that would send a pre-prepared message to a certain man’s own phone. He was sitting in the local pub, down in the village by the lake at that very moment waiting for the message to arrive. It was his cue to stop his efforts to sample every ale that the establishment had on tap in one night and make his way back to the rented cottage via the winding country lanes. They had timed the walk together the previous day and if things went to plan he should walk in through the door a few minutes after Jemima was ready for him.
The hardest part would be making it downstairs with her legs pinned together, but then Jemima had some considerable experience of getting about in restricted positions and wasted no time in rising to her feet from the bed and then dropping to the floor where she dragged herself forward like a bizarre snake towards the door.
The landing was tiny and she soon reached the top of the stairs where she adjusted into a sitting position, swung her legs forward and literally bum-shuffled down each step until she reached the bottom.
From there it was only a matter of a few feet to the small sitting room that was dominated by an ornate wooden box.
Perhaps three feet by three in all its dimensions, the box was painted a bright red that matched Jemima’s dress and decorated with swirling patterns in gold on every side. The lid was hinged and a large crank handle emerged from the right hand side as she stood facing it.
This was the first time Jemima had seen the box complete and painted and she had to admit that her approaching company had some talents that he had kept well hidden from her; the box was a beautiful piece of work, something that he had invested with a great deal of time and attention to detail.
She was determined to do it justice with her performance.
Jemima hopped the last few feet to the box and bent down to open the lid. At the same time she made some practice bows and kneels, testing the strength of her body and the balance that she had been working on. What she was planning would require all the control that the months of belly-dancing lessons had taught her and more perhaps.
Once the lid was open she saw that the inside had been lined with soft, silky padding as if something precious were to be kept inside.
She made a mental note to complement him on his attention to detail at some point in the future.
Jemima put a hand on either side of the box, braced her arms and then lifted her legs inside. When her feet were firmly on the bottom of the box she turned around until they found the small arch of wood that was intended to hold them in place. Thankfully she noted that he had taken the time to make sure this was well padded too.
Preparing herself mentally, Jemima smoothed out her dress and took a series of deep breaths.
It was obvious to even the most unobservant of souls now why she had her legs pinned together by the body-stocking, why the hem line twisted round her legs like a spring and why she was standing with her feet secured in an ornate box.
Jemima had transformed herself into a human Jack-in-the-box.
Or to be more accurate: a Jill-in-the-box.
She took one last preparatory breath and folded herself up and down into the box, pulling the lid closed as she went into a tight crouch to fit into its confines.
It seemed that she had opened up parts of his mind that had never seen the light of day after the first time she had dressed as a sex doll for him, bringing to life one of his most guilty sexual fantasies. Since then he had shared more of his innermost thoughts and feelings with her than ever, more often than not catching her totally by surprise with the volume, complexity and sheer weirdness of the wonderful ideas he came up with for the bedroom (or anywhere else for that matter).
In a way it seemed obvious that exploring a man’s sexual desires was a way to understand him, but Jemima was sure that there was more to it than simple fulfilment of physical desire. The creative element that their sex life had taken on had touched them both on a very deep level, brought them far closer than they had ever been in the past.
This was the next step, she thought, the first time they had actually sat down and worked on their fantasies together.
It was collaboration and if all went well it would be the first of many for them.
The odd thing was that the idea had come from a film that they both hated with a passion, begun around the festive season when TV became the usual mire of repeated shows and sentimental tales that were aired every year. After the channel had been changed with much venom on that awful film with the flying car, they both found themselves thinking about the scenes in which the characters disguised themselves as toys in order to escape the attention of the nefarious villain and things had simply built from there.
Even inside the box, Jemima managed to hear the sound of the door.
Standing in the doorway, he found it far harder than he had expected to keep himself from simply lifting the lid of the box right there and then. But instead he tried to keep his curiosity in check and reached for the handle on the side of the box as he had been told to.
He was overcome with curiosity because despite the fact they had both worked on this little project together, Jemima had been strict in keeping the elements of her costume a complete secret from him. He was vaguely aware of the restrictions and sure she would not be wearing something that involved skirts and petticoats, but apart from that he was in the dark.
He had allowed himself a small mental fantasy in which Jemima had chosen the headdress of a typical jester, complete with bells and nothing else and he filed that one away for later use.
Turning the handle he was surprised to hear the sound of a simple, mechanical tune begin to play from nowhere. It was just the kind of sound one would expect from the cranking of a Jack-in-the-box, somehow cued to start playing on the stereo as soon as the handle was turned.
Clever girl, he thought.
Once the handle had been turned perhaps three times, there was a slight creak as the lid of the box began to open.
He stepped back to give her space and she began her performance.
Jemima emerged from the confines of the box and unfolded herself as she stood, not slowly but at the same time not overly fast either. She made sure that her legs unfolded together and in almost perfect unison so that her lower body seemed to be one limb, unfolding on a spring. She kept her head tucked into her chest as she rose and spread out her arms, only raising it as she was fully erect and standing in the box before him.
Once on her feet, she swayed back, then forward and side to side, using the strength of her thighs and stomach to give the impression that the momentum of her spring was all the time causing the movement.
When the motion slowed, Jemima finally looked him in the eye, making sure that her woollen bunches twitched as she seemed to take in the sight of him for the first time. She gave him an innocent smile, leaned forward with her arms out to either side and then beckoned him forward with one mitten hand.
He stepped forwards and took it gently in his own and felt his heartbeat quicken as she reached up and stroked the side of his face with the other hand, then pulled him in for a lingering kiss on her red-painted lips.
While they kissed, Jemima slipped open the front of his trousers, undid his belt and then felt him come to her aid and complete the task as he pulled away and removed the rest of his clothes while she explored his body with both mitten hands.
All the time she maintained an expression of impish innocence that barely disguised her true intentions and desires.
Now devoid of his clothes, he slipped around behind her and actually stepped into the box in order to be as close as possible. She pressed herself backwards into him and giggled, then bent at the knees and eased her buttocks forward just enough to allow him to slip beneath the short hem of the dress and make fleeting contact with the only other part of her body after her face that was not covered by her costume.
It was a matter of mere seconds before he entered her now that he had found the spot where he stocking had been left open for that very purpose and he pulled her slowly back as though every second was precious.
As he felt the warm latex of the stocking over her buttocks make contact with his own naked skin, he looked up for the first time and saw their reflection in the mirror on the opposite wall. It had been put there to add the illusion of depth to the room, but now it was clear that Jemima had placed the box so that it would allow them to watch themselves.
He was almost stunned for a moment as he took in the sight of Jemima before him. Her face with the pale skin and dolls eyes above red-painted cheeks, the curves of her body made to look like the limbs of a plaything and her curving legs emerging from an ornate box beneath her.
Jemima reached up with a mitten hand and pulled his head close enough to hear her as she whispered.
“We toys don’t come popping out of our boxes for just anybody; we need to be played with.”
With that he started to move again inside her as she moved in sympathy as well.
Unlike the explosion that had been unleashed when she dressed as a love doll, this was both more prolonged and more intense as he seemed to make the effort to savour every second. But when it came his climax was every bit as powerful and moving as that first time had been.
He fell backwards into one of the armchairs and Jemima unhooked her feet from the box and allowed herself to fall across him, making sure that she collapsed in a manner that suggested her spring had finally given out and she was as floppy as a rag doll.
It seemed appropriate to her as that was exactly how she felt at that moment in time.
Thinking outside the box is all well and good, she thought, but sometimes being inside it can be fun.