The orange-haired girl groaned as she slowly opened her eyes. Everything was blurry at first, giving her time to think before her vision completely returned.
"Unnnh...what the fuck...how did I pass out?"
To her right, she could hear some quiet whimpering....it was then that she remembered exactly where she was and what had happened. She looked and saw two girls about her age, both tied tightly to chairs and both of them with tape across their lips. She recognized one of the girls, Miyumi, right away.
"That's the girl from earlier... aww, dammit!"
Ivone's eyes widened and she snapped right back into lucidity, her fists instinctively clenching. She was tied up just like the other girls, her wrists, legs, and midsection tightly bound, while more ropes held her to a chair, the same as her fellow captives. Marie was sitting in the chair next to her, very calmly tugging at her bonds and testing to see if they had any give. She was completely silent, not even bothering to test her gag. Next to Marie was Miyumi, who gave Ivone a concerned look and gave a couple of muffled whimpers through her gag. She too was testing her bonds, but she was clearly nervous about what their seemingly unstable captor might do to them.
"Mmmymmm!" Ivone shouted through her gag, immediately flexing her wrists against the ropes. "Grrrmmmphhh!!"
The fiery girl pulled and tugged against the ropes, struggling with all her might. The heavy chair rocked and shifted with her struggles, but the bonds had no give. This didn't stop Ivone, who shouted and cursed and swore and tug at the ropes, determined to get herself loose and protect the other two girls. Marie watched her curiously, rolling her eyes for a moment.
"I've already tried that..." she thought to herself, watching as beads of sweat began to form on Ivone's brow. "There's got to be some other way out of this... I'm not letting Jo get the best of me."
Miyumi was also thinking of ways to escape. She'd tried slipping her thin wrists out of the ropes, but that clearly wasn't going to work as the bonds were far too tight for that. She'd looked around the room as best she could, but there weren't any sharp objects or tools left that they could use, assuming they could even get themselves over to them.
"Mmmmrrgh, nmmmphhh...!" Ivone continued to grunt angrily as she pulled with all her might, her body straining and flexing. She didn't care if it took her all day and all night, she was going to get out of this. "Stop looking at me like that and start struggling, we can get out of this and kick her ass if you guys don't give up!"
"Hehehehe...." came a quiet voice from the next room. "Sounds like the really loud one is finally awake, now the fun can start!"
Jo stepped into the room, looking her three captives over and smiling to herself. Miyumi's eyes widened as Jo approached, she was trying to stay as calm as possible but she had no idea what this girl might do. The wild shopping cart ride from earlier had left an impression on Miyumi that this Jo girl was completely unpredictable. Marie just glared at the girl, while Ivone shouted several loud swear words into her gag and continued to thrash against the chair.
"You can't break those ropes, you know," said Jo tauntingly, walking over to Ivone. "Trust me, me and Natalia use only the strongest ropes on our captives so there's no way you can get out of that!"
"Fmmck ymm, jmmst wmch mmm!" Ivone shouted, squealing angrily and pulling at the chair. She lunged forward but the chair barely budged.
"You can't tip those chairs over either! Trust me, that's for your own good..." Jo said, looking up and down the row of captives. "Wow, you guys are all so cute...all tied up and helpless like that, squirming and stuff..."
She walked over to Miyumi, who looked up at her nervously, shivering a bit as Jo reached out to touch her face.
"Awww, are you scared...?" asked Jo, looking into Miyumi's eyes.
"LMMMVV HRMM MMMLMMM!" Ivone shouted, enraged that Jo had singled out her new friend. "YMM BMMMCH!"
"...is she your girlfriend or something?" asked Jo with a giggle. Ivone growled and angrily shook her head, while Miyumi shook her head and repeatedly squealed 'no!' through her tapegag. "Denying it just makes it true! That's what Natalia says every time she catches me stealing candy and stuff. Oh, speaking of stealing candy, did you know there's a vending machine in there with all kinds of old candy and stuff? It's really stale but it's still good. I'd give some to you guys if you weren't gagged and stuff. ...on second thought, no, I'd never give away candy!"
Miyumi blinked a few times, while Marie and Ivone both groaned at the same time.
"Get me the hell out of here..." Marie thought, looking up at the ceiling.
"Well anyway, you're really cute so here you go!" said Jo, leaning in and kissing Miyumi's taped lips. "How was that? Better than the mean girl over there?"
"Mmmm!" Miyumi shrieked, blushing deeply. "Why did you...kiss me?"
"GRRRMMMMPHHH!" Ivone protested, swearing into her gag again as she resumed her struggles. "When I get out of this that stupid bitch is dead!"
Jo ignored Ivone for the moment and walked over to Marie, who looked away as Jo leaned in.
"Oh, you've been quiet..."
Marie didn't dignify Jo's remark with a response or even a glance. Jo reached over and took Marie's chin in her hand, forcing her to look over.
"That's no fun, when the damsel is gagged and they don't even try to talk....it's like on TV where the girl is gagged and she doesn't mmph or anything, that's soooo disappointing! Come on, say something! Anything!"
"Not giving you the satisfaction." Marie thought, giving Jo only an angry glare.
"Well fine, let's see how you react to this then," said Jo, leaning in and kissing Marie's taped lips. Marie's eyes widened and she immediately squealed, her fists clenching as a bright red blush spread rapidly across her face.
"Mmmmmmm....!!!" Marie shrieked, trying to turn her head as Jo somewhat forcefully kissed her. "Sacre bleu...! Qu'est-ce au nom de la Sainte Vierge baise pensez-vous que vous faites?"
"Wow," said Jo as she backed off. "Your lips are so soft I even felt them through the tape! That was fun! I guess French girls are best at kissing.."
"You can kiss my ass you little bitch!" thought Marie, lunging forward in her chair. "Mmmphh, MMM MMMPHHHH!!"
Ivone couldn't help but notice that Marie's face was still beet red. She snickered under her gag as Jo walked over to her.
"Okay tough girl, I know sometimes tough girls like it really tender and stuff, like a really soft creamy center in the middle of a hard chocolate bunny....or something...mmm, chocolate bunnies..." Jo began to drool for a moment before shaking her head rapidly and leaning in toward Ivone. "I bet a nice kiss would soften you right up!"
Jo leaned in...only to have Ivone headbutt her hard in the forehead, causing Jo to let out a yell and stumble back.
"Aaaaaaaaaaaahh!!!" shouted Jo, her eyes clenched shut as she gripped her forehead. "What the hell was that for?"
"Mmmphh mmmphhhh!!!" Ivone shouted, contorting her stuffed, sealed mouth into a smile under the tape. "For being a psycho bitch, you psycho bitch!"
"Well just for that you don't get a kiss..." said Jo, rubbing her forehead. She turned to Miyumi and looked over at her. "Am I bleeding?"
Miyumi looked up at Jo's forehead, where a nasty bruise was forming but the skin hadn't split. She shook her head.
"Oh good, okay," said Jo, looking back over at Ivone. "See? She's nice to me! Why can't you be nice like your girlfriend is?"
"Shmmmss NMMT MMM FMMKING GMMMRLFRMMMND!" Ivone shouted. Jo just giggled and began pacing in front of the three girls, wondering what fun things she could do to them first. Even living with a kidnapper best friend, it wasn't often that Jo got three girls all to herself, especially girls her own age. While this was going on, Miyumi looked over at Marie, trying to signal something to her.
"Mmmh...mmphh..." Miyumi said softly, indicating the area under her chair. Jo had left Miyumi's kitty bag right under her chair, and inside was a nail file that might be able to saw through the ropes. "Mmmph?"
Marie looked over at her, groaned dismissively, then looked away. Miyumi shouted a bit louder, trying to get her attention.
"Stupid girl," thought Marie. "This is no time for games, we should be figuring out how to escape."
"Oh, I got it!" Jo cried suddenly. "I know what's ALWAYS fun."
Jo bent down next to Miyumi, who let out a gasp, thinking she would take the bag. Instead, she took off Miyumi's shoes and socks and tossed them aside.
"Hmmm?!" cried Miyumi as Jo rendered her barefoot. "Why are you doing that, we already can't run...!"
Jo didn't answer. Instead she just went over to Marie and removed her shoes and socks next, eliciting a loud cry from the angry black-haired girl.
"Don't worry, I'll give 'em back...maybe," snickered Jo, walking over to Ivone. Ivone tried to kick, but of course as her legs were bound firmly to the chair, it was completely useless, leaving her helpless as Jo removed her shoes and socks. "There we go, now....ewwww!"
Jo held her nose as a foul smell wafted out from Ivone's bare soles. Marie could smell it as well, and she crinkled her nose as best she could, letting out a quiet curse under the tape.
"That is sickening, don't you EVER bathe?" thought Marie, glaring over at Ivone.
"They're gonna smell even worse after I put 'em up your ass!" Ivone thought, glaring angrily at Jo. "Mmmphhh mmmmmpph!!"
"Well, I guess you get used to it after a while," said Jo with a smirk. "Mine are even smellier, wanna whiff?"
Jo took off her own socks and shoes and lifted one of her bare feet up to Ivone's face. Ivone grunted in anger, trying to turn her head but was unable to keep Jo from pressing her bare sole right up against Ivone's nose.
"Mmmmghh!" groaned Marie, who could smell Jo's feet from where she was sitting. Miyumi was wrinkling her nose as well, though she was still trying to get Marie's attention.
"Mmm...MMMPH!" Miyumi shouted. "Please, look under my chair...!"
"Hmmm?" Marie finally replied, turning her head. "What is it? You want to talk about how putrid their feet are?"
While Miyumi was trying to indicate the bag under her chair, Jo was still keeping her foot pressed up against Ivone's nose. Ivone was retching and coughing, barely able to take the smell.
"MMMM MMMGGGHHH!!!" Ivone screamed, on the verge of throwing up. "GET YOUR FUCKING FOOT OFF MY FACE NOW!"
"Hehehehe..." Jo laughed to herself, lowering her foot and putting her socks and shoes back on. "That was pretty fun but what was I gonna do again....oh yeah!"
Meanwhile, Miyumi had finally gotten Marie to look under her chair. She glanced down and saw the kitty bag still under Miyumi's chair.
"How did that even get there?" thought Marie, a quizzical expression on her face. "Was that girl REALLY stupid enough to put it right there where we could get to it....? …it's not as if we even CAN get to it, I can barely move this stupid chair..."
Jo walked over to Marie.
"I'll start with you since you're the best kisser, maybe your feet are the most ticklish too!"
Before Marie had time to comprehend what Jo was saying, Jo knelt down and began tickling her feet, causing the French girl to let out a series of loud, excited squeals and giggles. She thrashed in her chair, her feet and toes flailing as Jo's skilled fingers worked Marie's soft, smooth soles.
"MmhmhmhmhmhmhmhmhmhmhMMMMMMPHH!!!" shrieked Marie, unable to do anything but laugh as Jo tickled her without mercy. She clenched her upper legs tightly together, feeling the urge to pee coming on rather quickly. "Stop that, stop that you foolish girl! I will stab you when I get free!"
"Hehehehe, your giggles are so cute," said Jo, continuing to tickle Marie's flailing feet. By the time she was done, Marie's face was flush with tears and she was gasping for breath, her nose wheezing loudly. Her train of thought had completely derailed. "That was fun, I'll come back to you later!"
Jo went over to Miyumi next, who began shaking her head rapidly, clenching her toes tight and looking at Jo with a very worried expression.
"Please no, I'm SUPER ticklish...!" thought Miyumi. "I can't take it!"
"The more scared they are the more ticklish they are!" said Jo excitedly. "This'll be fun!"
Jo began tickling Miyumi's feet next, triggering even louder giggles and squeals from her than there had been from Marie. She let out a loud shriek followed by a stream of muffled laughter and several whimpers, her body squiring and thrashing fiercely with every movement of Jo's fingers across her soles.
"MHMHMHMHMMHMHM MMMMPH! MMMMMMPH! MHMMHMHMHMHMMMMPH!!" Miyumi shouted, helplessly begging for mercy and thrashing back and forth in the chair. "Stttttttooooooopppp! Please, my tummy hurts and I think I'm gonna pee myself! I'll do anything!!!"
Jo laughed and giggled as she continued tickling Miyumi, finally stopping when she saw that the girl was completely tired out, breathing softly and slowly as tears came down her face. By now, Marie had recovered and was once again focused on figuring out how to get into Miyumi's bag, while Ivone was straining as hard as she could, her wrists pulling at her bonds with all their might. The rope hadn't slackened even an inch. She glared at Jo as she came over, but could do nothing to stop the girl as she bent down to tickle her feet.
"DMMNT YMM DRRR!!!" Ivone yelled, which did nothing to deter Jo.
"Your feet might be smelly but that doesn't keep them from being ticklish so here we go!"
Jo started scraping her fingernails up and down across Ivone's soles, causing her to grunt and snicker at first, trying to hold back her laughter.
"Mmm..mmmnnh..mnnn..." Ivone closed her eyes and shook her head. "I'm not gonna laugh for that stupid bitch...! Oh man...oh man..."
Ivone held it in as long as she could, but once Jo started going really fast, the girl could no longer help it and she let out a loud shriek, followed by several very loud laughs and giggles, bucking fiercely against the chair as Jo punished her helpless soles.
"MMMMM! MMHMHMHMHMHMHMPH!!!" Ivone shrieked angrily, squirming and thrashing and trying to get away. "I'll kick your ass so fucking hard....!!!"
Finally, Jo stopped tickling Ivone, only to leap up and sit in her lap, her arms wrapped loosely around her captive's neck.
"Wow, you're so strong..." Jo said to her, marvelling at how Ivone could support her weight without the least bit of discomfort. "I bet you could bench press like a bazillion pounds and stuff!"
"FMMMCK YMMM!" Ivone shrieked.
"Mmm..let's see, Santa...I want a pony, I want ten million boxes of chocolate, I want Natalia bound and gagged and naked on my bed...."
Miyumi blinked at Jo's strange requests, while Marie let out a loud groan, wondering if the legendary Natalia was a bit different than the account she'd read in her crime books.
"This is getting surreal now..." thought Marie.
"OH! One last thing," said Jo, nuzzling Ivone closely. "I want this really mean but really cute orange haired girl who hangs out in my town to let me kiss her on the lips."
Jo suddenly kissed Ivone and leaped off of her just as Ivone tried to headbutt her again. Ivone let out an enraged shriek, cursing at Jo and thrashing against the chair once again.
"Wow, cool, I got my Christmas present early!" said Jo, giggling like crazy. "Hmmm...well, the French girl is the best kisser, the girl with blue hair has the best feet, and the orange-haired girl is the funnest to play with so...I like all of you! I think I'll keep you."
"WHMMMT?!" shrieked Ivone angrily.
"Nmmmm!" shouted Miyumi, shaking her head. "Oh, this is really bad! Is this girl really going to keep us captive...forever? She can't do that, can she?"
"Natalia kidnaps people for ransom, I doubt she'd let this girl keep us..." thought Marie, trying to figure out exactly what Jo might want from all of this. "I don't think she plans to hurt us but she might do it by accident. We have to keep thinking of a way to escape."
Marie and Miyumi exchanged a look with each other. They both knew that they had to figure out some way to get to Miyumi's bag or they'd have no chance to escape. It was then that Jo reached under Miyumi's chair again. Miyumi shrieked and tried to yank her feet back, thinking Jo was going to tickle them again...but instead Jo grabbed the bag she'd left under Miyumi's chair.
"I need to order a pizza and my phone's dead, where's yours..." Jo said, digging around in Miyumi's bag. "Hmmm... wow...what's this?"
Jo reached into the bag and pulled out a small purse with several hundred dollar bills inside.
"Holy crap!" said Jo, looking at the money. "I bet you could buy a lot of candy with this..."
"I'll let you take it all if you let us go...!" thought Miyumi, trying to muffle that through her tape gag. "Mmmphh..mmph mmphhh!"
"I usually just steal candy anyway," said Jo, putting the money back and reaching into the bag again. "Here we go!"
Jo took out Miyumi's phone and called her favorite pizza place, Pretty Bunny's Pizza. The restaurant's gimmick was that when you ordered a pizza, they'd have a pretty girl in a bunny costume deliver your pizza to you.
"Yeah hello, I want like two big pizzas with everything," said Jo. "Make that three pizzas, I'm starving! ….really? You can't deliver because some girl kept kidnapping all the delivery girls? ..uh...I have no idea who that is. ...I guess I'll just come pick it up. Okay, bye."
Jo put the phone back in Miyumi's bag.
"Okay, I'm gonna go get food and then we'll have more fun, you girls sit tight okay?"
Jo put the bag on Miyumi's lap before running out of the room. Miyumi blinked to herself for a moment, then looked over at Marie and Ivone.
"Mmmphh...mmphh...?" Miyumi muffled, looking down at the bag and then back at her fellow captives.
"Mmmphh...!" Marie tried to squirm over to Miyumi, but she couldn't budge the chair as her feet weren't able to reach the floor. Ivone blinked curiously at Miyumi, realizing that there must be something in the bag that could get them free, or at least they could use the cell phone inside to call for help.
"She really just left that bag here?" thought Ivone, wondering how their captor could be so careless. "Well...it doesn't matter, I have to get to that thing!"
Ivone tried to press her feet against the floor. They could touch, but only the first few inches, barely past her toes. She wondered if she had the strength to scoot the chair over to Miyumi.
"...Of COURSE I can do it!" Ivone thought, pressing her feet down against the concrete floor and pushing herself back slightly. She was able to propel her chair a fraction of an inch. Miyumi and Marie both looked over at her, watching as she continued to scoot herself around along the floor. "Come on...come on...!"
With every push, Ivone moved herself a tiny fraction of an inch, slowly but surely making her way around behind Marie and Miyumi.
"Mmmphh...mmphhh!" Miyumi muffled, both nervous and excited. "You can do it Ivone-san...!"
As Ivone continued to scoot herself, Marie watched with a curious, almost bored expression. She still had to pee, and she hoped this wouldn't take much longer...
"The sooner we get out of this, the sooner I can catch that girl and the sooner I can find Natalia..."
It took nearly twenty minutes, but Ivone finally got herself around to where she could reach Miyumi's bag. She was drenched in sweat from the effort of pushing the heavy chair, and Miyumi could smell the odor coming up from Ivone's sweaty soles.
"Mmm...mmmph..." Miyumi muffled quietly, wrinkling her nose. "Miss Ivone-san, when we get out of this you should shower... if you'd like..."
Ivone looked back at Miyumi and sighed, letting out a groan.
"I know, I know, my feet smell, you'll only have to put up with this for a little bit more so just hold still..."
Ivone carefully reached back with her bound wrists into Miyumi's bag. She fished around for a bit until she grabbed Miyumi's nail file. The edges felt sharp, she didn't know if they'd be able to cut these ropes but she knew she had to try. She carefully pulled the nail file out of the bag and manipulated it in her hands until she was able to get it into a position to saw her wrists free. She could feel her palms sweating and trembling, and she nearly dropped the file as soon as she got it into position.
"Mmmm...!" Ivone cried, before catching herself and stopping the file from slipping. "That was close..."
Carefully but quickly she began to saw at the ropes holding her wrists. The rope was strong but the nail file began to cut through it rather quickly. Both Miyuki and Marie watched nervously, knowing Jo could come back at any time.
"Hurry...hurry, you smelly girl..." thought Marie, a bead of sweat forming on her forehead.
Finally, Ivone sawed away enough of the ropes to be able to break and squirm out of the rest of them. Once her wrists were free, it was a much simpler matter to use the increased slack to free herself of the ropes around her upper body, and she was able to loosen the ropes holding her chest to the chair as well. Once those were gone, she tossed them away and ripped the tape off her mouth, yanking out the cloth and spitting onto the ground.
"Fuck! Finally!" Ivone shouted, bending over to free her legs. "Don't worry, I'll get you two out next..."
"Mmmm!" squealed Miyumi, giving a happy cheer as Ivone got free. "Good job, Ivone-san!"
Ivone pulled the ropes off her legs and pushed the chair away, then quickly untied Miyumi and let her remove her own gag.
"Are you okay? Did that freak hurt you before I got here?" asked Ivone, showing a lot of concern. Miyumi shook her head and removed the tape from her mouth, gingerly pulling out the cloth.
"No, I'm fine...it was...it was just really weird is all," said Miyumi softly, bowing her head and rubbing her wrists. "I don't know what that girl wanted or why she took me but we should get out of here quick, before she comes back!"
"I ain't scared of that bitch," said Ivone. "We're gonna get her back for doing this. But...if you don't want to you don't have to stay."
Miyumi blushed, bowing her head and looking around for a moment.
"Well, I....I think now that you're here we'll be fine," said Miyumi, smiling at Ivone. Ivone smiled, then walked over to Marie and pulled the tape off of her mouth.
"How about you, you all right too?" asked Ivone, pulling out the cloth as well.
"Took you long enough," said Marie, somewhat bitterly.
"Well EXCUSE me," replied Ivone, crossing her arms over her chest. "It's not like you did anything to help us!"
"Please....we shouldn't fight each other, we've all been through a lot," said Miyumi, hugging her backpack close to her chest.
"And what made you think that I could even get into that thing in the first place?" Marie asked, looking over at Miyumi. "What exactly was I going to do? You foolish- mmm!"
Ivone pressed the tape back over Marie's lips and clamped her hand down tightly over it, looking right into her eyes.
"There's something you should know about me, I HATE bullies and I hate people who insult my friends and if you say one more mean thing about my new friend I'm going to leave you here for that crazy girl to have fun with! Got it?"
Marie just glared into Ivone's eyes, taking a bit of resentment at her remarks.
"I am NOT a bully...I just don't suffer fools very well," thought Marie, looking over at Miyumi. "...then again...perhaps...I was a bit harsh. This entire situation, it's so completely insane that I'm starting to get emotional."
"I said, got it?!"
"....mmph..." Marie nodded her head, just wanting to get free from the chair. Ivone took her hand off of Marie's mouth and then yanked the tape off as hard as she could. "...merde!!"
"...I don't know what that was but it better not have been another insult," said Ivone, freeing Marie from the chair.
"It means 'shit' in French," Miyumi said.
"You speak French too?" asked Ivone curiously. Miyumi responded by shaking her head and holding up her phone. "Oh yeah. ...cool phone."
"If we're done here," said Marie, rubbing her wrists, "I suggest we figure out our next course of action. I assume we're getting our revenge on this girl, no?"
"Yeah," said Ivone, looking over at Miyumi. "Are you in?"
"Um....well....are we going to hurt her? Because she didn't hurt us, so-"
"I'm gonna pound her ass!" shouted Ivone.
"I have a better idea," Marie replied. "Have either of you ever heard of the criminal Natalia?"
"Mmm...I think I heard about her on a show once," said Miyumi.
"That girl, the one who took us...she works with Natalia. We can use her to get to Natalia, and when we get to Natalia...."
"We can pound BOTH their asses!" said Ivone eagerly, punching her fist into her hand. "You might be a bully, but I like the way you think, uh...."
"It's Marie, and I am not a bully," said Marie, turning to Miyumi. "...on that note, I suppose I should....apologize for calling you foolish. At least you had a plan that didn't rely on snapping ropes made for someone twice your size."
"Um....well....it's okay," said Miyumi softly, looking slightly away from Marie. "I didn't know how either of us were going to get to the bag, I just thought if you knew....well... Ivone-san did get to it and save us."
"Yeah, so you better thank me," said Ivone, turning to Marie.
"Considering that I haven't told you to put your shoes back on yet, I think we're even," replied Marie, who bent over to pick up her own shoes and socks so that she could put them back on. Miyumi and then Ivone did the same.
"By the way...." said Ivone, looking over at Miyumi, "you never told me what YOUR name was."
"Oh...well, I'm Miyumi...." she said softly, smiling at Ivone. "I'm sorry I ran off before, I just...well..."
"It's okay, I can be pretty scary sometimes," said Ivone, putting her hands on her hips in such a way to show off her body. Marie took a look at Ivone's strong arms and chest and let out a quiet sigh, turning away and groaning to herself.
"If she's like this all the time I can see why that girl ran," thought Marie. "Still...there's something about both of them..."
"Well, we'd better get ready if we're going to ambush that girl," said Ivone, looking around the room for anything she could use to set up a trap. "She'll be back any minute."
Marie began looking around as well, while Miyumi bowed her head nervously, wondering if it was really a good idea to try to sneak up on Jo like this. What if they got caught again? Would she try to hurt them for real this time? And if they did catch Jo, did she really deserve to get beaten up by Ivone? Should she be more worried about what Marie might do to her?
"Maybe...maybe this will be fun," thought Miyumi, her eyes starting to scan the room as well. "I...think I can trust Ivone at least."
The three didn't have much time...as they looked around the room, trying to come up with a plan to get their revenge, Jo was making her way back toward the building, carrying four large pizza boxes in her arms.
"Oh boy...I don't know what's gonna be more fun, eating this pizza or playing with my new friends?"
Jo had no idea what she was walking into.