"There you are!"
"Oh Rosa, thank God!" Sylvia flung herself at her friend, hugging her for a long time. "Let me look at you! Gosh, you're as beautiful as ever!"
"As are you." Rosa grinned mischievously. "Silver."
"Oh crap, yes, I almost forgot."
"I'm sticking close to my real name for this. I'll be Rosie."
"How adorable!" Sylvia exclaimed. "It suits you."
"Did they give you everything? Did you get your welcome pack?"
"Right here, I guess." Sylvia gestured to the large manila envelope sticking out of her bag.
"And your ribbon? Isn't it a gorgeous idea? For the subbies who are being auctioned to wear black velvet ribbons so everyone knows they're up for sale ahead of time?"
"I... um... I'm not sure. It might be in this one." Sylvia fumbled for the smaller envelope and opened it. "Yes, here it is."
"Excellent. Have you decided what you're going to wear? I'm going all out. Well, at least that's the plan but I really haven't decided yet. Do you want me to give you a tour?" Rosie's excitement was infectious.
"Slow down, I've only had one coffee, and I don't think it's even noon yet," Sylvia said, half-laughing in protest. "You know I can't function until I've had at least three cups and it's mid-afternoon, at least. Which reminds me, is there a dustbin around here anywhere?"
"A dustbin?" Rosie's dark blonde eyebrows drew together in confusion.
"Ugh, are we starting this already? A trash can! I mean, really, we do speak the same language. Apparently."
Rosie giggled. "Sure, there are several inside. I'll show you once we get there. But first, have you got your bracelet? It should be in your welcome pack. Put it on now and do not take it off. Not even in the shower. Remember?"
Sylvia frowned as she drew the black bracelet out of the larger envelope. "Black. How boring. Why don't I have a pretty pink one, like you?"
"Because you're not in the ageplay program. But really, the dungeon? Don't you have any other fantasies?"
"Well, yeah, but I figured that would pretty much cover most of them. Otherwise I'd hardly be able to lift my arm for the riot of rainbow colours all the way up to my elbow." Sylvia winked.
"Can I take your comment to mean that you're no longer scared, and are instead looking forward to this adventure, as you should be?"
"I'm sure the nerves will come rushing back. But in the meantime, look at this place! It's just gorgeous! You're so lucky to work here."
"It's definitely not the worst place in the world," Rosie agreed, linking her arm through Sylvia's. "And everyone's incredibly friendly. You really won't find a safer place to play, anywhere. Now tell me, what are you going to wear tonight?"
"I really don't know. I brought a little black dress..." Sylvia looked around. "Oh, shit. I left my suitcase on the bus! Bugger. I got caught up with everyone else when they came off the bus and was just swept along by the crowd—"
"Don't stress." Rosie patted her arm soothingly. "The porters get your luggage from the bus and take it to your room for you. No doubt your suitcase is already waiting there, all ready for you to unpack."
"Really. This place is a well-oiled machine. Master Marshall knows his stuff."
"Wow." Sylvia allowed her friend to lead her up the front steps and into the castle. It was even more enormous than it had appeared from the outside, and she soon realised that not a single detail had been forgotten. Grecian pillars and the marble floor gave the foyer an opulent, luxurious feel, and there was a hotel reception, gift shop, spa, candy shop, and even an art gallery. There were people everywhere, all wearing the most amazing clothes; from sleek and sexy black leather to neon-coloured Furry costumes, and everything in between. "This place is bloody huge, and there are so many people! I'll never find my way around."
"Trust me, you will. It's always overwhelming when you first arrive, especially since the foyer is usually so busy," Rosa said, reassuringly.
"So what do I do first? Is there a map in here?" Sylvia yanked the bigger envelope from her bag.
"I'll take you to your room so you can make sure your suitcase has been brought in. Do you have the number of the suite you were assigned just now, and the key card for it?"
"I have no idea." Sylvia pulled yet another form out of the large manila envelope and gave it to Rosa. "Can you make sense of that?"
"I certainly can. Let me lead the way. Although we should really get to Wardrobe first. If anyone catches you out of costume in here, you'll find out just how out of practice your butt is, sooner rather than later."
Sylvia grinned at her friend, knowing that they were thinking the same thing—that Rosa's words were more tempting than terrifying.
The vivacious, petite blonde continued. "I'm up on the third floor where the employees have rooms. They are off limits to guests but I assure you, you're going to love your guest suite. The showers are amazing."
After a brief tour of the facilities on the way to Sylvia's new, temporary residence, Rosa gave her a quick hug and promised to find her again at the Meet and Greet. Sylvia watched her friend skip away, smiling to herself as she slotted the card into the door lock. She was already feeling calmer for having seen Rosa.