I threw the paint tins into the back of the van. Why the hell am I doing this, I asked myself. I’m a final year university student studying literature, with a major in dangling modifiers.

The answer was simple. My flatmate selfishly contracted the bora virus two days ago. He’d got this painting job lined up, and now he couldn’t do it. Instead, he was laid up in bed waiting for a reboot.

What the hell, I needed the money. And anyway, it sounded like an easy gig. Repainting the lower hallway in one of the mansions owned by multi-millionairess Chrissy Grey.

I jumped into the driver’s seat, started the engine, and put the pedal to the metal, in the first of many clichés.

The paint tins clattered around in the back, as the van careered down the country lanes towards Chrissy Grey’s luxury mansion, hidden within a copse of hard wood trees, outside the village of Little Whipping.

I pushed the buzzer on the intercom outside the heavy wrought iron gates, fashioned into the shape of giant manacles. There was a crackle on the loudspeaker.

“Who is it?” asked a female voice.

“My name’s Bondage,” I replied. “Jimmy Bondage. I’ve come to do your back passage.”

There was a pause. “What a relief,” purred the voice. “You’d better come in. I’ll have to meet you myself. I’d send my handyman, but he’s a little tied up at the moment.”

The wrought iron manacles slowly swung open. I jumped back into the van and drove up the long, winding gravel drive leading to the main entrance of the elegant, tastefully designed, neo-Georgian, overly-adjectived stately mansion, belonging to the country’s most reclusive heiress to a rubber goods fortune.

I strode up the stone steps to the entrance doors two at a time. As I reached up to knock on the solid oak front door with its heavy black door furniture, a voice shouted from a window above me.

“Don’t touch my knockers. They’re reserved for special guests only. I want you round the back. And wipe your feet. I don’t want any skid marks around my back entrance.”

I reversed the van, followed the drive around to the rear of the mansion, and parked by a sign reading “rough trade only”. Before I’d even let go of my gear knob a door opened, and multi-millionairess Chrissy Grey appeared before me.

“You’re not who I was expecting.” She eyed me dismissively. The sun glinted off her PVC nurses uniform. I’d never realised she was an RCN.

“Willy can’t get up at the moment,” I said. “He’s got the bora virus, and he’s gone all limp. He asked me to see to you.”

“Did he really?” Chrissy Grey raised an already arched eyebrow. “I’m sure he’s going to miss getting his CBT this week.”

“You’re a therapist?” I asked. If she provided cognitive behavioural therapy, that might explain the uniform.

“Different kind of CBT, darling.” Her voice broke into a throaty chuckle. “CBT in Willy’s case means cock and ball treatment.” She smiled at the obviously puzzled expression on my face. “You didn’t know your Willy was into BDSM?”

“He’s not my Willy,” I said quickly. I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea. “We just share a house.”

Chrissy Grey smiled. “Whatever you want to believe.” She stepped towards me. The PVC of her uniform crackled seductively as she walked. “Maybe you’d like to take his place? The dungeon’s all prepared.”

I stepped back hurriedly. “I’ve just come to sort out the broken plaster and slap on some primer. I’ve got everything in the back of the van. If you’d just show me the way to your crack, I’ll get filling.”

She looked disappointed. “Well, if you’re sure. Did he give you the paint charts as well?”

I shook my head. “He just said I had to smooth down your surfaces, and make sure my brush strokes were even.”

“That’s annoying. I need to finalise the colour.”

I went round to the back of the van, and opened the doors.

“What colour are you having it?” I asked, gathering up the tins of primer.

“I thought I’d go for my namesake. Grey.”

“Well that should be easy, then.” I picked up a tin in each hand, and walked over to her. “You don’t need a paint chart to choose that.”

Chrissy Grey looked horrified. “Oh, but my dear. There are at least fifty shades of grey.”