Chapter 66: Stylistic Choices

on February 8, 2012 in Volume 2 Book 3: Figments & Fragments, Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which Two Has Words For Mackenzie’s Wardrobe

Dinner went by in a kind of haze as I continued to come back down… or up… from my deep submission. I didn’t actually need Ian to remind me that I needed to bring Amaranth up to date on the events of the night and early morning, but I didn’t blame him for thinking I might… I’m sure I looked really out of it.

Alone with Ian and me in our suite, Amaranth frowned and chewed her lip when I told her in detail about the dream and the conversation that had followed it.

“I guess it was kind of… drastic,” I said when I finished. The word seemed a little inadequate, but it really only seemed that way when I tried to explain it to someone else. Inside my head I understood what I’d done and why.

“Well, yes, it might have been better to wait and think about your options before going straight to something so… irrevocable,” she said. “I’m not saying you did the wrong thing, baby. Just that you could have waited to be sure it was the right one.”

“When I picked up my mirror, I didn’t think I’d actually be putting anything into motion,” I said. “I just felt like I needed to do something, even something small and symbolic like finding out how to get a hold of Kent, while I was still feeling all… well… while I was still capable of doing something. I think if I had gone back to sleep and waited until later I probably would have found it easiest to do nothing and just wait for my appointment with Teddi.”

“Would that have been so terrible, though?” Amaranth asked. “I mean, not only might she be able to give you other options for keeping your father out, but she could have been a sounding board for the whole Law plan.”

“Maybe… but, Amaranth, I feel like I did the right thing,” I said. “I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I don’t know if it’s the best thing. But I’ve had a great day and I feel good about what I did.”

“Then I’m glad you did it,” she said. She sat down on the bed and patted her lap. “Come here, baby, and I’ll get you ready for bed.”

That apparently entailed a torturous make-out and teasing session that heavily involved my nipple piercings and a lot of light, ticklish touches from the ends of her nails around the inside of my thighs.

Amaranth knew better than anyone how easy it was to set me off. I almost came three times while Ian watched. She knew exactly where the edge of that particular cliff was located, and she knew how to push me right up to the very brink of it before yanking me back from it. She got me panting and left me there… and I wasn’t sure I’d ever heard myself pant before. I hoped it sounded better farther away from my skull.

At the very least the sound couldn’t have been too distracting because Ian finished once just from watching… well, I think his hand helped, but under the circumstances I think that was the least that could have been expected. He was nearly hard again by the time Amaranth released me to take care of his needs, which I did without complaint.

One thing that had to be said about the whole denial thing: his sex life was definitely improving by any measurement.

Mine was… harder to say. The climax had always been more of about release and relief for me than simple pleasure. It was frustrating to have Amaranth work me up and then kiss me on the cheek and turn and walk away… but somehow that frustration made it all the more fulfilling for me to put my needs aside and get down on my knees in front of Ian.

It felt more like service, like a real gift I was giving him.

It was hard to explain, which made it all the more awkward when I found myself trying to do so to Nicki in class the next day. We’d sort of drifted in the topic of my sex life, ironically because I’d been asking her about what she would look for in a girlfriend. She didn’t really know what she liked, sexually, so she turned things around back to me.

“So, wait… Ian can just decide that you don’t get to get off for a few days?” she said.

“If that’s what he wants,” I said. I manged to say it without blushing, though I did incline my head. It felt more like a token of submission than embarrassment, though it was at least a bit of both. “It’s not a regular thing with us. I mean, it hasn’t been. We kind of just started it… I think we’re both getting to a place where we’re confident enough to try that kind of thing. Who knows where it’ll go?”

“Do you actually enjoy that?”

“I’m… learning to appreciate it,” I said, after some consideration. I didn’t want to sound like it was bad, but I felt like I’d only just barely brushed the surface of the good.

“More so than you would an actual orgasm or three?”

“No,” I said. “They’re… different styles of good. Good in different ways. It’s not something that could replace actually, you know, having sex all the way. Like I said, we’re just trying it, but now that you’ve got me talking about it my feeling is that in the long run it’ll kind of be like… like not having the same thing to eat every night. you know?”

“So you are into it?” she said.

I laughed a kind of sputtery laugh, that kind of came out my nose when I tried not to be too loud during class. Nicki seemed to provoke this reaction from me… in this case I wasn’t laughing at anything she’d said and I certainly wasn’t laughing at her. It was more that the question was unexpected. Normally the unexpected would make me freeze up for a moment.

With Nicki… I really couldn’t say what the difference was, but it was there.

“Well, I’m not out of it, I guess?” I said. “I mean, I don’t want to give you the idea that I’m reluctant or I’m just putting up with it for his sake… I’m not sure how I’d feel about it all the time or long-term, but it’s… a new experience. I’ve never had a chance to get used to having sex every day for a long period of time in the first place. In some ways, I’m getting more attention than usual. It’s not something I would have picked for myself… but it’s not something I’d turn down.”

“But you… you told him to do this, right?”

“No,” I said. “It was all his idea.”

“I thought that the whole sub thing was supposed to be voluntary?”

“It is,” I said. “I’m his sub, voluntarily.”

“So, would you normally tell him what you want and then have him make you do it?” she said. “I mean, that’s the impression I’ve had… the sub has the power.”

“Um… I think maybe some people do it like that that,” I said. “Maybe. I don’t really know. And, if I’m completely honest, there are some elements of me wanting someone else to take charge for the stuff that I want but I’m self-conscious about doing for myself… but really and truly, one of the things that I want is for someone to take charge. Period, and for real.”

“Oh,” she said. “Um… oh.”

“I have a feeling like I’m disappointing you,” I said.

“Oh, it’s not that,” she said. “I mean, not you, personally. I just had an idea about how the whole d-and-s thing worked that I guess was wrong… I’m not sure it’s something I can support.”

“Why not?”

“Well, you don’t have any control. It just seems really… unequal. One-sided.”

“The basic idea you were describing sounds one-sided, too,” I said. “I mean, you thought someone was calling all the shots for the other person. That’s still true.”

“Yeah, but it seems less squicky to think that the person who’s tied up or being whipped or whatever is the one in charge. You know?”

“I could see that,” I said. “But… if I wanted to be in charge, I wouldn’t want to be tied up. So to speak.”

“So… do you think you could ever be dominant?”

“N-no,” I said, with only a small sputter. “When I’m at my most confident… well, confident and self-aware… is when I’m most submissive. The times when I’m confident and really assertive, I have a small tendency to sort of be a bit of a clueless bitch. I don’t think there’s a lot of talent there waiting to be harnessed.”

“I can’t picture you being a… you know, bitch,” Nicki said, and it was adorable how much her voice dropped in volume when she said the word. “But then, I have a hard time seeing you as submissive. I guess that’s part of why it made more sense to me that you would be the one calling the shots?”

“You know, I’m really happy to be a passenger,” I said. “I’ve never really had a lot of feeling of control in my life, but I’ve also not had a lot of security. This gives me a feeling of both things at once.”

“I just don’t think I could do it,” Nicki said, shaking her head. “I mean, I’ve had dirty-tingly thoughts about women in leather with thigh high boots and whips, but it’s mostly thoughts about having sex with them while they’re slightly bossy, and maybe calling me, you know… names.”

“I can understand that,” I said. “I’m fond of… names, myself.”

“Are you making fun of me?”

“A little bit,” I said. “But if you knew how rarely I’m the most experienced person in these conversations you wouldn’t blame me.”

“I’m not in-experienced,” Nicki said. “I just have had… different experiences. Then you have.”

“Well, most people have,” I said. I noticed that Professor Stone was kind of looking our way, so I added, “Let’s finish this conversation at dinner?”

“Okay,” she said. She was blushing. “I’m not like… I mean, I know you said I was welcome, but sometimes I like to eat lunch at different times, and…”

“Hey, you don’t need a reason to join us or not,” I said. “Real friendship isn’t an obligation… that’s something I learned from Puddy.”

“That doesn’t seem like something… oh,” she said.

After having spent a whole hour in Coach Callahan’s class the day before mostly trying the same couple of things and having my classmates catch on, I decided to spend the Thursday evening session working on feinting and faking people out so I could get around their defenses instead of powering through them all the time.

I figured that was the sort of thing the coach wanted to see from me… ways of handling situations where my usual tactics wouldn’t work or where my strength wouldn’t be such an overwhelming advantage. My strength and the speed it gave me still provided me with some benefits, because I could whip my staff around and reverse direction really fast. I wasn’t really great at it to begin with, but I picked things up as I went and I didn’t have to even be haflway good for another day.

As a half-immortal half-demon, I didn’t sweat much, but I still felt a little unnecessarily grubby after the unusual workout. I didn’t really have time to head back to the tower and take a shower, especially when I might need to eat in hurry to make my appointment with Teddi afterwards. There were shower facilities somewhere in the athletic center, but it would be a dry day on the plane of water before I ever set foot in them. I decided to just head back and change into a nicer, cleaner top.

I had a fitted T that had been a gift from Two. It was black, but it had a little bit more of a v-shaped neckline and some… reflecty-rectangle… things… making a kind of checkmark pattern around it. I didn’t wear it very often because I had a feeling I’d break the whatevers off of it if I wasn’t careful, and I was never careful… but I figured I could be careful enough for one evening.

As I carefully didn’t hurry to meet the others for dinner, I wondered if Nicki would say anything about the change. I really didn’t want to give her the wrong impression, that I was the kind of person who’d change clothes just for dinner.

It turned out that I’d had no need to worry, though, because she didn’t show up. Two noticed and appreciated it, though.

“I like that shirt,” she said. “It looks pretty nice on you.”

“You gave me this shirt,” I said.

“Yes,” she said. “Amaranth helped me pick out. She said it was more to your taste than my first choice. Otherwise it would have been nicer. You and your friend Nicki and I should go shopping sometime. She could help me convince you to wear more colors that are… colors..”

“My wardrobe is the most diverse it’s ever been, thank you very much,” I said.

“Yeah, ever since you bought that third pair of jeans things have really taken off,” Ian said.

I have m… I do have more than three pairs of jeans,” I said. “I just… when I find a pair that I like, I get more of them. It’s more about comfort than appearance.”

“We could put sequins or rhinestones on the duplicates to make them more distinct,” Two said.

“I have only two questions,” Steff said. “Where would these sequins go and what would they spell?”

“On her pants,” Two said. “I have not thought about words. They could say… Mack’s Jeans?”

“There will be no writing things on my pants!” I said.

Ian gave Amaranth a meaningful look, and she smiled.

“I think we have some say in the disposition of your pants, baby,” Amaranth said.

“You didn’t say if you wanted to go shopping,” Two said.

I thought about it. It was in Two’s nature to keep herself busy, she had a wider circle of friends than I did, and since I wasn’t dating her and hadn’t needed her help with mental invasions we really hadn’t seen a lot of each other so far during the school year. And I had a feeling Nicki would be flattered to be asked along for her fashion expertise.

“Okay,” I said. “Well, we’ll have to ask Nicki, obviously… and I’m going to be kind of occupied this weekend.”

“With me,” Steff said. “And I think this sounds awesome. I can take you out for a little walk… I still remember our first time hitting the town.”

“Then it’s a date,” Two said. “But not a date-date, except between Steff and Mack, and maybe Mack and her friend Nicki, and maybe Mack and her friend Nicki and Steff.” She paused and her face scrunched up as she worked her way through the various permutations. “It is perhaps substantially but not entirely a date-date, pending the acceptance of Mack’s friend Nicki.”

“Two, you’re one of a kind,” Hazel said.

“That’s our pseudowench,” Steff added.


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44 Responses to “Chapter 66: Stylistic Choices”

  1. Null Set says:

    “A little bit,” I said. “But if you knew how rarely I’m the least experienced person in these conversations you wouldn’t blame me.”

    I think you dropped a negative somewhere. Maybe should be “least inexperienced”?

    Current score: 0
    • nemka says:

      I think it’s meant how it’s written, ‘least inexperienced’ would imply that she usually has some level of experience, beyond others in the conversation. She’s making the point to Nikki that she is usually the one without experience, that being the one with the ‘least experience,’ so that she’s usually in Niki’s position rather than the position of sexual information source.

      Current score: 1
    • Burnsidhe says:

      It’s meant exactly how it’s written, and the sentence in context means “Yes, I’m having a little fun with you, because I’m not often in a position to do it.”

      Current score: 1
    • Gull says:

      the double negative (rarely least) implies that she’s normally the most experienced person in those conversations. the sentence should probably read something like “But if you knew how rarely I’m the most experienced person in these conversations you wouldn’t blame me.”

      Current score: 0
      • Brenda says:

        In that case, it’s a triple negative – rarely least INexperienced.

        She is usually the most inexperienced – the least experienced.
        Now she is the least inexperienced one there – the most experienced.

        Current score: 0
  2. Burnsidhe says:

    I can just imagine Two with a Bedazzler in hand, carefully and precisely working according to a pattern, to make Mack’s jeans unique to Mack, and each different from each other.

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    • Eris Harmony says:

      She would probably make lots of hearts and flowers, the kinds of designs that are totally cute and that totally don’t fit Mack’s style.

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      • Daezed says:

        Don’t forget
        The butterflies.
        Pretty!

        Current score: 0
      • Burnsidhe says:

        Oh, it’s less about the design, than it is about that Two has A Plan, and that it Should Be Carried Out in the Most Precise Manner. 🙂

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    • Morten says:

      Maybe she could do like burning eyes or a pitchfork *but cute!*

      I guess as long as it isn’t a dragon it’ll be okay. Or a mermaid.

      Current score: 0
  3. Calia says:

    “It is perhaps substantially but not entirely a date-date, pending the acceptance of Mack’s friend Nicki.”

    She. Is. So. PRECIOUS.
    Sometimes irritatingly so, but precious all the same 🙂

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    • Brenda says:

      I wonder if she still writes in that diary?

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      • 3023ogilvyd says:

        I’m sure she does. I mean, nobody’s told her otherwise to anyone’s knowledge.

        Which technically means that there could be dozens, hundreds even, untapped Diary of a Golem Girl stories to be had.

        Which, wheee. ^_^

        Current score: 0
        • Brenda says:

          I can’t be the only one dying to know how the entries have evolved.

          Current score: 0
  4. Daezed says:

    Wow, I’m all caught up. Wonderful feeling, that…. Though I’m sad not to have a ” next” link. Lol.

    Good chapter, though I am missing the in-depth interaction with Callahan. I really, really hope, even though it’s a ways off, that there is -some- reason to keep Mack in fighting classes her junior and senior years. Wouldn’t be MU without or favorite dwelvorcgre teacher!

    Either way, loving year two, AE. You are a bloody phenomenal writer.

    Anywho, guess I’m off to read some MToMU. I miss Jamie and Iason. 🙂

    Current score: 0
    • I miss them too *sighs and wishes on her luckiest of lucky stars that someday there may be more*

      Anyhoo… Great chapter! I love how Mack is getting more self aware!

      Current score: 0
      • Daezed says:

        Yeah, I would love to see how the thing after the party turned out… And while I’m making idle wishes, how things are going in Durakesh, and how Suzi is, and Semele…. I’d kill for more of Semele, though Nicki reminds me of her a bit.

        And more of those interviews with some of the non-human races represented on camps. Demanding little brat, am i. lol! Though I won’t lie, I am digging the new year, pretty hardcore. I pimped out the first year, but I am really babbling about the new chapters lately, with my other friends who read, lol.

        Current score: 0
    • Brenda says:

      I think Callahan is staying on the sidelines until Friday, watching to see how Mack applies herself.

      Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      Based on the last OT, the Senate might impose compulsory weapons training every year (“… to ensure the availability of competent conscripts”).

      Current score: 0
  5. Zathras IX says:

    A partnership with
    Senior and junior members
    Can still be equal

    Current score: 1
  6. Luke Licens says:

    Yay for more pseudowench. Everything is better with Two.

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    • JN says:

      And bacon.

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      • Anthony says:

        Bad juxtaposition, though. Brings to mind images od Two with an apple in her mouth… 😉

        Current score: 1
  7. Month says:

    We need more Two’s in out lives.

    Not in the tormented left alone sense of things, but in the fact pointing way.

    Current score: 0
  8. postook says:

    “I wasn’t really great at it to begin with, but I picked things up as I went and I didn’t have to even be haflway good for another day.”

    halfway good?

    Current score: 0
  9. Maeglin says:

    2<3

    Current score: 0
  10. Mad Nige says:

    “I just have had… different experiences. Then you have.”
    probably should be
    “I just have had… different experiences. Than you have.”

    Current score: 0
  11. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    We’d sort of drifted in the topic of my sex life, ironically because I’d been asking her about what she would look for in a girlfriend.

    That “in” ought to be “into”, or perhaps “onto”. Also, Mack can be so adorably clueless sometimes. ^,^

    I manged to say it without blushing,

    I don’t know whether half-demons can actually get the mange, but I believe that word is meant to be “managed”.

    but I picked things up as I went and I didn’t have to even be haflway good for another day.

    Transposed the “l” and “f” in “halfway”.

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      In Mack’s effort to avoid blushing, some of her hair fell out.

      Current score: 0
  12. Maahes0 says:

    I have to say, you’ve been handling the new post schedule amazingly well for a long period of time.
    I noticed today that my thinking over time has gone from “yay two posts a week!” back to “Noooooo I need more posts!!!” That is to say, I’ve come to see it as regular now.
    Keep up the great work!

    Current score: 0
  13. anon y mouse says:

    “The climax had always been more of about release and relief for me than simple pleasure.” – more about release and relief?

    “Um… I think maybe some people do it like that that,” – only one that?

    Current score: 0
  14. pedestrian says:

    Does anyone know what happened to Nae? I thought she was also in the melee class but has not been mentioned since that first time. I know she is a deep submissive but, I was thinking if the little tyke could bring out her inner carnivore.

    The shrew is one of the most ferocious of predators. Think minks, ferrets, otters, sables and all their cousins. A hungry wolverine will force a grizzly bear twice its size and four times its mass to back down from a carcass.

    For Nae, in the melee class, best would be a small scorpion. Those things are deadly! Or the tiny, blue-ring octopus, that have probably killed more careless swimmers and divers then all of their larger cephalopoda relations, combined.

    Even if her stingers/whips were mocked, they could still be set for mimicking a neurotoxin. Just a tiny droplet hitting bare skin would cause an immediate reaction. Set to cause temporary paralysis or blinding pain. And if Callahan wants to indulge her own whimsy, settings for the victims of instantly voiding their bowels or violent convulsions.

    I can see it now, Nae the Scorpion dashing between and around all the slow witted big-foot’s clumsy attempts to swing at where she had been. All the while slashing at everybody in her mad dash to imitate Napoleon Bonaparte. Audacity! Audacity! Audacity!

    Current score: 0
  15. The one guy says:

    I like that Nae thought. I always thought it was a shame that whips were so basically useless in D&D.

    Current score: 0
    • pedestrian says:

      One of my hobbies has been inventing new weapon systems. I agree that a bullwhip would be ineffective as a combat weapon. No matter what tricks experienced users can do. Also the weight requires real muscle to use.

      I was remembering back to my teenage years and gang rumbles. A popular weapon was an car radio antenna, easy to hide and no embarrassing fingerprints.

      For Nae, a pair of telescoping stingers would be best. Easy to conceal and the dangerous parts would be safely contracted inside. A three stage extension would be best. The first stage would just be dull metal? When she is just trying to get some big galoots attention without causing injury but a whelt or two.

      The second extension should be razor sharp enough to causing moderate injuries. Slash and run, slash and dodge. As modern military tactics say; “Shoot And Scoot!”

      The small, third extension would be the stinger with the neurotoxin. You would be surprised at how little is needed to, at the very least, incapacitate a man and how fast a dose could kill him.

      I haven’t kept up with modern treatments but I know the old method was was an issued plunger of Atropine? If exposed to Sabin or Tabin, you had a very limited time to take the shot of Atropine and stab it into the calf of your leg.

      Current score: 0
  16. zeel says:

    “Dry day on the plane of water”

    Is this a normal thing to say in that world? Or something Mackenzie says to avoid talking about Hell?

    Current score: 0
    • Brenda says:

      In a world where demons are REAL and a real threat, it makes sense that there is a similar statement that does NOT invoke the infernal plane…

      Current score: 0
  17. Oni says:

    Hehe. I’m amazed that I’m the only one to comment on the likelyhood that Hazel was present this entire chapter but was not noticed until the very end. At least, that’s the joke I got out of her never being mentioned as arriving and yet commenting at the end.

    Current score: 0
    • Brenda says:

      Well, Mack moved around a lot in this chapter, but I get what you’re saying – that she was there from the start of the dinner conversation. I would have thought she’d have something to say about Mack’s wardrobe, too, though! But if she was just arriving, it would have made sense to mention it. Did that get overlooked, or did SHE get overlooked?

      Has Mack had much trouble overlooking Hazel? Doesn’t she seem to be always noticing OTHER people not noticing Hazel? I’m trying to remember if she’s been snuck up on much.

      Current score: 0
  18. The one guy says:

    “Whips can be useless” but it seems like an experienced whip user should be able to make a “called shot” at basically no penalty (at least, no more penalty than using a whip to begin with).

    Current score: 0
  19. pedestrian says:

    Consider how useful, how natural selection would encourage a basic competency to avoid the claws and fangs of all the rampaging predators of this world.

    Predators in general go after anything that moves and are blind to any possible prey that remains silent, still,and scentless. And I think to a certain degree that includes us veldt apes as our greed for imagined treasures send us delving.

    Current score: 0