326: Make Your Time

on December 5, 2008 in Book 12

In Which Amaranth Connects With Mackenzie

Dinner was another one of those “so much to talk about, so little to say” affairs, with Two being there… we couldn’t talk about the pitchfork, we couldn’t talk about the party, I couldn’t tell Dee about Lee’s thought’s on her testifying… actually, that was probably a good thing. She hadn’t expressed interest in doing so, and if the topic were raised she might have felt justifiably insulted at having her clerical credentials called into question by a bunch of surface-dwellers.

She’d probably also want to know what progress was being made to track the pitchfork down. As much as I would have loved to get it safely back in my hands where it belonged, Lee had a very good point about witch hunts. A big news report about a demonic but nondescript pitchfork that was turning people evil would probably end in multiple tragedies.

People were scared of supernatural evil, to the point that they often forgot that its victims were victims and not willing carriers, especially when they got the mob urge. I remembered the experiences of the girl with the sleeping curse at school. I’d heard my grandmother dealing with ugly crowds before.

After dinner, though, Two announced that she had to go run some errands for her friend Hazel. It quickly came clear that this was so that Dee and Steff could help Hazel cart some things up to her room without Two seeing.

My help was not requested.

Alone in our room, I was able to fill Amaranth in about everything that had happened on my trip, including my choice of presents for Two… and also including my unfortunate blurt-out regarding Lee’s fiancĂ©e, for which I was duly corrected.

Very duly.

Not just because I’d been accidentally rude to a good man who was doing nothing but helping me, but for every other little thing she’d witnessed and not punished, for all the bits of unexpiated guilt I was carrying around, and because she loved me and she hadn’t done this nearly often enough.

She started off doing it by hand, and she finished that way… though in between, my strap played a starring role. Her hand was as firm on my backside as it had ever been, but the pace was slower and more deliberate than ever. Her touch lingered upon my skin. There was a sense of profound connection in every loving stroke. I started to cry long before the pain had begun to build up properly and I kept crying even after it had begun to subside.

I wanted it to always be like that… Amaranth and I, my owner and me… her bare hand on my bare skin. It was as right as anything in my world could be.

“I’m sorry,” Amaranth said after we finished. She was sitting on my chair and I was hanging draped across her lap. It shouldn’t have been as comfortable as it was, but it worked. “I’m supposed to be doing that on a regular basis, but… it kind of keeps falling by the wayside, doesn’t it? Every time I punish you I make a little speech like this, and then… it just happens again.”

“Not your fault,” I murmured. “Things keep happening.”

“They do,” she said. “But I don’t think things are likely to stop happening, do you?” She heaved a sigh. Behind my eyelids, I could picture the way her breasts moved. “We could wait for things to get back to normal, but what does that even mean? Normal for me was lying in the field with my books until somebody came by to use me.”

“For me it was trying to make it through the school day without getting into any trouble, then making it home without getting into any trouble, and not getting into any trouble there,” I said.

“Now’s the time for us to start making our own normals, I think,” Amaranth said. “We have to make time for the things that are important to us, no matter what else is going on.”

“You mean we should stop and spank the roses?” I said, then giggled. Amaranth laughed, and as her stomach flexed outward and her legs bucked a little, I started to slide off her. With more than a little reluctance, I climbed off and got to my feet.

The reluctance only increased after I’d done it… in retrospect, it seemed like maybe the reason I’d been so comfortable on my stomach was that it beat standing or sitting, especially as the glowy feelings subsided.

“I wish it was tonight so we didn’t have to wait,” I said.

“Oh, but then we’d miss out on the cute pun,” Amaranth said.

“Okay, then I wish I could skip from now until then,” I said. “Actually, that one’s better… then I don’t have to see Callahan again after the little choking incident.”

“You’d still see her on Thursday, baby… and what about your other classes? You don’t want to miss them.”

“Oh, shit… I hate to think about what I might have done in them,” I said.

“You should probably talk to your teachers and explain, just in case,” Amaranth said.

“Couldn’t I just wait to see if they say anything?”

“What if you missed something important?” she asked. “Coming back after you miss something on the midterm and saying ‘I was possessed when we went over this’ looks a lot more suspicious than letting them know now.”

I sighed.

“You’re probably right,” I said.

“Anyway… I have to go to work, baby,” she said.

“You can’t stay here tonight?” I asked.

“Oh, not tonight… I enjoy the closeness and the comfort, but… that only does so much for me,” she said. “And we can’t do more with Two here.” She sighed, lowering her face towards the floor. Curtains of flowing gold fell down around her face. “It’s Two’s room, though, as much as it’s yours… and it isn’t mine. I wouldn’t push her out to be with you.” She smiled and turned her eyes up towards me. “At least, not permanently.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Hazel’s giving us a little present tomorrow,” she said. “She’s going to have Two sleep over in her room… as part of the ‘ongoing celebration’, so Two feels like she’s being included instead of pushed out.”

“Where exactly is she going to sleep?” I asked. With undersized furniture in a full-sized room, there was plenty of floor space in the gnomes’ place… but this was Two. She had very firm ideas about the uses of a floor vs. those of a bed.

“Oh, we talked about it and we’re pretty sure that if Two knows about slumber parties, she’ll be all in favor of a sleeping bag,” Amaranth said. “Since that’s what you’re supposed to do.” Amaranth giggled. “Maybe some time we could have a sleepover… or even a camping trip. I’d love an excuse to put on a sleeping bag. I mean, to get in one.”

“Maybe… when it gets a lot warmer, anyway,” I said. “We’d have to find someplace that’s safe, though. We’re kind of in the middle of a less-settled area.”

“There are protected parks,” she said.

“Yeah,” I said. “I guess that could work.”

“Oh, hey… it would be a cheap spring break, wouldn’t it?” she said. “I mean, a week’s not really enough time for me to go home and back, the long way… it would be a way for us to all do something together instead of just hanging around on an empty campus.”

“You’d want to ask everybody?”

“Yeah,” she said. “I mean, Steff would be good to have in the great outdoors, and Ian’s probably kind of handy, too… and it might be good for Dee to sleep out under the stars, you know? It might do something to cure her heebie-jeebies.”

“Dee has heebie-jeebies?”

“She says the night sky makes her want to find a stalagmite to grab hold of,” Amaranth said.

“You’d think the day sky would be worse.”

“Maybe it looks more solid to her,” Amaranth said. “Or it’s the fact that she has her hood on… you know, I can’t imagine she spends a lot of time looking up at the sunlit sky, now that I stop and think about it.”

“Yeah, probably not,” I said.

“But anyway, I think it could be fun,” she said. “Oh! We should try to find somewhere with a lake, so we can go swimming!”

“Yeah, um, I’m going to pass on that,” I said. Why did people keep trying to talk me into getting into the water? “I’m not big with the buoyancy. And I’m way too attractive to aquatic predators, apparently.”

“Well… it’s a way off, anyway,” she said. Her face grew serious. “Besides, all sorts of things might change between now and then.”

Of course… there she’d gone planning for the future, not even remembering that her mother the goddess might decide tomorrow that I wasn’t good enough for her daughter.

And of course, I wasn’t.

That was the hell of it. I could rail against the fact that the anthropomorphic form of an ineffable cosmic force might arbitrarily decide that I should never, ever feel the touch of Amaranth’s hand on my backside or ever press my lips against hers again, but I couldn’t say that was the wrong decision for Mother Khaele to make. Even people who weren’t half-demons… people who didn’t become ravenous potentially murderous beasts when they forgot to eat, people who didn’t sweat traces of brimstone and recoil from anything good and pure… wouldn’t truly be good enough for Amaranth.

“But of course, it might not,” she added, forcing hope into her voice that didn’t make any further up her face than her lips.

“Yeah, sure,” I said. “And Viktor might decide that I’m not too dangerous for Steff to hang out with.”

“Oh, Mack… I don’t believe for one second Viktor would do that,” Amaranth said.

“No? Why not?”

“Steff told me she’s not that worried, and she knows him better than anybody.”

“She was worried about it, though,” I said.

“She was,” Amaranth said. “But she isn’t now, so you shouldn’t be, either… anyway, no matter what happens in the future, you should enjoy the time you have now. We should enjoy the time we have now,” she corrected herself. This time, even if the effort was there, the smile lit up her face. She kissed me on the cheek. “I really do have to go to work, baby.”

“Okay,” I said. “Have fun.”

“I’ll try,” she said with a laugh. “Feel better… just remember the party’s tomorrow.”

“Hey, what did you get her?”

“Oh, um… well…”

She turned bright red. I remembered how Amaranth’s initial enthusiasm about expenditures on my behalf had turned into a lot of hemming and hawing when she started adding up the money, and for very good reason… her income prospects were fairly non-existent.

“You know, I probably spent too much on mine,” I said. “We can put both our names on it, if you weren’t able to…”

“Oh, I got her something!” Amaranth said. “I just don’t want it to be misconstrued… I mean, a personal massager can be used for massage, right?”

“You got Two a vibrator? Amaranth, you can’t give her that!”

“Well, why not?” Amaranth said. “The ad said it’s for relieving tension and improving skin tone… and if she ever becomes curious about its other uses, she’ll have it all ready to go. Oh, don’t look at me like that, baby… I’m not going to give her lessons, and the instruction booklet shows somebody using it on a neck.”

“But she’s not ignorant about sex, she just doesn’t like it,” I said. “What if she knows what it’s really used for from… before?”

“Well… she’ll have the actual official instruction book to tell her that this is what it’s really for,” Amaranth said. “I got her a new nightie, too, so even if she doesn’t like it she’ll still have something from me that she can use.”

I wasn’t too thrilled with the image of Two in Amaranth-approved sleepwear, but I had to admit that would likely be something Two would enjoy for herself, so I didn’t press the point, just wished Amaranth a good night and happy hunting and then got ready for a long, hot bath to ease my backside before I settled down to start my research on the old town via my new favorite toy.

If I had to do the stupid presentation, at least I could get the information from the comfort of my own bed.


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11 Responses to “326: Make Your Time”

  1. pedestrian says:

    baby-steps

    It is kindly for Amaranth to gift Two with the means to explore
    possibilities, at her own pace, within her control.

    Current score: 1
  2. Arkeus says:

    Dammit Amaranth, stop trying to force people to live by your own rules.

    Current score: 2
  3. Holodrum says:

    *laughs* Come on Arkeus. Stop expecting these characters to see things the way you do.

    Current score: 5
  4. Zeta says:

    Duuudee… What if the hand mirror… Is the PITCHFORK!?!??

    Current score: 5
  5. nobody says:

    That would have ended the argument with the girl on the trip visit Lee differently. Results from smart ass comments to horrible burning death.

    Current score: 3
  6. Zany says:

    Is it weird that I keep imagining Amaranth as purple? Because she was white to start with (ethnically), then she was pink (literally), and now she’s a deep purple. Maybe she’ll turn red soon…oh wait…

    Current score: 1
    • Zany says:

      Actually, I just realised I picture Dee as purple too. Weird.

      Current score: 2
  7. Jechtael says:

    I wonder if Khaele (Mother Khaele? I don’t know the appropriate informal way for those outside of her flock to address her, if it’s like Delia Daella or if it’s like Dee or if it’s like the dwarven names) hinted that she was going to give a good talking-to to Amaranth about her relationship so Amaranth would be a little more reluctant to run to have a conversation with her for every little thing. I doubt a goddess of her power and style would spend days putting off a meeting for the same reasons as Viktor.

    Current score: 5
  8. zeel says:

    I completely forgot about this whole “camping” idea. That would be cool.

    Current score: 0