362: Priority Override

on March 11, 2009 in Book 13

In Which Steff Is All Dressed Up With Somewhere To Go

Bohd’s parting words kept me from catching Ian before he left the classroom, and he didn’t stick around in the hall so I just headed back to Harlowe, not sure what to do with myself. Amaranth had said we might not see each other at lunch since we both had other stuff to get done, but I got a nice surprise when I got to the fifth floor: she was headed towards my room, alongside a seemingly much-improved Steff… a Steff who was barely recognizable with her hair up in a beehive and a pale silver elven-style dress clinging to her slight curves.

Well, “barely recognizable” was probably not quite the right phrase… I couldn’t have mistaken her for anybody else. She was still Steff, just… Steff transformed.

Steff tugged on her arm and turned around, and after a moment Amaranth did the same, but my eyes were still on Steff. She had an arrangement of silver roses coming to a point on the front of her hairdo, like a floral tiara, and was wearing silver drop earrings that looked like abstract stalactites or icicles. Her face had been dusted with a glittery powder, and her lips and eyelids looked frosty, too.

I stared, my breath caught in my throat, not knowing what to do or say. Steff blinked, her eyelashes… which were considerably longer than I remembered… fluttering.

The twins’ door opened and they barreled past her, Sara’s head whipping around and catching a glimpse. Their body kind of lurched to a stop as she froze in her, uh, track, and a glaring Tara looked to see what the hold-up was. Steff gave them a beatific if somewhat smirking smile.

“The Veil party’s not until tomorrow, half-freak,” Tara said.

I expected Steff to have a smart ass comeback to that, but she just turned her face away from them, still smiling. Tara looked like she’d just swallowed her gum. She started to say something else, but then Sara’s half of the body kind of lurched forward and after a few moments, they both headed down towards the stairs.

“Hey, baby… look who’s on her feet!” Amaranth said, exactly as if nothing had happened.

“You’re… you look beautiful,” I sputtered, feeling the words were utterly inadequate. If Two had been there, she could have simply proclaimed Steff to be “pretty!” and it would have been enough.

“Thanks,” she giggled. “Viktor and I spent a lot of time… well, we’ve been talking, and I feel better about some things, and so he’s taking me out to dinner tonight.”

“And you got dressed now?” I asked. I couldn‘t imagine myself making it through lunch without ruining an outfit and glamour job like that. “Steff, if you show up for melee like that, Callahan will rip your head off.”

“Well, I’m going to change out of the dress,” she said. I had a feeling that Callahan wouldn’t have the best reaction to Steff’s even girlier makeover and would take great pleasure in demolishing it, but I didn’t want to argue about that, especially with Amaranth right there.

“On the subject of melee… you have to get a book, missy, and I have to go find her office,” Amaranth said.

“Oh, Amy doll, that is not going to end well,” Steff said, shaking her head. “I mean, for most people’s values of ‘well’.”

“Oh, hush,” Amaranth said. “I’m just going to talk with her.”

“Maybe I should come with you,” Steff said.

As much as I agreed with Steff’s analysis of the probable outcome, I couldn’t see that improving things. Callahan seemed to prefer thinking of Steff as a “faggot” rather than a girl, and didn’t seem to think much of her no matter which way she presented herself.

“Oh, it’ll be fine,” Amaranth said. “Why don’t you take Mack to the library and help her find a useful book on staff stuff, so you two can get caught up?”

“Could we get lunch first?” I asked.

“Baby, you know I like for you to eat, but improving your standing in class and learning how to defend yourself are both higher priorities than that is,” Amaranth said. “I don’t want any chance of you putting it off or forgetting, so take care of the book first and then you can go eat if you like.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said.

“And on the subject of priorities, I would like you to give me your mail key,” she said. “So I can make sure the invitations are there and deal with it if they’re not.”

“Okay,” I said, digging for my key ring in my pocket. “Yes, ma’am.”

I got it out and got the smaller key off it, leaving only the one for my room. She took the mailbox key from me and then gave me a hug and a quick kiss.

“And I’m off,” she said. “I’ll see you two… well, I guess just you… at dinner.”

“Bye, Amy!” Steff said.

“Bye,” I said, and then impulsively added, “Goodbye, ma’am,” and she beamed with pleasure.

We both watched her walk down the hall.

“So, Amy tells me she’s been riding you pretty hot and hard these past few days,” Steff said.

“Uh, yeah,” I said, my face heating up. “I guess she has.”

“How’s that going?”

“It’s… interesting,” I said. A door opened at the end of the hall and Shiel and Oru headed past. I waited until they were gone before I went on, realizing I could have moved the conversation into my room only after they’d headed downstairs. It would feel funny and even more awkward suggesting that after standing there not saying anything for that long, though, so I just finished the thought. “I’m finding myself slipping into submissiveness more often.”

“Slipping? Like you can’t control it?” she asked.

I had to think about that.

“Not quite,” I said. “More like… like it feels natural to do so, so I do?”

“Oh,” Steff said. “Well, that’s good. I mean, I’ve kind of thought you had a natural submissive streak all along.”

“If I do, then why isn’t it easier for me to not blow up at people?”

“I said ’streak’,” Steff said. “Honey, nobody’s… almost nobody… is completely submissive or completely dominant. It would be hard to get through life if you were. But I think if you figure out what works for you and go with it, you’ll have a better handle on the non-submissive parts of your life, too.”

“What do you mean?”

“Okay, well, Amy told me about your latest little ’blow-up’ with that fat cow with the extra hole in her head,” Steff said. “Surprisingly, I’ve got a different opinion from her about whether or not an insult was justified, but you lost your temper and so she had the upper hand conversation-wise. Right up until the moment she decided to season you like a cut of pork.”

Steff giggled.

“It wasn’t that funny,” I said, my stomach kind of turning at the association with meat. Kind of.

“It’s kind of funny,” Steff insisted. “Sounds funny, anyway. But if you want to leave somebody choking on their own rage instead of you drowning in yours, you have to be master of yourself.”

“And I can do that by being submissive?”

“Maybe,” Steff said. “I don’t know. I do know that it’s easier to control yourself if you know exactly what it is you’re controlling.” She giggled again. “Yeah, I know, here I am talking like I’m Ms. Self-Control… I know I don’t quite have anything nailed down in this area yet, either, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve been learning about it. And I’m definitely better at not flying off the handle at anybody else… or at myself… since I started embracing the parts of me I kept bottled up.”

I heard a chair scooting back in one of the rooms… a reminder that we were in a very public place.

“We should get to the library, if we’re going,” I said.

“What do you mean ‘if’?” Steff asked. “You heard the pseudolady, ‘missy’,” she said, and she tickled my sides. “We’re going and that’s that.”

“Okay, okay!” I said.

We met Two on our way down and asked her if she wanted to join us, but she prioritized lunch and she reminded me of my standing order. Steff explained Amaranth’s counter-order, which Two naturally accepted.

“I think you’re getting better at being a toy,” she told me before continuing up.

“High praise,” Steff said, and we continued on our own way.

“So… will me embracing myself or mastering myself or whatever… will I become a ‘toy’ all the time?” I asked once we were outside in the chilly air.

“I don’t think so,” Steff said. “Once again, we’re talking about a streak, an aspect of yourself, not the whole. A lot of people are only submissive in the bedroom, or even just certain times in the bedroom… it’s a part of them that they can’t deny and it’s not healthy to ignore, but a part can be important without being huge. You?” She put her arm around my waist, then slid her hand back towards her, groping my ass through my bulky coat. “Yeah, I don’t think you’re like that, but you’re also not a golem.”

“Aren’t you cold?” I asked Steff, realizing she wasn’t wearing anything other than the dress that couldn’t have been much thicker than one of Mariel’s, even if it was harder to see through.

“Cold? I’m freezing my bony little ass off,” Steff said. “This must be what having a vagina feels like. But I don’t have a coat that goes with this dress, and I don’t want to cover it up anyway.” She threw up her free arm and gave a little shout. “I’m alive, I’m in love, and I feel pretty.” I thought she was talking about Viktor, considering she was dressed for their date, but the arm that was feeling me slipped back around and up to squeeze my breast. It was more of a formless mashing than a good squeeze, with the coat in the way, but that didn‘t stop the key-shaped piercing from digging painfully in. “Oh Dee’s gods,” she said. “What have you been up to?”

“Amaranth… um… Amaranth got me pierced,” I said.

“Oh, that’s what she was gigging and hinting about,” Steff said. “You sneaky little slut.” Suddenly I felt deliciously and deliriously warm. “Where’d you go? Tell me it wasn’t some little bazaar stall… I wish Amy would have checked with me so I could make sure you went to Caron‘s or some place else where they know what they‘re doing.”

“Uh… we did go to Caron’s,” I said.

“Oh, cool,” Steff said. “Did she give you a discount? She used to always give cute girls discounts, especially if they… well, I think she must be seeing somebody now.”

“She… she gave me a kind of a discount anyway,” I said.

“Oh, you are such a whore!” Steff said, tickling me again. I pulled away, not sure if I should correct her misapprehension or not. Amaranth clearly hadn’t told her the story… was that because she’d wanted the piercings to be a surprise to Steff, or did she think we should keep this a secret?

I decided to bring her into the loop, if only because Caron was sort of her friend and Steff apparently trusted her.

“Yeah, it’s not quite what you think,” I said, and I told her.

“I don’t know how you can stand it, Mack,” Steff said. “If I knew an evil mistressmind had the hots for me and wanted to use me in a super soldier breeding program, I’d be too afraid to leave my room… I’d be masturbating furiously in there to the idea of it, but I’d also be scared shitless.”

“How do you do that?” I asked.


“How do you be turned on by something at the same time that you know it’s horrible?” I asked. “I mean, I used to think a lot of the stuff that turns me on was horrible… and sometimes I still kind of do… but that’s… well, I mean, that’s a bit different.”

“It is,” Steff said. “But ideas… ideas don’t kill people. Fantasies don’t kill people. I mean, I knew, even when I was stabbing myself with that knife…”

“You were stabbing yourself?”

“The novelty of cutting got old after a while,” she said. “I wanted to see how far I could go. Anyway, even when I was stabbing myself, what I was feeling wasn’t the same thing that I was imagining… magic let me experience a fantasy in real life, but it wasn’t what I… well, it’s the same thing that happened in the pentho… I can’t help what I fantasize about, I guess is the point, but as long as it’s a fantasy I shouldn’t have to.”

“I guess that kind of makes sense,” I said. “So… how are you, physically?” I asked, since she’d brought up the subject of the knife.

“Good!” she said. “Fine. I was fine yesterday, really, but he was being such a protective… well, he didn’t want me walking around and I didn’t want to fight with him. He was so sweet.”

“That’s good,” I said.

“He doesn’t blame you, you know,” Steff said. “He’d happily use you as a punching bag to get out some feelings about it all, but he doesn’t blame you.”

“That’s good to know, I guess,” I said.

“But let’s not talk about that,” Steff said. Her hand closed around mine. “We haven’t seen each other for a few days, you know. So, let’s not talk about anything… let’s just bask.”

And bask we did.

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3 Responses to “362: Priority Override”

  1. pedestrian says:

    I wonder that Steff didn’t try to wrangle an invitation for Saturday’s Mackenzie-pinata fiesta.

    Current score: 0
  2. Arkeus says:

    A bit surprised Steff didn’t try to tell Mack that the same ways she is learning about being a submissive, she should be learning when not to be one without exploding. Oh well.

    Current score: 0
  3. Lara says:

    Cute chapter.

    Current score: 0