371: Impulse Power

on April 14, 2009 in Book 13

In Which Mackenzie Comes Into A Sticky Situation

After the honey was gone, there was tenderness… touching and holding and kissing, loving and being loved. It was wonderful, right up to the point that I rolled over on the squeeze bottle and squirted a cold, sticky mess all over myself and the rug.

Amaranth started laughing. It was a good-natured laugh… she didn’t have any other kind… but it went on and on.

“What’s so funny?” I asked finally.

“It’s… it’s okay,” she sputtered. “It happens to lots of guys!”

“What?” I asked as she continued to be so wracked with giggles that she could barely breathe. “Amaranth… please don’t laugh at me.”

“Oh, I’m… I’m not… oh, come here,” she said, and she pulled me against her body.

It seemed like a long time before she got her giggle-fit under control, but she’d made me stop caring long before then. I still didn’t understand what was so funny, beyond maybe “Oh, Mack’s done something clumsy again!”, but by the time we finished I was so secure in her love that I was more annoyed by not getting the joke than by any possibility that I could have been the butt of it.

“You should probably put that rug in your laundry hamper,” Amaranth said when we were finished again. She started to roll it up into a ball, the messy side inside. “So Two doesn’t feel like she has to clean it up.”

“So now my clothes get to smell like honey,” I said, taking the rug from her. “Great.”

“Your dirty clothes,” she said. “Until you wash them. What does it matter what they smell like, when they’re in the laundry anyway?”

“Sorry,” I said. “I guess I’m just… griping reflexively.” I crammed the rug into my clothes hamper. What was wrong with me? I had the whole night to spend with my beautiful girlfriend, my owner, who had spent her whole day doing stuff to help me and had still found time to put together a nice meal for me. What did I have to complain about, exactly? “You’re right, Two shouldn’t have to clean it up. I’m sorry, I don’t know why my first inclination’s to be negative about everything. Anyway, I guess there are worse things for them to smell like… like me.”

“Oh, Mack, you shouldn’t let what Steff says about that get to you,” Amaranth said. “She’s got an impossibly high set of standards in her head. She tries to reject them, but they’re ingrained pretty deeply. She doesn’t mind your… aroma… really. I mean, Viktor has an even stronger scent.”

I started to ask if Steff had something more about my smell, but with my skin still tingling a little bit all over… and a little bit more in places… just the sound of her name was enough to take my breath away. Steff, who knew exactly how to make me horny as fuck… who could outrun me, outfight me… beat me into the ground, who could master me with a whispered word.

Why wasn’t she there with us?

I shivered with the need, the want, for her.

“Are you okay, baby?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I just… I wish I could just be with Steff, without any other, you know… complications.”

“You mean people,” Amaranth said.

“Not you!” I said.

“Viktor,” she said. “And Coach Callahan, and Gwynedd, and Pala, anybody else that catches Steff’s eye that you don’t share with her.”

“Yeah,” I said. “Though Viktor mostly… well, and Gwynedd. And Pala, though I don’t think there’s going to be anything there, I can’t imagine why she’d want somebody who’s so… yeah, anybody,” I admitted. “I just want her to be ours. Is that wrong?”

“Well… it’s selfish,” Amaranth said. “It’s definitely a selfish impulse. But that’s completely natural.”

“It is?”

“Yes, baby.”

“But you act like it’s natural for all of us to go around loving each other,” I said.

“It’s natural to share your food with a friend, but it’s also natural to look at what’s on their plate and feel hungry,” Amaranth said. “People can have a lot of different impulses… and to answer your real question, no, it’s not wrong to feel jealous. It would be wrong to hold what you’re feeling against Steff… or even against Viktor and everybody else, and it could be wrong to act on it, but having an impulse itself is never wrong. It’s only when you give them power that they become a problem.”

“Maybe that’s true in general, but I have some pretty wrong impulses some times,” I said.

“And how are you supposed to control them if you convince yourself that having them is as bad as acting on them?” Amaranth asked. “You want to beat yourself up for having the urge to feed when you should be feeling good about not giving in.”

“Except I don’t have a really great track record there,” I said. “I’ve never really managed to overcome my hunger.”

“No?” Amaranth asked. “How many people have you killed in hunger?”

“I attacked…”

“You’ve defended yourself while in a state of hunger,” Amaranth said. “On that note, I think we need to get you fed sometime this week. Have you noticed any pangs?”

“No,” I said, shaking my head. Then I remembered on the field, with the blood in my mouth. “Maybe… I don’t know. I’ve felt… a sharpening, I guess. I don’t know how to describe it. I didn’t really have to think about this stuff when my grandmother was managing it.”

“Maybe we should start keeping a diary,” Amaranth said. “So you can learn to recognize what you’re feeling, and we can know what to expect?”

I felt the urge to say something dismissive… I didn’t know what, exactly, but I could feel it rising in my throat and knew that I just had to open my mouth and out it would come, but instead I subsumed that into my submissive urge and simply said, “Yes, ma’am.”

Amaranth sat down on the cold tiled floor, leaning her back against the bed, and patted her thigh. I came and sat down on her lap.

“I guess it’s not that surprising that you’d, you know, grouse when you feel the inclination,” Amaranth said. “To jump back to an earlier topic. I mean, when’s the last time you had somebody who would listen when you complained?”

“Not since I was little, really,” I said. “My mom… she used to tease me, but she’d still listen.”

“How would she tease you, baby? If you don’t mind me asking.”

“No, I don’t mind,” I said, but I had to stop and gather myself a bit. It had been a long time since I’d let myself consciously think about these things. “She’d like, do this whole ‘woe is me’ routine, you know? Or she’d… I mean, she’d do different things, to make it funny. Like one time we had strawberry shortcake for dessert, and she told me that the rule was you had to trade one of your toes for a second dessert, so I had to think long and hard about it because I only had ten toes.”

“That’s horrible!”

“No, it was funny!” I said. “She pulled off my sock and pinched my toe when she said it… I don’t remember how old I was.” I could picture the dining room, sort of. I had a memory of being strapped into a chair with a tray in front of me. On the tray was a picture, but I didn’t remember what of. “I must’ve been pretty little, though… I was in a highchair.”

“You remember that far back?”

“I remember that,” I said. “It’s stuck in my head. It’s not like I remember that age in general. But she made me laugh instead of just telling me there wasn’t any more… I guess in retrospect I was kind of being a little brat, because I was really lucky to get anything like that in the first place.”

“Who understands that when they’re in a highchair?” Amaranth asked. “You didn’t walk fully formed out of a field, baby.”

“I really didn’t understand it, though. We didn’t have a lot of money,” I said. “And I guess my mom probably went without a lot of times.”

“But you were never cold or hungry,” Amaranth said.

“I was always cold and hungry,” I said. “Or I thought I was… that was probably just me being me, though, nothing she could have helped.”

“Do you think she knew?”

“I… I don’t know,” I said. “She never mentioned… him, you know, and I always thought… when I let myself think about it… that either she must not have known what he was, or else it couldn’t have been willing, because she wouldn’t have willingly… but then if she didn’t know him and she… well, that’s why I don’t like to think about it. I know she… she had sex with a demon, obviously, or else I wouldn’t be here, but I have a hard time fitting that in with what I remember of her.”

“I wouldn’t think about that too much,” Amaranth said. “Because the truth is you’ll probably never know… but you do know that she loved you, and you came from that.”

“She loved me, but I think she’d probably have loved it more if it hadn’t happened,” I said.

“You can’t know that,” Amaranth said. “She kept you and she raised you, as long as she could… would she have done all that if she regretted having you?”

“Yeah, I guess she couldn’t have known, then, that he was a demon… that I…”

“Or she didn’t care,” Amaranth said. “Whatever happened to her…”

“It wasn’t my fault!” I said.

“I know, baby,” Amaranth said, stroking my hair. “I know. And she loved you very much, no matter what she knew or didn’t know. Whatever other heritage you have, you are your mother’s daughter… I can see her fingerprints when I look at your heart. The woman who told you about forest nymphs, who fed you and clothed and made you laugh when she had nothing else to give you… and I mean, I’m sure your grandmother loves you, too, but I have a feeling you learned somebody else’s version of things like fairness and kindness.”

“Yeah,” I said, past a lump in my throat. “Yeah, I guess I did.”

“You’re so much more than just the girl who gripes all the time,” she said, kissing me on the back of my head, then turning me around to face her. “Or just the person who has to argue with everybody… or just the half-demon. You care about people… you care about ideas. You just plain care, Mack, even when you’ve got every reason to retreat into yourself. You feel bad about feeling selfish, you feel bad when other people are embarrassed, you feel bad about things that you have no control over…”

“I’m getting the idea,” I said. “Sorry.”

Amaranth giggled.

“Do we need to have Steff chew you out for apologizing, the way she did Dee?”

Steff. Why did she have to have a date with Viktor on that night, of all nights? Or on any night?

Not that she didn’t have a right…

“And now you’re feeling guilty again,” Amaranth said. She put her hand behind my head and pulled me in towards her. “Come here, baby,” she said, and then there was tenderness again.

We made love, there on the cold floor… made love in the sense that we produced it, we generated it together. The details escaped me almost as quickly as they happened. We were touching and twining together, our fingers and our lips were upon each other, but the specifics didn’t matter.

The best part was that when it was over, it wasn’t really over… we just moved out of the cold and into the bed, transitioning from one form of intimacy to another one, less passionate but equally meaningful, equally important. This was the place where Amaranth, who gave herself so freely to the world, could come to shut herself away from it, behind the curtains of our cocoon, under the covers with me.

She wrapped me in her warmth and we drifted off together, serene and safe and secure, and there was nowhere else I would have rather been.


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9 Responses to “371: Impulse Power”

  1. Kitten says:

    ….Is it just me, or is Two gonna be really really annoyed? I do believe they left the sock on the door. XD

    Current score: 0
  2. pedestrian says:

    AE again with the hint that the death of Mackenzie’s mother may have been caused by the child demon manifesting? accidentally starting a house fire?

    Current score: 0
    • Anthony says:

      Oh, just wait until you find out what *really* happened to Laurel Ann…

      Current score: 0
      • Jechtael says:

        That’s not technically a spoiler, but it’s really a rather… hmmm… dickish move? Douchey move? Whatever brand of rudeness it is, it’s certainly rude.

        Current score: 1
        • Jimmy Joe III says:

          No. No, it’s not. It’s a teaser. You know, that thing that happens at the end of every episode of a TV show? It’s a “Stay tuned for scenes from our next episode”. But different.

          Current score: 0
          • zeel says:

            Well, for the record… We still don’t really know. Is it a spoiler to tease something that hasn’t even happened?

            Current score: 0
  3. MadnessMaiden says:

    “It’s natural to share your food with a friend, but it’s also natural to look at their plate and feel hungry.”
    Don’t know if that’s an original quote or not, but it’s really good. 🙂

    Current score: 0
  4. fragzilla says:

    Kitten: Amaranth had Two sleep with Dee that night.

    Current score: 2