32: Celia’s Stand

on July 17, 2007 in 02: Love In The Time Of Magic

In Which Tampons Are Supported In Principle

“Don’t worry, hon,” Amaranth said when I expressed my concerns about the others (mainly Puddy, though I didn’t specify) finding out about our little pre-lunch escapade. “I don’t think this’ll exactly stay ‘our little secret’,” she said, “but I won’t go bragging to our friends or anything. I don’t expect you to admit to anybody else what you still haven’t really managed to admit to yourself. Until you choose to share it, I’ll keep it to myself.”

“Um, good,” I said. It wasn’t quite the way I’d put it, but why argue semantics? The result was the same. “So, um… if we don’t want anybody to know that we… that anything happened, I mean… don’t you think that means I should probably have my jeans back before we go into lunch?”

We’d just entered the student union. I wasn’t thrilled about walking in there half-naked. I was honestly following Amaranth and Two mainly just because Amaranth had my jeans… not on her person, but she still somehow had them somewhere, where ever it was that she kept things when she wasn’t using them.

“Yeah, probably,” she said agreeably.

“Are you going to give them to me?”

“I already told you… eventually,” she said.

“What do you even want them for?” I asked.

“Ohhh…” she said, drawing it out. “I was thinking I’d probably pleasure myself by rubbing the denim and zipper of the crotch against myself. Kind of a Mack-surrogate, until you’re ready to do it for real. Also, there’ll come a point when you’ll start to get jealous and think about how there’s nothing you’ve done with me that I haven’t done with somebody else? Well, this one’s entirely new for me, so… there you go.”

She shrugged.

I stared.

“What?” she asked.

“I can’t tell if you’re teasing me or not,” I said.

“Well, yeah… a little bit,” she said, and giggled. “But I’m also telling the truth. Anyway, let’s get moving.”

She gave me a smack on the rear, the surface of which was still very sore and sensitive to the touch; the most superficial sorts of pain seemed to last the longest, for me. I yelped and jumped forward about three feet.

“Come on, jumpy,” Amaranth said, giggling. She put her nails on the small of my back and then trailed her hand slowly downwards, until it slipped beneath the waistband of my panties and cupped one half of my ass. I looked around frantically for a reason to ask her to remove it.

“You shouldn’t do that in front of Two!” I said, spotting the quiet-as-ever golem girl. I’d almost forgotten she was there.

“Oh, don’t start… you wouldn’t even say hi to her earlier when she said hi to you,” Amaranth said. I didn’t see what that had to do with anything… Two had only said it to me because Amaranth had ordered her to. “Now… forward, march.” She turned her hand slightly so that her fingers brushed down into the cleft. I squealed and moved forward.

We got many whistles and catcalls as we crossed the lobby of the student union and climbed the wide, short set of steps up to the food court and the dining hall entrance. The cashier on duty watched us with avid interest that turned to wide-eyed shock when it became apparent that Amaranth was leading us towards his station.

“You.. you can’t go in there like that,” the cashier said.

“Sure we can,” Amaranth said, gripping my ass tightly and pulling me in against her side. “Nymph.”

“My… my card’s used up for the week,” I said.

“That’s okay, I got it,” Amaranth said, holding out one silver piece to cover both of us. When the flabbergasted cashier made no move to take it, she simply laid it down on the counter and moved us forward, not even bothering to wait for her change. Every time I started to slow down, her fingers started to stray from the (relative) comfort zone towards places I’d rather not think about. At one point, I actually felt the tip of one of her nails brushing… well, I’d pretty much pushed my adventurous side as far as I’d cared to for that year.

“I can’t do this,” I said, turning and pressing my face against her. I’d done my best to tune out the dumbfounded stares and catcalls as we’d made our way through the union, but now we were walking through a crowded dining hall… full of people who weren’t in a hurry to get anywhere, and many of whom would definitely know who I was on sight. That was to say nothing of our friends at their customary table… or of Belinda the half-ogress, who I’d just spotted sitting with the other skirmish players from our hall and a couple other warrior types of both sexes. She was deep in conversation and hadn’t spotted me… yet.

“Yes, you can,” Amaranth said firmly. “I know you’ll tell me no if you really don’t want to… later, when you’re more confident, we’ll figure out a safe word, but for now, all you have to say is no and I’ll stop, okay?”

I nodded.

She steered me towards the back corner where Puddy, Mariel, Celia, and Steff were already seated. Conversations died as we walked past, and the others looked up to see what all the buzz wasn’t about long before we reached them.

Celia simply stared, though she always seemed to stare… lacking eyelids, her eyes seemed less expressive than a human’s. Puddy and Steff both whistled.

“Oh my sky, I love your outfit!” Mariel shrieked as we approached. She was staring at my underwear, which was probably about as a foreign a concept to her as fire had been to Feejee the mermaid. “I totally need to get some of those! I’d look so hot in them.”

“Hey, don’t get any ideas,” Puddy said, though she didn’t take her eyes of me. She was leering wolfishly at me. I took an involuntary half step back around behind Amaranth, who simply pushed me forwards again. Puddy patted her lap. “C’mon, Mack… I saved you a seat.”

I looked at Amaranth, imploringly… though what exactly I was imploring, I wasn’t sure.

“Go ahead, sit with Puddy,” Amaranth said, pushing me towards her. “Nymphs don’t get jealous, remember? Anyway, Two and I need to get our food.”

She gave me a kiss on the back of the head, then took Two by the hand and headed off towards the serving area.

“I thought I came up with some outrageous outfits,” Steff said admiringly as I walked past. She was wearing an outfit like the one I’d first seen her in. I would have said it was androgynous, but honestly, now that I’d seen her in a skirt and with her hair and face done up, it was hard for me to see why I’d ever been uncertain about her gender in the first place. She was so obviously a woman. There was the basic “elven-ess” about her features that made it a little hard to tell… that was probably what had confused me… but there was a basic femininity about her that just could not be missed. “You got some serious balls, girl.”

“No, she doesn’t,” Celia said disgustedly. “What the fuck happened now… somebody beat you up and steal your pants?”

I stammered something, the only actual word of it being “Amaranth.” Puddy was still leering at me. I felt like her smile was drawing me in.

“I wanna hear this story,” Puddy said, putting an arm around me and pulling me into her lap. She rested her hands on my thighs, uncomfortably close to the edge of the area covered by the fabric. “You guys weren’t clanging clitties, were you?”

“No!” I said. “We just… I mean, she…”

“Well, she got you out of your pants, anyway,” Puddy said, still exploring the inside of my thighs. I could live with that, if she wasn’t going to get upset. “And I kind of like you tongue-tied.”

“Oh, well, anyway… what was I talking about a minute ago?” Steff said.

“Your lab,” Celia said.

“Yeah, right,” Steff said. “That was it. So, anyway, they didn’t have enough cadavers for my class so it looked like I was going to have to buddy up with somebody, until the professor got called out of the room and somebody decided to be a show off and animate theirs early. The zombie got out of control, of course, and had to be put down… the professor took care of it pretty quickly, once he got back, but he pretty much had to toast the thing completely to get it to stop moving.”

“So, now somebody else has to share, too?” Mariel asked.

“No, now I’ve got my own and we’ve got three extras,” Steff replied. “Which’ll be good if anybody needs spares. I’m thinking about trying to sneak an arm out and animating it, when I’ve got more practice.”

“Ew, what for?” Mariel asked. I wasn’t sure I really wanted to know. Steff had mentioned taking a necro lecture the previous day, but I’d kind of hoped that had been a matter of idle curiosity, or a quirk of the class schedules.

“I never got to have a pet growing up,” she said. “I’d probably name it Rover… or Spot, if it’d already decomposed.”

“Gross!” Mariel said, shuddering. I seconded the motion. “How can you even joke about that? An undead pet…”

“I like the undead,” Steff said. “They’re not living, they’re not dead… they’re in-between. I like that. I can identify with that.”

They snipped back and forth at each other for a bit, but I couldn’t really focus on it… though I did try. It helped me ignore what Puddy was doing with her hands.

“You’re so wet,” she whispered in my ear, while Steff and Mariel bickered. “Is that for me?”

Touching wasn’t sex, I reminded myself. It was just touching. Not sex. Not sex.

Then, Puddy’s attention wandered when Two and Amaranth returned with their trays, and I started breathing again.

“Hey, Mack says you’ve got something to do with her bold new fashion statement,” Puddy said to Amaranth.

“Oh, she did?” Amaranth said brightly. Apparently taking this as a sign that I’d changed my mind, she launched into the entire story, starting from the flare-up in my invocation lab as I’d told it to her. I was blushing madly again, and Puddy’s hand was back inside… well, it was back where it had been… as Amaranth finished an overly detailed description of my public spanking.

“Whoo, Mack’s first smack,” Steff said. “We should do something, like have a party.

“I don’t think we should make too big a deal out of it,” Amaranth said. “She’s got a lot to adjust to… though I guess she’s made more progress than I realized.” She looked significantly at Puddy and then at me, smiling widely. I smiled back as best as I could. I guess she approved. I figured that should make a difference.

“So what made you lose control?” Steff asked.

“Oh, this guy,” I said. “I didn’t mean to really do… well, anyway, he was saying shit about Harlowe… you know, about non-humans.”

“Fucking humans,” Celia said. “What the hell have they ever done, besides butcher and enslave?”

“Oh, you mean aside from the peace and stability the IRM has brought?” Amaranth asked, a little haughtily. “The safe and widespread network of roads and highways? The higher education system we’re all taking part in? The modernized practice of magic and the myriad conveniences its brought with it?”

Celia, Puddy, and Steff all kind of mumbled noncommittally at this, clearly unimpressed.

“Oh, come on,” Amaranth said. “Surely there’s got to be something you can appreciate about humans.”

“Well…” Mariel said a little hesitantly. “They did invent tampons.”

“Oh, fuck yes!” Puddy said. “They do beat the shit out of pads.”

“Pads, nothing,” Mariel said. “Before my cousin Lalia shacked up with a human for a couple months and came back with a crate of the things, we all just used rags… I mean, like actual rags. I still don’t exactly look forward to that time of the week, but it’s a lot better now.”

Puddy picked up an imaginary glass… as she refused to drink anything but her own stock of alcohol, but wasn’t allowed to bring outside drinks into the dining hall… and said, “I propose a toast, to the human race… and to tampons!”

“To tampons!” Mariel echoed, raising one of the three glasses of soda she’d put on her tray. She was the only one.

Puddy glared around the table at everybody else. Two simply continued to eat, slowly and methodically.

“Well, some of us don’t menstruate, of course,” Amaranth said. “But I support tampons in principle.”

“I’m not allow… I mean, I never was allowed to have tampons,” I said. It was technically true. My grandmother had railed against the things every time she was reminded of their existence, but I hadn’t actually pushed the issue. Pads weren’t exactly a party in my pants, but they beat the prospect of actually having to mess around with something inside me. I repressed an urge to shudder.

“What are ‘tampons’?” Celia asked.

“Fucking sky, you don’t even know what a tampon is?” Mariel asked, slapping the table with one set of hands for emphasis.

“No, I don’t,” Celia said irritably. “It’s another one of those mammal things, isn’t it? What is it, something for curling hair? Or binding up your udders?”

“Actually, it’s something girls stick up their cooters to soak up their period,” Steff said.

“Period… isn’t that the thing where you bleed out the ass for a week?” asked Celia.

“No, we call that really good sex,” Steff said, a response which probably wouldn’t help Celia in her ongoing attempt to unravel the mysteries of the binary waste elimination tract.

“It’s kind of like laying an unfertilized egg,” Amaranth said. “Only, instead of an egg, it’s a trickle of liquefied body tissue and fluid that lasts for about four or five days, and they use a tampon to stop it from making a mess… but some people still prefer pads, because if you leave the tampon in too long, you can go into toxic shock and die.”

“How the fuck you’ve not all died out yet, I’ll never know,” Celia said, shaking her head. “It’s only a matter of time. Anyway, what was this asshole saying?”

“Um… pretty much that we’re all a bunch of sluts,” I said. “Apparently, there’s a nickname on campus: ‘Harlowe Harlots.’ He seemed to think that being in Harlowe meant I’d… suck his thing, or let him put it… um, you get the idea.”

“Oh, what a dickweed!” Steff said.

“What a creep,” Mariel said.

“What a bunch of hypocrites!” Celia said. Everyone turned and looked at her, but she went on, undismayed by Mariel and Steff’s glares… and presumably Puddy’s, though I couldn’t see her face. “All night long I have to listen to the moaning and shrieking and banging and yelling from across the hall, thank you very much, Mariel… it seems like half of you will have sex with anything that’s willing and the rest of you aren’t even that picky… and I’m not even sure why I spent so long learning the difference between male and female mammals when no one else seems to give a damn. Even fucking Mack is walking around half-naked now and letting Puddy practically diddle her under the table, even if it’s just because she’s too big a pussy to tell her to stop.”

“That’s out of line!” Amaranth said, her eyes flashing behind her glasses.

“I’ll snap your fucking neck, Celia,” Puddy said. She’d wrapped her arms around my torso and was pulling me in so tightly I thought I would snap.

“Look at her!” Celia said, jabbing a finger right at my face. “She looks like a stunned bird that knows its about to be swallowed!”

“Mack isn’t fully comfortable with her sexuality yet but she’s willing to explore her boundaries with the people who love her,” Amaranth said tersely.

“Is that what you think. or is that what you want to think?” Celia asked accusingly.

“It’s what I know,” Amaranth said. “Mack, tell her.”

“Yeah, tell her, Mack,” Puddy said, her arms tightening convulsively around me. I looked at Celia, whose eyes seemed to be daring me… to what? Contradict her? Vindicate her? Everybody was staring at me, waiting for me to speak. What could I say that wouldn’t turn out badly?

“Puddy’s my friend,” I finally said. “She doesn’t do anything to me that I couldn’t stop if I wanted to.”

“See? In a healthy dominant/submissive relationship, the ultimate power of decision rests with the submissive,” Amaranth said. Steff nodded sagely. Mariel looked at Steff and Amaranth, then hurriedly started nodding her head, too.

“You’re fucking blind if you think there’s anything healthy going on here,” Celia said, pushing her chair out and rising angrily. “You are all insane.”

“What a fucking… cunt!” Mariel said, then giggled absurdly. I would have bet money it was the first time she’d uttered the word.

“She’s not bad. She just feels everything so passionately,” Amaranth said, watching Celia storm out. “I love that about her. Anyway,” she said, turning back towards me. “You can’t take what she said too seriously, or too personally. She comes from a very… vanilla… background. Remember how she said she hadn’t even seen her boyfriend’s penes?”

“Is that anything like a penis?” Steff asked.

“It’s the plural,” Amaranth said. “They’ve got two. The point is, in her own way, Celia’s as repressed sexually as you are, but less willing to face up to it.”

“Too bad she doesn’t have friends like us,” Puddy said.


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14 Responses to “32: Celia’s Stand”

  1. Brenda says:

    UGH.

    It’s been so long since I’ve read this part. Even knowing Amaranth, I can’t believe how oblivious she is here to what Puddy is doing.

    Current score: 1
  2. pedestrian says:

    Guilty parties are often the first to demand the presumption of innocence for their actions.

    Current score: 0
  3. Lunchbox says:

    is it just me, or did mariel say “time of the week”?

    Current score: 0
    • AlpineBob says:

      ” I still don’t exactly look forward to that time of the week” – does she have a cycle once a week? Yikes!

      Current score: 0
  4. Maesenko says:

    Thank you, Celia, for finally calling them out on it.

    Much as I like Amaranth when sex isn’t involved, she and Puddy are outright bullying Mackenzie into sex and/or other sexual activities. All Mackenzie really needs right now is friends, not “fuck-buddies”.

    And @Lunchbox: yeah, I caught, too.

    Current score: 4
    • zeel says:

      I am amazed that Celia is the only person who realizes what is going on. Even Mackenzie doesn’t get it, but Celia seems to be the first to spot the problem.

      Current score: 1
    • capybroa says:

      I don’t think that Amaranth and Puddy are totally analogous in this situation. Amaranth understands the word “no.” Puddy does not, at least not when it’s directed at her. Amaranth is, however, being oblivious to what Puddy is doing because she’s used to pushing Mack’s boundaries. She doesn’t understand that they can be pushed too far, or that Mack might be vulnerable to somebody who doesn’t have her best interests at heart.

      Current score: 4
  5. Erm says:

    “No, now I’ve got my own and we’ve got three extras,”

    Another belated penny drops. I wonder if the necromancy students have to sign waivers on reanimation in case of accidents…

    Current score: 1
  6. Mugasofer says:

    Woo! Celia!

    Never thought I’d be cheering the reverse fantastic racist, but by god, I was basically yelling that at the screen (along with “punch them with your demon strength” :/ ).

    Current score: 1
  7. Ciss says:

    I like Celia. 🙂
    Just say it like it is, that’s a good motto.

    Current score: 2
  8. q says:

    celia lizard is the best lizard. too bad she isn’t around much in the story at the present date, i liked her.

    Current score: 0
  9. Jesp says:

    Capitalization typo:
    or is that what you want to think?

    Thanks for the chapter! ^_^

    Current score: 0