95: Tears Of A Nymph

on November 12, 2007 in 04: The Body Politick

In Which Mackenzie Handles Steff’s Weapon

If you’re a mere mortal and you break down crying, it’s not pretty, and neither are you.

Your face turns colors and contorts into unnatural shapes, and your eyes get all puffy and red, and you get snot running down your face if you’re not careful… and if you’ve really broken down, then being careful isn’t much of an option.

When a nymph breaks down crying, she’s still a nymph, with all that entails. Her face cannot pull itself into any configuration that’s any less than attractive. No puffiness. No snot.

The last time I’d seen Amaranth cry with such intensity had been moments before she’d turned and fled off through the night. The sheer awful suddenness of it had reminded me of Two crying for the first time. Now that I had a chance to really take it in, though, her crying reminded me more, in a bizarre way, of Two when she’d been unable to cry. It was hard to imagine anybody in any greater a state of distress than Amaranth was, but it was hard to accept what she was doing as really crying… it was both hyper-real and unreal at the same time.

This made the sight devastating in its own unique way, apart from and on top of the devastation normally caused by the sight of a beautiful woman crying, or by knowing somebody you care about is in pain.

Or maybe the added impact was just because I was so in love with her.

I don’t know.

“What did you do?” I asked Steff, all but hurling myself down the flight of stairs to wrap my arms around Amaranth. She uncovered her tear-moistened (I can’t even really say “tear-streaked”, because the tears left no lasting traces) face at the sound of my voice and reached out to me with both arms.

The sight of Amaranth–my Amaranth, my owner–reaching out to me for comfort instead of the other way around… it just seemed wrong.

“I didn’t do anything!” Steff insisted. “I was going to, but… she saw the look on my face and she just… sort of… shattered. She knew, right away… she knew that I knew, and it crushed her.”

“What’d you pull the dagger for?” I asked.

“I don’t know,” Steff said. “Honestly, I wasn’t planning on stabbing her, or anything… I mean, it might have happened, but I didn’t really plan on it. I just wanted to make sure I was the first one who saw her, that I had a chance to talk to her alone… or at least, not in front of you.”

“You said you were going to the bathroom,” I said accusingly, turning Amaranth and myself so that I could lay the side of my head against her chest and look Steff in the face.

“Oh, yeah… I guess I lied,” Steff said, in a tone of voice that suggested this not only explained the discrepancy between word and deed, but excused it. “Honey, you didn’t need to hear and see what I was going to do.”

What were you going to do?”

“I don’t know!” Steff said, stomping her foot. “I’m telling you, I really didn’t… I’m just so mad, I felt like I needed to hit somebody!”

“With a blade?” I demanded.

“She can heal,” Steff said defensively, though she seemed to lose some of her fire with that admission, the open acknowledgement that there might have been anything to heal. She sheathed her dagger, twisting a bit sideways in the process as if to subconsciously hide the fact that she’d had it out in the first place.

I supposed it was a good thing that she felt bad about it.

“You didn’t seem all that mad,” I said.

“I wasn’t… at you,” Steff said. “But I can’t swallow my anger forever. Look, I was just going to… well, I don’t know what I was going to do, but I’d have had it out with her and got it all out of my system without you even having to know about it.”

I pictured Steff ushering Amaranth upstairs after a vicious argument–or worse–smiling and pretending that nothing more had happened than they’d kissed and made up.

“How is that any different from what she was doing?” I asked.

“Well, it… it.. I mean… it was the heat of the moment,” she said, though she had the decency to look stricken with guilt even as she made excuses. “She’s had days to make up her mind.”

Amaranth said something… or at least, her big gulping sobs temporarily took on the rhythm of speech.

“What?” I asked.

“Please… please don’t fight,” she repeated.

“We’re not,” I said, in what I hoped was a soothing voice. I probably would have felt ridiculous, hugging a nude, sobbing woman who so completely outsized me and trying to comfort her… but I didn’t have time to indulge in that kind of reaction. I tried to stroke her on the back in a reassuring way. “We aren’t. It’s okay.”

“I-it’s all my f-f-fault,” Amaranth sobbed.

“That’s right,” Steff said with caustic venom. “We hate each other now, and it’s all… your… fault.”

Amaranth gave a helpless wail.

“Steff!” I said sharply.

“Okay, we don’t hate each other,” Steff admitted, a little sulkily. “We don’t. We are okay… We’re maybe even better than ever… but it could have happened a lot differently. You know it.”

Amaranth nodded.

“I know,” she hiccupped. She seemed deflated, dissipated… the last time I’d seen her anything like this had been when I’d gone to her room after the night with the ghouls. She’d at least been a little angry then, which had made her more substantial, somehow.

“You… you messed up, okay?” I said. I didn’t have to try to sound non-judgmental… the words came only with difficulty in the first place. Through all the newness and the strangeness of college life, Amaranth had been my rock… my warm, soft, squishy rock… that was way too interested in getting her tongue up my butt, for some reason. “But everything turned out okay, anyway.”

“Yeah, Mack found out and I found out she didn’t know, and we talked and laughed and got over it,” Steff said. “It wasn’t even that big a deal, but you had to try to be all clever about it…”

“Steff,” I said, in a warning tone. Amaranth had clearly got the point already. Taking shots at her brain would be hitting below the belt.

“Okay, I’m done… I’m still pissed, but I’ll get over it,” she said. “Not right now, not all at once… but I will get over it. I still need to hit someone.” She looked at me meaningfully, with all the longing her eyes would hold. “I don’t suppose I can talk you into a bit of… play?”

I blushed and closed my eyes. I hated having to say no… to reject Steff, even briefly, after what had just happened… but… I had made up my mind to give Steff something more special than mere “play”: an actual date, a real first date. She’d never had one with anybody, even Viktor. I could give her that, but I felt that it would mean so much more if it preceded any actual sexual activity… or any that went beyond words, anyway.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I still think it’d be better if we waited.”

“What for?” Steff asked.

“It’s a surprise,” I said. “Believe me, Steff, it’ll mean so much more if we wait.”

She gave a bitter laugh.

“It seems to me like I’ve heard that somewhere before,” she said. “Oh, well.”

An idea came to me. I almost pushed it away on instinct, but then I reached out and grasped at it. I took a step back from Amaranth, who tried to follow, tried to cling to me all the harder, but I broke the embrace gently and steered her towards Steff.

“Why don’t you guys… um, go?” I asked. The last word was utterly inadequate, but it was the best I could manage. It seemed insane. Steff had gone to wait for Amaranth in order to “talk” to her alone, and she’d had her dagger out… but still… it made sense to me. Steff wanted to hit something? Sex and violence seemed to be somewhat interchangeable to her, and for better or worse, Amaranth probably still saw sex as the ultimate balm for anything that could go wrong. This way, Steff could work off her frustration and anger in a context where Amaranth would not take it as rejection. “You know… have fun… with each other?”

Amaranth signaled her assent by throwing her arms around Steff much the same way she had me. She was still shaking slightly, though the sobbing had subsided. Steff returned the embrace with a single arm, as she still held Amaranth’s glasses.

“Okay, but… what about you?” Steff asked. She didn’t say as much, she didn’t press the point… but I could tell from the look in her eyes that she was hoping I’d join them.

“Um… I think I should probably go downstairs and wait for Ian,” I said. “I mean, he’ll be looking for me, and if I’m not in the downstairs lounge or my room… anyway, it might be better if I sort of escort him up, you know.”

“Okay, I guess,” Steff said.

“Have… um… a good time,” I said, and went to head down the stairs.

“Hey, hold up!” Steff said, breaking free of Amaranth. I turned back to face her. “If you’re going to wait downstairs for Ian…”

“Yeah?” I replied.

Solemnly, without another word, Steff drew out one of her daggers again, flipped it over in her hand, and gave it to me hilt first. I stared at it without comprehension for several seconds, then I looked back up at her unusually stony face… and saw laughter hiding in her eyes. All three of us laughed as I handed it back to her. I couldn’t say precisely why it was so funny… it was such a lame attempt at a joke, and completely inappropriate besides.

“My glasses!” Amaranth said, when the laughter died. Her hand flew up to her face as if to confirm that they weren’t there.

“Oh! I’ve got them, hon,” Steff said, holding them out to her with an odd touch of reverence. “You threw them right off when you went into your crying fit, but I caught them.”

“Thank you,” Amaranth said, in a very small voice. She’d gone as pale as I’d ever seen her… probably as pale as she could go. It wasn’t all that pale, but it was affecting all the same. What was it with her glasses? If she had any ancestors, I would have guessed family heirlooms… they were clearly antiques. Maybe they’d belonged to somebody important to her?

“You guys know,” Steff said, “we can fight, and we can fuck up, and all that… and it doesn’t mean it’s the end, right? I mean, I haven’t really forgiven you, Amy…”

Amaranth bit her lip and trembled

“…and I probably won’t be able to for a while, not completely… but that doesn’t mean that it’s over,” Steff finished. “There’s no sense falling apart at the first sign of trouble, or the second, or the eleventh. Lovers get into fights all the time. They get over it.”

“How about friends?” I asked.

“Them, too, I suppose,” Steff said, and once again, we all laughed even though nobody had said anything very funny.

“I… I did a stupid thing,” Amaranth said, near to tears again with the admission. “I know it.”

“That doesn’t make you stupid,” Steff said softly, kissing her on the cheek. Amaranth seemed to melt a little, and I did, too. I could have kissed Steff. I could have done a lot of things to her… or let her do a lot of things to me. If she’d invited me along again… I probably would have said yes. She didn’t, though. She put an arm around Amaranth’s waist and started to draw her up the stairs. “C’mon, honey… I’ve got eighteen years of buried aggression to work out, before we even get to today.”

“Okay,” Amaranth said, and a touch of her normal brightness had returned to her voice.

I remembered how, the first day at MU, Amaranth had luxuriated in a heavy metal badge pinned to her bare chest, and the bloody tear it had left when she’d ripped it off to spare me the effects of its blessing. I wondered if Steff was going to end up using her daggers after all.

The thought gave me a shiver and a chill. It was exciting… in a way… but, having so recently had a phantasmal sword tip penetrate my heart, I thought it would be a long time before I could consent to anything like that.

Another item for the black list, maybe… but, I had so many things on it already, anyway, and so few things on the white list. Maybe it was time to concentrate on what I liked, for a while.

I blushed, thinking of the thing that I’d learned to enjoy earlier that very day, with Ian… and now that I knew the truth about Steff…

It hadn’t really sunk in before, but now there were whole new realms of possibility opening up. Had it occurred to her? Maybe it would speed up her forgiveness of Amaranth…

I made a mental note to remind Amaranth about getting permission from Viktor. I was starting to feel like I might not be able to keep my resolve to wait, if I wasn’t able to put my plan into effect soon. Steff wanted so much, and she wanted so hard… I didn’t have any illusion for one second that I could fill that entire void, but I knew one thing I could give her, now.

For the moment, though, Steff and Amaranth would be taking care of each other… I had Ian to look after.

Even though it seemed like days or even weeks had passed, it had really only been a few hours ago that I had gone down on him… it may or may not have been his first time, but it had been mine, and our first time together. Other things had pushed it out of my mind temporarily, but unless his day had been as eventful as mine, it seemed likely to me that he would have been thinking about it all afternoon.

Would he be ready for another go? I mean, the rules we’d set… or actually, that Amaranth had set for me… said that he could get another blowjob any time he wanted it. There was some time before dinner… would he want another one so soon?

Not that I wanted to… sure, I would have, because that was the order I’d been given. I wouldn’t mind it. I probably would enjoy it… but it wasn’t like I was looking forward to it with any kind of real anticipation, you know? I wasn’t going to go volunteering, or dropping hints, or anything.

If he wanted to, I would. It would totally be his call.

Though, it wouldn’t entirely be a bad thing, if he did want to.

You know what they say… practice makes perfect, and all that.

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Author’s Note:

This is the first chapter of MU posted by me in my new capacity as a full-time author! You can now expect daily updates Monday through Friday… though the exact time’s going to fluctuate wildly for the time being, as I’ve got to catch up on a lot of site maintenance work, administrative details, and so on. Once I’ve got all that done, I’ll work up a regular update time.

I couldn’t have made it this far without all of your support. I think this fairly often, but I don’t say it nearly enough: my readers are the best. Honestly, I have a short temper some times, but I have seen other fandoms… and you guys are the cream of the crop.

That having been said, I won’t make it much farther without your continuing support. If you’ve got money to spend on books or merchandise (more coming soon) or donations, that’s great… if you don’t, even just visiting the site and reading helps me earn money from my ads. Above all else, though… the biggest and most important way you can help MU (and me) flourish is by spreading the word. More readers = more money. Even if everybody you know is a poor college student or the equivalent, if you tell them, and they tell others, then one way or another more money’s going to end up coming my way.

I could lie and tell you all I’m in desperate, dire straits and urgently need this kind of assistance… but the fact is I wouldn’t have quit my day job if that were the case. I’ll scrape by. I know that. I’ve crunched the numbers six ways to Sunday. I’ll do okay for myself even if everything just remains exactly the way it’s been.

However, I’d like to do a little bit better than okay if I can swing it. 😛 Talk is cheap, advertising is expensive… get out there and spread the word!


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2 Responses to “95: Tears Of A Nymph”

  1. pedestrian says:

    Fairness demands mutual consent. For a contract to be legally binding both parties have to agree on the purpose and meaning. And competent to understand the terms.

    Current score: 1
  2. Ciss says:

    Congratulations!
    (I know I’m writing this, like, seven years after the fact, but I am so happy for you that it worked out! Wow!

    Current score: 3