133: Wanting

on January 9, 2008 in 05: The Weekend Shift

In Which Ian Isn’t Allowed

As I watched Sooni walk away, it hit me that if she hadn’t shown up, I don’t know what would have ended our three-way embrace… and if we hadn’t been standing there out in the open–and with Two right there–I don’t know where it would have led.

The thought was a little scary, in the same way it had been scary to send off college applications, or to get on the first coach at the beginning of my trip here.

I gave Amaranth a proper hug, burying myself against her, letting my hand caress the side of her breast. Okay, I fondled it a bit. Nothing too sexual. I needed to touch her, though, and I think she needed it, too. She was as out of her depth as she’d ever been… one look into her eyes was all I needed to see that. A rampaging half-demon girlfriend wasn’t something you could solve by sex, or even love.

Not that I was her girlfriend.

But, hypothetically, that would have been the same sort of situation.

I would have kissed her, but my mouth was all nasty with blood. It tasted sweet while I was drinking it, but now that the deed was done, it felt gross. I felt gross. Lower than a beast that fed on carrion… those weren’t my words originally; they’d been handed down to me, and I didn’t know how to get rid of them.

Then, impossibly… miraculously… Amaranth’s big, soft lips were on mine and there was nothing wrong with my mouth, or with the world.

I knew that Two was there, and Ian, too… and if Two probably didn’t care, Ian couldn’t help being affected one way or another by the sight of his girlfriend passionately embracing a big, busty nymph she was madly in love with.

“Hey, um… I should probably just go,” Ian said. Amaranth and I separated by mutual decision, with mutual reluctance.

“Oh, Ian, honey, you don’t have to,” Amaranth said. “Nobody’s saying you do.”

“I am,” Two said. “It’s after dark. He isn’t allowed. He should go.”

“Hush, Twoey,” Amaranth said. She turned back to Ian, tilting her head a bit and giving him her most demure smile. That wasn’t particularly demure, but it was affecting all the same. “Look, it’s still plenty early, you know? We could find… something… to do.”

“Like going to the downstairs lounge,” Two added.

“Listen, Twoey,” Amaranth said. “The thing is, there are rules that are there because it’s important to follow them, and then there are rules that are only there… well, everybody knows they’re going to be broken, but they’re kept around because the people in charge want to discourage something. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

“No,” Two said, shaking her head. “It’s a rule.”

“Well, accept that it’s okay for Ian to be here after dark,” Amaranth said.

“I’m not supposed to accept orders that are contrary to the rules,” Two said.

“Well, then… pretend that it’s okay for Ian to be here, then,” Amaranth said.

“Okay,” Two said, though her lips twitched a little as if she would have liked to keep arguing. I hoped that this vehemence was just some combination of her love for the rules meeting her newfound interest in self-expression. If she didn’t like Ian…

“Look, you don’t have to… I’m just gonna go,” Ian said, heading for the door.

“Wait,” I said, stopping him with a hand on his arm. “I need to talk to you.”

He let me guide him out into the hall and into the little alcove around the side of the lounge.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“You really don’t have to go,” I said.

“It’s been kind of a jam-packed evening, and I think we might both need some time to… I don’t know… rearrange our heads?” Ian said. “Anyway, I want to stay on Two’s good side, for obvious reasons.”

“I really don’t think she’s going to mace you just because you’re breaking curfew,” I said.

“Um… that wasn’t quite what I meant,” Ian said. “But, anyway, maybe I should just go. Before things get any weirder, you know?”

“What if… what if I don’t want you to?” I asked. “What if I’d rather you stayed?”

“What, you want to do something?” he asked.

“I… maybe,” I said. I shifted from one foot to the other, like people sometimes do when they have to pee. I think. “I want you to stay,” I said again. “Um… for the night.”

“Oh!” he said. “Um… I don’t know if that’s…”

“If you don’t want to, it’s fine,” I said.

“No, I… I don’t know what I want, Mackenzie,” he said. “Is that bad?”

“No,” I said.

“I feel stupid for thinking it, and even stupider for admitting it,” Ian said. “But I get the feeling I’m not alone.”

“Trust me, you’re not,” I said. “There are days I don’t have the first clue what I want… and other days I know exactly what I want, only it doesn’t make any sense.”

“Like wanting me to stay the night even though you’re a lesbian?”

The words had no bite to them, but they bit anyway.

“Don’t say that,” I said, shrinking back, physically and mentally.

“Mackenzie, have you honestly never heard of something called ‘bisexuality’?” Ian asked. “I mean, I used to have my doubts… but… if the shoe fits, you know?”

“Yeah… but,” I said, wracking my brain to figure out the next part of the sentence before concluding, “I don’t feel bisexual.”

“Yeah?” Ian said. “What’s something like that supposed to feel like?”

“I don’t go around checking guys out, Ian,” I said. “I don’t think about guys.”

“And you’re telling me this to try to convince me you’re not a lesbian?” Ian asked.

“I’m not trying to say I’m a lesbian,” I said. “But… it seems pretty damned hard not to. It’s like I have this image in my head labeled ‘A Guy’, and it covers most of the guys I’m likely to meet well enough that I never have to get to know them as people.”

“I’m pretty sure I’ve met straight girls like that,” Ian said. “And I’m damn sure there’s guys who look at girls that way. It doesn’t make you gay, just shallow and sexist.”

“I am not shallow!” I protested. “I’m deep. I can spend hours inside my head, just thinking… thinking deep, complex things about deep, complex issues. If anything, I’m almost too d…”

Ian stopped me, once more with his hand on my cheek… but this time reaching out and touching my cheek with the tips of his fingers. They were rough, of course, and surprisingly warm.

“Mackenzie,” he said, faintly smiling. “Shut up.”

“Okay,” I said, automatically… almost Two-like.

“You’re not drunk right now,” he said. “You’re not crazed with hunger. Do you want this?”

“Yes,” I breathed. “I think.”

“I need more than that,” he said.

I nodded, and repeated my answer even more quietly, barely mouthed the word. Somehow, that seemed to make it stronger. In any event, it was all I could manage.

“Okay,” Ian said.

During my hunger fit, I had thought–imagined… or maybe hallucinated–that I could smell things like humanity, masculinity, and even virginity. Maybe I was imagining things again, but I caught a whiff of something like that off Ian’s skin, and an older, more concentrated distillation from the sleeve of the flannel shirt he wore like a jacket.

Man.

Not just a boy. No mere guy. Man.

I shuddered… then very consciously shook the feeling away. It was silly. Ian was a young man. He was a bit of a dork. He wasn’t scrawny like I was, but he wasn’t some big he-man barbarian type that would make a girl go all weak in the knees.

Though I did feel a little bit shaky in the legs department.

Like I said, it was probably just my imagination. It was the roughness of his fingers, and the warmth, and the sense memory of being slapped by him… and the look he gave me… and the itchy twitchiness in my lips as I wondered what it would be like to kiss him… and another, similar sensation down lower…

I don’t notice guys, I thought. I went through all the reasons Amaranth had given me when she’d tried to gently lead me to the conclusion that I was possibly a lesbian.

She should know, right? Nymphs knew these things.

But then Steff had suggested that Amaranth was getting a false positive from my own love for her… and boy, did I have it bad for her. Puddy had really milked being the first friendly face I’d met at college, but Amaranth was the first person since my mother who’d really cared for me in any real way.

She wasn’t perfect, and she could probably stand to remember that more often, but she was mine.

I mean, I was hers.

“I… um… I need to talk to Amaranth, before we do anything,” I said. Ian seemed to deflate, just a little. His shoulders fell. In another context, I would have figured he was just relaxing. I hurried to explain, to reassure. “There’s been… so much has happened today, Ian. She needs to know all of it, from me. And… I need…”

“You think you need to be punished,” Ian said. His hand dropped from my face. “Right.”

“Don’t say it like that!” I said.

“Like what?” he asked.

“Like it’s just some crazy thing I do,” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But… that’s how it seems. Maybe I’m just more sheltered than you…”

I snorted.

“Well, I’m glad you think it’s funny,” Ian said.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “It’s funny because… well… it isn’t. Funny, I mean. It’s just, I’m probably more sheltered than you are. I’m sure that’s hard to believe.”

“Sometimes it is,” Ian said. “Other times… well… like I said, I don’t have a handle on you.”

“Anyway,” I said, “I think maybe the only reason I’m so defensive about this stuff is because it seems like some crazy thing to me, too.”

“So… why do you do it?” he asked.

At first, I couldn’t answer because I didn’t know… but then the answer came to me all at once, and I still couldn’t answer. The flash of heat across my face seemed to weld my lips shut. My jaw felt weirdly heavy but somehow I couldn’t lower it to open my mouth. My head drooped, seemingly of its own accord.

“Mackenzie?” Ian said. “If it’s too personal…”

It wasn’t just personal, it was stupid. It was insane. Not just “some crazy thing” but some batshit insane thing.

“I like it,” I muttered.

There it was. Insane… was it any more insane than the idea that a strap of leather which couldn’t dent my skin could simply make all the awful things I’d done all better?

“Say what?” Ian asked. This wasn’t a game. There was no pretense. He honestly couldn’t hear.

“I said, I like it,” I said, in what I thought was a little bit louder and clearer voice.

“What?”

“I do it because I like it!” I shouted, wrenching my mouth open to get the words out. “I like being spanked, being hurt, being punished… slapped… humiliated, even degraded. I love it, okay?”

My breath was coming hot and heavy. Ian was staring at me like I was from another plane. The admission itself was humiliating and painful, and I felt like I was ready to cry, scream, or throw myself down on the floor in the heat of the moment.

“Mack, you aren’t supposed to lose your temper and raise your voice,” Two called from around the corner. I heard Amaranth’s golden tinkling laughter following.

I giggled. Ian laughed. Moment passed.

“Um, what about her, anyway?” Ian asked. “Two, I mean. You share a room now. Don’t you think that might get awkward?”

“She can use Amaranth’s bed,” I said. “If she doesn’t… I mean, if she’d rather not, well… it’s early. I’d like for you to spend the night but we’ve got time, even if you don’t.”

“Doesn’t Amaranth need her bed?”

“Not most nights,” I said. “But…”

I blushed deeper.

“What?” Ian asked.

“I want her with us.”

He stared at me, saying nothing. I giggled again.

“‘If the shoe fits’,” I said, trying to make it a joke. “I like you… I think I might love you, a little. I’m way in love with her. I’m not saying that to be mean or be like ‘I like Amaranth better than you!’… I’m just trying to be honest here. But, I like both of you… I want both of you. Maybe that’s horribly greedy, but it’s true.”

“And this isn’t something somebody put you up to?” Ian asked. “This is your idea, not somebody’s orders?”

“It’s me,” I said. Longing for his touch again, I reached for his hand and started to lift it to my face… then pulled it to my breast instead. “It’s all me, Ian. This is what I want.”

“What about what I want?” Ian asked, though he didn’t remove his hand.

“That’s up to you,” I said. “I’m asking, Ian. I’ll even beg. But, I can’t make you.”

“Have… have you talked to Amaranth about this?” Ian asked, stepping closer.

“She knows,” I said, certain this was true. She couldn’t have missed what I was feeling during our little group hug. She’d been so insistent about Ian staying. “We haven’t talked, but… it’s what she does. It’s what she is. Anyway… um…”

“What?”

“I should tell you up front,” I said. “I want to… to fuck you,” I said, that one word which I said so often in other contexts filling my face with color and heat, “but I don’t know if I’ll be able to go through with it. Having Amaranth there will make it easier for me, and… if I still can’t… well…”

“I’m not interested in consolation prizes,” Ian said.

“I told you, I can’t make you do this,” I said.

“That wasn’t a no,” Ian said. “And… I can’t pretend that Amaranth isn’t hot, and if you weren’t dating either one of us I’d probably go after her without a second thought… but I want you to know that it’s you that I’m staying for.”

“So, you are staying?” I asked.

He nodded.

“Sometimes, I’m not even sure I like you,” he said. “Those are the times that I’m the most sure I could love you. So, if you’re a little messed up in the head, so am I.”

“You’re not messed up in the head,” I said. “You’re my rock. Um… if you don’t mind me saying that.”

“I think I can live with it.”

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6 Responses to “133: Wanting”

  1. fragzilla says:

    Every time i read this i get a little more gay for Ian.

    Current score: 7
  2. P says:

    This is one of the most consistently powerful works I have ever read. The amount of times I have reacted to the story with intense emotion is unique. I think it may be that I am blindsided by the frankness of it. The blatant comfort with writing explicit material mixed with characters that are so dynamic and real you feel that you know them. The perspective of Mackenzie telling this to you in confidence. The story can brutally drag your emotions through the mud. Which is good. This story requires no homework, however it encourages you to Think. Did not think I would make it this far.

    Current score: 4
  3. capybroa says:

    >“Doesn’t Amaranth need her bed?”

    >“Not most nights,” I said. “But…”

    >I blushed deeper.

    >“What?” Ian asked.

    >“I want her with us.”

    …I’m okay with this.

    Current score: 1
  4. C says:

    If you think about it, then you’ll know that Amaranth knew Mack wanted to kiss her, but did not, so she kissed her instead. =)

    Current score: 3
  5. MentalBlank says:

    I’m reading this for the fourth time, and my reactions are still visceral. I genuinely empathise with the characters, and darling little Mack is simply… gorgeous.

    Current score: 1
  6. X says:

    I think Ian is my rock too. He keeps my interest in all this… grounded. If that makes any sense.

    Current score: 0