Chapter 68: Delicate Sensibilities

on February 17, 2012 in Volume 2 Book 3: Figments & Fragments, Volume 2: Sophomore Effort

In Which Dee Deals With Rough Drafts

I didn’t spend the whole hour I’d been scheduled for with Teddi.

I tried, but I couldn’t.

I didn’t want to spend the whole time talking about my father… I’d meant what I’d said about not wanting him to taking over my life. I had my own issues to sort out, and I tried to spend the rest of my time talking about what else was going on in my life, but in some respects it seemed easier to talk about my dreams than it did to do more than brush the surface of what I’d been experiencing regarding my deepening submission.

Part of that was that I still wasn’t fully comfortable opening up about sexual matters, outside of my circle of lovers… and sometimes within them.

It might have been easier if I could have slipped into a submissive headspace with Teddi, but something about her was too receptive, if not actually passive. I was briefly distracted by a vision of myself kneeling naked at the feet of a therapeutic dominatrix, and then felt relieved to know that she wouldn’t pick up any images with her filter circlet on.

So in the end, I gave up and made an appointment for Sunday. Teddi told me she would try to have something “useful” for me by then… that was the word she used. She said that she had some ideas she needed to check out, but she didn’t want to mention any specifics until she’d looked into them.

On my way back to the tower, I found myself reconsidering Teddi’s offer of the circlet. If it could keep my father out of my head, I’d be more than happy to block the owl-turtle thing along with anyone else who was thinking of moving in and setting up shop. The problem was that if I did have to deal with him, I didn’t want to do it alone.

I worried that if I didn’t do something to keep him out, he might pick up on my plans… as vague as they were… and do something about them. I hoped I would have a chance to at least talk to the owl-turtle thing before his next appearance, but I couldn’t think of a way to make that happen. As far as the owl-turtle thing knew, I didn’t want anything to do with it.

It was at least edging around my mind in its investigation of my father’s dream-tunnel, but I couldn’t figure out a way to advertise my intentions to it without… well… advertising my intentions.

Ian was waiting for me when I got back to the room. It kind of threw me… not because he was unwelcome, but because I’d all but forgotten that I’d reached the final night of my little three day trial.

The three days hadn’t exactly been an ordeal, especially since it was far from three whole days… we’d started Tuesday evening and were ending on Thursday. I’d enjoyed the teasing attention from Amaranth and the chances to please Ian… and I’d certainly gone longer than forty-eight hours without any kind of sexual release before.

In fact, it seemed more like a game than anything else… Kink Lite, like fuzzy shackles and satin pants.

Just the feather, not the whole cockatrice, as the old joke said.

“Hey… uh, Amaranth let me in before she left,” he told me, perhaps misinterpreting my shocked silence for a worse kind than it was.

“You know, I honestly didn’t even wonder about that,” I said.

Since we weren’t in the habit of locking our door to the bathroom, there were three people who could unlock the door in my absence… well, at least two. Once I thought about it, I was pretty sure Two wouldn’t be able to let anyone in to someone else’s room without explicit instructions to do so.

More than that, though, he just didn’t seem out of place in it to me, at all. He’d been the one who’d needed convincing that he could just drop in and sleep over. As far as I was concerned, it was as much his room as it was mine… well, as much his as it was Amaranth’s.

“You looked surprised, is all,” he said.

“Well… to be honest, I wasn’t expecting you,” I said. “I mean, I didn’t forget… it just slipped my mind that it was tonight.”

I cringed a little at the thought of how that sounded, but he knew enough about my relationship with calendars to not read into it.

“Are you okay, Mackenzie?”

“Yeah,” I said. “I just spent a good part of an hour talking about my father, though, so… some things are a little raw.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

I knew he meant it, but at the moment it sounded so much like a punchline that I couldn’t help laughing.

“Mackenzie?” he said, confused.

“Oh, fuck no,” I said. “Sorry… thanks for the offer, but talking’s the last thing I want to do right now, about him or anything else… with you, or anyone else, really. I’m just all talked out. The idea of talking… it was funny. Sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Ian said. He reached for the fly of his jeans. He was putting on the cool confidence that he wore when he went dominant. “This is going to work out great, because I have another use for your…”

Then it hit me that I could send a message to the owl-turtle thing while I was awake… or at least, I knew someone who could.

“Um, can you hold on for a minute?” I said. “I just realized… I need to talk to Dee.”

“Oh, um, sure,” Ian said.

“Sorry,” I said. “I really don’t want to interrupt, I just… I had an idea, and it’ll be easier to do this before than after, I think.”

“No, it’s fine,” he said. “Look, I did have a plan here, but if you’ve got stuff going on, that’s got to take precedence.”

“I don’t want it to take precedence, though,” I said. “I want us to follow your plan. I want the stupid external shit to wait for my convenience, not the other way around. But…”

“But you have to deal with it anyway,” Ian said.

“I don’t think it’ll take long,” I said. “And then that’s the last I’ll have to deal with it until I’m asleep, I promise.”

“Okay,” Ian said. “I’m glad you thought of it now, though. I’d rather be interrupted at the beginning than after we really get going.”

“Yeah. Dee?” I said, hoping I was inflecting her name right to trigger the dissolution of her silence spell. As an enchanter, I had to admire that kind of craft… she’d figured out how to give us privacy and her respite, but made it easy to get her attention when we needed it. “Could you come over here for a bit, if you’re not busy?”

We could easily hold a conversation through the walls, but since I was wide awake and we were both fully dressed I preferred to be face-to-face.

“I will be with you very shortly,” Dee’s voice replied. It sounded quiet and a littler farther away than usual.

When Ian sat down on the loveseat and put a pillow over his lap, I reflected that “fully clothed” and “decent” weren’t necessarily the same thing, but it was too late to reconsider. Anyway, Dee had certainly seen erect penises before, some of them probably even on guys.

Dee floated into the room in a sitting position. She was naked. Her long white hair was up off her shoulders… way up off her shoulders, floating above her head like a cloud. Our door closed behind her with no contact from her. The look on her face was… harrowing. She’d seemed fine at dinner, but now she looked exhausted.

“I apologize,” she said, and I wasn’t sure what for, but apologizing was one of Dee’s default interactions. “I have found myself in a somewhat delicate state of being and am… sensitive… to physical contact for the time being.”

“No, I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”

“I was equally disturbed in my own room,” Dee said. “This is not a pleasant condition to experience, though I have dealt with it a few times before, as a child. It will pass in a shift or two.”

That meant less than a day, as I understood it. I hoped for her sake that it would be closer to one, if not less. She looked to be in a bad way, but she was waiting patiently to hear what I needed.

Ian was looking at the ceiling in a very determined way. I decided to just come to the point rather than prying into whatever had happened to Dee, so that she could get back to dealing with her attack and we could get back to what we were doing.

“Okay, well, I asked you over here because I need to know if you can communicate with the owl-turtle thing,” I said.

“It is not always pleasant, but yes,” she said. “It speaks to me in what I understand as my own language.”

“I mean when you’re awake,” I said. “Or at least get messages to it, if you can’t have a conversation.”

“In a manner of speaking, I suppose,” she said. “It is fairly skilled at apprehending things that transpired in the interim, but it has no consciousness or existence I can detect while I am awake. I am fully capable of carrying messages to it once I’m asleep, if there is something in particular you would like for it to know. I gather you would not find its presence unwelcome in your dreams tonight?”

“No, I really wouldn’t,” I said. “And the sooner I can see it… after falling asleep, I mean… the better. Is there any way to guarantee that it’s ready and waiting when I’m out?”

“Well, I cannot guarantee its cooperation or compliance,” Dee said. She glanced at Ian. “But I gather you will not be retiring for some time tonight. If I were to go to sleep now, there would be an excellent chance I would attain the necessary dream-state before you do.”

“I don’t really want to take up your whole night like that,” I said.

“My whole night is going to be spent concentrating very hard on not touching anything and trying not to scream when there’s a draft,” Dee said. “I have been debating with myself whether to remain awake the whole night, or else sleep with the aid of a potion I procured for dealing with sensory issues. If I am to sleep, I may as well do so sooner rather than later.”

My curiousity started to get the better of me. I knew Dee’s senses could be inconveniently sharp, but it was disconcerting to hear her talking so casually about screaming like that.

“If I can ask…” I said.

“You might consider it a bit like an attack of allergies. It is something like my mental gifts, only more erratic,” Dee said. “Under the right conditions, it can be a prelude to a sort of religious ecstasy during which all my senses become vividly enriched and I can receive direct revelations from my goddess. More often it isn’t. It does not inconvenience me often, though.”

“Do you think…” Ian said, and the sound of his voice seemed to rattle Dee. She wobbled and lost a couple of inches of altitude before catching herself. “Whoa, sorry. Sorry, didn’t mean to startle you like that.”

“It is not your fault,” she said. “Where I come from, it is scandalous for women and men to speak directly to the other outside of approved contexts. It is only occasionally mildly surprising to me that it happens so casually here, but even a mild surprise at the wrong time… I feel I should apologize to you. My reaction is my own fault, and it is disrespectful. In better circumstances I would take pains not to show it. I am sorry.”

“I don’t take it personally… I mean, you wouldn’t be allowed to talk to me, either, right?” Ian said.

“‘Allowed’ may not be the right word, but that is essentially correct,” Dee said. “The taboo flows in both directions.”

“Anyway, I believe someone who’s not feeling well is entitled to some accommodations,” Ian said. “Which, uh, is actually kind of why I said anything in the first place.” He gestured to the four-poster bed. “Do you think you’d be more comfortable sleeping over here? I mean, we have a bigger bed, and if drafts bother you, you can close the curtains. Um, and I know Amaranth bought more linens, so we could change the sheets first.”

“Actually, we couldn’t find space for the extra bedclothes,” I said, “so Amaranth has them. But Two could make the ones that are on there like new in a few seconds, and I’m sure she wouldn’t mind doing it for Dee.”

“The offer is very kind, but in order to sleep at all I will need to be quite insensible to the world,” Dee said.

“This isn’t going to be like the time you locked yourself in your room to sleep last year, is it?” I asked, remembering Dee’s drastic solution to the insomnia that had plagued her early in the school year.

“No,” Dee said. “I appreciate the concern, but that incident is why I sought out an alchemical remedy instead of relying on my own self-manipulation… and why I have deliberated against taking it. The idea of being trapped in my sleep again is not appealing. I am told that the preparation is perfectly safe, barring external dangers that would necessitate early waking, and that the duration of it is precisely limited to eight hours. I am leaving the counter dose on the dresser for Two to administer in the case of an emergency. There is no need to turn you out of your bed, or disrupt your tryst.”

“It’s not like we were going to do anything that couldn’t wait for another night,” Ian said.

“Many important things may be put off without consequence,” Dee said. “And as a result, many important things are. I am going to go take my rest now… Mackenzie, was there anything more specific you wished me to relay?”

“No,” I said. “Just that I need to see it as soon as possible… and to be careful and watch its back, I guess. I really want to see it before the next time my father shows, but it can’t make an appearance without giving itself away, I’d rather it stays away.”

“I shall do my best to convey this,” Dee said. “Though it occurs to me now that I’ve never taken this particular potion, nor used a sleep-enhancing potion of any kind during its ‘lifetime’… I do not know how this might affect my ability to interact with it, nor its ability to project itself from my mind.”

Ian made a little throat-clearing noise and Dee looked at him.

“Would the potion actually stop you from dreaming?” he asked.

“I do not believe so,” she said. “But I am not certain how it affects dreams. Now, if you will excuse me… as I will be completely unconscious anyway, I will leave the passage to our room unlocked and not renew the divine protection from sound. That way, if circumstances compels Mackenzie to come to my aid while I am helpless, she will not be harmed for passing through it.”

“That’s probably a good idea,” I said. “If there is some big dorm-shaking emergency, I’m the least likely to be incapacitated.”

Dee nodded. Our door opened, and she floated backwards through it. I supposed that so long as she had some way of feeling or sensing the obstacles around her just moving was probably simpler and carried less risk of inadvertent physical contact than turning around and moving would be.

The door closed, and Ian pushed the pillow off his lap and got to his feet. The front of his jeans was still bulging outwards.

“Thank Khersis,” he said, then he apparently considered how much the default god of humanity and scourge of demons had to do with what he had in mind. “Or maybe not.”

“You’re still hard?” I asked.

“Yeah, it turns out that naked women floating into one’s bedroom is not as surefire a boner-killer as you might suspect,” he said.

“She was pretty clearly in pain,” I said.

“The brain sympathizes,” Ian said. “The heart aches. The penis… doesn’t really care. At the risk of sounding like a dick myself, it might just make it hotter. Not the pain… or not just the pain alone… but the vulnerability.” He shrugged. “Also, I couldn’t exactly stop thinking about what I was going to do with you. I’d been not thinking about it all day, for most of the past three days… once we were alone together and it was safe to do so… well, we’re kind of past the point of no return now.”

“And with all that, you still offered Dee our bed,” I said.

“Hey, you said it… she was clearly in pain,” he said. “Anyway, have you forgotten that I have a room?”

“It doesn’t have a great big bed or wall-to-wall carpeting,” I said.

“Not since I did my laundry,” Ian said. “Anyway, we would have made do… and if we couldn’t, I meant what I said. I could wait. I don’t want to… but I could.”

“What are you waiting for now, though?”

“I thought I’d be a gentleman and give Dee enough time to knock herself out,” he said.

“But you’re okay talking about thinking she’s hot while she might be able to hear?”

“I’m pretty sure she already knows I think she’s hot,” Ian said.

“What, you’re a mindreader now?” I asked, and immediately felt stupid.

“No, but she is,” Ian said. “I don’t have any demon-brain to avoid, and even if she never noticed that I think boobs and elven girls are a winning combination any of the other times I’ve seen hers, I really kind of doubt she had any spare concentration for filtering me out. That’s part of why I didn’t get offended at the ‘man speaking’ thing… if any part of her was actually like viscerally offended at my existence, I’m pretty sure she would have been more than startled by my presence long before I opened my mouth. She really was just surprised because she really did forget for a moment that I could talk to her. Anyway, though, I know she doesn’t like being able to hear us getting it on.”

“That makes sense,” I said. “How long do you think we should wait?”

“How about as long as it takes you to get undressed, as slowly as you can?”

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17 Responses to “Chapter 68: Delicate Sensibilities”

  1. zeel says:

    I have a feeling that the next chapter will be amazing. . .

    And the one after that interesting. . .

    Current score: 0
  2. Oniwasabi says:

    “The brain sympathizes,” Ian said. “The heart aches. The penis… doesn’t really care.”

    Truer words are rarely spoken ^_^

    Current score: 2
  3. Dave says:

    “Many important things may be put off without consequence,” Dee said. “And as a result, many important things are.”

    So true. I do it all the time. Indeed, I’m putting off important things at the moment, so I can read MU…

    I do like Ian in this chapter. He is so much more considerate of others than some of Mackenzie’s friends.

    Any chapter with Ian in it is a good chapter.

    Current score: 1
  4. pedestrian says:

    I revel in how Alexandra’s writing leads us into these love scenes with the on again, off again teasing and blatant red herrings to jar our narrow minded expectations.

    Current score: 0
  5. Zathras IX says:

    Mackenzie is so
    Smoking hot she could really
    Use Teddi’s filter

    Current score: 0
  6. Jane says:

    A minor thing, I know, but:
    “It doesn’t have a great big bed or wall-to-wall carpeting,” I said.

    “Not since I did my laundry,” Ian said.
    I like this.

    Current score: 0
    • Fatefox says:

      This made me chuckle out loud. So true to college life 🙂

      Current score: 0
    • Miss Lynx says:

      Yes, that was my second favourite line of this chapter. My favourite being: “Dee had certainly seen erect penises before, some of them probably even on guys.”

      Current score: 1
  7. Month says:

    That is one sever allergic reaction. Good to know that Ian can block the blood flow to certain parts of him, so that he can think clear enough.

    Current score: 0
    • Lunaroki says:

      Actually I don’t believe the blood flow to his little head was in any way impeded during the course of this chapter. Quite the opposite, more likely. Rather it’s more like he now possesses a filter between the little head and the big head which he can switch on at need so that his brain isn’t overwhelmed by hormonal impulses to the point where rational thought and compassion are crowded out.

      Current score: 0
      • erianaiel says:

        The little head is the one with the hair on it, right?
        And the big head does all the thinking?

        Current score: 1
  8. Anon, a mouse says:

    Possible missing word?
    “I really want to see it before the next time my father shows, but it can’t make an appearance without giving itself away, I’d rather it stays away.””
    Feels like there should be an “if” between “but” and “it”

    Current score: 0
  9. Lunaroki says:

    Typo Report

    I’d meant what I’d said about not wanting him to taking over my life.

    Either “taking” should be “take” or the word “to” needs removed.

    I really want to see it before the next time my father shows, but * it can’t make an appearance without giving itself away, I’d rather it stays away.”

    Missing the word “if” after “but”

    Current score: 0
  10. Bilbo says:

    Dee is ill ? That’s tragic… the only character I love more than Two is the Delicious Dee.

    Current score: 0
  11. anon y mouse says:

    “That way, if circumstances compels Mackenzie to come to my aid while I am helpless, she will not be harmed for passing through it.” – circumstance compels, or circumstances compel?

    Current score: 0
    • fka_luddite says:

      An unusual construction, but not wrong if refering to the circumstances as a whole.

      Current score: 0
  12. Juan H says:

    ¨Anyway, Dee had certainly seen erect penises before, some of them probably even on guys.¨
    I really enjoyed this part.

    Current score: 1