In Which Turnabout Is Fair Play

It was still too early for bed, but the fact that Ian had said he’d be coming back after he dropped off the notes kept me from going anywhere.

“I wonder what Ian wants,” I said to Amarant, since our conversation seemed to have run its course and she was just sitting on the edge of the bed now.

“…don’t you think it’s pretty obvious, baby?” she said.

“Well, okay, yes, I can think of a few things in general that my boyfriend might be coming to my room for,” I said. “But it kind of sounded like he had something on his mind.”

“I suppose you’ll find out,” she said, in a tone of voice that made me feel like I was supposed to already know. She leaned over and brushed her hand to indicate the floor in front of her. “Why don’t you take off your clothes and have a seat down here.”

“Was this his idea?” I said as I obediently stripped out of my shirt.

“Hamper!” Amaranth said before it had left my fingers. “And no, it’s mine, but I don’t imagine he’ll complain about it.”

“I might feel silly if he just wants to talk.”

“I still don’t imagine he’ll complain,” she said.

I’d just barely finished undressing and was settling myself down near Amaranth’s feet when the door opened. Amaranth stopped me from jumping up in surprise with a hand on my shoulder.

Of course we’d left the door unlocked… there were only two keys to a dorm room where more people than that were pretty much always welcome, and we’d been expecting one of them.

“Uh… this is a surprise,” Ian said, though Amaranth was correct… technically he wasn’t complaining. “Did you remember my instructions?” he asked her.

“Oh, absolutely,” she said, and I could hear the mouth-stretching grin in her face. “She hasn’t orgasmed by my hands… or other parts.”

“Good,” he said. He’d regained his composure pretty quickly and was slipping into his dom voice, though it was only at this point that he remembered to step through the door and close it behind him. “And how about you?” he asked me.

I drew a blank. Instructions? Now that Amaranth had mentioned something about it, I was remembering that the weekend before when I was giving my time to Steff… he’d told me I wasn’t allowed to get off from the time Steff was finished for the rest of the week. Evidently he’d relayed that wish to Amaranth, which only made sense.

“Uh, I haven’t done it by my own hands, either,” I said.

“And the rest?” he said in his smoothest, most dominant voice, giving me the look of someone who’s trying to raise an eyebrow and was self-conscious about whether or not it worked.

“Oh, yes… the rest,” I said. “The rest… would be… your orders to me, on the subject of…”

He let out an exasperated groan.

“Mackenzie, I asked you… I told you to play with yourself every night before you went to sleep,” he said.

“Oh, right!” I said as it came back to me. I blushed both with embarrassment at the thought of doing such a thing for him, and the realization that I hadn’t. “Yes, that is the thing that you told me to do.”


“Um… well, it was kind of a busy week,” I said, though to be honest, my memory of that conversation hadn’t really even made it past my weekend with Steff.

If I hadn’t understood the ridiculous owl-turtle thing’s explanation of how memories work, this would have been a perfect example. I had clean forgotten about the whole thing, but one reminder of each part of it had brought it back as clear as a bell to the point that it was amazing that I’d been able to forget it. The memory had never actually been gone, just… not there.

“Oh, Mackenzie,” he said. “I’ve been building this up in my head for more than a week now!”

“I’m sorry!” I said. “I should have remembered… but you could have reminded me. I mean, we could have built it up together. Like, I still might have let it slip my mind at first, but if you’d asked me how I was doing with it, well, you could have… expressed your disappointment, somehow… and then I’d be back on track, with the kind of reminder I’m not likely to forget.”

He sighed.

“That’s a good point,” he said. “I’ve been fantasizing about this… the whole point was to heighten the anticipation, you know? That’s why I left it alone the whole time. I thought it would be better. But I guess I could have taken things up another level if I’d been toying with you the whole time about it.”

“Also, I’m the one who sleeps with her most often,” Amaranth said. “If I’d known you had more instructions for her, I would have… well, actually, I don’t know, the same thing still might have happened to me. But it would have been another chance for someone to remember it.”

“Yeah. I guess it’s done now, though,” Ian said. “I’ll know for next time.”

“If it helps, she plays with herself after she falls asleep, a lot of nights,” Amaranth said.

“It… doesn’t hurt?” Ian said. “But it’s not exactly what I was going for.”

“I know what you mean… I was totally going to confiscate her underwear for a while,” Amaranth said, getting up from the bed and beginning to pace as she spoke. “And I’ve been meaning to spank her far more often. I had all these plans… so many great ideas.”

“Yeah, ideas are easy. To be honest, I think I’ve masturbated to the thought of ordering her to blow me more than I’ve actually done it,” Ian said. “It’s not that the fantasy is better than the reality, it’s that the fantasy is always there, you know? Right at h… an easy and accessible location.”

“You know, I’ve read that the more time you spend thinking about what you want to do, the less you actually have the drive to do it,” Amaranth said. “I mean, anticipation is a powerful thing and all, but if the fantasy of a thing is too satisfying, it can sap your motivation to actually go out and do it. It’s like the part of your brain that handles that kind of thing checks it off the list and says, ‘Oh, well, glad we finished that’.”

“Yeah, but I don’t think it’s just that,” Ian said. “I think if we’re honest, we’re honestly pretty bad at this. I mean, you have… instincts, which are awesome, and I’m very much in favor of the whole thing, but we’re not exactly going to win Master and… what, Mistress? Of the year anytime soon.”

“I don’t think we’re bad,” Amaranth said. “We just… could be better. And I think we can be, with a little work. We’ll try harder, talk more…”

The whole thing was getting too surreal, even by the standards of my life. It felt like they were falling into the role of busy parents wondering where they’d gone wrong when they suddenly caught their teenaged daughter with an empty potion bottle hidden under mattress.

The only part of that scenario that matched was that I was technically a teenager, but then, so were they.

I understood lamenting missed opportunities, but I felt like they were in the process of missing another one. Amaranth had made me undress and I’d been there crouched on the floor waiting for Ian, and now he was here and he was too focused on what could have been instead of taking advantage of what was.

“Uh, guys?” I said, from my position on the floor. They both looked down suddenly, like they’d forgotten that I was there. “I’m still here… still naked. Still on the floor. I get the whole ‘we can do better’ kick, I really do, but… aren’t there better things you could be doing with your time? I mean, we’ve all got class tomorrow, and it’s going to be another busy week.”

They both just looked at me for a bit, which made me really conscious of my nudity… I mean, I’d just mentioned it myself, so it wasn’t like I’d forgotten, but now with two sets of eyes on me and no one saying anything, it seemed a lot more prominent a feature of the situation.

Then they looked at each other. Ian began to smile, a smirking, knowing sort of smile. Amaranth returned it, though she had a hard time keeping her natural sweetness out of it. Now they were talking… well, they’d stopped talking, but those expressions spoke volumes, and some of those volumes included graphic illustrations and color fold-outs.

“You know…” Ian said slowly. “We really should punish her for forgetting my instructions.”

It would have been inappropriate for me to say “yes, please” out loud, but I couldn’t help nodding.

“You’re absolutely right,” Amaranth said. “I mean, yes, we both could have done things differently, and that might have made a difference… but your words were hers to remember.”

“Hers to remember, and obey,” Ian said.

“Then she’s yours to punish,” Amaranth said. It seemed like they were falling easily into another role now, and if it was one that I found less awkward than the creepy parents thing, it was kind of jarring. “But… if I may make a suggestion?”

“Of course,” Ian said. He took a step back and gestured to indicate that Amaranth had the floor.

She strode forward, and gave a twirl and a kind of flourish, placing a wooden sawhorse from her netherspace.

“Why do you…?” Ian started.

“I told you, I’ve had plans,” Amaranth said, and he blinked off his surprise. “Come here, baby.”

I obeyed with only a little visible hesitation.

“Weren’t we just talking about how this is everybody’s fault?” I said.

“Silence, slut!” Ian replied. I didn’t think he pulled it off quite as well as the more natural “shut up”, but it worked. By that I mean it did shut me up, and it did send shivers through portions of my anatomy that included my spine.

Amaranth guided me onto the sawhorse, leaning me over it and spreading my legs so that they matched the spread of the wooden ones. Then she procured short lengths of rope and lashed me by my arms and legs to it.

I could have freed myself in any number of ways, from burning through the ropes to flexing against the bonds and seeing whether the wood or the rope gave first. I could possibly have even managed to alter the rope magically to be less thick or more slippery, so I could just slip out of it.

But since I felt trapped enough that I had to remind myself of the fact that I had more than one escape option, it fulfilled its intended purpose.

We’d done experiments with bondage before. Amaranth had tied me up with things varying from scarves to vines, and Steff had shown off her proficiency with with ropes more than once since we’d negotiated that it had to stay away from my neck. This was the most extreme… it left me not just bound, but profoundly vulnerable. It was not a natural or comfortable position, not for me. Everything about it was for the convenience of my captors. Whether Ian wanted to spank me, fuck me, or do anything else with me, I was spread wide for his use.

“Hmm, now the question is, what to do with her?” he said, putting a hand on my ass and squeezing it.

I actually liked it all the more for the fact that he was talking about me rather than to me… before, when he and Amaranth had just been talking to each other, I’d begun to feel neglected, forgotten. Now I felt ignored, which was different… it was conscious, a matter of control. The posture I was bound in was not a naturally comfortable one, but the excitement that had been growing in me from the moment that Amaranth bent me over the sawhorse was more than enough to override a minor physical complaint.

“If I may make another suggestion?” Amaranth said.

“Of course,” Ian said.

“She was supposed to be spending the week preparing herself for your use,” Amaranth said. “She didn’t do that. She wasn’t supposed to orgasm before you had your way with her. It seems to me that if you were to do anything that might bring her off… and you know how little it takes to do that… then she might get the wrong message and think it’s fine for her to ignore your orders in the future.”

I even liked the sound of that… sure, a world-splitting orgasm had its points, but it wasn’t the entirety of sexual experience. Good sex… really good sex… was as much about the build-up as the release, and denying or delaying the latter could improve the former.

If Amaranth intended to make me work for a finale, I was just as determined to do so.

“What are you suggesting, then?” Ian said.

“Do nothing,” Amaranth said. “Nothing with her. Let this be her punishment, and let her spend another week… correcting her error.”

Okay, that was possibly more of a build-up than I’d had in mind… but I had to believe she wouldn’t have trussed me up if she really didn’t intend to do anything with me. Plus, there was another concern that I knew she wouldn’t overlook.

“But then I’m denying my own pleasure because of her disobedience,” Ian said.

Yep, there it was. Again, I could have kissed Ian… if I hadn’t been physically restrained. But I was pretty sure that some part of him would be placed in front of my lips before long. Even I wasn’t sensitive enough to come from giving a blowjob, but that didn’t mean I wouldn’t enjoy it immensely.

“Not necessarily,” Amaranth said… yep, she was going to dance around it to heighten the tension, but it was obvious where she was heading. “You don’t have to deny yourself anything… that’s the other part of this punishment.”

Here it comes, I thought…

“She can watch… no, she must watch… as you do everything to me you would have done to her,” Amaranth said, “as I do everything for you that she’s not permitted to.”

It was only sheer shock that kept me from vocalizing my indignant confusion at this point. There might have been a sound coming out of my throat, but it wasn’t one I could easily classify or reproduce.

“That’s… that’s an interesting idea,” Ian said. “Except, I don’t think it would be much of a punishment if she gets to watch.”

“If you want to send her out of the room, I think we’ll have our work cut out for ourselves getting her clothes back on,” Amaranth said.

“No, I don’t want to send her away,” Ian said. “But let’s turn her around. I want her to listen… I think if she has to imagine what’s happening, it’ll be better.”

Submissiveness as much as self-control kept me from asking him if he was kidding, which was a good thing since I knew he wasn’t. Ian and Amaranth had had sex together with me before, but I was pretty sure this would be the first time they did it without my participation. It would definitely be the first time they’d done something like this in my presence.

“Better?” Amaranth said. “Or worse?”

“Both,” Ian said.

“Good,” she said. “After all, it wouldn’t be punishment if she enjoyed it… but it wouldn’t be fun if she didn’t.”

As it turned out, they were right.

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32 Responses to “Chapter 139: For Better And For Worse”

  1. Angnor says:

    Now this is an interesting turn of events. Great chapter!

    I can’t wait to see how Mack handles this internally. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 0
  2. Markas says:

    I think I could have handled everything they’ve done uptill now. This however would have been too much for me.

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  3. Kataklysm says:

    Bless you, AE. <3

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  4. Jorm says:

    What chapter is the weekend with Steff i think i missed that one somehow

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  5. Fifty names says:

    โ€œI wonder what Ian wants,โ€ I said to Amarant

    Forgot an “h” there.

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  6. anon y mouse says:

    “caught their teenaged daughter with an empty potion bottle hidden under mattress” – under her mattress?

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  7. YawnGasm says:

    Yah, I would have to say fuck you guys, get up, and walk out. Or take advantage of them at this point. Excuse me, they are dating her, not each other.

    Current score: 0
    • HiEv says:

      I don’t know how you’d walk out while bound naked to the sawhorse, but that would be an interesting hallway discussion. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      But seriously, it’s not like Mack hasn’t had sex with other people while with Ian. It’s not like Amaranth hasn’t had sex with other people while with Mack. And it’s not like Ian hasn’t had sex with Amaranth before.

      Once you get over the initial shock and think about it, this is really just a minor tweak to things that all of them have already done.

      And if everyone involved enjoys it, where’s the harm? Remember, they have the added advantage that Amaranth can tell if everyone is OK with it.

      The problem is that you’re thinking with your gut reaction of jealousy, possession, and society’s ideas regarding “cheating”. However, if you don’t carry that baggage in your relationship, then there’s no problem. I admit I carry some of that baggage myself, but I won’t hold that against the people that don’t.

      Current score: 0
      • Oni says:

        “However, if you donโ€™t carry that baggage in your relationship, then thereโ€™s no problem.”

        To just comment on that, I think that’s a gross (not “ew”, but could be a good pun?) oversimplification. It’s how some people (including some of the characters, notably Amaranth) see it, but as soon as you translate it over to the real world things get too complicated to make such a claim (but like you say, whatever floats the person’s boat).

        Story-wise it does seem to jump the rails a bit in regards to how the relationship works, specifically in regards to Ian being the stright-man of the group (pun definitely intended). I’d thought; and it seems that Mack might have as well; that in regards to Mack, Ian was pretty mono. Granted, we skipped over about 9 months of development between them.

        At any rate, what you’re describing as “baggage” would seem to be involved in the vast majority modern civilization (crossing between different societies and religions) to the point where one should not assume that it will not be an issue without an aid of a libido-sensing cereal-fairy.

        Current score: 1
        • HiEv says:

          I totally agree that it wouldn’t work for most people in the real world, myself included.

          But it’s important that you don’t project what your feelings would be onto others and/or make assumptions that they would/should feel the same way you would. If they’re all OK with it, then it’s fine for them, regardless of whether anyone else would be upset in the same situation.

          It’s kind of like the same-sex marriage debate. Whether you or I or anyone else dislikes same-sex marriage is irrelevant. All that matters is that it’s mature, rational adults making a decision that pretty much only affects themselves, and legally that should put them on equal footing with everyone else making basically the same decision. Anyone who finds same-sex marriage distasteful doesn’t have to get into a same-sex marriage, the option is just there for the people who do want to take it. (I’m not suggesting you’re against same-sex marriage, I’m just drawing a parallel here.)

          So different points of view mean different reactions to the same situation, and you should be careful not to assume that your view is the only view or the right view when it’s really just a matter of personal preference.

          Also… Sometimes it’s good to put yourself in the shoes of someone with a radically different perspective on things. Just to shake things up and make you consider whether your own biases are justified or necessary.

          Current score: 0
          • Oni says:

            Good points, good points.

            Story-wise, I can only go by what I read. I’d personally lean towards this being both a *little* out of character for Ian as well as out of Mack’s comfort zone (out-of-the-zone in the moment, no, but after the fact I would expect issue. minor, but there). After years of reading, there si of course room for an individual to insert traits that are not otherwise filled (or, frankly, forgotten); but as a reader I can reference the last Wheel of Time books as an example of writing that still fits within the established boundaries.

            To get into the meat-and-bones of your comment, I wasn’t originally referencing the morality of a poly affair as described in this chapter, and certainly not the legality of such. As I and others say, to each their own. The broad gist of my response was in regards to the “baggage” statement not being particularly valid. Perhaps I should have elaborated, but to be completely honest I’m not entirely sure how I would have done so in this case. I guess that I could summarize by stating that “preconceived notions” are not an entirely ignorable facet of life.

            Current score: 0
  8. Month says:

    Well played.

    Current score: 0
  9. DeNarr says:

    I hope they’re just teasing her, because even being in the scene, that is just cruel. She was the one who brought them back on track and made them realize they could still have fun, and yet to do that? I would go so far as to say that they are cheating on her. It doesn’t matter if they’ve all had sex before, that was not a negotiated part of their relationship.

    Current score: 0
    • Arkeus says:

      Pretty much.

      I quite liked the beginning of the chapter for it’s quasi-meta quality, as well as a sense that things were going forward with their relationsip, but the end was plain old ’10 steps back’ as well as uneeded stuff. We already did have a fairly explicit chapter recently, and i was hoping the trend of having more plot will continue.

      Oh well.

      Current score: 0
    • Luke Licens says:

      It’s not on the blacklist. She has a safeword if she thinks they’re crossing the line. Amaranth is a nymph, and therefore sex with her is not technically cheating from either side of the equation.

      Current score: 2
  10. KrataLightblade says:

    It is, of course, worth noting that the subject of cheating is probably a little more fuzzy with the presence of a fertility spirit hanging about. It does very definitely bear some exploration, but the knee-jerk reaction of “THIS IS SO WRONG HOW COULD THEY” might be unwarranted, both considering the values and social norms of a world with nymphs wandering about and the nature of Ian and Mack’s relationship, what with Mack having quite a few parnters and Ian not, as I understand it, being explicitly denied them.

    As such, Ian and Amaranth having sex without Mack isn’t really breaking any standards of acceptable behavior by the standards of their relationship, or violating anything they’ve agreed on, unless I’ve missed something somewhere.

    Mind you, it’s possible it’ll shake up their dynamic a bit, or even leave conflicting feelings laying about.

    But I don’t see how it’s explicitly horrible or wrong by the MUniverse’s standards.

    Current score: 0
    • Morten says:

      As I understand it they (from Victor to Ian) don’t become involved with anyone new without asking their partners first but are free to have sex with anyone. Which is not horrible or wrong whether you look at the MUniverseโ€™s standards or this world’s standards.
      And Mack fucking the mermaids while on a date with Ian was much worse than this ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I think it’s hot but I also think the “not being allowed to watch”-bit is cruel.

      PS Does this mean that Ian is going to punch Amaranth?

      Current score: 0
      • Jennifer says:

        It was stated early on in the new volume that Ian is allowed to date other girls without telling Mackenzie, as long as he’s honest with the other girls that he’s also in this (open) relationship. So, I think it’s fine.

        Current score: 0
    • Markas says:

      See my big problem isn’t Ian having sex with amaranth. it’s that they’re both excluding her. I would feel that I’d been left out.

      Current score: 0
      • erianaiel says:

        True, but that is the point of it.
        Ian had given specific instructions to Mackenzie about heightening her excitement without doing anything too specific about it.
        She forgot his commands and the punishment fits the crime. She is being forced to imagine what could have happened with her without being able to do anything about it.

        Current score: 0
  11. Cadnawes says:

    Saw it coming. Also, not against it given that this is the openest of open relationships and Mack is right there and can safeword out at any point. If Ian and Amaranth have not yet had sex without Mack’s direct involvement, it’s not because it wasn’t allowed. More like they just hadn’t gotten around to it.

    Current score: 0
  12. Ben Lash says:

    Typo: โ€œI wonder what Ian wants,โ€ I said to Amarant(h)

    Current score: 0
  13. Mad Nige says:

    Don’t know if it’s been mentioned before, but the secondary header ‘High Fantasy – Higher Education’ is partly or totally obscured by the sponsor byline when zoomed in (to increase the text size to where I can read it easily with my old eyes). I’m guessing this is because the header block is defined with a fixed height in the .css (viewed with Firefox)

    Current score: 0
  14. Zathras IX says:

    Could Amaranth be
    Maintaining her “netherspace”
    In her nether place?

    Current score: 0
  15. Brenda A. says:

    Love the title on this one!

    Current score: 0
  16. Readaholic says:

    “The whole thing was getting too surreal, even by the standards of my life. It felt like they were falling into the role of busy parents wondering where theyโ€™d gone wrong when they suddenly caught their teenaged daughter with an empty potion bottle hidden under mattress.

    The only part of that scenario that matched was that I was technically a teenager, but then, so were they.”

    Pure comedy gold.

    Current score: 0
  17. BlackWizard says:

    It will be interesting to read the next chapter on this ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 0
    • erianaiel says:

      What makes you think Alexandra will not do to us what she did to Mackenzie in this chapter and make us listen and imagine what is happening?
      After all, most of us probably have been ‘bad’ the past weeks and need to be ‘punished’ (*) as well ๐Ÿ™‚

      (* for the fun definitions of bad and punished of course)

      Current score: 0
    • Rafinius says:

      I don’t know if interesting is the word I’d use exactly, but I sure hope to enjoy it very much.

      And to everyone debating if this is okay or not in the MUniverse and with a cereal nymph present I’d like to point out that there are people who enjoy this kind of stuff in our own universe too, replacing the nymphly powers with experience and communication.

      Current score: 0
  18. Athena says:

    I think Mack and I operate on the same brain wavelength.

    ‘Oh, yes, yours orders regarding…that subject…er…’

    Current score: 0
  19. KhefriSun says:

    First time commenting, whoot whoot!
    I, for one, would just like to chime in and say that I personally would love to be in the situation Mack is in right now. It’s literally a page from my own fantasies (look up “cuckqueaning” on a fetish site, mkay?). So to the people saying it’s “too cruel”, maybe it is for you and maybe it is for Mack (I haven’t read the next chapter yet, so I’m not sure if she thinks it’s hot or not), but it’s DEFINITELY hot to some people! ๐Ÿ˜‰ -points wildly at herself-

    Current score: 0
  20. Daez says:

    This is one of those moments where I’m reminded that no matter how similar Mackenzie and I are, we still have some pretty glaring differences. This would hold absolutely no pleasure for me, in her place, and might even border on mental torture for me, and not in any remotely potentially fun interpretation of that word.

    I’ve done the trio thing in my past, but the thought of not just sharing the man I love but hearing or knowing that was going on without my…. active participation…. would cause some hefty emotional and mental anguish for me. I’m glad Mack will enjoy it (assumption based of the last line), though. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Current score: 0