431: Dangerous Cuddles

on February 3, 2010 in Book 15

In Which Mackenzie Is Tortured By Steff

I didn’t really know what to expect when I said yes to Steff. I had no idea what she was looking for, but I wanted to do anything that I could to help her. Just going with it seemed like the best option… doing what she asked for and keeping myself open to whatever followed.

Under what passed for circumstances, if she’d sworn she wasn’t interested in sex and then tried to get me into bed with her, I’d have said there was an even chance she was being less than sincere in her protestations. As things were, I thought it was likely that she was being perfectly serious… but if the changes to her body were making her even more easily aroused than she had been before, who could say if her mind would change?

Steff snorted and I looked up at her. She was looking at me and smiling, paused in the middle of climbing into my bed… I hadn’t moved yet.

“What?” I said.

“I think the most frustrating thing about you may be one of my favorite things,” she said.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“I’m not used to being ignored,” she said.

“Who’s ignoring you? I said I’d join you,” I said.

“You have this habit of going a million miles away,” she said. “Usually when I want your attention the most.”

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“It’s cute,” she said. “Like I said, I don’t know if I love it or hate it.”

“If it makes you feel any better, you did have my attention,” I said. “I’m just… sort of internally focused, you know?”

“Yeah, I know what that’s like,” Steff said. “It’s not really healthy living inside your head, though.”

“I don’t know… it feels safe to me,” I said. “Inside my head. Cozy.”

“It never feels that way inside mine,” Steff said. “And I know I would be cozier in your little cave with you.”

She gestured like she wanted me to go first, then held the blanket covering back for me as I climbed in.

“Well, this is kind of nice,” she said as slid in up against me. “You’ve made yourself your own box.”

She pressed her cheek against me and her naked leg against my jeans. I was suddenly wishing I’d disrobed before climbing in… maybe it wouldn’t have been the best idea, but I wanted to feel her skin against mine. I felt her dick brushing against me a bit as she moved into position, but only in an incidental way. It was hard to ignore, but I didn’t make any moves.

“Yeah, I guess I kind of have,” I said. “I like being enclosed. It feels…”

“Safe,” Steff said. She let out a sound that was not quite a sigh and not quite a laugh. “I’ve noticed that’s a running theme with you… mostly, I want to feel the other way.”

“Endangered?” I asked.

“Imperiled,” Steff said. “I like that feeling of risk… pressing up against the edge of the blade, teetering on the brink. I like seeing other people in peril, too… it’s the same thrill, only vicarious. There are a lot of things I’m curious about, but I could only really experience them once, without a lot of complicated and expensive preparations. Putting someone else through them and watching, listening…”

“Danger doesn’t seem like what you need right now,” I said quickly.

“No,” Steff said. Her long hair brushed my cheek as she shook her head. “But nobody wants the same thing all the time… after all, you like me.”

“Are you saying I’m greedy?” I asked.

“Of course you are,” she said. “Three lovers… half-elf, nymph, and teenage boy… three pretty much constitutionally insatiable creatures, right? But that’s not what I meant. I meant that I don’t make you feel safe.”

“I don’t feel unsafe with you,” I said.

“Except when you do,” she said. “And you like it when that happens.”

I breathed in sharply at a sensory memory… Steff on top of me, holding me down and grinding against me.

“Yes,” I said quietly. “I do.”

“Amaranth is like, safety personified,” Steff said. She yawned and stretched. The effect of her barely covered body writhing like that, right up against me… I knew she wasn’t trying to seduce me. She didn’t have to try, though. “And Ian’s Mr. Vanilla.”

“It’s possible to overestimate his vanillaness,” I said, trying to focus on the conversation rather than her body, which was now noticeably softer… but more toned than Amaranth’s, and with a hardness underlying it all.

“Mmm, if you say so,” Steff said. “But I can’t see him scaring you.”

“I’m not going to argue,” I said. “Because I don’t think that he has ever actually scared me yet… I mean, except in the interpersonal emotional kind of way when I thought he was going to break up with me.”

“Why would that scare you?”

“Hey, be nice,” I said, as gently as I could. “He doesn’t like you much, either, but he’s pretty surprisingly loyal to you anyway.”

“I am being nice,” she said. “Or at least I’m not being mean. You guys haven’t been together that long. I’m not saying you should want to break up with him, but what would be so terrible if it happened?”

“I don’t know,” I said.

“Do you love him?”

“For a certain value of ‘love’,” I said.

Steff laughed, but it was a good-natured laugh.

“I like that,” she said. “‘Love’ is a silly word, you know? I don’t mean that I don’t believe in it, or that it’s just a word… if anything, the problem is that it means way more than what one word can cover. Elvish has way more words for specific things that all get translated into Pax as ‘love’, but even they don’t cover it… I’ve got eros for you bad, but it’s not the same eros I have for Viktor, you know? But even eros is more descriptive than ‘love’. I mean, I love my mother. You love television programming intended for small children.”

“Mecknights is not intended for ‘small’ children,” I said.

“My point is that those feelings are even further removed from either my feelings towards Viktor and my feelings towards you than those two feelings are towards each other,” Steff said. “Calling it all ‘love’… so much gets lost in translation that way. I really don’t want to sound like Dee, but… human language kind of sucks a whole bunch of ass, and not in a good way.”

“Yeah, um, I wouldn’t worry too much about sounding like Dee,” I said. “But I’ve had this… well, I have this kind of theory about emotions and words. Basically, when you put an emotion into words, you’re taking something vast and amorphous and squishing it down into something you can handle. So as long as you’re using any language to try to describe emotion, something’s going to get lost in translation.”

“I suppose,” Steff said. “My emotions certainly get complicated… even when they seem really straightforward. Especially then. Anyway, I think you’re ducking the question.”

“What question?”

“About Ian,” she said.

“You mean the ‘do I love him’ or ‘why was I scared’ question?” I asked. “Because I think I answered both of them.”

“Yeah, ‘for a certain value’ and ‘I don’t know’ are really firm answers,” Steff said.

“They’re true,” I said.

“You could elaborate on them,” Steff said.

“Um… I really don’t know?” I said.

“Mack, I really don’t want you to think I’m trying to break you up with him or anything, because I’m not,” Steff said. “But… and I know this is going to sound really cliched, but it’s a cliche for a reason… do you think maybe you were in love with the idea of being with him?”

“Well, I definitely had an idea in my head that a boyfriend was a good thing to have,” I said. “But I really don’t think it’s quite that.”

“You think you had a real emotional bond with him when you barely knew him, had just started dating, and he kind of maybe wanted to break up with you?”

“No,” I said. “But I don’t think… I’m trying to be precise here. Feelings, words, et cetera.” I sighed and thought about how I’d felt… how I still felt to a large degree. “I think, really, what I was afraid of was rejection. I could have easily handled not having a boyfriend in the first place. I wanted one, but I’d never had one before… I could have gone on not having one and not felt like I was missing something vital, maybe. But once we were together, however briefly or tenuously… if that fell apart, if he dumped me, that would be rejection.”

“But haven’t you kind of been rejected for most of your life?”

“We’re into the ‘silly little word’ territory there,” I said. “Being shunned by everybody can be called ‘rejection’ and being dumped by a specific guy who had shown interest before is also ‘rejection’, but they’re not the same thing. One was my life’s story, the other is something I’ve never had to deal with. I’m not looking forward to finding out what it feels like.”

“I guess that makes a kind of sense,” Steff said. “Do you want to hear my theory?”

“I thought I just did,” I said. “The whole in-love-with-being-in-love thing… and, by the way, you’d be a beneficiary of that, too.”

“Yeah, I know,” Steff said. “And I love you, too, Mack. Anyway, I thought that was worth bringing up, but that doens’t mean I’m convinced it’s true.”

“So what is your actual theory, then?”

“I think people who’ve never been in a relationship rush in too quickly and cling on too hard,” Steff said. “Because they’re excited, because they want to make up for lost time, because they don’t know any better…”

“Oh, that one’s much less insulting than your other theory.”

“I’ll freely admit this one may be biased,” Steff said. “Since I based it on myself… Viktor and I didn’t exactly wait before we got serious, and I’ve sure as fuck clung to him.”

“I guess I don’t really see that,” I said. “I’m not doubting you, but…”

“When you see me, I’m chasing you down,” Steff said.

“Yeah,” I said. “Or Callahan, or that part-giant girl, or anybody else, really.”

I regretted saying this as soon as the words were out of my mouth… I didn’t want to call Steff promiscuous. It was true, though, and she didn’t seem to take any offense at the recitation.

“I don’t know if I’d have the confidence to do that if I didn’t have Viktor to cling to,” she said. “He’s my constant, my steadiness. Knowing that I have him… that he has me… gives me the security I need.”

“You really love him,” I said.

“For a certain value,” she said.

“Steff?” I said.


“Can I ask you something kind of… delicate… without offending you?”

“Yes, I really love him,” Steff said. “But since I prodded you on your relationship with Ian, feel free to ask whatever’s on your mind.”

“It’s just… it’s not just the fact that he’s got a mountain fortress full of ogre followers, or the idea that he’s going to be some kind of dark overlord of doom…”

“I have a lot of fun trying to envision a future with him,” Steff said. “But I wouldn’t be doing that if I wasn’t interested in having one.”

“Okay,” I said. “I guess it’s just hard for me to see what you…”

“Yeah, that’s kind of mutual,” Steff said. “He can’t understand why I’d be with someone who has so little regard for herself.”

“I can’t imagine what you’d say to that,” I said.

“What, you mean because it’s true?” she said.

“I’ve been working on getting better,” I said.

“That should be the hall motto,” she said. “But actually, what I said to him was ‘I don’t recall that stopping you’.”

I snorted.

“Did that shut him up?” I asked her.

“For a couple of days,” she said. “At least I think that’s why… he’s not always the most talkative person. He spends a lot of time inside his head, too.”

“I can actually kind of imagine that,” I said, thinking about what life must have been like for him at Kilrest.

Viktor, for all his faults… and they were pretty big faults… seemed to be a bit of a thinker and a man of great artistic passion. An ogre enclave couldn’t have been the most stimulating place for someone with that kind of mind to grow up. He was lucky that his mother had taken some interest in nurturing his intellect, but it seemed like that could only have taken him so far.

“Anyway, I had no idea what he was really like when I first threw myself down in front of him,” Steff said. “And I don’t think he had any idea what I was really like when he scooped me up and claimed me… but we held on tight. A year later, we’re still clinging… I don’t think it’s love at first sight. I mean, we could call it that but everybody thinks they’ve got that and usually it doesn’t last. I don’t think it’s destiny. It’s luck.”

“You know, it feels weird that we’re talking about our lovers,” I said. “Our other ones, I mean… with us both here…”

“Well, I don’t know about you but I’m trying to distract myself from the raging hard-on and the desire to fuck you stupid,” Steff said. “Right now, I’d break one or both of us, I’m sure.”

“You don’t have to worry about breaking me,” I said.

“That’s easy to forget,” she said. “You’re so small, so vulnerable… and your kind of vulnerability is why I’m worried about breaking you, demon powers or no.”

“I’m not some delicate little flower,” I said. “We’ve fucked before. I’ve had my ass beaten to what probably would be black and blue on anybody else. I’ve been chewed on by… all sorts of things… and hit by a giant troll.”

“Yeah, and that’s all physical stuff,” Steff said. “I’m talking about emotional.”

“Unless you dump me in the middle of sex, I don’t see the issue,” I said.

“Good feelings can be just as overwhelming as bad ones,” she said. “The first time Viktor fucked me… well, I ended up bawling my eyes out.”

“I can imagine,” I said, though I kind of preferred not to.

“I don’t mean… before that, I’d always sorted sex, especially the basic in-and-out kind, into two columns,” she said. “There was rough sex, which was what I really craved, and the feel-good kind, when the vital spots get hit just so and your whole body floods with happy feelings. With the rough kind, there was some physical pleasure from the pain, but mostly it felt good because it answered a craving… for pain, for degradation, for something to drown everything else out for a while. You know what I mean?”

“I guess,” I said. I didn’t think I’d ever felt quite the same way, but I definitely understood the idea of pleasure from pain.

“When Viktor took me… it was like he knocked down the wall in my mind between good sex, which I felt like I didn’t deserve, and rough sex, which I needed,” she said. “He plowed right through me, and it hurt like fucking hell, Mack, but it felt so good… going in, going down, pulling out. Every stroke was tripping the pleasure traps at every opportunity, but it hurt and he was doing it so… it was like a virtuouso performance by somebody who wasn’t there. He gave no sign that he cared about me in particular. That just made it… it was unbelievable. Fucking unbelievable… unbelievable fucking… whichever. And I just broke down. It was too much.”

“Is that actually a bad thing?” I asked. I’d never thought about it in those terms before, but it occurred to me as I listened to Steff that the thing I got out of sex the most wasn’t pain and it wasn’t pleasure, it was release… catharsis. It could feel pretty awesome and it could hurt like hell, but those were steps along the way to what I really needed which was for someone to break down the dam inside and let everything flood out of me.

“It wasn’t terrible,” she said. “But it’s not something… I wouldn’t be ready to deal with the aftermath if I did something like that to you. Not right now. If we start fucking, I’m not going to stop.”

“Maybe I wouldn’t want you to,” I said.

“You can say that now,” she said. “And mean it… but I don’t know how long it’d be true.”

“You don’t trust yourself to stop right now,” I said.

“I don’t know myself right now,” she said. “And to the extent that I do know myself… well, yeah, I don’t trust that. I trust my judgment enough to know that it’s a bad idea.”

“Do you think… do you worry that it’s going to be like this forever?”

“I think I’ll get things sorted out,” she said. “I just think it would be a better idea to sort them out with Amy or Viktor than with you. Don’t get me wrong: I want to drive you round the bend, I want to break you into a bunch of tiny little pieces, I want to make you whimper and moan and scream… but I want to do it on purpose, because we both fucking want it, not because my libido’s running away and joining the circus.”

“I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that there are unexpected side effects,” I said. “I really think Dee…”

“Oh, you guys should lay off Dee,” Steff said. “Unexpected? I expected it to fuck my shit up, probably worse than this… Dee thought it was just going to fix me completely, in ways that have nothing to do with what my body looks like… but I was pretty sure that me with boobs was still going to be me under the boobs. Steff plus curvy bits doesn’t equal Steff minus issues. She’s so fucking naive, you know? She comes off as the mature one but that’s just because she hasn’t been damaged by the world enough to let anything show through.”

“You kind of love her, don’t you?” I asked.

“For a certain value of love?” Steff said with a laugh that turned into a yawn. “Maybe. Would it be okay if I go to sleep? You’re kind of stuck on the inside…”

“There’s nowhere I’d rather be stuck,” I said.

“Of course, I don’t know if this will actually work,” she said. “It might be an epic battle between arousal and sheer exhaustion.”

“I’ll root for exhaustion,” I said.

She said something that sounded like it might have been “That’s good of you.”, but her voice was getting sleepier and yawnier as she spoke, and it wasn’t at all long after that before her breathing relaxed, becoming slow and steady and almost inaudible. I put an arm around her. She responded by pressing up against me, hard. I thought I’d woken her and had a moment of excitement… scary excitement, given everything she’d said, but thrilling and exquisite excitement as well… but she was still sound asleep.

It was like a kind of torture by tantalization, feeling her soft breasts squished up against my torso, her newly enlarged cock pressing up against the crotch of my jeans and knowing I couldn’t do anything about it… I did my best to just enjoy it while I waited for lunch time.

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2 Responses to “431: Dangerous Cuddles”

  1. Elaborate says:

    doens’t -> doesn’t

    Current score: 0
  2. zeel says:

    I have this kind of theory about emotions and words. Basically, when you put an emotion into words, you’re taking something vast and amorphous and squishing it down into something you can handle. So as long as you’re using any language to try to describe emotion, something’s going to get lost in translation.

    I find this sentiment quite compelling. Words are inadequate at describing our true feelings, which can be frustrating, but they are an invaluable tool for giving us a way to handle them on a more approachable level.

    Current score: 2