199: Stupid Love

on April 19, 2008 in Book 8

In Which A Towel Falls To The Floor

Saturday, Calendula 3rd, 222 (Midday)

Amaranth came back just moments after the conversation ended. I figured she must have been waiting a respectful distance away, so she could hear when we were finished.

“Is Ian coming, baby?” Amaranth asked.

“Uh… yeah,” I said. My stomach was churning with anxiety I couldn’t quite explain. What had I been thinking? “He is.”

Amaranth’s lip twitched.

“Oh, is something wrong?” she asked.

“I… I just told him that I love him.”

“Well, that’s great!” Amaranth said. “I’m so proud of you, baby. That’s a huge step.”

“But I didn’t mean to!”

“Do you mean, you didn’t mean what you said, or you didn’t mean to say it?”

“I don’t know!” I said.

“Well, do you love him?” Amaranth asked.

I didn’t say anything.

“Was it a habitual thing?” Amaranth asked. “I mean, are you used to saying ‘I love you.’ at the end of a mirror conversation?”

“No,” I said. “I don’t really use mirrors very often, but it still slipped out somehow.”

“Then I think you probably said exactly what you meant, baby,” Amaranth said. “Otherwise, it would never have ‘slipped out.'”

“But what if he thinks I’m turning into some kind of crazy, clingy stalker person?” I asked. “What if…”

Amaranth put her finger on my lips.

“You’re overthinking again,” she said. “If you meant what you said, there’s no shame in it.”

“I’m not ashamed,” I said when she unshushed me. “I’m worried. What’s Ian going to think? How’s he going to react?”

“Well, I’m sure he’ll find it reassuring, or even flattering,” Amaranth said. “He probably can’t help having some lingering worries about how you feel about him, under the circumstances.”

“But what if I said it too soon?” I asked. “I mean, we’ve only just met.”

“You’ve only known me for a few days longer,” Amaranth said.

“I don’t think he’ll find that very reassuring if he’s freaking out,” I said.

Amaranth waved her hand dismissively.

“I tell the boys I’m with that I love them every chance I get,” she said. “I’ve never once had one of them freak out on me. If anything, most of them seem amused.”

“That’s a little different,” I said.

“Well, maybe,” she said. “But I’m sincere when I say it.” She pouted for a moment, then bit her lip. “I’m sorry, baby. I’m not trying to diminish your feelings, but… it’s love, you know?” Even just saying the word seemed to lift her mood… and mine, too, a little bit, though I still had a sick feeling in my stomach. “I’ve got to order the pizza. What kind do you want?”

“Um… cheese?” I said.

“Just cheese?” Amaranth asked. “Are you sure you don’t want anything fancier?”

I shook my head.

“I liked cheese pizza when I was little,” I said. “I don’t know what other kinds I’d like.”

“Okay, if that’s what you want,” Amaranth said.

“You could get it with extra cheese,” I said.

“Okay,” she said. “What kind of pizza does Ian like?”

I dropped my head, abashed.

“I didn’t think to ask,” I said.

“That’s okay,” she said. “If he’s picky about toppings, he can have cheese, too.” She took me by the hand and turned towards the mirror. She produced a piece of paper and read the name and address of the pizza parlor. “Hazel says this place is pretty good,” she said as we waited for the image to form.

“Thank you for choosing Dominion. How can I help you?” a scruffy-looking teenaged guy said.

Amaranth ordered an extra large supreme pizza, a large garden vegetable pizza with no cheese, a large cheese pizza with extra cheese, and breadsticks, and the pizza guy told us it would be about forty-five minutes.

“Well, we’ve got some time, then,” Amaranth said. “What would you like to do?”

I thought about a few somewhat obvious things, but the fact was I was starting to feel a little grungy and was very conscious of the fact that Ian would be arriving soon.

“Do you mind if I take a quick shower?” I asked. I figured that would give me a chance to check out my situation down below and make sure I was as ready as I could be. Also, standing under hot water for a while just sounded like a really good idea at that moment.

“Sure, baby,” Amaranth said, giving me a kiss on the cheek.

Though it did make me feel cleaner, the shower didn’t actually make me feel any better. In fact, the time away from Amaranth gave me a chance to start dwelling on what I’d said and what Ian may have thought or felt in response.

My intention had been to take the quickest of quick showers and get out before Ian got dressed and made it over. I’ve never had a great sense of the passage of time, though, and after spacing out again a couple times, I realized I had no idea how long I’d been in the shower. I rinsed myself off, grabbed my stuff, turned off the water, securely fastened my towel around me and made a dash for my room.

I didn’t make it far… Ian had just come out of the stairwell as I was exiting the bathroom, and I collided with him. He was knocked forwards, and I stumbled backwards, my little caddy of shower stuff clattering to the floor and my towel falling off.

“Hey, watch where you’re…” he said, twisting around as he got to his feet. His eyes grew huge when he saw it was me… or maybe that was just the fact that I was wet and naked.

“Sorry!” I said, turning red all over as I scrambled to pick up my towel and get it in front of me. There were a few moments of confusion before it registered that I was sitting on it, and then I got to my feet and wrapped it around myself, hastily locking it in place under my arm. “I… sorry.”

“It’s okay,” Ian said as I picked up my shower stuff. He was still staring at me as if he could see through the towel.

“I, um… I should go get dressed.”

“Oh. Yeah.”

I wasn’t moving. Why wasn’t I moving?

“You’re probably going to need to move to do that,” Ian said.


Though, he had seen me naked before, and not only with the eyeful I’d just given him.

“You… you can come, too, if you want,” I said.

“Okay,” Ian said.

He just stood there, though. Why was he just standing… oh, right. I still wasn’t moving.

I noticed that he wasn’t so much staring at my body as he was avoiding my face.

“Look,” I said. “About what I said…”

“I love you, too,” he mumbled, dropping his head even further. His whole face was going pink, especially the tips of his ears.

“This is crazy,” I said, shaking my head. “We just met.”

“I don’t think love cares about that,” he said. “I mean, I’m not thinking about marriage and kids and all that, but why else do you think I put up with you?”

“Thanks,” I said, giving him a dirty look. I still wasn’t moving. I reached for his hand, and after a moment he gave it to me. We started walking and after another moment, my towel fell down again. I scrambled to recover it and get it wrapped what I thought was a bit more securely around myself.

“Maybe you should get a bathrobe,” Ian suggested. I glared at him, and he shrank back a little. “Just a suggestion.”

“Sorry,” I said. “It’s not actually a bad idea.”

It wasn’t, especially with how much I was coming to enjoy bathing. Also, I couldn’t help feeling exposed walking back and forth in a towel, but I felt weirdly vulnerable about taking my clothes into the bathroom when I showered. It would be too easy for somebody to swipe them. The sort of uses somebody like the Leightons could put them to in a bathroom didn’t bear thinking about.

We made it the short distance to my room without further incident or exposure. Amaranth poked her head out of Hazel and Honey’s room. I gave her a little wave, taking care not to lose my towel again.

A bathrobe really wasn’t a terrible idea.

“Hey, baby! Hey, Ian!” she said, waving back.

“Hi,” Ian replied.

“I’m just going to get dressed,” I said.

“Take your time, baby,” Amaranth said, grinning just before she disappeared from sight.

Two stepped out into the hallway. She had a cup of yogurt or pudding or something in her hands.

“Hi, Mack!”

“Hi, Two,” I said.

“Don’t forget to put a sock on the door if you’re doing sex things!” she said.

I got the door open and we stepped inside. It was freezing in my room. How did it manage to be so much colder than the hall? I knew permanent or even long-term enchantments were way beyond me but I was looking forward to the day when I could put some permanent insulation on the window.

“Um, should we…?” Ian asked, jerking his thumb at the still-open door. I nodded. Better safe than sorry.

He picked one of my socks up off the floor and put it on the outer doorknob, then closed the door and locked it.

“So,” he said.

“So,” I said.

My towel fell to the floor.

“Shit!” I said, grabbing for it. “Stupid thing.”

“Oh, leave it,” Ian said. “We’re alone.”

“I like being naked on purpose!” I said. “I mean, I prefer it being my choice.”

“What were you planning on doing when we got in here?”

I blushed and turned away.

“It’s just annoying,” I said. “I mean…”

“Mackenzie?” Ian said.


“Shut up.”

He put his hands on my shoulders and turned me back around. The room was suddenly very hot, though I was still shivering. We kissed. It’s probably not a good idea to compare your lovers’ kisses to each other, but in my case it wasn’t even really possible. Ian’s kisses were unlike Steff’s, which were unlike Amaranth’s. There was no comparison. I’d guess he had the least experience out of the three, but they were different, not bad.

I felt less out of my depths kissing him. It was awkward, but it was a mutual awkwardness, like we were puzzling something out together.

He struggled out of his denim jacket, which seemed like it was a bit too small for him, and threw it aside. I grabbed his shirt and helped him peel it off, kissing his stomach before he even had it up over his head.

I couldn’t keep my mouth off him. He tasted so good. There was a niggling little thread of worry at the back of my head at that thought, but I brushed it aside. I wasn’t hungry. There wasn’t any danger.

“Stop it,” Ian said as I was licking a line up from his belly button. His skin was yummy, but his voice had to be obeyed.

That was the other reason it was safe: he was in charge, not me.

Grabbing me by the hair on the top of my head, he pulled me upright and kissed me again, pressing his lips to mine with a firm restraint that reminded me of Viktor oh-so-carefully pounding his keyboard in anger. We came apart again, and two sets of hands went for the buckle of his belt at the same time.

I love you. The words were there in my head, but now, face to face, kissing and fumbling with each other in my room, that’s where they stayed…

Ian slapped my hands away and got his belt off, and then his pants. He was in his boxers, and I was naked and shivering with far more than just the cold. His dick… a little shorter than Steff’s, and much thicker, but again, there was just no comparison between them… was sticking out of the unbuttoned fly.

I love you.

Why couldn’t I say it?

“This is stupid,” I said.

“What?” Ian asked.

“You…” I said.


“…and me. Love. We just met,” I said. “It’s stupid to talk about love.”

“It’s absolutely feebleminded,” Ian agreed.

“I don’t like that word.”

“Sorry,” he said. “It is stupid, then… but it’s also true. I love you, Mackenzie. Maybe not ‘at first sight’, but I don’t know… I really wonder about that sometimes.”

“I love you, too,” I said.

I’d said it. We’d said it… and we hadn’t just blurted it out on accident. We’d said it and meant it. I stared at him, my mouth half open. Having got those words out, it seemed like there were none left within me. I didn’t have any idea what to say next.

Fortunately, Ian did.

“Get on your knees, slut.”

I loved him so damned much, in that moment.

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5 Responses to “199: Stupid Love”

  1. Tomatoes are always present as garden vegetables because they are easy to grow..,-

    Current score: 2
  2. pedestrian says:

    I wish that was true Addison, but all the different varieties I
    planted last year failed. It’s going to take a couple of years to improve the soil enough for quality produce.

    Current score: 1
    • Maesenko says:

      You might want to look into something that can grow in low-nutrient soils that can also add nutrients into the soil after harvest.

      As a side note, I really miss gardening and greenhouse classes.

      Current score: 1
      • MackSffrs says:

        Actually if you’re looking into mostly smaller tomatoes, I’d recommend taking a look at hydroponics; most tomato varieties would have a much easier time growing, not to mention the general increase in yield and duration of yield.

        Current score: 1
  3. Lara says:

    It was actually only in this chapter that I realised that “feebleminded” is probably the in universe equivalent of the r word. (I got what it meant, just not that it was a parallel.)

    Current score: 2