66: Learning Curve

on September 17, 2007 in 03: Virginal

In Which A Hidden Secret Of The Dining Hall Is Discovered

The next morning at breakfast, it was just myself, Amaranth, and Two. Steff, Amaranth had informed me, was sleeping in, and would probably spend the day in the company of Viktor. It struck me how quickly our odd social circle had grown and then shrunk again over the course of a week… but, something had changed between us, and I felt that even as other friends might come and go, Amaranth, Steff, Two, and I would always be something special. I no longer worried that I didn’t belong with them.

I’d been shifted from my normal place on Amaranth’s lap to beside her on the bench so that she could eat a decent meal. I’d responded–without even thinking about it–by trying to keep as much of my body in contact with her as I could, pressing up against her side with one arm around her front and the other behind her.

She didn’t mind.

She’d lapsed into a kind of comfortable silence, for maybe the first time since I’d met her. The good-natured babble which normally flowed out of her mouth instead seemed to radiate from every inch of her gloriously exposed skin. At least, that’s how it felt to me.

Two was also quiet, which wasn’t unusual for her, but it seemed to be a different silence today. She’d opened up to us a bit the day before, and now she seemed more at ease. It was… well, this might sound weird, but it was almost like instead of sitting there with nothing to say, she was humming or whistling to herself… she wasn’t, but she had that kind of pleasant look and air about her.

Of course, that might also have been because she’d discovered that in addition to the soft serve dispenser which was not in use at breakfast, there were also big industrial tubs of hard ice cream recessed inside a refrigerated compartment of the dessert island, and these weren’t removed overnight. When she came back to the table with a heaping bowl of bubble gum-flavored ice cream, I started to say something, but Amaranth cut me off and ordered me to go get my own.

I returned with a bowl with a single small curl of butter pecan on it. My appetite was steadily growing, but… ice cream for breakfast?

It was so wrong.

After everything I’d been through, it was weird that this of all things could feel dirty.

Eating real food… human food… always carried with it an undercurrent of wrongness with it. I didn’t need to eat food, so it was both wasteful and horribly decadent for me to do so. I tried not to dwell on this, as it only upset my stomach and increased the chance that my (literally) damned body would reject and eject whatever I tried to feed it.

I also normally restricted myself to junk food and sweets, which I could rationalize weren’t really going to any special kind of waste on me. After all, nobody really needed to eat such things, so they’d kind of be wasted no matter who ate them. If I let myself think about the indulgent nature of these snacks, though, it only made things worse… so I did my best not to. In the years I’d lived with my grandmother, it had been so rare that I was able to sneak something and I’d quickly learned not to waste the opportunities with a lot of self-flagellating introspection.

Still, it was patently impossible to sit there, “bold as a bugbear,” as my grandmother would have said, eating little nibbles of butter pecan ice cream for breakfast and not think about how terribly wrong it was.

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day.

As if there weren’t enough sugar-saturated selections that were perfectly acceptable breakfast fare, I had to dig out the ice cream… and plain vanilla apparently wasn’t enough to satisfy me, either.

I didn’t have to wonder what my grandmother would have said if she could have seen me. I knew. To be perfectly honest, she probably would have been more focused on the fact that I was leaning against a big, busty, nude nymph… she would have eventually got to the ice cream, though. It was my own voice in my head, but I could hear my grandmother’s words ringing through my head with every tiny lick I took.

I was a nasty child.




Somehow, this imaginary-yet-ringing condemnation didn’t upset my stomach. Part of it was that now I had the memory of Steff’s voice sliding into my ear, calling me slut and whore and somehow making me feel oddly… well, just oddly, I guess. Part of it was that I was Amaranth’s. She’d told me to eat ice cream for breakfast. That made it okay. It didn’t make me any less perverse or wrong… but it made that okay, too.

I didn’t understand it. I still don’t, really. I’m basically just a reporter, in this case; all I can tell you is what I observed, and that’s that the ice cream tasted richer and sweeter the longer the litany in my mind continued.





I finished my ice cream and settled back in more firmly against Amaranth, wrapping my arms around her once again.

“You looked like you really enjoyed that,” she said. My mind searched the words for a way to read them as ironic, to find the judgment in them… but there was nothing in her voice except for loving approval.

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, settling down into a sort of warm sleepy glow.

I loved, and I was loved. I belonged. I was at peace.

“The fuck happened to you?” Celia asked me as she sat down at our table, jarring me out of my reverie.

“What do you mean?” I asked. Her sudden arrival had shocked me, but I wasn’t really that surprised to see her. After Puddy had stopped eating with us, I’d kind of been half-expecting Celia to turn up again, with neither apology nor explanation. Not that she owed us either. She hadn’t been completely off the mark, after all.

“Aren’t you supposed to be full of confusion and self-loathing?” she asked.

I wasn’t sure how to answer this, so I gave the best approximation of a shrug that I could with my arms wrapped around Amaranth’s body. I think Amaranth must have understood the gesture, though she felt rather than saw it, because she answered for me.

“She was,” Amaranth said, then giggled, and only half-joking, added, “but… I think I beat it all out of her.”

This was the other reason I was leaning so heavily into Amaranth… by tilting my body, I was able to keep the smallest amount of my ass in contact with the hard wooden bench.

If my body had been susceptible to injuries like bruising, I think my entire backside would have been beyond black and blue. That morning, when I had confessed to losing my temper and raising my voice not once but several times over the course of the previous evening, she’d put the paddle to use with a vengeance. She never lost control, but had methodically covered each and every inch of my backside with stinging blows.

Also, she’d used the studded side, and that was how I had learned that she and Steff had only used the flat one before.

Three times I felt the pleasurable pressure pass through me, but the pain was almost enough to cover it completely, and I was in real tears when she finished.

I felt good, though… so good. The very real punishment for my transgression made the rules which bound our relationship that much more real, and that made the relationship itself more real. As I had lain across Amaranth’s lap… she, panting from the exertion, me with tears streaming down my face… I had felt like I could reach out a hand and touch her love for me. It was a physical, tangible thing.

I could almost see it.

Coming back into the present, I watched Celia start to say something, then think better of it, then start to say something else, and think better of that as well. She got it on the third try.

“Mammals,” she said, and popped an unshelled egg into her mouth, swallowing it in one motion. “So… you weren’t at the floor meeting the other night.”

“No,” I agreed languidly. “I wasn’t. Did anything happen?”

“A lot of bullshit griping,” Celia said. “Only about half the floor showed up. The only thing that was really on the agenda was the election… apparently, only you and that dog girl are actually running.”

“Sooni,” I said. I couldn’t keep the feeling of contempt out of my voice, and I felt Amaranth stiffen. She loved everybody. That was the ideal she strove to emulate, anyway, and she came as close as anybody could to living up to it.

“Sooni is a lovely girl,” Amaranth said. “It must be so hard for her, leaving her homelands so far behind to come here.”

I didn’t argue. I couldn’t trust my voice, so I didn’t say anything. Amaranth had told me back during the first weekend at MU that I only seemed to have two volumes: I either bit back everything I was feeling or I shouted it at the world. She seemed certain that she could help me find a middle ground, but there would be safer subjects to experiment with than Sooni.

“I could believe she has some good qualities,” I said carefully. My conscience, or whatever my grandmother had instilled in me, quailed at the idea of ice cream for breakfast, but it would have choked on an outright lie. “But… I don’t think she’d be the best choice to represent the floor.”

“No joke,” Celia said. “I asked her what she planned to do about the meals in Harlowe and she said she’d like to see more eastern food offered. She seemed to take it as her due, or whatever, that her hall should have its own separately catered meals.”

The university’s decision to serve the mixed bag of residents of Harlowe Hall separate meals in our dormitory’s basement lounge had been responsible for my more-or-less accidental candidacy. I was conflicted about it. On the one hand, I recognized the racist intention behind subtly discouraging non-humans… us… from using the public dining hall and other facilities. On the other hand, I would have been perfectly happy to spend the entire school year going between my own dorm hall and classes, never venturing out of safe, familiar territory.

On some kind of freakish third hand, that wasn’t exactly a healthy attitude and I’d come to college fully intending on breaking out of my shy, nerdish, introverted rut.

On still another hand which sprang out unbidden… was clinging to Amaranth like a life preserver really any better?

Here was proof that life was too complicated: you needed to be a sylph just to have enough hands to make up your mind.

“I’m not sure that one freshman senator would actually have enough clout to do anything about that,” I said, determined to keep myself from drowning in indecision by focusing on facts.

Now that actual–and potentially important–conversation was happening, I reluctantly disengaged myself from Amaranth. I withdrew my arms slowly, in case she ordered me to stay where I was, but she said nothing. I sat up a little bit straighter… wincing as I was reminded why I hadn’t been sitting straight to begin with.

Strangely, that made me feel better about being physically separated from her. It was comforting to have the reminder of contact. Even though there were no marks anybody could see, it was as though her hand was upon me.

On my ass.

The memory of Amaranth marching me through the union in my underwear with her hand cupping my rear shot through me, seeming to originate in my toes and rising up like a house fire climbing the walls.

I bit my lip and almost successfully held in a whimper as I lunged to the side, back to the comfort and safety which Amaranth represented. I didn’t have to explain. She twisted a bit and swept me up, pulling me onto her lap. I was a short, skinny thing… she was taller and softer than me, and smelled like a field after the rain. Had she always smelled that way? I turned only a little self-consciously and nuzzled the side of my face between her breasts… my eyes closed… breathing her in, until my pulse slackened.

Okay, so the whole “at peace” thing was a work in progress.

“Well, the freshman senator would probably be more effective if she wasn’t surgically attached to somebody’s lap,” Celia said.

She was right, but I didn’t care. I snuggled against Amaranth’s chest until I felt calm again, then turned around and straightened up.

“Yeah, well, I’m kind of surprised you’re not supporting Sooni over me,” I said. “I mean, she might be a mammal, but at least she’s another… you know… animal person.”

“What do you mean, animal person?” Celia asked.

“Well, you’re part snake,” I said. “And she’s very clearly related to a fox…”

“Yeah, and have you ever taken a good, hard look at a monkey?” Celia retorted. “Anyway, she just didn’t impress me, is all. Not that you’re all that impressive, to be honest. I mean, I very nearly threw my name in at the meeting… I didn’t, though, and it’s too late now.”

I heard the unspoken implication behind her words: so don’t fuck up.

“Are you really sure you want to run, sweetie?” Amaranth asked, giving the words “you” and “want” a gentle emphasis.

“I’m not really sure of anything… except that I love you,” I said. “But I think I should. I mean, maybe I won’t be able to do a lot of good, but I’m sure I can do more for Harlowe Hall than Sooni would. At least I’ll try.”

“That’s all we can ask, honey,” Amaranth said. “Though you really should not phrase your aspirations in terms of outdoing Sooni.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, meekly.

“I’m finished,” Two announced, pushing her bowl away. “Goodbye, Mack. Goodbye, Amaranth. Goodbye, Celia.”

“What, you’re talking now?” Celia asked. “What the fuck happened this weekend?”

“We went to town,” Two said. “I was good. I got taffy.”

She smiled broadly at the memory.

“Yes, you were,” Amaranth said, beaming back at her.

“Um… what are you doing now, Two?” I asked.

“I am going back to my room,” Two said.

“We were going to go over to the library,” I said. “Would you like to come with us?”

I watched her think about it, but only for about half a second or so. Most people would have missed it. She was getting more comfortable with sorting out her likes and dislikes… her wants, really, but that was such a loaded word in her mind that we had to avoid it.

“Yes,” she said, and she looked at me expectantly. I opened my mouth, but Amaranth jumped in.

“Two, come with us to the library when we’re done eating,” she said.

“Okay,” Two said.

“So, now you ask her what she wants to do…” Celia said.

“I want to do what I’m told,” Two interjected, but with an impressive amount of calmness.

“…and then tell her to do it?” Celia finished.

“Basically…uh… yeah,” I said. “That’s pretty much it.”

“Why don’t you just tell her to do what she likes?” Celia asked.

“Twoey, would you be comfortable with that order?” Amaranth asked.

Two shook her head quickly, her eyes going wide with alarm at the prospect.

“Baby steps, Celia,” I said. “Her underlying problem is emotional. She wants to do what she’s told, so she needs to be able to feel like she’s following orders, even if those orders coincide with her own desires.”

“You make it sound like she’ll always be this fucked up,” Celia said.

“Well…” I said. “I think she always will want to do what she’s told… but I don’t think that’s necessarily the same thing as being ‘fucked up.'”

Amaranth kissed me on the back of my head then.

“You don’t always learn quickly,” she said, and I could hear the smile in her voice. “But when you do, you learn well.”

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3 Responses to “66: Learning Curve”

  1. anonymous says:

    Looks like the next Diary of a Golem will be a lot next depressing. If this keeps up, Two might even start actually writing down her thoughts! Yay!

    Current score: 1
  2. Ryzndmon says:

    Except Two CANNOT have any sort of sexual contact. And CANNOT submit (“give up her personal freedom in any way”). One she doesn’t want (right now at least), the other she craves on a dangerous level, but would be healthy and nurturing for her at a more restrained level. Two will, unless something is done soon, be forever a Two-year old trapped in a Courtesan’s body.

    Current score: 0
  3. C says:

    What you forget is that 2 is basically free, she doesn’t have to follow orders, but she does anyway because that is what she “wants” to.

    Current score: 0