“Why? Why do they have to hate us? Why can’t they just be happy we’re happy?”
Anna May Perry
Friday evening, 1 April 2016
GM: Anna’s thrilled by the news that Victoria’s meeting with banks to purchase Chakras. The meeting with the St. Johns is little ways off.
In fact, Anna seems inspired by Sylvia taking steps to realize her own dream. She says she wants to apply to schools again for a teaching position.
“Did you say your mom might be able to hook me up with something?” she asks, hopefully, one evening over dinner.
She cooks, like always.
Victoria: “She could, I’m sure.”
“I can call her.”
GM: “Please. Anytime that’s convenient for you both.”
Anna looks very hopeful.
Victoria: She pulls out her phone.
GM: “After dinner,” nods Anna. “I can wait that long.”
“How do you feel about those different financiers you mentioned?”
Victoria: She pauses, her fork halfway to her mouth.
“Like I’m diving in deeper than I should; but, no great moves beyond good without risk. You either earn the respect of the rich and powerful in New Orleans, or you remain another pebble carried by the stream.”
GM: “Financial risk?” asks Anna, concernedly.
Victoria: She reaches across the table, squeezing Anna’s hand.
“Everything’s the same risk, in the end. All that matters is the degree. Don’t worry about me.”
GM: Anna squeezes it back and smiles.
“You can’t seriously expect me not to do that.”
Victoria: “Okay. Worry. But trust that I’ll come back to you. What would you do if I wasn’t here to take the weight of the world off your shoulders?”
GM: “I wasn’t even thinking about me.”
Victoria: “Who were you thinking about?”
GM: “The most important person in my life, of course.”
Victoria: “Rick Towers?”
GM: Anna laughs.
“I know a lot of his movies these days are pretty so-so. But he’s interesting even when his movies aren’t. It’s like… watching the last specimen of some exotic, alien species, almost.”
Victoria: “‘Like’? I’m entirely certain he’s the first real link to the lizardmen.”
GM: Anna smiles again.
“To answer your question, though. Geez. I don’t even know what I’d do.”
“It really has been a relief after everything to just… let you take the driver’s seat.”
“And for you, I bet, not to worry about cooking or the apartment when you’re so busy.”
Victoria: “Among other services freely available.”
The wink she follows with isn’t necessary. Finally, she feed herself a mouthful of food.
“I’ll be fine, Anna. If I’m not fine, I’ll get back at them.”
GM: Anna looks less than thrilled by that last promise, but nods.
“Can I have seconds?”
That’s been another rule they’ve adopted to help manage her weight.
Sylvia can take care of everything.
Victoria: “If you’re planning to run before bed, you may have one extra scoop.”
GM: “Oof. Such decisions.”
Victoria: “I’ll even be kind. Just one mile.”
GM: Anna smiles. “Can you make this decision for me, too?”
“It’s just… more fun when you do.”
Victoria: She clicks her tongue, a devious smile coming to her lips.
“All right. Have your seconds. Clean the pans and put the leftovers away. Allow yourself to digest. Run one mile, and then you can join me in the shower. I’d like my hair washed.”
GM: “Yes, mistress,” Anna smiles back, helping herself to another chicken burrito scoop. They’re refried beans, chicken, peppers, salsa, and grated cheese wrapped in small tortilla, like burrito cupcakes.
Victoria: Sylvia watches her eat, chin in her palm. Watching. Staring. Waiting. Observing.
GM: “I’m suddenly feeling very self-conscious…” Anna laughs.
Victoria: “Oh, don’t worry. Just admiring the artwork.”
GM: Anna gets up, burrito cupcake in hand, and strikes a pose.
Victoria: Sylvia laughs, shaking her head.
“Your silliness is enticing.”
GM: She strikes another pose, munching on burrito as she does.
Very slowly and exaggeratedly.
Victoria: “You keep that up and I’ll be making you massage a lot more than my scalp.”
GM: “Is that a punishment or a reward?”
Victoria: She smiles faintly. “Keep eating.”
GM: “Yef, mifreff,” Anna says past a full mouth.
Victoria: Sylvia finishes her food. Apparently, she’s not all that hungry. It’s probably at least partly Anna’s fault.
GM: Anna takes her time finishing her own food and sits down on Sylvia’s lap.
“I’ve really liked this. Everything these past few months.”
“Is there more we can do in daily life, outside of the bedroom? What’s the next step?”
Victoria: Sylvia wraps an arm about her waist, promising security.
She knows the punishment for lying.
“I’ve had an idea in mind, but it’s a surprise.”
GM: Anna looks intrigued.
And a little nervous.
Just the way Vic prefers her.
“My lady of mystery,” she smiles.
Victoria: “Yours, devoted eternally,” she teases.
GM: Anna nuzzles her nose.
“I guess I should do my chores if I want it to be a nice surprise, huh?”
Though, who said it will be tonight?
Saturday afternoon, 2 April 2016
GM: Sylvia knows how much her mother loves to have her children over, even outside weekly dinners. Anna’s teaching prospects is a topic best raised in private, anyway. Mary greets her at the door with a hug and question of,
“Have you eaten yet, Sylvie?”
Victoria: She pulls her mom into a more gentle hug than anyone else gets from her.
“Mom, you know that I know better than to come home full,” she laughs.
GM: “I do know,” Mary smiles. “I have someone staying with me. Please be gentle with her. She’s come from a very, very dark place.”
Victoria: “When am I ever not gentle?” she smiles, stepping into the house and removing her shoes.
GM: “When are you not,” Mary agrees. “Don’t take it personally if she doesn’t want to speak with you, either.”
Victoria: “None taken, Mom. New foster?”
GM: “Not quite, dear. Just someone who needs a place of… respite.”
Victoria: She nods.
“I’ll try to talk to her, but I won’t push.”
GM: “That sounds wise. She’s more willing to answer in nods and head shakes, I’ve also found.”
Victoria: She nods.
“What’s her name?”
GM: Mary pauses.
“She’s very frightened about people knowing her name. Why don’t you ask her if I can tell you.”
Victoria: Sylvia gives her a quizzical look, but nods her assent.
“Where is she?”
GM: “One of the bedrooms. I’ll go and get her,” says Mary. “Make yourself at home at the dining room, please. Lunch is already laid out.”
Victoria: Sylvia set her shoes neatly in the rack, just like Mama always had her, then pulls out a chair and sits, waiting.
GM: Lunch is tomato soup with basil toppings and grilled cheese sandwiches. Easy, classic comfort food.
Mary returns after several moments with a young woman. She has long dark brown hair, a button nose, and gaunt cheeks. They look like they might have been plump with baby fat, once, but there’s a deflated quality to them seemingly suggestive of rapid weight loss in a short time. She’s dressed in a plain t-shirt and sweatpants with a thick blanket wrapped around her shoulders. Her eyes are dark and haunted, as well as out of focus. They don’t seem to fully register Sylvia’s presence. She looks in her to mid to late teens.
Victoria: She’s glad Anna isn’t here. She doesn’t need any more grilled cheese.
Sylvia plates a meal, but doesn’t yet eat any of it, not wanting to be rude despite her mother offering.
When the girl enters, she’s greeted with friendly eyes and a warm smile.
“Hello there,” she purrs. “I’m Sylvia. You can call me Sylvia, if you want.”
GM: Anna was spoiled by their initial junk food feast together.
The girl looks at Sylvia warily.
She doesn’t say anything.
Victoria: “Can Mom—Mary—tell me your name?”
GM: The girl quickly shakes her head.
Victoria: “That’s fine, dear. You don’t have to let her,” she smiles, looking up to Mary.
GM: Sylvia’s mom nods in emphasis.
Everyone eats. The girl does that much without prompting. It’s simple, tasty, and filling comfort food. Anna will no doubt grouse missing out on it.
“You said you’d wanted to talk about Anna, Sylvie?” her mom asks. She glances at the girl. “Would that be better after lunch, or is here fine?”
Victoria: “I think after lunch would be best,” she answers. “It’s not so fun a topic for my new friend here.”
“Did you enjoy the grilled cheese? That used to be my favorite meal, when I first got here.”
Victoria: Sylvia pauses, and then it occurs to her.
She produces her phone, opening it to a notepad app, then slides it across the table.
“Is this more comfortable for you?”
GM: Sylvia gets the distinct impression that her mother was framing her question in such a way, too.
The girl does not answer Sylvia’s question until Mary looks at her, then nods.
She looks at the phone without comprehension, up Sylvia, and then gives a light shrug.
Victoria: She nudges the phone closer to her.
“If you’d like to try. There’s no pressure.”
GM: The girl looks at it, then continues munching her grilled cheese.
Victoria: She lofts a brow, looking to Mary. “Perhaps a pen and paper?”
GM: “Perhaps a writing prompt,” her mother gently suggests.
Victoria: “Writing prompt?”
GM: “A question to answer, or other suggestion of what to write.”
Victoria: She did ask her if she liked the grilled cheese. Oh well.
“How old are you, dear?”
GM: The girl taps two numbers on the phone.
Victoria: Older than she thought. She has questions for her mother, but not even their echo touches her expression.
“Lovely. I’m 27.”
GM: The girl silently takes that in and has another spoonful of soup.
Victoria: “What do you like to do for fun?”
GM: The girl pauses in her eating to stare numbly ahead.
She does not answer.
Victoria: Perhaps a bit too open.
“Would you tell me your name?”
GM: The girl adamantly shakes her head.
Victoria: “You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Do I scare you?”
GM: The girl looks at Sylvia, then at Mary, who smiles encouragingly.
She slowly shakes her head.
Victoria: Sylvia smiles.
“Most people think I’m a little scary. You must have seen things that toughened you up, huh?”
GM: In fairness, she’s dressed in normal clothes rather than black leather here.
She’s Sylvia here.
The girl closes her eyes at the words ‘seen things.’
Victoria: She’s being playful, trying to open her up by lightening the mood. Even still, Sylvia is a forward person, and can be a loud personality. Even without the leather and chains, she can be intimidating.
“What’s your favorite food?”
GM: Anna agrees with that.
The girl hits an emoji on the phone:
Victoria: Sylvia rolls her eyes with emphatic delight!
“Ugh, I haven’t had a pizza in forever! Have you ever had a dessert pizza?”
GM: The girl shakes her head.
Victoria: “Maybe Mary’ll let me make one with you…?” she says, looking to her mother. “If I nab the ingredients.”
GM: “A desert pizza?” says Mary with amusement. “That sounds unhealthy, but I suppose it can’t be any more so than cake or pie.”
Anna and Sylvia know better there.
Victoria: “No, that’d be sandy. A dessert pizza. I made one with Anna when she came home after a really bad day. It was a lot of fun.”
GM: “Maybe one with some dried figs for desert,” laughs Mary. “That sounds tasty, though. You could make it a lot like a cake, I’d imagine, only you’d wind up with a lot more icing or toppings.”
“Mmm. No wonder you liked that.”
Victoria: “I have always liked sweets,” she muses to Mary. “We made it with just a few more sweets than that. Once in a while, it can’t hurt.”
Anna has been banned from sweets outside celebrations for the last two weeks.
“Do you like sweets?” she asks the mute.
GM: Too much of a good thing.
Too spoiled from their first days together.
The girl nods.
Victoria: “Are you a chocolate kinda girl, or something else?”
GM: The girl taps another emoji.
Victoria: She laughs.
“After my own heart.”
She hopes her mother doesn’t take that literally.
GM: Mary doesn’t seem to.
The girl abruptly stands up.
Mary rises with her and touches her shoulder.
“Do you want to leave?”
“Will you say goodbye to Sylvie?”
The girl nods.
Victoria: “It was nice to meet you! I hope to see you again.”
She’s sure she will. Sylvia reaches to take her phone back from the table.
GM: The girl freezes in place. Her eyes are enormous and bloodshot.
She screams and flings her soup bowl at Sylvia.
GM: It hits her solidly, and painfully, in the forehead, sending her staggering reflexively backwards. Soup gets all over her eyes and face. She’s momentarily blinded. She can hear plateware shattering as Mary shouts, “ENOUGH!” over the girl’s screams.
Sandwich halfway between her teeth, the half-full bowl of soup bounces off her forehead, tumbles down her shirt, skids off her lap and lands upturned on the floor.
A searing fire tears through Sylvia, and if not for the fact that she’s covered in lukewarm tomato soup, the girl would see a searing gaze hot enough to embrittle her very bones.
Sylvia is thankful for that soup. She draws a deep breath, calming herself.
She doesn’t say anything. She doesn’t move. She simply watches.
GM: Wiping her eyes clean of the tomato soup, Sylvia sees that the girl’s screaming features have gone completely still, like a flipped switch. She is silent as Mary takes her by the shoulder and leads her out of the room with an, “I’ll be back in a moment, Sylvie.”
The bowl does not lie upturned on the floor, however, but in dozens of shattered pieces. Tomato soup is all over Sylvia’s clothes, chair, and the floor.
“I’m so sorry for that, dear,” Mary says after she returns. She lightly touches Sylvia’s forehead with a mother’s critical eye. “You’ve got a bruise. Come on, the first aid kit’s still under the sink.”
Victoria: In, out. In, out. In. Out.
She brushes the soup off her forehead as Mary walks into the room, allowing her mother to be her mother. There’s no escaping Mary St. George’s nursing, so she doesn’t even try.
“It’s f-ow! It’s fine, Mom.”
She hisses. Yeah, that’s a bruise.
“It’s just a bruise. I’ll be fine. Do you know why she did that?”
GM: “It’s nothing she has against you, Sylvia. She is… unstable,” Mary merely says. “I think she would have done that to anyone. You did well with her, though it was a mistake on my part to introduce you. She isn’t ready for company yet.”
“Now come along. You’ll be finer with a bandage.”
Victoria: “People are going to think I went to war,” she protests, but follows. “It feels like I did. Ow…”
GM: “I’m sorry, dear,” says Mary as she leads Sylvia into the kitchen. “This was my fault. Now…”
She doesn’t take long to dab off Sylvia’s bruise with a cloth, then applies a bandage from the first aid kit.
“We’re definitely not the same size anymore, but you can borrow one of my shirts. I’ll wash this one and have it for you on Sunday.”
Victoria: Sylvia shakes her head.
“It’s not your fault, Mom. I should’ve known not to startle her grabbing my phone.”
She knows better than to fight her mother on laundry, too.
GM: “I don’t think it was grabbing your phone. As I said, she’s unstable. Something would have set her off. But the milk’s spilled.”
She puts the first aid kit away.
“You can pick out something you like from my dresser to change into, I’ll clean up out here.”
Victoria: “Thanks, Mom.”
She’d say she’s the best, but she already knows it, even when Sylvia fusses.
Sylvia heads into her mother’s room, thumbing through her clothes for something simple. She doesn’t want to leave her without some of her favorite wear.
GM: She finds a number of button-ups to choose from. Mary isn’t much of a fashionista, anyway. Her clothes are simple and practical. Sylvia knows that she buys her jeans from the grocery store.
Her mother’s cleaned up the spillage and broken platewear in impressively fast when she returns. She’s also ladled out another bowl of soup for Sylvia.
“With that excitement out of the way,” she says, “do you want to talk about Anna now?”
Victoria: She reseats herself at the table, dipping her spoon into the bowl. She almost finished the first, but as mothers always know, she’s still hungry.
“As long as she’s okay, yes,” she answers, looking toward the bedrooms.
GM: “She isn’t,” Mary says, matter-of-factly. “But with time she’ll get better, and it was nothing you did.”
Victoria: Her gaze lingers on the hallway to those rooms.
Mother always told her to spit it out.
“Is there anything you can do to help Anna find a place in education with one of the Christian schools you associate with?”
GM: “Oh. I’m very sorry, Sylvie,” she says, rubbing her daughter’s hand. “Catholic schools aren’t willing to hire homosexual teachers.”
Victoria: “And if they didn’t know…?”
GM: “Sylvie, you know that it’s wrong to lie,” her mother says gently.
Victoria: “Omission isn’t a lie, Mom,” she answers after a pause.
“You’ll really let her dream die? You can save her.”
GM: “A lie by omission is a lie,” replies Mary. Her voice isn’t accusatory, but neither does it waver. “If Anna was romantically involved with another woman and didn’t tell you, how would that make you feel?”
Victoria: Turned on, probably.
“Hardly relevant, and you know it.”
The fire flickers. She controls it.
“Anna is a good Christian. She’s a great teacher. She cares for her students. She leaves her personal life at home. She wears a smile to class every day. And she does. Not. Sin.”
Outside their house.
“She has more merit for teaching there than any of those slap-happy ruler-wielders.”
GM: “That may well be the case,” Mary replies without argument. “But Catholic schools choose not to hire homosexual teachers. It would be a lie for me not to tell them that Anna is in a homosexual relationship. Proverbs tells us: ‘The Lord detests lying lips, but He delights in people who are trustworthy.’ Luke tells us: ‘Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.’”
“If you would like, I can explain Anna’s situation to them and ask if they will give her an interview. I don’t think they are likely to. But it’s a shot you can take with a clean conscience.”
Victoria: Mary knows that tension building in her face.
The final offer—a concession, Sylvia knows—sates her.
“I suppose that’s all I can expect.”
GM: “This is part of why I am concerned for you, Sylvie,” says Mary. “I am concerned for your soul. If asking your mother to lie is acceptable, how many other sins will become so?”
Victoria: She isn’t helping. Sylvia simply stares.
GM: Her mother stares back. Not angrily, not confrontationally, but she does not look away.
Victoria: “When have I ever been a sinful creature?”
That she’s aware of.
GM: “That is a question I would ask yourself,” answers Mary, her gaze steady upon Sylvia. “Have you committed other sins since you began your relationship with Anna?”
Victoria: “The same rhetorical question applies again.”
GM: “My question isn’t rhetorical, Sylvie. It’s one I would urge you to consider, and strongly.”
Victoria: “My answer is.”
GM: “Is it one you would like me to answer?”
Victoria: “If it was one that needed an answer, it wouldn’t be rhetorical.”
GM: “I don’t appreciate your shortness of temper, Sylvia,” Mary says with a slight frown. “I would appreciate a thank you. I am doing something for you that I am normally not inclined to do.”
Victoria: She looks away from her mother.
It’s as pleasant as a bucket of icewater dumped over a shower curtain.
GM: Mary sighs faintly.
Victoria: She glances only halfway back, relenting as much.
GM: “You’re welcome,” replies her mother.
Victoria: Sylvia gets up without a word and walks toward the front door at a hurried pace.
GM: Mary watches her go with a sad look, but doesn’t stop her. Or call after her.
Normally, Sylvia leaves her mother’s house with food.
Victoria: The door doesn’t slam, but it isn’t gentle.
Normally, her mother leaves being told she’s loved.
Normally, Sylvia leaves feeling she is.
Saturday evening, 2 April 2016
GM: “So, how it’d go with your mom?” Anna asks over dinner that night.
Victoria: Sylvia gives her a look.
She hasn’t said much all evening.
GM: Anna leans over and hugs her.
Victoria: She returns the hug, half as strong as she’d usually, twice as strong as she feels she can, and exactly all of what she can give.
GM: “Geez,” Anna murmurs, holding her close and rubbing her back, “that bad, huh?”
Victoria: There is a pregnant pause before she answers.
“How much do you value your career?”
GM: “…why do you ask?” says Anna.
There’s a pause.
“I don’t want to hurt your relationship with your mom, if you locked horns…”
Victoria: There’s no subtlety. There’s no subterfuge. There are no games, nor manipulation, nor art to her speech as usual.
The words come out like vomit.
“If we break up, she’ll get you a job.”
GM: “…what?” says Anna.
Victoria: “She’s going to tell them that we’re together, and then give your name. Those two-faced fucks will decline you on that alone. Or, you make the truth what it needs to be—that you’re not with me—and she’ll leave your relationship status out. She won’t take a middle ground.”
GM: Anna slowly blinks at that.
Emotions play over her face. Disbelief. Pain. Even some anger.
“But I love you,” she says, plaintively. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Red starts to creep into Anna’s face.
“Did she… did she seriously say, and try to make us pick…?”
Victoria: “You won’t become a teacher again in New Orleans.”
She doesn’t notice how badly she’s shaking until the words shake with her.
“No,” she spits. “She clung to her ‘faith’…” She makes air quotes, mocking. “…and set the same outcome. The same piss-poor excuse all of them given. They’re all about love, charity and forgiveness until you fail to meet any one of their irrelevant criteria. Love all God’s children, indeed.”
She crosses the room in a heartbeat, wrenching open the liquor cabinet and producing a bottle of whatever-the-fuck, vintage right-fucking-now.
GM: Anna doesn’t stop her. The alcohol is hard and goes down hard.
Her girlfriend is still sitting in place when she gets back.
“Why do you say that,” says Anna, her voice thick. “That I won’t become a teacher. What does… what does your mom know. There are lots of schools.”
“Like, fuck her. What does she know? Why can’t I be a teacher?”
Anna’s hand starts to tremble at that question.
Victoria: “I’m not getting a call that you’re in critical care because some dumb nigger doesn’t understand that the knowledge is more important than the grade and took it out on you.”
She’s seen Sylvia angry before, but rarely this angry.
GM: Sylvia’s anger is no small thing to witness.
Perhaps, were it over any other subject, Anna would want to calm her down. Stay out of the way.
But her eyes are angry, too.
“There are… there are other schools!” she exclaims. “Besides McGehee, that aren’t shitty inner city ones! I can apply to those! That was always the plan, we don’t need her, we can do this without her!”
Victoria: Can they?
Sylvia doesn’t care. In those moments, Anna’s career doesn’t matter to her. Anna’s career is just the catalyst. She’s angry at the entire hypocrisy of the religion she’s been raised to covet.
She drinks again, draining several mouthfuls.
GM: It goes down as hard as the preceding mouthfuls.
Does it take the edge off?
Maybe a bit.
Anna waits as Sylvia drinks.
“What do you think,” she says, lamely.
Victoria: “I think.”
The bottle lands lightly on the table, tipping, but righting itself.
“I think we should go burn down a church.”
GM: “I’d be down for that.”
If the words are meant as a joke, they don’t sound very humorous.
Victoria: Sylvia lofts a brow. Even with the excuse of a wave of drunkenness about to hit, she isn’t sure that’s a good idea.
GM: “No. Not really,” Anna says glumly, looking down at her lap.
She sighs and looks up.
“Why? Why do they have to hate us?”
“Why can’t they just be happy we’re happy?”
Victoria: “Because they’re the most hypocritical group of people on the planet.”
GM: Anna doesn’t seem like she has any answer to that.
“I think that…”
“No, I don’t think. I’m scared. What’ll happen when we tell my parents.”
Victoria: “Nuclear war, probably.”
She reaches for the bottle, then decides against it.
GM: Anna looks little comforted by that answer.
“I’m scared they’re going to disown me.”
Victoria: She looks sideways at her girlfriend.
“Then don’t tell them. We’ll adopt six cats and you can use that excuse.”
GM: “But what about when…”
Anna trails off and looks down at her lap.
GM: “When it’s not… possible to.”
Victoria: “Make a child?”
GM: Anna nods slowly.
Victoria: “Well, pray real fuckin’ hard. God loves heterosexual relationships, so maybe he’ll slap a fat cock on my forehead.”
GM: “Sylvie, I’m serious,” Anna entreats with a miserable look. “What do we do?”
Victoria: “Is your relationship dependent on having children? What if you never met a man again? Would your parents disown you?”
GM: “I want children with you,” Anna says, frankly.
Victoria: “Then we will adopt.”
GM: “I mean… with my parents. And my brother. Not how we get kids.”
Victoria: “You… want children with your parents and your brother?”
GM: Anna manages a strained smile.
Victoria: She seriously doesn’t understand what she means, and her expression reflects it.
GM: “What I’m getting at is… when we have kids. How do I not lose the rest of my family. I don’t want to.”
“But we won’t be able to hide it.”
Victoria: “Tell them you’re adopting as a single mother. Or tell them that this is who you are, and they can love you as you are, or…”
GM: “I’m just scared,” says Anna. “That they won’t.”
“Do you think your mom still loves you…?”
Victoria: “There’s nothing I can say or do that will change them if they’re set in their ways, Anna. I can only promise that you’ll always have me to come back to.”
“Which is the problem.”
“A parent doesn’t love their child conditionally.”
GM: “What’s the condition?”
“And I guess you’re right, if they’re set in their ways. But you’ll always have me, whether your mom loves you or not.” Anna squeezes her hand. “I guess some part of me was just hoping the always in control domme could magically pull a solution out of thin air…”
She gives a halfhearted smile.
Victoria: She opens her mouth, then closes it. No, she won’t ruin the magic for Anna.
GM: “It’s okay,” she says, rubbing Sylvia’s shoulder. “I know you can’t make them accept me.”
Victoria: “I can only accept you where they don’t. Without condition.”
GM: “I know,” Anna murmurs. “That’s why I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
Victoria: She gives her a quick kiss.
For the first time in hours, she feels a little bit better.
The alcohol helps.
GM: Drinking always helps.
Anna snuggles up against her and lets some time pass, seemingly not wanting to ruin the moment.
“Could you ask your mom not to talk to schools, please? I think it’d hurt more if she tells them I’m gay and asks for an exception than if I just apply blind.”
Victoria: “If you feel that’s best; though, if she hears you apply to any of her related schools, she’ll tell them anyway. That’s the Christian ‘honor code’.”
“I still want to go burn down a church.”
It seems a better idea now than before.
GM: Anna looks exasperated.
“Would she seriously do that?”
“That’s… sabotaging me.”
Victoria: “She considers lies of omission real lies, so…”
Anna is starting to understand why Sylvia was so angry.
GM: “Okay, well why you don’t you lie to her that I’m not applying to any religious schools anyway, so she doesn’t need to bother.”
Victoria: “I can do that.”
GM: Anna looks satisfied, at first, then a little guilty.
“I don’t want to make you lie to your mom…”
Victoria: “I don’t give a fuck. If she’ll betray me, I’ll betray her.”
GM: Anna looks away.
“I feel like I’m responsible for this.”
“You fighting with your family.”
Victoria: “No, she’s responsible for this. After over fifteen years, she decided to put a condition on her love. She set it back at Christmas, and now the wound is septic.”
GM: “What was the condition?”
“I remember you saying she didn’t approve, and how you wouldn’t hold hold hands at the table, but at least she didn’t kick me out…?”
Victoria: “Right. She’s fine with our sin, so long as we don’t spread it within her home, and she prays for our salvation.”
GM: Anna sighs.
“The worst part is how I’d take that as a win from my parents…”
Victoria: “Maybe two churches…”
“Very, very tempting.”
Victoria: “At least one priest…”
GM: “What if we pretend I’m a priest tonight.”
“Helpless and you can do what you want to me.”
Victoria: “I like you alive.”
GM: “We can pretend you want to take your sweet time, then.”
Victoria: Sylvia cants her head this way, then that. She opens a drawer in the coffee table before them, takes out a pocket knife, and opens it.
GM: Anna looks at it, then up at Sylvia.
“With my life.”
Victoria: She takes the blade, and with the softest pressure, she drags it up Anna’s jeans, tapping it against her thigh.
“We’d start here…”
GM: Anna watches the steel edge trace along her pants, but doesn’t pull away.
“Because that’s a less needed part of the body, if you don’t cut an artery?”
Victoria: “Because it gives you something to worry about,” she answers, that predatory undertone coming through.
GM: “I know you wouldn’t actually cut off my leg, but damn if you can’t be scary with a knife,” Anna remarks with a nervous smile.
Victoria: “Oh no, that’d be much too simple.”
The blade travels up the inside of her thigh, brushing over her pubic mound and slowing beside her navel. Sylvia angles it such that the point isn’t flush with her, just in case Anna moves.
“Do you feel that inside you?” she asks. Her eyes betray a black pit of hunger. She isn’t just taking her sweet time, nor is she just making a point to Anna. No, she’s reveling in watching Anna’s reactions.
“That rush on adrenaline. That uncertainty That vulnerability. That submission. The knowledge that a simple flick of my wrist could change—or snuff out—your life forever.”
Tap, tap, tap goes the blade.
She removes it from her skin, watching.
GM: Anna keeps very still as Sylvia unzips her jeans and pulls off her shirt. Her clothes’ protection is more psychological than physical. She can’t seriously expect them to stop a knife. But there’s something about naked steel over naked flesh that’s so much more visceral. Actually feeling the cold, sharp metal against your skin.
Anna keeps very, very still. She takes small, measured breaths. Her eyes follow the knife’s edge.
Even if she trusts Sylvia, all it takes is one nick. One slip of the hand.
“You… you have the power,” answers Anna. “You have the power over me. You could… I’m alive because you decide it. I’m in your hands.”
Her eyes drift up to the black pit in Sylvia’s.
Is she surprised by what she sees there?
Her breath seems to catch just a bit more.
It’s as she said.
Her life, in Sylvia’s hands. Victoria’s hands.
Hers to keep. Hers to take.
Then the knife withdraws, and Anna lets out a breath she might not realized she ever took.
Her eyes seek out Sylvia’s again.
Victoria: Sylvia isn’t just her girlfriend, nor her long-time friend. She’s her goddess. She’s the keeper of her life, and the single force keeping her here.
She tosses the knife back onto the table, still open, and pulls Anna into a hug. Even with so short a bout of play, she knows the importance of conveying her love.
“You don’t want me to pretend to take my time, because there’s an element that isn’t pretending,” she finally answers Anna’s request while she strokes her hair.
GM: The longtime domme is no stranger to the purpose of aftercare.
Anna gladly hugs her back. There’s a relieved and grateful energy to the hug. It’s an assurance-seeking hug.
A submissive hug.
“I knew you never would… but I wondered, when I looked in your eyes. Was that wrong…?”
Victoria: She strokes her chin.
“Was what wrong?”
GM: Anna rubs her head against Sylvia.
“Wondering, if you would.”
Victoria: “I don’t think it’s wrong. I think it’s self-preservation, but… That is a not-terribly-uncommon way into edgeplay. Usually with a fake knife.”
GM: “So we can say we were more hardcore,” smiles Anna.
Victoria: “We can say your girlfriend goes too far in toying with the idea.”
She winks, taking her hand.
“Now come on. I want a massage.”
GM: “Yes, mistress,” Anna smiles again.
Saturday night, 2 April 2016, PM
GM: The massage is nice.
Going to sleep together is nice.
The prospect of calling her mother in the morning is less so.
Anna makes a show of retrieving and presenting the phone from her hands and knees, but it’s like a spoonful of sugar to make the bad-tasting medicine go down.
“Like I said, I really don’t want her calling up a bunch of Catholic schools and telling them I’m gay…”
Victoria: It’s like being woken up by a puppy dropping their bowl on her head.
“You’re right, you’re right… now shhh…”
She strokes her hair, pulling her back into bed, and dials her mother.
GM: Anna smiles and nuzzles against her.
“Will you take me on a walk next…?”
She trails off, though, when Mary answers, “Hello, Sylvie.”
GM: “I’m glad to hear from you. How is your head?”
“Fine. It was only a bowl.”
Launched by a teenager that should be recruited for the major leagues.
“Are you alone?”
GM: “I’m glad to hear that, too. I am.”
Victoria: “Look, I’m just going to be direct: I don’t think you should talk to anyone at schools about Anna if you can’t leave our relationship out of it. It makes you uncomfortable, and I think it’ll only disservice her.”
GM: “All right, Sylvie. I won’t talk to them about her,” says Mary.
Victoria: “And… I’m sorry.”
The words pain her.
GM: “I’m sorry, too,” Mary says quietly. “I’ve never wanted there to be pain between us. But you know that I’ll always love you, dear, no matter what.”
“I know, Mom.”
GM: “You and your siblings are the most important people to me in all the world. All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be happy and fulfilled.”
“I know we disagree on some things. Please understand it’s borne out of love and concern for you.”
Victoria: “I know where it comes from, Mom. You only want what’s best for us.”
It doesn’t stop her rolling her eyes.
GM: Anna silently watches.
“I do,” says Mary. “With all my heart.”
“I know we disagree on what is best. I’m sorry that’s caused us pain. But I will never, ever, stop loving you.”
Victoria: “I know, Mom. I know.”
GM: “I’ll still see you for dinner tomorrow?”
Victoria: Yes Mama, you will."
GM: “That makes me very happy to hear,” smiles Mary.
“All right. I have to get going now, the girl you met needs me. I love you, Sylvie.”
Victoria: She wishes her well, says she loves her, wishes her a good day, and hangs up.
GM: “I guess that went okay,” says Anna, rubbing Sylvia’s shoulder.
Victoria: “Better than I hoped it would…”
GM: “Yeah. I mean, I’m still mad she won’t help me get a job. But that is a better conversation that I think my parents would’ve had.”
Victoria: Sylvia shrugs, tossing the phone down to the bed.
“The world isn’t fair.”
And it never has been.
Sunday night, 3 April 2016, PM
GM: “So… any hints on the upcoming surprise?” Anna asks innocuously.
She’s done all her chores. Cleaning. Vacuuming. Dishes. Laundry. Cooking. She does them anyway, but without any sass or bratting, this time around. She’s made something new every night instead of leftovers.
She’s been very good.
Victoria: “Hints? No, no hints. You’ve done so well, but I need to see something…”
She swirls her hand, searching for a thought.
GM: “Something more,” says Anna. “What sort of more?”
Victoria: “Something… promising.”
GM: “Promising,” Anna repeats thoughtfully. “Hmm. Interesting word choice.”
Victoria: She simply stares, waiting.
GM: “What time will you be home tomorrow, do you think?”
Always late. Buying Chakras on top of continuing to see clients promises to keep her very busy.
“I’ll make time. Picnic?”
GM: Sylvia has good memories of picnics.
“At home would be better, actually. There’s only so promising I can make a picnic.”
Anna looks thoughtful.
“Or at least one in public.”
Victoria: Sylvia lofts a brow.
“I’m fine with public.”
She planned to do the cooking, too. How contradictory.
GM: “Whatever Mistress says,” smiles Anna. “I can show that promise later.”
Victoria: Tap, tap, tap goes her finger.
GM: Anna stands to attention, but doesn’t drop the smile.
Victoria: Tap, tap, tap.
“Are you happy?”
GM: Anna looks a little unsure where this has been going, but nods emphatically.
After a moment, she adds, “With you, that is. With things between us.”
Her face falls a little.
“Obviously I want to teach again… I really want it to be summer so I can apply to schools already.”
“I hate just waiting like this.”
“Sitting around until I find out if I can live my dream again or not, you know?”
Victoria: Obviously she wants to teach again. Obviously she wants her career back. Obviously she wants to follow her passion. Obviously she wants not to wait and see. Obviously she knows the dungeon isn’t for her. Both inflict pain. Both enable growth. Both teach. Only one is happy with their path.
But they’re happy with each other, and Sylvie knows that that’s enough to keep Anna going. For now.
“I know,” she says, pulling the teacher into a light hug, running her fingers through her hair. “We’ll find a way.”
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