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Blood & Bourbon

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Story One, Victoria I

“I like you, whatever brings out who you are. Your smiles are addicting.”
Victoria Wolf


Monday morning, 27 August 2007

GM: “So, first, why don’t you tell the person you’re sitting by something interesting you know about the school.”

Sylvie doesn’t think she’s seen a sadder icebreaking prompt before, but that’s the one she gets from her Sociology 101 class at Lafayette U. The professor smiles dimly at all the students spread across the auditorium-style classroom.

The dark-haired girl she’s sitting next to looks more like she feels sorry for the old man, than anything else.

Victoria: Sylvia St. George envisioned the glitz and glam of academia as something more…

Purposeful.

Yes, she has her Calculus II, as she placed out of the first. She has her Chemistry 101, as all first-year engineering students are required to take. She has this, and she has that, and she has the other class, and then she has her electives, and then she has…

This class. Sociology 101. How-to-society-for-dummies.

Boring class. Boring professor. Boring people.

Is she boring? She’s here, too.

She looks to the girl beside her, offering her a thin-lipped smile, her teeth barely showing through; a polite smile, vice one of warmth.

“Something interesting about the school…”

Not even a hello.

“…why don’t you go first?”

GM: “Well, they say the girls’ dorms are haunted,” smiles the girl. She’s got dark brown hair, brown eyes, and rectangular classes. She’s shorter than Sylvie, though most women are. Mary wound up giving her hand-me-downs from Julius after she hit her puberty growth spurt; and everyone else got her hand-me-downs.

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“The story goes that back in the ‘60s, an out-of-commission elevator fell on a girl’s neck and decapitated her.”

“Ever since then, they’ve sealed it off behind a steel door. But some students say they’ve seen a girl with ’60s hair and clothes waving at them.”

Victoria: Sylvia listens intently. The class is no longer boring. She nods, hanging on her every word.

“Have you gone in?”

GM: “Girls’ dorms, remember?” smirks the girl. “I live there.”

Victoria: She rolls her eyes.

“I meant the elevator.

GM: “Ohh, sorry. No, I haven’t! I’m not even sure where it is.”

Victoria: She would much rather go looking for it than sit through the rest of this class, but nor does she want to squander her chance.

“I wonder where it is, and where she’s seen.”

“How did you learn that?”

GM: “I grew up here,” says the girl. “And I’m studying Louisiana history. So, kinda my job! Well, degree.”

Victoria: “You grew up in the girls’ dormitory?”

She’s teasing, but her faux-serious sense of humor may not betray it.

GM: The girl smirks. "No, Lafayette. Though I dunno if there’d be much difference. I went to high school with at least half these people. "

Victoria: “Look at me,” she grins. “New one in town. I came here because I wanted to get away. Just not too far away.”

She holds out a hand.

“I’m Sylvia.”

GM: The girl shakes it. Like most girls’, her handshake isn’t very strong.

“I’m Anna May. Or, just Anna.”

“Where are you from, a small town?”

Victoria: “New Orleans. It’s a tiny ’burb. You might have heard of it, Miss History.”

GM: Anna laughs. “No, sorry, you’ll have to tell me about it.”

Victoria: “Maybe over lunch. We’re supposed to be talking about the school.”

She glances to the screen.

“A subject I’m sorely lacking on,” she laments.

A moment passes.

“Aha! I’ve got it. Bathrooms are the third door on the left from this room.”

GM: “Very helpful,” Anna says dryly.

She glances at the professor, who’s sitting behind his desk and looks half-asleep in his chair.

“I actually feel kinda sorry for Mr. Breaux. My dad knows him and he shoulda retired a while ago, but he got swindled a bunch of money around Katrina. So he has to keep working.”

Victoria: “Poor guy. At least the work for the course seems minimal, on both sides. Still, I’d rather have more challenging work for a better use of time.”

She shrugs.

“What now? Do we write a paper on bathrooms and dead girls?”

GM: “I think he wanted to do an icebreaker that also worked up some school spirit and it just… didn’t come together.”

Anna glances around. Most of the class is talking among themselves. One male student, eyeing Mr. Breaux, finally just gets up and walks out. The elderly professor doesn’t stop him, or even seem to notice him.

“Uhhh, good question. I hope he has a lesson plan?”

She smiles again and rolls her eyes.

“This is smaller-town Louisiana, anyway. What you moved out for.”

Victoria: She shrugs.

“It doesn’t seem like he has much of a plan at all.”

It isn’t spoken with cruelty, but pity.

“Doesn’t seem so bad. Once you get past the murderous elevators.”

GM: “I’m surprised you moved out here,” says Anna, curious. “Most of the people here are from here, or the really small towns. And a lot of other people who go to college go to New Orleans, if they can.”

Victoria: “I guess you can say I’ve got a small town heart. Maybe.” She shrugs. “Like I said, I wanted to get away, but not too far.”

GM: “I guess that makes sense. But no, it’s not bad! Everyone who’s from here knows each other. Mrs. Remy, she teaches math if you have her, used to live next door to me.”

“And the dean is in the UDC with my mom.”

Victoria: Sylvie nods.

“Yeah, she’s teaching my calculus class. Wow—this is a small town. What’s the UDC?”

GM: “United Daughters of the Confederacy. They’re descendants of soldiers who fought in the War Between the States.”

Victoria: “Oh.”

Something she might have known if she knew any of her ancestors.

“That’s never been my thing.”

Half-truth.

“Is it fun?”

GM: “It is!” Anna nods. “It’s partly how I got into history. They do a lot of things, like hold memorial services or parades, or track family trees. And my dad’s involved in a reenactment society. They dress up like old soldiers and act out battles.”

Victoria: “That sounds fun!” she says, eyes lighting up at the reenactment. “Do you ever participate with your dad?”

GM: Anna looks a little glum. “They don’t like female actors.”

Victoria: Sylvie purses her lips.

“I suppose we’ll just have to join the Union.”

GM: “I did participate in one, story was that I was disguising myself as a boy to enlist. The actors were VERY serious about how my disguise had to be good enough that I fooled them, to be authentic. And a lot of them were worried it’d mean they’d get a ton more girls in disguise, if they allowed one.”

“They were also mad that I didn’t want to cut my hair, because that’s what a girl in disguise would’ve done.”

Victoria: “It’s your fault, isn’t it? You were supposed to enlist in laundry washing and sandwich making reenactment.”

GM: “Maybe I should have been a camp follower?” muses Anna.

Victoria: She nods, then laughs.

“We’re blessed to live in the modern day.”

GM: “Do you wanna participate in a battle? They’re really fun! You just… need a thick skin.”

Victoria: She shrugs. “I dunno. Maybe. I don’t want to deal with all of the sexism, but it sounds fun. You sound fun.”

She looks to the professor, who seems to be struggling with consciousness.

“Do you want to grab lunch?”

GM: Anna looks at Mr. Breaux again. She looks even more sorry for him, but smiles at Sylvie’s question.

“Sure! Where do you wanna go?”

Victoria: “Jazzman’s? I would die to eat a danish, and a smoothie doesn’t sound bad.”

She gets up from her desk, eyeing the drowsy professor.

GM: He doesn’t stop them. Another guy leaves after he sees them do so.

“I wouldn’t say it’s sexism, anyway, they just don’t want anything to be inauthentic. Which I get it. They’re just… really zealous about it.”

Victoria: “I can tell,” she answers, but leaves the subject there.

“You think you’re going to stay in town when you graduate? You know, in like… years.”

GM: “Well, I wanna go somewhere else for grad school,” says Anna. “An advisor told me it’s ‘academically incestuous’ to get both your degrees at the same school.”

Victoria: "I’ve always wondered why people go to different schools. I figured they just wanted different points of view.

GM: “I think that’s it, yeah. Getting exposed to new people and ideas. I’ve had other advisors tell me I should stay in Lafayette, though, which… says something about Southern towns?”

Victoria: “They want you to stay home like a good girl? Keep the town bustling?”

She shrugs.

“I want to do something; to be something. Maybe I’ll work for NASA.”

GM: “Oh! I dunno if you went to the right school,” Anna says, amused.

Victoria: Sylvie flushes crimson. “I got where I could afford.”

GM: Mount Carmel got some scholarship money, like Mary had hoped.

But she didn’t have any college funds set up for her six kids. It was all she could do to get them to private school.

“No one here’s rich,” Anna says understandingly. “Literally, no one. I also went here to save.”

Victoria: She shrugs.

“They’ve got an engineering program. I’ll just… do the best I can. Get me A’s. Get an internship. Get somewhere better for my master’s, and we’ll see from there.”

GM: “That makes sense,” Anna says as Jazzman’s comes into view. There’s not a lot of students eating right now, with classes in session. “So that’s cool, engineering, NASA. It actually helps to be a girl there! Colleges love female STEM majors.”

Victoria: “So I hear. I don’t want to get in on that. I guess I won’t say no; but…”

Something about it bothers her.

GM: “But…?” Anna asks, curious.

Victoria: “It irks me. I want to live and die by my own merit, y’know?”

Sylvie pulls the door to Jazzman’s open, allowing Anna to enter first.

GM: “Yeah, I get that,” Anna nods before thanking her. It’s a small little cafe inside. There’s espresso, smoothies, flavored coffees, and various pastries and baked goods. Probably none of them healthy, but they don’t call it the freshman 15 for nothing. Anna orders a danish.

“But no way of knowing with admissions, is there? Can’t ask to opt out.”

Victoria: Sylvia agrees. It bothers her that she agrees, but the truth is the truth and the world is what the world is.

She orders a pumpkin iced coffee, and a pumpkin glazed muffin.

GM: “What are the schools like in New Orleans?” Anna asks after they get their orders and sit down.

“Not, like, colleges. Lower schools.”

Victoria: “You don’t want to know the answer to that,” she answers, her brow lofting with betrayed pain, poorly masked.

GM: “Oh. I’m sorry, bad subject?” Anna asks, nibbling her danish.

Victoria: “It’s not great. I’m lucky to be here, honestly. Many of the children who grow up in New Orleans aren’t so fortunate, unless they luck into a family that’ll send them to private school.”

She nibbles her muffin.

“I was one of them. Kind of.”

GM: “Kind of?”

Victoria: She’s a curious one…

“I was adopted just before my teens.”

GM: “Oh, congrats! Er, belatedly. Is that the right thing to say?”

Victoria: Sylvie chokes on her coffee, laughing.

GM: Anna smiles in response. “I don’t know, honest! It sounds like it was a good thing? How else do you say ’I’m glad a good thing happened to you’?”

Victoria: She swallows, red-faced. “It is good, yeah! Just… kind of a heavy topic, y’know? Like talking about surviving cancer.”

Honestly, it’s not far off.

GM: “Oh, sorry. I didn’t mean to pry. It’s just that I know I wanna be a teacher, after I graduate, and I’m pretty sure I wanna stay in-state.”

“I was thinking about New Orleans, but I don’t really know anyone there. No one from there moves to Lafayette.”

Victoria: “A teacher? Oooh… I’ve never met someone who wants to be a teacher!”

She seems genuinely excited at the prospect.

“I mean, there are plenty of private schools. I went to Mount Carmel. Didn’t see a boy ’til I got here!”

GM: “Catholic school?” smiles Anna.

Victoria: “Virgin Training,” she nods.

GM: Anna giggles.

“Well, it’s not as if sex ed out here is much better. We had a pastor come in to talk about abstinence, and that was it.”

Victoria: “How well did that take with the class?” she teases with a knowing smirk.

GM: “Welllll, the babies that appeared after prom didn’t come from storks, let’s just say!”

Victoria: The muffin is suspended between her teeth. Flowers bloom and wilt, civilizations rise and fall before she says, “…yours?”

GM: “Oh, no!” Anna exclaims, blushing. “I wanna teach kids, not have them! Not that early, anyway.”

Victoria: “Oh.”

Oh.

She nibbles the muffin some more. The silence doesn’t feel awkward so much as amusing.

“One day. I think my mom kinda hopes I’ll have them; give them a good life. Like she did for us.”

GM: “Yeah, I think every parent hopes that. Mine do.”

“They also think high school is too early, though!”

Victoria: She grimaces.

“Maybe not every parent. Good parents, though.”

Nibble.

“This is much more fun than class. What else are you taking?”

GM: “History, surprise surprise. And general ed requirements. Wish I didn’t need to take lab sciences.”

Victoria: She slaps the table in a sudden eruption of excitement!

“Those are the most fun! How many other classes do your TAs tell you about the time they incidentally built a bomb?”

GM: Anna giggles. “Bonus points if he’s Middle Eastern.”

“I’ve not had one do that, though. Wish one did, lab sciences put me right to sleep.”

Victoria: Sylvie almost takes a sip of her coffee. Thankfully, she doesn’t, as it would have been more on Anna then in her mouth.

“Mmm… different strokes. You’ve got a little racist in you, hmmm?” she chides, playful in intent.

GM: “I meannnn, let’s just say if you wanna be a terrorist, New Orleans is a better city!”

Victoria: “A better city than New York? Why’s that?”

GM: “Sorry, New York?”

Victoria: “The major terrorist attack of our generation. Middle Eastern origin. You might’ve heard of it.”

A pause.

“…or did you mean better than Lafayette?”

GM: “Oh, yeah, that’s what I meant. Y’know, more bleedin’ hearts in the big city.”

Victoria: “Yeah, yeah. You ever been to the Big Easy?”

GM: “A few times, when I was younger! Everything there is just so much… bigger and faster, but everyone says New Orleans is really lazy and laid back for a big city.”

Victoria: “Yeah, they do? I wouldn’t know. This is the furthest I’ve ever been, and… it’s not really all that far. It’s much quieter out here.”

GM: “I like that. Life being calm, everyone knowing their neighbors. But I wanna see what a bigger city is like, too. That’s why I wanna go somewhere else for my master’s.”

“And then… I’m not sure where I’d want to teach. Maybe a small or mid-sized city. I wanna feel like I’m making a difference in kids’ lives, but I want it to be somewhere I like living, too.”

Victoria: “I think… I’d like to see what life is like out here. Not just in university, but the people, y’know? I know what I’d like to do with my life, and I don’t see it changing, but there’s something about getting to know new people; learning who they are, and their dreams, and what makes them smile. Is that odd to say?”

She shrugs, uncertain.

“You could always live outside the city and transit in.”

GM: “No, I don’t think so!” says Anna. “That says you like people, that you’re interested in them. What’s odd about that?”

Victoria: “I dunno! I’ve never really admitted that to anyone.”

She isn’t sure why she said it to Anna, either, and falls silent there, contemplating.

GM: “Oh, why not? Just never came up, or…?”

Victoria: “Something like that. Have you always wanted to be a teacher?”

GM: Anna nods. “Helping people understand the world around them, yeah. And I’ve seen teachers do great things for kids even besides teaching. It just seems like a really nice way to make a difference in your community. And I’ve always liked kids.”

Victoria: “What about the kids who don’t want to learn?”

Her, seven years ago.

GM: “You help them! You try and make it fun for them, and you’re nice to them. You show you care. And maybe if there’s something wrong in their home life, you bring in social services.”

Victoria: Poor, naive girl.

“If only it were so easy.”

There’s a somber note in her words.

“I wish there were more teachers like you out there. Social services isn’t the best answer every time, but… for many, it’s better than where they are.”

GM: Anna nods. “Maybe they can’t make everything better, but they can pull kids out of bad situations. And teachers are in a good place to know if a kid is.”

Victoria: May God help this woman if she ever finds a job in New Orleans.

“If they’re attentive.”

She sets her coffee down, knitting her fingers and looking up to Anna.

“Tell me something about myself.”

“Give me your most interesting read.”

GM: Anna looks at her and thinks.

“Welll, you were adopted when you were eleven, you’re interested in people and have never said that to anyone, and you’re an engineering major…”

“Are you studying machines instead of people because you’re interested in how things work, but haven’t really thought that studying people is something you can do? Or should do?”

Victoria: Sylvie sets her chin to her palm, thinking.

There was a time in her life where she considered becoming a therapist, or a social worker, or one of a myriad choices of work helping those who needed help, whether they be children like she was, or adults who lost their way. She considered becoming a police officer, too.

In the end, she came to understand that it isn’t a path for her, not because she doesn’t want to help people, but because she doesn’t believe she’d be able to stomach seeing others in positions similar to her childhood.

She doesn’t want to relive it, even knowing she’s now safe and sound.

“Something like that. Got me, I guess.”

GM: “Ha. Maybe I’ll be able to spot if a kid’s in a bad situation.”

“Okay, you try me,” says Anna. She sets down what’s left of her danish, resting her face on her hands.

“Tell me something about myself. Your most interesting read.”

Victoria: “You are endless in your optimism; or, at least you try to keep yourself that way. You like viewing the world through a lens of positivity, and projecting that positivity onto others to bring just a little more light onto their day, whether they need it or not.”

She pauses to sip her coffee. It seems endless.

“Maybe because you were brought up that way. Maybe your mother taught you that the light and levity you bring to others is reflected back on you. Or, maybe something happened to you. You’ve seen pain and darkness, and you don’t want to live there anymore, so you project your bubbly self to avoid the pain; so that no one asks why you don’t smile.”

She cants her head a hair, still staring.

“I like you, whatever brings out who you are. Your smiles are addicting.”

GM: Anna blushes faintly at Sylvia’s assessment, but smiles again too.

“Oh, well, thanks.”

“I haven’t had anything bad happen to me, though! I just think people should try to be nice to each other. You’re right that my mom does think that, too. And my dad. They’re good people.”

Victoria: “I wish everyone had that philosophy. What do your parents do?”

GM: “My mom’s a stay-at-home mom, pretty much. My dad’s a cop. They’re proud I’m going to college.”

Victoria: “My mom too! Not every one of my brothers and sisters are. A cop? Is there much crime around here?”

GM: “Hm, not a lot, next to New Orleans. He’s never been shot at or anything. But he’s gotten involved in some domestic violence disputes.”

“He says those are really sad, and that there’s not always anything you can do.”

Victoria: She frowns sympathetically.

“Sad.”

She’s more familiar with that then she’d like to be. Her many foster parents rarely argued in front of her, but she recalls her one likable foster father arguing with her foster mother the night before she was returned.

Used goods.

GM: A change of pace.

Usually it was the foster kids getting abused.

“So you have a lot of siblings?”

Victoria: She nods, finally finishing her muffin.

“Yeah, five. Most of them a good bit older than me. We’re all from different places in life. Mom adopted each of us.”

A pause.

“I’m not sure why she chose each of us out of the many more foster children she saved from the system, but I owe my life to her. Literally.”

GM: “Oh, wow, six! That’s a ton of kids to adopt,” Anna says, eyebrows raised.

Victoria: She nods excitedly.

“I don’t know how she does it! Single mom with six kids, none of them her own blood, and every one treated as if they are! Grandma Beth helps out, but still. She manages more than any group home I was part of. I hope one day to be half the mother she is.”

GM: “Geez, no dad?!” Anna exclaims. “Your grandma must be a lot of help, I don’t know how anyone would do that!”

Victoria: “She’s kind of a model! Tough as nails and not afraid to tell anyone her mind. I swear, she could take on any man three times her size if she was mad enough.”

GM: The only things Sylvie’s seen make her mom angry are repeatedly taking the Lord’s name in vain and harming her children. It’s a quiet sort of tough, if there is such a thing. Mary prefers not to go off on people, but she stands her ground.

“Good for her. It has to take tough to raise so many kids.”

Victoria: “Especially feral children.”

She winks.

“The world needs more of both of you.”

GM: Anna smiles. “Oh, I think more of people like your grandma. I don’t think I could do six foster kids, without a husband. I just couldn’t.”

Victoria: “I’m not sure I could do six foster kids with a husband,” she chortles, though that undertone of proud admiration never leaves.

“Not just six, though; many more fostered who came and went. Of them, six adopted.”

The two go on for the better part of an hour, talking about life, and love, and the meaning of happiness; of Anna’s local friends, and of Sylvie’s family; of the best local restaurants, and the places to avoid; of rural, southern hospitality, and the bustle of the Big Easy.

A promise is made to find lunch the next day, following a more interesting class with a more awake professor, and it becomes a pattern. Sociology Tuesday and Thursday, lunch to follow. Eventually, it becomes an everyday thing. Dinner some nights. A movie. Heartfelt conversations. Inside jokes. The bonds of friendship link the two, they hope for good.


Wednesday afternoon, 4 September 2011

GM: “Have a seat, Sylvia. You mind if I call you Sylvia?”

The office room has no chairs.

“Oh, how careless of me. Eileen, make a seat for our guest.”

No one would ever call the woman standing in the corner “beautiful.” They’d say things like “pretty enough” as their eyes slide past where she sits on her barstool to scope out her much more attractive friends. She’s noticeable enough, though, when she’s naked except for a posture collar, leash, harness gag, and crisscrossing strips of black leather that do nothing to conceal her most intimate places. Fingerless mittens render her hands useless.

She obediently gets down on her hands and knees, presenting her back for Sylvia to sit on.

Victoria: Years of undergrad developed what was once a mostly-Christian, young woman, preening back the layers of tempered pride and kindness to reveal a lioness; yet, still a cub. Sylvia St. George drives for what she wants, and she works for it, no matter the effort. She’s taken to party-life, making her mistakes along the way, and grown into a stronger person for it.

Still, she held on to some semblance of ‘awkward’ when caught off-guard by the brash nature of how forward people can be. It’s rare when someone is more forward than her.

This is one of those times.

She expected something eccentric when she applied for a position with Chakras. Handcuffs dangling from the ceiling. The cries of a flayed man in the distance, either of pleasure, or of pain. Of ‘yes, yes!’ and ’I’m sorry, mistress’.

She does not expect to sit upon a living chair; and yet, that’s exactly what she does. Something tells her that the man—master—hosting her interview is not one to savor disagreeing, and even without a strong tie, she immediately complies.

Sylvia sits.

“Yes. Sylvia works.”

GM: The ‘chair’ is somewhat yielding under Sylvia’s rear, but the woman remains kneeling in place.

The man sitting behind the desk across from Sylvia is handsome, though. He’s black, maybe in his 30s, with a goatee and hair cut low enough to seem more like a shadow over his head than anything else. He’s also dressed in dark leather, though his conceals more of his fit frame than it reveals.

“Great,” he says.

“What’s the worst you’ve ever hurt someone in bed?”

Victoria: Sylvia has a bony ass. It’s more than a little painful for the unpadded chair of a person.

She veils the interest she feels in him, keeping herself professional despite a wandering mind. This place is fantasy brought to life.

She grins, if faintly.

“Intentionally or unintentionally?”

GM: Eileen suffers it without complaint.

The man shrugs. Sylvia never quite got his name.

“Whatever was worst.”

Victoria: She doesn’t bother to ask. If he wants to give her his name, he’ll give it. She knows well enough to know that this is probably part of the game of establishing positions, and though she isn’t ordinarily, she’ll take one of subservience if it means receiving this internship.

He will be her employer if he extends the offer. It makes sense.

“I misread landing on an ex while riding him and bent his cock. Did you know they can break?”

She shudders. That was a night in the hospital, a week of apologies, and a month of guilt.

“I’ve used handcuffs; tied him to the bed, teased him. Left him wanting. Left him begging. Left entirely.”

She shifts her hips. Sitting on another person isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.

“Another asked me to slap him, and twist his balls; to tug them, little by little, further and further from his body until he couldn’t take it anymore. One time, he finished before me, so I punched him in the balls.”

She talks as if she’s a little girl with a fantasy, and the fraudulent guilt of a cookie she doesn’t regret stealing.

GM: It’s not comfortable at all. She has to sit straight the entire time. The ‘chair’ shifts under her whenever she shifts. It takes some effort not to fall off.

“Yeah,” says the man. “No bones in a guy’s cock, but they can still break.”

He smirks at Sylvia’s story.

“How’d your boyfriend like that?”

“Or is that why he’s an ex?”

Victoria: “Which part? The cock breaking, or… the rest of it?”

She doesn’t wait for him to answer. Why would he?

A smirk foretells her answer before she speaks.

“He didn’t like being punched in the balls as much as the rest of it. That is why he’s an ex.”

She adds, “…I’m insatiable. The more I learn, the more I try, the more I experiment, the more I want. Some days, I worry about what I’ve become, and what I’ll become from here; but, it’s fun, with partners that enjoy it.”

“…was that too forward?”

Her cheeks are pink.

GM: The man just grins.

“Do something to her,” he says.

The ‘her’ underneath Sylvia shifts.

Victoria: “I…”

Maybe there’s a misunderstanding.

“This is for your industrial assembly position, right?”

Not to disobey him, she does stand up, looking for an implement.

GM: She finds no shortage of those lining the walls. There cuffs, collars, whips, chains, anything that could plausibly fit into a wall without taking up overmuch space on the floor.

“Yeah,” he says.

Victoria: Curious. She wonders whether this is for his entertainment, or some odd requirement. It doesn’t matter.

She wants a job.

She has one outfit at home. One single, leather outfit, bought on a fantasy-laden whim to live out a life she never expects to have in the privacy of her home with whoever she dates next.

She wonders whether or not she might have had better chances if she wore it here.

Maybe.

She selects a crop from the wall: a thin, wooden dowel, flexible to a point, with a silicon loop at the end. It feels unfamiliar in her hand.

Is she just to… hit her with it?

“Would you explain a paradox to me?” she asks the man, back turned. Her boot finds the chair’s ribs, pushing her into a roll onto her back.

Sylvia St. George roils inside, her heart thumping into her throat at the fantasy come to life, yet the thought of harming a stranger bringing concern.

And excitement.

Two parts excitement, one part guilt.

She lives in a democracy.

The boot comes to rest—gently—against the girl’s cheek, rubbing the forward half of her sole against her face.

GM: If nothing else, she can’t see the outfit hurting here. It’d be right at home.

The woman doesn’t resist as Sylvia kicks her over. Just gives a little whimper.

Her tongue flecks obediently out to lick the sole of Sylvia’s boot.

“Okay,” says the man.

His voice sounds like he’s doing more watching than listening.

Victoria: “If she likes this…”

Her heel grinds her cheek, pushing the other side of her face into the floor.

“…isn’t it giving in? They win. She wants this.”

GM: Eileen moans in need as the boot disappears from her lips.

“Yes,” the man says.

“That’s the difference between a bad dom and a good one.”

“A good dom pushes them farther than they ask to go.”

Victoria: She shifts more of the weight onto her face, grinding her sole.

“She seems more upset by having it taken from her mouth than by being crushed. How do you know ‘too far’? I haven’t heard a word—obviously.”

Being that she’s gagged.

GM: “You just tell,” says the man. “When they’re yelling to stop, not go on.”

Eileen makes an unintelligible noise.

Victoria: “…and when they do?”

She drags the crop down her nose, slipping it down the center of the ring, over her tongue.

GM: “You keep going. Duh.”

The woman moans again and licks at the crop’s head.

“It’s what they really want. To lose control.”

“It’s why they come here.”

“They don’t want to feel like they can stop you. They want to be at your mercy.”

Victoria: She slips the crop further, feeling it stop against soft flesh inside her mouth.

“What if you injure them? What if I kick her in the ribs?”

What if she broke a rib?

GM: The woman’s tongue eagerly laps against the leather.

“Go ahead. Kick her.”

“Dom who stops where they say to is just a hooker without the sex.”

Victoria: She finally turns to look at him, if only through the corner of her eyes. She appraises him—how serious he is.

Sadism, at its finest. Are there really people who enjoy that level of abuse?

Sylvia grinds her sole once more, removes her foot, and sends it into her ribs. It could have been harder, but she doesn’t want to injure her.

GM: The man looks dead serious.

He’s not even grinning anymore.

The woman gives a sharp exclamation of pain and reflexively curls her body inwards. She doesn’t ward off the blow or try to stand up.

The man watches Sylvia, dark eyes silently glinting.

Victoria: She cants her head.

Her boot arrives at the same point in her ribs, this time harder, a significant portion of her weight behind it.

GM: The woman cries out again, louder this time. She curls further inwards, arms protectively encircling her belly.

“No hands,” says the man. “Tell her that.”

Victoria: She draws the crop from the chair’s mouth, slapping her across the face with it.

Paint the picture, Sylvia. It doesn’t all need to be true. She tosses the crop aside, turning on heel. Where is it? Where, where, where…

She thumbs along the wall, an idea forming as she looks. Flogs, whips, chains, excitement, cuffs, restraints, ropes…

She draws a false knife from the wall, returns to the girl, and kneels on her wrist. The cold of the knife kisses her wrist.

“If you block me again, I’m taking a finger.”

It feels so wrong. She’ll never actually do it. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever will she hurt someone so permanently, but she isn’t here to hurt someone.

She’s an artist, here to paint a picture.

…for a job putting together equipment?

Her eyes flash to the interviewer, then back to the girl.

Don’t question him.

The knife kisses the girl’s lips.

“Burble if you understand.”

GM: The woman gives another cry and whips her face away. Her cheek has an angry red mark now.

She burbles.

Sylvia sees it.

The flash of fear in the woman’s eyes.

She looks at this naked, gagged, leashed, and mittened woman lying on the ground, staring up at her, and sees a helpless life within her power.

It feels like she can do what she wants here.

Whatever she wants.

Would this man stop her if it was a real knife?

He just grins and nods.

Victoria: She sees that fear.

It excites her. It shames her. It makes her heart pound faster. She wants more of that fear; to know that his woman—this inferior creature, fit only to serve and to be beaten—shakes at the mention of her name. She wants to comfort her; to tell her everything is okay, and that she’s loved, and she matters.

The knife drags along her cheek, presenting one, final reminder, before disappearing from her flesh.

As hard as she can, her boot sails into the girl’s ribs.

GM: The chair doesn’t see it coming, fearfully transfixed as she is on the knife.

It doesn’t sound like a cry, this time. It sounds like a scream. It’s short, but the chair’s eyes clamp shut as she curls inwards into fetal position.

Her arms start to curl inwards.

Then, gingerly, they spread back out.

The chair looks up at Sylvia. Her eyes are many things. Pained. Fearful. Contrite. Hopeful.

Did she disobey?

Sylvia knows, as if by instinct, the question that must be on her mind:

Will she be punished?

Victoria: They didn’t curl in all the way, and she opened herself up right away.

Sylvia looks to the man uncertainly, but snaps her gaze back to her prey. No, he won’t like her dependence on him.

She crouches, her boot on the girl’s wrist. A pair of fingers find the chair’s mouth, slipping between the ring.

Thumpthump. Thumpthump. Thumpthump. Thumpthump. Thumpthump.

“I won’t take a finger for instinct. You’re an animal. You want to protect yourself. I won’t take a finger, as you opened yourself up to me.”

Again, she looks to him. Just a fraction of a second.

Her fingers pass over her tongue.

“Are you happy?” she asks the chair.

GM: The chair makes a noise at the weight pressing down on her wrist.

The chair doesn’t try to lick Sylvia’s fingers this time.

The chair nods, when she hears she’s an animal.

The man smiles.

The chair nods, fervently, in final answer.

Victoria: Sylvia’s fingers hit the back of her throat.

GM: The chair starts to gag, but keeps her mouth open. Her eyes look up at Sylvia helplessly.

So helplessly.

Victoria: Her fingers hover there, on the cusp between pleasant choking and making her puke.

It must feel like minutes for the chair before Sylvia removes them, wiping the thick, vile saliva of her throat against her cheek with a pair of slaps.

She rises, turning to the man with an expectant expression.

GM: The chair gags and sputters and drools over the floor, completely bereft of dignity, like the thing she is. Saliva freely leaks from her forced-open mouth.

The man looks at the chair, laughs, and then looks back to Sylvia.

“You’re hired.”


Wednesday evening, 14 September 2011

GM: “Oh my god, you’re a dominatrix?!” Anna giggles over the phone.

“I thought you wanted to be an engineer!”

Victoria: Sylvia cackles.

“I’m not a dominatrix! I’m just working for that kinda place. The job is to help assemble their equipment, rigging, machinery—that sort of thing. You know, engineering. The interview was just—well, a bit of gratuitous, hedonistic fun, I think. To make sure I’m a personality fit. They wouldn’t want someone who’d be awkward to be around.”

“You want to keep making jokes, I’m sure they won’t mind if a flog disappears for the night. Wait—no. You’d like that. Your boyfriend probably would, too, and I’m not going to give him the satisfaction of the mental masturbation.”

GM: Anna just bursts out laughing for several moments.

“Sylvie, you’re totally a dominatrix, just listen to you!”

“‘I just assemble the machinery.’ Riiiiiight.”

Victoria: She bites her lip, holding in a retort.

GM: “Literally the next sentence, you say you’re gonna punish me!”

Anna giggles even more.

“You’re even kinda right, Jeff probably would be into that.”

“I’d totally be the sub with him.”

Victoria: “You know, I still have a picture of that secret, little mole of yours, and I haven’t uploaded to Facemash in a while…”

It’s an empty threat. She knows Sylvie would never embarrass her so publicly. Especially with something so exposing.

“You aren’t already?”

GM: “What?” Anna laughs. “No! We’ve done some spank play, and sometimes I call him Daddy, but we don’t, you know, work at a dungeon or anything.”

Anna giggles some more.

“And if you post that photo I’m gonna tell everyone you’re a dominatrix now!”

Victoria: “I think one of those would be a lot more embarrassing than the other!”

A brief pause.

“Cute butt, by the way.”

GM: “Oh why thank you, Dark Mistress Dominatrix.”

Victoria: “You are incorrigible, I swear.”

GM: “Dark Mistress Dominatrix Doombringer? Dark Mistress Dominatrix Tyrannia? Is that enough titles?”

Victoria: “Oooooh, I like that last one… you want a spanking for a thank you?”

GM: “Yes, and for you to say what a bad girl I’ve been.”

Anna giggles a few more times.

Victoria: “You know very well just how bad a girl you’ve been.”

Anna’s laugh is just as soothing and addictive as it was that very first day.

GM: “I’m sorry, I’m happy for you, really. It sounds like a fun job. It’s just… it fits.”

Victoria: “No, no, we wouldn’t be us if we couldn’t tease.”

Yet, saying it fits strikes a cord in her. She isn’t sure why, nor can she tell whether it’s positive or negative.

“What do you mean by that? That it fits.”

GM: “Well, just… everything. You know, not much control growing up, Catholic household… it fits.”

“Also, you’re tall and dark.”

“Short girls aren’t dommes, I just don’t see it.”

Victoria: “Anna, I go into the sun to get my phone from the car and come back with a sunburn. Dark is the last thing I’d call myse—wait, you think I’m just coping with my lack-of-daddy issues!?”

GM: “Oh I mean dark hair, not dark skin. Seriously, how many blonde dommes are there?”

“And no, I don’t mean you’re coping! It’s just… it fits!”

Victoria: “Yuh huh. You know all about what does and doesn’t fit.”

GM: “Okay, I have it. Ultimate test, to determine once and for all of you’re a dominatrix.”

“If you fail it I won’t say another word.”

Victoria: “Oooh, the almost-teacher is giving me a test!”

GM: “You bet she is! Now, okay, you ready?”

Victoria: “I am always ready.”

GM: “How many dark leather domme outfits do you have in your clooos-seeet?” Anna asks in a singsong voice.

Victoria: A loooooong pause.

GM: Anna bursts out laughing again.

“You’re a DOMINATRIX! You’re a dominatrix! You’re a dom, dom, dom…!”

She breaks off giggling.

Victoria: “…two. I got one the other day, okay!?”

GM: Anna laughs even louder.

“Two!? I thought you just… had… one…!”

There’s more laughter.

Victoria: “I am so going to smack you next time you come over.”

“They made me get one for work! Look—you wore your black pants when you waitressed. I wear… that.”

GM: “Those pants were cloth. Black is just a good waitress color!”

“You know, like black leather is for dominatrixes.”

Victoria: “You know, you’re only making it worse for when you’re eventually my client,” she answers playfully.

GM: “So you are a dominatrix,” Anna declares triumphantly.

Victoria: “Only for you, love. Only for you.”

“Don’t tell Jeff, hm?”

GM: “He’d probably want me to do that, if he could watch.”

“So, I have to ask, what is getting… interviewed for a totally-not-dominatrix job like?”

Victoria: “Just… things. You know. Some technical questions and skill competency. A bit of the environment.”

She knows that Anna is going to have a field day with the truth, and while she’s comfortable bending the it to not-quite-a-lie, Anna deserves the truth in its entirety.

“They made me… demonstrate a bit. If I were to be hired for more.”

GM: “Demonstrate…?”

Victoria: She’s grateful they aren’t video calling.

“Uh huh.”

GM: Anna lets out a whistle.

“‘Skill competency.’”

“Uh huh.”

“At spanking or tying people up?”

Victoria: “It’s better to show than tell,” she hums in a sing-song voice.

GM: “I seeeee,” Anna says consideringly.

“So, for real, did you spank people?”

Victoria: “Nope.”

Technically the truth.

Anna knows her better than that.

“Okay, okay, okay.”

She pauses.

“Jeff isn’t around, right?”

Promise you won’t tell?”

GM: “Yeah, he isn’t. And I promise.”

The laughter mostly leaves her voice.

Victoria: “Okay, okay. They kinda made me… do it. Like, on the spot.”

She puts on her employer’s voice.

“Do something to her.”

And back to her usual husky tones.

“…so, I did. Not too much. Just a few minutes of letting myself go. Honestly, it was kinda fun.”

GM: “Oh. Wow. Just like that?”

Victoria: “Just… like that, yeah. I guess the girl they brought in likes it. She didn’t seem too unhappy.”

GM: “Wooow. I don’t even know what I’d have done there.”

Victoria: “Probably die.”

GM: “That’s probably why I’d be the sub, ha?”

“Sooo, what did you… ‘do’ to her?”

Victoria: “You know, Anna, for all you’re talking about it, I can’t help but wonder if there’s more than a small fantasy in that pretty, little head of yours.”

GM: Sylvia can all but hear the blush in Anna’s voice.

“It’s not! I’m just curious.”

Victoria: Testing time.

“How about… I tell you in person, hmn?”

Every ounce of her acting goes into that question, immersing herself as far into the performance she put on at Chakras as she can.

GM: “Oooh, boy. Is it that racy?”

“That’s kinda a long trip from Miami, though.”

Victoria: “Well, if I’m going to be helping you live your fantasy, I may as well do it in person. At least then I’d get something to watch out of it.”

GM: “Okay, for real, it’s not a fantasy! It’s just… I’m curious, since you said this wasn’t actually a dominatrix position.”

“So, wouldn’t the only thing that matters be what you can build?”

Victoria: “Uh huh.”

She doesn’t believe her.

“I just… I took a crop, and used it on her face. They had already tied in her a ring gag, hands in mittens, and largely nude aside.”

She pauses, seeing how Ana takes that.

“There was some other bits. Mild choking. Boot play. That sort of thing.”

Downplayed, but still true.

“I mean… I guess they trust my resume, and only needed to see how I fit the culture.”

GM: “Wooow,” says Anna.

“That’s seriously the wildest job interview I’ve ever heard of.”

Victoria: “Yeah, it was pretty fucking absurd. But it was also pretty fun, and I think I’m going to enjoy it.”

GM: “Good for you, then. It sounds like a fun job.”

Victoria: “…do you really mean it?”

GM: “Yeah. Waitressing’s really stressful.”

“There’s a reason I quit for that bookstore job.”

“If you’re having fun with it, why not get paid?”

Victoria: “Yeah.”

There’s a smile in her answer.

“You’re right. We should enjoy work. How’s the bookstore going?”

GM: “Eh. I’m looking forward to teaching, let’s just say.”

Victoria: “I’ll bet. Almost there…”

A pause, and then her words are filled with an overwhelmingly somber note.

“I really miss you.”

GM: “I know,” Anna sighs. “I miss you, too.”

“Miami’s a change of pace, but I’d trade it for another year at Lafayette together.”

Victoria: “Could trade it for a few years in New Orleans? I don’t think I’m going to be leaving anytime soon.”

GM: “No, of course not, it’s where your family is.”

“I don’t think I wanna teach in Miami. That’s not for me.”

Victoria: “Beach humidity isn’t as fun as bayou humidity?”

GM: “Ugh, the humidity’s worse. Not a ton worse, but it is.”

“Lafayette is further north.”

Victoria: “Will you be going back there? Or finally try the city?”

GM: “I might try New Orleans, yeah. To see what it’s like. See you.”

“Contracts are only a year, if it turns out to be something I can’t do.”

Victoria: “I think that you’ll be the best teacher they’ve ever seen, no matter where you go. Enthusiasm matters, and you’ve got it in droves! Maybe you can teach at my old haunt.”

GM: “Awww.” Anna smiles. “Thanks, that means a lot. They all say teacher burnout is such a thing.”

“I’ve had some teachers outright tell me, not to do it, but… someone has to.”

Victoria: “Or the next generation will be for the worse, right? True of so many jobs; teaching especially.”

“…you’ll be a good teacher.”

GM: “Thanks. I hope so.”

“And you’ll be a great engineer.”

Victoria: “I’m a dominatrix, remember?”

GM: Anna giggles. “I was just about to say. When you aren’t being a dominatrix.”

Victoria: There’s a long pause.

“Visiting soon?

GM: “Oh definitely, I was thinking over break?”

Victoria: “Uh huh. That sounds nice. I’ll try and pull myself away from the dungeon.”

GM: “It’s such a long drive. I’m really tempted to just fly.”

Victoria: “You’re probably better off.”

GM: “Yeah. It’s ‘only’ another two hours to go visit my family, so.”

“Be a nicer drive if you took a rental out to Tallahassee.”

“Or even just Mobile.”

Victoria: “You want to meet in the middle?”

GM: “Yeah, it’d make the long drive a lot more fun!”

Victoria: “…I could fly all the way to Miami, and drive back with you. That might be a fun trip.”

GM: “Ohh, that’s a thought. Flying isn’t too expensive?”

“Or are you rakin’ in the dominatrix dough?”

Victoria: “Eh. I’ve got a savings. Not a lot, but enough.”

“No,” she laughs. “I make dough out of their asses.”

GM: “Ha, of course. But yeah! If it’s not going to bust the piggy bank, that sounds like a really fun road trip.”

Victoria: “Sure, sure. Can we do it in one go? Or will we need a hotel?”

GM: “It’s 13 hours… yeah, I’d wanna break that up.”

Victoria: “Ah, weakness…”

GM: “We could do stuff in Miami, too! If you’re already flying over.”

Victoria: “Oooooh, there’s an idea! I’ve never been to the coast before. It’s a big party city, isn’t it?”

GM: “It is, yeah. Lot in common there with New Orleans. And the beaches are incredible.

Victoria: “I take it you’ve spent a good amount of time there?”

GM: “Yes! There isn’t anything like them. I love home, but there just isn’t.”

Victoria: “Mmn. That does sound like a nice trip. Okay, okay! Let’s plan it. I can stay at your place?”

GM: “Of course! It’s not much but you’re welcome to it.”

Victoria: “You know I don’t need much.”

One fateful class brought them together.

Despite time and distance, together they’ve stayed.


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