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Blood & Bourbon

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Victoria II, Chapter II


“Miss Perry no longer has a place at the Louise S. McGehee School.”
Catherine Strong

Friday morning, 28 August 2015

GM: There’s no word from Jeff, or about Jeff, over the weekend.

That’s some blessing. Anna goes in to work on Friday. She’s glad to have the weekend off. She’s still miserable over the breakup. She wants to spend the weekend with Sylvie watching TV, eating high-sugar foods, and doing a fat lot of nothing.

Victoria: Fat is exactly what they’ll be come Monday. Sylvie will probably work it off. Anna will probably skip lunch for a week. One day, she’ll get her into a class…

While Anna is at work that day, Sylvie spends her time at the supermarket stocking up on frozen pizza rolls, frozen tacos, frozen mozzarella sticks, gummy worms, strawberry ice cream, chocolate bars, dark chocolate bars, peanut butter cups, white chocolate bars, chocolate truffles with raspberry creme, and gummy bears.

Then she orders a pizza, extra cheese, double sausage. Maybe Anna will appreciate the joke.

Then she runs back to the grocery store herself to buy another sausage, if only to give Anna the pleasure of slicing it herself.

She pulls out her phone.

u want to make dessert pizza?

GM: Sylvia enables bad decisions.

But such deliciously bad decisions.

get in all our servings at once lol?

So they do. Gummy worms. Ice cream. Chocolate bars. Dark chocolate bars. Peanut butter cups. White chocolate bars. Chocolate truffles with raspberry creme. Gummy bears. Gay bacon strips.

It all comes together in the same dish, with a cookie dough base, and cotton candy for cheese. Ice cream for dipping. Everything else is toppings or stuffed inside the crust.

“I think we just created an abomination,” Anna says when it comes together.

Victoria: “I think we’ll scare off anyone who hears about this…”

She doesn’t seem too upset by the fact.

A spoon appears in Anna’s lap.

“How was work?”

GM: “Kids remarked on this,” Anna says, holding up her ring-less hand.

Victoria: She tuts.

“They’re relentlessly observant… are you okay?”

GM: “Yeah,” she says. “I just said we broke it off and left it at that.”

Victoria: “And you weren’t met by a chorus of ‘why’?”

GM: “I just moved the lesson along without giving them a chance to ask. One left her phone number if I wanted to talk.”

Victoria: “That was kind of them.”

GM: “It was. Though I had to turn it down. Crosses a boundary, not professional.”

Victoria: “Mm. Are you sure they don’t want to date you?”

GM: Anna laughs. “No, come to think. I think she’s gay.”

Victoria: “Why?”

GM: “Very masculine-presenting. Short hair, big arms, male-ish interests. I got a butch vibe.”

She manages a smile.

“I don’t think she’s actually interested in me, though. And I feel bad for her. She’s a very bright and knowledgeable student, absolutely loves the course material.”

“But she doesn’t fit in, next to the Southern belles. I worry she’s getting bullied.”

“No, she is getting bullied. I had a few students try to swipe her assignments.”

Victoria: Sylvia sinks her spoon into their private act of terrorism.

Her brow twitches.

“Good that you caught them.”

She grows somewhat tense.

“She’ll be fine. She’ll be teased, and she’ll learn how to deal with it. Be there for her. She’ll remember that when she’s older.”

GM: “I hope so,” says Anna. “She’s new to the city. She got her hand stabbed by some crazy in the Quarter.”

Victoria: The spoon is stopped halfway to her mouth.

“What the fuck was she doing?”

GM: “My homework assignment,” Anna says, her own spoon paused.

“Yes. I know. It was to research a purportedly haunted building. She picked the LaLaurie House and got… stabbed, in the Quarter. She’s new to the city.”

“I talked to her about it, of course, told her she could work on another assignment and get full credit.”

“She still wanted to do it.”

Victoria: Sylvie shudders.

“Creep. Not the house; the assailant. Did they arrest him?”

GM: “It’s the Quarter,” Anna just says, shaking her head.

Victoria: “We need a police force to police the police.”

GM: “IA’s supposed to do that, but… well, the ones here are what they are.”

“They’re so different from the cops in Lafayette.”

“There was corruption there, and laziness, but the police here… sometimes I think they’re just another gang.”

Victoria: “If only McGehee was in Lafayette. But hey, she’s alive, no?”

She nudges Anna’s spoon. Eat, dummy, and drown your pain in sugar.

GM: “I’m worried about her,” hems Anna.

“The administration has it out for her, too.”

“She doesn’t wanna go to college, and that hurts the school’s near-perfect admissions numbers…”

Victoria: Sylvie perks up, judging.

“Why doesn’t she want to go to college?”

GM: “She said she plans on opening a business.”

Victoria: She can’t fault that, and relaxes.

“What kind of business?”

GM: “She said she’s a smith and also wants to work on krewe floats and jewelry.”

Victoria: The judgment returns.

“Too niche an industry. She’ll succeed fantastically or fail miserably.”

GM: “She also said she wanted to go to MIT after she had her business up and running.”

“Which… she’s a sweet girl, but that’s just not realistic.”

“Even if she got in with no extracurriculars, and only a few references, you go to school before you start a business. Not after.”

Victoria: Sylvia pinches the bridge of her nose.

“It’s not. She’s got it backward. You can start your business in school, but your schooling should come first in the absence of a working product and waiting market.”

GM: “Yes, she’s the subject of a lot of water cooler gossip.”

Victoria: “She’ll become a meme one day.”

GM: “I hope not. I just want things to turn out okay for her. She’s a delight to have in class.”

Victoria: “I’m sure. It seems like she makes you happy, but… I wouldn’t tie her success too much to yours. Not every student will turn out ideal, and you do more than many teachers to help them find joy in learning.”

GM: “You’re right,” admits Anna. “I’m taking work home. We’re here to pig out.”

She lifts up a slice of dessert pizza.

“Let’s do that.”

Sunday morning, 30 August 2015

GM: Friday and Saturday pass to Sunday. Anna asks if she needs to “go in to work,” but there are benefits to setting one’s own hours. Anna’s still in the dumps over Jeff, but feeling less bad about it with Sylvie and junk food and mindless TV to take her mind off things. Jeff’s things being gone help, too.

They’re on the couch when her phone rings.

“Hello, M-”

She frowns.

“No. No, I hadn’t heard, I’ve not been following the news.”

“Oh my god!” exclaims. “Is everyone all right?”

“Oh my… oh my god, I should…”

Victoria: Sylvia cancels the one appointment she has over the weekend in favor of supporting the most important person in the world to her. There isn’t even a thought to otherwise.

She perks at the note of concern.


GM: ‘News,’ Anna mouths.

Victoria: She flips on cable news.

GM: The talking head on RED 8 talks about a former detective Richard Gettis, NOPD, who shot two teenage girls and their attorney at the police station in the French Quarter. The attorney, Mitchel Lowenstein, is dead. Caroline Malveaux, a local heiress, administered life-saving first aid to the girls. Both are currently hospitalized. One is in critical condition. Richard Gettis escaped the station and remains at large.

There’s a statement from the police superintendent, Bernard Drouillard, who assures the public that “everything within our power” is being done to apprehend the murderer, as soon as possible.

Victoria: Sylvia covers her mouth. Even she’s affected by the innocent swept away in tragedy.

“Oh my God…”

GM: Anna isn’t even paying attention to the news. There’s a curiously blank expression on her face.


“I’m… I’m sorry, what?!

She blinks quickly.

“Hol… hold on, can’t we…”

Why!? Why are you doi…?”

Victoria: Anna’s frantic nature earns Sylvie’s concern and attention. She shifts closer on the couch, not quite eavesdropping, but protective and waiting to support her in whatever is happening on the phone.

GM:Please, can’t w…”

She holds a hand to her eyes. She’s started crying again.

“Oh… okay,” she gets out, keeping her voice mostly even.


She drops the phone and looks towards Sylvia, then falls apart.

“Th… they… FIRED me!” she sobs.

Victoria: Sylvia offers her a blank look. She doesn’t believe it. She can’t believe it.

Why?! You’re the best teacher I’ve ever met! If my teachers did even half of what you do… did they say why?”

GM: “It was m… my project! It h… happened b… because of me! I g… got them shot!” Anna cries.

Victoria: She blinks.

“What? That’s impossible, Anna. How did you get them shot?”

GM: “The… the LaLaur… they got arrested, there… and then they got shot! They wouldn… they wouldn’t have b… been there, if n… not for…!”

Anna cries into her hands.

“I got them shot! Oh my g… god!”

Victoria: “Anna,” she says, her name a command.

“It is not. Your. Fault. Did they have permission to be there?”

GM: “Y… yes…”

Victoria: “Then the owner was aware. You are a teacher. You are no more responsible for their harm than a teacher is responsible for students researching a bank that happened to be during a bank robbery.”

Her words are steel-stern, and cold as ice. There is no room for question. There is no room for alternate understanding.

Her hands find Anna’s cheeks.

“We’re going to go to the McGehee office, and we’re going to talk to someone. You’re getting your job back.”

GM: Perhaps Anna does have doubts or objections.

But none survive the dominatrix’s commanding tones. They are scoured aside.

Sylvia would say she has several years’ experience at that now, but she was born for the role, wasn’t she?

“Okay…” Anna nods.

Victoria: In a past life, Sylvia St. George marched slaves.

She stands up, collecting her things.

“Let’s go. Right now.”

GM: Victoria Wolf still marches slaves, sometimes.

“Oh. The office opens on Monday,” says Anna, wiping at her face.

“They… called me when they were off the clock, I think.”

Victoria: She sits back down.

“Ugh. Can you call them back?”

GM: Anna holds up her phone.

“They said the headmistress had decided…”

Victoria: “The headmistress isn’t shit.”

GM: Anna manages a weak smile at that, then dials the number and puts the call on speaker.

“Yes, Miss Perry?” asks an older black woman’s voice.

Victoria: “Ma’am,” she begins, exuding the confidence she brings to high society when scouting for clients.

“Tell us the rationale for firing Ms. Perry. It isn’t her doing that led to the tragedy.”

GM: The woman pauses for a moment, perhaps surprised over who she’s speaking to. But she answers,

“I understand that, ma’am, but it’s from the headmistress.”

Victoria: “And she is where?”

GM: “I’m not sure. It’s the weekend, she might be at home.”

Victoria: “And she called you to deliver the news to Ms. Perry.”

She pats Anna’s thigh.

GM: Anna manages a smile, then glances back to the phone.

“She did, ma’am,” says the woman.

Victoria: “Then you’re quite capable of giving me her phone number.”

GM: “…all right,” says the woman.

Mistress Victoria’s tone has that effect on people.

A phone number follows.

Victoria: She gestures Anna to write it down.

“And your name, dear?”

GM: Anna pulls up a notetaking app on the phone and does so.

“Nancy Noah.”

Victoria: “Thank you. Have a blessed day.”

She hangs up and dials the headmistress.

GM: “You get results,” smiles Anna.

Victoria: Ring… ring…

“You fuck with my family, you get what you deserve.”


GM: “This is Catherine Strong speaking, may I help you?” smiles another older woman’s voice. Her accent sounds crisper and white rather than black.

Victoria: “Hello, Ms. Strong. I have Ms. Perry here; the very same that you employ. This call is in relation to a mistaken communication relayed on behalf of one Nancy Noah, stating that Ms. Perry’s contract was terminated. Now, Ms. Perry would never commit an act that would merit such a permanent, immediate consequence. I’m sure you’re capable of explaining the misunderstanding.”

GM: Anna gives her a thumbs up at the highly formal and professional-sounding language.

The opening shot fired.

“Mrs. Strong,” the headmistress corrects in response, though her voice doesn’t sound as if it loses the smile. It’s a polished-sounding smile. The sort one sees on news anchors and corporate PR reps.

There’s a brief pause.

Has the shot drawn blood?

“May I ask to whom I am speaking?”

Victoria: “The peace offering before a storm of legal proceedings,” she answers.

“Ms. Perry, we agree, is innocent of any accusations in endangering her students, as all proceedings in their little adventure happened through official channels and approvals, including the home’s owner. You also agree that Anna neither bent the police to her will in this tragedy, nor held a weapon herself.”

She pauses, just long enough to interrupt her.

“Ms. Perry is quite attached to her position. I’m sure you’ll find reason to resolve that miscommunication, and she won’t find reason to ensure the charges she’ll press won’t place McGehee alongside Gettis in the news. Though… they do say no publicity is bad publicity, don’t they?”

GM: “I am afraid that Miss Perry no longer has a place at the Louise S. McGehee School,” smiles Headmistress Strong.

“It has been decided that her conduct is not in keeping with the values of our founder, will reflect discredit upon the school, and will impair her usefulness in her capacity as a teacher. The termination of her employment was within the bounds of her contract, which I shall remind, includes: ‘the teacher may be suspended or discharged for good cause as shall be determined in the exclusive discretion of the Board of Trustees.’ The Board of Trustees has found good cause to discharge Miss Perry.”

A pause.

“If Miss Perry wishes to file suit for wrongful termination of employment, she may do so. But I’m sure that in the aftermath of this recent tragedy, all of us would prefer to settle things out of court. Why don’t we schedule a time to discuss the terms of Miss Perry’s severance, face-to-face?”

Victoria: This time, Sylvia allows the woman to speak without interruption. The headmistress is now at the table, and that was all she hoped to achieve from the conversation.


They let Anna go, but they won’t escape without wounds to lick.

“That would be an amicable outcome. Monday, 1 PM?”

GM: “Splendid,” smiles the headmistress. She provides a room number at McGehee, and even brightly suggests that Miss Perry may “pack up her things” while she or her legal counsel are there.

Then she wishes Sylvia and Miss Perry a “wonderful day.”

Victoria: Sylvia hangs up, and exhales.

“It’s not your job back. They won’t give your job back unless you really give them hell in the news, but… it’s money. It’ll help you live.”

She nudges Anna with a shoulder, then leans on her.

“Between Jeff and this, I know you’re going to hurt for a while. You’re not going to be yourself, and… I’m sure money will be a little tight. You know I’ll always be there for you, no matter why, or where, or what time of day or night. You can even stay at my place if you want.”

GM: Anna follows the conversation between Sylvia (Victoria?) and the headmistress hopefully, at first.

She smiles at Victoria’s authoritative and businesslike tone. Like she would at a big brother who’s sticking up for her.

The hurt in her eyes is all-too plain when the headmistress says she is a discredit upon the school.

She frowns, seemingly in perplexity as much as anything, when she hears about the Board of Trustees.

She doesn’t look happy, but at least she looks less unhappy when she hears about severance.

She looks hurt again at the headmistress’ remark about her things and faux-cheerful goodbye.

She’s silent for a moment as she lays her head against the taller woman’s shoulder.

“Thanks, Sylvie. For… for everything. I didn’t even think about getting severance…”

“You really sounded like a boss back here.”

She manages a smile as she looks up at Sylvia.

“I guess being a dominatrix pays off, huh?”

Victoria: She wraps an arm around the teacher, shaking her head.

“It’s not the job that makes the person. It’s the person that makes the job. You have to stick up for yourself, Anna, because outside the few circles you have with loved ones, no one will. You know those ribs you love so much from Blue Oak? Those stupid ribs that you’re literally the only person in New Orleans who likes? That’s what you are to them. You’re easy to tear, succulent meat. They chew, and chew, and chew, and every time they chew they rip away another piece of you until all that’s left to you is an empty, oily bone. Then they spit you out, and say that you aren’t good enough. Unless you stand up for yourself. It’s not being a dominatrix that pays off. It’s being the eater, not the food.”

GM: Anna sobers a bit at Sylvia’s talk.

“That’s… that’s all true,” she nods. “I’m just… this thing with Jeff, and getting fired, just like that, really has me in a bender.”

“But you’re right. If you don’t want people to kick you down, you do have to stand up for yourself.”

“Unless you’re lucky enough to have a friend who will, sometimes.”

She smiles at that and curls up against Sylvia.

Victoria: The pair hug, Sylvia pulling her such that they’re laying front to front beside each other.

“Always and forever, unconditionally.”

She squeezes Anna.

“But you should learn to stick up for yourself…” She holds near-pinched fingers before Anna’s face. “…like, maybe that much.”

GM: “Hey, my kids know I’m boss. They tried to swipe those papers and I gave ’em a mean glare,” she smirks.

The look soon fades.

“I’m gonna miss them.”

Victoria: “You’ll see ‘em again. Who knows, maybe we’ll show Tulane who’s boss. You’ll own the school, one day,” she grins.

GM: Anna laughs. “I think I’d need to go back to school first, if I wanted to teach at Tulane.”

Victoria: She rolls her eyes.

“You know very well what I meant, Anna.”

She huffs.

“What are you going to do now?”

GM: “Well… I guess go in Monday, one last time.”

Her face sinks again.

“Get a severance, pack up my things…”

Victoria: “After. Will you look for another school? Maybe Ursuline?”

GM: “The school year’s started,” says Anna, shaking her head. “That’d be the dream, but… most contracts get signed in summer. So either hope for vacancies, or fill in as a sub.”

She smirks again and lightly swats Sylvia’s side.

“And no, not that kind of sub.”

“Don’t say you weren’t thinking it, Dark Mistress Dominatrix.”

Victoria: The grin that takes Sylvia’s face wouldn’t be out of place on a shark.

“I’ll let you fill in as a sub.”

GM: “Does it pay better than a teacher’s salary? I bet it does.”

“I bet it doesn’t have a salary and I still bet it does.”

Victoria: Sylvia opens her mouth to answer the question, but closes it at her following thoughts.

“Money isn’t the only reward in life.”

GM: “No, of course not,” agrees Anna. “You don’t go in to teaching if you want to make money.”

Victoria: “And you don’t go into subbing if—”

Sylvia hops off the couch, leaving Anna in suspense. She walks to the kitchen, where she promptly fills a glass with cold water, and tosses it into her own face.

She returns, dripping.

“So, you’ll be a freelance sub… stitution teacher? Why not apply for one of the other private schools? Even a short time at McGehee is something for a resume.”

She reseats herself, this time upright, near Anna’s feet.

GM: “Why did you…” Anna starts at the water on her face, amused.

Victoria: “Don’t ask questions you don’t want the answer to.”

GM: “Uh, all right. Anyway… it’s like I said. Teachers get hired and contracts get signed in the summer. I’ll look, definitely, but they probably won’t be hiring unless someone had to dip out. That’s more something to do next year.”

“But things are more flexible with subs.”

Victoria: Ignoring her wandering mind, she nods.

“Right. That makes sense. That they are.”

GM: “It’s weird with the Board of Trustees,” frowns Anna. “They’re not involved in day-to-day things with the school… why would they want me fired?”

“How would they even know I assigned that project…?”

Victoria: “Because when McGehee is in the crosshairs of the high and mighty, they’ll need to make a show of blood. You are that blood.”

GM: “No, I just mean how they learned about this all.”

“Maybe it was the headmistress’ idea, and she asked them to fire me?”

“Since she couldn’t do that herself, my contract was for a year.”

Victoria: She shakes her head.

“I think that’s possible. If I were in her position, I’d do anything in my power to protect the school. Given it’s liable to be in the news due to who was wounded, she’s preemptively showing that ‘guilty parties’ are being punished.”

She sucks on her lip, thinking.

“We’ll ensure she gets hers, eventually. Not yet. Plausible deniability, and all that.”

GM: “I don’t want revenge. I just want my job back,” Anna says glumly.

Victoria: “Anna…”

GM: “I know. I know.”

“That’s done.”

Victoria: “Sometimes, drawing blood later is all you can do.”

GM: “I don’t know. I’m not vengeful. I just want to move on…”

“Would it be childish if I wanted you to go in for me tomorrow?”

Victoria: She rubs her calf.

“All right.”

She sets her jaw. Sylvia was hoping Anna wouldn’t make that request.

“I… can, though they’ll learn that I’m not your lawyer, unless you’ve got a very convincing license with my name and photo on it.”

GM: “Sorry. And… ugh, no. That’s childish.” Anna rubs her head. “I really shouldn’t ask you that.”

Victoria: “Anna… you can ask anything in the world. I’ll do everything I can.”

GM: “Yeah, but what you just said about sticking up for yourself… I should at least negotiate my own severance, shouldn’t I?”

Victoria: She nods.

“You should, and you should keep your back straight—both physically, and in how you present yourself.”

GM: She sighs. “Yeah. Though I’ll admit I really don’t wanna.”

Victoria: She pats her calf.

“I tell you what: You go in there, you do your best, you keep your back up and your head high, and no matter what, we’ll leave proud and I’ll buy you lunch.”

A pause.

“You cave, and I’ll lock you in my closet for an hour.”

GM: Anna smirks.

“You say that like your closet isn’t full of sex toys. You’ll lock me up and I won’t wanna come out.”

Victoria: She stares at her with an amused expression, shaking her head.

“I said my closet, not the work closet.”

GM: “You said ‘your’ closet. Not which one.”

“And you’re self-employed, remember? So they’re both your closets.”

Victoria: “The world longs for a reality where you come out of a closet. I only sought to provide it.”

GM: “Ha ha ha. I’m already out, you know I like girls too.”

“God, remember that boyfriend I had in college, who just couldn’t get enough of it?”

Victoria: Sylvia, the Goddess of Innocence descended from a sunbeam parting the clouds.

“No! Tell me about it.”

GM: “Okay, you’re lying, I did tell you all about it! The one with the giant lesbian fetish.”

“Who’d just bug me about it all the time.”

Victoria: She feigns innocence.

“I don’t recall.”

GM: “He wanted to jerk off to me watching girl-on-girl porn.”

Victoria: “Chase?”

Definitely not Chase.

GM: “I once read a story that had two people, married to other people, masturbating together. The girl was trying to seduce the guy and he didn’t want to sleep with her. But she masturbated in front of him, and then got him to. Apparently he was willing to do that.”

“I can’t see your partner being any less mad if they found out.”

Victoria: “Mmn, I imagine so. You remember Lucas…”

She shudders. She still considers herself in the right, but she also genuinely liked him. Likes him. Not in a sexual-romantic way anymore, but they’re still friends, and he hasn’t ever quite gotten over that.

GM: “Yeah…” Anna says sympathetically, running a hand along Sylvia’s shoulders.

“People just get possessive. Even when they know what the terms are.”

Anna took her side in the argument over that, of course.

Victoria: “What can I say…” she begins with that dramatic flair so telling of Sylvia readying to exaggerate herself.

“They see a prize, and they want it all to themselves. Loyola hasn’t had a prize like me, since… well… ever.”

She stretches across the sofa, languid; a deity ready to receive grapes.

GM: “Only because I wasn’t also there. And hold a moment.”

Anna disappears into the kitchen, then comes back.

With grapes.

Victoria: She opens her mouth, arms draped over both the rear and the arm of the sofa. Watch out, Artemis. There’s a new huntress in town.

GM: Anna laughs and makes a show of slowly hand-feeding her.

“Why not, at this point.”

“Not hand-feeding you would be like that masturbating couple who don’t actually have sex.”

Victoria: She parts her lips, baring her teeth to receive a grape.

Anna’s last quip makes her choke on said grape.

Sylvia sits bolt upright, choking and laughing and unsure which she cares for more.

“D-did-” cough! “Did you just… compare grapes to masturbation?”

GM: “I compared bringing grapes to a lounging goddess and not hand-feeding them to masturbation,” corrects Anna, smirking. “You might as well go all the way, right?”

Victoria: “And now you want to go all the way with me?” she hums, a grin plastered ear to ear. “Anna, your mood is all over the place.”

GM: “The goddess doesn’t look like she’s complaining,” says Anna, holding up another grape.

Victoria: She opens her mouth, tongue lolling.

“She’s not…”

She takes the grape.

“You’re not… serious, are you?” she asks, quirking a brow.

GM: “Serious about what?” asks Anna, peeling off another grape.

Victoria: “You did just mention going all the way.”

GM: “I did…” says Anna.

Victoria: Sylvia, for as long as she’s known Anna, has had a lingering crush around the periphery of her desire. She’s fantasized about her. She’s thought about dating her, and all the reasons they shouldn’t. She’s envisioned her face, and her fingers, and her mewls—not that she’s heard them—while others are inside her.

Now here she is, maybe teasing, maybe serious, but either way presenting the thought that it might actually be a possibility.

All that time, all that fantasy, all the darkness of the past few days, and yet the answer is immediately and overwhelmingly clear, as if it’s made from polished ice:

“I don’t think that’s a good idea, Anna…”

Her voice is sympathetic, and sad, but not playful.

GM: A blush starts to creep into Anna’s cheeks.

“It’s… probably not, no.”

Victoria: “I mean… just not right now. You know.”

She steals a grape, if only to break that awkward gaze.

“I wouldn’t want that to be something you… regret.”

“Maybe in like, 10 minutes.”

“Maybe eight, if you smirk like you do when you have a bad idea.”

“Seven if you feed me another grape.”

GM: The red in Anna’s cheeks doesn’t fully subside, but she gives a little smile and peels off another grape.

“What makes you say 10 minutes?”

Victoria: “I was joking, but…”

She still isn’t sure it’s a good idea.

“Would it make you feel better? For really-real?”

GM: Anna looks away, still blushing.

Victoria: She sits up.

“You don’t have to blush around me, much as I love when you’re embarrassed.”

GM: Anna clears her throat.

Victoria: “Would it help you…? Honestly, Anna. You’re my best friend. If it’d help you to fuck, we can fuck.”

GM: “Oh, I… no. That’s probably not a good idea,” says Anna.

“Not this soon after Jeff.”

She gets a look at that.

“I guess my job isn’t a factor, anymore…”

Victoria: “Anna… don’t. It’s not the fact that you can go. It’s the principal that he would leave and consider you an afterthought.”

She takes the girl’s hand, like it or not, and pulls her onto the sofa.

“Close your eyes.”

GM: Anna doesn’t resist. She closes her eyes.

Victoria: Both hands meet, one on either side of her face.

“You. Will. Be. Fine. Your life. Your future relationships. Your job. You’ll be fine. Say it.”

GM: “I will be fine,” Anna repeats, taking a breath. “My life. My future relationships. My job. I’ll be fine.”

Victoria: “Open your mouth.”

GM: Anna opens her mouth.

Victoria: She inserts a slice of dessert pizza.

GM: “Ooomph,” she says through it, and starts to chew. “Thish so bad. Bu’ sho good.”

Victoria: “Good girl. That overpowering sweetness is what you need to be. Every time you feel down, or like someone is stepping on you? Just be sweet, like you’ve always done.”

With Anna’s eyes still closed, she waits a moment, then tickles her belly.

GM: “Yesh, m-”

Anna squeals and falls backwards onto the sofa.

“F… foul!” she protests.

Victoria: She chases, tickling her despite the protests!

GM: There’s not far to chase, with them both on the sofa. So much the worse for Anna. She squeals and flails, trying to keep the pizza in her mouth and chew at the same time when Sylvia’s fingers relentlessly assail her.

“Sht… sht… sht…!” she giggles breathlessly.

Victoria: “Do you give in?! I didn’t believe you?!”

Sylvia is relentless!

GM: “Aaagh-h-ha-ha!” Anna gets out, curling into a defensive ball as she quickly chews down the remaining pizza.

“I g-gi-ve in! I g-yeeegh! Gi-yaagh! G-gve in! I surrender! Ack!”

Victoria: She brushes her chin with a pointer and thumb, and kisses her cheek.

“See? It’ll all be fine because I say it’ll be fine.”

GM: “Yes, mistress,” Anna says in sing-song cadence.

Victoria: Sylvia actually blushes.

GM: “I wasn’t sure that was even physically possible,” giggles Anna.

Victoria: “And yet… you’ve done it. Congratulations.”

GM: “Do I win a prize?”

Victoria: “We both said that isn’t a good idea; but, yes.”

GM: “Oh. No. I wasn’t… thinking that.” Anna faintly blushes again.

“But…” She looks up. “I was wondering if you’d come to the negotiation with me.”

“With me, instead of for me.”

Victoria: She nods, a smile coming to her.

“Yeah. Of course. But… probably not as your lawyer.”

GM: “Oh. Well, I kind of don’t have the money for a lawyer.”

“So I was thinking we just don’t outright say you’re my lawyer. But we also don’t say you’re not.”

“Like you did earlier.”

Victoria: She nods.

“Now you’re learning. I suppose I’ll get my court clothing out…”

As if she has one picked out already.

“But that waits until Monday.”

GM: “Monday,” says Anna.

“God, it feels like it’s been a long day.”

“I think I wanna rot my brain out on TV and my teeth out on junk food until that rolls around.”

Victoria: So they do. They finish the dessert people over the next 30 minutes, and the remaining frozen treats appetizers in the next hour. It’s been an enjoyable weekend, and for the most part, Sylvia intends for Anna to forget about her relationship, and her career, and anything—except the oppressive heat, when the air conditioner breaks that afternoon. Anna’s building explodes into a riot, as much as 19 people (most being one Latino family with 6 children) can riot.

The pair spend the rest of the day out and about the Big Easy, cooling off in a movie, then lunch; a meal that lasts over two hours, to no complaint on the waiter, a elderly black man who the two find to be one of the funniest men in New Orleans.

He even gets a blush out of Sylvia poking fun at her career, and earn hers card for it. The tip she gives him might even help him afford it.

GM: All Sylvia needs to do is get Anna to hit the gym with her next, after that decadent weekend.

But all things told, it’s a good way and a good day to forget one’s troubles.


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