Extracurricular Activities – 1. Introduction to BDSM


Viviana Zhang was wondering whether she was undergoing some sort of out-of-body experience, like was still in her body, but no longer in control of it.

No, that wasn’t the right word for it. An out-of-character experience, maybe? Yes, that was a better word. She was acting out of character. It was like she was a character in a novel, but the writing had made it so she acted against her previous characterization.

She looked to her left, nervously brushing her bangs. Seated behind the wheel was Nova Abercromby. She was unique, as far as Werewolves went: she was taller -six foot six, just about- and had a more abundant fur than all individuals of her kind, and she also had bright orange eyes, and very dark skin. Her fur was also thicker than ordinary Werewolves, and much darker in color; even the hair on her head seemed a darker shade of black than Viv’s. Nova had a taste for leather, as evidenced by her clothing: black leather pants, a black leather bustier top, and a black leather long coat. Black lipstick and hints of black blush completed her look.

Viv had met her earlier today. Nova had been invited to her birthday lunch by Manny, Viv’s brother, along with her twin sister Jacinda. This was about six, almost seven, hours ago. And now, Viv was riding along in her car, on the way to her home. That was… weird. Wasn’t it? Viv liked to consider herself a private person. A very private person. In fact, she had been diagnosed with a social anxiety disorder when she was fifteen. Everyone in her -small- entourage knew her to be shy. Yet, here she was, in a stranger’s car, headed to a stranger’s house. That just didn’t make sense.

She thought back of the events that led to this, in an effort to understand.

A few hours earlier…

She and her brother were seated at a table at Giorgio’s. Viv had wanted to have pizzas for her birthday ; she had even brought candles to place on her pizza. Manny had also invited his best friend, Christopher Baldini. Viv had met him a few times before: he and Manny both went to Berkeley, and were both part of the baseball team. To her surprise, Christopher brought a guest as well, a girl named Jacinda. By all appearances, she was a Werewolf. She was Chris’… Well, Viv wasn’t sure what she was to Chris. His friend? Something more? Viv thought they acted kinda flirty over lunch, but maybe she was mistaken. She had never been very good at analyzing relationships… Or at anything that pertained to relationships, actually.

And along with Jacinda came Nova -well, technically, she arrived later than her sister. When Manny told Viv about her joining them, she was unsure. Viv had never been at ease in large gatherings, which is why she never went to any parties. In fact, it had taken her years to be comfortable with celebrating her birthdays outside her home. But Viv had agreed to this. A five person party was right at the limit of what she could handle. Still, having lunch with two complete strangers…

Her apprehension grew a little when she had met with Jacinda. That girl was tall. Really tall. Compared to Viv’s five feet five, she looked positively gigantic. And large, too: Jacinda was clearly athletic; her arms’ muscles were proof of that. Jacinda had proved a lot nicer than her appearance might suggest; her handshake -pawshake?- was firm, but gentle.

Then, Nova appeared. While physically identical to her twin sister -as one would expect-, Viv thought then that she emitted a different aura altogether. It was more… She couldn’t find the right word to describe it. Intense? Imposing? No… Viv bit her lip. She was usually very good with words, but in this case, the mot juste was on the tip of her tongue.

As she looked at Nova for the first time, Viv momentarily forgot how to breathe. Aside from her impressive size, and the aforementioned aura, Nova was a gorgeous woman. Delicate features adorned her face, including a long, straight nose, and furry, soft-looking wolf-like ears. All traits she shared with Jacinda, yet for some reason Viv noticed them a lot more on Nova. In addition, Nova dressed in a very elegant manner. Her leather clothes were of very nice quality, and fitted her body perfectly. Viv looked down at her simple red T-shirt, her jeans, and at the brown cardigan on the back of her chair.

Nova sat next to Viv, who had to make conscious efforts to take her dark brown eyes off her. Her fluffy tail, in particular, attracted her attention. Despite Viv’s attempts to be discreet, Nova caught on her interest.

“You can touch it if you want,” Nova said out of the blue, right as she was conversing with the rest of the group.

Viv froze in place, fearing she might die of embarrassment.

She stammered an excuse -tried to, at least-, but Nova insisted. Contrary to Viv’s first assumption, Nova’s offer was made in good faith, not out of jest or mockery. The Werewolf insisted, even shaking the fluffy limb in front of Viv’s face, a carrot dangled before a rabbit. After a lot of hesitation, Viv took her up on her offer. Nova’s tail was soft to the touch, its texture very close to a dog’s fur. It was warm, too. Viv thought then that she would remember the feel of it in her hand for a long time.

After that unexpected but fun experience, Viv retreated back to her AR glasses. Those glasses followed her wherever she went. She used them for everything, from good old Internet browsing, to studying, to directions. But for the most part, she used them for her writing, in association with the brain implant her mother had offered her for graduating high school with the highest honors. It had taken her some time to go from typing on a keyboard to neurowriting, but once she had gotten used to it, she had gotten almost addicted to it. Ever since, she spent the vast majority of her free time writing in this manner, for hours every day.

Her mom argued that those glasses also doubled as a comfort blanket of sorts, but Viv didn’t like that term. She preferred to think of them as a fence, a way to separate herself from the world when she needed to take a break from it -which, admittedly, was often. When people saw the lightning on those AR glasses, they left her alone and didn’t try to make small talk.

Yet, this didn’t stop Nova from engaging her in conversation.

“Are those the Lylac F2?” she asked.

“Um? Uh, yeah, yes.”

Nova leaned toward her to get a better look.

“Good brand. I have the FL1,” she said.

“Oh, the lenses? Cool.”

Viv had been wanting to upgrade to AR lenses for a while, but they were very much out of her price range. If I ever get published and make it big, she sometimes promised herself.

“Yes,” Nova confirmed. “they’re very nice. Very comfortable for reading, too. A little inconvenient for writing, though.”

“Ah. Ehm, you write?” God, why did Viv have to sound so awkward when she had asked that?

“Not as much as I’d like. I used to, but school is eating up all of my free time these days. That and reading.”

“Ah-ah. Yeah. I get that.”

“Do you write too?”

“Oh… Yeah. I mean, yeah.”

And then came the question Viv always dreaded:

“What do you write?”

Her anxiety levels went up.

“Uhm… Err, stories. You know.”

It was her standard answer whenever she was asked that. Not that it was a very good answer, because people would then usually ask: “what kind of stories?”, at which point Viv would just elude by shrugging or clamming down. However, Nova did not insist. Instead, she smirked, very briefly, and simply replied:

“I see.”

And, much to Viv’s relief, that was that. Nova redirected the discussion towards reading. As it turned out, she was quite the bookworm, and proved very knowledgeable on quite a few genres. She knew many of the authors Viv enjoyed, even some of the most obscure ones. Viv wasn’t a hipster, but some of her favorite things -books, especially- were pretty niche, so it was always hard for her to find other people with similar tastes. Something feeling a lot like enthusiasm took her as she got involved in a pretty active conversation -active by her standards, at least. She even let Nova borrow her AR glasses to let her look at her online library. Which was very strange for her. To memory, Viv couldn’t remember ever allowing anyone to use her glasses, let alone access her collection of books. This proved to be a move she regretted. Or rather, one she thought she would regret.

“You’ve read Lazarel and Solveig?” Nova said.

Viv turned red in the blink of an eye. Larazel and Solveig was a novel Viv had indeed read; quite a few times, actually. It told the story of Solveig, a woman very much down on her luck after her umpteenth unsuccessful attempt to make it in the corporate world. One evening, she gets very drunk and ends up accidentally summoning a daemon named Larazel. As the ritual doesn’t go properly, Larazel ends up being stuck on Earth, and must shack up with Solveig until such a time where they can find a way to remedy their situation.

It was ostensibly a romance novel, with… another aspect thrown in. To explain it succinctly, it was a… specific kind of novel, aimed at a specific audience, with specific tastes. Very, very specific.

“Ah, I, uh, I, it’s- I was told it was good, and uh, um…”

That was true. Initially, Viv had acquired the novel because it was popular… in certain circles, circles with which Viv was occasionally associated. But that was only the reason why she had read it the first time. The reason why she had read at least eleven more times, however… was not something she wanted to discuss.

“I loved that novel,” Nova said. “Especially the characters.”

“I did too!” Viv said, slightly less embarrassed. After all, they were just discussing the literary merits of a novel, and not anything else. Right?

“I really liked Larazel,” Nova went on, “but I wish she were less of a jerk. Or at least, that she had received more comeuppance for some of the things she did.”

“Me too. I’ve actually wrote a fan-”

Then, Viv froze again. Oh no. What did she keep saying these things?! This was why she usually preferred to keep to herself. Saying nothing was the best way to avoid saying something wrong.

“A fanfiction?” the Werewolf suggested.

Viv stammered, then chewed on her birthday pizza as an excuse to not say more.

“I tried writing one too,” Nova said, surprising Viv once more. “Unfortunately, like I said, I just can’t find the time anymore.”

“Th-That’s too bad,” Viv replied. “Uh, I love writing. I can’t spend a day without writing.”

“Have you been doing it for long?”

“Yeah. Since I’ve learned how to write, pretty much.”

“Wow. You’ve been writing every day for years? With that kind of experience, you must have gotten quite good.”

“Oh, I, err…”

Viv was not the kind to affect modesty. Or at least, she didn’t think of herself as that type. The truth was, she believed she was good. Maybe. She didn’t really know. The thing is, although she had indeed been writing since she was a child, she had never published anything she had written. She had, on occasion, shown some of her work to her mother, and to the few friends she had, and even once to her brother (who ended up forgetting about it and not reading it). It wasn’t that she wasn’t proud of her writing, quite the opposite, but she wasn’t sure she could take it if her readers’ opinion was negative. Those works meant a lot to her. She had invested a lot of time and effort in them; she had enjoyed writing them, creating the characters and the world they lived in.

As to that fanfiction she was writing, she would simply not show it to anyone. Not to her best friend, definitely not to her mother. She might, maybe, possibly, consider the possibility of one day -way down the line- posting it online, hidden behind a pseudonym, on some remote website that no one she knew would ever browse. But that was it.

“I’d like to read it sometimes,” Nova said, again out of the blue.

Viv’s eyes nearly popped out of her skull. She quickly looked around the table. The lunch was nearly over. Nova and her twin sister had emptied their respective plates, while Manny and Chris were too full to finish their leftovers. No one was paying attention to conversation between her and Nova. But once again, Viv declined to answer, and once again Nova did not press her.

The group paid and left the restaurant, then headed to VR-Copolis. Manny had suggested they hang out there that day, as he and his friend Chris wanted to try some new sport-themed video game there. Viv didn’t like crowded, noisy places, and in addition VR-Copolis always smelled of greasy foods and was way too warm for comfort, but she had agreed to go there on her birthday. There were a couple of video games she enjoyed, and Manny had offered to pay. Once again, this would be a good opportunity to challenge her limits.

Once there, they separated. Manny, Chris, and Jacinda went to play on their own, while Nova chose to accompany Viv.

“Do you like, um, games?” Viv asked, cringing at the inanity of her question.

“On occasion,” she said. “What would you like to play?”

Viv silently pointed at a VR booth labeled Eleusis’ Legacy in neon letters. It was a mystery game, very famous among fans of the genre. It offered a unique experience: set in Ancient Greece, the story followed a young person -or a group of young people- looking to be initiated in the Eleusinian Mysteries. In order to do so, the players would have to solve several enigmas. What made the experience truly unique was that the enigmas would change with every player, created each time by the game’s AI.

Although she had originally wanted to play for about twenty minutes, Viv ended up lasting over three hours. By the time she was done, Chris, Jacinda, and Manny had finished their competition, and had joined Nova in watching Viv’s performance.

“Holy cow,” Manny said. “That thing says you’ve beaten the record. Well done, sis!”

“Thirty-seven enigmas in one hundred and fifty one minutes,” Chris said, giving a little clap. “And I don’t know what a “Persephone’s Daughter” is, but apparently, you’re one now. There’s a certificate to download.”

Viv shyly took their compliments, but lost her voice completely when Nova added her own:

“Impressive.”

A single word. That was all it took to mute her. She couldn’t even thank her for the kind word. God, why was she acting like that? She was even shyer than usual, and yet she didn’t feel particularly anxious. So what in the world was happening to her? And what was wrong with her stomach? Oh, she must have been hungry. It was, after all, time for dinner.

Her stomach settled somewhat as she enjoyed her fried chicken. She even managed to focus enough to write three pages; it was some good work, too. But the strange feeling came back when Nova asked:

“May I read it?”

Viv made a choked noise in lieu of an answer.

“I won’t judge you,” Nova added, lowering her voice. “Or mock you. I’m genuinely curious.”

She sounded sincere, but still… Viv wanted to say no. Well, she didn’t want to, actually. But logically, she should have wanted to say no. Right? It was the smart, rational thing to do, to not let a quasi-stranger read her erotica. And Viv liked to believe she was rational.

“Okay,” she said, handing over her AR glasses.

… Or not?

As Nova put on the glasses, Viv tried to rationale her strange action with the fact that she really needed some feedback. She swallowed her saliva, and tried not to stare too much at Nova while she was reading; she herself hated when people did that. Although, try as she might, she couldn’t help but glance at the Werewolf’s face repeatedly, in search of any reaction. Nova, however, remained completely impassive the whole time. It was only when she finished her reading and took off the AR glasses, that her expression changed, in the form of a smile accompanied by a nod.

“This is pretty good,” she said. “You really know how to retain your readers’ attention. I like what you’ve done with the characters; your dialogues, in particular, are well-written.”

The birth of a smile twisted Viv’s mouth for a second, but then Nova added:

“There’s just one issue.”

Oh no, Viv thought. Is the one issue that the whole thing is terrible? I probably made a lot of typos. No, it’s probably the ending; I never know how to end my chapters in a way that doesn’t seem forced or abrupt.

Nova looked at the rest of the group, and, seeing that they were all engrossed in their own discussion, leaned towards Viv and whispered in her ear:

“You have no experience with BDSM, do you?”

Viviana felt herself turn so red she was worried her head would explode from the excessive blood circulation. This time, she didn’t even try to stammer out an answer. She simply had none to give. Nova was exactly right. That Lazarel and Solveig fanfiction was her very first attempt to write something in… that particular niche. And it was a domain of which she only knew what she had read about it. A good basis, she had thought, but apprently insufficient.

“Not really, no,” Viv mumbled. “D-do you, ah…?”

Nova smirked. “I have some experience, yes. Both theoretical and practical.”

“Oh.”

“I can tell Lazarel and Solveig wasn’t your first novel in that particular genre,” Nova went on, and Viv turned even redder if that was possible. That too was correct. “You have picked up some ideas, but also a few misconceptions, I’m afraid.”

That made sense, Viv decided, internally hitting herself. She had done a little research on some of the… themes she wrote about, but evidently that had not been enough.

“Could you, uh, could you put some notes where I, uh…” she strained to ask.

“I already have, actually, but I’m afraid there’s only so much you can learn that way.”

“Oh.” Viv’s head dipped.

“You’re probably familiar with the expression “write what you know”. Well, unfortunately, some things can only be known through experience, not books.”

That was not the first time Viv was told something along those lines. Usually, it was courtesy of her brother. “There’s more to life than books”, he often said when they were in middle school. And in high school. Not as much since she began attending college, though, as he seemed to have dropped the matter.

As annoyed as she was by those attempts to get her to come out of her shell, Viv understood it came from a place of worry. She was well aware of the fact that her issues with social anxiety had come close to turning her into a recluse, during the peak of puberty, and she was none too happy about that. Over the past couple of years, a combination of therapy and some medication had helped her make a few tentative steps out of her claustrophobically small comfort zone, but even so she often wished she could do more. If only she were bold enough…

And at that very moment, a part of her woke up, and found her the will to do just that.

“Could you teach me?”

Um, what?

Her mouth shut with a clop sound as she was metaphorically struck by lightning. Only metaphorically, thankfully: a real bolt of lightning would have been very visible, and thus would have resulted in a lot of attention being directed at her.

That was not what she had meant to say. Well, okay, it was, in that those were the words she meant to use, but she most certainly had not meant for them to sound like… like that! She meant to ask for Nova to assist her in her research, nothing else. Truly!

Something sparkled both in Nova’s eyes and in her smile, something that gave Viv goosebumps. It wasn’t surprise; no, Nova did not seem like she had been caught off-guard by Viv’s request. The closest word Viv could find to describe it would be… malice. In fact, Viv thought then that, if spiders’ eyes could reflect expressions, this would be the one they did when a fly threw itself right into their webs.

“I would be delighted,” Nova said. “What are you doing after this?”

“Uh, nothing. I don’t…”

“What do you say I give you a private lesson?”

Viv did a double take. Had she really said that?

Nova evidently sensed Viv discomfort. She brushed the back of her hand with her paw, the softness of her palm soothing her.

“Don’t worry,” she said. “I will not do anything you don’t feel comfortable with. I promise you won’t regret this.”

Viv’s heart started beating faster. Her breath hitched, and ants ran along her arms. Nova stood up, holding an inviting paw toward her. Viv took it before she even thought about it. Which might have been for the best: the more Viv thought, the less she acted.

The others didn’t even seem to notice as they absconded.

Now…

No, even as she thought back to the events that lead to her current situation, Viv couldn’t make sense of it. She gazed at Nova, who returned her look with a reassuring smile.

“We’re there,” she said.

The car was indeed pulling up to a driveway. They had arrived at a nice house in what looked like an upper-middle class neighborhood. Nova turned off the engine with a voice command, then stepped out and went to open Viv’s door. Nova left the car as well, suddenly much more apprehensive. She took a deep breath, then followed her host as she entered the house and went through the living room towards the stairs. There didn’t appear to be anyone else there.

“Are your parents away?” Viv asked as they arrived on the upper floor.

“They won’t bother us. Come, my room is there.” Nova said, pointing at a door.

Nova’s bedroom was a close match to what Viv had pictured. A large, king-size bed -who nevertheless looked a bit too small for its owner-, a neat and tidy desk with a laptop, and of course lots of books in many places. Simple decorations, a few posters and a carpet. The room was overall very orderly, with no object out of its place. Viv walked in timidly, a sheep in the lion’s den. Nova offered her the desk chair, then sat on her bed. She took off her leather coat, revealing her long, furred arms, and the generous curves of her chest. Viv glanced down at her own small breasts, and felt a twinge of insecurity. Nova reached down to her boots, undid their laces, then kicked them off, liberating her fur-covered legs and feet. Viv must have made a sound or an expression as she saw Nova undress, as the later said:

“Relax. As I said, we won’t do anything you’re not comfortable with. You won’t need to take off any clothes. In fact, I won’t even touch you.”

“No?” Viv said.

“Not tonight,” Nova said with a smirk that showed her fangs.

Viv felt her stomach do that strange thing again. “So, what are you- what are we going to do?”

“Before we begin, I want you to do one thing.”

“What?”

Nova held out her paw. “Give me your glasses.”

Viv cocked her head, quizzical.

“It’s the only piece of clothing you’ll have to take off,” Nova added, smirking again.

That might have been true, but as Viv removed her AR glasses and slid them in Nova’s paw, she still felt a bit naked -defenseless. Which was probably the point, she mused. She also took off her cardigan; it was certainly warm enough in this room. Nova placed the glasses on her nightstand, then joined her paws over her knee.

“Now, to answer your question: we are going to talk,” Nova said.

“Talk?” Viv repeated.

“Yes, talk. Nothing more. Before we begin, however, I want to make two things clear.”

She pointed her claw at the door.

“One: that door is unlocked. At any point, you may walk through it and leave. Our… private lesson will end right there, and I will drive you back to your home. Do you understand?”

Viv nodded.

“Two: I will ask you some questions, and I need you to answer honestly. You may choose not to answer at all, of course, but otherwise I want you to be as honest as you can.”

Questions? Viv bit her lip. What kind of questions?

“Do you understand?” Nova asked again.

“I… Yes.”

“Good.” She clapped her paws. “In that case, welcome to BDSM 101.” Viv chuckled. “Let’s begin. First: do you know what BDSM is?”

“Bondage, Domination, and Sadomasochism,” Viv answered, reciting the definition she had found in an encyclopedia.

Nova smiled. “It’s one of the meanings of the acronym, yes. And do you know what that means?”

“Yes. Err, bondage is, um, getting tied, and restrained, and stuff.” Nova nodded. “Sadomasochism is, well, in this context, it means deriding sexual pleasure from inflicting or receiving pain.”

“A textbook definition,” Nova nodded. “Literally. But it’s a good one. What about domination?”

“It’s… It’s when you dominate someone,” Viv said. “Or, or when you are dominated by someone. I guess.” She winced. That was a really obvious definition, but she couldn’t come up with a better one.

“What does that mean, to dominate someone?” Nova asked, straightening her back, bouncing her leg over the other, the back of her foot tapping on something beneath her bed.

“Umm…” Viv hesitated. “Like, when you make… someone… do… things.” She winced again from how stupid that sounded. Nova’s expression did not change as she said:

“What kind of things?”

“Sexual things?”

“There is a sexual aspect to it, of course,” Nova said, taking a more professorial tone, “but the tasks given by a domme to a sub are not necessarily sexual in nature. Many find themselves getting aroused while being made to do ordinary tasks. For instance, when roleplaying as a maid, and being made to do house chores.”

Like those scenes in Larazel and Solveig, Viv remembered. It was true that those scenes did not depict anything overtly sexual -at least not the first one-, but were definitely erotic by the mood they set. Viv’s mind went back to that particular moment when Solveig is ordered by Larazel to clean the floor down on her knees, while the latter stands right near her. At no point does the Daemon even touch her, yet Solveig becomes so turned on she can’t finish her job. Despite the excellent writing, Viv had found that scene kind of weird. What could be so arousing about cleaning floors?

“That, however, is but one aspect of domination,” Nova continued. “Do you know what a safeword is?”

“Yes, it’s a word used by partners to signal when they want to end… things. Kind of like a passcode.”

“That’s right. Have you ever been dominated?”

Blood rushed to Viv’s cheeks as she was taken aback by the bluntness of that query. “… No.”

Nova flashed her fangs again. “Do you want to be?”

This time, it wasn’t just Viv’s cheeks that turned red. She could feel her chest turning red as well. The question echoed in her brain. Do you want to be? She gulped, and looked down at her shoes. Did she want to be dominated? She didn’t know. Wait, no, she did know. Would she have come here unless she…? No, no, that was not it at all. She just wanted to learn more. It was for her writing. Really, she didn’t… Did she?

What would that involve, being dominated? What exactly would Nova make her do?… What would she do to her? She said there would be no touching. Well, she said not tonight. What about at a later date? Would she touch her then? Where would she touch her? How? Viv glanced at Nova’s paws, taking in her long claws. They were clearly groomed, but still looked sharp.

“Don’t overthink,” Nova said. “Answer my question.”

She was still speaking with the same calm, patient voice, but her tone had changed subtly. For a moment, Viv thought that she sounded less like she was giving a lesson, and more like she was giving… an order. A strange heat birthed inside Viv. It wasn’t her cheeks or her chest, this time. It came from another place, much lower.

“Yes,” she immediately said, the one-syllable word hitting a high note.

“Yes to what?” Nova said. She had spoken just as calmly, but Viv immediately knew she was toying with her.

“Yes, I-I think I would like to be dominated please.”

Agh! She mentally facepalmed. What did she say that last word?

Nova let out a throaty chuckle, which made Viv’s knees wobble. Then, she leaned forward, until her face was only a few inches away from Viv’s.

“A few more questions before we can move to the next part,” she said.

The next part? Viv nodded, unable to look away from Nova’s eyes.

“Do you like girls?” Nova asked, still matter-of-fact.

She gasped. Her answer first came out as a high-pitched croaking sound. She tried again:

“I, uh… I don’t know. I… Maybe.”

“How about boys?”

“I… don’t think so.” She swallowed the excess saliva in her mouth. “I tried. I mean, I went on a few dates with a boy from my class back in high school. It, um, it didn’t go very well. He was very nice and all, and h-he kissed me, but it didn’t… I didn’t feel anything.”

“Have you ever dated a girl?”

“No.” Viv shook her head, making one of her bangs fall out of place. She blew on it, but it wouldn’t go back. “There is… I mean, I think… Err, there’s this girl in my school, in my Comparative Literature class, but… Well, I didn’t- I couldn’t…”

“What is her name?”

“Uh? Um, I’m not sure. I think it’s Clara. Or-or Claire.”

“Do you find me attractive?”

Viv’s eyebrows jumped up. The Werewolf had asked that question out of the blue, while Viv was still fumbling her answer to the previous one. Once again, her voice had remained perfectly even, like it was a perfectly ordinary conversation. Which it might have been, at least for her. But for Viv…

“W-What?”

“You heard me.”

Without meaning to, Viv ran her eyes all over Nova. There was no denying she was beautiful. Her gorgeous, long legs, her round butt, her generous chest, and her long, well-groomed black hair… Her beast-like attributes caught the eye as well: her claws, her fangs, her fluffy wolf-like ears, and of course that tail. Viv thought those gave her a somewhat dangerous look, but in an alluring way. It reminded her of another story she’d read, a retelling of the Red Riding Hood, but in a more steamy genre -suffice to say, “all the better to eat you with” had a very different meaning.

And there was that aura Viv mentioned earlier. Now she knew the right word -that mot juste– to describe it: dominant. That alluring danger she described wasn’t just linked to her beastly qualities. There was also something in her demeanor that made Viv feel something she had never felt before. It was the way Nova looked at her, in particular: the analogy of the spider and the fly popped in Viv’s mind once again. That heat below her stomach grew stronger.

“You’re overthinking again. Just answer.”

Nothing had changed in Nova’s facial expression, but there was a barely noticeable curtness in her tone. So barely noticeable Viv wondered if she had imagined it. Regardless, she suddenly felt compelled to respond.

“Yes,” Viv blurted out.

“Yes?” Nova repeated, laconically prompting her to complete her answer.

“Yes, I find you a-attractive.”

“Good,” the other girl said with a nod. “And in case that wasn’t obvious, I find you attractive too.”

Viv had indeed gathered as much, but all the same she blushed even harder. She had no idea how Nova could say these things with such a light-hearted, almost playful tone.

“All right,” Nova said. “That’s it for the first part of our lesson. Now, for the second part, I want you to take out that box beneath my bed.”

She opened her legs, showing that it was in fact a box that she had been tapping with her feet for the past few minutes, a rather large box made out of wood and painted dark red, locked with a latch. Viv left her chair and got down on her knees to retrieve it. As she placed her hands on its sides, Viv suddenly realized the position she was in. She was kneeling -almost on all fours, actually- in front of Nova, her head close to the latter’s open legs. She looked up at her, and found her looking back with a mischievous smile.

“I like that position,” she commented. Viv’s mouth dropped. “And that expression on your face too,” she added.

Flustered, Viv hurriedly pulled the box, and sat on the floor. She placed her hand on the latch, when Nova said:

“Did I say to open it?”

An icy sensation tightened Viv’s throat, until she noticed that Nova was not angry. Her expression was more like one of slight amusement, like Viv was a child she had caught misbehaving. She certainly felt like one.

“Sorry, I just thought… I mean you told me to take it out, so I thought…” She cleared her throat. “Err, may I open it?”

Nova smirked, and nodded in approval. “You may.”

The latch was stuck, but Viv managed to unlock it with a little strength. She pushed the lid, and peered down the box’s content.

“Oh,” she whispered.

In front of her eyes, filling the box to the rim, was a large collection of adult toys, contained in several smaller plastic boxes. There were all kinds: binding, blinding, silencing, invading… Most of them were made out of leather, some out of rubber, some out of plastic, and at least one out of steel. Viv placed her hands over her heart.

“Pick one,” Nova said.

“What?”

Nova’s smirk grew larger; she had no doubt Viv had heard her. Taking a deep breath, Viv put a trembling hand inside the box. At first, she just wanted to close her eyes and take the first she touched, but Nova said:

“I didn’t say to grab one at random. I said “pick one”. Deliberately.”

Once again, despite the amusement in her tone, there was no mistaking it: she had given an order. And so, deliberately and with her eyes wide open, Viv made her choice. The object she chose was a red rubber ball, with two lengths of black leather attached to it. The ball had several holes in it. It looked brand new.

“Do you know what this is?” Nova asked, lowering her voice.

“It’s a, um, a ball gag,” Niv replied softly.

“One of the most common gags in the BDSM scene. It’s pretty much a staple, in fact. Quite effective, although it can be taxing on the jaw if it’s used for too long.”

Viv placed it in the palm of her hand. It was a bit bigger than she thought, based on the pictures she saw online.

“Why did you pick this one?” Nova asked.

“Err…” Viv said. “I grabbed the closest one.”

“No, you didn’t.” Nova chuckled again. “Come on, you said you would be honest. That’s the rule.”

Viv averted her gaze. “I like the color red?”

“Bad liar,” Nova tutted.

“I… wanted to try it. Just-just curious.”

“A better answer. But not tonight,” Nova added, raising her index. “Tonight is only an introductory course.”

“Okay.” She looked down at the ball gag, unable to deny the slight pinch of disappointment in her chest, and put it back.

“Another,” Nova said.

Viv did a bit of window-shopping, her stomach in flux. It fluttered when she found some strange, complicated apparatus, made out of leather with steel bits. She couldn’t quite make out what it was, having never seen anything like it. The bracelets made it clear it was made to bind someone, but Viv couldn’t even tell if it was supposed to go on the wrists or the ankles. She moved on to something much more familiar: a pair of handcuffs.

“I won’t ask you if you know what these are,” Nova says. “However, do you know how they can be opened?”

“With a key?”

“Sure, but they’re not ordinary handcuffs. There’s also a hidden button on the side, in case of emergencies.”

Viv felt the material until she found the button, and went “oh” when one of the cuffs opened.

“Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose?” she asked. “I mean, if the person can get out at any time…”

“The purpose is not to actually detain someone. This is bondage, not kidnapping. The point is to give up control to someone else, but to do so in a safe and consensual manner.”

“I suppose…”

A twinkle danced in Nova’s gaze. “You’re unconvinced.”

“No, I… I mean, I guess you’d know better than I would.”

“You don’t believe it really feels like submission if it’s just pretend.”

“I…” Viv bit her lip. 

She was right. It was one of the things Viv didn’t understand about the D/s part of BDSM. If it was fake, and both partners knew it was fake, how could it feel real? It was just like the concept of safewords: while Viv understood the theory behind them, how could a person be truly submitting when they could end it with just a single word?

As she pondered about this, she put the handcuffs back down. Her attention was caught by yet another object. This one was made out of some kind of translucent material that looked like glass. It was small, about four inches long and one inch wide, with a bulbous end, and flared base. The base was also decorated with some sort of shiny material made to look like a jewel.

Her face went paler than a ghost as she slowly realized what exactly the mysterious object was. Nova stifled a laugh behind her paw.

“Do you know what it is?”

“Yes,” Viv squeaked.

“Well, what is it?”

Viv had often wished she could turn invisible, but never quite as hard as she did at that exact moment.

“It’s- it’s, um, err…”

“Yes?” There was no pretense of innocence in Nova’s smile anymore. She was openly teasing her student.

“It’s- You-” Viv’s voice turned lower than a whisper: “It goes in your- in your butt.”

“That’s right. No need to hold it like that, I promise you it’s scrupulously clean.”

Viv was holding the thing between the tips of her thumb and her index finger, as if she dreaded that it could bite her.

“I don’t think you’re ready for that one,” Nova said. “But I appreciate the enthusiasm.”

The plug immediately went back to where it belonged; Viv would not have thrown it faster if it had been on fire. Her blush went back with a vengeance as, against her will, her imagination took a turn for the naughty. There’s no way. How could that even fit? It would hurt. It would hurt a lot. Wouldn’t it? Wait, what was she even thinking? She shook her head, then tried to chalk it up to intrusive thoughts. Or professional curiosity. Yes, that was it. She was a writer, looking to learn more about a subject she intended to write about.

“All right, we have time for one more,” Nova said. “Let me pick it, this time.”

She leaned down towards the box, but instead of retrieving something inside it, she closed it, then slid it back under the bed. Then, she dug deeper, and brought out a cloth bag. She zipped it open, and produced a strange, oval, leather object which she held out for Viv to see. At first, Viv thought it was some kind of glove, given that there was a single, large hole at the base, but she decided it was too big to fit anyone’s hand or paw. Some kind of cover, maybe? Or a pouch?

“Do you know what this is?” Nova asked again.

Viv shook her head, her interest piqued.

“It’s a hood.”

Viv’s eyebrows jumped up. A hood? No way. The leather it was made out of was too tight. How could someone wear that over their face? It couldn’t possibly fit. How would they breathe? And what about the sweat? The temperature would quickly climb to a hundred degrees!

Something happened in Viv’s mind. Slowly, all of these thoughts, all of these questions were replaced by a mental image. She began to imagine Nova approaching her, still holding the hood. She saw herself bending her head forward, allowing Nova to slide it over. She could almost feel the material stretching around her forehead, then descending over her eyes, and in a matter of seconds, all light disappeared. It kept going down, following the bridge of her nose. Soon, her nostrils-

“You’re not ready for that one either,” Nova said, brusquely ending Viv’s reverie. “But, again, your enthusiasm is noted. Let’s put a pin on that.”

Viv’s first reaction was to stammer a denial, but no sound even left her mouth.

“It’s getting late,” Nova declared, checking her phone with her free hand. She dropped the hood on her bed as she stood up. “Let’s conclude our private lesson here.”

Nova gave Viv her AR glasses back, but Viv did not immediately put them back on. She felt the same way she had when the last episode of her current favorite show had ended on a cliffhanger.

“That was… uh, I liked it,” she said.

“I’m glad,” Nova said, the side of her mouth lifting in a half-smile. She opened the door, and they both left the room.

“When is the next lesson?” Viv said. “I mean, will there be a next lesson? I mean, there will be, right? You said…”

“How about next Saturday in the afternoon?” Nova said.

“I, uh, actually, I have a class then.”

“A class?”

“Err, I play guitar. I’m learning, I mean.”

“You’re the musical type? Interesting.”

Viv chuckled. “I guess. Um, I’m free next Sunday, though.”

“That works for me.”

Minutes later, they were back in Nova’s car. Viv only lived about twenty minutes away, and the traffic at this hour was a lot more fluid. As she turned her glasses back on and resumed her writing, Nova said:

“Oh, I almost forgot to give you your homework.”

“Homework?”

“Just a couple of exercises to ensure that you are effectively engaging with the material.”

“Alright…”

“For your first exercise, I want you to find a BDSM story online. One that you like. I want you to read it in its entirety -it does not need to be long-, and I want you to send it to me before our next lesson. And, no, it cannot be Larazel and Solveig. Find a new story.

“Okay, I can do that.” In truth, she had looked up a few such stories before -for research purposes, of course. Some she had skimmed, some she had read… some she had read a couple more times.

“Good. For your second exercise…” Nova shot her a malicious glance. “I want you to get that girl’s name from her.”

Viv frowned. “What girl?”

“That girl from your class. The one that caught your eye.”

“Oh. But… Why? What does that have to with… with the subject?”

“You’ll find out. But only if you complete the exercise.”

Nova winked, unsettling Viv’s belly once again.

Why did she want Viv to get the girl’s name? Was it some kind of test? Well, it must have been, but to what end? What exactly would it test? Viv’s courage? If so, Nova might be in for a disappointment.

That last thought felt like a barb. For some reason, the mere idea of disappointing Nova made Viv very uncomfortable, possibly because failing that particular task would mean Viv might never find out what it was about. It was certainly a puzzle, and Viv had always been good with puzzles. Plus, she had always been a good student. Many of her teachers had praised her for always doing her homework, even the extra assignments.

Yes, homework. That’s what it was. Maybe if she thought about it that way, it would be easier. As Nova dropped her off in front of her house, Viv decided she would do it. She would get the girl’s name. 

Well, she would try.

Somehow.

Probably?

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