Extracurricular Activities – 8. Regret Retrospective


“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” Jacinda asked for the hundredth time -or, more realistically, for the seventh time-, leaning over the sofa on which Nova was sitting.

“Quite sure,” Nova answered, still reading her lawbook. “Have fun with the hot jerk.”

“We’re going to grab some Chinese food first…” Jacinda said, cocking her head enticingly.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

Her twin sister stared at her for a moment, a hesitant look on her face. After a second of internal debate, she chose not to insist. She of all people knew how obstinate Nova could be. Trying to change her mind was akin to bringing down a concrete wall by shouting at it. Jacinda stared a little more, then waved her goodbye, left the house, and got in her car. Her face still showed that expression of concern, that very same expression she often had when talking to Nova lately.

It wasn’t the first time Jacinda had tried to include her sister in her hanging outs with her boyfriend Christopher. She had done so more than a few times over the last couple of months. Which was rather unusual behavior from her. Although the Abercromby twins had been joined at the hip back when they were kids, ever since puberty they had increasingly started to have their hobbies, their own lives, with their own circle of friends. They were still close, though, just not in the same way.

Then, recently, Jacinda had made efforts to spend more time with her sister. She said she was doing this out of concern that they were growing apart, but Nova knew this was only partly true. The real reason was that Jacinda was worried about her.

Nova had told Jacinda little -close to nothing, in fact- of the trouble she had been going through over the last months. All Jacinda knew was that there was a girl, with whom Nova had gotten involved, until… something happened. Nova had never elaborated on what the something was, or even acknowledged that something did happen. She had done her best not to show it, though, keeping her grades up and hanging out with her friends and family as if everything was normal. Even her parents did not seem to realize something was amiss with their daughter. But Jacinda was not stupid. And when it came to her sister, she was not blind. She could clearly see that Nova was going through a tough time.

The Hellhound put down her lawbook, realizing that she had been reading the same page over and over for the past twenty minutes. She sighed and pinched her nose. Operation Busy Her Mind By Cramming was a failure. On the plus side, she was now probably intimately familiar with the particular, very specific aspect of contract law detailed in that page (a real-life example of unconscionability). Evidently, she needed something else to keep her thoughts occupied. A more efficient form of distraction.

Looking at her surroundings, Nova decided she wouldn’t find it in the family house, in no small part because it was entirely empty save for her. Mr and Mrs Abercromby were having a date night -complete with a hotel room-, their guest Maria was covering a late shift for a coworker, and her sister Jacinda… Oh, right, she was also having date night with her boyfriend.

Gods damn it, she thought. Way to rub it in, universe.

Pinching her nose, she took a deep breath to calm herself down. Well then, this was the perfect time, she decided, to go out and visit one of her favorite hangouts. Or several. The evening had just begun, after all. She got in her car, and programmed the first destination.

The Kalinago was a new-ish theme bar in Emeryville, which had become somewhat popular with the Bay Area’s lesbian community. The theme was the Caribbeans, with several variations through the years: sometimes Jamaican culture was referenced, other times it was Cuban culture. One time they even experimented with a Taino theme. 

That night, they had a pirate thing going on. There were many tricorns and eyepatches among the patrons; at least two even sported fake peg legs. Barely containing an eyeroll, Nova made her way through the crowd and reached the bar. She caught the attention of the barmaid, a middle-aged Ocelomeh wearing a puffed shirt and pair of culottes, and ordered her usual: a Roy Rogers with chili powder.

Sipping her mocktail, she glanced over the attendance. The clientele was, as often, quite diverse, and almost entirely feminine (the only man in sight was one of the bouncers, an Asian Human who was hanging near the back, looking bored out of his skull). Nova looked at several of the ladies dancing on the floor, and at those sitting alone near the bar. No one in particular stood out to her. Grunting, she decided to stay where she was with her drink for sole company.

What’s wrong with me? she thought as she mulled her Roy Rogers. Since when am I so picky? Just choose someone.

After a few minutes, a Kitsune left the dance floor and approached. She, too, was dressed according to the ongoing theme, with an old-timey leather jacket, a tricorn, and a pair of boots with golden buckles on them. Nova could not see her facial features well in the low lighting, but could definitely tell she had some curves to her body.

“Ahoy, me heartie,” she said with a terrible put-on accent, “You look to be some fine booty. What say you we abandon this ship and shiver each other’s timbers?”

At that very second, Nova decided she hated pirates. She said nothing, and finished her mocktail.

“Err, can I buy you another drink?” the Kitsune tried again, both her accent and her confidence gone.

“No,” Nova said. 

The other girl looked cowered for a moment.

“Do you want to get laid?” the Hellhound asked her.

Stupefaction with a hint of joy lightened the Kitsune’s face. “Erm, err, yes? Yes, sure.”

Nova turned to face her. “Ground rules: no talking, no names, no numbers. We have our fun, and that’s it.”

“Uh… Okay.”

“Let’s go,” Nova said, taking her arm and leading her to the bathroom. The Kitsune stumbled a little, once again surprised by her forwardness, but then followed her nicely.

As they entered the better-lit bathroom and chose the first available stall, Nova got a better look at her hookup. She seemed to just be of college age, and wore heavy makeup, possibly in an attempt to look older. Her black hair reached just about her shoulders, with two bangs flanking her brown eyes. She almost looks like her, an intrusive thought suggested. Nova dispelled it, and pinned the Kitsune against the stall’s wall, holding her by the wrists.

“Ow!” she said. “Um… Can you be a bit more gentle?”

Nova grumbled, but eased up. Her paw went to the Kitsune’s bustier, and raised it to reveal two small breasts. Nova toyed with one of their erect nipples with the furred base of her clawed finger. The Kitsune snorted, and giggled.

“You’re tickling me!”

So much for “no talking”. Nova chose to take the foreplay in another direction. She went to the girl’s pants and undid them, revealing a pair of blue striped panties; a damp stain hinted at her arousal. Nova immediately snuck her paw in her underwear, and got a feel of her pussy.

“Straight to the point, huh?” The Kitsune giggled some more. “I like that.”

“Quiet.”

“Sorry, sorry.”

The Kitsune placed her hands around Nova’s arm, guiding her further.

“Oh, I love your fur. I’ve never been with a Werewolf before, but my friend-”

The Hellhound rolled her eyes, and, deciding that her hookup would not shut up on her own, elected to sneak two fingers inside her; she was already wet enough for that. It worked: the Kitsune gasped, and made no further comment. The only sounds out of her mouth as Nova fingered her were moans.

It didn’t take long for the girl to get an orgasm. Annoyingly, this made her giggle again. And talk again.

“Wow, you’re good at this. Mind you, it might be because I’m super horny right now. Do all Were-”

Nova grabbed her by the shoulder, and forced her to bend against the opposite wall. Taking her pants down, the Hellhound kneeled behind her and stuck her tongue in the girl’s pussy. This time, unfortunately, her tongue did not manage to shut the Kitsune up, and she went on to explain that it was the first time someone ate her out in a public bathroom, and that she found it “so funny”.

What’s wrong with me? Nova thought all of a sudden. Why is this pissing me off so much? Sure, the girl was really chatty, but this was not the first time one of her hookups proved to be talkative during the act. It had never annoyed her so much before, though. Even the half-Elf girl who used the word “hashtag” out loud while Nova was scissoring her did not piss her off like that. So what was going on? Why did it seem like this girl’s every flaw was magnified a thousand times, to the point where even the way she breathed as she recovered from another orgasm was enough to irritate Nova?

“Oh my God,” the Kitsune said. “So good…”

Nova stood up and wiped her mouth. Even her taste annoyed her, somehow.

A large smile on her face, she turned around to face Nova, and got down on her knees.

“What are you doing?” Nova asked.

“Returning the favor, silly,” her hookup said. “I’m not selfish.”

Nova watched her struggle with her belt, then pushed her hands off.

“Yeah, let’s stop here, actually.”

“Huh?” The Kitsune cocked her head in confusion.

The Hellhound left the stall without any explanation, or even a simple goodbye. The girl looked even more confused when Nova saw her reflection in the mirror.

That Kitsune wasn’t the only one struggling to understand what had just happened. Nova couldn’t comprehend the way she was acting either. She wracked her brain as she left the bar in a hurry, trying to make sense of her own behavior. A reasonably attractive girl had offered to go down on her and she… refused? Why?

Nova sat in her car, and tried to compose herself. It was fine, her internal voice told her. It was just a hiccup. She had been out of the game for quite some time, it was inevitable that there would be some difficulties going back in. But, like riding a bike, it would come back to her, and soon everything would be dandy again.

It was true that Nova had not had a hookup in a while. Ever since she had started- well, just… in a while. She simply had not felt like it. And as to why she hadn’t…

Nova shook her head. It didn’t matter why she hadn’t felt like it before. She felt like it now.

The onboard computer came alive at her voice command, and she selected the address of her home. She would try another day. This was just a hiccup, the internal voice repeated. The next one would go better. And even if it didn’t, there would be one after that.

***

The next one didn’t go better. And the one after that didn’t go at all.

About three weeks after the Kalinago fiasco, Nova found herself lying on her bed, still fully clothed, having not even found the willpower to take off her boots after yet another disappointing day. Although she had enjoyed the goth aesthetic for several years now, she had never been one to mope or brood. It was simply not her. In most circumstances, she preferred a serene, detached mindset, combined with a strong confidence -which, granted, had originally been a mask she put on. 

And yet, there she was, moping, brooding, and, worse yet, wallowing.

It had been over three weeks of failed attempts and frustrated non-starters. Nova had kept on browsing her favorite bars and nightclubs, trying to find the girl that would get her back on the horse. Unfortunately, the same problems that plagued her the first time happened again. First, she proved picky in her hookups; it was like she had type now, even though she usually enjoyed experimenting with new flavors. Second, even when she actually chose a partner -usually after making a conscious effort to do so-, a score of issues arose during the act.

Well, they didn’t “arise” per se… In hindsight, it was more like Nova was systematically looking for a reason why it wouldn’t work. One used too much tongue. Another had a weird scent. Yet another grinded her teeth too much. Too tall. Too small. Too excited. Too boring. Too much. Too little.

Eventually, Nova assumed the issue came from the fact that what she needed wasn’t casual, vanilla sex. What she needed was something more… binding. As she had heard her twin sister say once: “once you’ve tasted paprika, you can’t go back to mayo”. Maybe she too needed something more like her usual habits. So, she went back to her regular online communities, and tried to find a sub.

It… did not go as she hoped.

 

LatexLilyLangtry: Last night was pretty fun, but it didn’t seem like you were into it. I don’t think we have much of a connection, sorry.

HolySensoryIsolationBatman: Honestly, it looks like you’re looking for something, and that something is not me. Hope you find it.

1I1I1I1I1I: Did you seriously read your messages on your AR lenses while going down on me? Some girls might be into you checking your phone while doing them, but I’m not.

I_Have_A_Klondike_Bar_Fetish: Bad enough that you barely paid attention and actually ignored me at some point (what’s the point of a safeword that the domme doesn’t listen to?!?), but did you have to call me the wrong name?! Don’t message me again. I’m not interested in being your rebound or whatever this is.

With a growling sigh, Nova turned off her AR lenses after reading these messages for the fifth time, then massaged the bridge of her nose. Maybe it was time for another distraction; she still had her boots on anyway. Something simpler, this time. Something that did not have to involve social interactions, if possible. How about visiting her favorite bookshop? Yes, that would work. Nova jumped off her bed and got down the stairs.

Her mother was, as often, working on the living room’s couch, using both her old laptop and her AR lenses. Sitting next to her was her husband, Nova’s father, who was rubbing her feet while watching the television.

“Hey, pup,” her dad said. “I didn’t see you come back.”

“I came home early.”

Her dad saw her car’s keycard in her paw. “Going out?”

“Just going down to the bookshop.”

“Do you even have any room left for more books?” her mom asked.

“I’m just going to browse.”

“Dinner is at eight,” her dad said.

“I’ll be there on time, no problem.”

Her father nodded, then cocked his head. “Is everything okay?”

“Yeah, sure,” Nova replied mechanically.

Both parents glanced at each other, but said nothing. Nova decided to ignore that. However, as she arrived in the driveway and unlocked her car, she noticed her dad had followed her out.

“Can we talk?” he said.

“What about?”

“You, pup.”

Nova bit her lip. He had that look in his eyes, that look she had seen so many times she recognized it immediately. The concerned-dad look.

“Me?” she said. “Why?”

“Because something is going on in your life.”

“I don’t think so,” Nova said with a shrug.

“I think so,” her dad insisted. “I know you’ve been putting up a front for the last few months, and I know you’ve done that because you don’t want to worry us. But we’re your parents, pup. We always know. And your ears may no longer twitch when you lie, but I always know when you’re not being honest. Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, like they say,” her dad said.

“Ah, right. That mysterious past of yours, and that stuff you did with Uncle Gordie.”

“Did he say something?” Her father frowned.

“Not a word, no matter how much I press him. I’m starting to think you didn’t actually do anything.”

“Good. Keep thinking that. Now, about your problem…”

“It’s not a problem,” Nova retorted, a bit too strongly and a bit too fast. She sighed. “It’s just… It’s not important.”

“Obviously, it is. I haven’t seen you smile in a while now.”

“I’m not much of a smiler, dad, you know that.”

“I remember you smiling that day,” her dad said.

“What day?”

“The day you brought that girl home. What was her name again?”

Nova crossed her arms and turned her head.

“Is this about her?” her father asked.

Her lips twitched, but she didn’t answer.

“If you don’t want to talk about it, that’s fine. But if you ever do, I’m here.”

“I appreciate it, dad,” Nova said truthfully.

Father and daughter stayed silent for a moment.

“Your problem, whatever it is…” her dad said. “Is there something you can do about it?”

She resisted the urge to scratch her nose. There was, actually. There was something she could do about it. Well, there might have been. But… it was a leap, at best. And she had no real idea how she could do it.

“Well, that’s all I wanted to say,” her dad said. “See you at dinner.”

“Yeah…”

She found the bookshop delightfully empty and quiet. Other than her, the only living beings present were the owner, Mrs Yarwood, and her pet Turkish Angora Clemens, who was currently tongue-cleaning his dark tortoiseshell fur in the biography section. Nova wandered the bookshelves, finding the company of books helpful in getting her out of her head. She even managed to find a theological essay (Of The Morality Of The Abrahamic Hell) that absorbed her so completely she forgot the name that had been running in her head for what seemed like ages. That was, at least, until Mrs Yarwood interrupted her literary meditation.

“I’ll be closing soon, Nova dear,” the old woman said.

“Okay, Mrs Yarwood, I’ll be on my way. Have a good evening.”

The old Orc woman didn’t really have closing hours, choosing instead to close her doors when she felt too tired to keep them open -which was surprisingly late, given her age. Nova, who was rather well acquainted with her, suspected that Mrs Yarwood, since she became a widow, had little else in her life other than managing that little bookshop of hers, which was why she was spending so much time there. The fact that it used to belong to her late husband probably factored in as well.

That last thought brought back the name to Nova’s mind, who shoved the essay back where it belonged before storming out.

She came back several times over the next few days, right after school, after coming to the conclusion that the old bookshop was the only thing that could properly clear her mind. In fact, it was the only thing she was willing to try anymore, having completely abandoned her attempts to hook up with random girls.

Then, one Thursday evening, as she was reading a particularly mediocre fantasy novel, she heard a young woman speak to Mrs Yarwood. She immediately recognized the high-pitched, musical voice.

“Hello again, Mrs! I was wondering if my friend had come back.”

Mrs Yarwood talked back, her voice too low to be heard. The girl thanked her.

Nova’s sense of smell confirmed what she heard before her eyes could. The air in the bookshop carried a floral, sort of minty scent. There was no doubt about it: it was Claribel.

She was wearing some tattered jeans and a denim vest that day, along with her habitual collection of jewelry. Her normally loose hair had a few braids, and a bit of orange makeup underlined her almond-shaped eyes. Her usual happy, go-lucky expression was nowhere to be seen, however. She looked serious, almost severe.

Nova frowned. What was she doing here? She lived nowhere near that bookshop.

“Hello, Nova.”

The Hellhound was a little surprised by her use of her first name. Then again, what else would she call her in such circumstances, after all this time?

“Hi, Clara.” After a brief hesitation, she added: “How are you doing?”

“How am I doing?” the Dryad repeated, raising an eyebrow. “Is that your first question? I’d have thought you’d want to know how Viv is doing.”

“Just being polite,” Nova said, trying to ignore how her heart skipped a beat when Clara had said that name. “I’m more curious as to what you’re doing here.”

“Oh, I was looking for you. Thought that’d be obvious.”

“And you just happened to find me here?”

“Well, not really. Viv told me you shop here sometimes, so I’ve been coming over the last few days until I met you.”

That name again. And again, that abnormal reaction from her heart.

“You’ve been stalking me?”

“No, I’ve just been to places where I know you’d be.”

“That’s stalking. That’s the definition of stalking.”

“Well, whatever,” Clara said, with her trademark bratty shrug.

“So why go through all this effort?”

“I needed to talk to you.”

“What about?” Nova browsed the shelf for another book, having given up on the one she was reading.

“What about?” Clara repeated. “Take a wild guess.”

Nova sighed, closing her eyes.

“She really misses you, you know.”

The Hellhound resumed her browsing without a word.

“Why haven’t you even called her?” Clara insisted.

“We… There’s nothing to say.”

“Oh, bull.”

“It was months ago. I moved on.”

“Double bull! She told me when her brother was in the hospital, she called you and you rushed there to comfort her.”

The memory of that time flashed back before her eyes. The hospital, cold and reeking of bleach. Viviana, standing before her, her cheeks covered with tears, her eyes filled with fear and confusion. Their hug, tight and warm.

It shouldn’t have happened. It had only made things worse. She should have stayed away.

But how could she?…

“It was just the one time,” Nova said. “Viv and I are over.”

Clara made a derisive noise. “Honestly, I thought you’d come to your senses much sooner. But apparently, even after several months, you’re still in denial.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”

“Holy crap,” Clara said, rolling her eyes. “Do you need me to spell it? L-O-V-E! You’re in love!”

“You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The moment she had said that, Nova knew it was a lie. She herself had begun suspecting the real nature of her feelings towards Viv some time ago, and even had a -brief- conversation with her twin sister about it.

“Oh, please,” Clara said. “At first, I thought you were just crushing on Viv. I mean, I could tell, clear as day. But then, I could taste it on you; it wasn’t just a crush! And the way you reacted when she confessed, I just knew. No way you’d have done something so radical unless you were in-”

“It wasn’t radical,” Nova interrupted. “I just- I decided to put an end to things before they got too serious.”

“Yeah, right! You got scared, more like. You got scared, because you realized this thing with Viv wasn’t just one of your casual flings!”

“How do you know about that?” Nova inquired.

“You’ve got something of a reputation on campus. But I’ve asked around lately -okay, so I guess I have kinda been stalking you-, and I’ve been told those flings haven’t gone so well. Like you’ve been trying to rebound, and it’s not working.”

She jabbed a finger in Nova’s chest, who barely felt it. “Admit it. You’re in love with Viv.”

“This is pointless,” Nova muttered. She tried to walk away, but Clara blocked her. There was too little space between the shelves to allow her to circumvent the persistent Dryad.

“Huh-uh,” Clara said. “I promised Viv I’d make this right. It’s partly my fault, after all. I pushed her to confess, which led to all of this mess..”

“Kind of like you’re pushing me to confess?”

She tried again to leave, but Clara wouldn’t budge.

“Move.”

“Just admit, already!” The Dryad threw her hands in the air.

“You’re not going to let this go, are you?”

“Never.” She crossed her arms. “I promised Viv.”

Maybe it was the exasperation, maybe it was the emotion in Clara’s voice, or maybe it was the buildup over the last few weeks.

“FINE!” she screamed out, before remembering that she was in a bookshop.

“Say it,” Clara said through clenched teeth.

“I love her. I love Viv.”

The words dropped from her lips like lead. A part of her expected to feel some weight taken off her shoulders and her heart, but instead they felt heavier. Wasn’t the truth supposed to make one feel better?

Well, in this case, Nova knew why it didn’t: because simply admitting the truth did not change anything. Merely realizing her problem didn’t solve it.

“So what are you going to do?” Clara said.

“Do?”

“To get her back! Stop acting stupid, already.”

Clara’s curtness surprised Nova. I really am no longer her mistress, she thought.

“What can I do?” Nova said. “I hurt her.”

“That’s putting it mildly,” Clara said. “She was a wreck for weeks after you dumped her.”

The Hellhound winced.

“Again, what are you going to do?”

“Are you-

“Yes, I’m going to hassle you until you answer me,” Clara quickly said.

Nova groaned. “I figured.”

“Like I said, I’m gonna fix this. Now, tell me.”

“I- I don’t know, all right?” It was Nova’s turn to throw her arms up in the air, her claws flying wildly like she was trying to cut the tension. “I have no idea. How am I supposed to get her back? It’s not like I can just walk up to her after this time, and just apologize and ask her back.”

“Well, duh,” Clara said, complete with an eyeroll. “It’s going to take a lot more than “sorry” to make up for how you broke her heart and stomped on it on your way out.”

“You’re really not pulling any punches,” Nova noted.

“Hell no. You hurt my girlfriend. I love her too, I’ll have you know.”

“Fair enough,” the Hellhound muttered.

“Do you want a suggestion?” Clara said.

“Does it matter if I say no?”

“Nope. What you need is a grand romantic gesture.”

“Really?” Nova’s left ear dropped down. “Like in a romantic comedy?”

“Yeah, kind of.”

“I hate rom coms.”

“Well, maybe, but you love Viv, and Viv would love a romantic gesture.”

“I’m not sure about that,” Nova said. “Such gestures tend to be public, and Viv tends to prefer avoiding public attention.”

“Good point, but I meant a very special kind of romantic gesture. A very Viv kind of romantic gesture.”

“Sounds like you’ve got a plan already.”

“I sure do,” Clara said with a proud smirk. “Been working on it for the past few weeks. Not to toot my own horn, but it’s excellent and very sexy.”

“Hmm, I’ll bet. So go ahead, what’s your plan?”

Clara leaned towards her and whispered conspiratorially: “All right. First of all, have you read the end of her story, Darlene and the Vampire? I’m sure you have.”

“We haven’t met ever since the hospital. And I didn’t ask her to show me then.”

“She published it online. Don’t pretend you haven’t found out.”

Clara was correct. During one of her many lonely evenings, Nova had scoured the net, in search of a story to… well, rouse her senses. After many filters, several searches, and quite a few rejects, she eventually found a story that she immediately recognized. It was Darlene and the Vampire. Nova was astonished to find out that Viv had worked up the courage to publish it -under a pen name, of course-, and even more so to see that it had been completed.

Nova had stared at the story’s title for a long time, hesitant to click it. She knew, or she suspected at least, that reading it would be akin to picking a scab. Eventually, she had read it in its entirety, telling herself that she just needed to know how it ended. She had then proceeded to bookmark it, and went back the next evening to read it all over again. And the evening after that. And the evening after that. In total, she must have been responsible for about a hundred of the clicks displayed under the story’s title.

“Yes, yes, I did read it,” Nova said, her cheeks darkening.

“It’s great, isn’t it? She even edited the first chapters, and they’re even better!”

“It’s pretty good, yes.”

“Pretty good.” Carla scoffed. “It’s hella good. I must have masturbated like a thousand times reading it. Especially when she read it to me.”

“Hmm,” Nova said, a twinge of jealousy contracting in her stomach.

“Oh, relax. Soon, she’ll be reading it to you too. And her new stuff, as well. Did you know she’s already working on her next novel?”

That didn’t surprise Nova. Viv loved writing. She basically spent every idle moment writing something on those AR glasses she wore all the time.

“What does that have to do with your plan?”

“Do you remember chapter twenty?”

Nova did not have to try very hard to remember; that particular chapter, she had read and reread quite a few times.

“You know,” Clara explains -not that she needed to-, “after Mrs Lowell decides she must have Darlene back, and…” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.

“Wait, are you suggesting…”

“That you literally take a page from Viv’s book?” Clara said. “Eeyup. Well, not literally, since it’s online and it doesn’t actually have pages, but…” She pressed a finger on her bottom lip. “Or actually, does that still count as literal? The website she published it on actually got a “book mode”, with pages and everything.”

“This is crazy,” Nova said bluntly. “I mean, that’s… that’s kind of illegal.”

“Only without consent.”

“But does Viv…”

“Why do you think she wrote it?” the Dryad retorted with a smile.

“Are you saying she was planning this?”

“Planning? No. Hoping, more like. I mean, Mrs Lowell was inspired by you, in case you haven’t noticed.”

Nova rolled her eyes. Of course she had noticed that.

“This is crazy,” she said again.

“Crazy hot,” Clara sighed. “I might ask that you do the same to me as my reward.”

“Your reward?”

“Hey, I’m getting you the girl you love! You better be thankful.”

“If your plan works. Which, to be honest, I very much doubt.”

“Hold on a minute, I haven’t even told you the actual plan yet,” Clara said. “First of all- wait, second of all-, you know spring break is coming soon, right?”

“By soon, you mean at the end of the week?”

“Wait, it’s this Friday?” The Dryad’s eyes grew wide. “Oh my goddess, I thought it was next week!” She took a moment to compose herself, then resumed: “Okay, well, that gives us less time than I thought, but that’s fine. It’s fine. Everything’s ready anyway.”

“Everything’s ready? What are you talking about?”

“Do you have any plans for spring break?” Clara asked, ignoring her question.

“I-” Nova deliberated. The correct answer was a resounding no, but she tried to find a way to formulate that in a way that didn’t make her sound lonely.

“Well, cancel them,” the Dryad interrupted her. “You’re going on vacation in Walnut Creek.”

“… To your family’s home? Why?”

“Because my family and I are going on a vacation in Sweden, and I told my aunt I found a house-sitter.”

“You volunteered me,” Nova said.

“I sure did.”

The Hellhound licked her upper lip, her neck taut with tension. “Why am I house-sitting for you?”

“Because it’s part of the plan, duh.” Indifferent to the way Nova’s nostrils flared, she went on: “Now third of all: do you know where Viv will be Friday evening?”

“I do not.”

“There is going to be a erotica convention in San Francisco, lasting for a few days.”

“Ah, right, Erocon,” Nova said. She had known about it for quite a while, and in fact visited last year -the first year she was of legal age to do so. The convention had a large section dedicated to the BDSM community. “Wait, she’s actually going there?”

“Right?” Clara giggled. “I managed to convince her to give it a try. It’s gonna be so fun! I’ll be going with her, of course; no way she’d do this alone.”

“Okay, so-”

“You’ll be there too. That’s where the plan will come into action.”

“No, I got that,” Nova said, her ears flattening in exasperation. “The problem is, I don’t have a ticket, and it’s always sold out weeks in advance.”

“Ta-da!” Clara exclaimed, fiddling on her phone. Nothing happened for a few seconds. “Wait, wrong button. Ta-da!”

A notification popped up in Nova’s lenses. Clara had sent her an email; she didn’t need to open it to guess what the joint file was.

“You’ve really prepared for this.”

“One thousand percent. So, are you onboard with the plan?” Lower, she added: “The only correct answer is yes.”

“You heard me say this is crazy, right?”

“I did, uh-uh.” She clasped her hands. “Anyway, I’ll be in touch. Toodles!”

Nova watched her walk away, shaking her head with incredulity.

No way, she thought to herself. There is no way such a plan can work. She can’t possibly think I’m going to go along with it.

She opened the email, and looked at the ticket attached.

No way in Hell. I’m not doing it.

***

The BDSM section of Erocon, while not as crowded as the rest of the convention, had quite a few people in attendance on the very first day. They were a very diverse crowd, too, made out of people of all genders and all kinds. Judging by the accents, they had come from all over the country, and even from across the border. The vendors at their stalls were very busy, and at least one of them had already run out of stock of several particularly popular items.

Viv browsed the alley, her eyes bouncing left and right like a child in a candy store. Despite her initial reluctance, she was having a lot of fun at this convention. She was learning a lot, discovering quite a few things, and even meeting some interesting people. This was a surprise to her, but not as much as the fact that she didn’t feel the least bit anxious -almost a miracle, given the circumstances.

She wondered how much of that was thanks to the mask she was wearing. Indeed, part of the reason she agreed to go was that she would be wearing a mask the whole time, hiding her face so that no one could possibly recognize her; this even though she admitted the odds of meeting someone she knew were very low. It was a psychological thing, and she knew it, but it worked.

Actually, “mask” was not the proper term to describe what she was wearing. It was an article of clothing considered a BDSM classic: a leather hood. It covered almost her entire head, including the upper part of her neck, with the exception of her eyes and her nose, which could be covered by a blindfold slid over the forehead. There was also a hole in the back, letting her long black hair through in a sort of makeshift ponytail. The material was a special sort of leather; Viv couldn’t remember what it was called on the online shop where she got it, but it felt very light, and her skin could breathe just fine through it. She had been wearing it for over an hour now, and she barely felt hot. It muffled her voice a little, but she could still be heard properly.

Yes, the mask/hood was definitely half of the reason why she was so relaxed. The other half was holding her hand, happily humming and almost skipping as she went through the aisles. She too wore a mask, a simple black domino mask which only hid a small portion of her face.

“Hey, look at that!” Clara said, pointing at yet another stall. This one sold a variety of foodstuffs… made for a certain use; the kind of use that didn’t require plates or cutlery.

The Dryad led her girlfriend to the stall, and pointed at a frosted fudge cupcake bra.

“Those would go great with my hair, don’t you think?”

Viv chuckled, blushing a little under the leather.

“Oooh, and look!” Clara exclaimed, grabbing a pot of chocolate. “I bet your toes would taste delicious dipped in that.”

Her chuckle turned into actual laughter, even though she knew Clara was probably not joking.

“So, is that my surprise?” Viv asked. “An intimate dinner? We should get something more than just sugar, then.”

“Ha-ha!” Clara raised her index, then booped Viv’s nose over the hood. “I already told you: no hints.”

Turning to the vendor, the Dryad bought the bra, a pair of panties of the same material, the chocolate, and some Jell-o.

“Lime?” Viv said. “I’m not sure that’ll go well with chocolate.”

“Oh, that’s for another part of your body, babe.” Lower, she explained: “You know, the one with the taste I’m addicted to.”

Viv was once again thankful for her hood, as it felt like her entire head had turned a luminescent red.

One hour later, both girls were carrying quite a few bags. The budget they had set aside in anticipation of this convention was already half-gone. Between their load and the fact that they were getting tired of walking, they decided to take a little break at a coffee shop they found inside the convention center. Viv got them a table while Clara absconded for a moment to put all their buyings in her car.

“I’m super hungry,” Clara said after she came back, browsing the online menu. “Let’s eat something or I won’t last until dinner.”

“Good idea, h-honey” Viv said.

She winced. Some time ago, she had taken to calling her girlfriend by a pet name, since Clara did the same for her. The habit proved a little hard to take, however, and she felt awkward whenever she tried. Still, she persisted, since Clara seemed to like it -and to find it adorable when she stammered.

“I suppose you’ll want to wash your hands first,” Clara said. “Go ahead, I’ll hold our seats.”

“Thanks.”

Possibly as a result of her issues with anxiety, Viv took handwashing very seriously. She always had to wash her hands before eating, even if it was just for a snack. It just didn’t feel right otherwise. She also systematically did it after using the toilet… and after “taking care of herself”, too.

The public bathroom was reasonably clean, in spite of how many people had probably used it that day. The only signs of mess were a bin filled with used tissues and traces of soap all over one sink. In addition, someone had dropped an empty bag of chips and hadn’t cared enough to pick it up and put it in the bin barely one foot away. The mirrors above the sinks were those kinds that displayed advertisements when not in use. Viv decided not to use hers -it wasn’t like she would have been able to see her face anyway-, and let it play out some ad about a brand of women’s razors. She took off her coat to avoid splashing water on it, hung it on a hook beside the sink, and opened the faucet.

As the fresh water poured over her wrists, Viv suddenly had a strange feeling. It was the kind of feeling, born of her subconscious, that she couldn’t name, or even decide whether it was good or bad -or both. An intuitive feeling she had had too many times over the past few months.

She was thinking about her. Again.

As mentioned, this had happened several times -okay: many times. Despite her best attempts to conjure the memories, they would regularly pop up, often brought up by the unlikeliest things. One time, she was reminded of her by a pair of boots she saw on display in a shoe shop. Another time, it was a Werewolf on the bus who, with her back turned, kinda-sorta looked like her. Oh, and there was that particularly embarrassing time when the memories were brought to her mind by a doorknob whose shape was vaguely similar to the anal plug Viv had worn once. The way Viv’s mind worked mystified her sometimes.

So what was it that had jogged her memory this time? She pondered the question as she rubbed soap all over her hands. Something she saw? There was barely anything in this bathroom. Heard? The only thing to hear was the water running. Something she smelled then?

She blinked. That was it. In the air floated a scent that reminded Viv of her smell. She raised her nose to better smell it. It was indeed pretty close. No, not just close. That… That was exactly what Nov-

Out of nowhere, a powerful arm wrapped around her arms, pinning them against her torso, while a large hand slammed over her mouth. Viv screamed in fear, but even she barely heard the sound of her own voice, muffled as it was by her hood and the stranger’s hand. She struggled to get free, but her strength proved completely irrelevant. As easily as if they were pulling a bag of feathers, the stranger dragged her back into the stall from which they had apparently emerged. The stranger closed and locked the door, then sat down on the toilet, forcing her captive to sit on their lap in turn.

Viv was terrified. Or rather, she should have been. But, as she began to see through the cloud of adrenaline brought on by the initial fright, she started to notice several things. First of all, the stranger’s hand was not quite a hand. It was big and furry, with claws at the fingers’ tips, and looked more like it belonged to a wolf or even a bear rather than to a Human. Second of all, the arm barring her torso was also furry too, and pretty damn strong. Third of all, the stranger was clearly a woman, as evidenced by the massive breasts Viv felt pressing against her back. Wait. She recognized those-

Her thoughts were abruptly interrupted when the stranger pulled her hood’s blindfold down, covering her eyes completely and plunging her in darkness. Her nose, however, still stuck out, and she could smell just fine. And what she smelled cemented what she suspected.

“Nnnvvv?” she mumbled.

Without answering or even acknowledging her muffled query, the stranger pulled up Viv’s skirt, who squealed as her underwear was revealed. Befitting the occasion, Viv had decided, under Clara’s advice/insistence, to wear lingerie that day. She heard her assailant chuckled darkly as she ran a claw over her black lace panties… and slashed it! Viv winced and shivered, her adrenaline spiking. The “stranger” removed the ripped panties. Then, she lowered Viv’s hood until her mouth appeared.

Viv opened her mouth. To speak or to scream, she wasn’t sure; her mind was in turmoil, being battled over by her fear and… by something else. Before she could decide what to say, the assaillant shoved her own balled panties in her mouth, and slid the hood back in place. Effectively gagged, Viv could not make any sound above a light groan.

The woman then grabbed Viv’s wrists and pulled them in front of her, the latter’s efforts to fight off the assailant once again useless. Viv sensed something plastic being wrapped around her wrists, and being tightened. She tried to break through the restraints but, predictably, they wouldn’t give an inch.

“Did you think you could escape from me, Viviana?” the stranger growled in her ear.

Viv’s eyebrows jumped up. It was Nova! Her voice was unmistakable. But, wait, what did she say?

“You belong to me. For all of eternity.”

Viv’s jaw would have dropped if her hood allowed it. This… This was a line from her story. Mrs Lowell’s dialogue, to be precise. What was happening? Why was she here? Did that mean-

She squeaked, barely audibly. While she was distracted, Nova had moved her paw between her legs. Viv felt something small and cold pressing against her labia. Before she could close her legs to protect from intrusion, a mysterious object had entered her. Nova moved it inside the folds of her pussy, making her squeak again, until it was safely in place and could not budge. The object, whatever it was, was a little uncomfortable, but didn’t cause Viv any pain; it soon stopped being cold.

“But you’ll have the next few weeks to fully realize it,” Nova said, quoting the rest of the dialogue.

Nova stood up, still restraining Viv by holding her fully against her with one arm. The Hellhound frog-marched her out of the stall, and Viv heard her activate the mirror, interrupting a particularly noisy diet food ad. Then, she grabbed her captive by the wrists and the neck, and forced her to bend over. She placed Viv’s hands on the sink so she could support herself, and kicked one of her legs to spread them. Viv then felt some cold air on her ass, and realized Nova was lifting the back of her skirt.

Another object, smaller in size and conic in shape, was pushed against her anus. Viv reflexively clenched, and moved her hands to try and protect her bottom. This was immediately stopped when Nova’s paw stinged her asscheek, and pushed down on her neck, bending her further. Viv’s pussy started dripping as she was once again made familiar with the sensation of being spanked by her m- by Nova. She lowered her head in surrender, and let the Hellhound push the second object -in all likelihood a plug- in her ass. It felt wet against her rectum; no doubt Nova had lubed it beforehand. Viv was then made to stand upright again, her neck still secured in Nova’s paw. Her blindfold came off, letting her look at the mirror.

A longing sigh dropped from Viv’s obfuscated lips when she saw Nova’s reflection. She looked every bit as gorgeous and sexy as she did the last time, months ago. Her long hair looked shaggier, giving her a bit of a wild look. Her orange eyes burned with a mixture of emotion, predominantly lust and dominance. Viv stared at them, drowning herself in them. She still couldn’t believe Nova was really there.

Nova picked up Viv’s coat and hung it over her tied wrists, hiding the zip tie, and effectively dissimulating the fact that she was restrained. Her paw left her prey’s neck, and went to cup the underneath of her chin, her claws digging into her cheeks. Her other paw went around Viv and landed on her hip.

“Now, we’ll be leaving the center,” she said. “You will walk beside me, calmly and without slowing down. If you so much as try to get away from me…”

A blue glint danced in her eyes, revealing the lenses in them. Less than a second later, a vibe shook Viv, coming from her pussy and her ass. There was no doubt anymore as to the nature of the objects Nova had forced inside her. The vibe was quick, but powerful enough to weaken the muscles of her legs, and shake her whole body. Viv tried to moan, but her panties got in the way. She couldn’t run, she couldn’t scream…

Wait, did she say “leaving the center”? Viv thought. As Nova pulled on her hip to lead her out of the bathroom, Viv mumbled her confusion. The Hellhound looked her in the eyes again, and said:

“I’m stealing you away, Viviana.”

The captive girl’s eyes opened wide as saucers, before Nova slid the blindfold down again.

As she was led through some kind of hallway, Viv tried not to squeal or jump with joy. This was incredible! Nova was roleplaying a chapter from her novel. And not just any chapter. This one took place after Darlene’s parents, vehemently opposed to her relationship with Mrs Lowell, had taken her out of the university, and essentially sequestered her in the family home. As a despondent Darlene begins to accept the idea that she’d never see Mrs Lowell again, the vampire eventually decides to trespass in the home during a big party, in order to “kidnap” her lover, right under her parents’ noses, by making it look like she was just leaving with a guest. An appropriately strange happily ever after for such a strange couple.

Eventually, Viv was taken outside the building -she could tell by the noise of traffic, and the warm spring air blowing on her face. Nova made her stop. Then, Viv heard the characteristic sound of a trunk being opened, and a quiver ran through her body. The Hellhound did not really have to force her to enter it, although she did it anyway. As she laid down on what felt like a comfortable blanket put there, Viv sensed Nova grab her wrists, remove the coat, and connect the zip tie to some kind of hook or carabiner above Viv’s head. Another zip tie was then attached around her ankles, and similarly attached.

Viv managed to moan loud enough to pass through the barrier of her gag. She had played such a scene in her mind several times in the past, before she added one version of it in that chapter of her novel. Clara, who had served as proof-reader, had deemed it to be the “sweetest and hottest kidnapping ever”. As Viv slithered on the blanket, waiting for the trunk’s door to close and for the car to depart, taking her who knows where, she wondered if perhaps her version had in fact undersold how naughty it felt.

Then, the most surprising thing happened. More surprising than Nova’s appearance, or her snatching of Viv. The Hellhound approached her face from Viv’s -she could sense her hot breath-, and kissed her on the mouth. Well, on the leather hood. Viv couldn’t even feel her lips through the material, but all the same her heart almost exploded in her ribcage.

“You’re mine again, Viviana,” she murmured. “And this time, you’re not getting away from me.”

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