The Freshman
Copyright 2005 by EC
EC's Erotic Art & Fiction -
(warnings: corporal punishment, erotic discipline, public nudity, sex between adults, references to drug use, references to violence, language)

Chapter 21 – A Problem, a Question, and a Solution

The following day the reception area of the University Memorial Center was reserved for conferences and the visiting Danubian leaders. The university president, the governor, and several local politicians and union leaders awaited the foreign delegation, while Cecilia Sanchez and Cynthia Lee stood waiting with the group of graduate students. A large banner hung in front of the building with the inscription:

Doc-Doc Danube! – Our university welcomes our Danubian guests

The Danubians arrived in a convoy of cars owned by the university. There were no limousines, because the Prime Minister was concerned that riding around in a limousine on an overseas trip while many of his own citizens still were without adequate housing would not be appropriate. Prime Minister Dukov and his daughter Anyia got out of the university president’s car together, followed by about 20 other members of the party. Dukov’s appearance was not imposing at all. He was dressed in a very ordinary business suit. He looked like he was in his mid-50s, average height and stature, his hair closely cropped, and very ordinary features. Still, even at a distance, Cecilia could tell there was something about him… something in his character that set him apart.

As previously instructed, a student from the Music School unrolled one of the Danubian flags, clipped it to a staff, and passed it to the Prime Minister’s daughter. Anyia was wearing a traditional Danubian dress and had her hair braided in the traditional Danubian style. However, being only 17, she looked somewhat uneasy standing in a foreign university in her formal attire. Anyia took the flag, briefly knelt, and then stood up facing eastwards holding the staff to the side at a 45-degree angle. Then she did something that shocked the US audience: she let out an ear-piercing whistle. The delegation immediately faced to the east, placed their right fists against their left shoulders, and shouted:


That was the cue for the university band to start playing the military prelude to the Danubian national anthem. There was a pause, and then Anyia crisply tilted the flag upright while the band played an ancient-sounding tune which was sung by the guest singer from California. Dukov and his party stood at attention with their fists pressed against their left shoulders while his daughter continued to hold the flag upright.

The U.S. anthem was played next. The Danubians stood quietly at attention while their hosts sang. The exchange of anthems was followed by several welcoming speeches by the university president, the state governor, and the director of Burnside’s economic foundation. Dukov then stepped forward and thanked his hosts in accented, but very correct English. He introduced the members of his cabinet who had accompanied him. His Minister of Finance and his Minister of Foreign Relations stood behind him, but also present was the Danubian Minister of Education and the Minister of Health. Each minister had a translator and two assistants. There were no relatives on the trip, just members of the government. As for the Prime Minister’s daughter, even her presence had an official purpose. Danubian tradition mandated that during an official ceremony the national flag had to be presented in the hands of an unmarried young woman, preferably either a member of the Danubian Royal Family or the daughter of the most important public official present.

Although Dukov’s visit officially was a private trip, his reasons for travelling to Chicago were not private at all. He knew that a systematic effort to rebuild the fire-damaged regions of his country could not wait much more than a few months, since many of the fire victims still were living in temporary housing two years after having been burnt out of their homes. However, he also knew that a reconstruction plan not centered around a solid economic development policy would be a huge waste of money and in the long run do more harm to the region than good. A “quick fix” had been the campaign strategy of his opponents in the previous year’s election. He had dismissed a “quick fix”, but he knew the people of the eastern regions had waited long enough. The area’s economic infrastructure needed to rebuild, and the rebuilding would at least have to be well underway by the end of the next summer.

Prime Minister Vladim Dukov had chosen to visit Chicago for a specific reason. Ruth Burnside, Jim Halsey, and several other leading economists at Cecilia’s university were members of a major national economic think-tank called the Greater Mid-Western Foundation for Economic Development and International Cooperation. Because of the institution’s cumbersome name, everyone simply referred to it as “the Foundation”. What set the Foundation apart from most other US economic think tanks was the organization’s cautious approach to globalization and its members’ rejection of purist Neo-Liberal philosophies. Dukov wanted to develop an economic strategy for his country that would assure that modernizing the Danubian economy would not undermine the country’s famed social stability. The Foundation’s philosophy matched the overall philosophy of the new Danubian government, and Dukov came to Chicago looking for advice that he could apply in his own country. His Minister of Finance was an economist, and prior to his current assignment, had been the Director of Economic Studies at the National University in Danube City. He was ready to discuss economic theory with his hosts, with the hope there would be a follow-up meeting later in the spring between Foundation members and a delegation from the Danubian Ministry of Finance.

It turned out that Dukov’s visit was more ambitious than his hosts had envisioned, because he wanted to address much more than the redevelopment of his country’s fire-damaged regions. He approached the mayor of the city with his Minister of Health, asking that the official, his translator, and his two assistants be given a complete tour of the city’s drug zones and briefings about what local officials were doing to reduce Chicago’s drug problem. He then approached the president of the university and separated the Minister of Education from his group, asking the two officials to discuss the prospects of a student exchange between his hosts’ institution and the National University in Danube City.

With his Ministers of Finance and Foreign Relations, Dukov approached the faculty members of Economics Department and asked about the meeting schedule. He passed copies of the schedule to his two ministers, translated some of their questions into English to clarify what actually would be happening at the meetings, and asked his hosts to try to expand the range of topics to be covered over the next week.

Burnside and her associates looked at each other in surprise. Dukov obviously was a man on a mission. There was nothing rude or abrasive about his behavior, but he was making it clear to everyone that he was taking his visit very seriously and wanted to get the most out of his week in Chicago. He was not interested in socializing; he was interested in getting help and advice for his government.

However, Dukov’s humble origins became clear as he made it a point to greet everyone present, professors, graduate students, and assistants alike. Cecilia and Cynthia Lee were standing in the group of graduate students. Dukov greeted the graduate students right after he shook hands with the professors. He very warmly greeted Cynthia, obviously holding back the urge to give her a big hug from one close friend to another. Then he greeted Cecilia.

“I understand you are Kimberly’s friend Cecilia Sanchez?”

Cecilia’s heart jumped at being referred to as “Kimberly’s friend” and at the simple fact the Danubian Prime Minister already knew who she was.

“Y… Yes, Prime Minister Dukov… I’m Cecilia.”

“I am quite pleased to meet you. Kimberly informed me that you have been of considerable assistance to her musical endeavors, so I consider your presence here an honor.”

Again Cecilia’s heart jumped. “Th… Thank you, sir. I’m very honored to meet you as well.”

“Very well, Cecilia. I would be pleased if you could accompany Cynthia to have dinner with us tomorrow night. Also, Kimberly entrusted a package to me, which she asked me to deliver to you. You may retrieve it from Anyia… my daughter, you will understand.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.”

With that he passed her a card, an invitation to a formal dinner the next night. He warmly shook her hand, and moved on. Ruth Burnside, who had overheard the exchange, glanced at her with a completely perplexed expression. Her little sophomore scholarship student, who just two years before had been living in a New Jersey public housing project, had been invited to have dinner with the leader of a nation.

For several long minutes Cecilia had a very hard time getting her breath back, she was so excited.

That night Dukov gave a press conference, facing down hostile reporters who asked critical questions about his government’s independent foreign policy, his confrontations with Mega-Town and other major trans-national corporations, and Upper Danubia’s human rights record. He was asked about his government’s widespread use of forced public nudity and periodic corporal punishments to discipline convicted criminals. He responded:

“My nation’s attitude towards punishing criminals has remained the same for many years. Life for a convicted criminal in our country is not pleasant, but a pleasant existence is not the goal of our judicial system. The goal we have for the criminal is learning respect, learning how to reform, and learning how to lead a useful life, even while serving a sentence. We do not place people in cages. We do not cut them off from their families and from all usefulness to the community. Instead we strive to re-incorporate our criminals into society and return them to their families the day after they are sentenced. And is what you are suggesting more humane? Think about that. The Danubian nation is the only country in the world that has no jails or prisons. Before you critique our judicial system, I would ask you to compare how many criminals in the Danubian nation re-offend, and how many in the United States re-offend. I believe those statistics speak for themselves. Because of those statistics, I believe that our judicial system is far superior to yours. The United States criminal justice system has failed to protect your society, and its failure is evident for all of us to see quite plainly. If you still wish to condemn my country’s judicial system, may I suggest that you are doing so based on your cultural preconceptions, and not on the facts?”

The more she heard Dukov speak, the more Cecilia admired him. He proved himself to be very hard-headed, but when he countered another person’s argument, he made sure he understood the other person’s opinion before giving his own. It became clear why Jason’s father hated him so much, because he was not willing to give an inch unless he felt doing so would benefit the people who had elected him to be the Prime Minister of his country. What was worse for people like Mr. Schmidt and his clients was that Dukov combined his hard-headedness and shrewdness with strong personal values and idealism. He was surrounded by equally idealistic, shrewd and hard-headed traditionalists determined to defend their nation’s society and values. If they stood in the way of some foreign company wanting to make money, that did not concern them in the least.

After the press conference Cecilia and Cynthia sought out Dukov’s daughter, who seemed a bit overwhelmed by her first trip overseas. Cecilia approached Anyia about the package, after Cynthia greeted her and talked to her for a few minutes in Danubian. Anyia spoke only a little English, not being nearly as fluent as her father. Dukov’s daughter dug into a document carrier and handed over a cube-shaped package. Through the language barrier she struggled to explain:

“Geemberglee, she say me, I give music to you, Cecilek. Then you give music to boyfriend grandma. Please give to boyfriend grandma, and she listen to music.”

The package was a box of CD’s with a note on it. It read:

“For Mrs. Schmidt. This is a complete collection of what our group has put out so far. I am happy that our music has brought pleasure into your life, and I hope you enjoy our latest CD’s. – Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna # 98945”.

The next day Cecilia realized how important Dukov considered Cynthia Lee as the graduate student accompanied him from meeting to meeting. Cynthia found herself in the awkward position of relaying requests and orders to the professor hosting the conference, essentially being tasked by the Danubian Prime Minister to tell the sponsors what changes he wanted in the meeting venue as some of his questions were answered and others arose. The professors were somewhat irritated at having to take orders from a graduate student, but Cindy’s importance in Dukov’s life was undeniable. Without her, he would not have won the previous year’s election.

As they got ready to have dinner with Dukov and his daughter that night, Cynthia relayed some interesting news to Cecilia, information that directly affected the road dispute between Upper Danubia and the EU that she had researched for Ruth Burnside. Kim’s sister had gone over to Dukov’s hotel the previous evening to have a private dinner with the Prime Minister and his daughter. Dukov confided that the reason his government had waited to begin reconstruction in the east was because he was hoping to resolve several problems simultaneously, of which the fire damage was only one.

Dukov’s most important ambition was to formalize his country’s southern border, and then form an alliance with his southern neighbor to re-negotiate the proposed commercial road on terms far more favorable to both countries at the expense of the rest of the EU. Because of its desire to secure its territory and obtain an ally, the government of Upper Danubia’s southern neighbor was willing to negotiate a permanent border treaty that offered very good terms to the Danubians.

The problem Dukov faced in formalizing the country’s border was not the southern neighbor, but his own people. The Danubians had never fully accepted the loss of Lower Danubia to the Ottoman Empire in 1502. What complicated the country’s territorial claims on the former Lower Danubia was a treaty signed with the Ottomans in 1896 that ceded a portion of Lower Danubia back to the Duchy, even though the territory in question no longer was under Turkish control at the time. What arose from that questionable treaty was an unrealistic hope of regaining Lower Danubia, even though no Danubians had lived there since the early 16th Century.

Dukov was willing to formally cede most of the territory in question to his southern neighbor. In exchange for abandoning the land claims, Upper Danubia would reclaim some actual territory and extend its southern border slightly. Included in the transfer would be some archeological sites, a couple of historic villages that had ancient Danubian architecture, two towns on the other side of the border that still were inhabited mostly by ethnic Danubians, and some surrounding farmland. Dukov hoped to exchange historical claims on a large area to regain a much smaller area, but one with significance for his country. He calculated that the Danubian Parliament would grudgingly accept the new treaty, if it meant actually returning the two towns and the historical sites back to Danubian control.

Dukov planned to sign a second treaty with his counterpart upon signing the border treaty. The second document would be an agreement for both leaders to jointly negotiate the planned trade corridor with the EU. Then, with the backing of the neighboring government, Dukov would re-open negotiations to build the road through eastern Upper Danubia. With the support of his neighbor as an ally, he then planned to drive as hard a bargain as possible for allowing construction of the road.

There was a single issue that had held up Dukov’s plan. That concern was a 10th Century church, castle, and cemetery located on a hilltop in a small town called Sumy Ris, nearly 100 kilometers south of the border. Sumy Ris was of huge historical significance to the Danubians, because its church was the first Christian church built in the Danubian kingdom and the cemetery contained the remains of several kings and bishops from the Middle Ages. No treaty that excluded regaining the site would be acceptable to the Danubian Clergy, but attempting to negotiate extending Upper Danubia’s border that far south was completely unrealistic. Dukov was not particularly concerned about reclaiming the church given all the other problems he was trying to resolve, but he could not afford a confrontation with the Danubian Clergy.

Cindy Lee was totally disgusted at the problem.

“I can’t believe how stupid people can be. The Danubians need that treaty. It’s gonna give them almost everything they really want, but all they can think about is that stupid church. It’s really a good treaty for them, and if they don’t take it, the country’s gonna get screwed later on.”

That night Cecilia’s heart pounded when she saw the arrangement for dinner. There were four large tables for the four Ministers. Each Minister was to be seated at a separate table, with his assistants, translator, and the members of the Foundation or university faculty with whom he had been working throughout the day. As for Dukov’s table, there were only eight seats. He would eat with his daughter and an administrative assistant, with Cynthia and Cecilia as his guests. The only other people at the table were a translator and an older couple who seemed to be close friends of the Prime Minister. Cecilia later learned they were Alexi Havlakt, who was a retired defense attorney with whom Dukov had worked many years, and his wife.

The purpose of the dining arrangement was to allow Dukov to talk privately with Cynthia, but also to allow him to talk to Cecilia. Upon learning Cecilia’s life story he became interested in getting to know her better. Cecilia began by discussing her scholarship and her on-line relationship with Kimberly Lee, but soon she realized that Dukov was much more interested in hearing about her life while she was growing up. He discussed his thoughts about the US judicial system and wanted to know how Cecilia felt about her brothers’ gang activities. He also was interested in knowing what set her apart from her peers and what drove her to graduate and escape from her neighborhood. As she confided her life story, Cecilia eventually realized what he wanted, as a former defense attorney he wanted her perspective on why US society had failed her family and her neighborhood. The Prime Minister never had met anyone like Cecilia Sanchez before. She stood out, and her experiences in life could give him a different view of the United States and an opportunity to learn more about the society’s strengths and weaknesses.

The conversation shifted to Cecilia’s research and the road-building dispute with the EU. Cecilia talked about Jason’s father and what she knew about Mega-Town Associates. Dukov probed Cecilia’s knowledge, trying to get her perspective on the corporation that had attempted to take over his country. The conversation then shifted to the election and Cynthia’s research for her dissertation. There was a lengthy discussion about Cindy’s work, to which Dukov made several suggestions to help her improve the project.

Cindy was interested in talking about the negotiations on the border and the impasse over the church. As she previously had mentioned to Cecilia, Dukov was perfectly willing to leave the historical site out of the treaty, but the Danubian Clergy would not allow it. He sighed.

“You will understand that I have discussed the political dilemma with my counterpart, and of course, he has his own concerns that he shared with me. There are many people to the south who do not wish to surrender any territory to the Danubian nation, so he faces as difficult a situation surrendering territory as I face relinquishing our land claims.”

Cindy then made an off-handed remark about a consulate located in Upper Danubia’s southern neighbor, a sizable compound located in a provincial capitol Sókut Tok that had just relocated to better service Danubians traveling by land to visit places like Turkey and Greece.

As dessert was served, the idea of the consulate stuck in Cecilia’s mind. Finally she had a question:

“Prime Minister Dukov, I was curious about somethin’. What would happen if you moved your consulate to that place where the church is… you know, like, buy that land and put your consulate there? Then you could put up your flag, but they wouldn’t be givin’ up any more land. Wouldn’t that solve everybody’s problem?”

Dukov froze; a fork full of dessert cake suspended in his hand. He looked at Cecilia.

“No one ever considered that. I have spoken to many people on this issue, but no one ever mentioned incorporating the church as part of a consulate. Yes indeed, that would allow us to regain sovereignty over the property with minimal sacrifice from our neighbors.”

He translated Cecilia’s question to Alexi Havlakt. The older man’s face lit up. He looked over at her.

“Doc-doc harásh dúmalesh, Cécilek. Doc-doc harásh dúmalesh.”

Cindy translated. “Mr. Havlakt thinks that’s a great idea.”

“So… sir… you mean, that no one ever thought about that?”

“No, Cecilia. The closest we ever came was suggesting a sovereign enclave in Sumy Ris, which, of course, was not acceptable to our neighbors. Our consulate in Sókut Tok is rather large, and I do not perceive there would be much difficulty surrendering its land for a piece of land in Sumy Ris that would be comparable in size, but of much greater importance to us.”

With that Dukov told his assistant to fetch his Minister of Foreign Relations. He stood up and spoke to the Minister in Danubian, but Cecilia could make out the words: “consulatokt”, “Sókut Tok”, “Sumy Ris”, and “Doc-doc”. The Foreign Minister nodded and glanced at Dukov’s guest with an approving expression. The two men then saluted each other. The Foreign Minister then returned to his table to excuse himself and left the room to make some phone calls to Foreign Ministry Office in Danube City.

The dinner ended only a few minutes later, but the Prime Minister had some final words for Cecilia.

“I have been very pleased to have you sit at my table, and share our time and knowledge. I would ask one more favor of you, that you honor us with your presence at the closing banquet Friday night. I will supply an invitation that you may retrieve from Dr. Halsey, for you and for a guest.”

Cecilia, her eyes wide with excitement and her hands shaking slightly; bade goodbye to the Danubian Prime Minister. Once again she struggled to catch her breath as the Danubians withdrew from the room.

The next morning Cecilia sat in Burnside’s office as the two women discussed the dinner the night before. Cecilia summarized what had happened at Dukov’s table and the apparent enthusiasm over her suggestion about moving the consulate from Sókut Tok to Sumy Ris. Burnside commented:

“I think that idea will fly. The reason I say that is the other side has a bunch of problems, including another pending border dispute. They need to get the Danubian border settled and move their troops, ASAP. They need to get Dukov on their side, and I think your consulate idea will give everyone a way out. The Danubians owe you one.”

Burnside paused, and then leaned forward, looking intensely into Cecilia’s eyes.

“Prime Minister Dukov likes to think outside the box. He’s always looking around for new perspectives and experiences to bounce off his own knowledge, which is why I think he wanted to talk to you. And, you delivered. You came up with something that never occurred to anyone else. Move the consulate… what a simple solution; and no one thought of it. All I can say is I’m impressed with you, and I’m not shy about admitting that.”

“I… I don’t know what to say Dr. Burnside, except I do hope they get their problem solved, but anyhow, thanks for… what you said about me…”

Burnside gave Cecilia a somewhat ironic smile. “Well, don’t let it go to your head. You did your good deed for the moment and now we’ll be moving on. We do have a semester to finish up, don’t we?”

With that Burnside, her TA, and her scholarship student headed off to the lecture room, carrying presentation supplies and a stack of pop-quizzes for the surviving freshmen remaining in the class.

The regime of nightly massages and nightly orgasms continued throughout the week in Cecilia’s room. No matter how late she got back from her duties at the conference, she expected Jason to be ready to come over, get undressed, and give her a lengthy massage followed by an orgasm. Following the orgasm she promptly went to sleep, forcing him to leave the room with his own sexual urges unfulfilled. Jason was disappointed, but he reminded himself that his purpose in life was to make her happy and to satisfy her needs. As for his own needs, he needed to learn self-discipline and appreciate the sexual satisfaction she was able to give him.

Thursday, however, Cecilia was in the mood for something different. During her lunch hour she went to an adult toy store to look at their selection of restraints and discipline items. She did not have very much money on her, but she was determined to buy something with which she could experiment on Jason.

She got into a conversation with a young woman working at the store. She confided about her relationship with Jason and how she was able to excite him by putting him over her lap. The store clerk showed her the store’s selection of punishment implements. The clerk obviously was a masochist and had first-hand knowledge of how each of the implements felt on her unprotected bottom. As they conversed about the physical sensations each implement inflicted on its victim, the clerk gave her customer short lessons on how to use a cane, a crop, and a flogger. She gave Cecilia her personal perspective as a masochist as she discussed her own experiences at the hands of her lover, emphasizing the importance of balancing fear, anticipation, pain, and pleasure. Her client listened intently, realizing that the clerk’s personality and needs were very similar to Jason’s personality and needs.

Finally Cecilia settled on a leather paddle. The paddle was oval shaped and not large at all. It was about as long as a Ping-Pong paddle but slightly narrower. She liked the feel of the implement in her hand and the way it swung. It was just the right size to cover one bottom-cheek at a time and mark it with a pink oval. The implement seemed versatile, designed to either put a comfortable warm heat or a fierce sting in a sub’s bottom, depending on how hard it struck its target. She hoped that it could be used both to arouse Jason and to punish him, depending on how hard she chose to hit. The clerk commented:

“I love that one; it’s one of my favorites. I always get turned on when he spanks me with it. It puts a really nice heat in your ass without too much bruising. I think your boyfriend will like it too.”

“So, I’m kinda curious… if you like it so much, what does your boyfriend use if he’s pissed off at you?”

“The cane. If I do something that really pisses him off, he’ll use the cane on me, and that I don’t like at all. But, I try to be good, and he knows that, so I don’t get the cane all that much.”

That night was the first night Cecilia told Jason to kneel while she went over Burnside’s coursework with her. As he knelt on the floor nervously looking up at her, she gently brushed his cheek and ran her fingers through his hair. She then placed one hand on his shoulder and ran her other hand down his back, gently rubbing and patting his bottom to let him know that tonight he was due for a spanking.

Before she sat down to begin questioning him about the evening’s coursework, she made an announcement that set his heart pounding.

“Jason, there’s a reason I’m havin’ you kneel tonight, ‘cause I wanna try somethin’ new. I’m gonna spank your cute bare bottom, but we’re gonna do it a bit different. I’m not gonna put you over my lap, ‘cause instead I got a leather paddle. And, ‘cause we’re using somethin’ new, I’m gonna want to take some pictures, so I’ll borrow your camera before we go back to my room.”

“Y… yes, Cecilia.”

He was very nervous, but also very excited. As she questioned him about Burnside’s work, a furious erection pointed straight at her the entire time he knelt trying to answer.

Shortly afterwards they went back to her room, Jason only wearing a pair of shorts and a loose-fitting shirt. Once he was in her room he stripped off his clothes and dutifully hung them up. Cecilia took off her clothing as well. She didn’t wait to have Jason strip her, because she was eager to try out the new paddle. She ordered Jason to position the room’s armchair in the middle of the room and stand with his hands placed on the back. She instructed him to arch his back slightly and stick his bottom out. When he complied, she ordered him to turn his face to her. She took a picture of her lover with his digital camera from the back, then moved to the front to get him with his very erect penis sticking out in anticipation of the spanking.

She gently brushed his penis and testicles with her fingertips, and then picked up the paddle and showed it to him. She touched it to his trembling bottom and slowly moved it around in circles.

“It feels kinda different from my hand, doesn’t it?”

“Yes, Cecilia.”

“So you think you’re a bad boy? Bad enough for the paddle on your bare, naked bottom?”

“Yes, Cecilia… I’m a bad boy and I need the paddle. Please spank me.”

“You’re askin’ for it, so you must be very naughty. But then, that’s why you have such a cute butt, for lots of hard spankings. I’m gonna spank that naughtiness right out of you.”

Cecilia positioned herself, tapped his left bottom cheek, and smacked it with a loud POP! The sensation was different from either the belt, which was much more painful and concentrated, or her hand, which was somewhat less intense. Instead, the smack covered Jason’s bottom-cheek with a hot tingling that, to his surprise, he really enjoyed. A second hard smack on his right bottom cheek matched the burning on the left side. It hurt, but at the same time was quite enjoyable.

Cecilia spanked on alternate sides: left… right… left… right… left… right. As always, she took her time, making sure he could feel each swat separately and appreciate it. After delivering 10 blows, she stopped to take pictures of the pink glow on Jason’s bottom and the intensely excited expression in his face. The hot burning only increased with the next 10 swats, which in turn were followed by another set of pictures. Cecilia wanted to document the progressive reddening of Jason’s bottom and the impact the spanking was having on his emotions. What she really liked was the even color the paddle was leaving on his bottom… there were no welts or stripes, just a solid, even, deep pink completely covering both sides and sharply contrasting with the unpunished skin of his back and upper thighs.

Cecilia stopped after the 40th swat. She took some final pictures and then ordered Jason to stand with his feet spread and his hands behind his head for even more pictures. He was very, very aroused. He couldn’t believe how much that intense burning sting excited him.

She then ordered him to lie on her bed on his back. His furious erection bobbed up and down as she tore open a condom packet and positioned the condom over his penis. Then she mounted him, pinning his hands above his head as she impaled herself on his very stiff organ. She clenched her teeth as she looked into his eyes and dug her fingernails into his wrists. He pushed up into her as hard as he could, totally aroused by the hot sting still burning in his punished bottom. Oh… this was good… a perfect combination of physical sensations. This was really good…

When they were finished they cuddled as usual. They were exhausted and spent, she from the grueling conference schedule, and he from tutoring his friends and other students. He also had been tensed up from not having been allowed to have sex with her, but now he understood what her reason had been for making him wait. As usual, she seemed to know how to give him truly exquisite pleasure, by making him build up his desire by being patient throughout the week. She then brought out his desire as she worked up his emotions with that wonderful spanking. He was surprised himself that he would find a spanking from a leather paddle so enjoyable, but then, that was why Cecilia had taken charge of his life. She knew him better than he knew himself.

The following evening was the final reception of the Danubians before their departure for Washington DC. Cecilia wore her Danubian formal gown and had her hair braided in Danubian style. Jason accompanied her, properly dressed in a dark gray business suit and conservative red tie. She took his arm and led him around the room, introducing him to the people with whom she had worked over the last couple of weeks preparing the visit.

When Cecilia talked to Burnside and Halsey, she still had Jason’s arm locked in her own. The professor glanced at Jason, and then gave her scholarship student a knowing look. With a single look at the young couple she had figured it out. So the Sanchez girl had a partner, one who was submissive to her. Good job, Cecilia, she thought to herself. Way to go.

That night the Prime Minister was busy talking to everyone in the room, so the intimate dinner table conversation he shared with Cecilia on Tuesday was not going to be repeated. Cecilia and Jason sat with the other graduate students while Jim Halsey and a couple of other Foundation representatives spoke about their hopes for Upper Danubia’s future. The Danubian ambassador to the US spoke next, thanking the university for its hospitality and announcing Dukov’s pending speech to the National Press Club for the following Monday before flying back to Europe. Finally Dukov himself spoke, thanking the university, the city of Chicago, and the State of Illinois for the hospitality his group had received. He did not speak for very long, but he concluded with the hope that the “unpleasantness” between his government and the US government would pass, and that the two nations could enjoy warm relations in the future.

Cecilia heard Jason mutter: “Not if Dad has his way…”

There was dinner, some slow dancing afterwards, and finally a long series of good-byes. When it was Dukov’s turn to say goodbye to Cecilia, he commented:

“Again I wish to express my gratitude for your insight. Perhaps it will please you to know that I will travel to Sumy Ris next Thursday to meet with my counterpart, to discuss your suggestion. I have hope for our success, and I owe you my appreciation.”

Cecilia heart pounded as she shook the Prime Minister’s hand for the final time. At age 19, without even having completed the first semester of her sophomore year, she had managed to change the course of history with a single question.

Chapter 22 – Finals Week

The Danubians departed Chicago late Saturday afternoon for Washington. There was a brief formal ceremony at the university marking their departure, followed by an unceremonious trip to the O’Hare Airport and a quick flight to Washington. In the US capitol there would be no official welcome from any Administration officials. The Danubians would go straight to their country’s embassy for an official dinner, then spend one day touring the US capitol before Dukov gave his presentation on Monday. Immediately after the National Press Club appearance, there would be an overnight stop in Ottawa before the flight to Europe.

Cecilia was very sorry to see the Danubians leave Chicago. Although she had only talked three times to the Prime Minister, she felt a real affinity towards him. She enjoyed watching him as he spoke and interacted with his US hosts. She especially liked the way he interacted with his fellow government officials, people who until very recently had not been his subordinates, but rather his co-workers. Apart from the mandatory exchanges of salutes, there was absolutely nothing in Dukov’s behavior indicating that he saw himself as superior in any way to the other members of his delegation. In fact, when speaking to Alexi Havlakt, Cecilia could tell that Dukov addressed him with a great deal of respect and that he relied on the older man’s insight to supplement his own.

The members of the Foundation and even some reporters marveled at the modest demeanor of the Danubians throughout their visit. The only luxury they afforded themselves during the entire trip was a day of sightseeing in Washington DC, and even that was simply because it was a Sunday and there really was very little else for them to do. As for where they stayed, that would be in the Danubian Embassy. The Prime Minister had no desire to spend money on hotels if it was not necessary.

Cecilia wrote at length to Kimberly Lee about Dukov’s visit and the impression the delegation had left on her. She asked some questions about Alexi Havlakt and asked Kim to fill her in about the historical site in Sumy Ris. She also thanked Kim for the CD’s for Jason’s grandmother, mentioning that she already had sent them by overnight mail to their final recipient earlier in the week.

The online relationship between Kimberly and Cecilia took off after Dukov’s visit. Cecilia wrote extensively about her current semester at the university and her studies to major in economics. Kim responded by talking about her own studies and the overall lifestyle of the members of “Socrates’ Mistresses”. The band still was producing music, but now that they no longer could sing outside of Upper Danubia, its members had decided to pursue other careers and keep singing as a hobby.

“I think that’s actually helped us a lot, because last year, when we were touring, I was seeing the beginnings of tension between our members over money and musical direction. I know that when our contract got canceled, Dima (my singing partner’s husband) was happy about it. He didn’t want the money. What he wanted was for us to sing what we felt, and he thought that the contract and the touring and the pressure were starting to get in the way. It wasn’t fun any more. Now we’re back where we started, at the Socrates Club. I think it’s a lot more enjoyable for all of us, because singing is our chance to get together and escape from our other responsibilities in life.”

Cecilia was aware that whenever “Socrates’ Mistresses” sang, they always performed in the nude. The band’s website had several uncensored pictures from recent concerts which clearly showed the five singers wearing nothing but their criminal collars while on stage. Performing as criminals had become the group’s trademark: it was where they had started and what they had returned to. That decision by the popular group had influenced how Danubians looked upon criminals in general and how people currently serving sentences saw themselves.

The music originating from the Socrates Club had become more influential than ever and a source of real national pride among the Danubians. The Danubian music scene was becoming popular throughout Europe and it seemed that Danube City was well on its way to being an important destination for tourists interested in buying CD’s and attending concerts. Hotels and concert halls around Danube City were full to capacity, so much so that some of the concerts were moving to provincial towns. “Socrates’ Mistresses” could count on any concert they gave to be sold out, so, even with their international contract canceled, they could not complain about the income they received from their singing.

The online conversation shifted to Upper Danubia’s criminal justice system and Kim’s goal to become a Spokeswoman for the Criminal specializing in representing convicted foreigners. Kim was able to answer Cecilia’s questions about the Danubian system and the country’s unique way of punishing criminals. She wrote at length about her ambition to follow in Vladim Dukov’s footsteps and pursue a career in the Danubian courts. She already was in her third year of studies at the Law School at the National University in Danube City and recently had been certified as a Court Apprentice in Full Standing.

Kimberly Lee-Dolkivna explained that in the Danubian judicial system the Spokesperson for the Criminal took the place of both the public defense attorney and the parole officer in the US system. The Spokesperson was an extremely important position, because the moment a suspect was placed under arrest, he or she was placed under the legal custody of a Spokesperson, who had duties and rights similar to those of a parent of an underage child. The Spokesperson presented the suspect in trial and explained the case from the suspect’s point of view. If the suspect was convicted and collared, it was the Spokesperson’s responsibility to ensure the client was gainfully employed, living a lifestyle that would ensure no further criminal activity, and properly adjusting to the harsh conditions and demands placed on the convicted criminal’s daily life and activities. The Spokesperson had final say over anything a client did or decided.

In Kim’s case, although she was only an Apprentice, she already held legal custody over six convicted criminals, all of them foreigners arrested in Danube City for drug violations. It surprised Cecilia to learn that Kim was rather strict with her six clients, very insistent they show her proper protocol at all times. As Kim explained, “I’m not their friend. I am their custodian and their mentor. It is my duty to watch over them, and it is their duty to obey me. If they question what I’m telling them to do, I always ask them to look at me and consider whether anything I want them to do is going to harm them in any way or help me at their expense. Of course they never have an answer to that question and so they end up obeying me.”

Kim wrote at length about her very first client, a young American called Tiffany Walker who was serving a 35-year sentence for perjury. Tiffany had been a close friend of Kim in high school and was traveling with her and another friend when the three were arrested in Danube City. By lying to the arraignment committee, she and the other girl narrowly escaped being charged with marijuana possession by the Danubian government. They left Danube City, abandoning Kim to her fate. The following week the two girls’ drug use caught up with them when they got sick with hepatitis while sharing a needle in a Prague nightclub. Tiffany survived, but returned to the US and drifted for nearly two years. She spent her time experimenting with various drugs and working as a prostitute, her self-esteem totally shattered by her disastrous trip to Europe. Finally she ended up back in her hometown as a stripper supporting the habit of a methamphetamine addict.

The strip club was where Kim found her former friend when she returned to the US for a brief visit after completing her sentence. Tiffany had started using methamphetamine when Kim confronted her, but fortunately her addiction had not yet severely damaged her health. Although she was well-aware of what was happening and that she was ruining her prospects for having a decent life, Kim’s former friend lacked the will to extricate herself from her situation. The responsibility of saving Tiffany fell to Kim. It was Kim who convinced her to return to Upper Danubia, face sentencing, and live as a convicted criminal under her supervision. Leaving the US with Kim would be Tiffany’s final chance to break away from her addictions, the final opportunity to save herself that fortunately she took advantage of. Kim’s new client spent a month in a Danubian rehab program, and then was convicted of perjury and sentenced by a Danubian court.

Kim had a comment, “I think Tiffany’s story shows just how bad meth really is. We both knew that no matter how bad her life would be serving as a convicted criminal in Danube City, it was the only realistic alternative she had to slowly killing herself on meth. And she’s still addicted. She hasn’t used anything for a year and a half, but she still gets those cravings. It’s a very rough life, the one she has now, but she did manage to get away from the old one. Just having gotten away, and not having the choice available to kill herself anymore has made her very happy, in spite of all the crap she has to put up with as a criminal.”

What made Tiffany’s existence in Danube City truly unusual was her personal life. In spite of being a convicted criminal, she was the fiancé of Vladik Dukov, who was a police officer and the Prime Minister’s son. Eventually Tiffany and Vladik would get married, but getting married, even to the Prime Minister’s son, would not affect her legal status as a criminal. Until she completed her sentence, Kim would remain her custodian. Tiffany would have to answer to her Spokeswoman, not her husband.

There was a further detail about Tiffany’s situation that Cecilia found totally astounding. In Upper Danubia, the arresting police officer was responsible for inflicting any corporal punishments assigned by the trial judge as part of the criminal’s sentence. In Tiffany’s case, the law meant that, because he had present during her initial arrest, Vladik Dukov was assigned to administer the yearly switchings. At the conclusion of her trial it was Vladik who switched Tiffany in court, and he switched her a second time the past summer.

When Tiffany became engaged, Kim offered to have another police officer assigned to punish her. However, Tiffany insisted that no, she did not want anyone else to switch her other than Vladik. She felt that the yearly switchings were an important part of her redemption and it was important that the person punishing her was the man who loved her. Vladik was severe with the switch and showed no mercy, not even to his own fiancé. Still, Tiffany insisted that he remain in charge of her punishments.

Kim concluded, “I suppose the situation between Tiffany and Vladik, and her whole attitude, must sound totally weird to you. You’d have to know what she’s gone through in life to understand why she is the way she is. I’d guess none of this makes much sense to you, but here in Danube City the way people think is different from the way people think in the US. If you’ve ever seen anyone on drugs, you’ll know that changes the way they think also.”

Cecilia knew, from her own experiences, that Kim’s last sentence was very true.

The concept of legal custody fascinated Cecilia, partly because of her long-term plans for Jason. She knew that in Upper Danubia, custody was a legally binding arrangement, fully sanctioned and codified under Danubian law. Cecilia asked Kim if custody arrangements ever happened between people other than Spokespersons and criminals. Her heart jumped when she received Kim’s answer; most definitely there were many instances of non-judicial custody in Upper Danubia. The two most common were public penance and cases of identified substance abusers. A person performing public penance placed himself under the custody of the Danubian Church, for a period of time agreed upon by the sinner and a Temple Priest. The other most common instance of non-judicial custody involved people who were identified substance abusers, but had not been convicted of any crime. The philosophy of the Danubian government was that substance abusers had forfeited the right to control their own lives, but could not be subjected to the judicial system if they had not broken any laws. The solution was to award formal custody to a family member, most often a spouse. Kim concluded, “I’d guess that’s why we don’t have too many drunks in the Duchy. How many men are going to want to take orders from a pissed-off wife who’s got legal authority from the government?”

Kim’s final comment got Cecilia thinking... hmm... a husband under the custody of his wife... legal custody. She wrote back, “I was curious about something. Does this whole custody thing apply only to substance abusers? Are there ever any cases that a husband is placed under the custody of his wife, because, maybe they both agreed that what’s best for their marriage?”

Kim answered, “Sometimes it happens that way. Most often it’s for adultery or some other thing that one partner did to offend the other. Those cases are handled by the Church, and they fall under the rules for public penance. That means the person who is surrendering custody has to give up their clothing, wear a collar, and kneel before their partner. I have a classmate at the university who’s doing that right now. She’s engaged, but a year ago she went to Germany for a semester and had an affair while she was there. She came back feeling all guilty about it, so she confessed to her fiancé. I guess he was willing to forgive her, but she wouldn’t forgive herself. Finally she went to the Temple and asked a Priest to collar her and write up a certificate of custody for her fiancé. She took the certificate and gave it to him, and insists on kneeling whenever she speaks to him. What’s weird was that it was something she insisted on doing, not because it was anything he really wanted. And she’s gotten used to living like that. She’s been wearing her collar for over a year. They’re getting married next month, but she says she wants to keep wearing her collar even after the wedding. I wouldn’t be surprised if she stays that way the rest of her life.”

Cecilia’s heart pounded and she could feel the wetness building between her legs. Jason... that was what she fantasized about doing with Jason. She wanted complete dominance over him and make him kneel whenever he spoke to her. Apparently if she were Danubian she could do it, become his legal custodian and control every detail of his life. To have him wear a collar, follow her around naked in public, drop to his knees whenever he spoke to her, and have him be legally required to do anything she commanded him to do… that was exactly what she wanted for her relationship with her boyfriend. If only she had some means of getting herself and Jason to Danube City…

The semester was drawing to a close. The professors gave their final lectures, there was a two-day break for students to catch up on studying for their finals, and then the tests. Burnside had Cecilia proctor the examinations for the freshman classes, including the exam for the Theory class that had to be re-written because it had been compromised. Cecilia’s heart pounded and her face turned red when the professor handed her a stack of re-written tests to pass out. However, true to her word, Burnside made no comment whatsoever about the unexpected extra work Cecilia had forced her to do. The matter between the two women had been settled during the Halloween party. The only reminder she ever would have of the incident would be a copy of the department memo ending her academic probation. The memo would be issued on the day final grades for the semester were posted.

Cecilia quickly found out that Burnside was perfectly willing to bend the rules of her department when she felt it was necessary. In spite of being on probation and officially prohibited from assisting with grading tests, Burnside tasked Cecilia with helping Mark Gertz grade 50 essay exams. She ordered Cecilia to make photocopies of the essays, and then write corrections and comments on the copies to give to the TA. Cecilia felt the exercise was a horrible waste of effort and paper, but Burnside wanted to prepare her scholarship student to work as an assistant during her junior year. If Cecilia had any problems with her ability to grade other students’ work, Burnside wanted to catch them early and use the following semester to correct them. Precisely because Burnside selected and prepared her assistants in advance, her grading always went smoothly.

In addition to her own exams for her sophomore classes, Cecilia had to worry about the success of her floor in general and Jason and his friends in particular. She grilled them ruthlessly and demanded they spend as much time as possible helping other floor residents. As a result, Jason and his friends went into their exams confident that they knew the material, and were well-practiced in explaining it to others. Jason finished his first semester with four “A’s” and two “B’s” for final grades. Mike did even better, getting all “A’s”, including a very rare “A” from Ruth Burnside. Ken and Lisa each got three “A’s” and three “B’s”. The four students thus had begun their college careers with solid academic averages.

Jason, for the first time in his life, felt that he could face his father with confidence when he went home for Christmas. Whatever criticism Mr. Schmidt might have had in store would be muted by his son’s academic success. Obviously his grandmother, who had argued with his father to let him study out of state, would be vindicated by Jason’s performance. Perhaps there would be no warmth between him and his parents, but Jason could look forward to a peaceful Christmas break without having to listen to constant digs about what a failure he was.

In spite of their academic success over the fall semester, Christmas would be a difficult time for young couple, because they would be forced to spend three weeks separated from each other. Jason could not stay in the dorm because the university required all freshmen to vacate over Christmas break. Only RA’s could stay in their rooms, which was fortunate because Cecilia had nowhere else to go. The issue of her traveling to Wisconsin never came up, given that no one; not her, not Jason, not Jason’s parents; had any desire to endure a repeat of the Thanksgiving disaster.

As their three-week separation loomed, Cecilia and Jason felt very uneasy, almost scared. They had become so emotionally dependent on each other that each felt lost if the other was not nearby. Cecilia was even more affected by the pending separation than was Jason. The thought of being apart from him tormented her because she needed him. She was confused over her distress and became very angry with herself. She had promised herself that after Vicente, she never again would become psychologically dependent on a boyfriend. Because she needed Jason so badly, she had broken that promise. She asked herself, if she and Jason had agreed that she was the one in charge of their relationship, why should she be so upset at the thought of being separated from him? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

The only answer she could find was that she felt safe when she was with him. He loved her with all of his being, and in her own way, she loved him in return. For the only time in her life she trusted a man enough to partially be able open up to him. The reason she was able to open up to him at all was because, as she said it, he didn’t give her any shit. There was a second part of that reason: while he “didn’t give her no shit”, he certainly took it from her. He calmly put up with her demands, her controlling behavior, her foul temper, and her mood swings with patience and cheerfulness. He loved her enough to consistently withstand her quirks, day after day. She fully knew that she was as hard to get along with as a woman possibly could be, and yet he still loved her.

At that point in her life Cecilia did not realize, by insisting on remaining in control of every aspect of her relationship with Jason, that she unwittingly had thwarted her lifelong goal of maintaining her own emotional independence. By living his life to suit her needs, Jason had made Cecilia emotionally dependent on him. She needed him to be present in her life and obey her orders, every bit as much as he needed her to prevent his own weaknesses from allowing him fail.

At the end of their first semester together, it was Jason who actually understood the situation between himself and Cecilia better than she did. By coming together they had filled voids in each other’s lives. Their souls, damaged and incomplete alone, fit together like two pieces of a puzzle into a bond that actually worked for both of them. Jason understood something else that was important. The Christmas of his freshman year would be the final time of his life that he would or could be separated from Cecilia. Over the spring semester the ties between them would only strengthen, to the point that neither would be able to go anywhere or do anything without the other.

Perhaps the Danubians had the best way of saying it, the path of their lives already had been chosen, the only option they had was to follow.

On their final night together, Jason invited Cecilia to dinner and a late semester musical recital at the Music School. As usual, they went well dressed, she in her Danubian dress and he in a dark suit. They both were much quieter then usual. They wanted to enjoy their final night of the year and feel each other’s presence, but there really was no need for them to try to express themselves with words.

It was a clear but bitterly cold night as they walked back to Huntington Hall. The campus was mostly empty because the majority of the students already had left. As they returned, she was very affectionate and very subdued, her normal demeanor totally lacking. Jason knew that night was one of those rare occasions it was up to him to take control of the evening.

There was to be a final round of love-making in Cecilia’s room. The distress from she felt facing the next three weeks without him showed very clearly in her face. Her normal bossiness was gone, replaced by a rare submissiveness and vulnerability. That night she wanted to surrender herself and have him take charge of their lovemaking. She signaled her desire by quietly standing in the middle of her room, quietly waiting to be told what he wanted her to do.

Jason remained fully dressed, except for his coat, which he took off and hung up. He then gently unbuttoned and removed her coat, and hung it up next to his own. He undid the ties of the Danubian dress, loosening them as much as possible. He kissed her neck for a few seconds, and then motioned her to raise her arms. He pulled the dress up over her head and, knowing how important that dress was to her, carefully hung it up.

Cecilia was left wearing nothing but her shoes and her usual thong. He decided to take off the thong first, knowing that she would feel much more naked if he left her shoes on for a few minutes. He ran his hands down her bare back, caught the skimpy waistband of her underwear with his thumbs, and proceeded to lower the thong to her feet. He motioned her to step out of it, and put the tiny garment in her linen bag.

Cecilia’s shapely dark figure, illuminated by the closet light and unencumbered by any cloth, beckoned Jason to explore with his eyes and with his hands. He relished the sight of her, looking so vulnerable and helpless wearing nothing but her shoes. As he foresaw, she looked and felt much more naked in just her shoes than she would have wearing nothing at all.

Still completely dressed in his suit, he hugged her. As her bare skin pressed up against the layers of cloth still covering the body of her boyfriend, she felt even more vulnerable. She was in a very submissive mood and he would be able to enjoy her from his favorite sexual position, on her elbows and knees with her bottom spread, with her very wet vagina properly presented for his pleasure. He suspected that had he wanted to put her over his lap and spank her, at that moment she would have allowed him to do so.

He took her hands and made her turn around. They were facing a full-length mirror, so he made her look at herself and the contrast of her naked body against his suit. She continued to stand facing her own image as he ran his hands over her breasts and kissed her neck. He had been right. The sight of herself, her bare body exposed and contrasting with her well-dressed companion, excited her. She felt the familiar burning and wetness between her legs as she continued to study her image and feel his hands explore her body. For a long time he played with her, lightly touching and kissing her, as she silently stood watching herself become more and more aroused. Yes… he knew her body. He knew how to torment her, tease her, and make her desperate. Tonight she would have to wait until he was ready to relieve her burning desire. Without saying anything out loud, that was what she had agreed, to surrender herself and let him take control of her body.

He turned her around so that her bottom was facing the mirror. She looked back at herself as he ran his hands over her tender backside, exploring her bottom-cheeks and running his fingertips along the sensitive area in between. She was sweating and trembling with anticipation. He could feel her heart beating and hear her irregular breaths. He realized the moment had come.

He pulled off her shoes and guided her onto her bed. Her instincts took over and she became desperate to be entered and satisfied. She arched her back, shamelessly exposing herself, placing her trembling bottom-hole and glistening vulva on full display for her love. For the moment she had forgotten about everything else in her life. What she needed was to be taken, to be entered, and to be fulfilled.

He struggled out of his own clothing and threw everything on a chair. Seeing her lovely sweaty body so submissively presented made him very hard, and very desperate to get inside her. Still, he wanted to make her wait, just a little bit longer. He gently ran the palm of his hand over her posterior, massaging and lightly patting it. She reared back slightly, inviting him to explore the wet, sensitive area in between.

He took out a condom and with unsteady hands pulled the protection over his very stiff penis. He kissed her sweaty bottom and then pushed into her. She reared back, gasping and pushing hard against him, desperate to get him as far inside her as possible. He grabbed her thighs and roughly moved back and forth. As he thrust and thrust, a thought passed through his head that made him very, very aroused.

Her reaction to having her bottom caressed and patted had made him understand something important. At some point in the future he was destined to spank her. That night she would have allowed him to do it, but he knew better than to jump at the first chance. If he made her wait, later on she would actually want him to spank her, not just allow it. She would let him know that she actually needed to be spanked. She would beg him to do it. When that moment came he would place her over his lap and gently massage her trembling bottom. He would start slowly, going from massaging to gentle pats, from gentle pats to soft slaps, then from soft slaps to much harder slaps. It would be a very long spanking, with plenty of kisses and caresses mixed with painful swats.

He knew it would happen someday, the way he envisioned it. He could read it in her eyes. But before that moment came he would have to spend much more of his own life meeting her needs and submitting to her discipline. He could only spank her when she completely and fully trusted him, and that moment of trust would not come until long after he had given himself over to her, fully and completely. He was well on his way to completely surrendering himself to her, but he knew he still had a long way to go.

Still, as he continued thrusting into his gasping companion, Jason’s thoughts were not focused on the further sacrifices in life he would have to make to ensure her happiness. Instead he was thinking about her lovely dark bottom, properly positioned over his lap, ready and waiting to receive the sensuous slaps of a lover’s spanking. Her bottom filled his thoughts and fantasies as he continued thrusting and thrusting, as she squealed from a savagely wonderful orgasm.

Chapter 23 - A Photo Shoot in Huntington Hall

A very eerie silence settled over the university once all the students had departed for the holidays. A couple of coffee shops in the student center remained open to serve the handful of students living off campus not traveling, but the dorm area was totally deserted. Even most of the RA’s had left. A couple of her coworkers were coming back right after New Year’s, but Cecilia was the only RA who would spend the entire Christmas break in the dorm.

The dorm’s manager decided to make her duty RA during the break and give her the keys to the entire building. In the morning she had to unlock the service entrance to let the janitors in, but apart from that, she would have Huntington Hall to herself until after New Year’s.

Two days after Jason left there was a heavy snowstorm that blanketed the university. With the students gone and only the service entrance of Huntington Hall remaining open, there was no need to shovel the sidewalks. With the sidewalks buried under a foot of snow the dorm area became even more deserted, silent, and desolate.

During the days she was snowed in, Cecilia was able to relax in many small ways she couldn’t when the dorm was full of students. She greatly enjoyed the silence surrounding her. The only noise she would hear during those three weeks would be whatever noise she chose to make. Sometimes she played classical music or a CD from “Socrates’ Mistresses”, but more often everything was turned off and her room was as quiet as the rest of Huntington Hall. The quiet was very nice for a soul starved for tranquility.

She remained busy, active on the Internet or preparing for the upcoming semester. She spent several days making major revisions to the website of “Socrates’ Mistresses” and improving her knowledge of digital art and web graphics. She experimented with sound files, looking for the format that would best suit the band’s Internet needs. She got caught up on the news by reading on-line articles and corresponding with Kimberly and Cynthia Lee. The days flew by in spite of the void Jason’s absence had left in her life.

For most of the break Cecilia didn’t bother to get dressed. Under the influence of her boyfriend, during the fall semester she had become used to sleeping naked. With the heat turned up in her room, she also enjoyed not wearing anything while studying or relaxing. Even when she went to the bathroom she knew there was no need to get dressed, since there was no one else on the floor to see her. The first few trips she simply wrapped herself in a towel when she went to pee or take a shower. Later, as she became more comfortable walking around in the vacated building, she began leaving her towel in her room. As she walked down the hallway with the cool air blowing against her bare skin, she reflected how much like Jason she had become in being comfortable with her body.

Three days after the dorm residents had left, Cecilia had built up enough dirty clothes to need to do a load of wash. She made an important decision; she would not get dressed when she took the dirty clothing downstairs to the laundry room. Why bother? There was no one to see her, and it would be nice to have every article of clothing in her room clean and put away, with no exceptions. With her heart pounding and the thrill of erotic excitement going through her thoughts, she walked down the stairs wearing nothing but a pair of flip-flops. Her heart continued to pound as she placed the clothes in the washing machine, turned it on, and went back upstairs.

Naked, she made several more trips up and down the stairs to move her clothes to a dryer and later pull them out. She unfolded an ironing board and spent the next hour ironing and folding her clothes. She put the ironed clothes in a basket or on hangers, and then made several more naked trips up and down the stairs to move everything back to her room and put it away. By the time she was finished, she no longer felt that she was doing anything daring. She was becoming used to being naked outside of her room and found it quite enjoyable.

From that point forward she began doing her building checks in the nude, wearing just her sneakers and carrying the dorm keys and her radio. She patrolled the deserted hallways several times a day to stretch her legs. She enjoyed walking around the empty floors and exerting herself going up and down the stairs.

From doing her building checks in the nude, Cecilia progressed to exercising in the nude. In the director’s office there was a treadmill. Because the environment outside was so bitterly cold, she had no desire to go out, not even to stay in shape. Instead she decided to exercise on the treadmill by walking and running, still dressed in nothing but her sneakers. She did not have to worry about her boss catching her naked in his office, because she had his dorm keys and he would need to radio her if he wanted in the building. So, twice a day she entered the office to spend an hour walking and jogging on the treadmill. By the end of Christmas break she had worked herself up to running two miles non-stop and walking an additional four miles.

Cecilia’s sexual urges did not diminish over her three-week confinement in the dorm. With Jason absent from her life, she returned to her old routine of self-pleasure. She spent countless hours masturbating and gently caressing her body with her fingertips. Usually she stayed in her room during her lengthy sessions of self-love, but not always. One of the best orgasms during her three weeks of solitude came one night in the commons area during a very heavy snowstorm. She sat in front of a bay window on a sofa, caressing and fondling herself in the open room as a layer of new snow blanketed the deserted university. What excited the RA was the fact the window was in plain view of the entire campus, but because she was sitting in the dark and it was snowing, she was invisible to the outside. She wondered what the dorm’s freshmen would think if they could have seen their no-nonsense RA sitting naked in the commons area, sweaty and gasping, her legs spread to the world, giving herself an orgasm.

For the second time of her life, Cecilia faced the prospect of spending Christmas alone. It was ironic that she had plenty of people in her life who cared about her, but their circumstances prevented them from being available to spend any time with her on Christmas.

Dealing with being alone at the end of December was very hard on her. Christmas was the one time during each year Cecilia had good memories of her life in New Jersey. She knew that it was easy idealize those few pleasant moments that stood out in an otherwise very bleak life, but she couldn’t help it. As hard as it was to believe, as Christmas loomed she even missed her family.

Christmas always had been the one time during the year the Sanchez family could ignore their personal problems and set aside their disputes. Cecilia, her mother, and her cousin always spent a couple of days preparing traditional Dominican dishes, so the family always ate well during the last week of the year. Whatever money they had was spent on gifts and decorations. Neighbors always came over, and there were numerous invitations to visit other families in the housing project. There were Church services and midnight masses, traditional Spanish Christmas music to replace the ever-present Salsa and Rap that permeated the project, and Christmas pageants at school and at church. Cecilia did not miss very much of her life in New Jersey, but she did miss Christmas.

She spent a lot of time corresponding with Kimberly Lee about Christmas in Upper Danubia. Kim also missed Christmas, but for a different reason. The Danubians did not have any major celebration of Christmas on December 25, but instead combined the celebration of Christmas with celebrating New Year’s a week later. The tradition was to spend the hours before midnight with family members, then attend Temple services for an hour, and then to spend the following day and evening visiting friends and exchanging gifts.

“Christmas used to be a bigger deal than it is now, but since the Danubians are getting back into their old religion, the Catholic holidays don’t matter to them too much anymore. I miss my family and sometimes miss the way we do things in the US, so I feel for you about missing Christmas with your own family.”

On the morning of December 24, Cecilia got a call from Suzanne Foster. She was greatly surprised, because she had thought that Suzanne would be off-campus like most of the other dorm residents. She had indeed left for the holiday, but had to come back because of a fight with her father. Her dorm director, aware of her difficult personal situation, decided to waive the rule about having her stay out of her room over the Christmas break and let her back in. She would have to eat out of the dorm, but at least she could sleep in her room.

Suzanne was very upset over her latest fight with her father. She had been forced to leave her family’s house the morning before Christmas and faced spending the rest of her vacation alone on campus. Cecilia decided to get together with her friend, have lunch, and give Suzanne a chance to have someone to talk to. As bad as she felt for Suzanne, she was glad to have a familiar face on campus to alleviate her own loneliness. For the first time in over a week, Cecilia got dressed and nerved herself to face the bitter cold outside to walk over to Suzanne’s dorm.

The two women crossed the university to eat at a restaurant just off-campus, and then wandered around a bit until the stores began closing. During that entire time Suzanne talked about a disastrous end of the semester. In a three week period she had broken up with her boyfriend, been accused of cheating on a term paper by a professor, and had a vicious fight with her father.

“The cheating hassle was why I never called you when the Dukov group was here. The ethics panel actually had me go to a hearing and I had to bring in all my research stuff. I mean… I had to go to the library and get all my books and take them over, dig up my notes… I even had to go through the trash to get some scraps of paper that I took notes on. Any you know why they accused me of cheating? Simply because the way I write is kinda like the way one of the professors here writes. I didn’t even know who the guy was, but they said I was copying his work. I’ll tell you, I’m mad about this… really mad, and I told them that. Anyhow, they cleared me, but I don’t know if really they believe me or not. And, I don’t know if the professors are gonna trust me after this, because the whole thing’s gotten around the department. Let this be a lesson to you, keep your research notes for your papers.”

Suzanne vented her anger against her boyfriend, who was art major specializing in painting. The guy had not really done anything all semester except create a few very bad paintings. He had no job and Suzanne had been paying for their dates. On top of everything else he had flunked a couple of his classes at the university and was considering taking classes at the community college. Since he no longer was going to be student at the university, he would have to move off-campus and really had nowhere to go.

Suzanne snapped when he told her he wanted to keep his stuff in her room and sleep there until he came up with something else. She was fully aware he would not be able to come up with anything else, and probably would want to stay indefinitely. Furthermore, by having a male stay in her room, she would be risking getting kicked out of the dorm. The answer was no. No stuff in my room, no sleeping in my room, no using my meal card to eat in the cafeteria. Go find someone else to support you, because I’ve had it. And by the way, you’d better change your major, because you don’t know how to paint. What you call a painting is something I could have done when I was in kindergarten.

Suzanne went home to her father’s house in an irritated mood. She made the mistake of telling him and her step-mother about the final two weeks of her semester. He promptly used the cheating accusation and her most recent break-up to ridicule her, and heap his usual contempt on her life and her efforts in college. Suzanne, still in a rotten mood from the events over the past two weeks, simply left the house without saying anything and returned to the university.

Cecilia was curious about the odious behavior from her friend’s father and why she put up with it.

“You know, you take a lot of shit from your dad, and I don’t get it. I’m tellin’ you, if I were you, I would’ve told him to go fuck himself a long time ago. There’s no way I’d put up with what you’re puttin’ up with. So, how come you’re doin’ it? How come you’re takin’ his shit?”

“I don’t know, Cecilia. I don’t know why I’m doing it. I’m always asking myself the same thing, but I keep hoping that someday things might be different. I keep hoping that he’ll change, I mean, go back to the way he was when I was little, and we might be a family again… like before my mom left.”

“It’s not gonna happen. You don’t have any family, ‘cause your dad’s just a rotten person. You gotta deal with that. That’s your reality, and you just gotta face it. That man’s no good, and you know he’s no good. He doesn’t deserve you bein’ nice to him.”

“I guess. I don’t know myself why I’m this way… why I can’t let go. Right now I just can’t.”

Cecilia, upon realizing she wasn’t going to get Suzanne to change her outlook on her relationship with her father, decided to change the subject and work on improving her friend’s mood. She invited Suzanne back to her room to listen to the latest CD sent to her by Kimberly Lee and to look at the website draft she had prepared. Suzanne, who had more of an eye for aesthetic appeal than did Cecilia, made several suggestions to improve the over-all appearance of the webpages, including a change in the color scheme. A few mouse clicks accomplished those changes, and yes, the webpages did indeed look better with the new colors.

Suzanne was in a quiet mood and ready to listen to Cecilia’s adventures with the Danubians. She was impressed that Cecilia actually had sat for dinner with the country’s Prime Minister and made a suggestion that perhaps salvaged an international treaty. Cecilia talked at length about the final week of the semester on her floor and her efforts to get her residents to pass their classes. While they were talking Cecilia burned an extra CD for Suzanne, figuring that her advice on the webpage more than made up for the fact she was giving a friend the band’s latest music for free.

Suzanne invited Cecilia back to her room to look over the photos she had taken in the art department studio earlier in the semester. It was strange to see her own body, completely stripped in a totally empty setting, her brown skin sharply contrasting with the white backdrop. She was surprised at the pictures’ quality, and also at how attractive her own body appeared in the pictures.

“Dang… I look good in these. They’re really great.”

Suzanne handed over a folder containing copies of the entire photo shoot. It occurred to Cecilia that she now had at least one decent Christmas gift she could give to Jason; she could have a couple of the pictures framed and present them when he came back from Wisconsin.

The photographer then announced that five of the photos would be included a city-wide exhibit of figure photography in January. That news both frightened and excited Cecilia, the knowledge that hundreds of photography fans would be studying her figure in detail. However, whatever reservations she might have had about being placed so prominently on display she would have to keep to herself because she had signed a model release.

Cecilia looked over some of Suzanne’s other work, which included a black football player who had posed nude in different spots around the university gym and stadium, various models posing outdoors in parks and forests, and a lot of shots of the Tri-Alpha 10-K race. The strangest photo shoot of the semester was of an older professor posing in his office. The man was in his 60’s and there was absolutely nothing attractive about his body, but somehow Suzanne had managed to make the subject intensely erotic.

“I like this set, and I really don’t know why. Anyhow, he’s retiring in May, and he’s going to let me do an art show with this project once he’s safely out of the university. It’s sort of funny, when you think about it. I’ve got my statement I want to make with these pictures, but he has one as well, which is different from mine. He told me it’s going to be his way of saying goodbye to his life as a scholar.”

Looking at her friend’s work had intensely aroused Cecilia. In spite of her nervousness about her images being presented in the art show in January, she secretly found herself wishing she could do another photo shoot. The photographer, who was very good at discerning the thoughts of her subjects, picked up on that immediately.

“I got a question for you. You say there’s no one else in Huntington Hall except you?”

“Yeah, it’s gonna be just me ‘till after New Year’s. Sometimes the janitor or the repair guy shows up and I gotta let ‘em in, but that’s always in the morning and just for a couple of hours. If they ain’t around I always keep all the doors in the building locked.”

“You know, I was thinking about something. If you got that whole building to yourself, we could take advantage of that to do some more photo shoots over the next couple of days. I’d have plenty of time to set up and get the lighting right. If you’re up for it, I think we could get some really great pictures, even better than the ones from the studio.”

Cecilia’s heart jumped. She was indeed up for another photo shoot. After nearly two weeks of being without Jason, she was full of pent-up sexuality. A lengthy picture-taking session in Huntington Hall would be perfect way to release her emotions.

As it got dark outside, Suzanne and Cecilia loaded themselves with her photography supplies and made the trek from Suzanne’s dorm back to Huntington Hall. They had to make two trips, because Suzanne wanted to bring all of her lighting. Cecilia then offered to open a vacant room to her friend and get her a set of linens, so she would not have to return to her room at night. The offer also gave Suzanne a place to keep her equipment, which she gladly accepted. She added a toothbrush, a bottle of shampoo, and comb to her camera bag and with that the two women trudged through the snow to get back to Huntington Hall.

Suzanne’s plans turned out to be quite ambitious. She had a unique opportunity to take advantage of having an entire building available for nearly a week to do with as she saw fit. The first thing she did was tour all of Huntington Hall, including the rooftop and basement. She turned on and off all the lights, took measurements, looked out the windows, and explored the most secret areas of the dorm. She seemed particularly fascinated with a section of the basement, carefully looking at the pipes and several concrete pillars as she pondered the underground area.

Suzanne let her model know that she planned to spend several days taking pictures and she wanted the project to be a serious artistic undertaking. She also let Cecilia know that while shooting, she would be in control, period. If Cecilia wanted the project to be successful, she had to follow the photographer’s commands with no questions.

“We’re going to be doing some experimental stuff, and I’ll be asking you to do some things that might make you nervous. But if you get nervous, that’s fine, that’s going to be what I want. The photos I’m planning are not just going to be about your body in this dorm, but also your emotions.”

She wondered what on earth Suzanne meant by that, but she still wanted to go through with the photo shoot. She was determined to see how far her friend could push her and what the artistic results would be. She knew that Suzanne’s personality completely changed when she was taking pictures; that she became very demanding of anyone modeling for her. When Suzanne was behind the camera, she was the boss, period. She expected her model to follow her commands and put forth every bit of effort to make each frame work. It was Suzanne’s job to take care of the lighting, camera angles, camera settings, and picture developing, but it was the model’s responsibility to put forth the effort and emotion needed to provide acceptable subject matter.

Suzanne was aware that over the past couple of weeks Cecilia had not worn any clothes while alone in the building. As soon as she was settled in her room she directed her model to undress. Cecilia returned to her room and pulled off her clothes. Her heart pounding, she stepped back into the hallway as Suzanne's camera flashed at her figure. Her friend now was in complete charge of her life, and would remain so until the photography session ended. The very first thing she told Cecilia was that would not be allowed to get dressed again until the photo session was over.

“I want to get as many good shots of you as I can, and I don’t want pressure marks from your clothes to show up in the images. Also, I want you to get used to running around in the nude, so it'll be something you won't be worrying about later on. This photo session is going to be all about you, not about what you’re wearing.”

Suzanne began by directing her model to take whatever dirty clothing she had downstairs to the laundry room. Cecilia did not have much that she needed to wash, but she obeyed and walked down the stairs with a basket as Suzanne’s camera clicked behind her. There were more pictures taken in the laundry room, pictures of Cecilia walking up and down the stairs, pictures of her moving around in the hallway, and pictures of her ironing and putting everything away.

Suzanne spent Christmas Eve and the following day taking pictures non-stop of her model doing every daily activity imaginable, all of it in the nude. Cecilia was on the move the entire day doing housework, even though cleaning Huntington Hall was not her responsibility. She was ordered to clean a bathroom, mop the entire cafeteria floor, cook a meal, wash dishes, run a vacuum cleaner in the entire second floor hallway, and straighten the furniture in all the building’s common areas. Suzanne ordered her to tidy up the building’s reception desk and then sit down and do some work at the computer. She ordered her to go into the director’s office and do some work at his desk. Then she ordered Cecilia to go upstairs, put on her tennis shoes, and use the treadmill.

“You’ll need to put some effort into your running. I want you sweating before you're done.”

Cecilia ran a full three miles, non-stop at a fast setting before Suzanne let her stop. She was covered in perspiration and gasping for breath when Suzanne finally turned down the setting and let her slow to a walk to cool down. As the sweat continued trickling down her body, Suzanne took more pictures of her model walking: from the front, from the back, and from each side. There were pictures of her stretching, and then pictures of her taking a shower with the shower curtain open. Because water had spilled on the bathroom floor, Cecilia had to get on her hands and knees and clean it up with a towel while the photographer photographed her. The photographer directed her model to turn her bottom towards the camera and spread her knees and arch her back while she was wiping the floor, to expose herself as much as possible. She felt the bathroom's cool air blowing against her bottom and vulva as the camera flashed behind her.

As Christmas Day progressed, Suzanne’s pictures became more intimate and the camera more invasive. Cecilia no longer noticed, however. She was tired from all of the housework and by the end of the day had totally forgotten that she had spent the last 24 hours in the nude in front of her friend. She got on her computer and began reading and sending e-mails. She was able to completely ignore Suzanne and follow her normal routine. Being ignored was exactly what Suzanne had in mind, because she wanted the pictures to be natural.

When it was time for Cecilia to go to bed, Suzanne continued documenting her friend’s life. Cecilia took the bedspread off her bed and turned up the heat, so that she could sleep with no covers and be photographed throughout the night as she moved about on the bed. Suzanne dimmed the lights, adjusted her camera lens to maximize the limited lighting, and patiently watched her model while she slept.

About three in the morning Cecilia woke up and heard the quiet clicks of Suzanne’s camera. Half asleep, she walked down the hallway and into the bathroom to pee, with Suzanne following her. When she returned to her room, she still was half asleep but felt very aroused. Her sexuality surfaced, partly from missing Jason, and partly from the feeling of being submitting to Suzanne and being documented in every intimate detail. Ignoring the fact her actions were being captured on film, she began caressing herself, gently running her fingertips over her stomach and breasts. Slowly her fingers moved to her thighs, then ever closer to her clitoris. She spread her legs and gently massaged her labia and touched her vagina. She rolled over and ran her hands over her bottom, gently caressing her backside as she rubbed her front over the bed. She then flipped on her back to continue teasing herself up front. Suzanne very quietly moved about the bed with her camera, capturing everything in minute detail. Cecilia’s expression changed as she moved closer and closer to climaxing. She became wet and began sweating as she teased and tormented herself, striving, as always, to delay the orgasm as long as possible.

Suzanne took numerous pictures, quickly using up her film and desperately swapping used rolls of pictures for unused ones. This was her chance to document a real orgasm. Sure… there were plenty of pictures of women pretending to have orgasms, plenty of pictures that looked as fake as a three-dollar bill. This was different. This was the real thing, and when the pictures were developed it would be obvious that it was genuine, a real woman truly enjoying her own body.

After Cecilia went back to sleep, Suzanne returned to her borrowed room to restock her film and make sure the most recent pictures were safely stored until they could be developed. She then took off her own clothes and slept for a couple of hours, but woke up at daybreak and got dressed to make sure she was in Cecilia’s room when she got up.

By the middle of the day after Christmas Suzanne had documented 36 hours of Cecilia doing every imaginable daily activity in the nude. She wanted to change her focus and take pictures of her model actually posing instead of just moving about naturally. There was no question that Cecilia felt perfectly comfortable with posing, so it was time to move on to more ambitious pictures.

As she followed the photographer's lead, Cecilia’s intense sexuality fascinated Suzanne. She decided to bring that out as much as possible throughout the second full day of shooting. Her ultimate plan was to seduce her friend. She did not want to make physical love to her, but instead have her subject to make love to the camera. Slowly she manipulated Cecilia’s emotions as she gradually persuaded her to assume ever more revealing and submissive postures. Cecilia found herself under a spell of her own making, desperately wanting to surrender herself and be taken. She was wet and her eyes were glistening with sexual desire. For the entire afternoon her soul belonged to the photographer and her camera.

Finally, at about 10:00 pm, Suzanne could tell that intense exhaustion was overtaking her model’s intense arousal. She allowed Cecilia to clean up and get back on her bed for some sleep. As before, that second night she allowed her model no bed covers and absolutely no privacy. Cecilia ended the day desperate to relieve her burning desires. With her friend’s camera quietly clicking nearby, she masturbated uncontrollably for a very long time before finally climaxing and falling asleep.

At the end of the second full day of shooting, Suzanne was exhausted herself, but was exhilarated at the total success of the project so far. She wanted more. She knew that the next day she could get even better pictures out of her friend if she handled her correctly. She looked about the room to see what might truly arouse Cecilia, but at the same time scare her and test her emotional limits.

She noticed the drawing of Jason, bent over, with belt marks covering his exposed backside. She peeked in the closet, and saw two very heavy old belts hanging just inside the door. It was obvious that Cecilia never wore those belts, because they were men’s belts; too big, too weathered, and too thick to be worn by a young woman. Behind the belts was hanging a small black leather paddle. Hmm… so that’s what Cecilia’s into… OK, that’s what I’ll get her with tomorrow…

Suzanne returned to the basement, where she would finalize the most important episode of the shared experience with her model. There was a thick cement pillar standing in the middle of the room. By sheer luck, it had several u-shaped pieces of metal imbedded in the concrete that must have been left over from when the building was being constructed. She looked at the concrete support beams above her head. There were additional u-shaped pieces of metal embedded in the beams. That was perfect. The next day she would used the pillar and support beams to tie Cecilia in different poses and photograph her in bondage. She needed some rope, which she knew would be somewhere in the building, because it was needed to hang banners. Finally she found what she was looking for, several long pieces of soft nylon rope rolled up in a box with some old cloth signs. She put one piece in her pocket and laid out the others near the pillar. Then she went upstairs to get her lighting. Once the lighting was set up and tested, the basement was ready.

The next day Cecilia slept until late in the morning. The room was illuminated by the snowy-white weather outside, which allowed the photographer to get some very good pictures of her model sleeping. For a while Suzanne simply sat next to the bed, admiring the petite dark figure lying face down on the mattress. Her legs were spread slightly and her bottom was completely relaxed, leaving her bottom-hole and vulva exposed to the well-lit room and Suzanne’s camera. She took a few close-up shots of the intimate dark area between her model’s soft brown bottom-cheeks. She was surprised when she found herself tempted to reach out and gently caress that tender spot. She resisted that urge, angry at herself for having sexual feelings towards her sleeping friend.

Cecilia finally woke up and looked into the camera with eyes heavy from sleep. She went to the bathroom and took a brief shower, once again leaving the shower curtain open so Suzanne could photograph her. She casually shaved her armpits and vulva as the camera continued capturing her every move. After drying off, once again she had to get on her hands and knees to wipe up the water with her bottom turned up, spread, and facing the camera.

The day continued in the cafeteria kitchen. Suzanne photographed Cecilia cooking, eating, drinking, cleaning the dishes, and wiping down the countertops. The two women then sat together at a table and casually talked about what Suzanne had done so far and what she hoped to accomplish with the project. The photographer announced that if the day’s shooting went well, probably she’d wrap up later in the day and take her equipment back to her dorm.

She let Cecilia know that the past three days had been absolutely the best photo session she ever had with a female model, professional or amateur. However, the only reward Cecilia could expect for her efforts so far was even harder work before the project could be wrapped up. Suzanne wanted a climax to the photo session, an ultimate test of her model’s desire to satisfy her artistic instincts. Cecilia shifted nervously, because she knew that Suzanne was about to intensify the demands she was making of her model.

Suzanne pulled a piece of rope out of her pocket, as her companion's eyes opened wide with surprise and anxiety.

“Put your hands behind you, please.”

Cecilia stood up and turned her back to Suzanne, obediently placing her hands in position so the photographer could tie them. She felt her wrists being firmly wrapped and immobilized behind her back. Suzanne finished off with a very firm knot, and then tapped her model’s shoulder to direct her towards the door. As Cecilia moved away, Suzanne snapped several photos of her walking with her hands behind her back.

Cecilia felt totally helpless and much more naked, with her front unprotected and inaccessible to her hands. Suzanne made her do a complete walk around the building, while she took pictures from all sides and angles. Finally they returned to Cecilia’s room. Suzanne directed her subject to kneel, took a couple more pictures, and then asked her to describe what was in her closet. Cecilia looked up, breathing roughly, as she confessed that she was keeping two thick belts and a leather paddle. She explained what the items were used for while Suzanne took them out and tapped them in her hand.

She took several photos of Cecilia’s very nervous expression and uncomfortable posture. She then posed a question.

“Have you ever had these used on you?”

“No, Suzanne. I’ve always used ‘em on Jason. I… I’ve never had ‘em used on me.”

“That's being hypocritical. We need to fix that. Stand up, ‘cause I’m going to take you downstairs.”

They left, Cecilia’s hands still tied and Suzanne carrying the belts and paddle. The RA’s heart pounded when she saw the set-up in the basement. The lights, the tri-pods, and the rope clearly indicated what Suzanne had in mind. She was scared, but had been well-aware that her companion had been planning a dramatic conclusion to the project. She walked up to the pillar, and without saying anything, silently awaited the next command.

For the next hour Suzanne experimented by tying her model to the pillar in different positions and photographing her. She was not particularly interested in punishing Cecilia, but she did expect the model to keep a scared, nervous look in her face. Whenever her expression relaxed too much, Suzanne responded by giving her a couple of sharp smacks with the paddle.

The photographer paused to secure the model’s hands to the cement support beam above her head. She picked up the belt, doubled it and slapped it in her hand. Cecilia watched her in terror, wondering how much further this was going to go. Suzanne stepped in front of her.

“Cecilia, I want to let you know I appreciate this, I really appreciate what you’re doing for me. You’ve already done your part as a model, and whether or not we go any further is up to you. What I’d like is make you cry, and then get some shots of you with tears running down your face. I know that’s a lot to ask. I promise I won’t get mad if you want to end things now, but I think we could get some really powerful pictures if you let me continue. It’s your choice.”

Cecilia struggled to catch her breath. She was trembling, her bare breasts quivering slightly and nervous sweat trickling down her body. But there was no doubt in her mind what needed to happen. She needed to do this project right, do it the way Suzanne wanted, and push her own limits. They would continue. If they didn’t, she would always wonder…

“It… it’s OK… Suzanne… you can go on. It’s alright.”

“You sure?”

Cecilia nodded. She closed her eyes and shifted her bottom out slightly to receive the first blow. She heard the camera click and then there was a pause…

CRACK! Suzanne landed a sharp swat across the middle of Cecilia’s bottom. She gasped and twisted slightly as tears welled up in her eyes. She heard the camera click and then struggled to position herself to receive the second swat. There was a long pause, followed by a sharp CRACK! As the pain mounted from the first two swats, Suzanne carefully and viciously struck a third time with yet another sharp CRACK!

Tears started flowing down Cecilia’s cheeks. In rapid succession Suzanne laid two additional welts across Cecilia’s backside, as her victim bit her lip and the tears started flowing in earnest.

“Open your eyes and look at me please.”

Cecilia looked into Suzanne’s camera, as the photographer captured a powerful image of her tear-stained face.

“You OK?”

Cecilia nodded and stuck out her bottom for the punishment to continue.

CRACK! Suzanne struck hard, overlapping an earlier stroke and forcing her victim to squeal in pain. However, as soon as she could control her squirming, Cecilia positioned herself for yet another sharp swat.

Suzanne ended up only hitting Cecilia a total of 10 times. By the tenth swat Cecilia was crying quite nicely and Suzanne felt no need to continue. She finished out a roll of film, set down the camera, and got ready to untie Cecilia and release her.

However, the restrained young woman had become consumed with sexual desire. She needed not to be released, but to be touched, to be satisfied, and to be fulfilled. As Suzanne reached up to untie the rope, Cecilia jerked her hands away. Her eyes full of erotic desperation, she gasped:

“Touch me! I’m gonna go crazy if you don’t touch me! You gotta...”

“Cecilia, I never do that with my models. I can’t because it’s not professional.”

“Look, I don’t wanna hear that shit! That ain’t fair! I did everything you wanted! Now it’s your turn to do what I want! You can’t leave me like this!”

Cecilia’s face was full of absolute desperation, an uncontrolled sexual fury. No, Suzanne couldn’t leave her in this condition. She had just given her the best photo shoot of her life and she had no right to just walk away leaving her friend’s sexual desires unfulfilled.

Suzanne realized something else. She was actually attracted to Cecilia. It would be the only time in her life she ever would find another woman sexually desirable, but Cecilia’s beautiful body, stretched and helplessly immobilized under the support beam, truly was a tempting sight.

“I’ll do what you want, but… don’t you want me to release you?”

“No! I don’t wanna be released!”

Suzanne took a deep breath and began gently running her fingertips over Cecilia’s breasts. She gently kissed each nipple as Cecilia gasped from arousal. She gently cupped Cecilia’s face in her hands and gave her a lingering kiss. She gently explored her vulva with her fingertips, teasing her labia and gently brushing her clitoris. Cecilia was very, very wet.

Suzanne kissed her friend’s breasts and slowly worked her way down her stomach. Cecilia’s body was covered with sweat, the salty taste of which filled her mouth. Suzanne moved down to her friend's cleanly shaven crotch. She gently touched and kissed her entire vulva, intimately exploring another woman for the first time in her life.

Cecilia gasped and thrust herself forward as Suzanne gently sought out her friend's clitoris with her tongue. She would have thought that tasting another woman's sexual arousal would be disgusting, but in the case with Cecilia, quite the opposite was true. She found the taste of Cecilia’s arousal fascinating. She frequently had performed oral sex on two of her boyfriends and thus was used to it, but to do it to Cecilia was a new and intriguing experience.

By now Suzanne was becoming aroused as well. After having studied and photographed her model in minute detail over the past three days, she was passionately attracted to her. She stood up and pulled off her shirt. She embraced Cecilia, gently rubbing their breasts together. She took Cecilia's head in her hands and fervently kissed her as she pulled against the ropes.

Now that she was aroused herself, Suzanne wanted to feel Cecilia’s hands on her body. She reached up and struggled with the rope, finally managing to free her captive’s hands. Cecilia embraced Suzanne and desperately kissed her neck. She pushed her friend against the cement pillar, licked her breasts, and then cupped her breasts in her hands while she sought out Suzanne’s mouth with her own.

With a single movement Cecilia jerked Suzanne’s skirt to her ankles. For some reason she was thrilled to see that her friend was not wearing underwear. Suzanne’s pale skin and voluptuous thighs beckoned. She ran her hand between her friend’s thick legs, relishing the feel of the soft warm flesh. Her hand paused over her friend’s vulva, her fingers buried in her soft pubic hair. She paused to study Suzanne’s aroused, but very nervous expression.

“We gotta get upstairs… We can’t be doing this in the basement.”

Naked, the two women scrambled up two flights of stairs. They stopped right outside the RA’s room when Cecilia pinned Suzanne to the wall and began passionately kissing her. She explored her friend’s body with her free hand and once again buried her face in her neck.

Although in stature she was by far the smaller of the two women, it was Cecilia who took control of their love-making. She pushed Suzanne onto the bed and quickly plunged her face between her legs. She was determined to make Suzanne climax, after which she would expect Suzanne to return the favor.

Cecilia took much longer to get an orgasm out of Suzanne than she had anticipated. She knew what she liked for herself and how to get Jason to satisfy her, but this was the first time in her life she had ever been with another woman. She was inexperienced, and on top of everything else her lover was extremely nervous. However, finally she did find the right combination of teasing, licking, biting, and kissing to get the coveted wetness and some high pitched gasps from her companion.

Once Suzanne climaxed Cecilia climbed on top and pinned her hands to the mattress. Cecilia forced her lover to taste the juices of her own arousal as she pushed her tongue into past her teeth and deep into her mouth. With mounting concern Suzanne realized that her friend’s sexual arousal had completely taken control of her and that she seemed not to be thinking straight.

Cecilia moved over Suzanne’s body, kissing and grabbing her thighs and breasts, running her hands over her stomach and returning to kissing her clitoris. The photographer was becoming more and more frightened as her sex-starved partner continued to dominate her with her unspoken demands.

Finally Suzanne tried to regain control of the love-making by pushing Cecilia on her back and slipping her face between the Dominican’s legs. Seeing and touching her friend’s dark vagina and freshly-shaven crotch re-lit Suzanne’s own arousal, but more than anything else she wanted to make Cecilia climax and then try to get her to calm down. She knew that some of her experience performing oral sex on her boyfriends could be applied to her session with Cecilia. Very slowly and sensuously she began kissing and licking the most intimate parts of her companion.

Cecilia climaxed immediately. She moaned quite loudly and moved desperately on the bed, saturating the sheets with her sweat. Then she quieted down and Suzanne thought she was finished. She lifted her head, only to have Cecilia grab her hair and jerk her face back down.

“Más… quiero más… quiero más…”

Suzanne’s heart was pounding and she was more afraid than ever. Her friend was so out of control that she even had forgotten which language she needed to speak. Still, she felt that she owed it to Cecilia to satisfy her, so once again she explored the dark flesh surrounding her clitoris with her fingertips and tongue. Suzanne was becoming tired from all of her efforts and wondered how on earth Cecilia could be so demanding and not be worn out. Had she known about Jason’s nightly duty in the RA’s room, she would have understood that, when it came to being sexually satisfied, her friend had become quite spoiled.

Finally Cecilia climaxed enough to let her companion know that she was satisfied. The muscles in Suzanne’s face were stiff and her entire mouth was sore from her efforts. The rest of her body was quite tired as well, partly from the strange orgasm she had enjoyed, but mostly from the extended effort to fulfill her friend’s insatiable demand for sexual fulfillment.

The spell lifted. Cecilia sat up on the bed with a bewildered expression, as though she had just woken up from a very strange dream. She glanced over at her naked friend to verify that, yes indeed she had just had sex with Suzanne. She had no idea what to say or how to react.

For a long time the two women sat quietly, each trying to think of something to say to the other. They both would remember the incident as one of the most bizarre events in their lives, given that neither Cecilia nor Suzanne was gay. How on earth could the two women, each of whom considered the other a close friend, have ended up doing such a thing as making love?

At first they both faced guilt over what had just happened. Cecilia’s guilt was obvious enough: she had cheated on Jason by seducing her friend. Suzanne felt just as bad, because she betrayed ethics of her profession by having sex with a model. The women’s self-confidence was shaken by the realization that their physical urges were quite capable of overwhelming their personal beliefs. That was especially true for Cecilia. She had just learned that she literally could not control herself if she was aroused.

Suzanne sat back and looked at her friend. She was a very open-minded person, so the thought of having had sex with Cecilia did not bother her as much as the way it had happened. She blamed herself for having seduced Cecilia to make the photo shoot successful, pushing her for three days to explore her sexual urges and document them on film. There was no question that she was exploiting her subject’s emotions, but she had no choice if she wanted to make pictures with any artistic merit. She saw the fierce arousal as it took control of Cecilia’s soul, but pushed ahead because she was focused on getting the pictures she wanted. Finally, after three days, her friend snapped. Well, now Suzanne had the pictures, but they might well have cost her a friendship.

Cecilia was absolutely scared. She was terrified of her seemingly uncontrollable urges. She realized she was going nuts without Jason. All she could think about was her desperate need for sex. It had gotten so bad that she practically assaulted her closest female friend. She wondered how on earth the friendship could survive such a bizarre afternoon.

Finally it was Suzanne who broke the silence.

“Are you OK?”

“I… I don’t know… I don’t know if I’m OK. To be honest, what just happened… it kinda scared me.”

“You didn’t enjoy it?”

“Oh yeah, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it a lot. But it wasn’t… I mean... I ain’t that way, or… I didn’t think I was that way. But I don’t know, with Jason gone, it’s like I’m not the same person, I mean, all I’m thinkin’ about now is sex. Without Jason… all I can think about is sex.”

Suzanne saw the last comment as a chance to move beyond the sexual encounter and perhaps get Cecilia to open up a bit more about her own life. She realized that her friend’s defenses were down and that she might be willing to share some details about her life and about her relationship with Jason in particular. So, for the next couple of hours she got Cecilia talk about how she saw Jason as a partner and why she treated him the way she did, what concerns she had for his future. She moved to talking about her own life and her efforts to take full advantage of the scholarship to make her final escape from the world in which she grew up. When Cecilia talked about Jason’s father, Suzanne reflected that Mr. Schmidt seemed very similar in personality to her own father.

Suzanne talked shared some details about her own life, and her frustration over her persistently bad luck with boyfriends. She always seemed to attract guys who were looking for someone to support them, constantly drawing weak individuals who couldn’t fend for themselves. Cecilia pointed out that Suzanne always dated guys within the art department, and perhaps that was her problem. Suzanne pondered that thought, but it seemed, as was the case in the relationship with her father, she lacked the imagination to really change how she approached choosing potential partners. She couldn’t picture dating someone without an artistic background.

The conversation then shifted back to Cecilia’s deepest fear, losing control over her own life. She haltingly talked about her early relationship with Vicente, telling Suzanne the full story, only leaving out the detail about the abortion. She then moved forward, explaining why she was so angry with herself.

“I keep tellin’ myself that I ain’t never gonna let no one take over my life again, not after Vicente kept hittin’ me in the face. But then, how can I even think about that when I ain’t even got control over my own body? It’s like, there’s somethin’ inside me that I can’t control, and it really scares me. What… happened a couple of minutes ago… wasn’t the first time, you know… when I wasn’t thinking about what I was doin’. It’s happened before. I hate that part of me, ‘cause I know it’s gonna fuck up my life someday.”

“Look. You can’t be so hard on yourself. I was in on it too, just as much as you were. I didn’t exactly push you away, you know. As I said, things just happen, and you learn from them. Anyhow, at least now you know yourself a bit better.”

Cecilia did not respond, so Suzanne continued: “Maybe, if you… like… if you, as you say, lose control over yourself… don’t you think it was better that it happened with me, instead of someone else? Would you really have wanted to be stressed out about having had sex with someone you couldn’t trust, and then be wondering how it was going to come back and hurt you later on?”

“I ‘spose not, but I’m still not happy it happened with you, ‘cause, I don’t know, I just wouldn’t have wanted to mess things up between us. I would’ve rather it’d been with someone I don’t care about… and…”

“No, that wouldn’t have been better. I can tell you from my own experiences that wouldn’t have been better… and as far as I’m concerned, nothing got messed up. I still want us to be friends. That’d be very important to me, that we don’t lose our friendship.”

“You really think after…?”

“Can you tell me if there was anything wrong with what we did? Did we hurt anyone? No. All we did was share an experience. That’s all that happened between us. We’re both lonely and stressed out, and the result was that we shared an experience. It’s nothing to feel bad about.”

Cecilia felt hugely relieved at Suzanne’s common-sense approach to their sexual adventure. Suzanne’s own difficult past allowed her to put at least some things into proper perspective. While Cecilia otherwise might have tormented herself with guilt and anger, Suzanne was able to make her see the sexual encounter for what it was, an experience in life that she had shared with a friend.

It was dark outside by the time Cecilia and Suzanne finally got off the bed and made their way to the bathroom to get cleaned up. As she admired Suzanne’s shapely body, a figure so voluptuous and so different from her own, an idea took hold in her mind. She decided that she wanted to document her appreciation of her friend’s body on film. As they dried off, she approached Suzanne with her thoughts.

“You know, I was wonderin’, if maybe I could borrow your camera and your lighting, and we could change places. Me takin’ the pictures and you bein’ the model. It’s somethin’ I’d like to try.”

It was a request that Suzanne had not expected. She did not have a good opinion of her own body, but she felt that it was only fair that after three days of modeling, Cecilia should have the opportunity to experiment being on the other side of the camera. Suzanne agreed and helped Cecilia set up the lighting in the commons area. She gave an impromptu lesson on adjusting the settings of the two cameras and how to use the lights, and then quietly took her position in front of her own lens.

Cecilia spent the next two hours photographing Suzanne. She was fascinated at the thought of changing places with the photographer, and only stopped when she used up the last roll of film.

Chapter 24 - Jason's Christmas Vacation

Jason spent what he hoped would be his final Christmas vacation separated from Cecilia.

As he rode with his father across the open lands of southern Wisconsin to their final destination in his wealthy neighborhood, he was able to reflect on how his first college semester had changed him. He thought about how much he was moving away from the rest of his family in his values, ambitions, and what he wanted from his life. He knew that most certainly he had no desire to follow in his father's footsteps nor in any way associate himself with the world his father was a part of. His life would have to follow a different path, but still needed to determine what that path would be.

Once he found out Jason's final grades for the semester, Mr. Schmidt had very little to say to his son. Jason's performance in college spoke for itself. He had passed one of the most difficult freshman classes on the first try with a "B", which removed a major obstacle blocking his continued progress. He now could take several classes that had Burnside's Theory of Economics as a prerequisite and had decided on a rather ambitious spring semester. It was clear to Mr. Schmidt that Jason had no intention of wasting time in college. He had performed much better than anyone in his family could have anticipated, assuring that he would be returning for a second semester in school.

The silence in the car on the journey northward was fortunate, because Jason needed the time to reflect on his relationship with Cecilia. Already he missed her tremendously. Three weeks without her would seem like an eternity, because the truth was that he needed her to be in charge of his daily life. However intimidated he might be of her strong character and temper, she had saved him by giving his life a purpose and a sense of direction. In her absence, even for a few weeks, he felt adrift and unfocused.

His thoughts wandered to questioning why Cecilia's role in his life was so crucial for his success. Why did he need her? Not just want her; but actually need her? He fully understood that it was not college that had changed him, but Cecilia. He now realized what would have happened to him that first semester, had he not met her. He would have taken a few easy classes, put forth a minimal effort to pass, and probably would have barely managed to stay enrolled for the spring. He had no ambitions, nothing he planned to pursue, other than living from day to day with as little effort as possible. He had entered college with a fatalistic attitude, simply taking for granted that he was a failure as a human being, and thus could not expect much from his time in college.

To Cecilia, living like that was unacceptable. As soon as she became interested in him, she ensured that Jason's lack of direction and his subconscious desire to drift into obscurity came to an abrupt stop. She had absolutely no qualms about imposing what she wanted into Jason's life and mercilessly controlling him and his activities. However, not once had she ever been wrong about something she wanted him to do. Even the blow-up over the tattoo… yes, even about that she had been right. Did he really need to permanently mark up his body just because it was fashionable at the time to do so? Wouldn't it be better to save himself for the future and stand his ground against the whims of the moment?

Jason's musings wandered to the next question: why did she need him so badly? As the semester drew to a close he came to realize that she needed him every bit as much as he needed her. He came to understand that what Cecilia needed was a partner she could both control and trust, because in reality she was extremely vulnerable. As tough and bossy as she seemed on the outside, he knew that she actually was scared of her secret weaknesses, every bit as much as he was scared of his own.

Jason remembered the Eastern concept of Yin and Yang from one of his high school classes, the idea of the two parts that made a full circle. They fit together, neither able to exist without the other. Yin and Yang each left a gap that the other had to fill. Perhaps that concept explained his life with Cecilia. Jason's soul was only partially formed and had pieces missing. However, Cecilia's soul also was only partially formed and had pieces missing. If that were true, then perhaps there was the answer to Jason's question. Together he and Cecilia complimented each other to make a whole, but each of them, separated from the other, was incomplete.

Mr. Schmidt and his son returned to their over-sized house and their empty neighborhood. There was a slight whiff of carpet cleaning solution and insecticide in the residence; a sign that true to her word, Mrs. Schmidt had the place fumigated after Cecilia left the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

Jason's mother was in the kitchen working on a holiday cooking project and issuing commands to the two maids. As always, a wall of hostility poisoned the atmosphere as soon as Jason's parents found themselves in the same room. As always, Mrs. Schmidt vented her hostility, not at the man who paid her bills, but at another convenient target.

"So, where's the little gang-banger, Jason? Slinging crack back in the 'Hood?"

Jason walked up to his mother, slapped his grade sheet on the countertop, and walked toward the kitchen door.

"Hey, I'm talking to you… I asked you a question! Where's your little gang-banger?"

Jason kept walking, desperate to avoid exploding at his mother.


"Mom, she's staying to watch over Huntington Hall, if you really gotta know. That's where she is."

"Well I hope they fumigate before the students…"

With that comment, Jason snapped, less than a minute being back in his family's house. He might have held his tongue had she accused his girlfriend of anything else, but the hypocrisy of that comment pushed him over the edge. How dare she, a woman who never did a moment of cleaning in her life, say such a thing?

"Mom, the only thing that needs to be fumigated is your fucking mouth! Cecilia's a better woman than you'll ever be, and you know why? Because she doesn't play fucking tennis! She's got a hell of a lot better things to do than play friggin' tennis all day and bitch about everyone else!"

The kitchen exploded into a savage shouting match between Jason and his parents. He caught them off-guard, because never had he stood up to them. The only time he even hinted at standing up for himself was at Thanksgiving when he snapped at his mother to "just let it go" when she was about to lay into Cecilia. This, however, was different because not only had he yelled at his mother, he had sworn at her. As much as he hated his wife, there was no way Mr. Schmidt would allow one of his children go as far as swearing at her. He snarled at Jason to apologize, but Jason retorted that she needed to apologize for her treatment of Cecilia and the fumigation comments.

To that Mrs. Schmidt snarled, "I did have to have this place fumigated Jason, and I don't appreciate the inconvenience…"

Jason snapped again, repeating his line that it was Mrs. Schmidt's mouth that needed to be fumigated. Mr. Schmidt again jumped into the fray, falling back on reminding Jason about his own worthlessness and how it resulted in the deaths of three people the year before.

"Maybe it's true that your mother's worthless, but at least she never got anyone killed, not like some worthless people in this room."

Mrs. Schmidt did not take kindly to being called worthless by her husband. "Well, at least I'm not screwing a bunch of diseased wetbacks and coffee shop whores like you two."

"Of course not, 'cause you're too busy banging those god-damned fag tennis instructors instead!"

Jason's mother went white, the blood draining from her face. It was obvious her husband knew more about her life than she had realized. She gave him a hostile, frightened look, then, not knowing what else to do, picked up a pot and slammed it into the expensive set of copper pans hanging above the stove. There was a loud clatter as several of the metal utensils fell onto the stove and then onto the floor. The maids backed away in fright, never having seen their bosses raise their voices at each other before.

For the first time in several years, the sullen silence between Jason's parents had broken into open hostility. However, instead of continuing to battle, the three members of the Schmidt family quickly withdrew from the kitchen to nurse their grudges alone. The Schmidts were not used to openly fighting, so once the explosion took place they really did not know how to continue.

The behavior of Jason's parents contrasted with the behavior of Cecilia's family during fights. No one in the Sanchez household ever walked away from a confrontation. The family frequently remained in the kitchen screaming at each other all night until they became exhausted or ran out of things to say. They fought, but then, the next day continued on with their lives as though nothing had happened. The difference was significant, because in Cecilia's family the constant fights didn't lead to any worsening of the over-all relationship between her relatives. The Sanchez's did not really like or get along with each other, but things in the household never got any worse regardless of whatever unpleasantness there might be at any given moment.

An open fight among Jason's family was a much less frequent matter, but much more serious in its consequences. When the Schmidts had an open fight there was tense silence for weeks afterwards. When they finally did start speaking again, the emotional residue from the confrontation never disappeared. Every open fight was an event for Jason's family, a milestone in the slow but steady decay of the relationship each family member had with the others. The Schmidts stored their grievances, ready to use in the future for the constant digs and quiet insults that characterized their comments towards each other.

Jason retreated to the pool and tore off his clothes. It was the first time he would go skinny-dipping while his parents were in the house and not asleep; but he thought to himself, screw them. I'm going to swim, and I'm going to swim the way I want. If they don't like it, then they can just stay out of the pool area until I'm done. For a very long time he did laps: back and forth… back and forth… trying to swim himself into exhaustion.

Much later that night he got dressed and picked up his grade slip from the kitchen countertop, right where he had left it. What he had accomplished that semester in his studies meant nothing to his mother. That much was obvious because she had not even bothered to look at his grades.

The next day Jason decided to go to his grandmother's condo to get a sane perspective on the ugly homecoming he had endured the night before. He stayed in bed until his father went to work and his mother departed to the country club, then called the elder Mrs. Schmidt to see if her boyfriend could come over to pick him up. Oddly enough, Jason's grandmother seemed to know ahead of time that he would be calling her and would need to get out of the house. He wondered how she could have known that, because immediately after he hung up the phone his grandmother's friend was on his way to retrieve him.

Jason spent the trip back to his grandmother's house talking to the older man about his semester. It struck him as very odd that a person who was not a blood relative took more interest in his life than did his own parents.

When he entered his grandmother's residence she had several interesting items of news for him. She was not at all surprised about the blow-up in the kitchen the night before. Apparently things were not going well at all between Jason's parents, because their excesses were beginning to catch up with them.

His father was spending ever more time with his job and his mistresses, and working on some sinister project related to Mega-Town Associates. Cassie was running wild and smoking pot. Meanwhile, Jason's mother was relieving her stress by having affairs with various staff members at the country club. Although she had been conducting her affairs for several years, her recent behavior had become much less discreet. In fact, her activities had become a source of gossip and already had cost her the trust of several of her friends. She had been involved a couple of scandals, including getting at least one physical instructor fired.

"If she doesn't watch herself she's going to get expelled from that club, because she's a bit of a headache for the management. God help us all when she gets kicked out and winds up sitting at home… God help us when that happens. She'll go crazy and take everyone down with her."

He learned his father had faced a sexual harassment suit from a waitress during the fall and decided to settle out of court. Unfortunately Jason's mother learned about the suit and its result, which encouraged her to pursue her own affairs at the club and become more abusive to the maids.

"I'm very worried about your parents, Jason. I can see what's going to happen and there's nothing I can do to stop it. They're killing themselves, and if you and Cassie don't watch yourselves, you're going to go down with them."

Jason wasn't sure how to respond, so his grandmother continued.

"Actually, on that, I'm a lot more worried about Cassie than about you. I think you're going to come out OK, but I don't know about Cassie. Your mom has her so tightly wound up in all that country club nonsense that I don't know if she can handle losing all that."

"But what do you think is going to happen? Do you think Dad's gonna lose his job?"

"No, not the job. It'd be a blessing if he did, because I'm not proud of what he's become or what he's doing. I wish he'd lose his job, because it's that job that's destroying him. And now he's about to destroy everyone else around him. He's already destroyed your mother."

"Don't you think you're being a bit hard on him? Do you really think he's that bad?"

"I'm not being hard on him at all. I always wanted him to be happy, and he's not. He refuses to be. He's the most miserable person I know, and he can't figure out why. I think I do know why. He's so consumed with himself that he can't experience any joy out of life, and if you can't experience any joy, you're already dead. Already dead. That's how I see your parents, both of them. No joy and no love, just greed and selfishness, so what do they have to live for?"

"But what makes you so stressed out about them now? They really haven't changed."

"They've changed. It's just you haven't noticed it because you're too close to them to see what's going on. I can sit back, and watch them from a distance. I've been watching them for 22 years, so I think I can put their lives into perspective. They're sinking, and it won't be much longer…"

"Much longer?"

"They don't have much longer. I just have… this feeling. I can sense it, but I can't explain it. I can tell you that something very bad is going to happen to them. When it does, you'll need to be as far away from here as you can. Later, I'll need you to come back, to help your sister. It's going to be a lot harder on her than it will be on you. I think you'll be OK. Her, I don't know about."

"But… what is it? What do you think's gonna happen?"

"That's what I don't know, but I can sense it. All I can tell you is that your parents are going to destroy themselves. It's too late for me to do anything for them. All I can do is try to be here for you and Cassie."

The topic of conversation changed, and the two talked at length about Mr. Schmidt as a child. Then Jason's grandmother talked about her own childhood. She went even further back in time as she talked about their distant relatives. Jason spent the next several hours listening to his grandmother's detailed account of the Schmidt family history. For the first time in his life he was ready to look back into the past and assess where he had come from, following the family story clear back to the 1840's, when several ancestors passed through New York and settled on the frontier. He spent a very long time looking through old photo albums and trying to understand what had made the Schmidts the way they were.

That afternoon he learned another interesting fact. When his parents decided to replace the old family furniture with the expensive items currently decorating their house, his grandmother secretly rented a storage unit to keep the heirlooms his father had planned to throw out. Mr. Schmidt was unaware that the old family furniture had not been hauled to the dump, but instead was safely sitting in storage, waiting for Jason or Cassie to retrieve at some point in the distant future.

Jason had never really thought about the old family furniture before, but suddenly realized he was enormously relieved to know it had not been thrown out after all. It had been saved for him, the family's past, which was being kept to be part of his own future. He did indeed have a future, one in which he would salvage whatever was left over from the disaster that was being predicted by his grandmother, and one in which he and Cecilia would continue to share. Once again he realized how much he missed her and how glad he would be to see her in January.

Somehow Jason's grandmother perceived that her grandson's thoughts had drifted to his girlfriend. She decided to find out a bit more about the fiery little Dominican, which in turn gave Jason the chance to express his most recent thoughts about the relationship. He confided that it had been Cecilia who had pushed him to do his coursework and pass his classes, although he decided to leave out the detail that she had been disciplining him. He talked about her obsession that everyone on her floor do well and the fact that she had enlisted Jason and his friends to help several other floor residents with their studies at the end of the semester.

He talked about his recent wardrobe changes, and then mentioned Cecilia's aversion to tattoos. He admitted that she had been the reason he had not gotten one like almost everyone else on his floor that semester. Knowing that Jason's girlfriend had stood between her grandson and a tattoo boosted the older woman's already high opinion of her.

Jason went on to discuss his thoughts about the possibility of their personalities being incomplete and thus complementing each other. His grandmother responded with the following observation:

"I think I know what's going on with that. Her problem is that she had to mature too quickly. When she was 15 she was thinking like an adult, and maybe, deep down, she wasn't ready. She matured too fast, and some things got left out. And you… since we're being honest here, never really had the chance to mature at all. You were never really challenged with life in school, and then it hit you all at once, last year with the accident. But I don't think the accident matured you, all it did was make you hate yourself and get everyone to point their fingers at you. So I think you're right. You and Cecilia do complement each other. She had to grow up too fast, and you didn't grow up fast enough, so each of you has something the other is missing."

Finally Jason sat down to dinner with his grandmother and her boyfriend, dreading the thought of returning to his parents' house as soon as the meal was over. He was hugely relieved when she mentioned that the living room sofa was a sleeper-sofa that folded out, and… would he like to spend the night instead of going home?

He gladly accepted the offer. He slept soundly in the living room, happy to be in a household free from tension and hostility.

The next day Jason returned with his grandmother to his father's house. Cassie was in the back with a couple of her bitchy friends, the three of them hanging out in the pool area in rather revealing swimsuits. Jason's aunt on his mother's side also was present, along with her very over-weight son who was sitting in the family room playing video games.

Looking at the collection of people in his house, Jason was able to step back and see his family for the dysfunctional group they truly were. He thought about Cassie, figuring that she was the one detail his grandmother had wrong about his future. How on earth could he ever do anything for her? She was as lost as his mother, wrapped up in a dead-end social life with a clique of very shallow princesses and a pot-head boyfriend. The other two girls got dressed and departed, giving Jason dismissive glances as they walked out the front door.

The underlying tension between Jason and his parents, between Mr. Schmidt and his wife, between Cassie and everyone else, and between Jason's mother and grandmother, seemed to permeate the house when everyone gathered for dinner. On top of the tension between the members of Jason's immediate family was the total contempt Mr. Schmidt directed towards his wife's fat nephew. It was true that his son was a pathetic wimp, but at least he was in good physical shape, unlike that gross blob with the video console. At dinner Mr. Schmidt just couldn't resist digging at that ugly kid, which made him stare sullenly at his plate and elicited furious glances from Jason's aunt.

Mr. Schmidt sat smugly at the head of the table, hoping his sister-in-law would say something so he could get some good sarcastic digs in on her as well. Jason's aunt couldn't say anything however. She was a guest, and knew that her sister would never stand up to her husband on behalf of someone else. As the women sat quietly, Jason's father continued to command the table and the evening, talking loudly and heaping subtle indignities on everyone present. Losers, he thought to himself. They're all a bunch of pathetic, useless losers.

Jason managed to detach himself emotionally from the scene, since for once he was not the target of his father's unpleasantness. He had no desire to rush to his mother's aid, given her venomous treatment of Cecilia, so he just sat watching. Every so often he exchanged glances with his grandmother. Yes, indeed, things in the household could not continue this way much longer. His grandmother was right: something bad was about to happen to his parents.

After the dinner, Jason's grandmother retreated from the house. She called her boyfriend, who showed up within a very short time to extract her in his old restored Chevy. He showed up so quickly that Jason suspected he had been waiting somewhere close by instead of coming all the way from the condo development that was a half an hour away. They were gone, very quickly, and Jason was sorry to see her go.

His aunt and cousin also left very quickly, both in a very sour mood as he waddled after her with his hands full of game paraphernalia. Jason had mixed emotions about his father's treatment of his cousin, because unfortunately, as far as the kid's obesity was concerned, he was right. There was no way that kid should be in that physical state and no way his mother should have allowed it to happen. Jason knew that his cousin lived in a world of video games because his weight made his life on the outside very unpleasant. And, yet, precisely because of his constant effort to escape reality by sitting with his game console, the kid looked the way he did. It was obvious; however, that Mr. Schmidt's critique his wife's nephew had nothing to do with genuine concern over the boy. Instead he simply was taking advantage of an easy target to make the evening as uncomfortable as possible for his wife and his sister-in-law.

Mrs. Schmidt and Cassie retreated to their rooms while the maids cleaned up in the kitchen and talked to each other in Spanish in their usual quiet, secretive manner. Mr. Schmidt went into the room he used as a home office, shut the door, and got on both the Internet and the phone. The family had broken up for the night, with absolutely no cheer or holiday spirit.

Jason decided to put on his coat and step outside, in spite of the bitterly cold weather. It was a clear night with the full Moon casting its light on the recently fallen snow, so Jason had plenty of light as he made his way over the frozen landscape of the empty neighborhood. He walked into a park and up a small hill that overlooked his street, turning back to contemplate his family's house from a distance.

He suspected the house and its contents soon would disappear from his life, if his grandmother's prediction about his parents came true. The house would be gone, and he would not miss it in the least. Knowing that he didn't care about the impending loss of that monstrosity gave him a real feeling of liberation, knowing he was not attached to that horrible property like his mother and his sister. Whenever the foreclosure sign was posted in front, he would just walk away. He would leave this neighborhood and never come back, not even for his high school reunions.

Cecilia had told him that under no circumstances did she want to live in a house like the one Jason's parents had bought. Instead she wanted something smaller and more common sense, just a typical ranch-style house in a typical middle class neighborhood. She had a very clear idea of what daily life in that modest house would be like. She was adamant that there would be no maids and no gardeners; no strangers paid to wander around her property. Whatever work needed to be done to keep the place clean, she and Jason would do themselves and keep their living space private. And her house would be clean; there was no doubt about it. When it came to her living space, Cecilia was immaculate to a fault. She couldn't stand dust, dirt, trash, or any disorder in any area she occupied. She vacuumed the floor of her dorm room and washed her sheets no less than once every three days. She would never even think about wearing an article of clothing more than once without washing it. Any dorm resident caught leaving a mess in the women's bathroom could expect a nasty lecture from the RA and an order to clean up. Jason's dorm room had to be every bit as immaculate as her own, because she expected him to conform to her craving for order and neatness.

Once she assumed control of an entire house she would become even more obsessive about cleaning up. She had insinuated that if they got married she and Jason would evenly divide the work related to their home. They would not exactly share their work, but instead each would have specific responsibilities. She would take care of the inside of the house and he would take care of the outside. He already knew how she would handle the yard work issue. She would tell him what she wanted done and he would do it to her specifications. She then would come out to inspect and tell him what she wanted corrected. However, as he complied with her orders to keep up the yard and the exterior, he knew she would be diligently working on the inside, keeping the interior spotless.

Even more than cleanliness, what Cecilia wanted was peace in her household. After growing up in her noise and conflict infested housing project she wanted a place where she could shut the doors and listen to the silence. It made sense, what she wanted. He realized that she was right. Apart from the swimming pool, was there really anything in that huge house of his parents that brought any pleasure to his life? Was life really any easier with strangers doing all the housework?

As he stood quietly in the cold, Jason caught a glimpse his own future. The vision of the foreclosure sign in front of his father's house returned to his mind, as clearly as if it already had been posted. It was as though someone had handed him a snapshot from the future, but with no explanation of when the picture was taken or what it meant. He wondered how it would happen, what mistake his father would make that would force the family off that property. There were signs all over of the impending crisis, which really could come from any direction. The possibility that his father could be taken down by a business rival was a constant reality, but Jason suspected it was not a rival who was going to destroy him. Mr. Schmidt would self-destruct from something that he did to himself, not something that someone else would do to him. Another scenario played out in Jason's mind, the possibility of his mother's increasingly erratic behavior creating a crisis. What if she did get kicked out of the country club? Yes, that indeed would be a disaster, having her sitting at home, day in and day out, going crazy from boredom. Even Cassie's behavior could bring about a crisis, because she reminded Jason of...she reminded him of Heather Jones. Yes, she was a lot like Heather Jones with both her personality and her social group. He wondered if she already had tried ecstasy. If she hadn't, she would soon enough.

Christmas dinner seemed like it would bring a temporary truce to the household. Jason's parents had said their piece about Cecilia, he had struck back, and there was nothing more to be said about her. Jason had done well academically and had not put on any weight, so there was nothing left for his parents to criticize. The elder Schmidts were not speaking to each other, but that was not particularly unusual. Jason's aunt had decided not to come over for Christmas dinner and would eat with her son alone. Jason's grandmother was the only other relative coming over.

Cassie decided to have her boyfriend over, because she had a vague idea of irritating her parents by forcing them to have dinner with someone they clearly disliked. That was fortunate for Jason, but would be very unfortunate for her. Whatever deficiencies Jason might have, between his accident, his ecstasy use, his nude swimming, and his psychotic criminal girlfriend, tonight was not a night he would feel the brunt of his father's hostility. It was Cassie, or rather her unsavory partner, who was destined to get the full treatment from Mr. Schmidt.

When he sat down with Cassie, the normally arrogant guy seemed a bit out of it, probably from having smoked a joint or two before coming over. He certainly smelled like he had been smoking, a detail not lost on anyone else sitting at the table. That night Mr. Schmidt finally decided he had enough of smelling and looking at the stupid pot-head. As a Christmas present to himself, he would do something about it. He by began telling jokes and stories about stupid marijuana smokers. When Cassie and her boyfriend didn't laugh, he commented:

"Come-on, what's wrong with you two? That was a funny joke. It's not as though you're smoking, right?"

As the two teenagers shifted uncomfortably in their seats, her father talked about his days on the high school football team and how he and his friends used to beat up "pot-heads" and "fags".

"Of course, all the fags were smoking pot, 'cause I guess that's what ass-men like to do. Yeah, we busted them up pretty good. Those pretty boys weren't so pretty when we got done with them."

Both Jason's mother and grandmother signaled his father to shut up, but that was not about to happen. The sight and smell of his daughter's pot-head partner, along with the corrupting influence he was having on her, put him in a belligerent mood. He wanted to pick a fight with his daughter's wasted boyfriend. He would have been perfectly happy to pound that obnoxious punk into a bloody pulp, but he wanted his target to throw the first punch.

"Funny thing, how pot can do something like that, make you into a fag, make you into one of those bitches that runs around with their pants down and their underwear sticking out. You know, in jail that's what the prison bitches do, run around with their pants down, 'cause they’re letting everyone know they're waiting for some good dick up their ass."

Cassie snapped. "Dad, shut the fuck up! The only fag in here is you!"

"Aw, come-on, Cassie. What's wrong with a little high school reminiscing? I had fun in high school, and I thought you'd want to hear about it. I mean, it's not like anyone in here is smoking pot, is it? So what's there to get so upset about? Why get so offended?"

Mr. Schmidt had backed Cassie and her boyfriend into a corner. To continue arguing would force her to admit she was smoking marijuana. For her boyfriend to say anything would be to acknowledge Mr. Schmidt's comments were being directed at him. Then he would have to get into a fight with an ex-linebacker that he was sure to lose, continue taking the older man's verbal abuse, or suffer the indignity of having to flee the house.

Mr. Schmidt smiled to himself. He had everyone right where he wanted them. He had all night to bring this to a head. He would get rid of this drug addict, one way or another, and teach Cassie never to try to use a boyfriend as a means to rebel against him. He told several more stories about how he and his teammates beat up pot-heads and fags, insinuating that one group was indistinguishable from the other. He jeered at the fashion trends of the moment, while Cassie's boyfriend shifted in his seat trying to get his pants pulled up. That gesture signaled to Mr. Schmidt that the young punk was not going to stand up for himself. Good. He pushed ahead with even more offensive comments to humiliate him as much as possible.

As rotten a person as Mr. Schmidt might have been, on the issue of Cassie's boyfriend no one in the family was going to argue with him. No one liked the teenager nor approved of the influence he was having on Jason’s sister. The guest was on his own, pushed into an impossible situation by his girlfriend's father. The muscles bulging under Mr. Schmidt's sweatshirt and his host's aggressive posture made him realize he was in actual physical danger.

He began sweating, and then, still somewhat incoherent from his most recent joint, panicked. With a jolt that surprised his hosts, he simply jumped up and ran out the front door without saying a word. He jumped in his car and gunned the engine, as Cassie ran out the door after him. It was too late. He drove off, fishtailed on the frozen street, sideswiped the neighbor's parked SUV, swerved around the corner, and disappeared.

Cassie ran upstairs to her room, and slammed the door. She was crying, first alone and later on the phone to one of her friends.

Mr. Schmidt had nothing more to say to the three members of his family still sitting at the table. He simply took his plate to the TV, sat down, and turned on the sports channel to watch a preview of the next day's football games. Cassie had learned her lesson, so he was done for the day. As far as he was concerned, there was nothing he needed to discuss with the others.

Jason's mother quietly got up and went upstairs to her room, carrying a bottle of wine with her.

His grandmother got up as well, and grabbed the phone in the kitchen. She dialed her boyfriend. "Come get me. I need you to get me out of here, right now."

A short while later she left, and with that Christmas at the Schmidts' house drew to a close.

Jason put on his coat and stepped outside, to walk alone in the bitter cold of a clear Wisconsin winter night. He glanced at the huge dent in the side of his neighbor’s vehicle, and kept on walking.

Every open fight was an event for Jason's family, a milestone in the slow but steady decay of the relationship each family member had with the others. That night the family had passed yet another milestone.

Chapter 25 - Two Freshmen and Two Mistresses

Jason spent a very bleak New Year’s Eve, sitting alone in the house. His parents and sister went to the country club to celebrate New Year’s, in a bizarre façade of family unity. Jason couldn’t stomach spending a night at the country club play-acting with the other members of his family, nor did he have any desire to risk running into someone from his high school. He would spend the night alone, since not even the maids would be in the house.

At first Mrs. Schmidt wanted to insist that Jason accompany the rest of the family to the country club, but her husband was willing to let the teenager have his way. As he put it, “That kid’s a fucking embarrassment, and if he doesn’t want to come, that’s fine with me. Let him sit at home and do whatever it is that he does when he’s by himself.”

The elder Schmidts and their sullen daughter left the house at about 8:00 p.m. Jason, in his normal manner, immediately stripped off his clothes. He was very stressed and decided to calm himself down with some exercise. He put on his athletic shoes and went running on his father’s treadmill for a full hour. He decided to run 10 kilometers and enjoy the feeling of the cool air of the workout room on his bare skin. Halfway through the run he stopped to open a window and turn off the heat to the room, to feel the cold winter on his unprotected skin. He enjoyed running in the cold, although he knew that as soon as he stopped he would want to shut the window and warm up. He stretched and then used the sauna and hot tub. He finished with swimming for over an hour in the pool, both to exercise his muscles from the run and to relax. By the time he was finished it was past 11:00 p.m.

He went into the main hallway, where there was a full-size mirror mounted on one of the closet doors. He studied himself, admiring his attractive body. He felt some regret knowing that as far as his health and attractiveness were concerned, this was it. He was at the peak of his health. It wasn’t going to get any better. For the next 60 years he faced a slow steady decline, which at best he could delay if he took proper care of himself.

He turned around to study his backside in the mirror. His bottom had received plenty of attention from his girlfriend over the past semester, ranging from loving caresses to savage swats of the belt. His naked backside also had been on display to just about everyone in the university, whether in the art classes or during the Tri-Alpha run, or just running up and down the hallway of his dorm. He felt no regret or embarrassment that so many people had seen him, because he enjoyed being naked in front of other people. He especially enjoyed situations where he was the only nude person among a bunch of other people who were dressed. Before entering college he had constantly fantasized about that. The year before he had felt guilty but, having fulfilled part of his fantasy life, he now had accepted that part of himself.

He ran his hands over his bottom, gently caressing his skin. It felt good, but of course it felt so much better when Cecilia was doing it. He thought about how much he loved submitting to her, presenting himself and his body for her to spoil or discipline, as she saw fit. He became erect as he thought about both Cecilia and the exposure of his body to public view. He became even harder as his thoughts wandered to her discipline.

So Jason, are you a bad boy? Oh yes, I’m bad. And what do bad boys get, Jason? They get punished… punished on the bare bottom… the bare, naked bottom. That’s right, Jason, and I’m gonna give you what you need. Yes, what he needed. He began massaging his penis with one hand and his bottom with the other, much in the same way Cecilia massaged him when she was getting him aroused.

Over the past semester Cecilia strictly prohibited Jason from masturbating, because she wanted to enjoy his sexual energy in its entirety. As she put it: “I’m not sharin’ you with a fuckin’ toilet. You’re keepin’ all of it for me.” However, it would be another 10 days before he would see her again and he just had to relieve himself. He continued massaging his bottom and stroking his erection in front of the mirror, as he fantasized about sex, nakedness, and punishment. His mind wandered from fantasizing about the erotic spankings she was giving him with the leather paddle, to the real thing, the very painful experiences he had endured submitting to her belt.

At that moment he wanted the belt. He wanted to be on his elbows and knees on her bed, his bottom properly presented and the heavy leather fiercely biting into his sweaty, unprotected skin. He wanted to be properly punished so he could have a good cry. Then, after a good cry, he would kneel and put his arms around her while she gently stroked his hair and his teary face. She would tell him that everything was OK, that she had forgiven him; that he had been a good boy for having taken such a cruel punishment so bravely. Then she would reward him for being so brave, gently touching him and granting him permission to enter her. It had happened that way a couple times already, and he desperately wanted it to happen again.

He finally went to the closet and got a towel. He returned to his spot in front of the mirror, laid the towel on the floor, got back on his knees, and proceeded with his orgasm. Again he ran his hand over his bottom as he stroked himself and watched his reflection. Yes…Yes…what he needed was another session with the belt. Finally he did climax, shooting jets of semen all over the towel. The orgasm spent itself as he stopped stroking and caught his breath. However, the fantasy, or rather the desire, of submitting a to belt-whipping remained in Jason’s mind. He was determined to get his girlfriend to strap him as soon as he got back to Huntington Hall from Wisconsin.

The dilemma Jason faced was that Cecilia would never whip him unless she felt she had a very good reason. At the same time he didn’t want to do something deliberately stupid just to earn a punishment. Then, he figured out there was something that most certainly would get her to punish him. He remembered the CD of X-rated images saved from his hard-drive taped to the back of the drawer of his desk. All he needed to do was pull the CD off the back of the drawer, hand it to her, and confess that he had hidden it instead of getting rid of the images. He knew what would happen, she wouldn’t exactly lose her temper, because he was confessing to something on his own. However, she still would discipline him, because he had deceived her. So, that was taken care of. At some point after he got back in January he would submit to his third severe punishment.

The thought of another belt-whipping totally terrified him, but it was partly that terror that made the need to be punished so vivid and real in his imagination. He actually needed to have his bottom severely strapped; to feel real pain and be forced to cry. The experience would overwhelm him and allow him to could break free from the emotional contamination that had collected in his soul as a result of his time at home with his dysfunctional parents. He needed the release a good punishment could provide him from this hideous Christmas vacation he was enduring with his screwed-up family.

The week after New Year’s Day was anti-climatic for both Jason and Cecilia. For both of them the week was a period of down-time during which they simply waited for the university to re-open and to be able to get back together.

Jason spent most of the time alone at home, exercising and swimming while his father was at work, his mother was at the country club, and his sister was at school. In spite of spending New Year’s Eve together, Jason’s father, mother, and sister were not speaking to each other. If any of them had anything to say to one of the others, they relayed it through Jason. However, there was little for him to relay. He could not imagine his parents communicating very much after the confrontations in December.

Even more worrisome was what had happened to Cassie. Before being so thoroughly humiliated by her own father she had been outspoken and boisterous. She never had been a very nice person because the influence of her clique, but she was someone who was easy to talk to and could express what was on her mind. Christmas changed her. She became very quiet, looking at everyone with side-long glances of sullen resentment. Something in her died that night, and Jason did not see how whatever it was that she had lost could be brought back.

Cassie’s relationship with her boyfriend had indeed ended, not so much because Mr. Schmidt had insulted him, but because he simply ran off. She couldn’t respect him after his display of cowardice, so at one level her father had accomplished what he wanted, getting rid of that pothead. However, because he had so brutally stamped out her effort to rebel by humiliating her, his daughter now was lost to him. Never again would she want to talk to either of her parents nor have any trust in them. Instead of rebelling to their faces, she would rebel in secret, not letting anyone else in the family know what she was doing. As for the boyfriend, he was replaceable. It was not as though the world lacked pot-smokers and useless guys. She would find another guy just as useless within a few days and continue her downward spiral.

Cecilia and Suzanne never repeated their sexual encounter. The opportunity to do anything outside the RA’s room disappeared with the return of the dorm director and the other dorm staff members the day after New Year's. The privacy the two women needed for the unique mood that had spurred them to make love had come and gone, so their moment of experimentation was over.

In fact, Cecilia spent New Year’s Eve alone, because Suzanne went to a party with a guy from one of her classes. Out of courtesy the photographer had invited her, but she could tell that her friend was secretly hoping she would not accept. Fine, let her get mixed up with yet another loser, thought Cecilia to herself. Anyhow the party was one of those art department get-togethers and she really could not stomach the art crowd. Suzanne was OK, but the others…

Like Jason, Cecilia spent New Year’s Eve masturbating alone. As badly as she wanted to call Jason and talk to him, she decided not to, because hearing his voice without being able to see him would only make things worse. Ten days… ten more days to go before she would see him again; and she was going nuts.

After New Year’s Day, Cecilia continued to model for Suzanne. The nude forays around Huntington Hall came to a stop, because the dorm director returned to work on January 2. Other RA’s began trickling back, so Cecilia’s last day as duty RA was January 5. Instead of modeling around Huntington Hall, Cecilia put on her workout clothes and went with Suzanne to the gym to sweat and have her pictures taken while working out. Apart from a few pictures taken in the women’s locker room, Cecilia kept her clothes on while Suzanne was photographing her.

Suzanne gave her friend some impromptu lessons about picture developing and explained what she was after in her photography. She was searching for the sexual soul of the ordinary person, attempting to find the inner sexual being of her models. She was not interested in photographing anyone who had undergone plastic surgery or who was wearing makeup. She wanted to natural, uncovered individual, because what she wanted was to capture personality and emotion.

Cecilia suspected the blatant eroticism in Suzanne’s work was actually an outlet for her own sexual frustration. In some ways the photographer fit the description of the “tormented artist”, because her chronic bad fortune in relationships was vented in her images. Cecilia wanted to point that out to her friend, but did not know how to phrase her thoughts to avoid sounding offensive. Besides, what Suzanne was putting out was extremely powerful. Cecilia knew that if she were at peace with herself the tension in her pictures would be absent.

Cecilia thought about her own future, and what she wanted to accomplish in the spring. As various dorm staff meetings indicated university life shortly would be returning to normal, she decided that one issue she wanted to tackle was her grammar. There was nothing about her; not her manner of dressing, not the way she wrote, and certainly not her tastes in music and popular culture that would indicate where she was from. The mean streets of New Jersey were fading into a distant memory in Cecilia’s mind after having been away for a year and a half attending college classes.

However, as soon as she opened her mouth…

A year and a half of reading and writing scholarly material in English had done little for the Domincan’s manner of expressing herself when she spoke. She was becoming frustrated when she noticed snobbish people wincing at her strong East Coast accent and occasional lapses in her speech. She had hoped that classes at the university would change that, but the biggest improvement had been her vocabulary, not the way she spoke. If she really put her mind to it she could tone down her accent and grammar, but normally her speech remained stubbornly stuck with bad habits acquired from her years growing up.

She decided to tackle the problem of speaking from another angle. If it was so hard to improve her English, then why not try improving her Spanish? Cecilia had grown up with Spanish in her household and spoke it on a daily basis, but if anything, her Spanish was even worse than her English. She had never taken a formal class in the language, so her speech was full of Dominican and New Jersey street slang and populated with anglicized words. What if she were to take a Spanish class at the university level and learn correct “Castillano” as they put it? It was worth a try.

She brought up the issue with Ruth Burnside in an e-mail, asking permission to enroll in a third year Spanish grammar class being offered in the spring. The economics department had to approve any class Cecilia wanted to take as a condition of her scholarship, hence the e-mail. Burnside would have to justify allowing her student to take a class outside the department to the scholarship committee, but it seemed to her a reasonable request.

Cecilia finally received the go-ahead to take the Spanish class. She would show herself no mercy, deliberately choosing a professor from Madrid who had a reputation for harsh grading. When she bought the books and saw what she actually would be studying, she had second thoughts about the language project. She rebuked herself, thinking no, I’m gonna see this through, even if I do have to bust my ass for a Spaniard.

The day that Jason returned to the university there was another heavy snowstorm. Unlike the day after Thanksgiving when Mr. Schmidt managed to beat the snow and safely make it to his downtown refuge, during the January trip he and Jason were caught right in the middle of a white deluge. Jason’s father was in a totally foul mood from having misjudged the weather and spent a good portion of the journey savagely cussing out the National Weather Service. The worst part of the trip was at the very end, when Jason and his father sat in a long line of parents trying to return their sons and daughters to the university. The fact the university’s parking and driveways were restricted because they were only partially cleared compounded the normal beginning-of-the-semester traffic jam. Jason was hugely relieved to finally see the outline of Huntington Hall though the thick snow. His father cut off another driver to get a parking spot, exchanged insults with the other man, and told Jason to grab his stuff out of the car. Jason quickly complied, and with the briefest of good-byes, Mr. Schmidt began the arduous task of getting out of the university, after having spent so much effort getting in.

As Jason struggled with his bags in the snow, he could see the RA’s desperately shoveling the sidewalks. He thought he recognized Cecilia in the distance with a shovel, but knew better than to try to approach her. He would have to handle her carefully when he finally did get together with her that evening, because it was obvious she was going to be tired and not in a good mood.

The hallway was full of wet freshmen loaded down with suitcases, backpacks, and boxes. In spite of the unpleasant trip and the chaos in the dorm, Jason was enormously happy to be back. He was free from the confinement of his father’s house and the vicious tension between his parents. He would miss his grandmother, but she was the only person in Wisconsin he missed.

As soon as Jason was back in his room there was a lot to take care of. He needed to get his things put away before Cecilia came by. That was priority. In contrast with his first hours in Huntington Hall during his first semester, his first concern was straightening his room. He called his girlfriend’s phone to leave a message that he was back, then decided to go to the gym. After a very stressful trip, he had plenty of tension to work off.

Ken was back as well, and happy to go work out with Jason. While working out, the two freshmen exchanged their vacation experiences. It turned out the Ken’s vacation had gone extremely well in comparison with Jason’s time in Wisconsin. Ken had spent a lot of time with his father and obtained his parents’ approval to join the Tri-Alphas at the end of the semester.

Ken also brought Jason a startling piece of news.

“You know that Mike’s not coming back.”

“What!? But why?”

“He and Lisa split over Christmas. She’ll be back tomorrow, but he’s staying in Santa Cruz, and I guess transferring to Berkeley next year.”

Ken relayed what he knew about the break-up. Apparently Mike and Lisa’s relationship, while working just fine in California, had become strained in Chicago. As the fall semester had progressed, Mike felt more and more out of place. Finally decided that he wanted to return to California, where he felt much more at home. Lisa, meanwhile, had adapted to the university just fine. Over the past four months their interests diverged, and by December it became hard for them to even hold a conversation. Mike decided that Chicago was ruining the relationship and that he wanted both himself and Lisa to stay in Santa Cruz during the spring. Lisa flatly refused, telling Mike that he could do what he wanted, but she was going back to the Mid-West. That left Mike in an impossible situation, because he had given Lisa an ultimatum; either stay behind in California or break up. Lisa called his bluff and Mike had no choice but to tell her she’d be going back alone. He was a proud and stubborn person, and was not one to go back on a threat. So, Lisa was coming back by herself, without the guy she had been dating since she was in high school.

It already was well after dark with Jason and Ken returned to the dorm. Cecilia had left a note on his door, telling him that she was back in her room waiting for him. He went to the bathroom, suspecting he might not have the chance to go again for a while, and then called her. In a flash she was over to escort him back to women’s side of the floor. She passionately hugged and kissed him, but said absolutely nothing other than “Come on, let’s get to my room.”

As soon as she had the door shut she grabbed him and kissed him hard. She was hot with erotic hunger. Three weeks had gone by since she had last seen him and two weeks had gone by since her sexual encounter with Suzanne. The time she had spent making love to herself just didn’t satisfy her anymore.

She unbuckled his belt and pushed his pants to his ankles. As usual, Jason wasn’t wearing any underwear, so he now was completely nude from his waist to his ankles. Cecilia continued to kiss him with complete desperation as she ran her hands over his bottom. She pulled at his shirt and looked at him with a wild expression that clearly stated, “get this shirt off or I’ll rip it off myself.” Jason quickly complied, pulling the shirt over his head.

Again Cecilia pushed him against the wall. She grabbed his hand and guided it up under her skirt. She wasn’t wearing any panties. As his fingers brushed up against her, he realized she was very wet. He became hard himself, in spite of the rather shocking assault he was experiencing.

She passed him a condom. He would have liked a bit more foreplay, but it was obvious that wasn’t going to happen. She needed him inside her, immediately. She hopped up on the bed, pulled her skirt up, and waited for him to get the condom on and get inside her.

As soon as he was inside of her, she gasped with delight. She pushed up as she dug her fingernails into his back and bottom. He thrust for a long time, working himself up to his own climax. Then he remembered his secret plan to get her to give him another belt-whipping. As the thought of submitting to the belt flashed through his mind, Jason’s own arousal took off. He thrust vigorously, dripping sweat onto her blouse as that strange fantasy returned to his mind, that vivid image of his agonized bottom struggling under the uncompromising strokes of that cruel belt. Spank me… spank me… spank me…

Finally he finished, or so he thought. Normally after a vigorous session of lovemaking Jason and Cecilia lay together resting for a few minutes, but not that night. Her desperate mood was only slightly diminished from the first round of sex. He owed her a lot more.

She grabbed a damp washrag and wiped herself off while he pulled off his condom. She then grabbed his hand and told him to stand still while she cleaned his penis with the cloth. Quickly she pulled off her blouse and skirt and plopped back on the bed.

“Jason, get over here!”

It was time for him to pay homage to the Temple of Venus, to bow his head and worship the tiny goddess between her legs. She grabbed his hair and guided his face into position, making it very clear that he would stop when she told him to stop, not a moment sooner. The smell of her arousal hit his senses full-force as he began moving his tongue over her very wet vulva. As he had been trained, he very slowly worked his way around her labia, teasing her and making her desperate. When the moment came, he gently touched his tongue to her clitoris and immediately was rewarded with a desperate gasp. As he continued licking, she shuttered with the first of several orgasms he would have to give her before being allowed to stop. She was in an uncontrolled sexual frenzy that he could only satisfy with a lot of patience and hard work.

Jason’s mouth was sore and he was exhausted by the time she allowed him to stop licking. However, she still wanted more. She studied her partner. His face was tired, but what about the other end? She gently rubbed and kissed his chest and thighs, subtly teasing him. She massaged and patted his bottom until she noticed his penis stiffening. Then she did the one thing that was sure to get him aroused, got into the submissive posture on her elbows and knees, spreading herself and shamelessly exposing her most intimate areas to the gaze of her lover. Sure enough, that did the trick. He put on a condom and entered her, thrusting vigorously and thoroughly enjoying himself. He pushed hard, grabbing her thighs as she gasped with the faint high-pitched groans of extreme pleasure. The second time was much better for Jason, because he had been able to take his time getting properly aroused. The first time had been a bit too rushed because of Cecilia’s desperate mood. As always, her needs came before his own needs. However, if he was patient enough, she usually saw to it that his needs were taken care of as well. That was the unspoken agreement between them.

Much later, with that sarcastic smile that had so captivated him back at the beginning of September, she asked him. “So, you glad to be back?”

Lisa came back the next morning, in a foul mood because of her recent break-up with Mike and an extremely unpleasant trip into Chicago. It was Ken who picked her up, given that he was the only person in the group that had a car.

Lisa saw Ken as harmless, so she unloaded her frustrations on him, giving him the details of the fights the preceded the final ultimatum from Mike: either you stay here in Santa Cruz or we’re through. They were through.

“It’s weird, before we broke up, I kinda thought I’d be totally fucked-up about it, but I’m not. What I felt was a huge relief. I don’t know, I guess he was just getting too serious… maybe, getting old a bit faster than me. It wasn’t fun anymore.”

Ken confided some details about his own life and talked at length about his vacation as they neared the university. He helped Lisa get her things upstairs and then the two decided to go back out. The original purpose of their trip was to buy some textbooks for their spring classes, but they ended up having some coffee and looking into some of the novelty shops around the university. Their explorations took them into a sex shop, which prompted Lisa to confide that her sexual relationship with Mike was part of the problem that existed between them.

“Mike has absolutely no imagination when it comes to sex. He always wanted to do things the same way, every fucking night. He wouldn’t even try any new positions. And what pissed me was that he knew I was getting bored. He’d ask me what’s wrong, I’d tell him, but nothing ever changed.”

Lisa and Ken went over to the S&M implements and examined them with vague curiosity. There were paddles of various shapes and sizes, floggers, light canes that seemed too dry to really make much of an impact, and a couple of replicas of the Danubian police switch that were much lighter and flimsier than the real thing. Lisa picked up one of the leather paddles, an item that did seem like it would deliver a nice sharp sting. Absent-mindedly she made a joking comment that made Ken’s heart jump into his throat.

“You know, when you and Jason lost that poker game last fall, this is what I should’ve used on you. What do you think?”

Ken’s face was white and his eyes wide.

“Uh… Yeah…”

His heart jumped again as she smacked the implement in her hand a couple of times and then hung it back up. He had a furious erection under his pants, which he tried to hide by putting his hands in his coat pockets and positioning them to cover his front.

Lisa glanced at him. What was going on in his mind was obvious from his expression and… his posture. What are you hiding, Ken? Suddenly she realized that was indeed what she should have done to him. He wanted to be spanked.

Her thoughts went back to when she had him naked over her lap and could feel his very stiff penis poking into her leg. She also remembered how much she enjoyed that night, first feeling his body over her lap and then making him do all that embarrassing stuff with Jason. What had spoiled the fun was Mike’s unpleasant behavior and then the blow-up with Cecilia.

Of course she had been terrified that Cecilia would turn them in and then… wait a minute…

Lisa suddenly understood what was really going on with the RA in her room that night, after she had caught Jason and Ken streaking near the library. She was just pretending to be so indignant! That was all an act, so she could get Jason under her control! Cecilia never had any intention of turning them in! What she wanted was Jason! So, the other three had stressed-out over nothing! That little bitch…

Lisa’s thoughts returned to Ken. She felt a huge desire to “finish the job” with him and see where that might lead. She decided that he was destined to go back over her lap. Later that night his bottom would be bared and bouncing as his skin reddened under her hand. Of course the obvious way to do it simply would be to tell him to buy the paddle, walk him back to the dorm, and then spank the hell out of him. However, that was too straightforward. Lisa wanted to have some fun with Ken and not just start belaboring his bottom right away. She wanted to set up the right mood first, and then spank him.

They left the sex shop, with Ken moving uncomfortably as he walked with his hands trying to puff out his coat and hide his erection. Lisa suggested stopping at a fraternity store and walked up to a wall that displayed various fraternity paddles. She absent-mindedly speculated about how much the fraternities actually used the paddles, whether the spankings were given bare-bottom or over clothes, and whether women were present during the punishments.

“Of course, it’s not really a spanking unless it’s on the bare, and I think if there’s guys getting paddled and women aren’t watching, that’s wrong. What’s the point of spanking a guy if women can’t watch?”

She glanced over at Ken’s pale face. She thought she could actually hear his heart pounding as he struggled to catch his breath.

“Well, what do you think?”

“Uh… yeah, you’re right. They… shouldn’t be doing it unless they got women watching.”

“And always on the bare, right?”


With only a few of the textbooks they originally had planned to purchase, Lisa and Ken made their way back to Huntington Hall through the bitter cold and salt-covered sidewalks. Their conversation drifted back to their vacations and the time they spent with their parents.

Ken mentioned getting together with some of his high school friends and playing some Poker with them on New Year’s Eve. He did relatively well, winning some money off the others. Lisa responded sarcastically:

“You actually beat them? Then they must be pretty awful, unless you’ve gotten any better.”

“Actually I have. One of my brother’s friends taught us some stuff, so I can hold my own.”

“That’s bullshit, Ken. You don’t just get better over a Christmas break. It takes years.”

“I’m just saying I play better than I did last fall. That’s all I’m saying, Lisa.”

“And so now you think you can keep your clothes on if you play me?”

“I know I’m a lot better than I was last fall. The next time we play, you’ll be losing some stuff as well, not just me and Jason. That I know for sure.”

“OK, let’s test that. I’ll bet you that I can strip you and not lose anything more than my shoes. If I’m right, then you do what I say for the rest of the night. If you can hold out and get anything off of me besides my shoes, then I’m taking you out to dinner. Deal?”

“Uh… OK… deal.”

They got back to Huntington Hall. Ken dropped off his coat and books in his room and then accompanied Lisa back to her room. Without directly saying it, Ken had told Lisa that he desperately wanted her to spank him. Without directly saying it, she had responded that was fine, she would indeed put him over her lap and put some color into his bottom. The Poker game, something both of them knew Ken was sure to lose, was the pretext for the spanking. There was another unspoken agreement between them. Although Ken was sure to lose, Lisa expected him to play as well as possible and make an effort to win. She wanted a challenge, not just have him meekly forfeit so he could go over her lap.

They set up a nightstand as a card table and Ken brought in a small chair from the commons area to sit in. They counted articles of clothing. Both were wearing winter shoes, socks, jeans and underwear. Lisa had on a sweater and Ken was wearing a sweatshirt. Lisa was not wearing a bra, so they were evenly matched.

The game’s arrangement seemed to favor Ken. He only had to win three rounds to get his free dinner, while Lisa had to win seven times to get off all of Ken’s clothing. However, Lisa was by far the better player. She passed the cards to Ken.


She had him deal first, because she wanted to see how easily he shuffled the cards. That would let her know if he really had improved over Christmas break. Ken’s clumsy handling of the cards answered her question. Whatever improvement he might have made would be minimal if he hadn’t even learned to shuffle properly.

In quick succession Lisa won four rounds and her opponent gave up his shoes and socks. She lost the next round, not because he played well, but because his hand was unbeatable. Two more rounds cost him his jeans and sweatshirt. Then, sitting in nothing but his underwear, he played his one good round of the night and won another shoe from his partner after a long fight. Ken lost the next round and Lisa ordered him to stand up. She moved in front of him, pretending to be indignant.

“Look, you need to stop wasting my time! You told me you learned how to play over Christmas, but what you played wasn’t Poker, it was shit! Alright, loser. Now you’re ass is mine, and you’re gonna pay!”

She jerked his underwear to his ankles and ordered him to step out of it. He was embarrassed, even though they already had seen each other naked several times before. However, being embarrassed made him very aroused.

Lisa still wanted to build the mood for the spanking by establishing her dominance. As she had the previous fall, she took a bunch of pictures of him in almost every pose imaginable. His penis was hard and was displayed prominently in many of the pictures. The only part of the fun missing was that he had to stay in her room. As much as she wanted to have him go out into the hallway, that night she couldn’t because it was too early. Her fellow residents were still running up and down the corridor with their suitcases and backpacks.

She made him stand with his legs spread and his hands behind his head, gently stroking her fingertips up and down his body. She touched his penis and explored his testicles, satisfying her curiosity to feel someone else’s body besides Mike’s. Finally she moved to caressing and massaging his bottom. When he tensed up she slapped him hard.

“Don’t you tighten your butt up on me! This is what you deserve! You’ve earned this!”

She took another look at his face. He was both very nervous and very aroused. Perfect. That’s what she wanted, the right mood.

Lisa sat down on her bed and ordered Ken to lie across her lap. She gently massaged and caressed his bottom, much more intimately than she could the first time when she spanked him with two witnesses present. She admonished him for being aroused, telling him that it was completely inappropriate for a bad boy who’s about to be spanked to be so excited. She reached down and grabbed his penis.

“You know, when bad boys get like this – that just means they gotta be spanked a lot harder and a lot longer.”

Of course, the only thing that happened was his penis became even stiffer. She patted his bottom one last time, and began spanking. Lisa knew how to spank, because she had fantasized about it over the past year and had studied technique on the Internet. She knew that Cecilia was disciplining Jason, and would have given anything to be able to have that kind of relationship with her ex-boyfriend. There was no way, however, because it was not in Mike’s character to meekly go over a girlfriend’s lap, even in fun. Oh, well… his loss.

SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! Lisa began spanking much harder, but took frequent breaks to study the changing color of Ken’s bottom. She lovingly passed her hand over his sweaty, pink skin, exploring the deep color and swelling forming over his buttocks. When he tensed up she pinched him hard and viciously twisted her fingers.

“I said don’t tense up! Keep yourself nice and spread for me! If you wanted to be modest, then you shouldn’t have gotten yourself in this situation!”

Lisa began picking up the pace of her swats as she neared the end of the spanking. She spanked fast and hard, trying to break Ken with an unbearable barrage of solid pain. He was gasping, and groaning, not from the pain, but from intense sexual arousal. The erection never had gone away.

Lisa decided to put her companion’s hard-on to good use. It had not been her intention to have sex with him, but she had become aroused herself during the spanking. She stopped slapping and concluded with a couple of very painful pinches that were sure to leave bruises on him days after the color from the slaps faded. She ordered him to stand up, hands behind his head and facing the wall, while she rummaged through her closet to get some scarves and pull a couple of cloth belts off some dresses. She threw a scarf over his eyes to blindfold him, then tied another scarf around each of his wrists. She ordered him on the bed on his back and tied his hands to the bedposts. She then took a cloth belt and tied his feet together. She stripped off her clothes and gave his erection a couple of strokes to make sure it was as hard as possible. Then she positioned herself over him and mounted him, carefully lowering herself over his penis. For a very long time she rocked back and forth as he pumped semen into her. Oh, this was good.

Lisa climaxed, and then on pure inspiration she decided to try something. She pinched his nipples hard and twisted.


She felt his penis stiffen inside her. So, that was it… she now knew what he needed.

“I’ll tell you something, bad boy! There’s a lot more where this came from! You think I’m done with you? You think I’m done whipping that ass of yours? You think I’m finished?”

She tugged hard at his nipples.

“Answer me!”

“No, you’re… you’re not done… whipping my ass.”

“Your ass is mine, bad boy, get it? Mine!”

She untied the scarves from his wrists and the belt from his ankles, but did not untie the scarf covering his eyes.

"Roll over! Get your butt up!"

He heard her rummaging in her closet and then heard the distinct clink of a belt buckle. Then he felt the leather lightly touching his already sore skin. Fear swept through him, but with that fear came very intense arousal. He had just spent himself when Lisa was straddling him, but it seemed that erotic fear recharged his drive. He started becoming erect. It wouldn't be long before he was ready for another round of sex.

CRACK! A sharp pain tore into Ken's backside as Lisa laid a fierce belt swat across both bottom cheeks. CRACK! She struck again hard, as he squirmed from the blow. She studied the two deep reddish stripes laid across the pink skin of his spanked bottom. She tightened her lips and struck again.

He squirmed to the side, showing her his very hard erection. Lisa thought to herself, screw the spanking, I want him back inside me. She grabbed his penis and used it as a handle to roll him on his back.

"You fucking little pervert! You actually like this, don't you?"

"Yes... I like it!"

With that she dropped back on top of him, enjoying the feel of his organ as it pumped yet another batch of semen into her. She climaxed, for the second time that evening.

Ken spent the night in Lisa's room. The couple had finalized a discovery they had begun to make about each other back in September: that he liked being spanked and she enjoyed giving spankings. It turned out that pain was the button that unleashed the sexual fury in Ken's soul, and that inflicting pain was what set off Lisa. His bottom was tender from the spanking and he was sore in the spots where she so cruelly pinched him, but he couldn't have been happier. He was sure that the confusion over his sexuality had ended. Now he knew what he needed from a sexual partner, to submit and feel real pain. And to think, of all the people he knew, it was his friend Lisa who best understood his most secret desires.

Lisa was shocked at her own behavior with her new lover. She became a totally different person, an uncontrollable, savage, all-consuming jungle bitch. The veneer of courtesy and culture was stripped from her, leaving an uncontrolled fury that not even she knew existed in her soul. Well, perhaps she knew it was there, but not to that extreme.

Unlike Cecilia, Lisa's inner animal did not scare her. She liked that part of herself, the wild, domineering, she-bitch. It was something left over from the savage past, a portion of her animal instinct that had not been refined out of her personality by her wealthy liberal upbringing. She welcomed that part of herself in the same way she would have welcomed a long-lost relative. As weird as it was to have Ken in her bed instead of Mike, she was very grateful to him for helping her find that lost part of her soul.

She had come back from California with starting a new relationship the very last thing on her mind. Ken seemed about the last person on campus that could interest her. And yet, just a few hours after having stepped off the plane at O'Hare, she had enjoyed the most intensely satisfying sexual experience in her life with someone she never could have imagined as a sexual partner.

She hoped that Mike could find happiness in Santa Cruz, or Berkeley, or wherever he ended up, and above all find someone else to go out with. Lisa had moved on with her life and hoped that her former boyfriend would be able to move on with his as well.