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Tuesday, Jun 19, 2018
Worlds Of Lesbian Fiction

A Bondage Primer

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A Bondage Primer

Day 14

Monday, October 27

McKenzie opened her eyes. It took her a moment to focus on where she was. She was in her bed, curled up on her side, her face only a few inches from Ryan's, who was also sleeping on her side, facing McKenzie.

McKenzie couldn't stop the grin that curved her lips.

She stayed!

The sunlight leaking around the edge of the curtains painted Ryan in soft tones, highlighting her olive skin. McKenzie thought Ryan actually looked younger in this light. Or maybe it was because she looked so peaceful in slumber.

McKenzie studied the curves and planes of Ryan's face, the placement of each eyelash, the gentle arch of her eyebrows, the slope of her nose, the twists and turns of the ridges of her ear.

I want to wake up this way for the rest of my life.

McKenzie didn't care that she'd only known Ryan for three and a half months. She'd never met anyone like her and the more she learned about Ryan, the more she wanted to know.

A twinge in her abdomen cut into her happy thoughts and McKenzie tensed.

Shit.

McKenzie slowly rolled over, finally noticing the dull ache in her back. She raised her head to glance at the calendar on the wall above her desk and sighed as she counted the days.

Yep.

Her period came like clockwork, but she'd been so preoccupied with her punishment, she hadn't even realized what day it was.

At least it wasn't yesterday.

They hadn't talked about that yet. Not that McKenzie had experience with sex in the first place, but she knew while some women seemed fine with sex during a period, others had issues with it, whether it was theirs or the other woman's. She wasn't sure which camp she was in and wondered how Ryan felt about it.

McKenzie tried to slip out of the bed without disturbing Ryan, but as soon as her feet touched the floor, she heard Ryan move behind her.

"Morning," Ryan rasped out.

McKenzie turned around, her hand still cradling her lower abdomen from when she'd stood, the move putting pressure on her tender stomach.

"Good morning," McKenzie said, a little uncertainly, but Ryan just smiled.

"It is." It most definitely is, Ryan thought as she gazed in appreciation over McKenzie's naked body.

The girl was backlit by the curtained French doors behind her, which showed off McKenzie's curves beautifully. Ryan smiled wider, happy to realize her control seemed to have returned as she was able to just look in admiration without the overwhelming need to pounce on the girl. Then she noticed the slightly pained expression on McKenzie's face.

"You okay? What's wrong?"

McKenzie grimaced and shook her head.

"It's... I started. I'm just gonna go..." She pointed to the en suite bathroom.

Ryan nodded and McKenzie disappeared behind the door. A few minutes later, she returned to find Ryan sitting up in the bed waiting for her, the extra blanket folded and placed at the foot of the bed.

McKenzie picked her clothes up off the floor from the night before and set them on the bed, preparing to put them on. Then she stopped, removing her hands from the items, and looked up at Ryan.

"May I dress, my Lord?"

Ryan felt warmth spread through her chest at the soft request.

"Yes, you may," Ryan told her, inordinately pleased with McKenzie's spontaneous submission.

McKenzie dressed, but when she tried to do up her jeans, she winced. She took them off and went to her dresser to grab a pair of sweats instead.

"Cramps?" Ryan asked.

"Yeah, though they're usually a lot worse than this."

"It was probably the orgasms," Ryan said.

"Really?"

"Yeah. I'm not sure what it is, but I know for me orgasm definitely helps with that, both before and during."

McKenzie climbed onto the bed and laid down flat on her back, then drew her knees up when the position pulled too much on her lower belly.

"I've never... I mean I'm usually in so much pain I'm not really interested in... that."

Ryan nodded. They were silent for several minutes and Ryan watched as McKenzie closed her eyes and slowly massaged her abdomen, the girl's muscles tensing every few moments.

"Would you like to try it?" Ryan asked, her voice gentle as she tried to convey that it was an offer, not an order.

McKenzie opened her eyes and looked up at Ryan as she felt tendrils of arousal peeking out at the idea.

"You're not... um, grossed out or anything?"

Ryan smiled and shook her head.

"No. The scent can be a little strong at times, but a quick wash usually takes care of that. And it actually adds a bit of extra lubrication, though you wouldn't be doing anything that requires that right now," Ryan added.

McKenzie looked away as she thought about it. It couldn't hurt. She nodded to herself and then looked up at Ryan.

"Should I go take a shower?"

"It would probably make you feel better, but you don't have to. I'm perfectly fine with you simply reaching into your pants and touching yourself," Ryan said, a small smile tugging at the corner of her mouth as she saw McKenzie digest that piece of information.

McKenzie noticed Ryan's pulse thumping hard against her throat. She swallowed at the intensity in Ryan's gaze.

"You don't want me to undress?" McKenzie asked in confusion.

Ryan smiled.

"McKenzie, your body is beautiful, but there's also a... a thrill that comes from having it hidden." Ryan glanced away. "That's what I was trying to give you with wearing underwear when I normally don't." She caught McKenzie's gaze again and grinned. "I just hadn't considered that the lack would provoke an even greater response."

McKenzie smiled shyly, a blush heating her cheeks, even as her eyes dipped down to look at the area in question. Ryan continued.

"And in case you hadn't figured it out, I'm a bit of a voyeur and watching you climax has become my all-time favorite thing to do. I'll enjoy it even more when I'm physically causing it, since unlike hardcore voyeurs, I prefer to participate, but for now..."

McKenzie stared into Ryan's heated gaze, her hand almost moving of its own volition as she slowly lowered it to slip beneath the waistband of her sweatpants. Ryan's eyes followed her movements beneath the cotton as McKenzie slid her fingers between her lips. Her clit was sensitive from the previous night's activities and felt swollen under her fingers. As she pressed down to begin rubbing, sharp pleasure shot through her, and she sucked in a breath and stiffened, her eyes automatically closing in response.

"Take your time, McKenzie," Ryan said in a low voice next to her. "Listen to your body... Slower... Harder... Faster... Softer... Let your body guide you. It will tell you what you need... what you want..."

"It wants you," McKenzie said breathlessly, her hips rocking up to emphasize her words. "I think about you... touching me... taking me... owning me... controlling me... God, Ryan..."

Ryan flexed against her tight jeans, images of pulling the girl into her lap and taking over causing her muscles to tense with need. She continued to stare at the gently undulating fabric over McKenzie's pubic mound as she imagined what those delicate fingers were doing under there.

McKenzie wanted her control? Well, all right then...

"I want you to slide your middle and index fingers on either side of your clit and pinch them together. Then push down, forcing it between your fingers. It'll slip out, but that's okay. Just keep doing it until I tell you otherwise," Ryan gently commanded.

Ryan watched the soft cotton as McKenzie's fingers changed positions.

McKenzie jumped as her clit did indeed slip out from between her fingers, causing a sharp jolt of pleasure. She repositioned them and did it again.

McKenzie whimpered, but didn't stop. After a few minutes, she was able to complete the maneuver much faster and the jolts started stringing together, causing her breathing to accelerate until she was panting.

"Now I want you to use your entire hand and massage yourself, including your lips."

McKenzie slowed down, not really wanting to, but unable to disobey the softly spoken command. She gave her clit one last pinch, then spread her fingers out to cup her sex. She made a wide circle with her hand, pressing and squeezing the fleshy lips. Her breathing calmed, deepening with each slow massage of her hand.

"Now slide your other hand under your shirt. Squeeze your breasts with just as much loving attention. I'm sure they're feeling a bit left out by now."

McKenzie slipped her free hand up her stomach, finding the edge of her shirt, which had inched its way up with all her rocking. She slid her fingers beneath the fabric and reached for one of her breasts, wrapping her hand around the soft globe, grateful she hadn't put her bra back on. As she squeezed her nether lips, she did the same to her breast. She arched her back at the sudden increase in stimulation, only to thrust her hips up the next moment to push herself into her other hand.

"Oh God, Ryan... Yesss..."

Ryan couldn't even blink as she watched McKenzie writhe next to her. The girl was the very image of lust. Ryan continued to stare as McKenzie slid her hand to her other breast to give it the same treatment, the move causing the hem of her shirt to pull up a little further, revealing her clenching stomach and the underside of her breasts. A hard nipple poked against McKenzie's T-shirt and Ryan's jaw clenched as she imagined sucking it into her mouth and biting it.

"Pinch your nipples for me, McKenzie," Ryan instructed.

McKenzie's eyes opened to stare up at Ryan as the desire she heard in the woman's voice sent tingles throughout her body. She held Ryan's gaze as she moved her fingers to roll her nipple between them. She saw Ryan's eyes flash when she winced at the painful pleasure she was causing herself.

"Harder," Ryan ordered.

McKenzie increased the pressure and her hips thrust up, her other hand gripping her sex tighter.

"God... Yes... Please... More..." McKenzie moaned at the end of each panting breath.

Ryan's pussy ached, though she didn't move to touch herself. Instead, she poured her need into McKenzie.

"Rub your clit for me, baby. Do it hard, as hard as you know I would."

McKenzie's fingers slipped between her pussy lips, finding their favorite position without any thought on her part. She mashed down on her clit, rubbing in tight circles over the throbbing nub. Her eyes squeezed shut as her hips bucked up in a desperate attempt to increase her pleasure and she whimpered.

"Oh God, yes! Please... Ryan... Oh God... I wanna come... Please? Let me? Oh God, please, Ryan..." McKenzie gasped out, never ceasing her frantic movements.

"Come for me, McKenzie... Only for me," Ryan whispered the last part as McKenzie cried out her release.

McKenzie jerked against her own fingers, her other hand pinching her abused nipple even harder as utter bliss rocked through her at receiving Ryan's permission. Spasms racked her body, pleasure arcing between her clit and her nipple, each intensifying the other, until she was crying out with every panting breath.

The waves eventually subsided and McKenzie lay still. She opened her eyes to find Ryan watching her. McKenzie's breath caught at the undeniable look of love in the woman's eyes.

"Better?" Ryan asked softly.

"Every time," McKenzie said, completely satisfied.

Ryan chuckled and shook her head.

"I meant the cramps."

It took a moment for McKenzie to figure out what Ryan was talking about. Then she smiled.

"I can barely feel them. It's more like just a tightness."

"Good." Ryan almost leaned over to kiss the girl's forehead, but then she sat up and scooted off the bed. "Why don't you take a hot shower. That should help relax your muscles."

"You don't need to... um..."

Ryan smiled.

"I like feeling like this. Go on. I'm not going anywhere, just to the kitchen."

McKenzie smiled. She pulled her hand from her pants, deciding not to look at it just in case, and slid off the edge of the bed.

As the girl headed for the bathroom, Ryan left, pulling the door closed behind her. She breathed in the scent of fresh coffee as she walked down the hall towards the main part of the house. As she entered the dining room on the way to the kitchen, she found Karen sitting at the table with a cup and a tablet.

Karen looked up in surprise, having expected the much shorter blonde rather than the tall brunette.

"Morning," Ryan offered on her way to the kitchen.

Ryan suppressed a smile at the once-over Karen gave her as she went past her, the woman glancing first at her rumpled shirt, then her jeans, then back up, obviously recognizing them as the clothes Ryan had worn the night before.

Karen followed her as Ryan poured herself a cup of coffee. She didn't drink the stuff that often, having absolutely no need for the caffeine in her normally aroused state, but it made a nice change from her usual water.

"So... You stayed over?" Karen asked, clearly trying to keep any judgment out of her tone.

Ryan finally let her smile show.

"Yeah, but I slept on top of the covers," Ryan clarified.

Karen visibly relaxed and nodded.

Ryan chuckled as she finished fixing her coffee to her liking and took a sip.

Karen frowned and shook her head.

"Sorry. I know it's none of my business. I guess I just..."

Ryan held up a hand as she swallowed.

"It's okay. We're... walking a fine line where that's concerned, but... I want to take things slow and I think we've finally come to an understanding."

Karen nodded.

"Yeah, she was pretty upset last week after that fight you had. I'm glad you guys worked things out."

Ryan started pulling items from the fridge and the cabinets to cook breakfast. She wasn't the greatest cook in the world, but she could do eggs and toast well enough. She pointed at the pan and raised an eyebrow in offering and Karen nodded, so Ryan added two more eggs.

Ryan glanced at Karen as she worked.

"Well, things can get out of hand when you're not communicating. I made mistakes, she made mistakes, but we've talked... several times... so I think we're good."

Karen nodded again and smiled as she leaned her elbows on the countertop.

"So what are your plans for today?"

"Well, I don't have a shift until this afternoon and McKenzie doesn't have class for a few more hours, so I think we're just going to hang out for a bit. Plus, she started this morning, so I just want her to take it easy."

Karen winced.

"Oh, poor thing. She always has such a rough time of it. Thankfully, it only lasts a couple days for her."

"Yeah, I've got her taking a hot shower right now. That reminds me, I was going to run over to my place and get one of my hot packs for her."

Ryan frowned as she looked down at the food cooking in the pan.

"I've got it. Go," Karen said, neatly taking the spatula from Ryan's hand and gently bumping her out of the way with her hip.

"Thanks," Ryan smiled.

She jogged back to McKenzie's room to get her keys from her jacket and slipped on her boots. She was over to her place and back again in barely a couple minutes. She dropped her keys back in her jacket and removed her boots again, not wanting McKenzie to think she'd taken off. Then Ryan heard the shower turn off, so she knocked on the door.

"Yeah? Ryan? You can come in," McKenzie called from behind the door.

Ryan pushed the door open and popped her head in. McKenzie was in the middle of stepping out of the shower as she reached for a towel. Ryan forced herself to focus on what she wanted to say rather than the gorgeously wet naked woman in front of her whose nipples were tightening from the sudden gust of cool air Ryan's entrance had let in. Ryan cleared her throat.

"When you're done, I want you to get dressed and come join us in the dining room."

McKenzie nodded.

"I'll be right there."

Ryan closed the door again and leaned against the nearby wall as she tried to settle herself. She really just wanted to walk back in there and push McKenzie up against the counter and fuck her until the girl's legs buckled. Ryan closed her eyes and took several deep breaths. After a few moments, her heart rate calmed and she opened her eyes. She pushed off from the wall and headed back to the kitchen.

Karen was serving the eggs onto three plates.

"She'll be right out," Ryan said.

They finished getting everything ready and brought it out to the dining table, including a couple ibuprofen, which Karen set beside McKenzie's plate. Ryan went back to the kitchen and popped the hot pack into the microwave. When it was done, she returned to the dining room just as McKenzie was sitting down. The girl looked up at her and smiled.

"This looks awesome."

Ryan shrugged.

"Actually, Karen ended up doing most of it," Ryan admitted.

McKenzie looked at both of them and grinned.

"Well then, thank you, both of you."

Ryan walked around the table and motioned for McKenzie to scoot back. She pulled at the waistband on McKenzie's fresh sweat pants and pushed her T-shirt down to protect her skin as she gently placed the herbal hot pack against her tummy.

"Ohh," McKenzie sighed, her whole body seeming to melt at the sudden soothing warmth. "Wow, that feels amazing."

Ryan grinned, affectionately running her fingers through McKenzie's blow-dried hair before returning to the other side of the table to take her seat.

"It's got a bunch of different herbs that are supposed to be good for cramps and muscle pain. I don't get my period very often, but that's about the only thing that helps, besides copious amounts of drugs, which I hate taking," Ryan said as she buttered a piece of toast.

"Have you had that checked out?" Karen asked in concern as she ate.

"Yeah, I've always been irregular. My gynecologist said it comes with being athletic. I don't have enough body fat, so it thinks there's no chance of me getting pregnant... which there isn't," Ryan joked.

"You're so lucky," McKenzie said as she finished chewing a bite of her food. "I remember in junior high... I haven't missed a month since I first got it, but then I heard my friends complaining about how it'd been six months since their last one, and I was just like, 'Oh, fuck you.'"

Ryan laughed, not taking offense in the slightest.

"Yeah, but at least you can plan ahead. Me, I can be out anywhere, and it's not like I carry a purse with me, so then it's a mad scramble to try to clean up. Sometimes I wonder if that's why I like black so much, 'cause it hides that kind of stuff."

"Okay, I think a subject change is in order, ladies. I'm trying to eat here," Karen said and they both laughed.

"All right... Well, how was your movie marathon? Watch anything good?" Ryan asked.

Karen listed off the movies, describing the scenes she'd liked and critiquing parts she thought could've been better. As she finished her food, she sat back.

"It's been nice to just relax for a change. I haven't taken time off like this in ages. I probably should do this more often."

"Yeah, you deserve a break every now and then," Ryan said, not wanting to call her out on her workaholic tendencies.

Shortly after they'd met, Karen had told Ryan about how she'd lost her husband and three children in a car accident years ago. Karen had been the only survivor, though she'd required a year of physical therapy afterwards. She'd decided to finish her nursing degree after that, her education having taken a back seat after her first pregnancy. She'd paid off the house with the insurance money she'd received and had invested the rest, so she didn't technically have to work, but Ryan understood the need to keep moving so she wasn't constantly dwelling on the loss.

Ryan smiled as she got an idea.

"You wanna hang out with us for a little bit? I was going to challenge McKenzie here to an archery match, since I figure in her weakened condition, I might actually stand a chance."

"Oh, you wish," McKenzie said, and then turned to Karen. "Will you play with us? Please?"

Karen looked between the two and shook her head in amusement, not negation.

"With those puppy dog eyes, how can I resist? Let's get this cleaned up first, though."

They all helped to clear the table, and after reheating the herbal pack for McKenzie, they headed to the den. They played on the gaming console for over an hour, taking turns challenging the previous winner, until one of McKenzie's favorite morning talk shows was about to come on. Karen took over the loveseat, while McKenzie and Ryan claimed the couch.

"Come here," Ryan said as she patted the space next to her.

McKenzie slid over into Ryan's open arms. Ryan helped her maneuver into position, half lying on Ryan's lap, and then Ryan reached around her, splaying her hand over McKenzie's stomach and gently massaging. McKenzie hummed in contentment, closing her eyes as she listened to the women on TV.

A little while later, Ryan grinned as she noticed McKenzie had fallen asleep. Ryan looked up and found Karen watching them. Karen absently wiped at the corner of her eye and Ryan looked at her in question.

"My youngest would've been about her age now," Karen said, keeping her voice low so she wouldn't wake McKenzie. "I sometimes wonder what her life would've been like if..." She shook her head and gave a soft smile. "I'm just happy you've found each other."

Ryan nodded, trying to keep the sadness out of her own smile at the profound loss she could hear in Karen's voice. Then she suddenly realized what time of year it was and remembered the other part Karen had told her.

"It was Halloween when..."

Karen just nodded.

"I'm sorry," Ryan offered.

Karen shook her head and wiped her eyes again.

"I'm fine." At Ryan's disbelieving look, Karen gave her a lopsided smile. "Really. I mostly just miss them now. It's just hard... around the anniversary..." She trailed off, the pained expression on her face saying everything.

"Is there anything I can do?"

Karen smiled at the offer.

"Exactly what you are, sweetie. Love her. Let her love you. Be happy. I found my William when I was just twenty and I'm so grateful for the eight wonderful years we had together. Despite all the pain, I wouldn't trade it for anything."

Ryan looked down at McKenzie's sleeping face, feeling her throat tighten at just the mere thought of losing her like that. Ryan brought her gaze back to Karen.

"I don't know how you survived that," Ryan said quietly.

"The same way you survived your childhood, I'm sure. You just didn't give up. Somewhere deep down you knew there was a good life to be had, if you could just find it. Of the two of us, I was the luckier one." At Ryan's look of confusion, Karen explained. "I already knew it existed. You had to go on faith."

Ryan could only nod at that and she swallowed, trying to make her voice work again. She played with McKenzie's hair as she thought of how different her life would've been if Karen had been her mother.

"I wish I could've been your kid," Ryan whispered as a few tears finally forced their way past her defenses.

Karen stood up and took the few steps to lean over the arm of the couch. She gave Ryan a gentle squeeze around the shoulders as she placed a soft kiss to the top of her head.

"You already are, sweetie," Karen whispered into her hair and felt Ryan lean into the half hug.

Karen stood back up and they both wiped at their eyes. Then Karen laughed as she looked down at McKenzie's still face.

"I think that little shit just whammied us with her hormones."

Ryan laughed just as McKenzie blinked and looked up at them both.

"Don't blame me, I was just layin' here," McKenzie said sleepily. She rubbed her eyes and sat up. "What time is it?"

"It's almost eleven," Ryan said, glancing at the clock on the wall.

McKenzie frowned and looked unhappily at Ryan.

"I should probably get ready for class. I know it's not for another couple hours, but I still have some prep work I need to do. I, uh, I kinda slacked off the past few days," McKenzie mumbled the last bit.

Ryan nodded.

"Yeah, I've got several updates I'm supposed to get coded and uploaded before my shift at the bookstore this afternoon."

"Well, I'm on vacation, so I'm going out for a little shopping," Karen said, getting laughing groans of envy from the younger women. "I'll see you two later," she said, giving Ryan's shoulder a final squeeze as she left.

Ryan walked McKenzie back to her bedroom. As McKenzie brought out her supplies from the smaller closet, Ryan pulled on her boots and grabbed her jacket.

"So... My shift ends at ten. I know that's a little late, but—"

"I'll still be up. My last class doesn't let out until nine," McKenzie said. "And I really..."

McKenzie paused in her gathering and walked over to Ryan. Ryan opened her arms and McKenzie slid into place, wrapping her arms around Ryan's waist and resting her cheek against the woman's chest as Ryan's arms engulfed her.

They held each other for long moments, simply feeling the solid warmth of their bodies against each other. Ryan grazed her cheek against McKenzie's hair, her lips automatically seeking out the top of McKenzie's head to press a chaste kiss there. Ryan squeezed the girl tighter for a moment, and then pulled back.

"I need to go," Ryan said reluctantly.

"I know," McKenzie said just as unhappily. "But I'll see you tonight, right?"

Ryan nodded.

"I'll come straight here after work."

McKenzie snuck in one last hug and then backed away.

Ryan cupped McKenzie's cheek, wanting nothing more than to kiss the girl. She could see the recognition in McKenzie's eyes, the mutual longing, but then Ryan just nodded, gently withdrawing her hand.

"I'll see you tonight," Ryan echoed, and then she was gone.

* * *

"There you are," Claire said as she took a seat next to McKenzie in the cafeteria.

McKenzie was eating a quick dinner between classes while she went over her notes for her next class. She looked up and smiled.

"Hey, what's up? I missed you at the study group on Saturday. Everybody just sat around and chatted the whole time."

"Never mind that. I've been looking for you. I wanted to talk to you about... Ryan," Claire said, leaning in to whisper the woman's name.

McKenzie frowned.

"What about her?"

"I mentioned her name to some people I know from my psych class and they said they heard she's into some really freaky stuff. Like she whipped some woman until they had to carry the poor thing away at some underground sex club."

"It's called Club Carnal. We went there Saturday night."

Claire's eyes widened.

"That was your first date?"

McKenzie laughed.

"No, more like the second. It was a lot of fun."

"Are you serious? You let her do that to you?"

McKenzie lost her mirth at Claire's obvious disdain.

"I probably would have if she'd tried, but she didn't."

"But she really fucked that other girl up. What if—"

"Okay, that's enough." McKenzie sighed. "You're acting like I don't know what I want or what I'm getting myself into. I know exactly where all this is leading with Ryan and I want to go there. And whoever that other woman was..." McKenzie shook her head. "How did your friends even hear about it? Were they there?"

Claire frowned.

"No, I don't think so, but—"

"So you basically got this story, what... thirdhand from some people who obviously want to put Ryan down? And I'm supposed to take that over what I've seen of her with my own two eyes?"

"You think they were lying?" Claire asked, unsure.

McKenzie shook her head.

"I don't know. Not necessarily, but... Whoever they heard it from might not have understood what they were seeing. From what I saw there and the way Ryan talks sometimes... It sounds like the woman might've just gotten a little... overstimulated. I know I did and Ryan wasn't even touching me."

McKenzie felt her ever-present arousal making itself known as she remembered her near miss at the Club. It would've taken nothing for Ryan to send her over the edge. And if Ryan had been whipping her? McKenzie suppressed a shiver of excitement at the thought.

"What was it like?" Claire asked quietly.

McKenzie smiled.

"It was... I think it was like what you would imagine if you were inside a porno. I mean I've never even watched one of those and it was happening live, right in front of me."

"Did you guys have sex?"

"No. We're not, um... No. She just showed me around the place and I met some of her friends. They were really nice... Well, most of them," McKenzie amended. "One of her friends, Britt, seemed really happy for her that we're together, and Ryan... God, she was just so there for me all night. I felt like I had a million questions, but she never got impatient or annoyed, like I was bugging her or I should already know this stuff. She just answered everything like I was asking about her motorcycle or something. She's just so easy to talk to... about everything."

Claire watched McKenzie's face. Everything the girl felt was reflected there. Joy at being included and accepted in this strange new world, relief at Ryan's willingness to be open about so much, and finally, pure unadulterated love for this woman who had captured McKenzie's heart without even trying.

"You think you guys might stop by the party on Friday?"

McKenzie frowned.

"We haven't talked about what we're doing for Halloween. I'm not even sure she'll be interested."

"Well, there's only one way to find out. And I'd really like to meet her," Claire said. "It might even help me to stop worrying so much about you. I just hear things and then the hamsters go into overdrive up there," she said, smiling as she pointed to her head and made the sign for 'crazy,' while rolling her eyes around and around.

McKenzie laughed.

"Yeah, all right. I'll ask her."

"Good. Well, we better get going. We don't want to be late for class."

* * *

McKenzie sat at her desk, working on a written assignment for one of her classes. She heard a knock on her bedroom door and looked up.

"Come in."

Ryan walked in and McKenzie didn't hesitate as she stood to claim her spot in the woman's arms. Ryan smiled at the greeting and gently massaged the tense muscles she found in McKenzie's lower back.

"Oh God, yesss," McKenzie groaned, but Ryan just laughed.

"Been that kinda day, huh?"

"Yeah. Classes always seem longer when I feel so... crappy."

"Come on," Ryan said, nudging McKenzie to the bed. "Lie down."

McKenzie took a moment to kick off her shoes, and then climbed onto the bed. Ryan unzipped her boots and removed her jacket.

"Just a sec," Ryan said as she grabbed a pillow and placed it so it was under McKenzie's hips when she directed her to lie on her stomach. "There. How does that feel?"

"Different," McKenzie said. "It's kind of putting pressure on my ribs, though."

Ryan adjusted the pillow so it was more under McKenzie's stomach and rib cage.

"How 'bout that?"

"Better," McKenzie confirmed.

"Good. Now just try to relax," Ryan said.

Ryan climbed onto the bed, maneuvering to kneel above the backs of McKenzie's thighs, facing her back. She left the clothing in place as she massaged the tight muscles of McKenzie's lower back and ass through the girl's yoga pants and T-shirt.

"Holy... Oh God, Ryan... I thought I was in love with you before, but..." McKenzie moaned as Ryan's fingers gently dug into her glutes. "You're gonna have to beat me back with a stick now, woman."

Ryan grinned as McKenzie went completely limp under her ministrations. She continued to push and pull at the flesh beneath her fingers, though she kept the pressure mostly light. McKenzie's muscles weren't actually in knots. She'd probably just been sitting too long and her cramps were making it worse.

After a few more minutes, Ryan eased off, carefully moving off of McKenzie's body to sit next to her.

"Did you take a class or something?" McKenzie mumbled as she turned her head to face Ryan.

Ryan smiled.

"No. I've just read a few books, and really, it's not that hard. Just press on a muscle, rub it this way and that, and listen to the person you're doing it to. You'd get a way better massage from a professional, but it sounded like it was good enough," Ryan said with a smirk.

McKenzie rolled over onto her back and pushed the pillow under her knees.

"That was way better than good enough. That was exactly what I needed. Thank you."

"You're welcome." Ryan slid down the bed to lie on her side, her head propped up on her elbow. "So have you gotten a chance to check out the codes of conduct yet?"

McKenzie looked at her in confusion.

"What?"

"The pamphlet they gave you at the Club. I'd sort of been expecting some questions about it, but you haven't asked, so I just wondered if you'd read it yet."

"Oh right. No, I totally forgot about it. I'm sorry."

McKenzie slid off the bed to pull the folded booklet from her borrowed jacket hanging in the closet and came back to the bed. She was moving much better now.

McKenzie reversed the crease, flattening it out, and opened the pamphlet to the first page. Ryan spoke.

"Mostly, it's just common sense stuff that basically amounts to 'don't be an asshole,' but there's also specifics about cleaning up equipment before and after you use it, that sort of thing."

"Oh, like at the gym."

"Right."

McKenzie skimmed it, promising herself she'd read it later, and then flipped to the back. There was a handwritten username and password with the URL to the Club's private website.

"That's for your account login. You want to get that set up?"

McKenzie brought her laptop over and Ryan sat up again so McKenzie could lean back against her, allowing them both to see the screen.

McKenzie carefully typed in the site address. A popup requested her username and password before allowing her any further, which she dutifully entered. Then the site took her to a welcome page with a list of links for new users. Some of them looked really interesting and McKenzie thought she could probably get lost in exploring all night.

"Um, is it all right if I look at this stuff later?" McKenzie asked as she turned back to Ryan. "I don't really want to be reading while you're just sitting there."

"Sure. Just remember if you have any questions, I'm here."

"Oh! Actually, I do have a question. What are you doing for Halloween?"

Ryan quirked an eyebrow at the non sequitur.

"I didn't really have any firm plans. The Club is usually a lot of fun, but I wasn't sure if you'd be up for that again so soon."

"I would definitely be up for that again, but could we also go to my friend's party? She's a sister at Sigma Tau Delta. They've been planning some mega costume party for pretty much the whole month and she really wants to meet you."

Ryan nodded. She'd introduced McKenzie to some of her friends. It was only fair she meet some of McKenzie's.

"Yeah, sure. But I guess it's my turn not to know what to wear."

"That's what they invented the internet for. Tons more shopping options without any of the walking."

Ryan smiled as McKenzie opened a new browser window to search for Halloween costumes.

"I really want us to go as a couple," McKenzie said as she typed out her keywords, narrowing it to local stores. "Oo, what about pirate and wench?"

Ryan looked at the costumes over McKenzie's shoulder.

"Um..."

"What?"

"They're kinda... They just don't look very good. And look, it doesn't even come with everything it's showing in the picture. You have to buy the hat, the boots, and the sword separately. Oh, and the eye patch... and the jewelry."

McKenzie scrolled down the page and started mentally adding up everything. The accessories would triple the price of the base costume.

"Okay, moving on," McKenzie said as she hit the back button.

They went through several dozen more options, ranging from the generic to the iconic, with no agreement. McKenzie scrolled back up the list, checking through it again, while Ryan let her head rest back and closed her eyes. McKenzie stopped on one she'd gone right past before.

"Hey, Ryan? Do you happen to have... handcuffs?" McKenzie asked.

Ryan opened her eyes and glanced down at the screen. She grinned.

"Yeah. You looking to get arrested?"

McKenzie matched Ryan's grin with one of her own.

"Absolutely, though I'm probably going to resist."

"Somehow I doubt that," Ryan said and McKenzie laughed.

"You're probably right... So what do you think? Sexy cop and her prisoner?"

"Well, I won't wear that," Ryan said, gesturing with her chin at the image of a woman wearing thigh-high faux patent leather boots as part of her officer's uniform. "But I'm sure I could get some stuff at the army surplus store. It'll be a lot more authentic and probably cheaper, too."

"What about me?"

"Well, we already know you'll be wearing my handcuffs," Ryan smirked. "Let's just see what else we can find."

They surfed the net, coming up with several ideas, but not really settling on anything. They decided to wait until after they'd seen what was available at the surplus and costume stores. They made plans to go out shopping the next night, which had finally brought them to McKenzie's bedroom door again.

"I think this has become my favorite place," McKenzie said from where she was standing, held securely in Ryan's embrace.

"God, you make it so hard to leave, baby," Ryan groaned as she squeezed McKenzie tighter for a moment. "But I really do need to go."

"You can't... stay again?"

Ryan sighed as she glanced up to the ceiling in a silent prayer for strength.

"I really don't think I can. I got away with it last night, but I don't want to push my luck."

Ryan felt McKenzie nod and then gently step out of her arms, keeping her head ducked until she was turned away, hiding her face.

"I-I understand. I'll s-see you tomorrow night."

Ryan winced. McKenzie's voice was thick with tears. And she's on her fucking period. Fuck.

Ryan reached out, turning McKenzie's shoulders and pulling her back into her arms. McKenzie immediately let out a sob.

"I'm sorry! I know I'm being stupid. And I promised I wouldn't make you regret last night and now I am..." McKenzie cried.

"Shh, it's okay. I'm not mad, sweetheart. Everything's fine. You're fine." Ryan sighed again. "All right... I can't... Fuck, I can't leave you like this, but..."

Ryan looked around the room as if it might give her the answer to her dilemma, but then McKenzie sniffled and pulled back enough to look up at Ryan.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to... I... I'll be okay. I'm really not trying to pressure you or anything. I think I'm just... It's been a long day, I started my period, and I'm not dealing well with... the thought of being separated from you..." McKenzie let her head rest against Ryan's chest again. "I heard some of what you and Karen were talking about this morning and I think it's just been sitting there in the back of my mind all day long. I mean she's told me about her family before, but... To know all this could be taken away, just like that..."

Ryan felt her chest begin to ache and she hugged McKenzie tighter.

"I know. The thought of losing you... I don't know what I'd do if something happened to you," Ryan whispered.

"I don't even want to think about it," McKenzie said as she shook her head. "But then it's like I can't help thinking about it and how we haven't even... And I get more scared that I'll never... That we'll never..."

McKenzie sighed, tightening her arms just a little more around Ryan's waist. Ryan brought her hands up to cup McKenzie's face as the girl looked up at her with tear-stained cheeks.

"It's okay," Ryan said gently. "I get it, I do. But... I don't want to make decisions about us based on the possibility that we might not be here in six months. If you're gonna go by that reasoning, why are you even going to college? Why plan for the future at all?"

McKenzie nodded, her eyes casting downward in resignation as Ryan went on.

"And I... I really want a future with you, McKenzie."

McKenzie's eyes widened as she looked up at Ryan in surprise. Ryan brushed her thumbs over McKenzie's wet cheeks as she continued.

"I want to build a real relationship with you and that means taking it one step at a time and not... not fast-forwarding through any of it. And as much as I enjoyed last night... I know I can't keep doing that and not do... other things."

McKenzie nodded again. It was so hard not to push, not to tell Ryan it was perfectly fine for her to do those 'other things,' even though McKenzie was coming to realize Ryan was right and she wasn't nearly as ready as she'd thought she was. As she wanted to be.

And she'd promised. She'd promised Ryan she wouldn't push or beg, though she'd come very close to breaking that promise already.

"I'm sorry," McKenzie whispered. "I know I keep wanting to skip ahead, but I don't want to lose this either. Ever since you said we could hold each other, I've felt better, I really have. Today was just... harder than usual." McKenzie leaned in for one last hug and then stepped back. "But I think I'm okay now."

Ryan smiled.

"Good, then I want you to get ready for bed. And give me that, so I can reheat it," Ryan said, holding out her hand for the hot pack snugged against McKenzie's belly inside her pants.

Ryan had retrieved it earlier when McKenzie's cramps had kicked up again.

McKenzie handed it over and Ryan left, while McKenzie changed into an oversized T-shirt for a nightgown. It felt a little strange. She'd gotten used to sleeping naked recently.

McKenzie was just finishing up brushing her teeth when Ryan returned.

"Into bed," Ryan said and McKenzie obediently crawled under the covers.

Ryan pulled them back so she could lay the hot pack on McKenzie's stomach, then tucked the comforter around the girl's shoulders. She sat on the edge of the bed as she brushed McKenzie's bangs off her forehead.

"If you need me to stay, I can sit in that chair and keep you company until you fall asleep," Ryan offered quietly, nodding to the padded armchair in the corner.

"It's okay... I'm okay," McKenzie said, closing her eyes with a smile at the gentle touch. "I love you."

"I love you, too."

Ryan watched McKenzie's face slowly lose its tension as her breathing evened out. Ryan kept up the light tracing over McKenzie's brows for a little while longer. She wanted so much to simply lean over and kiss the girl's forehead, but Ryan knew she wouldn't be able to stop herself from seeking a taste of McKenzie's lips as well.

Ryan carefully stood up, doing her best not to jostle the sleeping girl. McKenzie continued to breathe slowly and deeply as Ryan made her way to the door. Ryan looked back, staring for several long minutes, until finally her own tiredness became impossible to ignore.

"Goodnight, McKenzie," Ryan whispered, and then silently closed the door behind her.


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