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A Country That Has No Language

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The first time anybody tied Annabelle up, it was Peaches. She and Peaches never had sex during their month long relationship, but Peaches tied her to a chair, blindfolded her, and fed her different fruits. It was supposed to be innocent, harmless fun. It was, in actuality, the most erotic thing Annabelle had done in her life.

Annabelle messes around with a few more girls after Peaches, but it isn’t until Roxy that she figures out that it isn’t a one time thing. Roxy takes her to a classroom, ties her to a radiator, and Annabelle slides into a headspace so sublime that by the time Roxy hits her with a ruler, she’s aching for it. Once they figure that out, their sex life becomes even more interesting. Roxy enjoys experimenting, and Annabelle enjoys- well, apparently she enjoys a bit of pain and restraint.

After Roxy walks out on her, Annabelle doesn’t date, but she does scene, because an Eco turns to her in class one day and says, “You’re a sub?” and Annabelle honestly doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about until she takes her by the hand and talks her through a scene. The Eco, Nell, ends up becoming Annabelle’s domme until Annabelle graduates. They don’t date, but they play together. Friends with benefits would be the traditional term, she supposes, though she doesn’t think of Nell like that. Nell is her playmate. Nell is her domme. She’s also a good friend, outside of scening.

And then Annabelle goes to Kelly, and it’s two years on the run, and yes, she and Kelly fall into bed together, and yes, she and Kelly fall in love, but Kelly doesn’t do kink. Kelly is shockingly vanilla, despite the collars she wore at St. Trinian’s, despite her Emo heritage, and Annabelle doesn’t mind, because she’s loved Kelly for so long that it doesn’t matter. The sex is sometimes desperate- how can it not be, with what they’re doing?- and sometimes it’s messy, but Annabelle is never restrained and there’s never any pain.

And then things change again, because they come home to Polly.

Polly, who won’t fuck anyone, who has strict rules about kissing, who has a PowerPoint presentation on asexuality and a separate PowerPoint presentation on her asexuality, both of which she gives to Annabelle, along with complimentary lecture (although she apparently just sat and talked to Kelly), and yet turns to them and says, “The three of us, I think, yes?” in such a matter of fact way that Annabelle doesn’t even consider an alternative, and then they’re moving into a cottage together in the countryside.

Annabelle loves both of them in a way that twists her up inside, and because of this, she’s willing to give up her life of kink. Polly doesn’t have sex, she’s made it very clear (slides thirteen through thirty-two were a very, very detailed summary of her scientific method in sexual experimentation, and the failure thereof), and Kelly doesn’t enjoy even the pretense of domming, and that’s that. Annabelle enjoys sex outside of kink, so she’ll be happy with what she does have, which is a very fulfilling, loving relationship with two women.

But.

But.

But Polly looks at her one day while they’re in the living room by themselves, tilts her head to the side, and says, in a voice entirely unlike any Annabelle has ever heard out of her before, “Get on your knees.”

And Annabelle goes. She’s on her knees so fast she doesn’t consider what’s she doing, she just drops her book and goes down, hitting the floor so hard that the impact shudders through her spine. She blinks in surprise and looks at Polly. Polly makes an appreciative humming sound.

“Yes, that’s what I thought,” she says.

“Are you-?” Annabelle starts, and Polly raises an eyebrow.

“Did I say you could speak?”

Annabelle stops speaking.

Polly stands up slowly, and goes to the door, locking it. She turns back and looks at Annabelle contemplatively, tipping her head to the side again. It’s so intrinsically Polly, but everything else is so obviously domme, and Annabelle’s mouth goes dry with desire. She hasn’t subbed for anyone in over two years. She misses it.

“You have questions. You may speak.”

Annabelle licks her lips, trying to coax saliva forward. “You’re asexual,” she says.

Polly steps toward her, fast, and Annabelle ducks her head. “That’s not a question,” she says, her voice steel and frost. Annabelle can feel her heart hammering in excitement. She’s missed this, she’s wanted this, and she was happy to live without it if it meant having Kelly, if it meant having Polly, but Polly is standing before her and-

“Are you into kink?” she asks.

“Yes,” Polly says, and then kisses her, lightly. A reward, Annabelle thinks. Polly doesn’t kiss either of them very often.

“How are you into kink if you’re asexual?”

“It isn’t sexual for me.”

Annabelle frowns. “Isn’t it always sexual?”

Polly has a ghost of a smile on her lips as she circles around and disappears behind
Annabelle. “Not for me.”

“That sounds strange,” Annabelle admits. Polly yanks her head back by her hair, hard. Not as hard as Nell would have, though, once upon a time.

“Not a question,” Polly says. Her gaze is cold. Annabelle lowers her eyes and nods, and Polly lets her go with a sharp shove. She takes a moment to study the carpet, trying to decide what else is important to ask. What else she needs to know in this moment. Really, there is only one thing.

“Will you scene with me?” Annabelle asks.

She hears Polly’s laugh, low and dry. It’s answer enough.

******
Polly refuses to scene with her right away.

“There are things that need to be discussed,” Polly says primly, once she lets Annabelle up from the floor, once she puts her domme voice away and returns to being the Polly that Annabelle knows so well. “If we’re going to do this, we’re going to do this right.”

Kelly, sitting at the table with them, takes out a notebook and tosses it at Annabelle.

“You know she’s going to want to keep a rule book,” she says at Annabelle’s look. “You might as well play long.”

Annabelle looks at Polly. Polly stares expectantly at her. Annabelle sighs and opens the notebook.

******
The first scene is planned in advance. Polly is very clear about when and where it will happen, though she doesn’t tell Annabelle much else.

“You’ve told me what you absolutely won’t do, what you like, and I know your safeword,” Polly says, shrugging a shoulder. “Trust me from there.”

Annabelle spends the rest of the day in a sort of haze. She goes to work- she’s the Assistant Headmistress at St. Trinian’s, a new position that Auntie Camilla invented just for her- and barely survives the day, because Trinian’s girls know how to take advantage of distracted teachers, and when she gets home, Kelly is outside, pruning the hedges.

“She’s waiting,” Kelly says, grinning. Annabelle goes to kiss her, but Kelly steps back, her grin growing. “I wouldn’t keep her, if I were you.”

Annabelle goes.

She walks straight to their bedroom, dropping her bag and jacket off in the kitchen on the way, too keyed up to put them away properly. Kelly will do it for her. Either that, or Polly will glare at her later, when they’re done, and she’ll get a lecture about priorities. Annabelle opens the bedroom door, walks inside, and gets all of three steps before her feet are kicked out from underneath her.

Part of her, the part that spent two years on the run with Kelly, thinks about rolling onto her back, grabbing the nearest thing that can work as a weapon, and fighting. That part of her remembers judo lessons in Beirut, remembers Krav Maga in Buenos Aires, remembers muay thai in Jakarta. That part of her thinks about the knife she always keeps in her boot, no matter what role she takes in sex.

“Stay down,” Polly growls, and that part of her goes completely still. Her nerves stop humming, and Annabelle freezes as Polly blindfolds her.

Polly pauses. “Good?”

“Good,” Annabelle breathes.

“Undress,” Polly says, her breath hot in Annabelle’s ear. She’s standing right behind her, but not touching her. Annabelle can feel the heat of her body, but nothing else. She didn’t even get to see what Polly was wearing, if she scenes in leather and fishnets, like some of the other D/s girls she’s known, or if she’s still in neat skirts and pressed white blouses. She aches to find out, but Polly has given her an order. She lifts her hands and, quickly, shucks off her own blouse and trousers, her bra and stockings. She gets to her panties, and Polly’s hands come out of nowhere, wrapping around her wrists. “Leave those,” she says softly. Annabelle licks her lips.

Polly’s hands tighten, and she yanks Annabelle’s arms forward. She can tell it’s calculated- enough to hurt, not enough to damage- and she feels the slide of ropes around her wrists. Something settles in her. The girls were wretched to her today. The stress falls away as the knots tighten.

Her wrists are bound in front of her, tight, and Polly pushes her backwards. She goes willingly, and collides, hard, with the bed, tumbling back down on it. Polly climbs on her, straddling her as she gets to work binding Annabelle further, tugging her arms over her head and securing her wrists to the bed frame. Then she moves downwards, her hands working around her ankles, binding her feet to the end of the bed. Finally, Polly’s weight settles against her thighs.

“Green, amber, or red?” Polly asks, voice as taut as the ropes she’s just finished tying. Annabelle tests the ropes carefully. They’re secure, but she knows these knots- she can get out if she needs to.

“Green,” she says, and Polly kisses her, swift and airy.

Polly had explained in advance that she wanted to start small. “You haven’t played in two years, and you’ve never played with an asexual domme. You’ve never played with me,” Polly had said. “Let’s begin with something simple. Just some sensation play.” So she knows to expect sensation. She doesn’t know what, precisely, she’d been expecting Polly to use, but she’s startled when Polly adjusts her weight and just breathes on her.

“Oh,” she says. Polly does it again, and it tickles. She squirms a bit, but Polly has tied her up well, and she can’t move much. Polly smacks her belly lightly.

“Stop.”

Annabelle hums. It’s perfect.

She doesn’t know how long Polly spends just blowing on her, tickling the small hairs on her stomach, her arms, her legs, neck, breasts, everywhere that she can possibly conceive, but she’s settled enough that she jolts when suddenly she feels the press of an ice cube against her oversensitive wrist.

“Be quiet,” Polly says, and Annabelle nods, and then she sinks down and floats away as Polly drags the ice cube along the inside of her wrist. Dimly, she registers other ice cubes being applied in other places- the bottoms of her feet, the insides of her ankles, the underside of her jaw, between her breasts, the insides of her thighs- but she’s gone, she’s floating, she’s fucking flying, and nothing else matters.

God, but she’s missed this.

She doesn’t know how long she lays there on their bed, Polly dragging ice cubes over her, but she hears Polly whisper in her ear, “Come back, Annabelle,” and she blinks beneath her blindfold. Somewhere along the line she had closed her eyes. She shudders slightly and shakes her head, dragging herself back up to the surface. She licks her lips.

“Good girl,” Polly says, and then kisses her. Her mouth is warm, and Annabelle opens to it instantly, drinking it in. Polly gives kisses like gifts, and she never kisses like this. Her kisses are chaste, usually, but this is filthy, and her tongue plunders Annabelle’s mouth with painful, bruising force. She bites and sucks, and Annabelle moans.

Polly leans away. “I’m going to take off your blindfold now, ok? It might be a bit bright,” she says softly. Annabelle nods, and Polly reaches behind her head and unties the soft cloth. She removes it slowly, giving her time to adjust to the light, but it’s always a shock, coming back to the light like this. Annabelle blinks rapidly, squinting, peering at Polly. Polly’s wearing tailored trousers and a blouse with a jumper over it. She smiles to see it. It’s so very Polly.

Polly smiles back at her. “Would you like me to untie you now?”

Annabelle flexes her hands and thinks about it. “All right,” she says agreeably. Polly nods and deftly undoes the knots, first at her ankles and then all the ties and knots at her wrists. She carefully examines Annabelle’s wrists, probing them and turning them around, and Annabelle lets her, staring at the way the dim light hits Polly’s cheekbones.

She clears her throat, and Polly looks down at her. “How long?” she asks, her voice rough.

“Two hours,” Polly replies.

She licks her lips in surprise. Two hours, and all they did was play with ice cubes. “Strange,” she says finally.

Polly sits down next to her on the bed, and Annabelle crawls into her lap, breathing in her scent, smiling faintly. This could work, she thinks. This could be good.

An hour later, Kelly pokes her head in and tells them dinner is ready.

******
“So how did you figure out you’re into BDSM?” Annabelle asks Polly one day. Polly is stretched out on the sofa, her head in Kelly’s lap, reading, and Annabelle is sitting on the ground in front them, Kelly braiding her hair.

“Oh,” Kelly says, her voice bright with laughter.

“Uh,” Polly says.

“I’m so calling Chelsea,” Kelly says, reaching over Annabelle to grab her mobile off the coffee table. Annabelle frowns in confusion.

“Why is she calling Chelsea?” she asks Polly.

Polly sits up and puts her book down. “I was dating Chelsea at the time,” she says, and glares at Kelly, who is grinning at both of them.

Annabelle blinks, climbing up on the sofa to sit next to Polly. “You dated Chelsea?”

“Not for very long,” Polly mutters.

When?” Annabelle asks.

“When she was sixteen,” Kelly informs her. “Chelsea? It’s Kelly. Annabelle just asked Polly when she figured out that she was into BDSM. Yes, yes, I’m putting you on speakerphone, hold on.”

Kelly sets the phone on the coffee table and presses a button. Instantly, the room fills with the sound of Chelsea’s laughter. Annabelle glances at Polly, who is turning red and hiding her face in her hands. She doesn’t think she’s ever seen Polly look so mortified before.

“Am I on speakerphone now?” Chelsea asks.

“Yes,” Kelly says.

“Who’s in the room?”

“Me, Annabelle, and Polly.”

“Polly, darling, may I tell the story? Or will you come after me with an X-acto knife?”

Polly groans and buries her face in Kelly’s shoulder. “You might as well,” she says. “It can’t get worse after the fifteenth retelling.”

Annabelle hears another peal of laughter from Chelsea, and glances at Kelly and Polly again. Kelly is grinning and holding Polly’s hand, stroking her hair gently. Polly is smiling a little, shoving her face as hard as she can into Kelly’s shoulder. Clearly, this story is a classic.

“All right,” Chelsea says, clearing her throat. “So when I was fifteen, I finally found the courage to ask out little Polly Hopkins, leader of the Geeks. She was such a pretty picture, Annabelle- all argyle and sweater vests and loafers, it was gorgeous. Polly didn’t date much, on the whole, but she agreed to date me-”

“You’d have to be dead to refuse to date you, Chelsea,” Polly says. “You’re brilliant. You quoted E.M. Forster in class two days before asking me out.”

There’s a pause on the other end of the line. “Well. Anyway. Polly agreed to date me, and I was all excited about getting to her. We had gone out for maybe three days-”

“Four,” Kelly interjects.

“God, why do you remember? Anyway, four days, when I decide to maybe try some light bondage with her.”

“After four days?” Annabelle asks, shocked.

“I’m a Posh-Totty.”

“Yes, but-”

“Do not doubt my wisdom. So I tell Polly what I want to do- handcuffs, a little flogging- and she agrees.”

Annabelle looks at Polly in amazement. “You agreed?”

Polly shrugs. “I was sixteen. I was curious. I like experimenting. Of course I agreed.”

Chelsea giggles. “We meet up, and I get the handcuffs on her, right? And then I go to get my riding crop, this little novelty thing, just something that the Posh-Totties have lying around. And by the time I turn around again, Polly has the handcuffs off, and she’s looking at them with haughty disdain, and she says, ‘Were these supposed to restrain me?’ and I just stare at her.”

Annabelle feels her lips twitch at Polly’s look of chagrin.

“So I tell her that it’s more the idea of restraint, and we try again. And then I try hitting her, lightly, with the riding crop, and I get maybe two or three hits in, when I find myself on my knees, with Polly above me, and I no longer have the riding crop in my hands. And Polly says- oh my God- Polly says, ‘No, no, this will never do, let me show you how it’s done’.”

Kelly cracks up, Annabelle only a beat behind her. Polly sighs.

“It gets better,” Chelsea says. “Apparently, the riding crop was shoddy craftsmanship-”

“It was!” Polly protests, glaring at the phone.

“And she’d already registered her distaste for the handcuffs, so she wrestles me to the ground and uses her hair ribbons and school tie to bind my wrists and then yanks off her belt and proceeds to demand that I list the muscles that she’s hitting, since we’re taking anatomy together.”

Polly moans and hides her face again. Kelly wails with laughter.

“No, no, wait!” Chelsea screams over them. “So, I’m really into it- of course I am, this is Polly Hopkins we’re talking about, and of course I’m no stranger to any of this- and then suddenly she just stops, right? Just stops, puts her belt back on, and walks out, just leaves me there, tied up and so close to coming that I could kill her, and she leaves. And it’s two days later that I find out that she’d had a breakthrough on some science thing while belting me, and that while I’d been having an erotic experience, she’d been doing equations in her head the entire time.”

“Ok, look,” Polly begins, but she can’t say anything else because Annabelle tips over sideways and buries her face in Polly’s lap, laughing too hard to stay upright. She can feel Kelly shaking with laughter through the sofa, and this is just so perfect, this is the perfect story, and Christ, no wonder Polly had looked so mortified when Kelly dialed Chelsea.

Polly’s still talking, yelling at Chelsea over their laughter. “I said I was sorry! I didn’t know what I was doing!”

“Darling, darling, I forgave you for that years ago,” Chelsea says, gasping through her giggles. “You were a baby domme, it was adorable.”

“Oh my God,” Annabelle says in awe, staring up at Polly, “You topped Chelsea Parker.”

“It was horrible,” Polly moans. “I was the worst top ever.”

“There was a reason I broke up with you when I found out you left me for science,” Chelsea says, sounding amused. “I think our relationship is the shortest one I ever had. Six days.”

“And on the seventh day she rested,” Kelly says, winking at Polly.

“Funnily, I still think of that story as my breakthrough on quasicrystals in solid-state physics research, rather than my first BDSM moment,” Polly muses. “Though it’s both, of course. I just think of the physics first.”

“So, if you got a hint that maybe you liked BDSM when you were with Chelsea, how did explore it?” Annabelle asks, sitting up and wrinkling her nose.

“Oh,” Chelsea says over the phone, letting it out with a long breath. It’s a tense sound, and Annabelle frowns, looking at Polly and Kelly. They look tense, too.

“I dated Laksha,” Polly says shortly.

“She was a Posh-Totty in Peaches’ and Chloe’s year,” Chelsea says. “She’s a lovely girl, very sweet.”

Annabelle looks at Polly for confirmation. Polly nods once. “She is.”

“Then…?”

“Bad break-up.”

Kelly rolls her eyes. “That’s putting it mildly.”

“Long story short, Laksha is an aromantic asexual, whereas I am a romantic asexual,” Polly says. “We could explore kink together, but the moment I got attached… it didn’t work for us.”

Annabelle looks at Polly, who is refusing to meet her eyes. She’s staring off into a middle distance, her hands fisted in her lap. There’s a story there, one she isn’t privy to, and that bothers her, but Polly looks so shut down that she isn’t going to push. Not now.

“So!” Chelsea says cheerfully, cutting through the silence. “Why are you asking about Polly’s kinky past, Annabelle?”

Kelly slaps a hand over her mouth, trying to muffle her laughter, and Polly snorts.

“Um,” Annabelle says intelligently.

“Oh my God,” says Chelsea. “Oh. My. God. So, that story Peaches told me about the time she tied you up…? Oh my God! I have to call her! She always thought there might be something there!”

“Peaches tied you up?” Polly asks, frowning.

“Shit, I should have made popcorn,” Kelly says.

******
She and Polly don’t play very often, really, but she and Kelly have sex on a very regular basis. They both have exceptionally high sex drives, which Polly finds amusing. They also like to have sex in unusual places, the bedroom reserved as a sort of last resort, for sleepy weekend mornings and late night fumbling. Any surface is fair game.

Today it’s the roof.

Really, they had just gone up to replace the tiles Polly has been complaining about, but Kelly had given her a low, heated look, and Annabelle can never resist that look. They’d nearly gotten killed in Minsk because of that look, had to go running through the city in nothing but their knickers, dodging bullets because of that look. And it’s because of that look that Annabelle is flat on her back, tiles and nails and God knows what else digging into her skin as Kelly goes down on her, tongue circling her clit gently, teasing her in a way that makes her breath catch.

“Fuck,” she says, tightening her hands in Kelly’s hair. Kelly lifts her head, smiling at her and licking her lips. She leans up and kisses Annabelle and then slips a hand between them.

“The neighbors…” Annabelle whispers, arching against Kelly.

“Let them look,” Kelly murmurs. A thrill shoots through Annabelle, and Kelly laughs. “Like that, do you?”

“God, yes,” Annabelle replies, and rolls them over so that she’s straddling Kelly. Kelly shakes her head in amusement and then yelps when Annabelle ducks her head down.

When they come back in the house, Polly looks at them, raises an eyebrow, and says, “Hmm.” Then, “Just tell me you fixed the roof.”

“Actually,” Kelly says, kissing the top of Polly’s head, “I think we may have knocked a few more tiles off.”

Polly rolls her eyes affectionately.

******
Their bed is barely big enough for the three of them. It only works because Polly plasters herself against Kelly when she sleeps, tucked in so tightly that she might as well slide underneath Kelly’s skin.

Annabelle, who honestly can’t stand to snuggle while sleeping, doesn’t understand how she can manage it.

“She’s always slept like this,” Kelly says, tucking Polly more thoroughly against her and smiling at Annabelle, who is edging herself closer to the far side of the bed. “Even when we were children.”

“You shared a bed?” Annabelle asks. They drop stories like breadcrumbs, she thinks. Little nuggets for her to find and put together, always searching for the whole. It’s not that they’re holding out on purpose, she thinks. It’s that they forget, sometimes, that she wasn’t always there. She thinks it’s a compliment. She’s such a part of them that they don’t remember a time when she wasn’t with them.

“Sometimes. You know how it is when you’re a kid. Nightmares, or when you want to share a secret. Sleepovers. When you’re talking and you fall asleep. We didn’t share as much as some of the other girls, but we had our moments,” Kelly says.

“I hate sharing a bed,” Annabelle confesses.

“No, really?” Kelly grins, looking at the space Annabelle has managed to create between them.

“It’s just… awkward. I need space to move.”

“And yet,” Kelly yawns, burying her face in Polly’s hair, “You’ll let Polly tie you up and hold you down to your heart’s content. Look at us- contradictions, all.”

******
“Green,” Annabelle gasps, trying not to arch up into Polly’s hands. Polly pours some more wax onto her back, and Annabelle sighs, closing her eyes and pressing her face into the pillow. It smells like Kelly.

Polly pours some more wax, and she can tell that it’s sliding onto the bed. It burns, and she hisses. “Yellow,” she grits out, and she feels Polly still beside her. Wax is something that Annabelle has never done before, and she likes it so far, but it’s a completely different sensation, and she’s taking her time with it. Her head is buzzing.

After a moment, she sighs. “Green.”

“Are you sure?” Polly asks, sounding concerned.

“Yeah,” Annabelle says, smiling to herself. She’s not under, not the way she has been for other things, but she still likes this. She still feels good. It’s different. There’s a moment of hesitation from Polly, and she thinks she can feel Polly’s eyes on her, assessing, judging, but then she feels more wax dribbling onto her back, and she lets out a groan.

Fuck,” she whimpers. “Yes.”

She can feel more than hear Polly’s low laugh, and then there is even more wax, and she wriggles a little, trying to get it to roll where she wants it, onto the already sensitive parts of her back.

“Good,” Polly says. “Very good.”

******
“And this is me putting a hotel on Mayfair,” Kelly says with glee, and Polly and Annabelle groan in unison, Polly throwing down her cash.

“I swear, she cheats,” Polly says to Annabelle.

“Do you notice how I’m always cheating when I’m winning?” Kelly says idly, nudging her hotel into place. Annabelle smiles.

“Well, statistically, you wouldn’t be cheating if you were losing,” Polly mutters, and stares at the board in miserable defeat. It is pretty pathetic, Annabelle must admit. She knows Monopoly is a game that Polly is… incredibly bad at, but usually she does better than this. She’s only managed to put two houses on the board today, while Kelly has at least one hotel on every block, usually two. Annabelle mostly has houses, but she’s come to terms with the fact that she’ll never win a game of Monopoly against Kelly.

“You’re a very bad loser, Polly,” Kelly says, and puts the money to buy the hotel in the bank.

Polly huffs. “I just don’t understand how you win every time. You take ridiculous risks, you don’t save a dime, you don’t seem to play with any strategy at all, and I’m the one who pays all the bills-”

“All great in real life, Pol,” Kelly says, grinning, “But in Monopoly, playing it safe won’t get you far.”

“Maybe we should play a game more your speed,” Annabelle suggests sweetly. “Snakes and Ladders, perhaps? Candyland?”

Polly throws a hotel at her.

“It’s your turn, anyway,” Kelly says. “Go.”

Polly rolls the dice and lands on a chance square. She picks up a card and stares at it for a long moment. She stares at it long enough that Annabelle tugs it out of her hand and bursts into laughter.

“What?” Kelly asks.

“She has to go to jail!” Annabelle giggles.

“Oh, Polly,” Kelly says affectionately, moving her thimble into the jail, “You really are awful at this game.”

“We’ll visit you in jail,” Annabelle says seriously.

Polly gives them the two fingered salute.

(A week later, Polly presents them with Monopoly: The St. Trinian’s Edition. In it, you can hack the bank for more money, steal money from other players, con property into your hand as well as buy it legitimately, break out of jail, and make up new rules as you go.)

(Polly still loses, and Kelly still wins.)

******
Annabelle walks through the backdoor of their cottage, which leads directly to their kitchen, and wants to turn around and walk right back out. Just as she and Polly have their private moments, their alone time, Polly and Kelly have their moments. And clearly she just barged in on one.

Polly is sitting on the counter, Kelly standing between her legs, and they aren’t touching, they’re just looking at each other, but there’s an intense look between them, and that’s how it is, with them. Kelly and Annabelle have sex, Polly and Annabelle play, and Kelly and Polly? They look at each other.

She thinks, sometimes, it has something to do with the three years that they spent away from each other. Polly is so used to being able to contact anyone from St. Trinian’s at any moment, and Kelly, her best friend, the woman she loved, was suddenly gone. And Kelly, Annabelle thinks she relied on Polly to ground her, to keep her steady, and for her own safety, Kelly couldn’t rely on her any longer. So now that they’re together again, Annabelle thinks that sometimes they need to remind each other that it’s real, it’s true, that they aren’t going anywhere.

Hence, the staring.

Annabelle stands as still as possible, hoping that this is the tail end of one of their moments, because otherwise she’ll be stuck here for a while, and she’s rather soaked. It’s raining out, and she’d forgotten her umbrella. But apparently, it is, because Kelly smiles suddenly and places a hand on Polly’s cheek, and the spell is broken. Polly sighs, tilts her head into Kelly’s hand, and then hops off the counter.

“Do you mind cooking tonight?” Polly asks, and Annabelle steps forward.

******
“Do you trust me?” Polly asks them over breakfast one morning. It’s sudden, and unexpected, and Annabelle bursts into laughter. Polly doesn’t look amused, though, so Annabelle forces herself to stop, looking at her soberly.

“Um, I let you tie me up and whip me, Polly. Of course I trust you,” she says, smiling gently. Polly shifts and looks at Kelly, who raises her eyebrows.

“Yes,” she says simply.

“I want to try something. I think you’ll both like it,” Polly announces. She points at Annabelle. “You’re an exhibitionist.” And then she points at Kelly. “And you’re a voyeur.”

Annabelle flushes in embarrassment, but Kelly grins. “Noticed that, did you?”

“I’m an operator,” Polly says. “It’s my job to notice things.”

Annabelle looks at Kelly. “You’re a voyeur?”

Kelly gives her the long, low, heated look that she never resist. “Whose idea do you think it was to steal all your clothes and make you run through the school?”

“And I know you’re an exhibitionist because I watched the CCTV feeds your final year at St. Trinian’s and saw what you and Roxy got up to,” Polly says dismissively. “My point is, I can make this work.”

Annabelle really has no idea what Polly has in mind, but she trusts her, completely and absolutely. Polly flits between her and Kelly, sitting them down for conversations. Her conversations with Kelly are lengthy, detailed, and take place behind closed doors. Annabelle focuses on writing a grant for St. Trinian’s during these talks, knowing perfectly well that Polly will approach her at some point.

Polly’s talks with her are much more along their usual lines.

“Would you like to scene this weekend?” Polly asks, looking up from the dishes she’s washing one evening. Annabelle looks up from her pile of papers and grins.

“Do you even need to ask?”

“Always,” Polly says, serious. Annabelle rolls her eyes. Polly takes things far too seriously at times. It’s one of the only things she would even consider changing about her, if she could.

“Yes, then.”

Polly wipes her soapy hands off on her trousers and comes to sit across from her at the table. She taps her fingers a few times, humming lightly, a tuneless little melody, and finally settles on saying, “How do you feel about caning?”

Annabelle’s mouth waters. “Superb,” she says crisply.

Polly picks up a pencil from the table and carefully begins making notes on the cuff of her sleeve. Annabelle has never understood how someone as fastidious as Polly can just idly write on her clothes and hands like that, but she does it almost every day. It makes doing the laundry a pain. “And suspension bondage?” Polly continues.

“I’ve never tried it,” Annabelle admits.

“Hmm,” Polly hums. “We’ll need to a trial run, then. And you’re not averse to being blindfolded?”

“Am I ever?”

“Just checking.”

Two days later, Annabelle is being partially suspended from their bedroom ceiling, Polly circling her and checking in every two minutes. She’s hanging from her wrists, standing on her tiptoes, and she hadn’t expected to love it so much. She loves being tied up, of course, loves it, and Polly has held her down forcefully enough that she knows that she loves that, too, but this is entirely different. This is- this is unique.

“Polly,” she says suddenly, and Polly whips her head up, eyes wide.

“Red?” she asks.

“No, it’s lovely, but you need to let me down, because if I don’t go fuck Kelly right now, we’re going to have a problem,” she says.

Polly’s smile is small and precise as she lets her down. Annabelle suspects that means everything is going according to plan, but she doesn’t care much, because she catches Kelly in the hallway, and they end up fucking against the wall, Polly hoovering in the other room.

And then it’s the weekend.

Annabelle is working on her laptop in the living room, finishing up the first draft of the grant, when Polly appears in the doorframe. She’s wearing what Annabelle has come to think of as her domme clothes- tailored trousers (palazzos today), a pressed blouse, and fuck-me pumps that she never wears outside of scenes- and she feels herself snap to attention.

“Bedroom,” Polly says, and Annabelle closes her laptop without bothering to save. The work will be recovered automatically. She hopes. She doesn’t care. She’s following Polly without thought, listening to the beautiful click of her heels on their gorgeous parquet floorboards.

They pause outside the bedroom door, and Polly turns to look at her, eyes thoughtful and dark. She hooks a hand around the back of Annabelle’s neck and pulls her close, kissing her and biting her bottom lip. Annabelle moans, and Polly nibbles up her jaw until she reaches her ear.

“Fight me,” she whispers, and then opens the bedroom door and shoves Annabelle inside.

The first time Polly had suggested wrestling, Annabelle had looked at her skeptically and gently doubted Polly’s ability to dominate her in that particular area. Polly had grabbed her by the hair, told her to fight her, and Annabelle had learned two things very, very quickly: one, that she really does enjoy submitting to Polly and two, despite her training in three different forms of martial arts, Polly fights incredibly dirty. In a real fight, she doubts that Polly could beat her. But in a scene, Polly can get in some excellent hits, and in the end, Annabelle always ends up on the bottom, pinned, with Polly above her.

Now, Polly has surprised her, and she’s on the ground before she realizes what’s happening. Her training kicks in, though, and she kicks Polly’s feet out from underneath her, leveling the playing field. Polly is on her in an instant, a hand around her throat. Annabelle grabs her wrist and flips her, but Polly swings an elbow up and catches her in the side of the head. She grunts and lets go, rolling off her and to the side. Polly jumps nimbly to her feet, and so Annabelle follows, eyeing her carefully. Polly’s smile is slightly feral, incredibly reckless, a smile that Annabelle and Kelly have both identified as loving with wild abandon. Annabelle goes to hit Polly, but Polly blocks her swing and twists her arm behind her back. In a real fight, Annabelle knows about fifteen different ways to break her hold. Here, Polly is digging her nails into her wrist in a clear indication, so Annabelle goes still. Polly kicks her legs apart, and then forces her down by pressing on her shoulders. She goes, but not easily.

“You like that shirt,” Polly says, and Annabelle nods. She does. It was a gift from Peaches. Mother of pearl buttons.

Polly rips the buttons off. Annabelle tries to get up, feeling angry, furious, but Polly gets her hand around her throat and stares at her through her glasses. “Stay. Down.”

Annabelle stays down.

“Normal rules apply,” Polly says carelessly, leaning over and taking off Annabelle’s bra, unbuttoning Annabelle’s trousers. “No talking. Safeword out if you need to. We’ll proceed as discussed.” She shoves Annabelle backwards, and she falls. Polly tugs her trousers off. Annabelle stays down, watching as Polly tosses the trousers aside. As usual, she leaves the panties on. It’s a strange boundary, given everything else Polly will do with her, but one that Annabelle has never pushed.

Polly steps to the side, tugging a blindfold from the drawer in the bedside table. “Up,” she commands, and Annabelle sits up. Polly wraps the blindfold around her eyes, and Annabelle feels her breathing steady immediately. It’s almost Pavlovian, by now, she thinks.

Polly guides her to where she knows the suspension cables have been added. She doesn’t know where Polly became so adept at hooking people up to these things- probably with that one girlfriend, Laksha- but within moment, Annabelle is hooked up, her wrists locked into suspension cuffs, dangling from their bedroom ceiling.

Despite the noisy clattering of her heels earlier, Polly is utterly silent now, and Annabelle feels the anticipation build low in her belly. There are some kinks she loves because they send her deep into subspace, and she likes being under. She loves caning because it never fails to get her off. For this reason, she’s never asked for it from Polly. She knows, intellectually, that Polly is fairly blasé about sex, has been in the same room while she and Kelly have sex, has even been in the same bed a few times, but it’s different, she thinks, when it’s just them. When they play, it’s more about headspace.

She’s so caught up in this thought that the first strike of the cane on her back catches her off guard. She lets out a little cry, and then bites her lip between her teeth. She hears Polly making a tsking sound off to her right.

“Pay attention, Annabelle,” Polly admonishes.

For that, she gets another solid hit, just above where the first one was. She swallows her shout just in time, and licks her lips. The pain is blossoming in her back, and arousal is already blooming in her groin. She clenches her hands into fists.

Polly is still absolutely silent, and so when the cane hits her again, this time across her arse, it’s a surprise. She hisses, but hissing is allowed. She wriggles slightly, and this time she hears the cane whistle slightly through the air before it lands on her shoulders.

“Hell,” she snaps before she can stop herself.

“No talking,” Polly snaps back. And then, just as hard. “Green, amber, or red?”

“Green,” Annabelle moans, and rubs her legs together, trying to get some friction. “Green, fuck, green, green.”

The cane sings through the air again, hitting her shoulders, her back, her shoulders again, her arse, and Annabelle starts to sob, loving it, needing it, desperately wanting it, but also desperately wanting someone to fucking touch her, and she’s squirming in the restraints now, when suddenly she feels Polly behind her, removing the blindfold. She opens her mouth to ask what she’s doing, why she’s stopping, because she wasn’t going to safeword out, but the blindfold slips down her face, and there’s Kelly, standing right in front of her, pupils blown.

“Christ,” Kelly murmurs, and grabs Annabelle’s face between her hands, pulling her into a kiss. Annabelle groans into her mouth, and behind her she hears Polly laugh slightly. Kelly slides her tongue in between her teeth, licking inside gently, a strange contrast to the painful burn on her back as Polly runs her nails over the welts. Annabelle twists and hooks one leg around Kelly, pulling her closer, desperate.

In the next second, her hands are free from the cuffs, and she’s falling. Kelly catches her, and they tumble to the ground. Annabelle lands on top, but she rolls quickly, tugging Kelly on top of her. Faintly, she can hear Polly moving, but that doesn’t matter, because Kelly is tugging her panties down. “These are ruined,” Kelly says, throwing them aside. “You’re so fucking wet, Jesus.”

Kelly is still fully dressed, and Annabelle whimpers. From across the room, Polly says, “You need to get undressed. She’s under, a bit, probably won’t talk.”

Annabelle doesn’t lift her eyes to thank her for interpreting, and Kelly doesn’t take her eyes off Annabelle as she takes off her jeans and t-shirt. She isn’t wearing any underclothes. She whimpers again. They’d talked about this, of course, her and Polly. None of this is a surprise. She knew Kelly would be in the room, watching, and she knows that Polly specifically chose caning because it gets Annabelle off, which would make Kelly aroused, and she knows that she and Polly decided to fight for the submission because Kelly once admitted that she thought Annabelle’s fighting skills were breathtaking and Polly’s dirty blows were fascinating, and this is something they’ve been talking about for a while now. But talking doesn’t live up to the reality, and she hadn’t thought that Kelly would come prepared like this, not wearing underwear.

They don’t waste time. They’re both rather desperate at that point, and the sex is quick, and messy, and incredibly good. Kelly licks inside her and bites her gently, carefully, like she’s never done before, and Annabelle, normally the more vocal one during sex, doesn’t say a word, just glides her fingers around and over Kelly’s clit and watches her with wide eyes, kissing her collarbone and nuzzling her belly.

Afterwards, they collapse together on the floor, Annabelle pillowing her head on Kelly’s stomach. She closes her eyes and slowly comes back to herself, the feeling of Kelly running her fingers through her hair anchoring her. Eventually, she opens her eyes.

“Polly?” she asks.

“Here,” Polly says, her voice muffled. Annabelle sits up slightly, craning her neck around.

Polly is sitting in the armchair they keep in their bedroom. It’s mostly hers, for when she doesn’t want to be in the bed while Annabelle and Kelly are having sex, but sometimes Kelly will sit there and read, or Annabelle will work at her laptop. Polly is sewing the buttons back on Annabelle’s shirt, a needle and thread between her lips.

“I want you,” Annabelle says.

Polly is up in an instant, and then down on the ground with her and Kelly. She wraps an arm around Annabelle and kisses her hair, chastely.

“Are you ok?” she asks.

“Perfect,” Annabelle says. Polly strokes her hair, and then looks at Kelly, her face calm.

“And you?”

“Perfect,” Kelly agrees, grinning. She grabs Polly’s hand and squeezes it.

“All right,” Polly says, and lies down next to them.

They wind up sleeping that way, curled up together on the floor. In the morning, Polly will insist that Kelly and Annabelle take a shower immediately and then she scrubs the floor, and Kelly will complain about a sore back, but Annabelle will just laugh. She knows better than to believe either of their dramatics.

******
“So, may I ask a question?” Celia asks, putting three teacups down in front of them.

The three of them are in London for the day, Polly for business, Kelly for pleasure, and Annabelle because Polly and Kelly need to be in London, and she might as well tag along. They’re doing lunch at Celia’s teahouse before heading off to visit Peaches, and then she and Kelly are picking up Hannah and Hazel and driving back to the cottage, while Polly will be taking a train back to the countryside later that evening, after she’s finished up her business. A busy day, but a good one, Annabelle thinks.

“Sure,” Annabelle says, taking a sip of her tea. She loves Celia’s tea, though she understands that opinions are mixed among Trinian’s alumni.

Celia looks at the three of them, and shifts slightly, looking suddenly awkward. “Well, um. Like, how does it work?”

“How does what work?” Kelly asks, biting into her sandwich. “Oh, this is good. Polly, try this.” Polly obediently leans over and takes a bite of Kelly’s sandwich, and nods her approval.

“The whole… three… you, thing.”

Kelly and Annabelle stare blankly at Celia, but Polly, who knows Celia best, lifts her teacup and raises an eyebrow. “Our relationship, you mean?”

“Yeah,” Celia says, and apparently, that was all she needed, because she keeps babbling. “Because, like, Polly, I know you never really liked much while you were in school, and Annabelle, you liked everything, and Kelly… well, you were very private, so I don’t know about you, but I can’t- just- how does it work?”

And Annabelle genuinely doesn’t know how to answer that, because really, how can you explain a polyamorous relationship consisting of an asexual domme, a lesbian sub, and a vanilla bisexual? She knows most days it’s a struggle to get people to just conceive of asexuality in and of itself. She doesn’t know how to explain everything else. Most days, she doesn’t try. They fit. They love each other. Isn’t that enough?

She glances at Kelly, who looks as gobsmacked as she does. Which means it is up to Polly, as usual, to fill in their blanks.

“Quite well, thank you,” she says primly.

And, well.

Yes.

That explains it just fine.