Fall had arrived in New York City in fits and starts, blustering with chill one day and sunny, bright, and hot the next, until finally cool weather settled in to stay. It was Christie’s favorite time of year, relief from the scorching hot sun that turned the concrete jungle into an oven, but not too cold to enjoy sitting outside her favorite coffee shop with her best friend, people-watching and enjoying the contrast of crisp breeze and hot coffee.
Kate had walked the kids to school on her way here, as usual; as usual, she was dressed for yoga, which was a few doors down from the coffeehouse. Christie was, of course, dressed for work in a pencil skirt, silk dress shirt, and blazer. She’d chosen black and red today, the red top a splash of daring against the sedate black skirt and jacket. Shiny red heels completed the picture of a woman who was at once professional and creative—or at least, Christie hoped that was the impression she was giving. She always wore heels, even though at her unusual height she already towered over most of her colleagues.
This morning’s conversation had ranged from Kate’s children’s grades to the auctions Christie was overseeing this week. It was a quiet day, fallen leaves occasionally scuttling over the pavement. Christie felt, right now, a deep contentment with her life. She took a long sip of her coffee, savoring it.
“So,” Kate said, putting down her latte, “I was having a look through the personals.”
Christie held a straight face for all of two seconds before slipping into a grin. “Uh huh,” she smirked. Kate was married, and monogamous.
“They’re entertaining.” Kate pursed her lips in an attractive pout, and Christie laughed. “Anyway. Saw something you might find interesting.”
“I doubt it,” Christie said, but she raised her phone as Kate texted her the link.
“Third one down.”
Christie’s eyes caught on the first ad:
White male, 34, scary, lean but fit, seeks large, athletic man in need of long-term discipline. Preferred age is between 25 and 40; bears welcome. I have experience barehanded and with belts, canes, and floggers. Happy to experiment so long as all is agreed upon before the first session.
“What kind of site is this?” she asked, eyebrows climbing her forehead.
“Keep going.” Kate shoved Christie’s shoulder playfully. “Number three. Go on.”
“Right,” Christie said, skipping past the next block of text, which started off with I need a pilot. Someone to ride me until I scream his name…
Woman, 19, seeking older, professional woman with exquisite taste in dining, enthusiasm for travel, and the wherewithal to frequently indulge in both. I am interested in being doted upon and trained as a lady. I offer myself as a companion, a dinner date, a conversation partner, an arm ornament, and more; whatever you might wish me to be.
Christie felt her face go hot. She tapped hastily out of the browser, then locked her phone and set it screen-down on the table. When she finally raised her eyes, Kate was gazing at her expectantly.
“Surely not,” Christie somehow managed to say without stammering.
Kate raised an eyebrow. “Surely not what?”
“That can’t be real,” Christie said. Her heart was pounding, blood rushing in her ears.
“You saw what kind of site it is,” Kate said.
Christie shook her head, concentrated on breathing normally. “She says ‘anything’.”
“You’re not that much older.”
“Kate.” Christie closed her eyes. She was sure her face was scarlet now. “I am nearly twenty years older. I am twice her age. I could be her mother.”
“But you’re not her mother, are you?” Kate’s voice sounded incredibly coy.
Christie was suddenly angry. “Look,” she said, fingers lacing together tightly in her lap, “I know I’ve...made some remarks. Some offhand comments. But I could never...this isn’t who I am, Kate.”
“...Okay,” Kate said, drawing the word out as she brought her latte to her lips. She raised her eyebrows over the brim of the oversized mug. “You’re taking it a lot more seriously than I was expecting.”
Something that felt an awful lot like horror washed through Christie’s veins. A joke. It had only been a joke.
Christie had never felt so flat-footed in her life. She dropped her gaze, stared into her coffee, wondered what on earth she could say.
After a long moment, Kate spoke instead. “I’m sorry.”
Christie looked up to see that her friend had ducked her head. “No, I’m sorry, it’s okay,” she said, waving a hand. Her face still felt hot. “I should have realized you were joking.”
“It was kind of a mean joke, though.” Kate gave Christie a tentative smile. “I don’t think that about you.”
“Okay.” Christie realized there was a tightness in her chest only now that it was loosening a little. She drew a long, deep breath slowly through her nose, then let it out the same way.
“Well...I guess it’s about time for yoga,” Kate said. She rose from the table, abandoning her half-finished latte. “See you tomorrow?”
“Yeah,” Christie said. Kate shouldered her gym bag, offered a small wave, and headed off down the block. After a moment of considering her own unfinished coffee, Christie sighed and stood up too.
She normally worked remotely on Thursdays, but today she decided to go to the office. Her assistant had the day off, and the floor was quiet; Thanisson was in China sourcing centuries-old artifacts, Mitaka was in California running down leads on Japanese-American artists, and Netal had gone to India again. Christie hoped the professional environment of her glass-walled office would be enough to focus her scattered thoughts.
As she waited impatiently for her computer to boot up, Christie fought not to think about that ridiculous ad, and what she might have said to Kate that inspired her to come up with a joke like that.
She was very satisfied with her life, after all. She had a fulfilling job and good friends and interesting hobbies. Sure, she longed for a romantic encounter every now and then. But she wasn’t desperate. She had no need to troll the personals for a date.
And she certainly was not considering a nineteen-year-old.
Thankfully, when Christie’s email finally loaded it offered plenty of distractions. There were reports on a few new leads, updates on several negotiations, the status of last week’s acquisitions, and an overview of the new bidding app the marketing team had put together. Christie busied herself with approvals and timelines. All but one of the buyers looked to be in good shape; Rodinon seemed a little nervous about his latest find, so she advised him to recheck his sources and seek an outside appraiser.
Kaplan, the marketing manager, reported that the bidding app was nearly ready to launch. He added that he’d like to get it out to the public as soon as possible, and strongly suggested the following Wednesday. Christie frowned; the app hadn’t even gone through quality assurance testing yet. She typed a polite but firm response: she would not approve a launch without QA.
There was no need to rush. And Christie was not one to do anything prematurely. She was sensible. Prudent. She made thoughtful, measured decisions that took all factors into account. That was why she was the CEO.
That was why she would never do something so brash as reply to a personal ad. Certainly not the same day she saw it.
Christie blinked. She’d picked up her phone, as if she was going to pull up the ad again. But that was ridiculous. She wasn’t this kind of person. She did not answer personal ads. She wasn’t looking to take advantage of a nineteen-year-old. She was not...a predator.
She opened Kate’s text, finger hovering over the “Clear all messages” option.
Then she tapped the link to the ad instead.
What sort of person placed an ad like this? Christie read it through again, and again. Did this girl know what she was getting into?
Whatever you might wish me to be.
Christie crossed her legs at the knee, feeling self conscious despite being completely alone in her office.
The girl couldn’t possibly understand the ramifications of that statement, could she? No. She would have no idea the sorts of people who might respond to such an ad.
What if she ended up hurt? Or worse?
Maybe Christie should respond. Not to agree to the girl’s terms, but to warn her. To advise that she remove that ad, and delete her account on that site for good measure. Before it was too late.
Christie tapped the “Reply to this ad” link.
You must be logged in to reply to an ad, the site informed her.
The last thing Christie needed was an account on curiousliaisonsnyc.com. She should close the window and forget about this.
She tapped the “New account” link.
I am writing not to respond to your ad, but to suggest that you remove it. There are people out there who would take advantage of someone like you. It’s very dangerous. Please take it down.
Christie read and reread the message she’d composed. Would the girl truly understand, or would she simply delete and ignore it? Christie sighed, leaning her chin on her hand, then added:
A woman of your age is an attractive target for the wrong sort, and your ad only sweetens the attraction. I worry you will only meet predators this way.
She blew out a puff of breath. That would probably do it. Christie hit send.
Christie worked through lunch, belatedly remembering to grab a protein bar from the vending machine at 2 o’clock. She kept herself busy and avoided looking at her phone. Every time there was a lull, her mind wandered to the girl. Had she seen the message yet? Would she take it seriously?
Would she respond?
A response would be good, Christie thought. It would put her mind at ease. She would know that the girl would be all right, and that would be the end of the whole ridiculous matter.
Christie opened her personal email as soon as the clock struck 5. Sure enough, a message had arrived from the personals site.
Thank you for writing! I googled you and discovered that you are a 38-year-old woman with a prestigious, professional job. Christie is a very pretty name. :) I would love to meet and learn more about you and what you do. Please give me a call!
The message ended with both a phone number and an email address.
Christie let out a shuddery breath. She’d been so careful, filling out the site profile with dummy information. But she’d created the account under one of her old internet nicknames. She’d thought all traces of “Phasma” had been scoured from the internet, but apparently not. Somehow, that name was still linked to her, enough that this girl was able to find her true identity.
Hello, Rey, she tapped out. I am not sure you read my message. I was not writing to suggest that
How to word it? Christie bit her lip.
I was not writing to suggest that I wanted you to become my companion. I just want you to be safe. Please consider removing your ad. -Phasma
Five minutes had barely passed when she received a response.
Hello :) It’s good to hear from you again!
I wanted to let you know that I did read your message, and it was very thoughtful of you to warn me of the potential danger. I truly do appreciate your concern. However, as I have already demonstrated, I am intelligent. I did not respond to you until I discovered who you were. Meanwhile, you never had any idea who I was until I offered my name and contact information. I am being perfectly safe.
And now that I know who you are, I would really like to meet you. I am certain I could learn a lot from you. And I am also certain that you would treat me respectfully.
This time, below her phone number and email address, Rey had included a picture.
Christie is perfect, Rey's decided. She just needs to come around to the idea.
Rey was sitting cross-legged on her bed, smiling to herself, one finger absently tracing her lower lip, when a voice suddenly called out, barely muffled by the thin walls of her room.
Rey snapped her laptop shut. “Yeah!” she said, too loudly.
The door burst open, and Bebe poked her head in. “I’m meeting Poe down at VT’s. You wanna come?”
Rey hugged her closed laptop to her chest. “Um. No, that’s okay,” she said.
“You sure?” Bebe raised an eyebrow. “I think Mr. Norris will be there.”
Rey laughed. “If Poe’s going, of course Finn is.”
“So you should come too,” Bebe said.
“Nah, I really can’t.” Rey’s laptop felt uncomfortably warm against her chest. Would it be too obvious if she moved it? “I gotta watch the budget this week.”
Bebe pouted a little and scuffed her foot. “Okay,” she said dejectedly, then brightened. “Or wait. I could treat you!”
“No!” Rey said. She felt her cheeks heat up. “I’m not gonna spend your money,” she hurried to add. “You’re no better off than I am.” When Bebe continued to look at her doubtfully, Rey managed a smile. “Go on, get some pizza. Have fun. I’ll see you later.”
Bebe scrunched up her nose. “Okay, I guess,” she said. “See you later.”
Rey kept smiling until the younger girl closed the door. Then she sighed and closed her eyes.
“Ugh,” she muttered to herself, “what is wrong with me?”
Rey fell back across the mattress of her dorm twin bed, kicking out her legs and staring at the featureless ceiling. There was no reason she shouldn’t be able to venture off-campus every now and then for a meal, enjoy a change of pace. She’d watched her expenditures closely her freshman year and knew exactly what she could and could not afford on the wages Uncle P paid her.
Her budget had been an extraordinarily flimsy excuse. And if Rey couldn’t manage this small an act of subterfuge, she wasn’t sure how exactly she was going to pull off her larger plan.
Sighing again, she reopened her laptop. The screen flickered back to life to show a large public photo from Christie Lannister’s Facebook page. The woman was standing in a group of similarly well-dressed people, holding a martini glass and smiling broadly. She had short, pale blond hair, blue eyes, and full lips that were painted red. She was tall, towering over all the other women and most of the men, and her low-cut silver dress shimmered against her pale skin. She looked utterly at ease. Glamorous. Gorgeous.
Rey found herself smiling again. “I bet she could pick me up,” she murmured, then giggled, imagining being carried bridal-style, arms wrapped around Christie’s pale white neck. Being held against her, feeling the weight of her breasts, smelling her skin, touching her hair…
She had to pull this off.
Okay. Christie hadn’t responded to Rey’s picture, which was either very good or very bad. Rey thought it was a pretty flattering photo; in it, she was wearing an oversized cardigan over a short dress that showed off her legs, and she was smiling brightly. Ideally, Christie hadn’t responded because she was still being timid, not because she thought Rey was ugly.
So what should her next move be? Another, more risque photo? Or should she try meeting Christie face to face? Was it too soon?
An email notification popped up; she’d received another message from Curious Liaisons. At this point she was only leaving her profile up to spur Christie to keep telling her to take it down; she’d ignored dozens of messages from just the type of person Christie had warned her about. “Ugh,” she sighed, clicking over to the site, “so many creeps…”
But this time, the From field said Phasma.
Eagerly, Rey opened the message.
You are quite lovely, as I’m sure you know.
She let out a squeal, then remembered she had roommates and clapped her hand over her mouth.
I am not interested in the sort of relationship you seem to be pursuing. However, I’ve looked into your situation a bit and I can understand why you might be seeking more lucrative employment. If you would be interested in a paid internship, please visit our website and submit an application. I would be happy to shortlist you for a position.
Rey puffed out a sigh, her excitement flatlining. An internship at the auction house could get her closer to Christie, but not close enough. She needed to be near Christie all the time. If she only saw Christie occasionally while running errands and doing tasks for others, everything would take too long to come together.
The sudden, insistent growling of her stomach made Rey regret not going with Bebe for pizza. She closed her laptop and rolled off the bed, emerging from her closet-sized single for the first time since she’d gotten back from today’s classes.
A few of her roommates were chatting in the suite’s modest lounge, and one of the freshmen she didn’t know was cooking something on the stove in the kitchen. Rey nodded and smiled at all of them, then immediately stuck her head into the refrigerator. She really needed to see about stocking up on easily microwavable meals; cooking was fun but it took so long, and if she was going to spend time not studying or doing data entry for Uncle P, she’d rather be with her friends.
Or with Christie.
Rey wondered if Christie ever cooked, if she’d like it if Rey cooked for her. Rey certainly wouldn’t mind throwing together nice meals in a fancy kitchen with Christie watching her. And maybe rewarding her, after.
Barely managing to contain a giggle, Rey grabbed three pieces of string cheese and a baggie of pepperoni slices and hurried back to her room.
Christie’s latest message wasn’t a dead end, Rey decided, sprawling back out on her bed and biting the end off a piece of string cheese. Christie hadn’t told her to stop contacting her. She’d offered to help her get a job at her place of work. She’d actually investigated Rey.
And...she thought Rey was “lovely.”
Christie could claim all she wanted that she wasn’t interested, but if she truly wasn’t interested, she wouldn’t keep replying, would she?
Rey hit Reply on the Curious Liaisons message.
Thank you so much for offering to help me get a paid internship. Could we meet to discuss the position? I’ve never done anything like that before. Having an idea of what it would be like would help me decide if it’s the right fit for me, and also what I should focus on in my application.
I truly appreciate all your kindness.
It wasn’t really lying. The chance that she might decide to go for the internship wasn’t zero.
It was just infinitesimal.
Rey decided to turn her attention to data entry for the rest of the evening. She wasn’t likely to get a response from Christie tonight, so there was no point in staring at her email for hours waiting for one. Rey opened one of Uncle P’s packages—this one contained a stack of invoices that needed to be digitized—and got to work.
She was about an hour into the stack when an email notification appeared in the corner of her screen. It was from Curious Liaisons.
Surely it wasn’t from Christie. It was way too soon for that. Sighing, Rey clicked through to check the sender anyway—and there it was. Phasma. Rey’s breath caught in her throat.
Sucking her bottom lip between her teeth, she opened the message.
I would be happy to coach you through your initial application. Please meet me at Maz’s Coffee Castle, Sunday afternoon at 3pm. Dress the way you would for an interview, and bring your current resume.
Rey clamped her thighs together against a sudden, hot, heavy throb between her legs. Christie was so different in this message. So confident.
Before I give you any aid, however, I require that you remove your personal ad from Curious Liaisons. I will not meet you if you do not.
Rey licked her lips. She was half surprised, half giddy to realize she was actually trembling. Her heart was pounding so hard she thought it might combust. She didn’t know if she wanted to shout, run down the stairs, jump up and down...or slide her hand into her jeans, smear her fingers vigorously through the wetness between her legs and pretend Christie was touching her.
“Fuck,” she whispered, taking a few deep breaths. She’d done it. She was going to meet Christie.
And there was no better time to show Christie she could be good.
Rey sent a quick response, just two words long.
Rey is even more beautiful and charming in person. Christie does her best to keep their first meeting professional, but the universe seems to have other plans.
Sunday found Christie standing in her walk-in closet, fretting.
She hadn’t worried this much about what to wear to meet someone since her last date. And this wasn’t a date at all. She could only attribute how ridiculous she was being to how long ago that last date had been, which was...far too long ago. But that was irrelevant; this was a perfectly innocuous meeting with a mentee.
Even so, presenting herself properly was important, wasn’t it?
It had to be a professional look, of course. Something she might wear to work. But what? A pantsuit? A dress? A skirt and blazer? Christie’s personal shopper always ensured that everything she wore was flattering, so that wasn’t a problem...not that it would be anyway, to meet a potential hire. She just...wanted to give the right impression.
This was silly. Christie was the boss. She held all the power. There was no need for her to be nervous. Rey was the job candidate; it made more sense for her to be nervous than Christie.
Christie had looked into Rey after she’d sent her picture. It was only fair; Rey had looked into Christie, after all. It turned out Rey was an aerospace engineering student at Columbia, but she was there on scholarship and federal loans, not family money. From Rey’s Instagram, mostly selfies and group shots with friends, it appeared she lived in the dorms and only ate out occasionally. It made more sense now why she was looking for a patron. She didn’t seem to be wanting for basic necessities, but it was probably difficult to relax where money was concerned.
A paid internship at First Order would be perfect for her. It would take care of any expenses her scholarship didn’t cover and give her experience in working for a company. She could even walk there from campus. And with finances less of a concern, Rey could focus on her studies.
Christie took a settling breath. She would do what she could to help Rey. The girl had a promising future.
Feeling calmer, Christie turned her attention back to her closet, selecting a sleek grey pantsuit and an ivory silk shell blouse. She styled the ensemble with red pumps—her trademark—and pearl earrings. It was a professional yet stylish look, making it a good example for Rey. Of course, if Rey wore this particular suit, it would hang differently. It might be nicer for her waifish figure to have something more tailored. And perhaps Rey could wear a skirt instead of pants. Not as short as the skirt in the picture she’d sent, of course. Something tasteful.
Rey did look good in that skirt, though, and many current fashions would suit her. Christie didn’t have to limit her advice to work clothes, she supposed. She could make other recommendations. What to wear to a party, or out to a Michelin-star restaurant.
I am interested in being doted upon and trained as a lady.
Christie paused, the suit jacket halfway onto her shoulders. An image had materialized in her head, unbidden, of sitting on her bed surrounded by shopping bags, watching while Rey modeled all the outfits she’d purchased for her.
Christie’s cheeks warmed. This was not about indulging in...whatever it was about giving gifts that gave Christie a deep satisfaction. She’d always loved surprising people, treating them. But she had to be careful with Rey, lest the girl get the wrong idea.
This was about helping Rey get a job, and nothing more.
The sky was clear and bright, but the forecast called for rain later in the afternoon, so Christie hooked an umbrella onto her arm alongside her clutch on her way out of her apartment. She was early; Maz’s was busy most days, but on Sunday afternoons it was usually a riot of neighborhood residents who’d grown peckish in the hours after brunch. Christie therefore arrived fifteen minutes before the meeting time; she wanted to make sure she and Rey would have a table.
As soon as she opened the door of the coffeehouse, she heard a voice call, “Miss Lannister!”
The source of the voice was a young woman with straight brown hair styled into gentle waves that fell just to her shoulders. She was wearing bright red lipstick, and her smile was so broad it scrunched her eyes up a bit and carved dimples into her tanned cheeks. She was waving enthusiastically, her face the picture of open, guileless joy.
Christie’s breath caught. Rey was even more stunning in person than she’d been in her picture. And she looked so happy and free and real. It was completely irrational, but somehow Christie felt that this girl deserved everything. Whatever Christie could give her. More than that. The entire world.
Christie blinked and forced herself to breathe. She didn’t know Rey at all, not really. And she shouldn’t get to know her well.
What she should do was recommend Rey for an internship with the finance department. Finance was a few floors away from Christie’s office, which meant their exposure to one another would be limited. That would be prudent, given how they’d met.
Something that felt a little too much like disappointment settled like fog in Christie’s chest. Ridiculous. She wanted to roll her eyes at herself, but she managed not to. Instead, like the professional she was, she nodded and smiled politely to Rey, then crossed the room to join her.
Rey had chosen a small round table with two mismatched chairs, nestled in a corner between a bookcase and a ficus. She stood as Christie approached, extending her hand. Her black, long-sleeved wrap blouse shimmered with silver thread when she moved; a short, flat-black flared skirt, a pair of translucent black stockings, and calf-high black boots with spike heels completed her look. It was a bit matchy-matchy and colorless, and the style was perhaps too playful for a job interview, but the ensemble flattered the young woman’s slim arms, shapely legs, and narrow waist.
“It’s so good to meet you, Miss Lannister,” Rey said in a rush as Christie took her hand. Her cheeks went slightly pink, and she bit her lower lip, taking a long breath through her nose. Then, at a more normal rate of speech, she continued, “I’m Rey Dailey.”
“It’s lovely to meet you, Rey,” Christie said, clasping the girl’s hand gently. It was so small. Other people’s hands usually were, but Rey was particularly petite. Christie felt a sudden, bizarre urge to kiss Rey’s knuckles, and she quickly ended the handshake. “Have you ordered anything?”
“Not yet,” Rey said, pulling her hand back. She immediately laced the fingers of both hands together, twisting them in front of her.
“You’ll want to avoid doing that,” Christie observed, nodding at Rey’s hands. “It makes you look nervous.”
Rey ducked her head. “I am nervous,” she said, but she let her hands fall to her sides.
Christie felt a pang of sympathy. The girl was new to this. She needed her help. “There’s nothing to be nervous about,” Christie said softly. “I’m sure you’ll do wonderfully. How about you go get us a little something while I look over your resume?” She pulled a twenty out of her clutch.
“Yes, ma’am!” Rey said, brightening. She stooped and dug into the army-green backpack next to her chair, withdrawing a single-sheet CV. Christie traded the twenty for it. “What would you like?” Rey asked.
“Plain coffee,” Christie said, settling into the chair across from Rey’s. “I prefer their wroshyr blend. Get yourself whatever you’d like, but be sure to leave enough change to tip 25%.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey said again, smiling and turning away to head to the counter. The flared skirt swished gracefully around Rey’s thighs as she moved, and her hair bounced lightly, and her blouse glittered like it was covered in fairy dust.
Only when Rey joined the line to order and glanced back toward the table did Christie realize she’d been staring. Rey’s face broke out into a grin. Christie smiled back without thinking, then quickly dropped her eyes to the document in her hands.
A quick scan was all it took to see that it was a good resume, succinct while painting a clear picture of Rey’s experience and abilities. She’d listed her high school diploma and academic awards as well as her current status as an undergraduate student. She was in the first semester of her sophomore year now, and she’d been on the Dean’s List all year when she was a freshman. It was impressive, especially since Rey had apparently moved to New York from Huntsville, Alabama. That had to have been a bit of a culture shock, but she’d managed not to let that affect her studies.
Rey didn’t have much work experience; she’d only been employed by one person, a Parker Platt. The name sounded vaguely familiar, but Christie wasn’t sure where she’d heard it before. In Huntsville Rey had managed Platt’s office, and she was still doing data entry for him remotely.
Christie was pondering what recommendations to make for the resume when Rey reappeared, balancing a plate of biscotti and two mugs. She set Christie’s mug down first, then juggled the plate and her own mug to the table. Sitting back down, Rey dug into the pocket of her skirt and pulled out a few bills and coins. “Here’s your change, ma’am,” she said, holding the money out to Christie.
For whatever reason, Christie hadn’t actually expected change. She accepted it awkwardly with one hand, then fumbled around for a moment before finally setting the resume down and picking up her clutch. “Did you give them a tip?” she asked.
“25%, like you said, ma’am!” Rey answered.
All the ma’ams felt extremely formal, but then again, Christie wasn’t sure what else Rey could call her. Ma’am was probably appropriate. “Good,” she said, and she laid down her clutch again and picked up her coffee. “You’ve done well with your resume, Rey. The experience and education sections are excellent. I would recommend also including a skills section, where you can list any software proficiencies you may have. Whatever software you use for the data entry, for example.”
Rey nodded. “Yes, ma’am.”
Christie felt her lips twitching. “You don’t have to call me ma’am every time you say something,” she said.
Rey went red, and her hands twisted in her lap. “I’m sorry, ma’am!”
“Rey,” Christie said gently, “relax.” She wanted to hug her, kiss her cheek. Rey was adorable, and beautiful, and charming, and Christie just wanted her to feel at ease, to comfort her somehow.
“I’ll try,” Rey said, and she took a deep breath.
“Good girl,” Christie said warmly. Rey let out a small squeak. Christie’s face went hot, and she dropped her gaze to the resume. “About the internship,” she said, determined to ignore what she’d just accidentally done. “You’d be performing routine office functions. You’ve probably done some of it before. Faxing, copying, mailing, building presentations, managing spreadsheets. You might also act as receptionist, greeting clients and bringing them in to meet with our consultants. We also send our interns out into the field with our buyers occasionally, to assist them with paperwork and the logistics of transporting finds.”
“Are you a buyer?” Rey asked.
“I used to be.” Christie tentatively raised her eyes back to Rey’s face; the girl was gazing at her raptly. “I’m CEO now, so I don’t travel as much as I used to. I do visit at least one of our other offices once a year. We have auction houses and consultants in cities around the world. It’s good to keep in touch with everyone.”
“That sounds amazing,” Rey said.
Christie had to smile. “You didn’t say ma’am that time,” she said. “Good—well done.”
Rey ducked her head again, grinning.
Christie told Rey more about First Order: where the Manhattan office was, how convenient it would be for Rey, how many people worked there, how excellent their security was. Rey asked good questions, and Christie made a few suggestions for her interview. By the time their coffees and biscotti were gone, Christie was reasonably confident that Rey had what she needed to get an internship.
“Well,” she said, “I think that’s all the advice I have for you. Best of luck. Just remember when you fill out our online application to put my name in the referred by field.”
“Okay,” Rey said. Her cheer seemed to have suddenly faded. She rose from her chair and slung her backpack over her shoulder. “Thank you, Miss Lannister.”
Christie’s heart clenched at the look on Rey’s face. “Are you all right?” she asked. “Is something the matter?”
“No,” Rey said, and she smiled again, but it wasn’t the beaming smile from earlier.
Christie thought she might do anything to see that smile again. “I’m sure I’ll see you around the office soon,” she said bracingly.
“Yeah,” Rey said. “Bye, Miss Lannister.”
After Rey left, Christie sat staring at the biscotti crumbs left on the plate, wondering what had gone wrong. Did Rey not feel confident? She should; she was an excellent candidate. Maybe Christie should send her a message of support. She debated doing it immediately, then decided it would be best to wait and craft a thoughtful note.
Christie stepped out of Maz’s and into a strong, chill wind. Dark clouds had blotted out the sun. A freezing-cold raindrop pelted her in the face; glad she’d checked the weather, she opened her umbrella.
Suddenly icy rain was pouring down, hammering her umbrella with a deafening, unending barrage. Christie took off down the sidewalk, eager to get home.
She’d barely made it a block when she came upon Rey huddled in a doorway, hugging her elbows and shivering violently. The girl was utterly soaked. “Oh, sweetheart,” Christie gasped, hurrying toward her, holding the umbrella out to shield her from the sheets of rain. “You don’t have a jacket?”
Rey’s lips were trembling as she shook her head no. She tried to say something, but all that came out was a quavery mumble.
“Come here, it’s all right,” Christie said, pulling Rey to her side and wrapping an arm around her shoulders. “Let’s get you out of this rain. My apartment is just ahead.”
The wind was horrendous, and even walking was a struggle. Rey stumbled a bit on her stiletto heels as they moved down the sidewalk, but Christie steadied her so that she didn’t fall. After a laborious two blocks, they finally arrived at Christie’s high-rise, and the doorman, Edrison, ushered them in quickly. Soon they were on the elevator to Christie’s floor, alone.
“It’s all right,” Christie murmured, holding Rey close to her side and rubbing her arm to warm her. Rey’s teeth were chattering. “Almost there.”
Rey turned into Christie’s embrace, pressing her shaking body as close to Christie’s as possible. She was nearly a head shorter, and she tucked her head under Christie’s chin, her cheek coming up against Christie’s chest. Christie could do nothing but wrap her arms around Rey and hold her tight. Her heart was pounding; she wondered if Rey could feel it.
“Almost there,” Christie said, terrified of how good it felt to hold Rey in her arms. “Almost there.”
The rain might have been unexpected, but Rey is happy to use it to her advantage.
Originally Christie said Rey's clothes were hanging in the guest bathroom, but Christie lives in a single, so there's only one bathroom. I've retconned this chapter to say "kitchen".
Rey couldn’t believe how things had turned around.
The job interview—because that was, to her dismay, all it had been—had had a few thrilling moments. Christie had handed Rey a twenty as casually as if she was in the habit of it. She’d given Rey a little errand, and she’d actually, incredibly, called her a good girl afterward. But Christie had also kept the conversation focused on the internship, only asking cursory questions about Rey and never volunteering information about herself. Rey had had no idea how to get things going in the direction she wanted. By the end of the meeting she’d been ready to flop down on her bed and sleep for a million years.
Then, almost as soon as she’d left the coffeehouse, it had started raining. And of course, Rey hadn’t thought to bring an umbrella. Within seconds she was drenched, her best outfit completely soaked. She’d tripped her way down the sidewalk—stupid heels—until she found a doorway with an alcove to duck into, and there she’d taken refuge, pressing her body away from the wind, shivering so hard the door started rattling.
She’d had two options at that point: wait the rain out, or try to hurry through it a couple blocks and catch the bus to campus. Either way, by the time she’d made it back to her dorm, she would have been an icicle.
A fitting end to the shittiest day.
If this was a story, Rey had thought miserably, Christie would come and save her. But it wasn’t a story. This was real life, and Rey was going to have to run to the bus through freezing blasts of rain.
Except that wasn’t what happened at all.
“Sweetheart,” said a familiar voice, and then she was being tugged out of the doorway, and there was an arm wrapping tightly around her, and there was an umbrella over her head blocking the rain. Rey realized belatedly, giddily, that it was Christie. She’d actually come.
And now she was being guided into Christie’s apartment.
Christie hadn’t let go of her once. She opened the door one-handed and walked Rey through it, pulled Rey’s backpack off her shoulders and dropped it in the entryway, and guided Rey through the living area and down a hallway. They came to a stop at the entrance of a bathroom that looked like a luxury spa.
“Here we are,” Christie said. “Let’s get you into a hot shower.” She kept one arm wrapped around Rey and reached into the marble-tiled shower with her free hand. Water gushed out of the rainfall showerhead; Rey could feel it turn hot almost instantly, even from outside the shower. “Towels are right there, when you’re done,” Christie said, but Rey didn’t look and she didn’t move. She was freezing cold, but she also recognized a chance when she saw one. And this chance was too good to pass up.
“Rey,” Christie said. It took all of Rey’s self-control not to look at her. She hugged herself and shivered and nestled closer to Christie. “Rey,” Christie said again. “You need to get out of those wet clothes and into the shower.”
Rey forced herself not to respond. Her teeth started chattering again. She wondered how long she could hold out, how long she could wait for Christie to do something.
Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Christie said, “You must be so cold. Come on, I’ll help.” Christie tugged at Rey’s wrap blouse, untucking it from her skirt, peeling the sodden material away from her stomach. “Raise your arms,” Christie said, and this time Rey obeyed. Christie pulled Rey’s top up and away, and goosebumps sprang up along Rey’s arms.
“Now the skirt,” Christie said, and Rey felt Christie’s hands find the side zipper and work it open. Christie knelt to slide the skirt down Rey’s legs and over her calf-high boots. “Step,” she said, and Rey raised one foot and then the other as Christie pulled the skirt free. “Now the boots,” Christie said, glancing back up at Rey. Rey knew Christie was seeing her standing there before her in nothing but a bralette and matching panties and pantyhose, and she tried to look sultry but was too a bit too cold to accomplish much of anything. Christie quickly looked down again, away from Rey’s half-naked form, and Rey raised her feet one by one to let Christie slip her boots off.
The heat radiating from the shower was making Rey almost desperate to get under the spray. But she was standing nearly naked in front of Christie. She was so close to everything she wanted. She just needed—
“Turn around,” Christie told her, and Rey obeyed. She was still shivering, but when Christie’s fingers found the clasp of the bralette, the full-body tremor that ran through her had nothing to do with the cold. “Just a little more,” Christie said comfortingly, oblivious. Christie unhooked the bralette, then slid her thumbs beneath the waistband of Rey’s stockings and panties and pulled them down.
Rey let out a whimper. She could have held it back, probably, but she didn’t want to. Christie was seeing her, all of her—her back, anyway. As soon as she was out of the hose, she started to turn back toward Christie, letting the bralette fall away from her breasts to let her see everything.
“Into the shower,” Christie said firmly, catching her by the elbow and turning her back around. Christie reached around and slid the bralette the rest of the way off from behind her, then nudged Rey toward the glass-walled cubicle. Rey obeyed; she could turn around as soon as she was in and let Christie see her completely naked.
As soon as she stepped under the spray, Rey let out a gasp. The water felt shockingly hot after being cold for so long. Shockingly, wonderfully hot. She forgot to turn around, letting out a soft noise of contentment as her eyes fell shut. For a long moment she just stood there, eyes closed, and let the heat surround her, penetrate her body.
When she opened her eyes again, Christie had left the room.
Rey stayed in the shower longer than strictly necessary, warming herself thoroughly while she considered her next move. This was an ideal situation: not only was she in Christie’s apartment, but she had a perfectly reasonable excuse to be naked. She just had to figure out how best to use it to her advantage.
Once she was starting to feel human again, she helped herself to Christie’s body soap and shampoo. After this, she’d smell just like Christie. The thought prompted a heavy throb between her legs; she squeezed her thighs together, enjoying the delicious feeling but not wanting it to grow urgent too soon. Carefully, she washed and rinsed, then finally turned the shower off.
The white, hotel-quality towels Christie had mentioned earlier were easy to find. They were elegantly rolled and stacked on a gorgeous wood shelf that stood along the stone wall next to the shower. Rey thought the shelf might be made of teak; it reminded her of Uncle P’s teakwood patio furniture. To Rey’s delight, the towels were big enough to wrap around her entire body, but short enough to show most of her legs. She used one towel to dry off, then hung it up and picked a fresh, dry towel to wear.
It was all so indulgent. Rey might be taking too many liberties...but it was too tempting. She could never get away with this at Uncle P’s house.
Rey checked her reflection in the mirror above Christie’s double bath vanity and found that her makeup had run all over her face. She frowned, then pulled the vanity’s drawers and doors open until she found makeup removal pads. Soon her face was as fresh and clean as the rest of her. Retrieving a comb from a sleek white organizer sitting at one end of the vanity, she slicked her hair back neatly. Then Rey stepped away from the vanity to a full-length mirror near the door, checking to make sure she looked as tempting as possible. The towel was just as provocative as she’d hoped. The skin of her shoulders, arms, and legs was pleasantly pink. Her slicked-back hair put the focus on her face; she sucked on her lips to darken them. And then she was ready.
Christie wasn’t in the living room. Rey pouted a bit, disappointed to have lost her opportunity to make a sexy entrance. Now, she supposed, she’d have to settle for a sexy pose.
The enormous living room was furnished with a long, low sofa upholstered in black leather, a pink loveseat, and two powder-blue armchairs. The room looked out on the city; it was starting to get dark, but Rey thought she could see a glimpse of Central Park between two buildings.
Rey sat down on the loveseat, stretching out to drape herself over its arm a bit. She crossed her legs at the knee and laid one arm along the seat back. When she was satisfied that she looked appealing, she called innocently, “Miss Lannister?”
“Just a moment, Rey,” Christie answered, her voice a bit muffled. She was apparently in one of the other rooms down the same hallway as the bathroom. Maybe she was in her bedroom. Rey wished she’d poked around instead of coming straight out.
She was debating heading back down the hall when Christie suddenly emerged. Her hair was in disarray, her lipstick was smudged, and instead of her stylish suit, she was wearing a red silk robe. She looked amazing.
“Oh,” Christie said, coming to an abrupt stop. It looked like she was trying not to stare at Rey’s legs. “Did you find the clothes I left by the door? Were they too big?”
Rey felt herself flushing a bit. “I didn’t see them,” she admitted. She’d been focused on Christie seeing her like this; but to be honest, she probably would have ignored the clothes even if she had realized they were there.
“Well,” Christie said, “I use a laundry service, so I don’t have a fast way to dry your clothes. For now they’re hanging up in the kitchen. If you’d like to wear something of mine home, you’re more than welcome.”
It was tempting—she’d get to take something of Christie’s home with her—but Rey didn’t want to leave yet. She glanced up at the coffered ceiling—it had amazingly detailed moulding—and tried to look as though she were pondering the offer. “Is it okay if I wait for my clothes?” she asked finally.
“Of course, sweetheart,” Christie said, and then she glanced away. Was that a blush rising to Christie’s porcelain skin?
Rey tried not to smile. “I’m sorry for the trouble,” she said.
“It’s no trouble,” Christie said. She seemed to remember she could move then, and she stepped further into the room.
There was too much seating in here; there was a good chance Christie would sit on the sofa or one of the chairs instead of next to Rey. Rey stared at her and willed her to come to the loveseat.
“I’m going to order some dinner,” Christie said, not sitting down at all. “Do you like Thai food?”
“I don’t know,” Rey answered honestly. Uncle P didn’t go for much beyond standard Southern fare, and she hadn’t had anything but cafeteria food and pizza her freshman year. “But I’d love to try it.” Christie was looking at her, and Rey had to take advantage of that. So she uncrossed her legs, letting them fall apart a little, and shoved the towel down to the couch between them with both hands, the barest bit of modesty. She leaned forward over her hands, smiling expectantly.
Christie’s cheeks were definitely pink now, but she didn’t look away this time. Instead she stepped closer, and closer. Rey’s heart thudded in her chest. Christie was coming right to her. Christie was standing right over her. Christie was right between her legs.
Rey gazed up at Christie and fought to breathe normally. Christie gazed back, face flushed, lips twitching. She reached out and hooked a finger beneath Rey’s chin, tipping it higher. “I’m sure you know you are a beautiful young woman,” Christie said. Her voice was a bit breathless. She cleared her throat.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Rey barely managed to whisper.
“I understand that you may not have a background in etiquette,” Christie continued. “This—what you’re doing—it’s not the proper way for a job candidate to behave in front of a potential employer.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey said.
“If you’re interested in interning at First Order, I need you to be professional.”
Rey took a breath. This was it. This was where she had to lay all her cards on the table.
“I’m not interested in interning at First Order, ma’am,” she said. She stood slowly, eyes locked on Christie’s, and moved in close. “I’m interested in you,” Rey said, and she let the towel fall to the floor.
It felt good to be able to help Rey. But now Christie's in a bit of a fix.
I retconned a tiny piece of information in the previous chapter: Christie's apartment now only has one bathroom. It's better for the story that way ;)
As soon as she was certain Rey was under the hot spray, Christie gathered up the girl’s sodden clothing and boots and hurried out of the bathroom. Shutting the door softly behind her, she let out a long sigh.
Rey was utterly gorgeous. Christie had done her best not to, but she had seen—everything, really. Rey’s pert little behind, lithe figure, cute breasts with dark little nipples, the groomed thatch of brown hair between her legs.
She had to get the image out of her mind. She shouldn’t be thinking of Rey like that at all. Poor Rey—she’d been utterly drenched and freezing, trapped hiding in a doorway from the rain. That was safer to think about: the warm, satisfied feeling Christie had gotten from helping Rey. Rescuing her from the storm. Christie smiled at that thought.
Christie’s apartment was a single, so there wasn’t another bathroom in which to hang up Rey’s clothes. She took them to the kitchen instead, draping the skirt and blouse over the edge of the double sink and hanging the stockings from the high-arc faucet. The boots she set in the sink, careful not to let them touch each other or anything else so they could dry properly. And then—then all that was left was Rey’s matching set of black lace panties and bralette.
Maybe she could hang them from a hanger hooked on a cabinet pull. She’d go to her room and get one.
As she headed down the hallway, the sound of the shower reminded her that Rey was still there; Rey was naked in Christie’s apartment right this very moment. Christie closed her eyes and took a slow breath. The girl would need something to wear when she got out of the shower. Christie would deal with that first.
She laid Rey’s bralette and panties out flat on the bed and turned decisively away from them, moving to her walk-in closet. Not many of her clothes would fit Rey; the girl was so much more petite. Christie settled on a pair of soft, drawstring sleep shorts and a Harvard “class of 2000” T-shirt. Underwear, of course, was out of the question.
Christie carried the folded shorts and T-shirt back down the hallway to the bathroom, leaving them on the settee near the door. She considered knocking, opening the door to tell Rey where to find the clothes. Perhaps simply taking the clothes in to her...
No. She had seen enough, had invaded Rey’s privacy far more than she should have. Christie left the clothes on the settee and strode resolutely back to her bedroom.
And there were Rey’s bralette and panties, waiting for her on the bed. Christie saw a flash in her mind of Rey herself lying there, wearing the lacy lingerie and nothing else, smiling up at her, spreading her legs. Christie turned away from the bed, pulse racing.
This was ridiculous. Impossible. She was a wreck. She couldn’t pretend she didn’t want Rey, not now. But she couldn’t have Rey, couldn’t take advantage of a vulnerable young woman like that.
Christie angrily stripped off her suit jacket, blouse, and skirt, tossing them all in the garment bag for the cleaners. She had to get herself under control before Rey was finished in the shower. She had to do something about her completely inappropriate and unhelpful urges.
She frowned at Rey’s undergarments. Then she stalked to the bed and crawled on hands and knees over the bralette and panties as though there were a person there. As though Rey were there.
“Poor thing,” she murmured, “you must be so cold. I’ll warm you up,” and then she slid her hand into her own panties and found herself dripping wet.
Fine. She’d just get herself off quickly. That would clear the fog from her head, allow her to think. If she could just satisfy this...arousal now, she’d be able to make sure Rey was all right without being distracted by improper thoughts.
Christie slicked her fingers in her own wetness and began massaging her clit. It felt so good she gasped aloud. She was going to come so hard, so fast—
But then, suddenly, “Miss Lannister?” came Rey’s voice. It sounded like she was in the living room.
Christie froze, pussy throbbing with need under her hand. “Shit,” she hissed. “Shit.” Drawing her hand carefully out of her panties, she called back, “Just a moment, Rey!” Then she plunged her fingers into her mouth and sucked and licked them clean.
Rey was not wearing the clothes Christie had left for her. She was instead wrapped in one of Christie’s towels, lounging back on the loveseat, shapely legs crossed. She looked utterly, unfairly divine.
Christie didn’t dare sit down, or even approach. She stammered her way through asking about the clothes and then through asking about dinner. It was late, after all. Surely Rey was hungry? It was hard to focus, the way Rey looked.
But then Rey uncrossed her legs, and then she spread them, and there was barely anything covering her, and Christie had to put an end to this somehow.
Christie marched forward, tipping Rey’s face up by the chin to get her attention. “I’m sure you know you are a beautiful young woman,” she said, which was not what she meant to say at all.
“Thank you, ma’am,” Rey said softly.
Christie wanted, desperately, to kiss her. Instead, she forced her face to stay expressionless, and she said what needed to be said. “I understand that you may not have a background in etiquette. This—what you’re doing—it’s not the proper way for a job candidate to behave in front of a potential employer.”
Rey did not look penitent. She looked...receptive. As if she was hanging on Christie’s every word. “Yes, ma’am,” she said.
Christie wasn’t convinced Rey had gotten the message. She pressed on valiantly. “If you’re interested in interning at First Order, I need you to be professional.”
Then Rey said something that made Christie’s eyes widen. “I’m not interested in interning at First Order, ma’am.” Rey stood and moved so close that Christie could smell her own shampoo in Rey’s hair. The realization made her slightly dizzy. “I’m interested in you,” Rey said. Then she dropped the towel—and there was that beautiful body again, right there, so close, close enough to touch.
Christie sucked in a gasp and turned her head away. “Rey,” she said, going for firmness but getting nowhere near it. “We—we talked about this.”
“You said no without any discussion,” Rey countered, and Christie thought she heard a quaver in the girl’s voice. “I want to discuss it.” Her small hands found their way into Christie’s, and Christie suddenly remembered that she’d just been touching herself, and what if her hand still smelled like her arousal? What if Rey could smell the musk between her legs?
“I can’t take advantage of you,” Christie said, closing her eyes tightly.
“You wouldn’t be,” Rey said. “I don’t need you. I want you. There’s a difference.”
“Rey,” Christie said, but she couldn’t think of what else to say.
“If you don’t want me, then that’s okay,” Rey said, and her voice definitely trembled then. “But I—I think you do. And if you do—you can have me. It’s okay.”
“Rey,” Christie said again.
“Just—can we try it? Let me do something for you. Please. Can I?”
“Do...something?” Christie asked, stupidly. She wanted to pin Rey down on the couch and pinch and twist and suck those dark nipples, carry her to bed and thoroughly explore her cunt with her mouth, hold her up against a wall and finger-fuck her till she screamed. She wanted to kiss Rey’s gorgeous smile and suck love bites into her neck. She wanted Rey to ride her thigh, wanted to watch Rey come gasping and shuddering.
No. No. No. No. She couldn’t do that, she couldn’t have that.
Rey let go of Christie’s hands and reached for the belt of Christie’s robe.
Christie should move, should stop her, should do something. She didn’t do anything. She was frozen, watching as Rey’s slim fingers deftly untied the knot. The belt dropped away, and the robe fell open, and all Christie had on under the robe were her bra and panties. Rey slid her hands into the robe, settling them on Christie’s hips, and looked up at her, lips parted slightly, eyes searching.
Christie drew a shaky breath. “You are a very bad girl,” she whispered, and Rey smiled so broadly Christie’s heart skipped a beat. The girl’s hands were searing brands on her hips; she moved to cover them with her own hands, but couldn’t bring herself to push them away.
“You do want me,” Rey said. “Don’t you?”
“I—I can’t,” Christie said. “I can’t, Rey.”
Rey’s face fell. It was like all goodness and light had vanished from the universe. Rey dropped her gaze to the floor, stepped back and pulled her hands away. Her hands were so warm; their sudden absence made Christie shiver a bit. Rey knelt and retrieved the towel, retreating into it, hugging it tightly around her body.
She looked absolutely miserable. Christie hated herself.
“You set out some clothes for me?” Rey asked dully.
“Yes,” Christie croaked out. “On the settee by the bathroom door.”
Rey nodded silently, then brushed past her, heading out of the living room and down the hall.
It took a few moments for Christie to remember to close her robe.
They ate spring rolls and tom yum soup in silence, sitting on opposite sides of the small dining table that was nestled just off the living room. The sight of Rey wearing Christie’s own clothes was almost as erotic as the sight of her in lingerie, or naked; Christie focused on the food, only glancing up occasionally.
“What do you think?” she asked finally. “Of Thai food.”
“It’s really good,” Rey said enthusiastically, and Christie looked up in surprise. Rey ducked her head, color rising to her cheeks. “It’s delicious, Miss Lannister. Thank you.”
The tightness in Christie’s chest—an anxious, despairing pressure that had been there since the incident in the living room—loosened a fraction. She felt a small, relieved smile come to her lips. “You’re welcome, Rey. I’m glad you like it.”
“I’m still mad,” Rey said, but there was no venom in her voice. She looked up at Christie, nose crinkling with a smile.
It was Christie’s turn to duck her head. “That’s unfortunate,” she murmured. Rey snorted into her soup.
They were quiet again for a moment. Then Rey said, “I’m glad I met you.”
“You are?” Christie said, surprised again.
“Yes. I—I really respect you. You’re smart, and beautiful, and cultured. It was nice to get to spend so much time with you today.”
Christie wanted to stand, to pull Rey close, to hold her tight. “You’re also smart and beautiful, Rey. Very much so,” she said. It wasn’t enough, but it was also far too much. Christie took a breath, working to rein herself in. “And ‘culture’ is just experience,” she said, more calmly. “You’ll get where you want to be in time, as long as you keep learning.”
“Thank you,” Rey said with a shy smile.
Christie called a car for Rey and shrugged on a coat to see her off at the door. She returned Rey’s still-damp clothing to her in one of the many charity tote bags she had piled up in the hall closet. “Keep that,” Christie said of the bag. “And the clothes you’re wearing, too.” If Rey didn’t need to return anything to Christie, Christie wouldn’t have an excuse to see her again. It would be safer that way.
Rey’s expressive brown eyes lingered on Christie as she settled into the back of the taxi. Christie smiled at her and shut the door, then stood on the curb and watched the car drive away.
It was over.
Christie stepped out of the elevator and down the hall to an apartment that felt far too large now. Large and empty. She sighed and set about cleaning up the dinner dishes, scrubbing the kitchen counters down while she was at it. Then she tried to settle in on the couch and watch the local news, but she couldn’t focus on anything the anchors and reporters were saying. Finally she gave up and headed back to her room. She’d turn in early. She had to work in the morning anyway.
Christie was halfway out of her robe when she suddenly froze. The robe slid off her shoulders and fell in a heap on the floor, but she barely noticed.
Rey’s bralette and panties were still on her bed.
Rey reconsiders her plan.
Everything that had happened with Christie felt like a dream. Like it couldn’t possibly have happened. Rey might even believe she’d dreamed it all if she hadn’t come home to her dorm that night wearing Christie’s clothes.
She’d worn them to bed every night for a week, worn Christie’s college T-shirt and shorts until they barely smelled like Christie anymore, and then she’d folded them carefully and put them in the very back of her sock drawer. They were her special secret.
They were also a reminder of how badly she’d fucked up.
She’d come on way too strong. She’d only just met Christie, and there she was, stripping down in front of her the same day. She’d meant to tease, to entice, but instead she’d thrown herself at Christie, and Christie had, quite understandably, turned her down flat.
It was mortifying.
“Rey?” a voice broke into her thoughts, and she blinked. There was a hand waving right in front of her face. “Earth to Rey.”
“Finn,” she said, looking up at him—her best friend, who also happened to be the TA for this class. Dr. Skywalker’s lecture was over, apparently. She glanced around and belatedly realized that the hall was nearly deserted.
“You didn’t hand in your worksheet,” Finn said.
“Oh.” Rey grimaced. “Any way I could get an extension?”
Finn’s face took on a look of concern. “Is something wrong?”
“Sort of?” Rey let out a huff and slumped back in her seat. “I made myself look like an idiot in front of someone I like.”
“Oh, god,” Finn said. “Do I ever know how that is.”
“‘Finn naked leaking bag?’” Rey teased, and Finn knocked her lightly on the arm.
“Thought I’d never live it down.”
“But you did, though,” Rey said. “I’m pretty sure Poe—er, Mr. Dameron—is your biggest fan.”
“Yeah, it’s true,” Finn said, puffing out his chest a bit and pretending to straighten nonexistent lapels. He grinned at Rey. “So don’t worry. There’s always hope.”
“Not in this case, I don’t think.” Rey sighed. “I really put my foot in it. I, uh.” She looked around again, making sure none of the stragglers were in earshot. “I kind of did the naked man.”
“...no,” Finn said, and Rey could tell he was trying not to laugh. She could hardly blame him. It was ridiculously stupid.
“Yeah,” she said, looking away. “I mean, at first I was in a towel. But then…”
“Wow, Rey. Wow.”
Finn was quiet for a moment. Then he cocked his head to the side. “And it didn’t work?”
“No!” Rey stood up and stuffed her notebook and textbook back into her backpack. “Of course it didn’t work!”
“I mean. Really? Are you sure she’s into women?” Finn sounded genuinely perplexed. It was kind of heartwarming, in a strange way.
“You’re a good friend, Finn,” Rey told him. “And yeah. She likes women. She just doesn’t like me.”
That wasn’t entirely true, she thought but didn’t say. Christie had seemed to like her as a person, at least a little. She just wanted nothing to do with her, that was all.
“You’re pouting,” Finn informed her.
“Yeah, well.” Rey shouldered her bag. “I’ll get over it. In the meantime, though, seriously, can I have an extension?”
“Sure,” Finn said. “Can you have it done by next class?”
Rey’s homework had piled up over the past week. She wasn’t even sure how many assignments she was late on. She had to get it together.
She’d pull some all-nighters, chug some Monsters, put off her data entry for Uncle P awhile. Eat ramen until she had the time to earn more money. It was going to suck, but it was her own fault. She’d do it.
“Yeah, no problem,” Rey said.
Rey stayed at the Northwest Corner Interdisciplinary Science Building until late in the evening, meeting up with her calculus study group in the library for a couple hours, lingering afterward to poke at a chemistry worksheet, and then meeting her physics classmate Rose at one of the labs to finish up some practical homework. By the time she started the slog back to Hartley Hall, regretting for the first time how far her dorm was from most of her classes, the sun had completely set and campus was mostly deserted.
Her stomach growled.
“Yeah, yeah,” she muttered at it. “Ramen’s coming.”
The thought of microwaving cup noodles and slurping them down alone in her closet of a room was so unappealing that despite her tiredness and hunger, Rey sat down on a bench and closed her eyes. She’d just rest a bit. She’d get moving soon.
Her thoughts turned to that day with Christie, somehow only a week ago: that luxurious shower, that incredible dinner of Thai food. It had been so good. Everything had. Sure, as she’d told Christie, she didn’t need more money. But it would certainly be nice. Rey probably wouldn’t eat like that again until after she graduated.
She’d do it, though. She’d find a job with a big aerospace company and make plenty of her own money and never have to bargain with Uncle P for funds again.
Speaking of Uncle P, she probably ought to tell him that her next batch of work would be late. Resignedly, Rey opened her eyes and pulled out her phone. She was nearing her data cap for the month, but it wouldn’t do to wait.
The phone had barely rung once when Uncle P’s voice blared without preamble, “What?”
Rey held the phone away from her ear. “Hey, Uncle P.”
“You got some kinda problem?” Right to the point as always. He probably wanted to get back to his TV shows.
“Um, yeah,” Rey said. “I need a little more time on the next batch. Is that okay?”
Uncle P let out a huff. “I’m not paying you for late work, girl.”
“Come on, Uncle P! I can get it done. It’ll just take a little longer.”
“I told you you should have stayed here. You’re probably getting distracted, pretending you’re fancy. The city ain’t the place for the likes of us. You oughta come home.”
“I’m fine,” Rey said. “I’m staying here.”
“There ain’t nothin’ wrong with Alabama-Huntsville,” Uncle P proclaimed loudly. “It’s one of the best programs in the country. And you could go 100% free.”
“I’ve already been at Columbia for a year!” Rey reminded him. “I’m staying here.”
“Well,” Uncle P said grudgingly. “Don’t expect any help from me that ain’t earned.”
“I know,” Rey assured him. “I can get this batch done by the end of next week.” That might be pushing it, but what choice did she have?
“End of next week,” Uncle P said, and Rey could practically hear the gears in his head turning. “You’re setting me back, so you’ll get...half the usual rate until you catch up.”
Ugh. That was hardly anything. But if she protested, Uncle P might lower the rate even more. Rey squeezed her eyes shut and did some quick mental math. “Okay,” she said. She could live with half. So she’d eat ramen for dinner a little longer than expected. She could endure.
She wasn’t giving up on her dream.
“End of next week,” Uncle P said again, and he hung up without saying goodbye.
Rey stood, pocketed her phone, shrugged her backpack back onto her shoulders, and resumed the long walk home. As she passed Havemeyer Hall and the Business School, knowing there was still much farther to go, she imagined Christie pulling up in a limousine, offering her a ride. A ride to your place? Rey would ask, and Christie would smile and say yes. Then Christie would sweep her away, back to that fairy-tale life in a luxury apartment with a doorman, and they’d eat gourmet food for every meal and wear thousand-dollar outfits to Duane Reade. Rey giggled at the thought of paying for cold medicine while wearing a swanky gown.
And Christie would take her on walks through Central Park, and to the biggest shows on Broadway, and shopping on 5th Avenue. And she’d kiss Rey in front of everyone, show the world that Rey was hers. That she would always take care of her.
Rey slowed to a stop, feeling suddenly hollow. All of that had been her goal, of course—from the very start, she’d been openly looking for a sugar mama. And Christie had seemed perfect: wealthy, single, powerful, beautiful. But.
Rey adjusted her backpack, shifting the weight on her shoulders a bit. Christie was also a person. A kind, thoughtful, generous person. Even though she didn’t want the kind of relationship Rey was looking for, she was willing to help Rey, to put her neck on the line and help Rey get a job. And when she saw Rey in trouble, she didn’t hesitate to come to her rescue, to open her home to her.
How had Rey had repaid Christie’s generosity? By demanding more.
Rey had pressed Christie to give her more, as if what Christie had already done didn’t matter. As if she hadn’t done far more than a normal person would have for a total stranger.
As if Christie only existed to make Rey’s life easier.
Rey’s eyes burned.
Christie had been right to say no.
It was 9 o’clock by the time Rey settled on her bed with a steaming cup of ramen and her laptop. She ate slowly, trying to savor her meager dinner as much as you could savor salty, 15-cent noodles. The deadline for Uncle P’s work loomed, sooner than she thought she could actually manage, so she dedicated her first hour to churning out as much of that as possible.
When the hour was up, Rey felt as though she hadn’t even made a dent, but she didn’t have time to do more. Now she had to finish the worksheet for materials class, so she could hand it in to Finn the day after tomorrow. She yawned and stretched and blinked to clear her vision, then pulled the document out of her bag.
Eventually, Rey realized she’d been staring at the paper, uncomprehending, for a good five minutes. Ugh. She needed caffeine. Rolling off her bed, Rey shook out her legs and made her way to the shared kitchen.
She’d forgotten to pick up any Monsters, she realized unhappily, and the only drink in the fridge was Bebe’s limonada con soda. Even if that had had caffeine in it, Rey wasn’t going to steal one of her roommate’s favorite reminders of home. Of course, it wasn’t caffeinated at all, so the point was moot.
Rey was tired.
She shuffled slowly back to her room, crawling onto her bed and flopping down on her side, looking up sideways at her laptop. Maybe that was enough for tonight. Maybe she’d go to sleep and try for an early start tomorrow.
Mindlessly, she tapped into her email. She didn’t get many non-spam messages these days, now that she’d deleted her ad on Curious Liaisons. Uncle P didn’t use email, and she didn’t really have any friends back home. Still, checking her email had become something of a habit; it had been so much fun, waiting for a message from Christie.
Rey sighed and rolled her eyes at herself. Yeah. Sure. Fun. She sure had a great time throwing herself at a beautiful woman, begging for her money. What had she even been thinking?
Her hand was on the lid of her laptop, ready to snap it closed, when her eye caught on what appeared to be a legitimate email amid the mountain of offers and promotions. The sender was listed as Columbia Dining.
Rey frowned. She’d had a meal plan as a freshman, as it was required, but she’d opted out this year to save money. Surely she didn’t owe any residual fees. Rey clicked into the email, stomach churning.
A Fall Term Dining Plan has been added to your account. This plan covers all-you-care-to-eat meals at John Jay Dining Hall, Ferris Booth Commons and JJ's Place. In addition, you have been credited the amount of $2000 in Dining Dollars, usable at any of the 12 on-campus dining locations. If you have any questions, please contact Columbia Dining.
Rey stared at the message. There had to be some sort of mistake. She hadn’t signed up for this. She couldn’t possibly pay for it. Not the $2000, and not the Dining Plan, which as far as she knew cost even more.
Numbly, Rey closed the email. She was fucked. Utterly fucked.
And then she saw the line just above the Columbia Dining message in her email list. Her heart skipped a beat.
From: Lannister, Christie Subject: meal plans
Christie couldn’t believe she’d forgotten to give Rey back her undergarments. She’d grabbed a tote bag from the hall closet, gone to the kitchen and folded Rey’s blouse, skirt, and stockings, placed everything neatly in the bag, and then apparently blanked entirely on the fact that Rey’s underwear wasn’t there too.
That, or her subconscious mind had wanted to keep the lacy lingerie she’d masturbated over.
It was so embarrassing.
After she recovered from the shock of finding them on her bed, Christie folded the cute little bralette and the dainty little panties and put them in the box her latest clutch had come in, for safekeeping—and to keep them out of sight. She set the box on her bedside table, and then she got on with preparing for work the next day. She would take the box with her, package it up at the office, and ship it to Rey, and that would be that.
But morning came, and Christie found she was too nervous to take a box full of another woman’s underwear to her place of work. She left it behind, still sitting by her bed, to deal with later.
Later became the next day, and the next day, and the next. Each night Christie lay alone in her massive bed and knew Rey’s panties and bralette were just a few feet away, and she tried to ignore that fact and sleep, and when she inevitably couldn’t, she slid her hand down between her legs and groped herself until she came.
A full week passed, and then it was Monday again, and Christie had to do something. This was getting ridiculous. Except...it had been so long. Why hadn’t she taken the box to FedEx over the weekend? (She hadn’t left the apartment at all that weekend. She could have done it.) Why couldn’t she just get over her nervousness and take the box to work? (She chastised herself yet again as she locked her apartment and strode to the elevator, the box still on her nightstand.)
Perhaps shipping the garments to Rey was the wrong choice. Especially after so much time had passed. At this point, wouldn’t it be better to return them in person? Didn’t Rey deserve more than an impersonal shipment? And what if the package ended up lost?
But what would Rey think of Christie having waited more than a week to return, or even mention the lingerie?
Christie was on her laptop that night, answering a few work emails, when she decided to take a little break and open Rey’s Instagram page. She’d just check on her, make sure she was doing all right. See if she’d posted anything about losing her lingerie, since young people tended to overshare online.
But strangely, there had been no photos posted since the Sunday they’d met at the coffeehouse. There was one picture from that day, from earlier in the afternoon, showing Rey wearing the shiny wraparound top and smiling broadly. It was captioned Heading to an important meeting! There weren’t any more photos after that.
Christie had thought they’d parted on a good note, but perhaps Rey was more upset than she’d seemed.
Well, of course she’d be upset. She wanted something Christie couldn’t give her. Talking to her now would just reopen that topic, and it had been such a relief for it to be finished.
Except that Christie hadn’t stopped thinking about it. About how Rey had said I don’t need you. I want you. There’s a difference. About the fact that out of the many people who must have responded to her Curious Liaisons post, Rey had chosen Christie. And Rey had pursued Christie, removing her ad when Christie had required it, agreeing to meet about something she wasn’t even interested in so that she’d have a chance to make her case. She’d taken an enormous gamble, and she hadn’t given up until all her cards were on the table and Christie still said no.
Rey had proven herself to be ambitious, and smart, and dedicated, and earnest. She had impressed Christie in every way. It didn’t matter that what she’d been pursuing wasn’t feasible; she’d shown she had the mettle to aim high and work hard. Christie had been right; Rey deserved the world. It seemed unfair that she couldn’t have it immediately.
It seemed doubly unfair that Christie had plenty of resources, but she couldn’t use them to help Rey at all.
Maybe Christie could simply be a benefactor to Rey. There was nothing inappropriate about sponsoring a student. They wouldn’t even have to see each other.
She could give Rey what she really wanted—financial security—and not take advantage of her at all.
She could do something truly meaningful for Rey.
Christie felt hopeful for the first time in a week.
There wasn’t much about Rey’s personal finances that Christie could investigate without Rey’s permission, and Christie thought it would be more fun if she could surprise the girl. But simply sending her gifts might arouse the suspicion of other people in her dorm, invite questions Rey shouldn’t have to answer.
Food was a good option, though, and it had the added bonus of being something Rey truly seemed to enjoy. Digital gift cards to local restaurants might be suspicious, Rey suddenly eating out frequently when she hadn’t before, but surely Columbia University had some sort of meal plans.
Christie opened Columbia’s website and searched for on-campus dining information, and yes, they had several plans available. Rey would be able to use her student ID as payment—no one would know her balance but her. It was perfect.
It was even easier than she expected to set up the gift. All it took was a phone call. It turned out that Rey wasn’t signed up for any meal plan at all; Christie was glad she’d thought of it. Soon Christie had guaranteed that Rey would have plenty to eat for the rest of fall semester.
After she hung up, it occurred to her that she should probably let Rey know what she’d done, so the girl would be able to start enjoying meals on campus right away. She searched her email for the Curious Liaisons message in which Rey had included her email address, thankful she hadn’t simply deleted it.
And Christie stopped, flummoxed. What on earth could she say? Rey wouldn’t be expecting to hear from her. Should she mention the lingerie?
No. No, that was too embarrassing. She’d figure something out about that later.
It was lovely meeting you. I wish you the best, and I am sure you will have great success in the future. To that end, I have donated some campus meal options to you for the rest of this semester. Please accept this gift as a token of my esteem.
Christie didn’t realize how badly she’d been sleeping until she finally slept well. After sending the email to Rey, she’d gone directly to bed, falling asleep almost as soon as her head hit the pillow. She slept soundly through the night, not stirring once until she awoke naturally five minutes before her alarm.
She was cheerful as she collected her morning coffee and picked out a table at Maz’s, settling in to read the news on her phone until Kate arrived. It was too chilly to sit outside this morning, so she chose a seat near the window where she could watch businesspeople bustle by in fashionable jackets and scarves.
Kate got there a little later than usual, looking harried. “Mark couldn’t find his bear,” she explained distractedly. Then she stopped, leaning close and peering at Christie’s face. “What’s gotten into you?”
Christie’s eyebrows came together in confusion. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, not to be cliche or anything, but you look like you’re walking on air. I haven’t seen you this happy in ages. Wait—you didn’t fall in love or something, did you?”
“What?” Christie hoped the sudden heat in her face wasn’t visible. “No. I’m just in a good mood today.”
“For no reason?” Kate asked skeptically.
“Well,” Christie admitted, “I got to do something nice for someone last night. Maybe that’s it.”
“Something nice,” Kate repeated slowly, “for someone.”
Christie wrinkled her nose. “Yes.”
“Are you really not gonna give me any details?”
“Are you really not gonna get your coffee and sit down?”
Kate gave Christie a smirk. “Fine, be right back.”
When Kate returned with her coffee, Christie had conceived of a way to share more with her without revealing too much. “So I had a candidate for an internship who didn’t quite work out,” she said, “but I thought she had promise, so I helped with some of her expenses for the semester. Nothing huge.”
“Oh!” Kate said. “What a nice thing to do!” She cocked her head to the side. “Why didn’t the internship work out?”
“Um.” Christie couldn’t believe she hadn’t predicted Kate would ask. “Her availability didn’t mesh with our needs.”
“You guys couldn’t be flexible?”
“Not as much as she would have needed,” Christie said, unhappy to be shifting into the realm of actual lying. “She’s an aerospace engineering major,” she added, because that part was true, “and her schedule is full.”
“Gotcha,” Kate said, and she took a sip of her coffee. Then she asked, perfectly reasonably, “Why would an aerospace engineering major be interested in interning at an auction house?”
Christie took a hasty sip, mind racing to come up with an answer. “I’m not sure she was. I think she was looking for any sort of job. Which is why I wanted to help her out some. Let her focus on her studies.”
“Huh,” Kate said. “She must have made a pretty good impression.”
“Mm,” Christie demurred into her cup.
“You’d tell me if you fell in love, though, right?”
Christie choked on her sip of coffee. “Why are you still on that?”
“Because,” Kate said, leaning in and booping Christie on the nose, “you’re one of my best friends, and I want to cheer you on if and when you do.”
Christie let out a relieved giggle. “Of course I’d tell you if I fell in love. It just hasn’t happened.”
They chatted for a while longer, getting caught up on each other’s lives and finishing their coffees. Kate explained what had happened this morning with Mark’s bear, and how it had taken twice as long to get him ready for school. Christie told Kate her theory that two of her buyers had crushes on each other, and how she wasn’t sure if she should separate them or let it run its course. Kate mentioned that her kids were about to go on fall break, which meant the Unamo family would be heading out to their vacation home in Montauk for a week. (Christie wondered privately if Columbia had a fall break.)
All too soon, it was time to start their respective days. When they hugged goodbye, Kate murmured, “It’s so good to see you happy,” and Christie’s mild embarrassment at the comment couldn’t compete with the warm feeling the sentiment gave her. They made plans to meet again Thursday morning, then finally headed off, Kate to her yoga class, and Christie to First Order.
Christie found she was eager to get to work. Her mind was brimming with tasks she wanted to accomplish. She wanted to check in with Kaplan about the bidding app. She wanted to set up a meeting with all the recently returned buyers to get a general idea of what was happening in the collectors’ market. It was also about time to finalize the executive plan for the next fiscal year, a task that she’d not been looking forward to, but today she felt positively energized, ready to dig in.
As she waited for her computer’s operating system to load—she really ought to see IT about it—she pulled out her phone, opening Instagram automatically. She might as well check Rey’s page. Maybe the girl had posted something that would indicate she’d read Christie’s email. But when the page loaded, there was still nothing newer than the picture from two weekends ago.
It didn’t matter, Christie supposed. She could imagine Rey’s smiling face, and just the thought of it was enough to make Christie smile herself. She hoped Rey would try and enjoy all sorts of different foods. Columbia Dining seemed to offer fairly standard American fare, but there was at least a decent variety, and now Rey had access to all of it.
Christie was so focused on work that her usual lunch hour came and went unnoticed. She only noticed the time when her assistant Lucy called her desk phone at a quarter past 2. “Miss Lannister?” the young woman said. “A Rey Dailey is down at the front desk, asking to see you. Are you expecting her?”
It took a moment for her words to register. Rey was here?
“Should we tell her to make an appointment?” Lucy asked.
“No,” Christie said quickly. “No. Bring her up, please.”
In the few minutes it took for Lucy to head downstairs and escort Rey up to the third floor, Christie fretted about whether she’d made the right decision. Should she have gone down to meet Rey instead, taken her elsewhere? But she didn’t even know why Rey was here.
Christie anxiously watched the hallway leading to the elevator bank until Lucy reappeared—and then there Rey was, an absolute vision as always. She was wearing a long-sleeved beige blouse, a short jean skirt and knee-high brown leather boots. Her hair was pulled into a loose bun at the back of her head, and gold hoop earrings dangled nearly to her shoulders. Christie wasn’t quite certain what to make of the look, but she knew one thing for sure: it looked damn good on Rey.
She wondered if there was anything that wouldn’t.
“Miss Dailey to see you, Miss Lannister,” Lucy said, opening the door and guiding Rey in.
“Thank you, Lucy. Could you bring us some tea, please?”
Once Lucy had left the room and shut the door, giving them as much privacy as was possible in a glass-walled office, Christie smiled and said, “Hello, Rey. Please, have a seat.” Despite her nervousness about Rey’s unexpected visit, her voice was even and strong. It helped to be here, in a place where she was powerful.
Rey eased down into one of the mid-century modern chairs facing Christie’s desk. She crossed her legs, folded her hands over her knee, and took a deep breath, looking oddly nervous.
Horror suddenly shot through Christie. Rey was here about the bralette and panties. She had to be. Christie had never returned them. Not only that, but then she’d paid for all of Rey’s meals for the rest of the year...and it was so obvious now how that made her look. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t realized it. It looked like she wanted to keep Rey’s lingerie, but couldn’t quite get past her guilt about it.
Maybe, she thought, stomach churning, that was exactly what had happened.
“I’m sorry,” Christie started to say, miserably—but then she broke off.
Rey had just blurted out the exact same thing.
Rey figures something out.
She couldn’t believe she was here, in Christie’s office. Rey’s heart was pounding so hard she was sure Christie could hear it. Her fingers tightened over her knee. She had to do what she came to do. “I’m sorry,” she said in a rush. “I shouldn’t have—”
And then she realized that Christie had spoken at the same time. Christie had apologized too. And Rey wasn’t sure what for, because why would you apologize for giving someone an exceptionally generous gift?
She rallied. “I went too far. I made you uncomfortable. You shouldn’t have felt like you had to do that. To spend so much money.” She bit her lip. “I’m sure they can refund you. I haven’t used any of it yet.”
Christie blinked, her eyes going slightly out of focus, and Rey thought wildly that she was beautiful, absolutely beautiful, short blond hair styled flat around her face, velvety blue sheath dress bringing out her eyes, silver necklace glimmering at her throat. Rey had come into her life and made a mess with her selfishness. She should have—
“Rey,” Christie broke into her thoughts, “you have nothing to apologize for.” She stood, rounding her desk, towering over Rey in silver heels...but then she actually knelt next to Rey’s chair, putting their faces on the same level. “I didn’t have to do it; I wanted to. It’s a gift, given freely. Please accept it.”
A desperate sort of relief flooded through Rey, relief that maybe she could have this, that maybe she’d been wrong and Christie didn’t feel obligated after all. But that seemed like wishful thinking. Selfish wishful thinking. She squeezed her knee harder with both hands, clamping down on the urge to leap up from the chair and pace around the room.
Christie was a good and generous person, but this was so much. Probably too much.
Rey blinked against suddenly burning eyes. “I took advantage of you,” she forced herself to say.
“You didn’t,” Christie said, soft blue eyes gazing at Rey like she was worth the world. Rey wished, desperately, that Christie wanted her. “I wanted to do this,” Christie said.
“But—but why?” Rey asked, feeling wretched. There couldn’t be a reason that made sense.
“Because you deserve it. You deserve to be able to focus on your studies,” Christie said. She placed a hand over Rey’s and squeezed lightly, so close to actually touching Rey’s knee. Her eyes were big and blue, her matte-pink lips curved in a gentle smile.
Rey forgot how to breathe.
“I hope it doesn’t make you uncomfortable. That wasn’t my intention,” Christie said. “You don’t owe me anything. In fact—” She glanced away briefly, then drew a breath. “I’m the one who should apologize. I’ve had your—your undergarments all this time, when I should have returned them right away.”
Between Christie’s touch and the words she’d just said, Rey’s mind reeled. Her... undergarments. The sexiest lingerie she owned, the lacy bralette and panty set. She’d worn them to their meeting for luck, wishing but not really expecting that something might happen. And then that had happened.
She hadn’t taken her clothes out of the tote bag when she got home; she hadn’t even wanted to look at them.
Christie glanced up, suddenly removing her hand, and rose to a standing position. Shortly thereafter, the girl she’d called Lucy nudged the door open with her hip, carrying what appeared to be a full antique tea service on a silver platter. Rey watched her, taking the opportunity to catch her breath.
“Your tea, Miss Lannister,” Lucy said. She had a slight figure and brown hair, similar to Rey. But she was poised and stylish on stiletto heels, her hair and makeup flawless. Rey couldn’t imagine how much her designer suit must have cost. She moved gracefully, crossing the room to the table between the armchairs and placing the tea service at the exact center.
“Thank you, Lucy,” Christie said. “I’ll take it from here.”
Lucy smiled and fashion-walked back to the door. Christie, meanwhile, moved away from Rey and to the opposite side of the table, taking a seat in the other chair. Rey felt unmoored, cast adrift. “Is she your personal assistant?” she asked, watching the door as it swung shut.
“Yes,” Christie said, placing an ornate strainer over the teacup nearest to Rey and then lifting the teapot.
“She’s pretty,” Rey said, a bit sourly.
The teapot’s lid clattered against the pot. “I suppose she is?” Christie said, sounding as though she’d never thought about it before. “Would—would you like me to introduce you?”
Rey scrunched up her nose. Wouldn’t that be fun, dating a girl who got to see Christie every day. Hearing all about Christie secondhand. “No.”
“All–all right.” Christie mercifully let the matter drop. She filled Rey’s cup, leaving room for cream and sugar, then moved the strainer to her own. “So,” she said hesitantly, “about your—the—”
“Oh,” Rey said.
“I don’t have it here,” Christie said as she finished pouring her own tea. “It’s back at the apartment. I could meet you somewhere and bring it with me.”
Of course Christie wouldn’t want Rey coming to her apartment again. It was obvious, and it was right, but Rey’s mood somehow soured even more.
“I don’t need it back,” Rey said, glaring into her lap. “You can just throw it away.”
She could feel Christie looking at her, but the woman said nothing. Finally Rey couldn’t stand it anymore and raised her eyes. “That seems like a waste, Rey,” Christie said.
Rey flushed with embarrassment. “I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re right,” she said. She was being petulant, and there was no cause for that when Christie had been so generous. “Thank you. Whatever’s most convenient for you.”
Christie raised her chin, and Rey straightened her back automatically. “Good,” Christie said. “Are you free for dinner tonight?”
Rey’s mind went completely blank. “Dinner?” she asked stupidly.
“Tell me if your schedule is too busy. We can meet anytime. This coming weekend?”
“The weekend’s good,” Rey said, because she had to say something, and she felt like her week was pretty full, though she couldn’t actually remember why.
“Saturday, then,” Christie said. “I’ll send you the time and location once I’ve made a reservation. Now,” she continued, gesturing to Rey’s cup, “do you take cream or sugar?”
Rey left Christie’s office in a daze, barely registering the walk to the bus stop. They’d talked a bit more, though she couldn’t think of what about. She was utterly flummoxed by Christie’s dinner invitation.
Surely that wasn’t necessary. They could have met at that coffee place again. Or just at the park. Christie could have simply handed the lingerie over and they could have gone their separate ways quickly.
But Christie had chosen dinner. Sitting together for an extended period of time at a restaurant.
She’d insisted she didn’t feel obligated to do anything for Rey, and she seemed sincere about that, but if that was the case, why—
Rey was just stepping off the bus when she remembered that Christie had had her lingerie all week. She’d known she had it all week. And she’d been weirdly apologetic about it. It wasn’t like Rey had the occasion to wear lingerie much. Waiting a week to get it back hardly hurt her, especially since she hadn’t even realized it was missing.
But Christie hadn’t invited Rey to her office today. Rey had gone there on her own. Christie had given Rey a very generous gift, but she’d done it by email, and she hadn’t mentioned the lingerie at all.
Rey sank down onto a bench, staring at nothing. It couldn’t be. Could it?
But then, why else would Christie be self-conscious about holding on to Rey’s lingerie for so long? Why else would she be so nervous about it that she didn’t even bring it up until she actually saw Rey again? Why else would she invite Rey to dinner?
A smile slowly spread across Rey’s face. She jumped to her feet and began to run, nervous energy propelling her from the bus stop back to her dorm.
Maybe...maybe Christie did like her.
Rey didn’t stop running when she reached Hartley Hall, flying through the doors and straight into the stairwell. She charged up the stairs and exploded onto the eighth floor sweaty and gasping for breath.
“Whoa,” Bebe said from the couch, where she was sitting with a few other freshmen, calculus books open. “You okay?”
“I’m great,” Rey said, panting. And she was. She was positively giddy. “Hey, you busy tonight? Wanna do a study group at VT’s?”
“Hell yes!” Bebe said. “It’s about time you came out for pizza! Just, uh.” With an exaggerated motion, she pinched her nose. “You might want to take a shower first.”
Rey grinned at her friend and sashayed off to her single, calling “Fine, fine” over her shoulder. She was in too good a mood to come up with a retort.
Everything was wonderful. She was going out with her friends tonight, for the first time in forever, and it wouldn’t wreck her budget.
And then, this weekend, she was going out with Christie.
Rey's latest Instagram post gives Christie something new to worry about.
The week ahead stretched out endlessly, almost torturously. Christie understood that Rey was busy with her classes and homework, but she wished they could have done dinner tonight instead of Saturday.
She’d been so nervous when Rey had showed up, but in the end it seemed both of them had made false assumptions about each other. Rey hadn’t been particularly bothered about the lingerie; meanwhile, Christie had not in any way felt guilt-tripped by Rey into giving her a gift. Christie had felt guilt over the lingerie, but of course that hadn’t been Rey’s fault at all. And it was hardly important compared with making sure Rey didn’t feel awkward about the gift.
Christie had surprised even herself by asking Rey to dinner, but she didn’t regret it at all. Rey was a charming young woman, and now that they understood each other, there was no reason they couldn’t spend time together platonically. Rey’s surprise at the invitation had been kind of adorable, too.
As they had enjoyed their tea, Christie had done her best to reassure the girl further, to let her know there was nothing wrong with accepting and enjoying the meal plans. Rey had seemed to grow more comfortable as time passed, and when Christie told her to use her new meal plan tonight, she’d said, “Yes, ma’am” with a cute little smile. It made Christie smile just to think of it.
The girl had such an expressive face, with sparkling eyes and a charming little nose that scrunched up when she smiled. Christie wondered how many different ways Rey could smile.
Since there was no reason Christie couldn’t spend time with Rey, there was also no reason she couldn’t give her more gifts, was there? And if she did it in person, she might get to see another smile—one of those big, bright ones.
She should give Rey a gift at dinner.
Christie finished her workday in high spirits, plowing through reports, roughing up an outline for next year’s expenditure plan, and making a few phone calls she’d been putting off.
It would be a long week until she got to see Rey again. But at least that meant she had some time to think of a gift.
Christie got home late; she had dinner out and then went to do some preliminary window-shopping. The meal plan gift had been completely practical; Christie wanted to give Rey something frivolous next. Something fun, or something pretty. Jewelry, maybe, or a tablet, or a clutch. Tonight was exploratory; she’d look around more and narrow down her options as the week progressed.
By the time she made it home, it had been pitch-black outside for hours. She deposited her laptop bag on the sofa and moved to her bedroom to get into some snuggly pajamas.
The box on her nightstand caught her eye, and her activities over the past week came rushing back. She’d not only kept the lingerie for too long, but she’d also touched herself to the thought of it, of how it looked on Rey. Perhaps she should move it out of this room, so she wouldn’t be inspired to have any more inappropriate thoughts.
Was it terrible to have inappropriate thoughts? As long as she didn’t act on them?
Rey was gorgeous, after all. It was only natural to notice that, to think about it. It didn’t mean Christie didn’t respect her, or couldn’t help her.
Christie ran her hands down her blue sheath dress, smoothing over the swells of her breasts and hips. She kicked off her silver heels and fell back on the bed, propping one leg up by the foot and leaving the other lying straight. The dress stretched open between her legs; she curled her fingers under the hem and tugged it slowly up her thighs, just enough to give her access to her panties. Christie slid her hand inside them and rubbed lightly over the outside of her pussy, closing her eyes.
She looked good today, she knew. The dress hugged her curves and its color complemented her skin and brought out her eyes. It wasn’t an inappropriate look for work, but it did catch people’s attention. Christie dipped a finger between her folds and imagined that she’d caught Rey’s attention, that Rey had wanted to touch her the way she wanted to touch Rey.
She was wetter than she’d expected to be. Christie closed her eyes and imagined Rey straddling her, wearing that lingerie, reaching back to gently finger Christie’s cunt as she toyed with her bralette with her other hand. “Show me your breasts,” Christie said, and imaginary Rey tugged the straps of the bralette off her shoulders slowly, one after the other. The cups fell away to reveal that her dark nipples were stiff with arousal.
If Rey were here, Christie would reach up and tease those nipples, brush and tweak them lightly. Rey would gasp and her face would go pink, and her hand would falter between Christie’s legs. “Did I say you could stop?” Christie said aloud, and then she worked her hand against herself harder, because Rey would redouble her efforts, work to please her. “That’s a good girl,” Christie said. She would reward Rey by sliding one hand into the girl’s panties, letting Rey buck against her fingers. “But don’t come,” she said. “You know who gets to come first.”
Yes, ma’am, Rey would whimper. You, ma’am.
“Good girl,” Christie said—and all of a sudden she was coming, gasping with surprise as her body stiffened and her legs shuddered. She’d barely even touched her clit.
It took a moment to catch her breath. When she did, she carefully withdrew her sticky hand from her panties, trying not to get any of the wetness on her dress. If Rey were here, would she lick Christie’s fingers clean?
Christie let out a sigh and thumped her head back against the bed. So much for avoiding inappropriate thoughts.
She slept fitfully and woke still feeling tired. She couldn’t remember her dreams, but she thought Rey had probably featured. Her hand was down her pajama bottoms before she was even fully awake; she got herself off quickly so she could focus on starting her day.
The morning at work passed slowly. Christie’s productivity the previous day had left her without much to do as she waited on others for responses. She went through old projects and discarded ideas, looking for something to sink her teeth into, but nothing seemed particularly pressing or useful. She felt restless.
Without much to focus on, Christie’s mind wandered to the meeting she’d had with Rey yesterday in this office. Rey had been so sweet, so nervous. Christie was glad she’d been able to calm her down and make her feel better about accepting the meal plan gift.
She found herself wondering if Rey had posted a picture of last night’s dinner to her Instagram. Rey did sometimes post staged photos of her food. Christie was curious to see how Rey had used the gift for the first time. What had Rey enjoyed, free from worry about price?
When she pulled up Rey’s account, there was finally a new post after a week of nothing. The post had multiple photos, and the first one that came up was one of her signature group selfies. Rey was on the right side, apparently holding the phone to take the picture. To her left was a girl who appeared to be about her age, with Latin features, tanned skin and dark hair. Next was a man perhaps ten years their senior; he looked a lot like the dark-haired girl, so perhaps he was her brother. His arm was wrapped around the shoulders of a black man with his hair in stylish braids. On the left of the two men were two young Asian women who might be sisters. Everyone in the group was smiling; Rey’s smile was so wide and carefree that it made Christie’s heart skip a beat.
Christie swiped to the next photo in the set; it turned out to be a wide shot of a table with an enormous pizza in the middle. She swiped again, and there was a plate with a huge single slice on it. Then there were a couple candid shots of her friends around the table. Pizza time! read Rey’s caption, along with a pizza emoji and several hashtags.
Christie flicked back through the photos, feeling strangely hollow. This pizza place was not a campus dining facility. It was a restaurant, with menus and servers and pop Americana decor. Rey couldn’t have used her meal plan to pay for this meal. She’d said she would use the meal plan last night, and then she hadn’t done it.
It shouldn’t matter. It didn’t matter. Christie closed the Instagram app and locked her phone. It was silly to look. Rey would use the meal plan eventually. She’d probably use it today. It was fine that she didn’t use it last night.
Even though Christie had asked her to.
Christie shook her head. Rey didn’t owe her anything; that was the whole point. She didn’t have to do what Christie said. All she had to do was work hard and learn what she needed to succeed as an engineer.
Work dragged on and on. Christie forced herself not to look at Instagram again, tried not to obsess about something that didn’t matter in the slightest.
The box was the first thing Christie saw when she got home. She’d left it sitting in the middle of the coffee table, waiting to be returned to Rey on Saturday. Christie frowned at it, then picked it up and stalked to the bedroom, dropping her bag and coat on the sofa on her way.
She opened the box and pulled out the lingerie, laying it out on the bed. She could feel her pulse quickening. “You disobeyed me, Rey,” she said in a low murmur. “I’m not pleased.”
If Rey were here, wearing the lingerie, lying on Christie’s bed right now, what would her reaction be? Would she smile slyly? Would she ask, What are you going to do, ma’am? Spank me? like a brat, knowing what she’d done?
Christie should spank her. Rey had very clearly said Yes, ma’am, and then she’d disobeyed.
“You deserve it,” Christie said aloud. “You deserve a good spanking.” She turned down her comforter and pulled out a pillow, folding it in half to tighten the fabric across the fill. Then she reared back and smacked it as hard as she could.
It was just a pillow. It was soft and offered very little resistance. Hitting it wasn’t anything like how it would feel to spank Rey’s pert little ass. Christie sighed and smacked her own thigh instead, imagining it was Rey’s flesh beneath her hand.
She wondered if Rey would yelp, if she’d squirm. Christie sat down and held the pillow in her lap, pretending Rey was bent over her knees. “Hold still,” she said sternly, “and take your punishment like a good girl.”
Would Rey submit, or would she struggle? How many strikes would it take to wring out an apology?
Christie smacked her thigh again a few times, then took to hitting the bed beside her instead. After awhile her hand started to sting in a satisfying way. Rey’s little ass would be so pink at this point. I’m sorry, ma’am, she’d whisper finally. Christie would caress her abused bottom, pat it gently to make her whimper. “Good girl,” she said aloud. “You’re forgiven.”
Christie lay back on her bed and stared at the ceiling, her panties halfway down her thighs and her fingers covered in her own come. This was getting out of hand. Obviously she had some feelings of entitlement she needed to deal with where Rey was concerned. Rey was not hers, and Rey had not agreed to follow Christie’s commands or accept punishment when she didn’t. The girl had been looking for a certain kind of companionship, but she’d never said anything about playing that sort of game.
And regardless, Christie wasn’t actually going to do any of it, was she? She was too old for Rey. It was inappropriate. Everything Christie had been thinking was inappropriate.
Perhaps continuing to see her was too dangerous, if she was going to get this worked up over a single innocuous choice on Rey’s part.
Sighing, she rolled off the bed and went to wash her hands.
Perhaps she should cancel Saturday.
Rey uses her new meal plan.
The first time Rey used her new meal options, she went a little overboard.
In her defense, she’d missed breakfast and it was now well past lunchtime. Pizza-and-study night with her friends had lasted into early morning. After pitifully few hours of sleep, she’d barely awakened in time to get to her first class, and after that she’d had another class and a study group. By the time she had a free hour, she was absolutely ravenous.
Still, she felt a little ridiculous as she scraped the last bit out of her second bowl of frozen yogurt. Empty plastic bowls and plates were stacked high on the table in front of her; the rest of the surface was covered in wadded-up napkins and a nearly empty cup of fountain soda.
She’d tried everything.
The dining plan provided her with a set number of meals to use during fall term. At each meal, she could eat as much as she wanted. And so for her first meal, she’d gone to John Jay Dining Hall—it was the most like a cafeteria and therefore had the most options. She’d grabbed as many plates as she could carry, cleared them, and gone back for more. And then she’d done that a couple more times.
It had been amazing. Rey had never eaten that much at once in her entire life.
Now, though, she was done.
She was so full. She wasn’t actually sure she was going to be able to move. She was going to spend Dr. Skywalker’s lecture in a food coma.
It had been worth it, though. (And at least she’d finished the worksheet last night.)
There was a little time left before she had to head across campus to materials class, so she decided to rest a bit before trying to get up. Rey slumped back in her chair and held her stomach, letting out a long, satisfied sigh.
After a few minutes, watching other students mill about the cafeteria and thinking about how wonderfully stuffed she was got a little boring. Rey pulled out her phone and opened Instagram. Her feed was full of new photos from her friends and NASA and New York City hotspots she hoped one day to visit. All the fancy restaurant fare didn’t look any less delicious on a full stomach. She scrolled and liked until she ran out of new things to look at.
Then she tapped into her Activity Feed. The pictures from VT’s had racked up quite a few likes. Rey expanded the notification to see the list of usernames. Finn, Poe, Bebe, Rose, and Paige had all liked the post. VT’s Instagram account had also liked it, which was amusing but not surprising. Then there were a few accounts she didn’t recognize; this tended to happen when she tagged locations. One of them seemed to be a gym, and Rey let out a snort. Now that was a way to advertise.
She scanned the rest of the list briefly, already thinking about clicking back to check the notifications on older posts, when another username caught her eye. She stopped, blinked, and looked again. No, she wasn’t seeing things. Right there in the list of people who’d liked her pizza pictures was clannisterfo.
Christie had looked at her Instagram.
Rey wanted to jump up on the table and yell. Christie had looked at her Instagram! Christie had invited her to dinner and she had found her online.
Christie did like her.
Rey tapped into Christie’s profile. She’d found it before, when she first researched Christie. The account was as she remembered it; Christie seemed to only use it for professional posts about First Order’s recent acquisitions and sales. When Rey had first discovered the account, she’d scrolled all the way to the end without finding anything personal, though there were a couple of photos of Christie taken at fancy events. Checking again now, there was still nothing that revealed anything about Christie’s life. It was a little disappointing.
Maybe Rey could convince Christie to make a private Instagram, a place to share something real. Maybe it would be a place just for them. Maybe...maybe they could share photos privately.
Rey felt her pulse pick up. What if Christie did make a private Instagram, or a Snapchat or something? They could share anything. Anything. Rey’s mind flashed back to that night in Christie’s apartment, when Christie had stood there and let Rey open her slinky red robe. Christie was so fucking gorgeous—amazing breasts, impossibly long legs, milky-smooth skin—and with only a bra and panties under her robe, Rey had gotten to see so much. She’d even touched her, put her hands on Christie’s soft hips.
Rey wanted to see her again, to touch her again. To see and touch more.
She took a long breath and attempted to settle herself. Christie had only just asked her out, and she’d been consistently skittish about deepening their relationship. Rey couldn’t expect anything to happen right away. She had to be patient.
To distract herself from the insistent throbbing between her legs, Rey tapped over to her own Instagram profile to see if Christie had liked any of her other recent posts. Oh, yeah. The last thing she’d posted before the pizza place had been the outfit she wore to meet Christie. That had been over a week before.
Rey was wearing the lingerie in that picture...not that you could see it. But she wondered if Christie had liked that post anyway. When she checked the notes, though, clannisterfo wasn’t there.
Rey looked at several other older posts, and Christie hadn’t liked any of them either. It made her wonder if the like on the latest post had been an accident. That would make sense; Christie likely wouldn’t want to associate her professional account with Rey’s personal one.
Still. Now Rey knew that Christie was looking. Which meant…
Rey switched to the camera and took a few pictures of the devastation she’d wrought on the table before her. It was a bit of a challenge to make dirty plates look artsy, but she played around with focus and composition until they looked more interesting than gross. Then she took a selfie with a big grin on her face.
She thought about the caption for a moment, considering what would be the most discreet way to let Christie know the pictures were for her...but ultimately she went with her first instinct, which was to write a simple THANK YOU!!! :) with no tags.
Rey posted the photoset and closed Instagram, sliding her phone in her pocket and grabbing her backpack. Her enormous lunch had settled, and her heart was soaring. She cleaned up her dishes, tossed her napkins, and practically skipped out the door to head to Dr. Skywalker’s lecture.
It was going to be a great evening. And Saturday was coming up soon.
When her day at the Interdisciplinary Science Building finally wrapped up, Rey strolled down Broadway to grab a light dinner at Ferris Booth Commons. She was eating for free again, thanks to Christie, so she didn’t pay attention to which options were the cheapest. Instead, she just picked what looked the most interesting: fish tacos, which she’d never had before.
Not having to worry about cost was incredibly freeing. She didn’t have to do math in her head. She didn’t have to skip what she wanted and eat something bland instead. Rey bit down into her fish taco and the explosion of flavor was almost orgasmic. Her eyes fluttered closed and she let out a quiet hum of pleasure.
In her pocket, her phone buzzed. She took another bite before checking it, because the taco was just that delicious. Then she wiped her hands and slid her phone out of her pocket.
The notification screen showed a text message from a number she didn’t recognize. She frowned, assuming it was spam, but then she registered what the message actually said.
I’m so glad you enjoyed your meal. Thank you for sharing the photos. I thought it would be best to respond privately.
Rey’s heart skipped a beat. She unlocked her phone as fast as her fingers would move.
Thank you again, she typed. Everything was so good.
An ellipsis indicated Christie was typing. I’m glad, came the swift response.
Rey quickly wrote back, I was so hungry I didn’t think to take any pictures beforehand. Then she remembered her fish tacos, which were still mostly intact. Exiting out of her texts, Rey opened her camera and took a few shots. The tacos were far more photogenic than the dirty plates had been, and she was able to make them look almost gourmet. When she was done with that, she picked one up and took a selfie while taking a bite.
Her phone had buzzed once while she was taking the pictures. Back in the texts, she found that Christie had responded, Please take care of yourself.
Rey felt her entire body going warm. She couldn’t stop smiling. I am, she wrote back, and sent over the pictures she’d taken.
There was a longer pause this time, long enough that Rey wondered if she’d made a mistake somehow. She opened her camera roll and swiped through the pictures. Nothing seemed particularly strange about them.
Finally her phone buzzed again. Rey sucked in a breath. Christie had written, Good girl.
Christie has dinner with her oldest friend, from whom she receives some very self-indulgent advice.
There's a...not so much a content warning as a theme warning in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Christie locked her phone and crammed it into her bag. She couldn’t believe what she’d just done. It had been her first instinct, upon seeing that Rey was being smart and not skipping or putting off dinner.
More specifically, it had been her first instinct upon seeing that last picture, of Rey with her mouth around a taco.
Christie had taken a moment to consider her response. She was pleased that Rey was using the meal plans. She was pleased that Rey was feeding herself properly. She wanted to express that. But all she could think of was her first reaction. She’d already said I’m glad twice. Perhaps she just shouldn’t say anything? Let the conversation end there?
But Rey deserved a response. She’d taken those pictures specifically for Christie. Christie had to say something.
And so she’d done it. She’d said exactly what she’d wanted to. Exactly what she shouldn’t.
She’d told Rey, Good girl.
“What were you looking at? Pornography?”
Christie looked up, startled, to see that her dinner companion had arrived. Armitage Hux, chair of First Order’s board of directors and Christie’s close friend of nearly fifteen years, cocked a copper eyebrow at her as he sat down on the adjacent stool. “I rarely see you flustered, Chris,” Armitage clarified. His gray-green eyes turned keen. “Are you in some sort of trouble?”
Yes, Christie wanted to say. Yes I am. “No,” she said. “Just a personal issue.”
Armitage pursed his lips, making his razor-sharp cheekbones stand out even more. If he weren’t so, well, Armitage, he might have made a good showing as a model. “Your brother?” he guessed.
Christie hadn’t heard from Kell in months. They rarely spoke, and he never came to New York. He was as convenient an excuse as Christie could hope for. “Yes,” she said.
“Sorry,” Armitage said, as sympathetically as he got. “Let’s talk about something else.”
The bartender came by for Armitage’s drink order, then left them alone with the menu. They were trying a new place tonight, dipping their toes in at the tapas bar instead of committing to the full dinner experience. Armitage, as usual, selected the most pedestrian-sounding plates: a simple vegetable soup and a trio of sliders. Christie couldn’t help but contrast his order to what Rey might select off this menu. The girl seemed to have a true appreciation for food; she surely wouldn’t go for the safe, familiar options.
Settling in to wait for her amberjack crudo and seaweed salad, Christie nudged Armitage with her elbow. “So? Any new developments I should be aware of?”
“What?” Armitage asked, looking perplexed.
“That guy you were seeing,” Christie reminded him. “How are things going?”
“Oh.” Armitage rolled his eyes. “We’re done.”
“So soon? How long were you together?”
“A couple weeks, I suppose,” Armitage said, voice flat. “He wasn’t what I was looking for at all.”
Armitage’s acerbic personality was something of an acquired taste. He liked to have things his way. He was also a workaholic, serving on a handful of other boards as well as occupying a top post at Arkanis Dynamics. Christie hoped that someday, someone would be able to both appreciate him and keep up with him. “I’m sorry to hear that, Arms,” she said, keeping her commentary to herself.
“I’m getting desperate, Chris,” Armitage said. “Do you know what I’ve done? I’ve gone and posted an ad on Curious Liaisons.”
Christie’s heartbeat stuttered. “You have?” she asked in as neutral a voice as she could manage.
“Yes. Don’t go looking for it, please; it’s embarrassing enough to admit I’ve even done it.”
“All right,” Christie promised, relieved that Armitage hadn’t seemed to notice her reaction. “But it’s not that desperate of a thing to do,” she told him. “It’s hard for working professionals to meet someone.”
Armitage hmm ed into his glass.
“I hope it pans out for you.”
“It would be nice for something to go well,” Armitage said. “Especially given how things are going at Arkanis.”
A server arrived with their small plates, and Christie waited to respond until he’d bustled away. “Has something happened?”
“Just the same shit,” Armitage sniffed, picking up his spoon. “The old man keeps giving my resources to Ren. He’s set my project back more times than I can count.”
“Ugh,” Christie said.
“Now would be a great time for you to tell me you’ve acquired a cursed amulet that could somehow find its way into Ren’s possession.” Armitage almost looked serious.
Christie had to laugh. “Sorry to disappoint you.”
Dourly, Armitage stirred his soup. “How are things at First Order?”
As chair of the board, Armitage knew exactly how things were at First Order, but Christie humored him. “Most of the buyers are back. We’ve made almost all our acquisitions for the winter show. The app needs more testing, but it should be ready to launch well before then.”
“Put me on the list for testing,” Armitage said.
Christie quirked an eyebrow at him. “All right,” she said, “but I know how you are, Arms. I’m sure you’ll think of plenty of wonderful enhancements, but we can’t cram new features in right before launch. Just keep notes for a future release. Right now, we’re just looking for bugs and egregious UX issues.”
Armitage gave her a wry smile. “Fine,” he sighed melodramatically. “Can I help it that I’m a visionary?”
“It’s part of why you’re where you are,” Christie had to admit.
Scoffing, Armitage took a bite of soup. “Trapped in competition with Snoke’s misguided protege?”
Christie smacked him lightly on the arm. “President of one of the largest engineering firms in the country.” She patted his arm where she’d smacked it. “You’ve already accomplished great things, and you’re just going to keep doing that, Kylo Ren or no Kylo Ren.”
Armitage’s naturally severe face seemed to relax a little. “You’re right.”
“And who knows? Maybe you’ll meet the love of your life on Curious Liaisons.”
It was Armitage’s turn to swat Christie on the arm. “Maybe,” he snorted.
They lapsed into a comfortable silence as they finished their meals. It was nice just to be out with Armitage; they’d known each other long enough that it wasn’t necessary to be in conversation at all times. When they finally rose from their stools to part ways for the night, Christie thought that Armitage seemed in better spirits than he’d been when he arrived, and she was glad for it. He was one of her best friends.
He was one of her best friends, but she’d lied to him. Just like she’d lied to Kate. But Armitage had shared his own embarrassment with Christie, perfectly confident in her discretion. And they’d known each other for so long. Maybe it was safe to tell him.
She wanted to tell him.
“Arms,” Christie said, brushing down the front of her skirt to flatten the wrinkles from sitting for so long.
“Yes?” Armitage said. He was already a step away; he stopped and glanced over his shoulder.
“I—I met someone,” Christie said.
Armitage turned back to fully face her. “Well! I’m not sure why you saved the most interesting information for the very end of the evening,” he said, giving her a look. “Who is she? How long have you been seeing her?”
“Oh,” Christie said. “I mean—wait. It’s not...” She trailed off.
“It’s not what?” Armitage cocked his head to the side.
“Let’s walk,” Christie said.
They moved to the coat rack and retrieved their coats and scarves, bundling up before heading out into the crisp night air. They walked about a block before Armitage impatiently prompted, “So?”
Christie drew a breath, the cold filling her lungs, and started at the beginning. “Kate showed me a listing on Curious Liaisons. I answered it.”
“Chris,” Armitage chided her. “You might’ve said that earlier, when I was dying of embarrassment.”
“It’s worse than that.” Christie stopped walking.
Armitage stopped too, putting gloved hands on his hips. “What’s so terrible?” he asked, his breath a wispy cloud in the freezing air. “She’s not Kylo Ren’s sister, is she?”
Christie let out a surprised laugh. “No.”
“Then what’s the problem?”
“She’s…” Christie steadied herself. “She’s much younger than I am.”
Armitage said nothing. Christie couldn’t read his face. She was about to implore him to respond when finally he asked, “How much younger?”
Christie glanced away, hugging her elbows. “Nineteen years.”
“So she’s nineteen, then,” Armitage said.
Christie nodded, still not looking at him. This was good. Armitage would help her. He’d admonish her, tell her such a relationship was totally inappropriate. Then maybe she could stop all this.
But what Armitage said was, “What’s the problem?”
Christie finally met his eyes. His face was still impassive. “Nineteen,” she said, and couldn’t quite continue.
“Yes?” Armitage prodded.
Biting her lip, Christie took another deep breath. “It’s wrong,” she ventured.
Armitage shrugged. “She’s of age,” he said, and Christie blinked, startled. “She’s an adult. She can make her own decisions.”
“I’m old enough to be her mother,” Christie said.
“But you’re not her mother. You’re a hot, well-off, powerful woman. No surprise that she’s attracted to you.”
“But,” Christie started, then stopped, not sure of how to say it. “I like that she’s younger. I like the idea of...taking care of her. I...I paid for her meals for the entire semester.”
Armitage’s face broke out in a rare grin. Normally his smiles were tight-lipped, reserved, but this one stretched across his entire face, showing his teeth. “Chris!” he said in a conspiratorial whisper, sounding delighted. “Are you telling me that you’re a sugar mama?”
Christie’s mouth opened, then shut. It was deathly cold out but somehow she felt even colder, ice sluicing through her veins.
“That’s fantastic,” Armitage said, oblivious. He thumped her on the arm. “You must be having so much fun.”
No, I feel terrible, was her instinctive response. But she was thinking about Rey’s smile, about how happy Rey was after their meeting at Christie’s office, about Rey’s photographs, about choosing a present to give Rey on Saturday. She felt instantly warmer. A smile tugged at her lips despite herself. “She’s wonderful,” Christie said. “She’s...she’s perfect.”
“Well,” Armitage said, “I’m totally jealous now.”
“But what?” Armitage cut in, and now he sounded slightly irritated.
“I don’t want to take advantage of her.”
“Oh, for Christ’s sake.” Armitage crossed his arms. “You’ve got something good. Don’t sabotage yourself. Let me tell you, if the tall, dark, and handsome pet of my dreams appeared kneeling at my feet, I wouldn’t turn him away.”
Christie belatedly remembered that back before any of this, she’d joked with both Kate and Armitage about wanting a beautiful young woman to spoil. It had always seemed like an impossible fantasy, like something that could never really happen.
“You’ve wanted this for a long time,” Armitage said, confirming that he remembered too. “And now you’ve actually got it. Just enjoy it.”
Christie thought of Rey’s proclamation, forever seared in her mind: I don’t need you. I want you. There’s a difference.
“She’s an adult,” Christie said, repeating Armitage’s earlier words. “She can make her own decisions.”
“Exactly.” Armitage rubbed his arms briskly. “It’s too cold to keep standing out here. I’ll see you at the board meeting on Friday.”
“All right,” Christie said, a bit dazedly. “Good night, Arms.”
Armitage gave her a short salute and one of his standard tight-lipped smiles, then marched off, hunching his hands into his pockets. Christie watched him until he’d rounded the corner.
Once Armitage was out of sight, Christie pulled out her phone to check for texts. She hadn’t looked since she’d praised Rey for eating dinner. Her heartbeat picked up; Rey had responded.
Thank you, ma’am. I’m looking forward to Saturday.
Christie stowed her phone and set off toward her apartment. Rey was wonderful and perfect. As Christie had concluded several times before, she deserved the world. And Christie had the opportunity to give it to her.
But if she was going to do it—was she really going to do this?—one thing was absolutely certain. She had to do it right.
Thematic content note: Armitage doesn't see anything wrong with Christie being a sugar mama, and he encourages her to indulge in her fantasy. He doesn't consider the potential implications; in his mind, Christie wants it, and therefore she should enjoy it. He is perhaps not the best person to turn to for advice. (But don't worry; this story is very indulgent and meant to be fun, so there won't be any life-altering negative effects from Christie and Rey's relationship.)
Rey receives some homework from Christie.
Thursday morning, Rey woke up to find a text message from Christie.
Good morning, Rey. Please check your email at your earliest convenience.
A shivery thrill of anticipation shot through her. She opened mail on her phone immediately, and there at the top was a message from Christie, from the same personal email account she’d used to email about the meal plans.
Please follow the instructions at the link below to set up encryption for your email. When you have done so, reply to this message with encryption enabled.
After the link, Christie had signed off with her full name and nothing else.
Rey blinked at the terse message. It was so cold compared to the text messages from last night. But she did as requested, clicking on the link and following the instructions to add an S/MIME certificate to her email account.
By the time she was finished, she was feeling more awake, enough to really think about what Christie had asked her to do. Encryption meant their emails to each other would not be readable to anyone but the two of them. That meant that Christie wanted them to be able to send each other sensitive material.
She felt herself warming between her legs, and she slid a hand down between them to cup herself through her panties.
Done, she typed with her other hand, and then she turned on the Encrypt option and hit Send.
Christie emailed back almost immediately. Is that how you address me, Rey?
Rey gasped, her pussy throbbing beneath her hand. She pulled her hand reluctantly away to type a more polite response with both thumbs. No, ma’am, she wrote. I apologize. I’m finished setting up encryption, ma’am.
Good girl, Christie replied. I’ve attached a document I would like you to fill out before Saturday. Please email me with any questions you may have about it, and email the completed document back to me as soon as possible. From now on, always use encryption when emailing me.
Rey could hardly wait to open the document, but she knew what she had to do first. Yes, ma’am, she emailed back.
She probably wouldn’t be able to fill out the document using her phone, so Rey reached over the side of her bed and grabbed her laptop. While it booted up, she considered how much time she had before class. If she skipped her shower and breakfast, she’d have over an hour to work on the document.
Christie might not like hearing that she’d skipped breakfast, though. Rey wanted to do what Christie wanted.
All right, so she wouldn’t skip breakfast. Rey sniffed at her armpit and frowned. She might not want to skip the shower, either.
Huffing in frustration, Rey resigned herself to just reading the document over for now and filling it out later.
Her ancient laptop’s operating system finally loaded, and Rey logged in as fast as she could. Then she opened her email...but of course Christie’s message was unreadable, with an encrypted attachment that wouldn’t open. Rey would need to get the certificate onto her laptop too.
She barely had time to google instructions for copying an S/MIME certificate to another device when Bebe came knocking on her door. “Rey! Are you taking a shower today? You’re usually in there by now. I gotta wash my hair.”
“Yeah!” Rey called back, slamming her laptop shut. “Running late. I’ll hurry. Thank you!”
The mysterious document would just have to wait.
Rey had an absolutely incredible made-to-order omelet for breakfast, stuffed with veggies and three different kinds of cheese. She took before and after photos of it and texted them to Christie before hurrying out of John Jay Dining Hall to get to class across campus.
She had two morning classes every weekday, and on Tuesdays she had labs in the afternoon, but she’d purposefully left Thursday afternoons open for catching up on whatever she needed to. Normally, that would be homework, data entry for Uncle P, studying, or sleep. Today, it would be Christie’s document. Just as soon as her classes were over.
Rey did her best to pay attention in class, to take good notes, to participate, but she couldn’t stop thinking about the file waiting in her email. What sorts of questions did Christie have for her? Did she want Rey’s measurements, maybe? To know her favorite colors? Rey flushed, imagining Christie presenting her with silky, deep green negligee.
She should probably calm down. She had no reason to believe Christie wanted to buy her anything, no reason to believe Christie was reconsidering their relationship at all. All Christie was doing was...setting up encrypted communications and sending Rey a questionnaire.
No, that definitely wasn’t normal. Something was going on.
It was the height of crass to look at your phone while class was in session, but Rey pulled hers out anyway. She had to know. She’d just take a peek at the document...
The screen came to life with a text from Christie: I’m pleased to see you eating well. Keep it up, so you can do your best work in class.
Guiltily, Rey locked her screen and put her phone away.
When class was over, Rey was the first one out the door. She barreled down the hallway, down the stairs, and out the door, gasping at the cold as she hurtled away from Schermerhorn Hall and down Amsterdam Avenue.
John Jay was on the other side of campus; if she went there, she’d have to go past her dorm, plus she’d have to eat there. Today, Rey wanted to get back to her room as quickly as possible. She diverted across Amsterdam and charged into the law school building, taking the stairs two at a time to get to Lenfest Cafe. She had dining dollars she could use there, and she could get her meal to go.
Not in the mood to deliberate, Rey grabbed a pre-packaged deli sandwich that looked decent, a bag of pretzels, and a Sprite, and then she stood bouncing on the balls of her feet until she got through the checkout line. Once her lunch was paid for and safely stowed in her backpack she was off again like a shot, out of the cafe and down the stairs and back across Amsterdam to get to Hartley Hall.
The stairs were not her friend today; she was huffing by the time she got to the eighth floor. She’d thought it would be faster than the elevator, but now she wasn’t sure it had been worth it. Regardless, she was home now; she breezed through the kitchen, past the deserted lounge and unoccupied bathroom and straight into her single.
Still sucking in air, Rey flung her backpack on her bed and unpacked everything: her food, her laptop, her books and notebooks. She piled everything school-related at the foot of the bed. Then she settled in at the head, legs crossed, with her pillow behind her back and her laptop and lunch in front of her.
First she needed to get the encryption set up on her computer email. This took far longer than she’d hoped. It seemed most people set it up on their computer first and then put it on their phones, so most of the tutorial websites she found were of no use. By the time she finally got it working she had stress-eaten all of her lunch and guzzled the Sprite.
Food gone and email encryption ready, she took a moment and tried to calm herself down. Now, finally, finally, she could open Christie’s document and answer her questions.
Rey held her breath, double-clicked the file—and immediately let out an excited screech.
PRELIMINARY INTEREST AND CONSENT DOCUMENT
Your ad on Curious Liaisons indicated that you were looking for a companion who would act as your patron and guide to the world of fine dining and travel. Your offer in return was “whatever you might wish me to be,” which is quite a broad statement. The purpose of this document is to establish the exact terms of this arrangement.
First, please indicate your continued interest by typing “I am interested” below this line. If you are no longer interested, please type “I am not interested” and stop here. Otherwise, please continue filling out the form.
Rey immediately typed I am interested in the blank space Christie had left. Then she moved on to the next paragraph.
Next, please indicate with an X which of the general items below interest you. Please note that an indication of interest will not be taken as consent. Please also note that even if consent is given, it may be rescinded at any time for any reason, with no repercussions. More specific terms will be negotiated in person.
Rey scanned down the list, heart pounding.
- Receiving gifts
- Attending auctions, parties, fundraisers, and other events
- Dining out at restaurants
- Traveling across the country
- Traveling around the world
She felt dizzy. This was what she’d dreamed of: to be doted on, to be treated like a princess. It was all the impossible things she’d imagined. It was more than that. It was everything she wanted.
Rey kept reading, heart in her throat.
- Reporting in throughout the day
This was the first item that read as a request or requirement rather than something Rey would be given. She wondered what sort of reports Christie wanted.
- Following orders
Rey’s heart gave a pronounced throb, and an echoing throb pulsed between her legs. Perhaps she’d be reporting in whenever she did what Christie asked.
Then she read the final item.
- Sexual activities
Rey gasped aloud. She read the bullet point again, and again. She could barely believe it was there. She hadn’t even dared to hope.
There was another paragraph after the list.
Again, more specific terms will be negotiated in person. An indication of interest in a general category does not indicate carte blanche for all possible permutations.
Please complete and return this form as soon as possible, so that a discussion might take place on Saturday.
Rey collapsed flat on her bed, panting for breath, her “class of” T-shirt rucked up over her breast and her bra yanked down, one hand pinching her peaked nipple. The fingers of her other hand, crammed into her jeans and panties, stroked up and down between her slick folds, and her thighs trembled with aftershocks.
She’d come impossibly hard just at the thought of Christie telling her to. She’d barely had to touch herself at all.
“Fuck,” Rey gasped softly. She kept rubbing herself, sliding her fingers up to circle around her clit—and then she suddenly came again. “Fuck.” Her whole body was shuddering now.
She rolled her head to the side, looking to where she’d left her laptop open on the bed after saving the document and emailing it back to Christie. It still filled the screen, an X beside every single item. Rey gazed at it, reading the Sexual activities line over and over, slipping her fingers lazily down to her entrance and pushing two inside as far as she could manage.
It didn’t seem real. But it was.
Christie wanted her.
Christie was ahead on everything, so she spent her work-from-home day making preparations for Saturday. Rey didn’t send the form back immediately, which meant she was focusing on her school responsibilities, which was good...but it meant Christie had a limited idea of what might happen when she saw Rey again.
She did know, at least, that they were going to dinner, and so she made a reservation for two at Teedo’s, her favorite casual sushi restaurant. She would hopefully take Rey somewhere nicer eventually, but for now she didn’t want to put the girl in the awkward position of not having something suitable to wear.
She briefly considered taking Rey shopping first, choosing an outfit together. But Rey hadn’t agreed to anything yet, and even if she did, they had so much to talk about. She could assume nothing about how Saturday would go until Rey filled out the preliminary form.
It seemed a bit artless and impersonal to work out the details of their relationship with a questionnaire, but Christie was determined above all else not to hurt Rey, and the best way to avoid that would be to learn what she did and didn’t want as early as possible. Christie likely wouldn’t be able to anticipate every possible scenario, but she thought she’d done fairly well defining general categories. It had kept her up later than usual the previous night, and now she kept fighting back yawns.
When Rey sent her pictures of her breakfast, she managed not to respond Good girl. She wouldn’t say that again until she knew Rey liked it.
She spent the morning wondering how long it would be before Rey had a chance to fill out the form, then telling herself it was good that she hadn’t done it yet, because it showed that Rey had the right priorities. Thanks to her anticipation and lack of sleep, it was difficult to concentrate on much of anything, but Christie carried on admirably until lunch. She made herself a sandwich and ate it with yogurt and carrot sticks, and when she was done she checked her phone and her personal email again.
There was still nothing from Rey. Perhaps she’d overwhelmed the girl. Maybe she’d assumed too much about what Rey had meant in her ad. Maybe Rey was stymied, unsure how to tell a powerful older woman that she didn’t want this.
Christie closed her eyes. She needed to calm down. Rey was, as she’d reminded herself yesterday, an adult. And she was assertive. After all, she had stood here in this very apartment, told Christie she wanted her, and stripped naked. If Rey didn’t want any of the items on the form, she would say so, surely.
Rey just needed to send the form back, and then Christie would know how to proceed.
Christie forced herself not to check her personal email again until 3 o’clock. When she did, she hardly expected to find anything—Rey was probably still busy with school—so she almost didn’t believe it when she saw that there was a reply to their chain. In the body of the email, Rey had written, Here’s the form, ma’am.
The document Christie had sent to Rey was attached. Christie took a settling breath, then opened it. I am interested was the first thing she saw.
A rush of relief surged through her, more powerful than she’d expected. She dropped her gaze to the line items...and sucked in a breath. Rey had put an X next to all of them. Every single one.
Christie’s heart pumped wildly. It was everything she hadn’t dared to hope for.
She hit Reply to the email.
Thank you for your prompt response, Rey. We will discuss this further on Saturday. In the meantime, please consider whether there is anything you want that was not listed in the form.
She paused, then added: Do you like being called a good girl?
Rey responded to her email quickly, as though she had been waiting for it. I love it, if I have been good, ma’am.
Christie sucked on her lower lip. And if you haven’t?
I would want to be punished, ma’am.
Christie squeezed her knees together. That is intriguing to hear. We will definitely talk more about this on Saturday.
Saturday couldn’t come soon enough. Friday’s board meeting was a welcome distraction, but after that the rest of the day stretched interminably. The high points were the texts from Rey; the girl sent a photo of every meal, usually accompanied by a selfie. The low points were the moments when Christie didn’t have anything to focus on; time seemed to slow down then, making the next day seem even further away.
Christie didn’t usually work out much, as walking everywhere she went kept her decently in shape, but Friday night she was so restless she put on a sports bra and a pair of leggings and headed up to her building’s rooftop gym. She cycled and lifted weights and looked out over the city and thought about the fact that tomorrow, she would be out at dinner with Rey. Tomorrow, they would discuss more detailed terms for their relationship.
She and Rey had a relationship.
They had so much to talk about—so much to figure out—but Rey wanted to be with her. Rey wanted to be something for her that Christie had only dreamed about, that she’d considered impossible. She’d never thought she could have this.
But now she did.
Christie wasn’t a buyer anymore, but she liked to spend free mornings at antique shops anyway, keeping her instincts sharp. Occasionally she’d run across a piece she’d text a buyer about; Americas buyer Petra Masters tended to stick to the US East Coast, so she was typically Christie’s choice, but sometimes Christie would contact the buyer she thought would know the most about the piece, regardless of whether they were in the country or not. Today’s surreptitious photo of an intricate textile went to Bruno Batson, expert in African artifacts.
Lunch was light, a chicken salad wrap from a bodega. As she was finishing up, her phone buzzed; Rey had texted Saving room for later! with a photo of a salad.
Cheeky, Christie texted back, smiling. Then she added, But you’re right. Tonight you can eat whatever you want.
Rey responded with a selfie in which she was giving the camera an exaggerated wink. She was absolutely gorgeous.
When Christie arrived at Teedo’s just before their agreed-upon time of 6 o’clock, Rey was already there, standing out front huddled in a coat with her hands in her pockets. She was bouncing on the balls of her feet and scanning the streets and sidewalks; when she spotted Christie, she raised one hand and waved energetically.
“Hello, Rey,” Christie said, stepping up to her. And then Rey was in her arms; she surged forward and flung her arms around Christie’s waist, and Christie returned the embrace automatically.
“Hi,” Rey said breathily, tipping her head back to meet Christie’s eyes. Her lips were so red with cold, her cheeks flushed, her eyes sparkling. She was beautiful. It was probably too soon, especially since they hadn’t discussed the timeline of their physical relationship...but Christie dipped her head and kissed her.
Rey’s mouth was a startling contrast of freezing cold on the outside and hot and welcoming on the inside, opening for Christie immediately. Christie set about warming the girl’s lips, sucking at them, sweeping her tongue between them, and Rey let out a soft squeak, pressing her body closer to Christie’s. Christie heard herself make a pleased sound, and she tightened her arms around Rey, deepening the kiss. It was electric—it was a blistering point of heat in the frozen evening—it was all she could think about. When Rey’s tongue nudged tentatively against her own, Christie hummed encouragingly into her mouth and brought one hand to the back of her neck. Then Rey’s tongue was skimming Christie’s lips, delving into her mouth in sweet kitten licks that took Christie’s breath away.
They had to break for air eventually, pulling apart just enough to pant heavily against each other’s mouths. “Do we have to eat?” Rey asked in a whisper, her fingers curling into the back of Christie’s coat. “We could just...go back to the apartment…” And her cheeks reddened even further.
“Eager girl,” Christie murmured. “We’ll get there. But we have some things to discuss before anything else happens.” She reluctantly let go of Rey, stepping back a bit but still standing close. “Let’s have dinner.”
The restaurant felt intensely hot after being outside; Christie was glad to shed her pink merino peacoat and matching scarf. She hung them up on the rack near the door, then helped Rey out of her classic black double-breasted coat, which looked to be made of polyester. At least it was probably warm.
Beneath her coat, Rey was wearing a color-blocked sheath dress in black, red, and yellow, yellow leggings, and tall black boots. Again, she managed to pull off a somewhat unconventional look. She tugged off her red knit cap to reveal that she’d styled her hair in three buns that ran vertically up the back of her head. Christie had to smile. “Why don’t you tell the hostess we’re here, Rey?” she said, because she wanted to watch her do it.
Rey grinned at her. “Yes, ma’am,” she said, and then she marched up to the hostess station. “Reservation for Lannister?”
“For two?” the hostess confirmed.
“Yes,” Rey said, glancing at Christie with a huge smile on her face.
“Right this way.”
They were led to a quiet, secluded corner booth, far enough away from the other tables that they wouldn’t hear other conversations and no one would hear theirs. Christie slipped in from one side and Rey scooted in from the other and they met at the corner. Rey’s hand found Christie’s under the table. “I’m so happy,” she whispered.
Before Christie could say anything, their server arrived, handing them this season’s one-page menu on rustic wood clipboards and asking if they knew what they’d like to drink. Christie ordered her favorite white; she was about to thoughtlessly say two glasses when Rey spoke up and said, “Just water, please.”
Of course; the girl was nineteen. Christie squeezed her hand. “Try the sencha,” she suggested. “The hot tea. It pairs quite well with sushi.”
“Okay,” Rey said, smiling at Christie and then the server. “I’ll do that.”
Then they were left alone with their menus. Christie glanced over the starters and rolls; she already knew what she wanted, but sometimes the chef came up with something new and intriguing. Sure enough, there was an autumn-themed appetizer of kabocha, yamaimo, and mushrooms, and the sushi offerings featured fish that were tastiest in fall, including smelt and yellowtail. There was also a persimmon and fig dessert alongside Christie’s guilty-pleasure taiyaki, a griddle-cooked, fish-shaped pastry filled with sweet red beans.
“Does anything look interesting?” she asked Rey. The girl was staring intently at the menu, chewing at her lower lip. “Do you have any questions?”
Rey looked up. “Everything looks interesting,” she said seriously. “Will you order for me, ma’am?”
Christie smiled and squeezed her hand again. “Of course. Do you have any dietary restrictions?”
The server reappeared just as Rey responded “None that I know of!” Christie made some quick decisions, ordering the autumn appetizer, a nigiri platter, and several different rolls to share.
“If there’s anything you don’t like,” Christie said when the server had bustled off again, “don’t feel that you must eat it. We can get you something else. Tonight is about...discovery.” Rey gazed up at her, smiling, looking as though she couldn’t possibly be happier. It was almost overwhelming. Christie wanted to kiss her again. “There are so many things I want to discover about you,” she added, and Rey blushed beautifully.
After a long moment, Christie remembered to stop simply gazing at Rey and pull out her phone, on which she’d saved a copy of the document she’d sent Rey. She pulled it up and held out her phone where both of them could see it. “Let’s go through this together,” she said.
Rey nestled in close, her shoulder and hip warm against Christie’s. Her blush deepened, and she wet her lips and squeezed Christie’s hand tighter. “Yes, ma’am,” she said, sounding breathless.
And Christie couldn’t help it; she let go of Rey’s hand to hook a finger under the girl’s chin, tip her head up toward hers, and kiss her again, long and deep.
Rey and Christie have an unconventional dinner conversation.
Rey didn’t know what to do with her hands.
Christie was kissing her, tipping Rey’s face into the kiss with a curved finger under her chin, and their hips and outer thighs were touching, and Rey wanted everything to be touching.
Dimly, Rey registered the sound of something being placed on the table, and she half-wondered if some of their food had already arrived...but then Christie’s other hand was alongside her face, cupping her cheek and then sliding back, fingertips curling behind her ear. Rey regretted not wearing her hair down; she wanted Christie’s fingers to comb through it.
She leaned into the kiss, hands balled indecisively in her lap, and through the haze of how good Christie’s lips and tongue and—and teeth felt, she thought about how she might climb into Christie’s lap without disconnecting their mouths.
Suddenly, Christie withdrew. Her hands cradled Rey’s face, thumbs rubbing over Rey’s cheekbones, and she said quietly, “Beautiful girl.”
Rey sucked in a trembling breath and opened her eyes. Christie was the beautiful one, ivory skin and brilliant blue eyes and red mouth plush from kissing. Rey decided what to do with her hands. She leaned in and wrapped her arms around Christie’s neck.
Christie’s hands slid away from Rey’s face down to her sides, passing so close to Rey’s breasts without touching them that Rey let out a whimper. Holding Rey’s waist, Christie kissed her again lightly, pulling back almost before Rey even registered the sweet touch. “Are you going to be good for me, Rey?”
Rey’s heart thumped wildly. She nodded hard. “Yes, ma’am.”
“Good,” Christie murmured. “Right now, I want you to concentrate on working out the terms of our...arrangement. No more touching or kissing until we’re done.” She let go of Rey then, gazing at her expectantly.
Reluctant, Rey pulled away, folding her hands in her lap. Their hips were still touching, so she scooched away a little. Then they weren’t touching at all, and the sudden complete lack of contact made her feel strangely cold; she shivered a bit.
“Good girl,” Christie said, her voice breaking a bit. She cleared her throat. “It’s important that we understand each other before anything happens.” Christie retrieved her phone; that was what Rey had heard being placed on the table during their kiss.
(Heat warmed Rey’s cheeks; maybe this meant Christie had wanted to enjoy the kiss so much that she hadn’t wanted any distractions. Rey certainly hadn’t wanted to think about much beyond the desire to touch and be touched that had completely suffused her.)
“Item one: receiving gifts,” Christie said, and Rey blinked, forcing herself to pay attention. “I’d like to talk about what sorts of gifts you are interested in. When we’re together, I want to handle any expenses, but that’s not quite what I mean by gifts. Are you willing to receive things like clothing and jewelry? Would that be appropriate?”
Rey opened her mouth to say that of course she would love any present, but then she closed it again, thinking. It might be strange to suddenly have fancy clothes and jewelry around the dorm. “Maybe?” she said tentatively.
Christie sat up straighter. “Tell me what you’re thinking, Rey.”
Rey twisted her hands in her lap. “Um.” Part of her wanted everyone to know that Christie had chosen to be with her. But would that look bad? Would it make Rey look like...like a gold digger?
Was Rey a gold digger?
“Rey,” Christie said again. “What is it?”
Rey squeezed her eyes shut. “I don’t want to take advantage of you,” she said. “I know I’m the one who even came up with this idea, but...” She trailed off. Nothing she could think to say sounded right. “I love...the idea?” she tried again, glancing at Christie. “But I...”
“Let me assure you of one thing, Rey,” Christie said. “You would not be taking advantage. Giving gifts makes me happy. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t want to.”
“Okay,” Rey said, still thinking about how Bebe and her other roommates would react.
“Do you believe me?” Christie asked.
“Yes,” Rey said.
“Then there’s another problem. Tell me.”
“I just...” Rey closed her eyes again. She took a deep breath, opened her eyes, stared hard at the white tablecloth, and forced it out. “If I get a bunch of new clothes and nice jewelry and stuff, then...my roommates...” She broke off, miserable. Now it sounded like she was ashamed of being with Christie.
“I see,” Christie said. Rey didn’t dare look at her. “We haven’t talked about that aspect of this situation. It’s unorthodox, and there will be people who judge it.” There was a note of worry in her voice. “We need to decide how open we want to be.”
“I wish I could just tell everyone,” Rey said, finally risking a look at Christie. Christie seemed a little surprised. “I do,” Rey said. “I’m so lucky—I still can’t believe—”
“You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to,” Christie said. “I want you to be completely comfortable. I want you to know that you can tell me anything.”
“I don’t want people to get the wrong idea, like I’m just doing this to get stuff. I mean.” Rey let out a frustrated sigh. “That is what I was planning on doing, I guess, when I posted the ad. And maybe I would have done that. With someone else.” Christie was quiet. “But I don’t want to just...have an arrangement with you,” Rey barrelled on. “I want to really be with you.”
“Rey,” Christie said softly.
Rey froze. She’d done it now. This wasn’t what they’d discussed at all. This wasn’t the arrangement she’d told Christie she was looking for. This was...
Rey had basically asked Christie to be her girlfriend.
Christie probably didn’t even want that.
“I’m sorry,” Rey said. Her eyes burned.
“Rey,” Christie said. “I never—”
“Here we are,” their server interrupted in an incongruously warm and friendly voice, depositing a series of different dishes on the table before them. “Autumn appetizer, dragon roll, spicy tuna roll, and rainbow roll. The rest is coming. Do you need anything right now?”
“I’m fine,” Christie said. “Rey, do you need more tea?”
Rey hadn’t even touched her tea. She shook her head, and the server departed with another winning smile. Rey doubted they were oblivious to the tension at the table, but they were certainly good at ignoring it.
“I’m sorry,” she said again, staring at her lap.
“There’s nothing to apologize for,” Christie said in a soft voice. “I want to know how you feel, always. I’m just...surprised.”
“Can you just ignore that? And we can...”
“Rey,” Christie said. “I don’t want this to just be a...transaction, either. I want you to be honest with me, and I’m going to be honest with you too, all right?” Rey nodded but didn’t look up. “You’re an amazing young woman. Strong and hardworking and independent. That night in my apartment, after that rainstorm—I wanted you then, and I’ve wanted you ever since.” She paused. “I have some...insecurity about our age difference.” Rey did look up at that; Christie was chewing her lips and staring fixedly at nothing. “I couldn’t imagine that you would want me, not really. And I didn’t want to—well, to take advantage of you.”
“But I do want you,” Rey whispered.
“Our situations make it difficult,” Christie said in a rush, her eyes meeting Rey’s. “I have more power than you do. It’s unequal.” Rey opened her mouth but couldn’t think of what to say. “We will have to keep that in mind always,” Christie went on, her voice firm. “I must be careful not to put pressure on you, and to think about the position I am putting you in. And you must be honest with me. You have to let me know if anything’s wrong. And you have to tell me what you want.” She squared her shoulders. “I believe this could be something wonderful. If I didn’t, I would never have sent you that form. But we can’t pretend it won’t be a lot of work. Please think about that. You can change your answers. You can change any of them at any time. You can end this at any time.”
Rey’s chest felt tight, but it was more like anticipation than fear. “You really—you like me?”
Christie let out a slightly shocked-sounding laugh. She was gazing at Rey as if Rey were the most wonderful thing she’d ever seen. “Very much,” Christie said fervently. “All of the things on the form are things I would like to do with you, but I would want to–to be with you even if you didn’t want to do any of those things. We can keep it utterly private. I can refrain from giving you gifts. We don’t have to play any games, if you don’t want. We don’t have to—” Christie glanced away, suddenly looking self-conscious. “We don’t have to have sex.”
“I want to,” Rey said quickly.
Christie looked like she was trying not to hope for anything, which made Rey want to throw her arms around her and kiss her cheek and pet her hair. She picked up Christie’s phone and scanned the list. “I want to receive gifts, and attend events with you, and go to restaurants with you, and travel with you. And I want...if you still want to, I want to do the other things. The reporting in, and following orders. And.” Her cheeks burned. “I want to have sex with you. Please. Ma’am,” she added, ducking her head.
A long moment passed. A pretty pink blush rode high on Christie’s pale cheeks, and Rey was certain her own face was blotchy red. Finally Christie drew a breath and wet her lips. “All right,” she said.
As they ate their dinner and worked their way through Christie’s list, it took all of Rey’s willpower not to fling herself at Christie, to climb into her lap or even just to grab her hand. But Christie had said no touching until they finished, and she was determined to be good.
On the topic of gifts, Christie suggested that Rey keep things like clothes, jewelry, makeup, and bags at Christie’s apartment. That way, she would have them when she needed them for attending parties and fundraisers with Christie. This made sense, and it also resolved the issue of what to do with the gifts in her dorm room. Rey saw no reason not to agree, especially when it became obvious just how much Christie was looking forward to it. “I want to dress you up,” she said in a low voice that made Rey tingle all over.
Events and restaurant meals and trips would all be worked out in advance, to fit Rey’s school schedule. Rey would provide Christie with her course list and the other times she would be unavailable, along with an academic calendar that indicated school breaks.
It became obvious that the rest of the list would need to be continually discussed. There were so many potential specific sub-items that it was impossible to predict them all, and Christie was adamant that she would not accept blanket consent. “It might not be...sexy,” Christie said, “but before we do anything new, I want to talk about it.” She paused. “And you can revoke consent for anything at any time.”
Rey nodded her assent. “We both can,” she said. Christie looked surprised again, and then she smiled so warmly Rey felt heat flooding her body.
“So. Public displays of affection,” Christie said, setting down her chopsticks and picking up her phone. “Do you like them?”
“Yes,” Rey said, reaching for a dragon roll. “But I think it depends on the situation.”
“We’ll check in every time.” Christie tapped a note into her phone. “Is there anywhere on your body that you prefer not to be touched?”
“I don’t know,” Rey said around a mouthful of roll.
“Then you must tell me if you don’t like something,” Christie said.
“You too,” Rey said, swallowing the bite.
“All right,” Christie said with a small smile. “I can tell you one thing. Please don’t bite or suck my earlobes. I don’t like it.” She glanced away.
“Okay,” Rey said, trying her best to be casual about this admission, so that Christie wouldn’t feel embarrassed. “Is there something you really like?”
“Here,” Christie said, pointing to the spot just below and behind her ear. “Kissing and...and licking. Also my inner wrists, and the backs of my knees.”
Rey was eager to see what would happen when she touched Christie in those places. She clasped her hands together tightly to keep herself from trying anything, squirming against the heat between her legs. “I don’t know if I have anything like that,” she said.
“We’ll try to find out,” Christie promised, and Rey shivered.
Dessert was a trio of pastries called taiyaki with two scoops of vanilla ice cream on the side. The taiyaki had apparently been cooked in a mold; they were shaped like short, fat fish. They were also extremely cute, and Rey said so.
“They’re filled with sweet red beans,” Christie told her. “It might be a new flavor for you, but I find them delicious. I hope you like it. If you don’t, though, we’ll get something else.”
Rey cut off a large hunk of pastry and stuffed it into her mouth, chewing experimentally, letting the soft pastry and thick filling dissolve on her tongue. It was a new flavor...an absolutely delicious one. She let out a long groan of pleasure.
“You’re being an awfully bad girl,” Christie said, and Rey looked at her in surprise, pulse picking up. But Christie was grinning—she was teasing.
Bolstered, Rey said, “I’ve obeyed you. I haven’t touched you at all, just like you said.”
“Yes, you’ve obeyed my order to the letter,” Christie agreed. “But you’ve also been making the most obscene noises, all throughout dinner.” She leaned toward Rey until their lips were almost touching. “You’re a little temptress.”
Rey took a shuddery breath. Christie’s mouth was right there, and all she had to do was push forward just the slightest bit and she could be kissing her—
She leaned back and crossed her arms. “I’m being good,” she said stubbornly.
Christie laughed. “I just wanted a little revenge,” she said.
Rey pouted. “When are we going to be done, anyway?”
Tapping her lower lip thoughtfully, Christie let out a hmm. “I suppose for now there are really only a few details we need to confirm before we can start...feeling things out, as it were.” She let out a snort at her own joke, but Rey was fixated on her words.
“What else is there?”
“Safe sex,” Christie said. “Have you had an STD screening recently?”
Rey felt the blood draining from her face. Uncle P would not be amused to see a visit to a clinic on his health insurance statement. “No,” she said.
“In that case, we will need to use protection. If you’re interested in having sex without protection, we’ll both need to be screened and cleared first.”
Rey was very interested in having sex without protection, but... “I don’t know if I can,” she said, her mind going a mile a minute. “Get screened, I mean.”
Rey hugged her elbows. “If I have a blood test or whatever, my uncle will know.”
For the first time since before they started eating, Christie touched her, laying a warm hand on her shoulder. “If this is what you want, Rey, you don’t have to go through your insurance. I’ll pay for it.”
Relief washed through her. “Are you sure?”
“Of course,” Christie said. “I want to pay for things like this.” She squeezed Rey’s shoulder. “Is this what you want?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey said.
“Then that’s what we’ll do. Once I have your schedule I’ll see about making an appointment with my gyn for you.”
Rey let go of her elbows, feeling ten times lighter. A smile tugged at her lips, so she let it blossom across her face. “Are we done with the details now?” she asked.
Christie gave her an indulgent smile. “Impatient thing. Yes, all right, we’re done.”
“Good,” Rey said, and she finally gave in to the urge to hop into Christie’s lap. She couldn’t straddle Christie in the slim dress she was wearing, so she contented herself with sitting across Christie’s legs and looping her arms around Christie’s shoulders.
Christie laughed softly and wrapped an arm around Rey’s waist, squeezing tight. Rey leaned in to kiss the special spot behind Christie’s ear, and Christie’s laugh turned into a quiet gasp.
“Ma’am?” Rey breathed against Christie’s skin, feeling brash. “Would you ever, like, maybe, want to...feed me?”
Christie reached toward the table with her free hand. She cut a piece of taiyaki with her fork and brought it to Rey’s lips without a word.
Heart pounding and heat throbbing between her legs, Rey opened her mouth.
They've worked out the details. Now, it's time to indulge.
Christie couldn’t tell if things were going too fast, too slow, or just right. The evening had started with kisses, and now she had a lapful of beautiful girl, and she was feeding that beautiful girl sweet bites of taiyaki—watching her lips close around the fork, listening to her moan in pleasure at the taste, reveling in the feeling of Rey’s warm body against her own. In the interim between the kisses and now, they’d had a good talk, gone over a lot of things...but it felt as though there was so much more to talk about. Like they’d barely scratched the surface.
It would be all right, Christie thought, as long as they kept communicating.
“Rey,” she said, waiting for the girl to finish swallowing her latest bite, “when we’re finished here, I’d like to take you home with me. Would that be all right?”
Rey let out a quiet squeal and snuggled even closer. “Yes,” she said.
“Would you like to stay the night?” Christie dared, feeling herself tense up as she awaited the answer.
“Yes,” Rey breathed, burying her face in Christie’s neck.
“Will that be all right with your schedule? Do you need to pick anything up from your dorm?”
Rey was quiet for a moment, and Christie was glad she’d asked. Finally, the girl ventured, “Could I work on homework at your apartment?”
“Then, yes,” Rey said happily. “I just need to pick up my backpack. And probably some clothes and stuff.”
“All right.” The server appeared with the check, not even raising an eyebrow at the sight of Rey curled into Christie’s lap. Christie quickly pulled a credit card out of her purse and handed it off. “Do you want more taiyaki?” she asked Rey as the server bustled off to run the card.
“Yes, please, ma’am,” Rey said.
Christie cut the last fish-shaped pastry into bites and brought them one by one to Rey’s mouth. Each time, Rey’s lips parted to accept the bite, revealing her pink tongue. Each time, Christie carefully moved the bite between Rey’s lips, watching as it entered her. Each time, Rey closed her mouth, lips pressing together around the fork, and held tight as Christie slipped the fork between them, the drag only enough to tug Rey’s lower lip out a little. Each time, Rey let out a quiet sound of pleasure, sighing through her nose and closing her eyes as she chewed and ran her tongue over her teeth and finally swallowed, her throat visibly bobbing.
Too soon, the taiyaki was gone, and the decadent game was over. Christie laid the fork down and kissed Rey gently, sucking at that sweet lower lip until Rey groaned. The server reappeared shortly after she pulled back, making Christie think they must have been waiting so as not to disturb them; she added a 50% tip to the bill and signed her name. “Let’s go.”
Christie helped Rey into her coat before pulling on her own, then took Rey’s hand and led her out to the street. The sun had set, and the chilly air was now quite cold; Rey moved in closer, snuggling up to Christie’s side, and Christie wrapped an arm around her as she raised her opposite hand to flag down a taxi.
The backseat of the cab was warm. After instructing the driver to take them to Columbia’s Hartley Hall, Christie set her hand tentatively on Rey’s knee. “Is this okay?” she murmured.
Rey leaned up against Christie and whispered back, “Yes.”
It was a matter of about ten minutes to get to Rey’s dorm. Christie stroked Rey’s knee for the duration of the ride. She was tempted to slide her hand further up Rey’s leg, perhaps even up under her skirt, but she held herself back. There would be time for that, and more, later.
When they arrived at Hartley, it turned out the entrance was on the opposite side of the building, facing campus instead of the street. The driver pulled up to the campus gate just beyond the dorm and threw on her hazard lights.
Rey kissed Christie quickly on the lips and said, “Be right back.” Then she leapt out of the cab and dashed across the street and through the gates. Christie could barely make her out angling left toward her dorm.
While they waited for Rey to return, the cabbie circled the block until she found an open spot along Amsterdam going the other way. She parallel parked with no apparent effort at all.
Rey returned faster than Christie expected, her backpack stuffed to bursting. She tumbled back into the cab and practically into Christie’s lap; Christie had to laugh. She kissed Rey briefly, then instructed the cabbie to take them to her address.
It took Rey a few minutes to catch her breath; by the time she did, they were practically there. Christie stroked Rey’s hair and brushed her thumb over her cheek and murmured, “Good girl. Sweet girl.”
Christie tipped the driver generously when they arrived, and then they were heading past Edrison and into the building. When they stepped alone into the elevator, Rey wrapped herself around Christie’s waist and looked up at her through her eyelashes. “When we were here before, after the rain?” she said. “I wanted you to kiss me.”
“Well, then,” Christie said. “I won’t let you down this time.”
“Take off your clothes,” Christie said.
When they’d arrived, Christie had instructed Rey to do her homework at the dining room table first, and Rey had diligently done so while Christie bustled around the apartment trying to keep herself busy. It took a few hours for Rey to finish; when she did, Christie led her by the hand to the bedroom, stood her in the middle of the floor, and took a seat on the bench at the foot of the bed.
“All of them, ma’am?” Rey asked coquettishly.
“The boots and leggings, to start,” Christie said as dispassionately as she could manage, crossing her legs.
Rey stooped to untie the boots, tugging them off one by one. Then she pulled the skirt of her dress up high enough that she could reach the waist of the leggings and shove them down her legs. It wasn’t particularly sexy, but Christie thrilled at the flash of Rey’s bare inner thighs.
“Line up the boots by the door, and lay out the leggings on the bed,” Christie instructed. “Then return to where you’re standing.” When Rey had obeyed, moving back to the same position and waiting for further commands, Christie took a deep breath and said, “Now the dress.”
Rey reached for her back, appearing to struggle. “I can’t get the zipper, ma’am.”
The girl had surely been able to reach the zipper when she put the dress on. Christie suspected Rey just wanted Christie to touch her. Then again, it was possible she’d had a roommate’s assistance at the dorm.
“Come here,” she said, and Rey moved to stand in front of her. “Turn around.” Rey did, slowly, cocking her hip out as she came to a stop. Christie smothered a smile and reached for the zipper.
The zip went all the way from Rey’s neck to just above her ass. Christie unzipped it slowly, unveiling more and more of Rey’s tan skin.
Rey was wearing a pink bra that clashed horribly with the red, yellow, and black ensemble. Below the smooth expanse of her back, matching panties clung to her hips and ass, the start of her crack just peeking out over the top.
“There you are, darling,” Christie said. “Now go back where I put you and step out of the dress.” Rey immediately went back to her position, and when she turned to face Christie there was a lovely flush across her cheeks and chest. “Is ‘darling’ all right?” Christie suddenly thought to ask.
“Yes,” Rey said.
Rey slipped the dress from her shoulders and let it fall to her waist, then bent to shove it over her hips and off. She straightened, holding the garment in her hands.
“Go lay it across the bed, darling,” Christie said. “Then back to your spot.”
Now Rey was wearing nothing but her pink bra and panty set. Christie took a long moment to simply look at her, admiring her slim arms and lithe body and shapely legs. “Take your hair down,” she said finally, and Rey reached up to undo her three buns, letting her straight brown hair fall to her shoulders. “Beautiful girl,” Christie murmured. “Spin for me. Slowly.”
Rey turned in a circle, giving Christie an excellent view of her ass and shoulders. When she came to a stop, she was smiling as though she knew the effect she was having on Christie.
“Cheeky,” Christie said. “Get on your knees.” Rey’s eyes widened, and Christie added, “Tell me if any of this is uncomfortable, Rey. I want you to enjoy this.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey said, and she lowered herself to the floor.
“You’re all right?” Christie pressed.
Rey smiled, looking slightly embarrassed. “I’m really all right, ma’am.”
Christie studied her for a moment. She was still flushed, and her lips were parted, and she was breathing a little more quickly. “Hands on your thighs,” Christie said, standing. “No touching. Eyes front.” She strode to just in front of Rey, then turned and moved around her as if inspecting her form. As instructed, Rey didn’t move. Christie stopped behind her, stroked her fingers down through the back of Rey’s hair, and Rey trembled a bit. “Beautiful girl,” Christie said. “So good for me,” and Rey let out a small whine.
Slipping her fingers out of Rey’s hair, Christie strode to the bed. She quickly divested herself of the blouse and slacks she’d worn to dinner, leaving only her own bra and panty set, silver satin. She settled onto the bed, propping herself up against the headboard, and spread her legs.
“Come here,” Christie said, patting the space between her thighs. When Rey started to stand up, Christie corrected, “No. Crawl.” Rey whimpered again, but she did it, crawling on all fours across the floor and then climbing up onto the bed and crawling to the spot Christie had indicated. “That’s a good girl,” Christie praised her, petting her hair. “Sit up and take off your bra.”
She’d been waiting for this, waiting to see Rey’s gorgeous little tits again, and now here they were, perky and perfect, dark nipples stiff with arousal. Christie took Rey’s nipples between her fingers, lightly squeezing them, and Rey let out a squeak. “You’re gorgeous, Rey,” Christie told her. “Absolutely beautiful. I want to see what you look like when you come.” She let go of Rey’s nipples for her next question. “Is that all right?”
Rey was trembling. She nodded frantically.
“Then come straddle my leg, darling,” Christie said, and she patted her thigh. Rey clambered over it so that her knees were propped on the bed to either side. “That’s a good girl.” Christie took Rey’s nipples between her fingers again. “Now, rub yourself off. Hump my leg until you come.”
It took Rey a moment to figure out the right movements, to find a rhythm, but then she was shifting back and forth, nearly bouncing, grinding her pussy into Christie’s leg. Christie could feel the hard nub of Rey’s clit against her, and she wanted it in her mouth. Soon, hopefully...though not tonight.
“Are you going to come for me like a good girl?” Christie asked, a bit surprised at how breathless her own voice was. She squeezed Rey’s nipples hard, and Rey squealed and shuddered, her eyes clenching shut as she bucked erratically against Christie’s leg. With her mouth open and her head flung back and her body shaking, Rey’s orgasm was the most incredible sight Christie had ever seen.
When Rey finally slumped against her, Christie pulled the girl close, sliding down the bed so that they were lying together in each other’s arms. Rey came down from her climax slowly, occasional tremors running through her even as her breathing stabilized. She clutched at Christie and let out small moans and whines that made Christie’s cunt throb. “Perfect,” Christie told her, stroking her bare back with one hand and her hip and thigh with the other. “Absolutely perfect.”
Rey couldn’t seem to form words; she responded with a long, delirious sounding hum.
“Kiss me, darling,” Christie said, and Rey did, eyes half-lidded and dreamy, and while they kissed Christie slid a hand into her own panties and massaged her slick over her clit and folds until, quite quickly, she came.
Rey and Christie continue their activities from the previous chapter.
Rey didn’t fall asleep, exactly, but she also didn’t feel quite awake. It was like she was floating, wrapped up in warmth, and there was no urgency, no next thing to hurry up and get to. She wasn’t even sure she was really thinking about anything.
Eventually she became aware of gentle fingers stroking back through her hair, combing through it, massaging her scalp, and she smiled and let out a quiet hum. Soft lips pressed against her forehead then, and she opened her eyes to see Christie pulling back to look at her.
“Are you all right?” Christie asked.
“I’m perfect,” Rey said. She was nestled close to Christie, and their legs were intertwined, and there was a blanket over them. Christie’s hair was mussed from her pillow, a halo of pale blond, and her eyes were big and beautiful. For a moment Rey wondered if she was dreaming.
“When do you normally go to bed?” Christie asked, and the practical question brought Rey back to reality a bit.
“When I’m done with my homework, usually,” Rey said. “Or when I get back from a night out.”
“You keep busy,” Christie said.
“When would you like to go to sleep tonight?” Christie asked.
“I don’t know,” Rey said. Lying here with Christie, wearing nothing but her panties, she was suddenly feeling very awake. “What time is it?”
Christie raised herself off the bed a bit to look over Rey’s shoulder toward the nightstand. “Ten o’clock.”
Rey puffed out a breath. She’d wasted a lot of their evening together doing her homework. But...it was done, and that meant they had all night and most of tomorrow. She smiled.
Christie gave her an amused look as she settled back onto the bed. “And what are you thinking, you little minx?”
“How much time we still have.” Rey ducked her head. “Could I please see you, ma’am?”
Christie blinked in confusion for a moment, then seemed to realize: Rey had yet to see her completely naked. She sat up and reached for the clasp of her silver bra.
“Let me,” Rey said, and Christie twisted to offer access to her back. Her skin was so pale and smooth, and her shoulder blades were beautifully defined against the curve of her back. Rey couldn’t help running her fingers over them before focusing on undoing the bra clasp. When she got the bra open, she leaned forward and kissed Christie’s skin where the closure had hidden it.
Christie let out a sigh. “Sweet girl,” she said, and she shifted back around, the bra now hanging loosely over her breasts.
Rey reached for the straps and slid them down Christie’s shoulders one by one. It was something she’d imagined someone doing to her someday, something she’d thought would be sexy...and it was. She felt a throb between her legs at the sight of the straps sliding down and fully exposing Christie’s porcelain shoulders. She held her breath and tugged the bra down the rest of the way.
Christie’s breasts were utterly gorgeous. They were larger than Rey’s own, big enough that they’d probably make nice handfuls. She had large, pale pink areola, and as the bra fell away her nipples hardened enticingly. Rey couldn’t keep her eyes off them. “Can I touch you, ma’am?”
“You may,” Christie said.
Rey tentatively took both Christie’s breasts in her hands, feeling the weight of them. Christie’s nipples pressed insistently against Rey’s palms, making her want to squeeze. She tried massaging the flesh of Christie’s breasts gently, and Christie sighed again. “Is that good?”
“Yes, darling,” Christie said.
A thrill shot through Rey at the endearment, at the approval in Christie’s voice. She squeezed again, this time managing to raise her eyes to Christie’s face just in time to see her mouth fall open slightly. Christie’s breath quickened, her breasts rising and falling against Rey’s hands. Rey slid her left hand lower, below the nipple of Christie’s right breast, so she could push the breast upward. Then she bent to touch it with her mouth.
“Rey,” Christie breathed. Her hand came down on top of Rey’s head. “Don’t stop.”
Rey kissed Christie’s breast, all over the pale expanse of her skin, before moving to the center. As soon as her lips touched the nipple, Christie’s fingers curled in Rey’s hair. Rey opened her mouth and flicked her tongue over the nub, then sucked it into her mouth.
“Yes—yes—good girl,” Christie gasped.
She liked it. She liked what Rey was doing. Rey trembled with a feeling she couldn’t quite define. She licked over the nipple again and again, then sucked on it.
“Good girl,” Christie panted. “Try—try biting gently.”
Rey did, and Christie moaned and shuddered. Rey had heard her moan before, when she came with her hand down her own panties, when they were kissing...but this time she wasn’t touching herself at all. This moan was all because of Rey.
Rey drew off Christie’s nipple just long enough to ask, “May I make you come, ma’am?” Then she latched back on, suckling it, grazing it with her teeth.
“Yes, fuck,” Christie said, slumping back on the bed, knees falling apart. Rey smoothed her free hand down Christie’s stomach. “Over the panties,” Christie said suddenly, and Rey remembered what she’d said about safe sex. She wanted to touch Christie’s pussy, to see what it felt like, to explore her folds and get her fingers wet with her. Panties wouldn’t really protect from anything, she reasoned. And it was just her hand. As long as she didn’t lick Christie’s juices off afterward...
Her fingertips had barely slipped under the band of Christie’s panties when Christie’s hand was suddenly gripping her wrist, holding her fast. “Don’t disobey me. Not about this.”
Rey felt yet another thrill. Christie was so strong, and so commanding. She pulled her mouth off Christie’s breast and curled her fingers back, away from Christie’s panties. “Yes, ma’am. I’m sorry, ma’am,” she said. Christie let go of her wrist.
She started again, this time cupping Christie’s mound from outside her panties. Christie’s hips pushed up against her hand, and Rey squeezed and rubbed back and forth and pressed a finger against where she thought Christie’s entrance was. “Oh, that’s good,” Christie said, her voice so low and sultry that Rey felt lightheaded. She latched back onto Christie’s nipple, sucking gently at first and then harder and harder as she continued stroking Christie through her panties. When she bit down on Christie’s nipple again, Christie cried out and shuddered, fingers tightening even more in Rey’s hair, thighs shaking around Rey’s hand. Rey thought she might have come, but she wasn’t sure, so she kept touching her, kept sucking her breast, and Christie kept shaking.
Finally Christie let out a long, low groan and pulled Rey away from her breast by the hair. Rey stilled her hand but left it pressed against Christie’s cunt; Christie reached down and placed her own hand over Rey’s, then humped up once against both their hands, rubbing herself hard in a single circular motion. “I like to...settle it down, after,” Christie said, her voice breathy and broken.
“Was it good, ma’am?” Rey asked, gazing up at Christie’s flushed face. She was pretty sure it was, but she wanted Christie to tell her so, more than anything.
“It was amazing, darling.” Christie still had a fistful of Rey’s hair, and she used it to pull Rey up the bed. Rey went willingly, leaning over her, and Christie tugged her in for a kiss. “Good girl,” Christie murmured against Rey’s lips. “Beautiful, perfect girl,” and Rey trembled with delight.
Christie insisted that they both wash their hands before anything else happened. Rey stood at the sink in that spa-like bathroom, staring at the reflection of her own naked body and Christie’s behind her. Christie boxed her in, reaching around her to the sink so that they were washing their hands at the same time. Their fingers brushed, and then they were lathering up each other’s hands, caressing each other’s soapy fingers and palms and wrists. Christie stooped to kiss up the side of Rey’s neck from her shoulder to her ear, making Rey shudder in pleasure.
“Sweet girl,” Christie murmured, “I want to go down on you.”
“Oh,” Rey breathed, heart stuttering in her chest. “Yes, please.”
Christie rinsed her hands, then wrapped her arms around Rey’s shoulders and pulled her close against her. Her soft breasts felt incredible against Rey’s bare back. “We’ll have to use a dental dam until we’ve been tested, but I can’t wait any longer,” she said. “I’ve wanted to eat you out since...” She trailed off and buried her face in Rey’s shoulder, as if she were shy. It was strange and wonderful how such a gorgeous, powerful woman could be so...cute.
Rey rinsed and dried her own hands, then reached up to hug Christie’s arms over her chest. “Since when?” she prompted.
“Since the very first photo you sent me,” Christie said, her voice muffled against Rey’s skin. “That was a very short skirt, young lady.”
Rey giggled. “Mission accomplished.”
Christie snorted and kissed Rey’s shoulder. “Back to bed with you,” she said. Rey shifted toward the door, but then Christie spun her to the side, hooked one arm under her knees and braced the other across her back, and scooped her up into a bridal carry. Rey squealed with laughter as Christie carried her out of the bathroom and back into the bedroom.
In moments Rey was deposited gently on the bed, her head on Christie’s pillow. “Hands over your head,” Christie instructed. “Keep them there.” When Rey obeyed, Christie leaned over her, kissing her lips, then her chin, then her throat, then the hollow between her collarbones. She teased her fingertips over Rey’s bare breasts, making Rey shiver, and then she gently sucked each nipple in turn. Rey groaned and threw her head back, curling her toes into the bedspread.
“I’m going to take your panties off,” Christie said.
“Okay,” Rey breathed, looking back down so she could watch. Christie hooked her fingers into the band and tugged down gently, revealing Rey’s barely-tamed pubic hair. Rey wondered for a moment if Christie would disapprove, but then Christie leaned close and nuzzled into it. Rey giggled again.
“And now,” Christie said, and she tugged Rey’s underwear lower. It stuck a little, peeling off slowly. “Hmm. Someone’s made a mess.” Christie gave Rey a teasing grin, and Rey felt her face going hot as she grinned back.
“It’s your fault!” she insisted.
“Mmm hmm,” Christie said. She carefully slid Rey’s panties down her legs, trailing her fingers along Rey’s inner thighs as she went. Rey trembled and groaned and forced herself not to reach down and rip her panties the rest of the way off.
Christie held Rey’s ankles in one hand as she drew the panties down over her calves and worked them gently off over her feet. Then she laid the panties on the bed and took an ankle in each hand, moving them apart to spread Rey’s legs in the air. Rey held her breath and clenched her fists uselessly as Christie kissed the inside of her ankle, then up her calf, then the back of her knee, and then up her inner thigh. “Oh, god,” Rey said, “fuck,” and she wanted Christie’s mouth on her more than she’d ever wanted anything in her life.
Disappointment flooded her as Christie pulled back and lowered her legs to the bed. “Ma’am!” she cried out plaintively.
“Patience,” Christie said, not touching her at all. “You can be good for me, can’t you?”
“I don’t want to,” Rey whined.
Christie swatted her lightly on the underside of her leg. “You’d better, or I won’t go down on you after all.”
Rey whimpered. “Yes, ma’am,” she said, trying not to sound sullen.
“Good,” Christie said. She rose from the bed and moved to the nightstand; Rey watched as she retrieved a flat plastic package, tore it open, and unfolded its contents. This must be a dental dam. Rey had had a vague idea of what they were but had never seen one in person. It just looked like a piece of plastic. “Keep your hands over your head,” Christie reminded her as she settled back onto the bed, lounging on her side between Rey’s legs. Then she laid the square of plastic over Rey’s cunt and let it settle against her. “Are you ready, Rey?”
“Yes,” Rey said.
Christie bent toward Rey’s pussy, then stopped and looked up the bed at her. “Ask me nicely, darling,” she said.
“Shit,” Rey hissed.
Christie swatted her again. “Ask me nicely.”
“Ma’am,” Rey said, whining despite herself. “Ma’am, please. Please eat me. Please.”
“There’s my girl.” Christie licked her way up Rey’s inner thigh, and Rey felt herself flexing desperately against the stretchy plastic.
“All right,” Christie said, and she buried her face between Rey’s legs.
Rey sobbed. It was almost too much, suddenly being touched the way she wanted. Christie’s lips and tongue were probing and sucking at her through the dam, teasing over her entrance and labia and clit, and it was sending shockwaves through her entire body. She clutched at the pillow to keep herself from moving her hands; her hips bucked up off the bed and Christie clamped her hands around Rey’s thighs to brace her.
Christie was merciless, attacking Rey’s cunt like she couldn’t get enough of it, and Rey squealed and shook and thrashed and came violently against Christie’s mouth, pussy throbbing harder than it ever had in her life. She twitched and shuddered and gasped for breath, and Christie nuzzled her one final time and then withdrew. “There’s my girl,” Christie murmured again.
Rey blinked blearily down the bed at the woman who’d just ravaged her. She was utterly, absolutely, unbelievably hot, red lipstick smeared over her lips, cheeks pink, blue eyes big and lusty. There was only one thing Rey could say, huffed out in an exhausted but fervent sigh:
“Thank you, ma’am.”
Christie has some questions for Rey.
Content note concerning their age difference in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Christie carefully disposed of the dental dam and returned to the bed to find Rey exactly where she’d left her, sprawled limply across the sheets and still breathing hard. The girl was unbelievably beautiful. Christie had just made her come, but she wanted to do it again, to watch her shake and hear her wail.
Lightly, Christie trailed her fingers over the inside of Rey’s knee, and Rey twitched and squeezed her knees together, half giggling and half groaning. “Stop,” she protested, and Christie did, lying down on her side next to Rey and sliding her hand back through Rey’s hair instead.
“How has this been for you?” Christie asked, watching Rey’s face closely.
Rey smiled blissfully. “So good,” she murmured.
“Was there anything you didn’t like?”
“I liked everything,” Rey sighed, closing her eyes, still smiling.
Christie would have to be more specific, she supposed. She thought back through the night’s activities. “Did you like being told to take your clothes off?”
“How about being told to get on your knees?”
“Oh,” Rey said softly, opening her eyes, “I loved that. I was surprised how good it was. I always thought I wanted you to tell me what to do, but I guess I hadn’t thought about...stuff like that.”
Christie let out a hum, taking that in. “I like the idea of having you follow my orders,” she said. “And I also like the idea of you...disobeying a bit. You said in your email that you—if you weren’t good—you would want to be punished?” She felt her face and chest flushing, but she kept her eyes on Rey’s.
Rey ducked her head, her smile turning shy. “Yeah,” she said. “It might be fun. To be told I’m being bad.”
“What would you consider a reasonable punishment for disobeying my orders?” Christie asked. Somehow, she was managing to maintain a calm exterior, but her heart was pounding wildly.
“Um.” Rey glanced away and bit her lip. “Making me all...excited, and telling me not to come?”
Christie’s breath caught. “For how long?”
“Maybe, like...a day? Like the punishment starts in the morning and ends in the evening when we see each other?”
The idea of Rey squirming her way through her day, wanting to come and not being able to until Christie allowed her, was extremely appealing. Christie leaned forward and kissed her. “Amazing girl,” she said. “How do you feel about overnight? What if you were here, but not allowed to come until morning?”
Rey shifted on the bed, rubbing her thighs together. “Oh, god,” she said. “I would get so turned on.”
Christie slid her hand down Rey’s side and settled it on her hip. “Lovely thing. How did you feel about it when I smacked your leg?”
Rey considered. “It felt neat. Like, tingly. It made me get, um, more aroused.”
“Would—” Christie took a breath. She’d made it this far. It was going well. “What would you think about being spanked?” she ventured.
A slight tremor ran through Rey’s body. “I, um, I want to try it, ma’am.”
Christie was almost positive she was feeling her blood start to boil. “All right,” she said. She wanted to start spanking Rey right now. The thought was making her heady. She squeezed Rey’s hip to try and ground herself, rubbing her thumb over the girl’s hip bone, and thought back to their other activities. “After I had you undress,” Christie said, “I had you crawl to the bed. How did you feel about that?”
Rey looked thoughtful. “That was kind of weird,” she said finally. “But it was okay. I think—I think I like being carried to bed better, though.”
Christie had to smile. “Do you like the idea of being my little princess?”
Rey’s shoulders hunched forward, and she ducked her head again. “Yes,” she said, sounding embarrassed.
“Good,” Christie said, a rush of affection washing over her, “because you are.” She swatted Rey’s ass lightly, and the girl jumped and giggled. “All right, now, how about when I pinched your nipples?”
Rey let out a wistful moan. “That was so good,” she said.
Christie felt a delicious throb between her legs. “Would you be interested in more activities like that? What if I spent some time only touching your nipples, and nothing else?”
“Oof, I bet I would love it, it would get me so wound up.” Rey’s nipples were hardening again, apparently just at the very thought.
Christie suddenly had a vision of Rey’s dark nipples, clamped, with a shining metal chain strung between them that Christie could tug. “Would you be willing to try nipple clamps?” she asked before she could think better of it.
Rey surprised her by letting out a short laugh. “Back home, I used to use clothespins,” she explained.
“Fuck,” Christie said, and she imagined that too—Rey stretched out on her childhood bed, tweaking her nipples until they were stiff enough to clip clothespins on, legs shaking and mouth falling open. Christie kissed her again. “Such an incredible, resourceful girl.”
Rey scooted forward on the bed, pressing her body against Christie’s, wrapping an arm around Christie’s neck. “Would you hold me?”
“Of course, darling,” Christie said immediately, wishing she’d thought of it. It was a wonderful idea. Christie tugged the blanket up over them, then pulled Rey close beneath it. Rey squirmed and settled against her and sighed, sounding contented. “We’ll need to clean up a bit before we go to sleep,” Christie said, partly for Rey’s benefit and partly to remind herself.
“Okay,” Rey said agreeably, closing her eyes again.
For a long time Christie just gazed at her, at the way her eyelashes curled against her cheeks, at her sweet little nose, at her pretty pink lips stretched into a smile. So much had changed in just a few days. Christie’s emotions had swung so wildly all week, and had run so high tonight, that this moment of calm felt almost unreal. And yet it was also warm and comfortable and perfect, with an undercurrent of anticipation.
She would do everything she could to make this extraordinary girl happy. To make sure she didn’t want for anything. To give her pleasure, but also a sense of stability and peace.
Christie nudged forward until their mouths met, and Rey let out a quiet moan. Rey’s lips were tantalizingly soft and supple, and Christie let herself enjoy them, lazy and slow.
It turned out that Rey typically showered in the morning, so they tidied themselves up with wet washrags and left the full wash for the next day. Christie stood behind Rey and slipped a rag between her legs and carefully wiped her down, and Rey leaned back against her and trembled and whined.
When they dressed for bed, Christie chose a short, low-cut black satin nightie that clung to her in just the right places. She was eager to see what reaction the garment might provoke from Rey. But when she stepped out of her walk-in, she found Rey tugging on the drawstring shorts and Harvard T-shirt Christie had given her, and that stalled any other train of thought.
Rey’s bare legs looked somehow even more shapely emerging from the soft, oversized shorts. Rey’s collarbone, just visible through the neck of the shirt, was somehow even more enticing. The clothes hung loosely over Rey’s petite body, draping her in fabric, making it obvious that they didn’t fit her—that they were someone else’s.
That they were Christie’s.
“I’ve been wearing this to bed every night,” Rey said, stepping forward and wrapping her arms around Christie’s waist. She pushed her face into Christie’s cleavage. “Every night since you rescued me from the rain.”
Christie ran her hands all over Rey’s body, across her back, down her hips, up her ribcage, over her ass. Finally she pushed her fingers into Rey’s hair, nudging her head back and tipping her face up, and kissed her, hard. Her head spun with a possessive sort of euphoria.
When she finally pulled back, Rey smiled as if she knew exactly what she had done to her. “Oh, you are a naughty girl,” Christie breathed.
“Are you going to spank me, ma’am?” Rey asked demurely, lacing her fingers behind her back and arching her chest upward.
Christie placed a hand at the middle of Rey’s chest, above and between her breasts, and then dragged it down. When she reached Rey’s stomach, she rotated her hand so that she could slip it down between Rey’s legs and lightly squeeze. Rey squealed at the touch. “I’ll spank you in the morning, young lady,” Christie said. “It’s late.”
“Aw,” Rey pouted. “But we don’t have to get up early, do we, ma’am?”
Christie considered. “I suppose not,” she said. “Do you think you can get to sleep with your ass red and stinging?”
“I don’t know if I can get to sleep if you don’t spank me,” Rey said, and then she winked.
Christie relented. “All right,” she said, wondering who exactly had the upper hand in this scenario. She backed toward the bed, pulling Rey along with her by the hips, and then sat down. “Lie down over my lap, you naughty girl.”
Rey hurried to comply, sprawling across Christie’s legs so that her ass dangled. Christie shifted her forward a little to bring it higher, then settled her hand over it, rubbing up and down, enjoying the feel of the sleep shorts shifting over Rey’s skin. After some time of this, Rey started to squirm.
“Getting impatient, lovely?” Christie asked.
“Spank me,” Rey whined. “Please.”
“Hmm, you’re being such a bad girl, I don’t know if I should give you what you want,” Christie teased.
“Please, ma’am? I promise I’ll be good for the rest of the night.”
“An easy promise to make, as you’ll be sleeping.”
“Ma’am, please,” Rey said.
“Tell me you deserve to be spanked.”
“I deserve to be spanked, ma’am.”
“Tell me you’re a naughty little tease.”
“I’m–I’m a naughty little tease,” Rey said, her voice catching a bit.
“Now ask me again. Nicely.”
“Please give me what I deserve, ma’am.” Rey twisted back to look up at her, giving Christie an astonishingly innocent pleading gaze.
“That’s a good girl,” Christie murmured, half amused, half wanting to push fingers into Rey’s saucy mouth. She hooked her fingers into the band of the sleep shorts instead, tugging them down over the curve of Rey’s ass, leaving them clinging to her thighs. Then she did the same with Rey’s panties.
Rey had a perfect, tight little ass, and Christie took a handful and squeezed before getting started. “If you’re uncomfortable at any time, we can stop,” she said. “I’ll start off lightly and then harder. If you don’t like it, tell me.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey sighed impatiently, wiggling her ass a little.
Christie swatted her, a little harder than she’d done earlier. The single slap sounded loud in the quiet room. “Behave.”
Rey was more respectful this time when she repeated, “Yes, ma’am.”
“Head down, Rey,” Christie said, putting a hand on the back of Rey’s neck. Then she swung her other hand down to Rey’s ass, smacking across it at an angle, watching it bounce in the wake of the blow. “You’re going to take your spanking like a good girl.” She smacked her again.
Rey let out a soft moan, and Christie could feel her fighting the urge to squirm.
“Good,” Christie said.
Soon Christie’s focus was taken by her task. She’d never spanked someone before, so she wasn’t sure how hard she should hit; Rey’s skin was already turning pink just from the few blows she’d taken so far. Tentatively, Christie struck harder; the sound of the spank seemed to ring in her ears, and her hand stung in a remarkably satisfying way.
She alternated her blows, making sure not to strike Rey too often in the same place, and watched as Rey’s ass turned rosy red. Rey was starting to breathe harder, and her hands were clutching at the blanket. She wasn’t asking Christie to stop, but Christie wasn’t sure if she would, and she didn’t know how far would be too far. After two final spanks, Christie traced her fingertips over Rey’s inflamed skin, and Rey twitched and shuddered.
“That’s enough for tonight, I think,” Christie said. She flattened her hand against Rey’s ass; it felt hot. “Have you learned your lesson?”
Rey squirmed a little. “Yes, ma’am,” she whispered.
Christie slid her hand down Rey’s ass and dipped her fingers between Rey’s legs. The girl was sopping wet. “Do you want to come, Rey?” she asked, probing gently against Rey’s entrance.
“Oh, fuck, yes,” Rey said.
“Do you think you deserve to come?”
At that, Rey was quiet, though she shuddered a little.
Christie considered what they had discussed earlier. Should she tell Rey to wait to come until morning? But then, had Rey really been all that “bad”?
Finally Christie’s own desire won out. She dipped her fingers into Rey’s cunt to wet them, then dragged them out over Rey’s clit, rubbing in harder and harder circles. Rey screamed and shook, coming almost immediately.
It took Rey a moment to recover. “Thank you, ma’am,” she said, breathless.
Christie patted Rey’s ass, making her jerk and twitch. “You got what you deserved,” she answered. “Now let’s clean you up—again—and go to sleep.”
Christie helped Rey to her feet and then carried her to the bathroom, where she first washed Rey’s pussy and then her own hand. She carried Rey back to the bed, carefully laying her down and pulling her underwear and shorts back up, and then turned off the lights and slipped in beside her.
“Ma’am?” Rey said into the darkness, snuggling close.
Rey took a breath. “You’re really beautiful.”
Christie slipped an arm around Rey’s waist. “So are you,” she said.
“Um,” Rey said. “I really like your nightgown.”
Christie let out a soft laugh, her heart soaring. She squeezed Rey tight. “Good,” she said.
Content note: At one point, Christie imagines a younger Rey masturbating. This may be distressing given their relative ages.
The morning after comes, bringing with it more pleasure...and more to talk about.
Mildly spoilery content note in the end notes.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Rey wasn’t sure when she’d last slept this well. Had she ever? She came back to consciousness easily and felt rested and alert.
She was also extraordinarily comfortable, surrounded by warmth, with silky-smooth sheets sliding luxuriously against her skin. She’d rolled onto her opposite side during the night, and now she was being held from behind, pillowed against soft breasts. There was an arm slung over her waist and gentle breath on the back of her neck—which, now that she noticed it, kind of tickled. She shifted onto her back, careful to hold the arm in place around her where it belonged. Her ass burned a little at the contact and pressure with the mattress below her, but it was pleasant somehow, and she let out a shaky but contented sigh. Then she turned her head to look at her bedmate.
Bright, wide-awake blue eyes gazed into hers. “Good morning,” Christie said.
“Good morning,” Rey murmured, feeling a smile stretch across her face. “Hi,” she added.
“Hi.” Christie tipped her head forward so that their noses touched. “Did you sleep well?”
Rey hummed in the affirmative, hugging Christie’s arm. “You?”
“I may have been too excited to sleep,” Christie said with a small smile.
“At all?” Rey frowned.
“I think I did sleep some. I just kept waking up.”
Christie didn’t look unhappy, but Rey felt her own eyebrows come together anyway. “I don’t want you to not get enough sleep,” she said.
“Hush,” Christie told her. “I wouldn’t trade last night for anything. I got to hold you all night.”
Rey let out an embarrassed giggle and squeezed Christie’s arm again. “Okay, fine. But try to sleep properly tonight, okay?”
Christie laughed. “And here I thought I’d be the one admonishing you to get proper rest.”
“I’m sure you’ll have the opportunity.” Rey grinned, and then she rolled toward Christie and flung an arm around her neck and kissed her, because Christie was beautiful, and Rey was happy, and everything was amazing.
Christie’s arm tightened around her. Rey sighed against Christie’s lips and pushed the rest of her body as close to Christie as she could. She wished they were naked, so she could be feeling Christie’s soft skin against her own instead of just her heat through two layers of fabric. She let out a whine at the thought, licking almost desperately at Christie’s mouth.
Christie’s hand slid up into Rey’s hair, and then down her back and over her ass, and then her fingers were pressing between Rey’s legs. Rey jumped and squealed, laughing into the kiss, and slid her leg over Christie’s hip. “I’d tease you for being insatiable,” Christie murmured, “but I’m the same.”
Rey whined again, shifting her hips around, trying to get friction against Christie’s hand. Christie flattened her fingers and palm over Rey’s mound and rubbed it slowly in a circle, so good but not enough. “Ma’am,” Rey moaned.
“Yes, Rey?” Christie dropped gentle kisses down Rey’s jaw, so light and teasing that Rey trembled.
“I want to come.”
“I see,” Christie said thoughtfully, as if this was news to her. Rey felt Christie’s lips seal against her neck, and then Christie’s tongue was lapping at her skin slowly, torturously.
“Fuck,” Rey said. “Please.”
Rey squirmed as Christie pulled off her neck with a sucking pop. She was panting now, and Christie placed a chaste kiss over her open mouth. Rey wanted more, wanted everything. She chased Christie’s lips with her own, but Christie pulled back out of reach. “Pretty girl,” Christie said. “Please what?”
“Please,” Rey managed to gasp, “make me come, ma’am.”
Suddenly Rey was on her back. Christie’s hand came around to her front, rucking her sleep shirt up over her breasts to bunch under her arms, then slid down, this time slipping beneath the waistband of the shorts and then into Rey’s panties. Christie’s face disappeared behind the wall of T-shirt fabric as she knelt and took Rey’s nipple into her mouth, and then Christie’s fingers dipped in to find the wetness between Rey’s pussylips, and it felt so good Rey very nearly shrieked. Christie dragged her fingers up to Rey’s clit, massaging it harder and harder, and Rey twitched and shuddered, hearing her own loud, uncontrollable moans filling the room—and then Christie started truly sucking her nipple, and it was all over.
Rey’s chest was heaving when Christie leaned back up to kiss her. She kissed back sloppily, dazedly, eyes half-lidded. “Thank you, ma’am,” she breathed against Christie’s lips.
“You’re quite welcome,” Christie murmured, sucking at Rey’s lower lip. Her hand was still on Rey’s pussy, flat now, rubbing. “I wonder if you might come again for me?”
Rey squirmed under Christie’s hand, twitching a bit, still feeling the aftershocks of her orgasm. “Maybe?” she said.
“How do you feel about penetration, darling? Would you like my fingers inside you?”
Rey groaned. She wasn’t sure. “Maybe?” she said again. Christie’s hand stilled against her, and Rey felt herself relax a little. She took a long breath and closed her eyes, trying to think.
“If you would rather stop, please tell me,” Christie said.
She didn’t want to stop, did she? This was a dream come true, wasn’t it? Rey hugged her elbows. “I don’t know,” she said, keeping her eyes squeezed shut.
Rey felt Christie’s lips touch her forehead, just lightly. “All right. We’ll stop for now.” Christie’s hand lifted away and pulled gently free of her panties. “Let’s wash up and decide what to do with our morning.”
Rey nodded and took another breath. She felt wobbly somehow, like she needed to recover from something. But there wasn’t anything to recover from.
When Rey opened her eyes, Christie had already left the room. The bed had some kind of fancy mattress that didn’t shift when people moved on it, so she hadn’t felt her get up. Christie’s bedroom loomed huge and high-ceilinged around her, and she grabbed the duvet and pulled it over herself, curling on her side. She closed her eyes again.
What was wrong with her? Christie must be so disappointed. Surely there was no good reason Rey couldn’t have let Christie keep going. She liked Christie so much. She was so lucky to be here. Why couldn’t she just do what Christie wanted?
“Rey?” Christie said from the doorway. Rey opened her eyes to see her standing there in her robe, the one she’d worn the night of the rainstorm. She was so beautiful. “Are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” Rey said, because surely she was. She should be.
“Rey,” Christie said, “please always tell me the truth. Was how I touched you this morning all right?”
Rey swallowed. “Yes. It was really good. I’m sorry.”
Christie crossed the room to the bed and sat down, but didn’t touch Rey. She felt so far away. “What are you sorry for?” she asked.
Suddenly Rey’s eyes were burning. “I’m sorry, ma’am. I want to be good. I’m sorry I messed it up.”
“Nothing’s messed up!” Christie’s hand came up to rest on Rey’s shoulder, then quickly moved away. “I’m sorry. Is it all right to touch you right now?”
Rey wanted nothing more than to be in Christie’s arms. “If you want to,” she said. Her voice was thick, and it felt as though her throat were stuffed with soggy rags, and she hated it.
“It’s not about what I want,” Christie said gently. “What do you want?”
Miserable, Rey closed her eyes again. “I want you to be happy,” she said.
“And I want you to be happy,” Christie told her. “You won’t make me happy by being unhappy. Please tell me what you need.”
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” Rey blurted, curling up tighter under the blanket.
“There’s nothing wrong with you,” Christie said. “Nothing at all.” Her voice was strong, certain.
Rey suddenly wanted to cry. “Would you hold me?” she choked out.
Christie slipped under the covers and pulled her close. Rey buried her face in Christie’s shoulder and took a shuddery breath.
“You haven’t done anything wrong,” Christie said quietly. “I’m not unhappy at all. I want you to tell me when you like things, and when you don’t like things. I only want to do things you like.”
Rey heard the words, but she wasn’t sure what to do with them. She tried to nod.
“I think we should take a little break,” Christie said. “Let’s just lie here and not worry about anything for a while. Okay?”
“Okay,” Rey said, grimacing at how raspy and weak she sounded.
“Okay,” Christie said again. She began rubbing circles over Rey’s back; it felt nice. Rey tried to concentrate on that, and on her breathing.
Some time later, Rey’s pulse was no longer throbbing in her wrists and neck, and her head didn’t feel like it was underwater anymore. She pulled back a bit to look at Christie and found the woman gazing at her just the same as she had all morning, all last night: with kind eyes and a fond smile.
Rey sucked at her lower lip. “I don’t know what happened,” she said. “I just felt really overwhelmed all of a sudden.”
Christie drew a slow breath. “Thank you for telling me,” she said. “Do you know what you were feeling or thinking about that was overwhelming?”
“I...” Rey glanced away, then looked back at Christie. “I wanted to do what you wanted,” she started, then trailed off. They had promised to be honest, but she still wasn’t sure what the truth was. And Christie had just been trying to make her feel good.
Christie watched her quietly for a moment. When she didn’t continue, Christie prompted, “But part of you didn’t?”
“I guess?” Rey said uncertainly. “Just...the idea of coming again. I wanted to. But it felt like...a lot.”
Christie squeezed her tight; Rey nestled her face into Christie’s shoulder again. “A lot has happened since yesterday,” Christie said.
“Yeah.” Rey took a long, slow breath. “This—being here—is amazing,” she said. “It’s all been so amazing. Everything is so good. I wish I hadn’t—”
“None of that,” Christie interrupted, patting her back gently. “There’s nothing wrong with feeling overwhelmed. You haven’t hurt my feelings.”
Rey’s heartbeat seemed to double in an instant. “I haven’t?” she asked, drawing back to look Christie in the face again.
Christie smiled and nuzzled her nose against Rey’s. “No,” she said firmly.
Rey let herself uncurl a little. She slid her hands up over Christie’s shoulders and wrapped her arms around Christie’s neck. “I still can’t believe,” she started, then stopped.
“Neither can I,” Christie said with a laugh. “But somehow, this is happening. And no matter what, I want to do right by you.”
“Me too,” Rey said fervently. “I don’t want to disappoint you.”
“I don’t think that’s possible, Rey,” Christie said, and her face was completely serious. “I just want to do things that make you happy. If something doesn’t make you happy, I don’t want to do it. It’s that simple. Not doing something you don’t want won’t disappoint me.” She took another long breath. “I said last night that this was going to be hard, and I knew that going in, but I don’t think I was quite prepared. Maybe you weren’t either. There’s so much to think about. So much to talk about.”
Rey hid her face against Christie’s neck. “Is it too hard?” she asked, dreading the answer.
“No,” Christie said immediately, and relief flooded through Rey. Christie’s arms tightened around Rey’s waist. “Is it too hard for you?” she asked.
“No,” Rey said, forceful.
“You’re telling me the truth, and not what you think I want to hear?”
Rey squirmed a bit. “What if they’re the same thing?”
Christie was quiet for a moment. “As long as it’s what you’re truly feeling,” she said. “What you truly want.”
“I want to be with you.” Rey knew that for sure.
Christie let out a soft sigh and kissed Rey’s temple. “All right,” she said. “Would you like to stay in bed a little longer?”
Rey was about to say yes when her stomach suddenly let out an impossibly loud growl. “Um,” she said.
“Or we could have breakfast,” Christie suggested, her voice filled with mirth.
Christie’s amusement made Rey felt lighter somehow, like she was finally emerging from the weird whatever-it-was that had happened. She giggled a little. “Okay.”
Content note: There's some angst/comfort in this chapter; Rey gets overwhelmed by everything that has happened. While her feelings aren't totally resolved, they're dealt with as much as could reasonably be expected, and the chapter ends on a happy note.
Christie worries that she's gone too far, and decides it's time to tell Rey about her past.
If you've ever wondered why Phasma is so OOC in this fic, this chapter helps explain why.
Christie needed time to think. She had no idea if there was any food in the apartment, but she said anyway, “Why don’t you take your shower, and I’ll see what I can find in the kitchen?”
Rey smiled, looking a little bashful, and rolled out of the bed, letting out a small huff as her sore rear touched the mattress. Christie sat up and watched her cross the room, still wearing the T-shirt and shorts Christie had given her. Rey slipped through the doorway with a quick glance back at Christie, and Christie forced herself to return her smile, hands clenched in her lap.
Christie waited until she heard the bathroom door click shut, and then she finally stood and made her way out to the main living area. When she got to the breakfast bar she slumped down onto one of the stools and stared sightlessly into the kitchen.
She’d done it again. She’d pushed and pushed. She’d gone too far, like she always used to.
Selfishness came so horribly naturally to her, even after eight years of working on it in therapy. It was far too easy for her to think only of herself, to hurt others. It was in her nature to take and take and take, and a struggle to give. Her brother knew it. Her parents knew it. Even Armitage had seen this monstrous side of her. Her true self.
She should have thought of this before she let everything go this far. What if, in the heat of the moment, she forced Rey to do something she didn’t want to do? It could have easily happened this morning. She could have hurt Rey so easily. She wasn’t sure she hadn’t already. She was capable of doing so much damage.
She had to protect Rey from that, somehow. She’d already harmed so many people. She couldn’t allow herself to harm Rey.
No matter what, she had to protect Rey.
The sound of her own name broke Christie out of her thoughts. She blinked. There was Rey, standing in the kitchen, gazing at her over the breakfast bar with concern in her eyes. She was wearing the shorts and T-shirt, but she’d obviously showered; her skin was damp, and her hair was twisted up in one of Christie’s white towels, one wet lock curling down around her cheek.
Christie’s heart skipped a beat.
“I tried calling you ‘ma’am,’ but you didn’t answer,” Rey said. “Are you okay?”
Christie shook her head to try and clear her thoughts. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I haven’t done anything about breakfast.” She started to slide off the stool. “Let me just—”
“Let me cook for you!” Rey interrupted. “Please? You’re probably really tired, right?”
Christie watched Rey’s face for a moment, then nodded and settled back down on the stool. “All right,” she said.
Rey positively beamed, then spun on her heel and began to energetically rummage through the small kitchen. Christie watched as the girl poked her head into the refrigerator and freezer and cabinets and emerged with eggs and bacon and bread and seasonings. Thank goodness there was actually something for her to cook.
More importantly, Rey seemed cheerful. Maybe Christie hadn’t done as much damage as she feared. But Christie couldn’t just assume; this might just be her natural disposition. Rey was strong, after all. She carried so much weight, but she lived her life with a smile on her face.
“Rey,” Christie said. “Did I hurt you?”
Rey put the bacon in the microwave, then glanced over her shoulder. “No,” she said, turning back to set the power and time to defrost. “I think I might have hurt myself a little, but you didn’t hurt me.”
“Hurt yourself?” Christie frowned. “What do you mean?”
“Like.” Rey hit the start button on the microwave and turned around. She leaned back against the counter, playing her fingers together in front of her, and her eyes roamed the room, not seeming to want to settle. “I got really worried that you would be unhappy with me for not giving you everything you wanted, even though you said that you wouldn’t be unhappy at all. I think...I can get worried about earning approval. It takes a lot to please Uncle P. So sometimes I go too far with it.”
Christie took a long breath. “There’s something you should know, Rey.” Rey finally met her eyes, and Christie swallowed. “I used to be a very selfish person. It took me a long time to recognize not just that I was hurting people, but that that even mattered. I...I didn’t care, before.”
Rey blinked, her mouth dropping open. “Whoa,” she said. “No way.”
Christie pressed on. It was always hard to get through this, so it was best to keep going once she’d started. “I used to think it didn’t matter what I did to anyone as long as I got what I wanted. If I thought about them at all, it was just...dismissively, like, they’ll be fine, they’ll figure it out. And if not, it’s their own fault. I never took individual circumstances into account.” She looked down at the counter. “It took me a very long time to realize I needed to rethink things. I was 30 before it even occurred to me that treating people badly was not a virtue.” She sighed and looked back up. “Since then, I’ve been working on being more...compassionate, but it doesn’t come easily to me.”
There. She’d said it. She realized as she watched Rey’s face that she hadn’t wanted to tell her—that she hadn’t wanted Rey to know her secret shame. But:
“I would have had no idea,” Rey said, stepping forward and reaching across the counter. Her hands were warm when they settled atop Christie’s. “You’re so good at reading me, and asking questions. This morning I felt like you understood how I was feeling better than I did.”
It was Christie’s turn to be surprised. She licked her lips nervously. “Really?”
“Really,” Rey said, and her face and voice were so earnest that Christie couldn’t imagine it was a lie, even a white lie meant to please her.
Christie turned her hands palms-up and clasped Rey’s hands. All she could think to say was, “Thank you.”
Rey’s stomach abruptly growled again. The girl giggled and pulled her hands free. “You’re welcome,” she said, and then she spun back to the meal she was prepping.
Christie and Rey carried plates laden with sunny-side-up eggs, bacon, and toast to Christie’s small dining table and settled in across from each other. It all smelled delicious, and Christie told Rey so. She took a bite, and it was just as delicious as it smelled, and she told Rey that too.
As they ate, Christie thought back to her earlier panic. Her therapist would certainly point out the unhelpful thinking styles she’d been engaging in. She’d labeled herself and catastrophized, among other things. Her therapist would remind her that she was not innately selfish, just as she was not innately good. She was a person with complex feelings, and what was important was how she chose to react to those feelings.
She was allowed to be happy. Her happiness didn’t have to come at the cost of someone else’s.
Christie laid down her fork and drew a breath. “Rey...what you said earlier, I was so happy to hear that,” she said. “I—selfishly—would love to take that to mean that everything’s fine, and I’m doing everything right. But I don’t want to ever assume that, so please always be honest with me.”
Rey scrunched up her nose. “I’m doing my best,” she said.
Christie hurried to reassure her. “You’re doing wonderfully. I’m sorry. This is a hangup I have.” She took another breath. “I’m sorry,” she said again, “but I have to be sure. When I say ‘be honest,’ I don’t just mean when answering my questions. I mean: if you’re feeling something other than happy, tell me.”
Rey shoved two pieces of bacon into her mouth. The contemplative look on her face, added to how puffed-out her cheeks were as she chewed, was entirely too cute. Christie wanted to kiss her now-unscrunched nose.
When she had mostly swallowed, Rey said, “Okay,” but she still looked thoughtful, a small line forming between her eyebrows. Then she said, “I’m...not used to doing that?”
It made sense; many adults had trouble expressing their feelings, Christie included. But Christie’s gut still twisted at the thought of Rey’s needs being ignored by those around her. She felt an overwhelming urge to sweep Rey out of her life, away from anyone who would make her feel that she couldn’t express herself.
That, Christie told herself sternly, was probably an overreaction. “That’s okay,” she said, voice surprisingly level. “I’ll keep asking questions too. We’ll both do our best.” She paused. “Is that all right?”
Rey nodded. “Yeah.” She reached for the butter. “It should go both ways, right? So if you’re not happy, you should tell me too.”
Christie started to nod in return, but then her brow furrowed as a new thought occurred to her. “We might need a way to differentiate real feelings from...our games,” she said. “If you still want to do that? The...punishments?”
“Oh, you’re right,” Rey said, stilling the butter knife against her toast. “Yeah. Maybe we could do a safeword? The stoplight system?”
“You...know about those things?” Christie asked, surprised. She herself was really only aware of the concepts because of a few interesting conversations with Armitage.
Rey’s cheeks dimpled with a flirty, teasing smile. “I mean, I’ve been on Twitter.”
Christie had never seen that sort of thing discussed on Twitter, but then again she only used it professionally. She made a mental note to look into it further...perhaps from a new account. “So when we’re...playing,” she ventured, “I can ask what your color is. To make sure we’re on the same page, ‘green’ is what you say when everything is fine, ‘yellow’ means you need to slow down or change what we’re doing, and ‘red’ means you need to stop. Is that your understanding?”
Rey nodded. “Yeah,” she said, and she crunched down on her toast.
Christie straightened her shoulders, a bit embarrassed by Rey’s nonchalance. “I’ve never done anything like this before, Rey,” she said. “Not any of this. Have you?”
Glancing away and then back to Christie, Rey admitted, “No,” with a shy smile. “I’ve read about it online, that’s all.”
“We’ll need to guide each other, then,” Christie said. “Keep talking like this.” She paused for a sip of coffee, wondering if she was belaboring the point. “I wish I knew more and could be more confident,” she confessed, looking down at her plate. “All this uncertainty doesn’t feel very...romantic.”
Rey stood up abruptly, rounded the small table, and planted herself in Christie’s lap, looping her arms around Christie’s neck. “I think it’s romantic,” she said, and then she stuck out her tongue. Christie wanted to tease her for the cute gesture, but before she had the chance, Rey added, “You care about me more than anyone else I’ve ever met.”
“Rey,” Christie said, feeling as though the breath had been knocked out of her. It was an incredible statement, heartening because it meant Rey knew how much she meant to Christie, horrible because it might be true. A girl as amazing as Rey should be adored by everyone around her. Christie encircled the girl’s waist with her arms, pulled her close.
Rey buried her face in Christie’s neck. “I mean,” she said, voice muffled and hot against Christie’s skin, “my friends care about me. A lot. But no one has ever thought this hard about...taking care of me.” She kissed Christie’s neck, the soft wet press of her lips making Christie sigh. “I don’t need anyone to take care of me,” she added.
“No, you don’t,” Christie agreed.
“But,” Rey continued quietly, “I always thought it would be nice.”
They held each other for a time, saying nothing. Rey felt perfect in Christie’s arms, like she was made to fit there. Christie was struck by their complementary situations: Rey never had anyone to take care of her, and Christie never had anyone to take care of.
Or, rather, for most of her life, she hadn’t wanted to take care of anyone but herself.
She was glad that had changed in time for her to meet Rey. The thought of how she might have responded to Rey’s proposal ten years ago was sobering.
Rey shifted in Christie’s arms, and Christie kissed her temple. She was such a sweet girl. Christie was filled with a flood of affection. “I want to know everything about you,” she said, squeezing Rey close. “Would you tell me about your family? You’ve mentioned an uncle, I think?”
Rey didn’t answer immediately.
“You don’t have to if you’d rather not,” Christie added quickly. “I’m sorry. I got curious.”
At that, Rey leaned back to look at her, leaving her hands clasped at the back of Christie’s neck. She had a somewhat rueful look on her face. “No, it’s okay. Uncle P was my guardian until I turned eighteen. His full name is Parker Platt, and he’s actually my mom’s uncle. I lived with him starting when I was a kid.” Rey nuzzled back up against Christie. “I don’t really remember my parents,” she said, and Christie wished she could still see the girl’s face. “I always used to hope they’d come back and take me home, but they never did.”
“What happened to them?” Christie asked gently.
“I don’t know. After they left I never heard from them again. I thought Uncle P might know something, but he always told me to stop asking.” Rey’s voice was even, but there was a thread of wistfulness in it.
Christie hugged Rey tighter. She wished she could say she didn’t understand how someone could leave their family, but that was exactly what Christie herself had done all those years ago.
“I haven’t seen my parents since I left for college,” Christie said quietly. “I convinced them to pay what wasn’t covered by my scholarship, and then I never went home again. They spent everything on me.” She took a slow, shaky breath and closed her eyes. “We don’t talk now. I don’t know if they would want to talk to me. My brother takes care of them, so now I send him money.”
Rey was quiet for a moment. Then, muffled against Christie’s neck, she asked, “Do you want to talk to them?”
“I’m afraid to,” Christie admitted. “But...yes, I think.” She stroked Rey’s back, comforted by the warmth of the girl’s body against hers. “Do you want to find your parents?” she asked.
“No,” Rey said immediately, surprising her. “I want them to come back on their own.” Rey pulled back again to gaze at Christie. Her eyes were determined, as if she could bring her parents back through sheer force of will. “They’ll be back. Someday.”
Christie’s throat felt thick with emotion. “I hope it’s soon,” she said. Rey nestled close again, and they lapsed into silence.
After a bumpy start, Rey and Christie navigate the rest of their morning.
Rey stayed in Christie’s lap for the rest of breakfast. After a long time of just holding each other, she decided she was still hungry, so she disengaged just enough to reach over and drag her plate closer. Once it was within reach, Christie picked up Rey’s fork and started feeding her bites of egg.
There was something both comforting and sensual about Christie putting things in her mouth. Rey felt taken care of, doted on, adored. Christie slid the fork out slowly after each bite, watching Rey’s lips and licking her own. When Christie ran out of egg, she put the fork down and switched to using her fingers, placing small bites of toast and bacon onto Rey’s tongue. Rey sucked Christie’s fingers clean after each bite, and Christie played her fingertips over Rey’s lips and tongue before withdrawing them to prepare another bite.
The whole time, Christie murmured things into Rey’s ear like “You’re such a sweet girl” and “You made such a good breakfast” and “You’re so beautiful” and “I love having you in my arms,” and Rey blushed and giggled and squirmed and snuggled close. She felt absolutely silly, but Christie smiled at her like she was doing everything right.
When Rey’s plate was cleared, Christie looped both arms around Rey’s waist again. Rey pulled back a bit to look at her face. “You make me feel like a princess,” she said. Her cheeks warmed at the admission, and she ducked her head a little.
Christie looked pleased. “Good.” She leaned forward and dropped a row of kisses along the column of Rey’s neck, her warm wet mouth sending sparks down Rey’s spine. Rey let out a sigh and closed her eyes. “Is that all right?” Christie murmured.
“Yes,” Rey said softly. She felt heat growing between her legs, and she shifted a little, wondering if Christie wanted to go back to bed. “I don’t think I’m ready for anything else right now?” she added. “But that’s really nice.”
“Okay,” Christie said, and then she was sucking lightly at a spot below Rey’s jaw. It felt amazing, and Rey sighed again. “Thank you. That’s exactly the sort of thing I’d like you to tell me.”
Warmth simmered in Rey’s stomach. Tentatively, she asked, “Does that mean I’ve been good?”
“Yes,” Christie said immediately, mouthing along Rey’s skin. “You’re a very good girl.”
Rey trembled with delight. “Thank you, ma’am,” she said, the breathiness of her voice surprising her. Christie’s mouth on her neck was setting her nerves alight, her skin prickling. Every soft kiss seemed to energize her entire body. “I like this,” she said fervently.
“I’m glad,” Christie said, her hot breath washing over Rey’s neck and sending a thrill from her core to her fingertips. “I do too.”
“Is it weird,” Rey said, hesitating a little, “that I’m okay with just this right now? Like.” She bit her lip. “Shouldn’t I want more?”
“Not necessarily,” Christie told her. “Touching, even sensual or sexual touching, doesn’t always have to lead to orgasm.” She paused, then murmured, “I’m certain there will be times when I want to touch you sexually, but I don’t particularly care about getting off myself. The stimulation itself can be enough, without the...crest. I don’t see why that can’t be true for you as well.” Her lips played down Rey’s neck, stopping to suck at Rey’s shoulder. “It’s okay not to have an orgasm. You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.”
It was a weird thought, that she could get this wound up without it going anywhere, that she could not want it to go anywhere and it would still be okay. Rey squirmed in Christie’s lap, pressing herself close. “Okay,” she said.
“Good girl,” Christie said, flicking her tongue lightly over the tendon on the side of Rey’s neck, and Rey giggled. “So. We have several hours left before I have to take you home. I’m not sure we can do this the entire time, though I’m willing to try if you’d like me to.”
Rey giggled again. “Maybe we could do this while doing something else? Like watching a movie?”
“We could,” Christie said. “I could also take you shopping.”
Rey sat bolt upright. “Oh!” she said. She’d forgotten about that.
“Interested?” Christie asked, sounding amused.
Rey’s face warmed. “Um. Yeah,” she said.
“All right, then. I’ll go take my shower, shall I? And you can finish getting ready.”
“Okay!” Rey slid off Christie’s lap and began collecting the plates to take them to the kitchen.
Christie rose too, catching Rey from behind by the hips. “You don’t need to worry about that,” she said.
“I just like to get it out of the way,” Rey explained. “So stuff doesn’t pile up.”
“I’ll do it,” Christie said. “Why don’t you go get dressed?”
Rey twisted so that she could see Christie’s face, smirking a bit, feeling naughty. “Is that an order?”
Christie let go with one hand and swatted Rey’s ass lightly. The mild sting made her jump and gasp. “Oh!” Christie said. “I’m sorry, are you still sore?”
Rey considered the warm feeling radiating out from the smack to the rest of her body. It tingled. “Yeah, but in kind of a nice way? You didn’t hurt me.”
Christie leaned close and kissed her. Rey sighed and closed her eyes and kissed her back. Their mouths moved slowly, gently, teeth just grazing lips. Then Christie deepened the kiss, licking into Rey’s mouth, taking Rey’s breath away.
When Christie pulled back, Rey felt pleasantly dizzy. “Go get dressed, darling,” Christie said, and Rey slowly blinked her eyes open.
“Yes, ma’am,” she said, wondering if she’d ever smiled so broadly before.
Christie had said last night at dinner that she wanted to dress Rey up, which meant the shopping would likely involve clothes. The thought made Rey want to dance around the room, and she did, skipping over to her backpack and swinging her hips back and forth as she dug into it.
Since she’d be trying things on, Rey opted for a simple ensemble: a pair of jeans, a NASA T-shirt, and a pair of slip-on flats. She checked herself in Christie’s full-length mirror and then moved down the hall to the bathroom to do her hair and makeup.
The shower was going; Christie had apparently finished in the kitchen. “Can I come in?” Rey called through the door.
“Yes,” Christie called back.
Rey eased the door open and slipped in quickly so as to not let the heat escape. The glass walls of the shower were partially fogged, but she could still make out Christie’s incredible figure as the woman lathered up and rinsed under the rainfall spray. Rey forgot what she was doing and just watched Christie scrub her bare, pink skin, moving her soapy loofa over her shoulders and arms and chest and breasts and stomach.
After a moment of this, Christie glanced over at her. “Is everything all right?” she asked, voice echoing off the marble tile. “Do you need something? I’ll be done soon—”
“Everything’s fine!” Rey said. “Sorry! You’re just...really beautiful.” She spun around, embarrassed, and snatched up her hairbrush from the vanity counter.
Christie let out a laugh that sounded surprised. “If you want to watch me, I don’t mind, darling.”
Rey turned slowly back around, pulling the brush absently through her hair, just in time to see Christie arching her back to sweep the loofa over the curve of her ass. She froze, brush stuck in a tangle, and just stared. The unreality of the situation washed over her anew—somehow this gorgeous, successful, amazing woman wanted her.
It seemed like a dream.
Rey didn’t manage to move again until Christie shut off the shower and stepped out, drying herself off with one of those amazing white fluffy towels. She didn’t scrub; she wiped and dabbed the water off her body and then hung up the towel on a metal bar next to the shower. Stepping to the door, she retrieved a wide-necked bathrobe from a hook and shrugged it on; it left her shoulders and upper chest exposed. Then Christie approached the vanity, and Rey slid to the side to make room, still watching her, hairbrush forgotten.
Christie stepped in close, bent at the waist, and kissed Rey sweetly on the mouth. “Here,” Christie said, and she freed the brush from Rey’s fingers and the messy tangle of her hair. Carefully, starting from the bottom, Christie brushed the tangles out until Rey’s hair hung smooth and straight. “There you are.”
Christie handed the brush back and picked up a comb. Rey stood there clutching the brush against her chest and watching her. She felt slightly mesmerized. Christie slicked her wet hair back with the comb and pinned it in place. Then she started pulling baskets and small totes brimming with compacts and bottles out from beneath the sink counter. “I’ll just do a light look today,” she said, selecting several items and arranging them on the vanity in front of her.
Rey had never been taught how to do her makeup. She watched raptly as Christie moved through her routine with practiced ease. The first thing Christie used was a moisturizer, applying all over her face it with her fingers. After that she squeezed a small amount of gel onto a makeup brush and carefully brushed it on. She paused to wash her hands, then dabbed something Rey figured must be foundation on with her fingertips, spreading and buffing it until it was blended.
Next, Christie dampened a makeup sponge and pumped another liquid onto it. She applied that liquid beneath her eyes, then plucked up a larger makeup brush and began dusting a light coat of powder over her face. When she’d finished with that, she used another brush to apply something along her cheeks and jawline. It seemed like she was putting a lot of similar stuff on her face; Rey finally couldn’t contain her curiosity. “What’s that?” she asked.
Christie glanced over, looking surprised. She was so cute when she was surprised; her blue eyes went wide and her lips parted. “I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were watching me,” she said. “I get sort of in the zone when I’m doing my makeup. I just did my primer, foundation, concealer, and powder, and now I’m using bronzer to add a sort of glow. Next will be blush, then highlighter, and then I’ll do my eyes.”
“Wow,” Rey said. “I, um, usually just use pressed powder and blush.”
“Makeup is for fun,” Christie said. “You can use as much or as little as you like. Certain occasions do require it, but day to day, you don’t have to use any at all if you don’t want to.” She smiled in a way that made Rey’s knees weak. “You always look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” Rey said, looking away self-consciously. “I do want to learn more about makeup, though, I think.”
“Well,” Christie said, sounding pleased, “I would be happy to teach you. We can start today while we’re out. You’ll need your own palette and your own set of applicators.”
Christie turned back to the mirror and finished applying her bronzer, blush, and highlighter. To Rey’s mind, Christie’s skin was naturally lovely; the makeup just served to even it out more, maybe add a bit of definition. The result seemed very similar to the way Christie looked without makeup. Then again, she had said she was doing a “light” look.
Eyeshadow came next; Christie opted for a warm color a bit darker than her skin tone. She lengthened her eyelashes with mascara and darkened her eyebrows with a pencil, then gave her lips a bit of a flush with a warm pink lipstick. Finally, Christie picked up a small bottle. “This is setting spray,” she said. “It will keep the makeup in place throughout the day.” She closed her eyes and spritzed her face, and Rey giggled a little at the sight. “What?”
“It’s like misting a plant,” Rey said.
Christie laughed. “I never thought of that.” She set the spray bottle down, washed her hands, and turned to face Rey. “How do I look?” she asked, putting a hand on her hip and fluttering her eyelashes.
“Amazing,” Rey said without hesitation. “You always look amazing.” Christie was so cute striking that pose. Rey wanted to fling her arms around her and kiss her, but she’d mess up the makeup, so she contented herself with leaning in and pressing her lips to Christie’s exposed collarbone.
Christie let out a satisfied-sounding hum and stroked a hand back over Rey’s hair. “All right, darling,” she said, “I just need to blow out my hair and get dressed, and I’ll be ready to go.”
“Oh! Right,” Rey said, spinning toward the mirror to let Christie finish her routine. She needed to make sure she was presentable, anyway.
Her hair looked all right, so she left it as it was; it would be easier to get in and out of clothes with it down. She brushed her teeth, dabbed some pressed powder over her face, and put on a little mascara. She thought she looked presentable, or at least she looked how she normally looked.
Christie, meanwhile, had unpinned her hair and was mussing it with one hand while blow-drying it with the other. The result was a stylishly messy look. She sprayed something into her hair, Rey guessed to hold the volume, and then started packing her things neatly away. “Are you ready?” she asked, glancing to Rey as she stowed the totes and baskets back beneath the sink.
“Ready,” Rey said.
“All right,” Christie said, straightening. “Help me pick an outfit, and we can be on our way.”
Christie’s closet was amazing. It was a walk-in, but beyond any walk-in Rey had ever seen in person. There were specialized built-ins including hanging racks that spun or slid from side to side, a bank of drawers, shelves that put bags, sweaters, and jeans on display, and an entire bank of cubbies dedicated to shoes. The back of the closet was mirrored and well lit, almost like a department store dressing room. There was even a small upholstered bench.
“It’s a casual sort of day,” Christie said, watching Rey look the closet over. “What do you think I should wear?”
Rey chewed on her lip. “I don’t know,” she said honestly. “This is a lot.”
Christie ducked down and gave her a brief peck on the lips; Rey giggled. “Maybe this will help,” Christie said. “Normally on a casual day this time of year I wear a sweater or blouse with leggings or jeans. And since I expect we’ll do a fair bit of walking today, I’d prefer flats.” She tucked a lock of hair behind Rey’s ear, then straightened. “So, why don’t you pick something you’d like to see me in?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Rey said automatically. It still gave her a thrill. “Thank you, ma’am,” she added coyly.
Christie swatted her on the ass. “Get to it, unless you don’t want me to buy you a cute new outfit today.”
Rey jumped and giggled and stepped toward the folded sweaters. “Yes, ma’am,” she said. “Is it okay to touch?”
“Yes, and you’re quite a good girl to ask,” Christie said.
Rey squirmed and blushed; it felt so nice to be told she was good, even for such a small thing. She turned her full attention to the sweaters, determined to do a good job picking one. There were so many, and they all looked amazingly soft. She ran her hands over all of them and discovered that they were even softer than she’d imagined, so soft she wanted to bury her face in them. That would probably be a bit much, though.
Her eye caught on a brilliant red one. Christie did look amazing in red; that robe she wore the night of the rainstorm was so beautiful on her. But it might be too loud a sweater for a casual day. Rey decided to focus on more muted colors. There were plenty to choose from: browns and grays and darker shades of other colors. Finally Rey spotted a deep blue sweater that probably looked great with Christie’s light blue eyes. She carefully pulled it off the shelf and unfolded it to take a look.
“That’s one of my favorites,” Christie said approvingly.
The sweater looked to be slim in fit, with button details at the cuffs and collar. Rey handed it to Christie. “Where are your leggings?” she asked.
“This drawer here,” Christie said, pulling it out.
Rey peered inside. Christie had her leggings arranged in a single layer, folded vertically, so each color and design was visible from above. There were solids and patterns in a variety of palettes; Rey’s head swam with the possibilities. “How do you normally match things?” she asked.
“That’s cheating,” Christie said, her voice teasing. “I want you to pick. What do you think would look good? You’re the one who has to look at me all day.”
“You’d look good in a garbage bag,” Rey informed her.
Christie flushed, the skin of her cheeks and chest going prettily pink. “Flattery will get you everywhere,” she murmured, hooking a finger into the collar of Rey’s T-shirt and gently tugging her forward. Rey obediently went, until she found herself pressed up against Christie’s body. She wrapped her arms around Christie’s waist, curling her fingers around the soft belt of the bathrobe, and propped her chin against the hollow of Christie’s throat. “I mean it, though,” Christie said, gazing down at her. Her mouth was very close. “I’ll wear what you want me to wear today.”
“Underwear too?” Rey asked cheekily.
“Yes,” Christie said without hesitation. Rey’s heart stuttered. “But you have to pick the normal clothes first.”
“Yes, ma’am!” Rey said. Christie let go of her shirt, and Rey let go of Christie, turning back to the drawer full of leggings. She scanned them quickly, trying to decide which would look cutest. “Here. These,” she said, plucking out a pair with a yellow and white herringbone pattern. She turned back to Christie just in time to see a strange look flicker off her face. “What?”
“Nothing,” Christie said, taking the leggings. “Now shoes. Or boots,” she added. “I’ll just go set these down.”
“No, wait,” Rey said, because obviously it was something. She followed Christie out of the closet. “What is it? Do you think those leggings will look bad with the sweater?”
Christie laid the sweater and leggings out on the bed. She looked uncomfortable. “It’s not that,” she said. “It’s not a bad look. The colors and styles go together. It’s just not something I would have chosen.” Rey opened her mouth to say she’d pick something else, but Christie continued quickly, “Which was the point! I wanted to see what you would choose. If you liked anything in my wardrobe.”
“You don’t have to wear something you don’t like,” Rey said. “Let me pick something else.”
“You picked this,” Christie said. “I’ll wear what you picked, as I said.”
“Christie,” Rey said, putting her hands on her hips, “don’t be ridiculous.”
Christie blinked, looking startled. For a moment they just looked at each other. Rey started to wonder if she’d gone too far. Then Christie laughed, and Rey felt her shoulders relax. “You’re right,” Christie said. “I’m sorry. I’m putting too much pressure on this, for no reason. I think I’m still a little...nervous. About things.”
It made sense. It was just...weird, because Christie was the most thoughtful person Rey had ever met. “That’s okay,” Rey said. “But…” She picked up the leggings. “You told me I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to. It’s the same for you. Okay? You have to say when you aren’t happy too, remember?”
“You’re right,” Christie said again. “Thank you, Rey.”
Relieved, Rey couldn’t help but smile broadly. “You’re welcome. How about you pick what you want to wear with the sweater and let me pick your panties and bra?”
Christie’s lips twitched into a grin. “I see what you’re doing,” she said.
“Yeah?” Rey gave her an innocent smile. “If you’re comfortable and I happen to get what I want, where’s the harm?”
“Fine,” Christie laughed. “My underthings are in the back of the closet. Have a look.”
Rey let out a triumphant whoop and danced back into the walk-in.
It turned out, Rey learned later, after the two of them got out of their taxi at 84th Street and began strolling down Columbus Avenue, that Christie liked the herringbone leggings with the sweater fine...it was just the wrong season. She’d wear that combination in the spring, not late fall. For today, she chose brown leggings and tall leather boots.
“This is the sort of thing you’re supposed to teach me,” Rey said, waggling a finger at her. “Remember? You’re showing me how to be a lady.”
“You’re so impertinent,” Christie said, but she was smiling.
“I’m right,” Rey shot back.
Christie laughed. “Yes,” she said, “you’re right.” She held out her hand. “Now come along, darling.”
Rey laced her fingers into Christie’s and let herself be led.