While they were cleaning up, Jewel paused, startled by a low chime, loud enough to be audible but not so loud it was intrusive. It seemed to come from everywhere at once.
“That means someone just stepped through to the outer lounge,” Flair said. “It’s all right, we don’t have to rush. The doors are open and they know where the solar is and they’re early. But we can go see if they want a drink. Probably it’s Nik anyway.”
When they reached the solar, they found only a single person present.
Jewel blinked, shocked halfway out of the state of acceptance she’d managed to fall into.
Definitely a person, but equally definitely not a human.
From about the waist up, that was a fairly tall, very handsome man who looked like a Greek statue of the idealized young male body come to life. The small curved horns peeking out of the dense curly black hair somehow failed to detract from that.
At around waist level, that olive skin blended into thick brown woolly fur, very dark on the outer surfaces and around the lowest part, but much paler on his inner thighs and around his bare erect penis. She pulled her gaze away, blushing, trying to focus on the fact that his legs were animal-shaped, with shortened thighs and a hock, all ending in split hooves of shiny black. She couldn’t keep her gaze from going back to his penis, though. She had no idea what a… was he part goat, maybe? No idea what a goat’s anatomy looked like, and no interest in it, although probably it stayed inside when not in use like most animals. This goat-man’s, though, was oddly fascinating. It wasn’t extraordinarily large, maybe around the upper edge of human normal in length and the girth of the shaft, but the shape was different. Most obviously, the head flared more and the very tip was more pointed. And it was quite an appealing pink against that creamy background…
“Nikandros!” Flair actually squealed, as she bounded forward. He wrapped both arms around her, nuzzling at the side of her neck, and Jewel realized in embarrassment that he was rubbing his groin against hers—and that Flair parted her legs to make that easier, while hugging him back.
“Hi, cutie. Being good?”
Flair giggled and rocked her hips forward. “I’m always good.”
“Ain’t that the truth.” He slid a hand around the back of her head to hold her for a long fierce kiss, and Jewel saw no sign of Flair resisting; if anything, she pressed closer, squirming, and made a happy sound when his other hand moved down to her bottom to keep her against him. Jewel laced her hands together behind her, trying to keep her breathing at a reasonable speed while her thoughts and feelings started tumbling chaotically all over again, completely overriding the precarious calm. No one could be built like that, but that was definitely not a costume. What was this party going to involve, especially if the first of the guests was a very obviously randy goat-man who felt free to manhandle his hostess’ pet? And oh dear god, why did she keep finding her gaze going back to that pink head that she could see between Flair’s thighs, and finding her mind speculating about just what it would feel like inside, shaped like that? Why did she want so badly for him to notice her, even greet her the same was as Flair?
Nikandros released Flair, who absently tugged her skirt straight while she stepped back.
“Introduce me to your charming new friend.” He fixed on Jewel with eyes that were weirdly yellow, head tilted a little to one side thoughtfully. Jewel had the unsettling feeling, not that he was undressing her mentally, but that he was evaluating possibilities regardless of state of dress.
“This is Jewel. Jewel, this is Nikandros.”
Nikandros offered a hand; Jewel hesitated, but Flair gave her a nudge. Nervously, Jewel took a few steps forward and laid her hand over his.
Strong fingers closed around hers, but not hard enough to hurt, only enough to draw her into reach. She shivered, closing her eyes, as he trailed the backs of the fingers of his other hand from her cheek slowly down her throat, past the collar to her bare chest, flirting lightly over her breast, and down the front of her abdomen. Suddenly, the corset seemed entirely too tight and it was hard to catch her breath. He skipped down to her outer thigh, and moved inward as he went higher under her skirt. She couldn’t seem to stop herself from moving her legs apart, every muscle quivering with hope that he would just keep touching her, that he’d find her acceptable and would let her drop to her knees and take his penis into her mouth, that her reward for worshipping it would be for him to bend her over and shove it inside her and fuck her relentlessly…
She felt his fingers on her sex, only a single layer of thin satin keeping it from being skin on skin. He traced out the outlines of her labia, lingering on what must be a very wet spot.
When he withdrew his hand, she opened her eyes, intensely disappointed and hoping he had something else in mind.
He raised his fingers to his face, took a very long deep breath, and grinned. “Oh, it’s going to be hard remembering that Min said no sex with you.” He licked his fingers thoughtfully, and nodded. “Very hard. Because I know what I want to do, and I know that you want me to. But your mistress gave her word, and I have to abide by that.” He ran his fingertips, damp with her fluids and his saliva, from her collar down over her chest, exploring the upper surface of her breasts, and Jewel whimpered. There was a reason she wasn’t supposed to want anyone to touch her like this… wasn’t there? He leaned closer, and she caught his scent, a muskiness that was nothing like human male sweat. It smelled wonderful, and she inhaled as deeply as she could.
“You look sexy enough to eat, Jewel,” he told her. “But at the very least, I get to look at you and appreciate the view. And believe me, I will be. Those heels make your legs look so long, and those curves are delicious, I just want to have my hands all over every inch of you, and these are right here asking to be enjoyed,” he ducked his head and ran his tongue upward along her cleavage, and she whimpered again. “And those nice red lips would look so good wrapped around my cock with those lovely eyes closed while you’re concentrating…”
“Nik.” That was Mistress’ voice, from the doorway behind Jewel. “Stop torturing Jewel. It isn’t nice.” Her tone was indulgent, not upset, but quite firm. Nothing in Jewel’s head was telling her she’d done anything wrong.
“Aw, but it’s so very much fun.” He sounded rather amused. “They’re usually so nervous the first time, and if her hormones are doing the thinking for her, it’ll keep her distracted. She’s about halfway there all on her own, just needs a little nudge. You know I wouldn’t break your pledge. No part of me goes inside any part of her for any reason.”
“There is some truth to that,” Mistress conceded. “But ease up, or you’ll have her unable to walk. Red wine?”
Nikandros chuckled and let go of Jewel. “Yes, please.”
“Get me my favourite white, please. Jewel, go with Flair. Try to make note of who uses what so you can go on your own later.”
“Yes, Mistress,” Jewel said, struggling to pull her thoughts back onto her duties. She could feel a wet trickle down the inside of one thigh, her clit was throbbing, and her vaginal muscles were clenching and releasing involuntarily; she was sure her nipples were hard, from how acutely they felt every slight motion of the smooth satin that contained them. Her breathing was fast and shallow, more like panting, her heart was thumping at a positively hyperactive rate, and much of her skin felt damp, presumably with sweat. When Flair took her hand and urged her into motion, she went along with it, unresisting.
Mistress was in the doorway, framed by it. Still dizzy and dazed, Jewel registered without reaction the fact that this was no more a human woman than Nikandros was a human man. Her hair was pure gold now, and fell in loose thick waves down to waist-level. A queen’s ransom in gold and diamonds gleamed in ears and hair, around throat and wrists, and her lips were a dark metallic green. Her pale arms were bare right up to her shoulders. The black top she had on looked like rubber or latex and it fit like a shiny extra skin, high around her neck but with a broad deep inverted triangle showing her cleavage. But that wasn’t a skirt below that… from the waist down were scales, of a green so dark it approached black, shimmering with countless shades of jade and emerald, apple and oak, as the light played along them, so bright and gleaming they gave an impression of having been oiled. And the scales didn’t cover legs, they covered an immensely long powerful snake tail, coiled neatly on the floor to support her upper body.
“Come on,” Flair prompted, drawing her past Mistress, whose tail moved aside with a faint whisper of scales on scales, coils shifting to leave room for them to pass.
In the kitchen, Jewel flattened both palms on the counter, head bowed. It probably should not be possible to be this aroused, but then, there was fae magic involved… and she had to confess, at least to herself, that her own experience had been limited to conventional monogamous heterosexual relationships.
“What hit me?”
“Nikandros is a satyr,” Flair said matter-of-factly, picking up two wine glasses and setting them on the counter near Jewel. “Satyrs are usually pretty good-natured and friendly and they like humans. They like humans best of all when the human in question is offering a hole of one sort or another—satyrs aren’t that fussy about details like which hole or the sex of the body it’s part of. And humans tend to have a very hard time turning them down, no matter what they’d otherwise do. There’s more to them than sex, but that’s a big part of their essential nature.” She giggled. “And they are very good at it, and it feels very good. Nikandros’ villa generally has up to about four or five humans, he keeps them around for a while to play with and keep them safe and let them learn, then lets them go, except one who’s with him permanently. If Mistress has to be away more than a couple of days and can’t take me with her, she sends me to stay with him so I’m not all by myself.”
“Is that going to happen every time I get near him?”
“Well, there are things that make it less strong, but mostly that’s familiarity and experience, and you won’t get that tonight. Even then, it only helps when he isn’t trying. For now, as long as he isn’t deliberately doing anything, you can expect to be horny when you’re near him but not as bad as just now. But he would never ever violate a promise Mistress made or let anyone else do it. The reason is complicated, but that’s absolute. No matter what, he won’t let anything break her rules, not even if you lose control.”
“Oh boy. Just… wow. And Mistress?”
“Right, you wouldn’t have had a chance to see her real form before. She’s a melusine. A really powerful fae from around what’s now France. You could sort of think of them as fae aristocrats, I suppose, but the parallel isn’t perfect. When she’s being human, her legs aren’t very strong, that’s real, that’s why she needs the chair. It’s actually pretty common for melusines and for mermaids.”
She wanted out of these clothes, out of this place that couldn’t exist, away from these insane people. She wanted her safe and normal reality back, she wanted to be Jillian not Jewel. She wanted to know nothing more about Min than that she was a good friend that she got together with to chat. Her clothes felt like the inner layer of a cage, wrapped tightly around her, trapping and hobbling her. She wanted these boots off, and the corset…
But Nikandros wanted her to keep wearing them. He’d admired how she looked. How could she even think of changing any detail that he liked? He said it was sexy and he’d be enjoying watching her. Knowing that he’d found her sexy was keeping her dripping wet and flushed with what she could only call lust. If he said she was sexy, then clearly she was, and she should feel it and act like it. Above all else, she shouldn’t do anything that would make her less sexy.
“Damn it! Are they all going to get inside my head and screw with my thoughts?” She seriously doubted that she’d be able to force herself to take off or change anything she wore, even if she was offered the opportunity.
Another thing to hope desperately would end after the twelve hours.
Sheer frustration and fear and that feeling of being out of her depth made her want to curl up and cry. She settled for burying her face in her arms, hiding the impossible world from her even if she couldn’t hide herself from it. Somewhat hysterically, she remembered that she wasn’t even at any risk of damaging her makeup because it wouldn’t come off.
Flair paused in pouring white wine from a bottle into one glass. “What? Oh. Try not to worry about it.”
“I am worried about it! My thoughts should be my own, at least!”
“There really is no ‘should’ with fae,” Flair said patiently. “Somehow you aren’t quite getting that. They do whatever they want, humans can’t stop them, and there’s no point to expecting them to see things the way we do. There’s no point being stressed over it, either, because there’s nothing you can do. Mistress doesn’t have much interest in mindgames and won’t tolerate it much, but even she won’t see anything wrong with her friends being playful if they don’t hurt us. And they won’t.” She shrugged. “About the best free humans can hope for with fae around is that none of them are malicious, and the best pet humans can hope for is an owner who’s protective and keeps limits on what others can do.”
“And when I get home? How much of this stuff stays?”
“It shouldn’t, or at least not much, and any that does should fade pretty fast if it’s not getting any reinforcement.”
“What about you?” Jewel asked wearily, straightening up. “How long have they been messing with your mind?”
“You can stop thinking that right now.”
“I’m me. I’m not some sort of robot that’s been programmed to obey or a victim who’s been brainwashed into being happy that way. You don’t know my history and I’m not allowed to discuss it because Mistress worries about me, but you have no right to jump to conclusions like that. Yes, Mistress and others have controlled my mind before, sometimes in fun ways and sometimes not so fun, and okay, it’s probably left a few little things here and there, but that is not why I’m happy belonging to Mistress. Probably it’s had less total effect than a whole media culture telling you to look like this and eat this and want this and buy this and wear this and if you don’t something’s wrong with you. This is the wine Mistress likes, remember, and that’s the one Nikandros likes. I wrote this stuff down on the list on the fridge door in case you need a reminder. Are you going to be okay if you’re sent to get refills alone?”
Right. They had a job to do. And on the far side of it was freedom. An hour to get themselves ready, three on preparations… she was a third of the way through it. She could endure the rest. Right?
Jewel licked dry lips and nodded. “I can remember. And I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to think… I mean, there’s obviously a lot I don’t know.”
“I know you’re confused and you’re scared. I’m not mad at you. But assumptions are a really bad idea.”