I met her in one of those usual ways you meet people on larger starships, at least those starships that are mission oriented as opposed to tourist-oriented, the latter being the setting for more romantic meetings by poolsides, dining rooms, and the like. Although I was assured once by a close friend that the most romantic place onboard such ships is the arcade.
Rianna Tazal and I spent what I would call a tense afternoon together. I tried a couple of times to get her to talk to me, to socialize, but never once did she give me a word that was not related to the task at hand-- tracking down a flutter in the RSRD sensor array. Forget the acronym; it makes it sound technical, I know, but "RSRD" stands for Run Silent, Run Deep, and refers to the inability of ships in normal space to detect ships traveling at light-speed.
She was small, even for a Ssphynx; her horizontal half I placed at almost exactly two meters long, her vertical the same. I was surprised at how long the fur on her face grew, giving her a 'fluffy' look. For the most part, her fur was a light grey, shot through with gold in places along the back of her head and neck, and again further down her body along her rear flanks and haunches. She wore the standard ship's uniform jacket of white with blue striping. The oddest thing about her were a pair of enormous square-frame eye lenses that sat across her muzzle with a wire bar and didn't seem to have any other means of support; a seemingly precarious balance of glass that threatened at any moment to slip to the floor and shatter into a million pieces.
It was so frustrating to work with her! I can't stand silent people, who won't at least be a little social even when going about their duties. This was reticence above and beyond the call of duty.
It didn't help that she smelled good.
After my shift was over and I was assured, at least to myself, that even if I hadn't tracked down the current flutter that it wouldn't affect our mission for the next thirty hours, I decided to see if I could track down Kathy or Amanda. Lance told me I could find both of them in Gardentop, a lounge located top-floor, amidships. The doors parted for me and I stepped into a loud and bustling room filled with the usual mix of Pendorian species. Still, Centaurs are hard to miss, and counting my way across the room I found Amanda. Kathy was easy find after that; she was sitting at the same table. "Hoya, ladies. Am I interrupting anything?"
"Not really," Kathy said, smiling up at me. I watched her lips form the word "Master," quietly, so I leaned over and gave her a quick peck on the cheek.
"I take it I can take a seat then?"
"Of course," Amanda said.
"You're looking good, Amanda," I replied. "I see your hair is purple again."
"Pastel purple," she said pointedly, smiling. "Yep. It's growing back pretty quickly, too." She reached out to wrap her hand around my arm, grabbing my attention equally well. "I still haven't thanked you for what you did."
"Yes you have. You came on the mission. I didn't want anything else."
"You wanted a healthy Amanda Ohadi for your mission. Not me."
I shrugged, turning my hand over and opening my palm, a gesture of helplessness. "I take what I can. I'm just so glad you're still alive, Amanda," I said, ordering something on the keypad in the center of the table. A few seconds passed before it materialized on the SDisk in front of me. "Anyway, I came to ask you two lovely ladies about someone else. Do either of you know Rianna Tazal?"
Kathy looked thoughtful for a second. "I know her. She's a power specialist trainee, ensign level, second shift ops."
"What can you tell me about her?" I asked.
"Not much," Kathy replied, leaning over closely. "She keeps to herself a lot, doesn't talk much, doesn't ask for much attention. I tried to get her to come out, to go to a weekly or something, but she just stays in her cabin, as far as I know."
I grimaced, praying quietly that she wasn't a biocyer. "Nothing much else you can do for me?"
"Why are you interested in her?" Kathy asked suddenly.
"Because I spent the day with her down in sensory battery four. And that has to be one of the more frustrating things I've done since coming on board. She wouldn't talk to me... it was like being in a room with a robot, and a dull one at that. Malfunctioning and murdering ones at least make a good attempt at some kind of social intercourse."
Amanda, at least, found that amusing enough to give me a small smile. "Another Shardik charity case?" she asked, still touching my arm.
"She might be," I shot back, grinning. I turned my attention to the display screen on the table, asking for the service records on Sf. Rianna Tazal. I whistled low as the data appeared. "Do you know she's only 32?"
"Thirty-two what?" Amanda asked.
"Years old. What is someone that young doing on a starship? Doesn't she realize she's spending one quarter of her life on board this ship? One third of her equivalent time alive? My fah," I said, ignoring the self-reference, "That's ridiculous."
Kathy looked down at the data screen. "You're right... that is kinda strange. I don't know what to make of it."
"She made it through academy training."
"At a very early age, too," Kathy said, examining Rianna's record closely. "She's very beautiful," Kathy said, looking over the visual recordings.
"That she is; she smells really good, too," I said, smiling. "That was one of the things that drove me crazy all afternoon."
"Sounds about right for you, Ken," Kathy said.
We settled back into our respective chairs, and then Kathy said, "So... after nine months, how is space travel sitting with you and yours?"
I laughed. "P'nyssa loves having a boring job. At least, that's what she says, and I believe her. After all the unusual cases coming to her at Cutter's, I'm willing to bet she's honestly relieved to deal with plain old broken bones and bruised whatsits. Aaden's going a little stir crazy... hey, that reminds me. Do you want to throw a party?"
"What kind of party?" Kathy said, suspicion and lust creeping into her voice.
"That kind of party," I replied. "The kind where you spend most of your evening at my feet... on a leash... gagged and blindfolded, even?"
Kathy's smile went from ear to ear. Unabashedly and without reservation she fell out of her chair to the floor at my feet, placed her head in my lap and said, "Sir, I would love to be yours for such an event."
"Sounds to me like we've got a deal," I said, lifting her chin and staring into her eyes before leaning over to give her a very possessive kiss. I reached behind her neck and stroked the clasp to her silver chain, but I did not undo it. "I think I'll leave you with that, though, for now."
She pouted. "Pouts get you whipped, dear Kathy," I laughed. She pouted more. I laughed louder, and then said "Okay, enough. Back into your seat and behave. What if someone on your staff saw you?"
"I'm sure someone on her staff did," Amanda said. "I'm on her staff, after all."
"You're different," Kathy replied.
"Am I?" Amanda asked. "I don't understand what happened between you two, and I've known you two for nearly half a millennium."
"Has it really been that long?" I asked.
"I think so," Kathy asked. "Our first scene was in '423, wasn't it?"
"You're right... It's over six hundred years. And I met you a century later," I said, pointing to Amanda. "Wow."
"Feeling old, Ken?"
"No, no... feeling young, if anything. It's amazing just how refreshing you two are to me."
"So... are you going to throw that party?" Kathy asked.
"Yep," I said. A plan was forming in the back of my mind.
I walked over to the single crew quarters and found Miss Tazal's down along the third spineway. Paging the doorchime, I heard the unfamiliar and static 'chime' sound, which at first intrigued me; most people customized that chime when they had a chance, using some other soundfile. Then I heard a voice over the panel intercom. "Who is it?"
"It's Kennet Shardik, Miss Tazal. May I come in?"
Silence. What kind of silence, I have no idea. She was still on the other side of the door. "Yes," she finally said, "Come in." Even over the intercom she sounded nervous. The door opened.
Her apartment was laid out comfortably, but the first thing that struck me was the total lack of any furniture for humanoids. That told me one of two things... either she was species supremacist, which seemed damned unlikely considering Academy review policies... or she had guests. Ever.
She was nowhere to be seen; a minute passed before she stepped out of the bedroom wearing a purple-lame' robe tied briefly about her waist. "What can I do for you, sir?"
"You can drop the 'sir,' for one thing, Miss Tazal. This is a social visit."
I had expected the announcement to make her feel at ease; after all, I was a superior officer, and we had worked together recently, so my carrying bad news was always possible. Instead, the opposite happened. She stood stock still for a second, then began to fidget nervously. "A social visit?"
"Yeah," I said, not sure myself where to go with this conversation, other than to bluster through with my original plan. "I'm throwing a party in three days. Commander Hawkwind and I will be the hosts, although we wish you to understand that Miss Hawkwind will be in her regular position of comfort where I am concerned." I smiled to myself at that wording. "Anyway, Kathy and I would like you to attend."
Rianna blinked. "Uhm... I don't know."
"Why not?" I asked. "May I have a seat?"
"Huh? Oh, sure... Sorry there's no human furniture." I immediately decided that Miss Tazal was not a supremacist of any kind. I wondered about her, whether I should feel sad for her or not. I took a seat on one of the elongated 'taur benches. "I don't think I will."
"Why not?" I asked again, this time to a different statement. "It'll be fun. You can dress up and socialize."
"I don't like to socialize," she muttered, turning away to wander into her kitchen space. "I won't have a good time."
"You can't stay in your cabin for an entire four years, Rianna."
"Why not?" she asked angrily as she opened her cooler. "It's Tria, by the way."
"Standard Felinzi construct, Father. Teh-Rianna. I prefer Trianna or just Tria."
"Trianna's pretty. May I call you that?"
She shrugged again. "I suppose. Probably the only pretty thing on me."
"That's ridiculous," I said. "You're quite beautiful."
"I am not," she growled loudly. "I'm a feline... lost in the crowd on this ship. Nothing special there. I'm a Ssphynx, a 'taur... if I were male I'd have no problem, there are hundreds of people out there who like big penises. But I'm not male, and the few male Ssphynxes on board, well... None of them really interest me, or seem interested in me. And a humanoid-- " she looked back along the length of her more animal half and sighed. "I bet you just take one look at me and you wonder where to begin. Probably afraid I'm so big you'll fall out or something. And I'm fat."
"Is that why you hide behind glasses when you're on duty?"
"Those things?" She laughed darkly. "No, those are my PADD."
"Oh!" I said, hitting myself on the head with the palm of my hand. "Stupid me. You get your data that way?" I asked. She nodded. "Old- fashioned, aren't you?"
"I like them that way." Still, in the back of my mind I thought that they made a good excuse for her to wear some sort of mask.
"Trianna... I'm interested in you." She looked back at me quizzically. "No, really," I said. "I think you're very beautiful, and if you don't take MY word for it, who are you going to trust?"
She looked up at me suddenly, a small stream of milk dripping off one corner of her mouth. "You mean that?"
"I mean that," I said assuredly. "I want you to come to this party. It's not going to be Alanailen, really, but Kathy will be spending it on her knees."
Trianna nodded silently. "Father..."
"Trianna... call me Ken. Please. I don't want to spend the duration of this voyage being fawned over by people who are probably ten or even thirty generations removed from me."
"Is thirty generations possible?" she asked.
"I have a limited database, I'm afraid," Lance replied. "I only possess the direct genealogical records of crew members, rather than Halloran Eldar's prodigious memory. The greatest genealogical depth on board is sixteen, Ken."
"Trianna has a maximum depth of seven, and a minimum of two."
"Two?" I asked.
"Yes. Trianna's father's mother is a Tleil."
"Wow," I said, turning back to Trianna. "Okay, so you're not that far removed from me," I apologized, smiling. "Still doesn't mean you should fall on your knees for me. So... Are you coming to the party?"
She nodded slowly. "I guess."
"I still don't think I'm going to be very interested, or have anyone chase after me."
I sighed. "Trianna, just come to the party. I think you'll have a good time."
She nodded, finally. "Okay. I'll be there."
I requisitioned the Viewport recreation area and the unsambo across the hall. The second was converted into a dungeon. That was motif for the night; I honestly hadn't expected for anyone to actually use any of the hardware; the only Alanailen I knew on board of any strength were Aaden, Kathy and I. So rather than a "real" dungeon space, I'd taken the hardware Aaden had brought with him and made it... silly. Big steel manacles where I normally use leather or naylon, things like that.
As the party wound down, it became more and more obvious to me that those still hanging around were actually intrigued by the equipment that I had arranged in the darkened dungeon and party area. "What is this for?" and "You don't really use that on people, do you?" For all the times I said 'no' to a question, there was another question to which I had to say 'yes.'
For some reason, I enjoy this part of the evening. I enjoy being an educator, but I've always known that; I also teach classes onboard ship in my spare time.
Trianna hovered uncomfortably on the edge of the party, looking like she might break at any second. I wasn't surprised when I looked up one time and she was gone. I didn't see her again for the rest of the evening. She had retreated.
I sighed after a long day of teaching duties, tossing my PADD onto one of two couches in the living room, settled down on the couch opposite and said "Lance, I'd like an iced cinnamon tea."
There was barely a pause when the drink appeared at on the table closest to my right hand. "Thank you," I said.
"Commander?" Lance asked, interrupting my attempted lack of train of thought. "There's a request for your attention on my queue."
"Ensign Rianna Tazal."
That made me open my eyes and look up. "Really?"
"I do not lie deliberately, sir."
"I know that. Is she home?"
"She is in her cabin, yes. The request states that she would like to visit you in yours."
"Then, by all means, tell her she's welcome to come over anytime she wants to."
"She is already on her way."
I waited quietly for her to arrive, sipping my tea thoughtfully. I told Lance to let her in as soon as she got here, so I wasn't surprised when the door opened and she padded in quietly on her four catfeet. "Hello, Trianna."
She was nervously silent for a few moment, looking around my cabin and collecting her thoughts. "Take a seat on the couch. Go ahead, it won't bite you."
She nodded quickly and accepted the couch I had offered, brushing my PADD aside as she did so. "So," I said. "What brings you here? You disappeared from the party last week so quickly."
"Ken..." she began, swallowing nervously. "If I tell you something, do you promise not to laugh?"
I thought about it. "I promise to try not to."
She nodded and began. "When I was sixteen years old, I moved out of my house like I was expected to. But I found that I really couldn't do anything; I always felt sort of... lost. I always felt that, without some kind of structure around me that I was wasting my energy just making decisions.
"I went to university instead; I took up fusion technologies as a vocational credit, along with a physics major. And that really worked; for a long time I knew where I had to be a certain time, I knew what I was going to eat because the cafeteria released their schedules in advance, and I knew when I had to sleep. I knew exactly what I had to produce, and I did that well."
She sighed softly. "Then I joined the Fleet. Because I had figured out what I was-- I was an institutional person. I worked well only when I was part of the organization. And my decision to be that has worked for me all the time; I've always been happy in the Fleet, knowing what it is I have to do, where I have to apply myself, things like that."
"That explains a few things," I said.
"Explains? What do you mean?"
"Kathy and I looked at your public records; I was surprised to see that you joined the fleet so young. Now I understand why. You're intelligent enough to understand what you need, and when you figured that part out, you went for it full-out."
"There's a 'but' here," I observed.
She nodded again.
There was a long silence between us, and I finally decided to take the tack I'd been avoiding using. "Trianna, tell me about it."
"Socializing." The word came out as a blurt, almost one single noise rather than an intelligent word. "It's one of those things not even the Fleet regiments-- it's so fluid and uncertain. I can't do it."
"Like at the party?"
She nodded. "You saw my cabin, and I saw the look on your face. I never have friends over because I don't have any friends. You heard me rant and rave about how unattractive I think I am, and no matter how many times I tell myself that other people disagree with that thought, I'm sure I'm lying to myself.
"Ken, I want the freedom to be out; I want to feel free to walk around. But I can't... I'm so afraid to." She stopped to collect her thoughts. "I can't even believe I'm here talking to you like this."
She slipped off the couch and knelt down completely on the floor, her belly pressed to it. Like that, she crawled the short distance over to me and reached her hands out. Bewildered, I took them in mine. "Ken... " She laughed nervously. "I'm calling you that because I want to talk to you, not to something other people think you are. I have to keep reminding myself of what I'm here for." She closed her eyes and clenched her hands, reflexively.
"What?" I asked.
"I need a protector. I need someone who'll make me feel safe enough to face the rest of the world. I need a... what do you call it at Rhysh?" She paused for a moment, then blurted out "I want a... a master."
I suddenly realized what she was driving at. And I realized, too, that she had the right concept, but the wrong definition. I smiled and said "Not exactly."
"Huh?" she asked.
"Trianna, you don't want a master. You're not equipped, really, to be a slave. At least, not in the long run. What you want, Trianna, is properly called a daddy. And I know just the person to be your daddy."
"So you want to be my little girl?" Kathy asked quietly, looking at Trianna as she knelt on the carpet.
"Yes, Daddy," Trianna responded as I had told her to. Kathy flashed me a wide and soft smile.
"Then come here, child," Kathy responded. I sat in a chair opposite where they were talking, watching quietly. Trianna padded over slowly to Kathy and knelt down again. "Put your head in my lap." Trianna obeyed, willingly.
"Tria, tell me what my little girl wants from her Daddy."
"I want Daddy to protect me. To tell me right from wrong, to decide for me who's good for me and who's bad for me. To teach me how to decided those things for myself. I want you to play with me when I'm good, and to punish me when I'm bad."
"Do you want your Daddy to love you?" Kathy asked, concerned.
"Only if Daddy wants to. I want to be loved, but if Daddy doesn't love me I'll understand."
Kathy nodded, still looking none-to-reassured. "Trianna, you see that door over there?" she said, pointing towards my bedroom. "Go wait in there, would you?"
Trianna looked up, her eyes wide and wet. Kathy cooed softly, "Daddy will call you when we're done talking. Okay?"
Trianna nodded, rising and walking back to the bedroom as Kathy had ordered. When the door closed behind her, I looked back at Kathy. "What do you think?"
In a voice I found surprisingly lustful, Kathy said "I want her."
Bemused, I replied "She wants you."
"What do you think?" Kathy asked, returning my query.
"I think that, if you want her, you've got a tough job ahead of you. She said 'I want to grow up.' Well, not in so many words, but that was one of the implications. She wants you to help her. That's unusual in Daddy relationships between women, you know."
Kathy shook her head. "I've been a slave, I've been a top, I've been a sadist, I've been a masochist. I've never really had to look into being a Master or a Daddy. I mean, sure, I went to a class on it once, but that was a long time ago in a castle far, far away, and that was just out of curiosity."
I thought about it for a long time. "She's willing to take punishment if you feel it's necessary."
"I'm sure it will be," Kathy smiled. "And if she turns out to have a serious streak of masochism in her, well..."
"Yeah," I smiled, "I know. So..." I said quietly.
Kathy stood up and walked over to the SDisk delivery cabinet. "Lance, you know the niobium steel link chain in my office, the one with the lock? Can you send that one to me, or a replica?"
"The original will be easier."
"I'd like it, please." She turned around to show me a very traditional light chain collar gleaming with a strange, blue reflective light. "Do you think she'll like it?"
"I think she'll love it."
"Trianna!" Kathy shouted aloud suddenly. "Come here!"
The Ssphynx padded out quietly, her head bowed and silent. "Y- yes?" she asked nervously.
"How do you address me, child?" Kathy warned.
"Yes, Mistress?" Trianna tried, even more nervously.
"Yes, Daddy?" Trianna said.
Kathy grinned. "Very good. Now look up; you're my child, you're supposed to be proud of that fact. Take a deep breath, straighten up. Good girl. Now I want you to answer some questions very carefully. I want you to think about them. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Daddy!" Trianna said, the joy in her voice unmistakable.
"Good. Now, these shouldn't be that hard. Trianna, we're sort of going to play this fifty-fifty. You're going to be my little girl, but I'm going to sometimes be your Mistress too. Do you understand that? You will always call me 'Daddy' in private, but our relationship is going to be more than that. Can you handle that?"
"I think so. I don't know."
"Good answer," Kathy admitted. "Trianna, have you ever had sex with a female before?"
There wasn't a moment's pause before the Ssphynx admitted "I've never had sex with anyone before."
That made me sit up straight. Kathy, too. "How about masturbation?"
Trianna smiled. "I've done that, a lot."
Kathy laughed softly. "You really are a lost child, aren't you? Okay, Tria, do you think you could have sex with a fem?"
Trianna nodded slowly.
"Trianna, if I ordered you to do something you didn't want to do, what would happen?"
"Something I would call safeword on, or just something icky?"
Kathy shot me another smile. "Good answer again," Kathy said again. She reached into the pocket of her uniform jacket and pulled out the chain. "Stand still, Trianna."
Kathy slowly put the chain around the beautiful Ssphynx's neck and locked it in place. Then Trianna slumped forward, every muscle in her body seemingly giving way for her to fall forward against Kathy. Kathy caught her, but only just in time to lose her own balance and fall back onto the couch. Trianna followed Kathy's fall and ended up with her head in Kathy's lap. "Trianna!" Kathy said as soon as she had a breath to say it with.
"I'm still here," Trianna replied softly. She cried as she said it.
"Are you okay?"
"Oh, Daddy... I'm so glad you decided to take me in!" Trianna said, still crying where she lay with her head in Kathy's lap. "Thank you, Daddy, thank you."
Kathy petted Trianna's head lovingly. "It's what you wanted, child. You belong to me now, Trianna."
"I know," Trianna breathed. "Thank you, Daddy."
Kathy squirmed softly in her seat. I recognized that gesture. "Trianna, look at me."
Trianna looked up at Kathy. "Trianna, unclasp my pants."
Trianna reached down and fumbled with Kathy's uniform, figuring out the clasp that held the pants shut and opening it up. "Now take them off." Trianna grasped them by the waistband, slowly peeling them off. Kathy pulled her own shirt off.
For me, the most immediate effect of all this was an erection; Kathy is still a very beautiful woman, with long, blonde hair and large breasts, a narrow waist but comfortable hips. Sitting naked as she was and giving this equally lovely Ssphynx orders was more than one man should be asked to bear; I was glad I was still fully clothed.
"Kiss me, right... here." Kathy pointed to a spot on her inner thigh about halfway along its length. Trianna slowly bent down and followed the instruction perfectly. "Now, closer up," Kathy ordered. Trianna obeyed. "Closer still."
Kathy leaned back against the couch, spreading her legs wider. "Trianna... kiss my mound."
Trianna bent down slowly and kissed Kathy's thick patch of fine, blonde pubic curls. Kathy cooed softly, petting Tria's head with one hand. "Good girl," Kathy said, "good girl. Now kiss me again, a little harder."
Trianna obeyed again, pressing her muzzle against Kathy's mound and licking delicately. "That's it," Kathy said, "stay there. Lick me again, Trianna."
Trianna's soft cattongue touched Kathy's mound again, and as I watched I could see Kathy's lips fill out slowly; watching that happen to her was one of the most fascinating things I'd ever had the pleasure of learning about her. Trianna's licking was certainly encouraging that response from her. "Trianna," Kathy said, "Use your hands to hold my lips open." She obeyed, each of her hands resting on Kathy's thighs and parting her outer labia. "Now look," Kathy said.
Trianna pulled her head back slowly. "Trianna," Kathy began, "what do you see?"
"I see your... your... "
"You can call it my cunt, my vulva, my pussy, my cunny, whatever you want."
"Your cunny," Trianna said.
Kathy laughed playfully. "Do you think it's pretty?"
"Daddy, I think your cunny is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen."
"Really?" Kathy asked, smiling. "Child, I think your eyes are the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. What else do you see there?"
"There's this... thing there. Like around my neck. You have a lock on your lips, Daddy."
"Do you know who put that there?"
"Yes, Daddy. Ken did."
"Very good," Kathy said softly. She reached around her neck and unclasped the necklace of silver she wore. At the other end was a key. "Trianna, this is the key for that lock. As my little girl, you're going to carry it everywhere along with your collar, and when I need it, you're going to bring it to me. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Daddy," Trianna said seriously.
"Trianna... lick your Daddy clean. Unlock me and lick me. And don't stop until I tell you to."
Trianna nodded. Fumbling slightly, she slid the lock out from the two small metal inserts in Kathy's flesh that kept the piercing holes open, opening Kathy vaginal passage completely to her access. I wondered why Kathy had done that; the lock was low on her inner labia and didn't block access to her clitoris or urethra at all. I decided that Kathy was relying on the symbolism of it.
Trianna put the lock on the couch cushion next to Kathy and bent down again. From where I sat I could see her tail flicking back and forth at high speed, the tip oscillating with nervous energy. I wondered if it moved in time with her tongue.
Kathy's hands were on her breasts as she played with her nipples, Trianna's muzzle buried between her legs. Her body shuddered and shook with every orgasm that racked her body, until finally she said "Enough, Trianna! That's enough!"
Trianna backed away suddenly, looking concerned. She also looked silly, with Kathy's juices dripping gently from her muzzle. I managed to control my laughter.
Kathy slid off the couch until she was kneeling in front of Trianna. She slid her arms around the big cat'taur and hugged her, kissing her muzzle softly and holding her. "You did such a nice thing for your Daddy," Kathy said softly, "I don't know what I can do for you in return."
Trianna leaned down and whispered something into Kathy's ear. I wondered what it was, because Kathy's eyes closed for a second, then she nodded; it looked as if Kathy was about to cry this time. "Go, child," I heard Kathy whisper to Trianna. "I'll catch up with you in a moment."
Trianna nodded, rose slowly and left. There was wonderful spring to her step that I had no questions about.
Kathy grabbed the lock in her hand and crawled over to me to put her head in my lap. I suddenly realized what role I had taken on in this whole thing, even before she said "Damn you, Sir."
I stroked her hair softly, caressing her as it cascaded down her back. "What did I do this time, Katherine?"
"I think I've lost my heart, Ken," Kathy said. "She's so... beautiful, so perfect, so wanting and innocent."
I closed my eyes in my own, momentary pain. "I'm sorry, Kathy."
"Don't apologize," she said, barely above a whisper. "There's nothing for you to apologize for, Ken. I always wanted someone who I could understand the way you understood me. I do, with her, I think. She frightens me with her need, though. It's so strong."
"So was yours," I said, looking down at her. "You'll be okay with her. I was only a beginning, Kathy; you've learned a lot from your equals, even me."
Kathy laughed softly. "I know." She stood up from the floor, and then sat down in my lap, wrapping her arms around me. "Aaden and P'nyssa are so lucky. I love you, Ken."
I held her close. "Don't forget how lucky I am to have them, Kathy. I love you, too, y'know. Now then, what did Trianna ask for?"
"She wants to sleep at the foot of my bed."
"Are you going to let her?"
I gave Kathy a brief hug in response. "Good luck, Kathy. Take very good care of her; you've got a fragile young girl depending on you for nearly everything. Don't abuse that."
"Do you think I should see Chief Psychologist M'Vahn about this?" Kathy asked.
I pondered. "Yes," I said finally. "You're fulfilling a powerful and purposeful maturation role in Trianna's life, but I definitely think you want someone not attached to the situation to give you suggestions. Especially here."
Kathy nodded. She stood up slowly, groaning softly as she did so. "I need sleep."
"What about Trianna?"
"I'll have to find her and we'll have to talk more. As adult to adult."
I nodded. She dressed quickly as I watched, then walked towards the door. As it opened I stopped her. "Kathy!"
She turned. "Kathy," I continued, "You're not just a top all the time. You started out as a bottom, and you return there once in a while. Like just a few minutes ago. When the time comes again, do you think you could bottom to Trianna?"
Kathy bit her lip softly. I continued, "When the time comes, Kathy, do you think Trianna could make a good top?"
Kathy smiled. "To that one, I can answer a definite 'yes.' Which means, logically, that I can answer 'yes' to the first question too."
"That's all, Kathy."
"Yes, sir!" she said, half seriously, half mockingly. "Goodnight, Ken."
"Bye, love. See you tomorrow."