A/N: This will be the final chapter to 50 Flavors of Creampuff. Stay tuned for the sequel, 50 Flavors Sweeter.

A/N #2: Issues with 50 Shades: using classical opera is really creepy during BDSM play. So I replaced Spem In Alium, or the Forty Part Motet, by Thomas Tallis with something that I think is much easier to flog to: Marilyn Manson: Long Hard Road out of Hell. (Also, the strands in a flogger are called falls, not fronds.)

As the elevator to Carmilla's apartment opens, I run into Brody.

"Hello, Kirsch."

"Miss Hollis," he greets me formally, but I see a hint of smile in his eyes.

He looks immaculate - smart charcoal suit, white shirt, and charcoal tie.

"I'm here to see Carmilla."

"Ms. Karnstein is preoccupied right now, Miss Hollis."

Oh, this must be 'the situation.' I am mining a seam of gold.


He nods.

I frown at Kirsch. "Is she okay?"

"I believe so. Just going to have to watch our next shipment more carefully. I'm going to go do a patrol around the building, okay?"

Well, that curtails our conversation as I make my way to the kitchen. I begin to think that Kirsch's recent slip, something about a shipment. Will Carmilla tell me what is going on? In the great room, Carmilla is on her phone talking quietly as she stares out of the glass doors at the early evening skyline. She's running her hand through her hair; she's agitated, tense even. Oh no - what's wrong? Agitated or not, she's still beyond beautiful. How can she look so... arresting? It's such a pleasure to stand and drink in the sheer sight of her.

"No trace of...? Okay... Yes." She turns and sees me, and her whole demeanor changes.

From tension to relief to something else: a look that calls directly to my libido; a look of sensual carnality, dark eyes blazing. My mouth goes dry and desire blooms in me... just from a look...

"Keep me informed," she snaps and shuts off her phone as she strides purposefully toward me. I stand paralyzed as she closes the distance between us, devouring me with her eyes. Holy shit... something's amiss - the strain in her jaw, the anxiety around her eyes.

She wraps her arms around me, pulling me to her, hard, fast, gripping my hair to tilt my head up, kissing me like her life depends on it. There's a desperate, primal quality to her kiss. She needs me, for whatever reason, at this point in time, and I have never felt so desired and coveted. It's dark and sensual and alarming all at the same time. I kiss her back with equal fervor, my fingers twisting and fisting in her hair. Our tongues entwined, our passion and ardor erupting between us. She tastes divine, hot, sexy, and her scent - all incense and Carmilla is so arousing. She drags her mouth away from mine, and she's staring down at me, gripped by some unnamed emotion.

"What's wrong?" I breathe.

"I'm glad you're here. Shower with me - now."

I can't decide if it's a request or a command.

"Yes," I whisper, and she grabs my hand, leading me out of the big room into her bedroom to her bathroom. Once there, she releases me and sets the water running in the far too spacious shower. Turning slowly, she gazes at me, eyes hooded.

"I like your pants. They're quite snug," she says, her voice low. "You have great legs."

She steps out of her shoes and reaches down to take each of her socks off, never taking her eyes off me. I am rendered speechless by the look of hunger in her eyes. Wow... to be this wanted by this Roman goddess. I mirror her actions and step out of mine. Suddenly, she reaches for me, backing me up against the wall. Kissing me, my face, my throat, my lips... running her hands into my hair. I feel the cool, smooth tiled wall at my back as she pushes herself against me so that I'm flattened between her and the wall. Tentatively, I place my arms on her upper arms, and she groans as I squeeze tightly.

"I want you now. Here... fast, hard," she breathes, and her hands are on my hips, pushing up my shirt. "Are you still bleeding?"

"Yeah." I flush.


I shake my head. "Pad."

"That's fine."

She reaches into a cabinet and pulls on a pair of blue gloves before her thumbs hook over my pants, and abruptly she drops to her knees as she tugs them and my panties off. As I stand there, I'm naked from the waist down and panting, wanting. She grabs my hips, pushing me against the wall again, and kisses me again. Grabbing my upper thighs, she forces my legs apart. I groan loudly, feeling her fingers circle my clitoris. Oh god. Tipping my head back involuntarily, I moan as my fingers grip her hips possessively.

Her tongue is relentless, strong and insistent, pressing into me again and again - non-stop. It's exquisite, the intensity of being penetrated by her in two places at once - it's almost overwhelming. My body starts to quicken, and she releases me. What? No! My breathing is ragged as I pant, gazing at her with delicious anticipation. She looks directly into my need-filled eyes and kisses me again, hard, thrusting her fingers inside me as I gasp into her kiss.

"Wrap your legs around me, baby," she commands, her voice urgent, strained.

I do as I'm told and also wrap my arms around her neck, and she moves three fingers quickly and sharply, filling me. Ah! She bites her lip at that noise, and I groan. Holding my behind, fingers digging into my soft flesh, she begins to fuck me - slowly at first - a steady even tempo... but as I feel like I'm starting to crest, she speeds up... faster, and faster. I tip my head back and concentrate on the invading, punishing, heavenly sensation... pushing me, pushing me... onward, higher, up... and when I can take no more, I explode around her, spiraling into an intense, all-consuming orgasm. She responds with a deep growl, and she buries her head in my neck as her growls turn into a victorious purr, groaning loudly and incoherently as her teeth press down on my neck but doesn't apply any pressure.

Her breathing is erratic, but she kisses me tenderly, and I blink, unseeing into her eyes. As she comes into focus, I look into silver eyes as she gently pulls out of me, holding me steady while I place my feet on the floor. The bathroom is now cloudy with steam... and hot. I feel overdressed.

"You seem pleased to see me," I murmur with a shy smile.

Her lips quirk up.

"Yes, creampuff, I think my pleasure is pretty self-evident. Come - let me finally get you in the shower."

She undresses herself while I watch her, yearning to reach out and touch her, but I contain myself. She smiles shyly as she bares herself to me and removes my top.

"Turn round."

I am thrown by her casual command, but do as I'm bid, and she undoes my bra and licks me up my spine. She leans against me and her nose nuzzles my hair, inhaling deeply. She chuckles as she slaps my buttocks.

"You intoxicate me, sweetness, and you calm me. Such a heady combination." She kisses my hair. Grabbing my hand, she tugs me into the shower.

"Ow," I squeal. The water is practically scalding. Carmilla grins down at me as the water cascades over her.

"It's only a little hot water."

And actually she's right. It feels heavenly, and I smile as I think that this is a nice way to conserve water.

"Turn round," she orders, and I comply, turning to face the wall. "I want to wash you," she murmurs and reaches for the body wash. She squirts a little into a loofah.

"I have something else to tell you," I murmur as she starts on my shoulders.

"Oh, yes?" she asks mildly.

I steel myself with a deep breath, and turn as she starts to scrub my front.

"My friend Danny's Summer Society's Adonis Festival and Hunt is this Friday night at Silas."

She stills, her hands hovering over my breasts. I have emphasized the word 'friend.'

"Yes, what about it?" she asks sternly.

"I said I would go. Do you want to come with me?"

After what feels like a monumental amount of time, she slowly starts washing me again.

"I do think that this is an unfair negotiation tactic."

"You suggested we take a shower, Mistress." Her eyes catch mine as we both smile at that.

"Fair enough. What time?"

"Sundown. It sounds kind of pagan-y."

She kisses my forehead.

"Okay." I let go of a breath I didn't know I was holding.

"Were you nervous about asking me, cupcake?"

"Yes. How can you tell?"

"Well, your whole body's just relaxed," she says dryly.

"Well, around her you seem to be um... a bit protective."

"Well, I am," she says darkly. "I might trust you to fight your own battles, but I want to be there if you need me."

I smile at that, and decide to press my luck.

"May I wash you?" I ask.

"I don't think so," she murmurs, and she kisses me gently on my neck to take the sting out of her refusal. "Switch." We trade places in the shower and wet my hair and pout at the wall as she caresses her own body with soap.

"Will you ever let me touch you?" I ask boldly.

The moment seems to go on for a bit too long, until I feel her hands gripping my hips.

"Kneel for me, I'm in need of your smart mouth sweetness." she murmurs in my ear as she kisses the back of my neck, and I know that the discussion is over.

Later we are seated at the breakfast bar, dressed in bathrobes, having consumed Perry's rather excellent pasta alle vongole while Carmilla drinks her soy milk straight out of the container. I bite the inside of my cheek and smile as I fight the urge to roll my eyes at her.

"How's the um... situation with work?" I ask tentatively as I see her white-knuckle grip on the carton.

She frowns.

"Out of hand," she murmurs bitterly. "But nothing for you to worry about. I have plans for you this evening."


"Yes. I want you ready and waiting in my playroom in fifteen minutes." She stands and gazes down at me, and she seems more content as she looks at me with playful dark eyes.

Playroom? A thrill of excitement goes through me as I nod to her. "Okay."

"You can get ready in your room." She says as she stalks off to her study.

I sit on the bar stool, momentarily stupefied, trying to figure out how we got here. I make my way toward my room, remembering exactly how she wants me ready and waiting in the playroom. Naked except for panties, kneeling for her, hair braided neatly. I guess she needs some time to get ready herself as well.

Kneeling by the door, I am naked except for a set of emerald green lace panties. My hair is braided and my heart is in my mouth. Jeez, I thought after the bathroom she would have had enough. Closing my eyes, I try to calm myself down and think of how a submissive Hermione would be kneeling for her Master Snape.

What will she do? I take a deep steadying breath, wishing that I knew what she wanted to do with me, but I'm excited, aroused, and wet already. This is so... I want to think wrong, but somehow it's not. It's right for Carmilla, and I think it's okay with me because it's Carmilla. It's what she wants - and honestly, she hasn't done anything I haven't liked, so I have to girl the hell up and pull my side of the compromise since she's willing to date me and let me sleep in bed next to her.

The memory of her laying eyes on me when I came in this evening, the longing in her face, her determined stride toward me felt like I was an oasis in the desert. I'd do almost anything to see that look again. I press my thighs together at the delicious memory, and I remember that I need to spread my knees. I shuffle them apart, realizing that this pose leaves me exposed and it turns me on even more. How long will she make me wait? The anticipation is killing me, crippling me with a dark and tantalizing desire. I glance quickly around the subtly lit room; the cross, the table, the couch, the bench... that bed. It looms so large, and it's made up with red satin sheets. What toy will she use today?

The door opens and Carmilla breezes in, ignoring me completely. I glance down quickly, staring at my hands, positioned with care on my spread thighs. Placing something on the large chest beside the door, she strolls casually toward the bed. I indulge myself in a quick glimpse at her, and my heart almost lurches to a stop. She's wearing a short over bust corset and skintight leather pants. I forget to breathe, she looks so freaking hot. I lick my lips instinctively. My blood pounds through my body, thick and heavy with salacious hunger. What is she going to do to me?

Turning, she nonchalantly walks back to the chest of drawers. Opening one, she begins to remove items and place them on the top. My curiosity burns, blazes even, but I resist the overwhelming temptation to sneak a quick peek. When she finishes what she's doing, she comes to stand in front of me.

"You look lovely," she breathes.

I keep my head down, conscious that she's staring at me while I am practically naked. I feel the flush as it slowly spreads over my face. She bends down and cups my chin, forcing my face up to meet her gaze.

"You are one beautiful woman, Laura. And you're all mine," she murmurs. "Stand up." Her command is soft full of sensual promise.

Shakily, I get to my feet.

"Look at me," she breathes, and I stare up into her smoldering gray gaze. It is her Domme gaze - cold, hard, and sexy as hell, seven shades of sin that makes her seductive look pale in comparison. My mouth dries, and I know I will do anything she asks. An almost cruel smile plays across her lips. She knows exactly what she's doing to me.

"We don't have a signed contract, Laura. But we've discussed limits. And I want to re-iterate we have safe words, okay?"

Holy fuck... what has she got planned that I need safe words?

"What are they?" she asks authoritatively.

I frown slightly at her question, and her face hardens perceptibly.

"I need to know you're still mentally here enough to consent and safeword if needed." she says slowly and deliberately.

"Yellow," I stutter, spitting the word out as I recall how to talk.

"And?" she prompts, her mouth setting in a hard line.

"Red," I breathe.

"Remember those."

And I can't help it... I raise my eyebrow at her and want to say something sarcastic, but a sudden glint in her dark eyes stops me in my tracks.

"Don't start with your smart mouth in here, Miss Hollis. Or I will fuck it with you on your knees. Do you understand?"

I swallow instinctively. Okay. I blink rapidly, chastened. Actually, it's her tone of voice, rather than the threat, that intimidates me. Don't mouth off in the play room, remember to call her 'Mistress' or 'Ma'am'. Got it.


"Yes, Ma'am," I mumble hastily.

"Good girl," she pauses as she stares at me. "My intention is not that you should safeword because you're in pain. What I intend to do to you will be intense. Very intense, and you have to guide me. Do you understand?"

Not really. I shake my head. "May I ask a question?"

Carmilla nods.

"What are you wanting to do today?"

"Blindfold you, flog you, maybe shackle you down and fuck you with a strap on. This is about sensation, cupcake. You will not be able to see me, but you'll be able to feel me."

I frown - not see her?

"I am going to tie you to that bed, Laura. But I'm going to blindfold you first and," she reveals her MP3 player in her hand, "I'm going to play a song that I've always wanted to flog and play to."

Okay. A musical interlude, not what I was expecting. Does she ever do what I expect?

"Come." Taking my hand, she leads me over to the antique four-poster bed. There are shackles attached at each corner, fine metal chains with leather cuffs, glinting against the red satin. I think my heart is going to leave my chest, and I'm melting from the inside out, desire coursing through me. Could I be any more excited?

"Stand here."

I am facing the bed. She leans down and whispers in my ear.

"Wait here, keep your eyes on the bed. Picture yourself lying here bound and totally at my mercy." The way she whispers, just behind my ear, makes the words feel more dark and delicious. She moves away for a moment, and I can hear her near the door fetching something.

All my senses are hyper alert, my hearing more acute. She's picked up something from the rack of whips and paddles by the door. Holy cow. What is she going to do? I feel her behind me. She trails her fingertips down my braid, deft fingers skimming my back occasionally, each casual touch is like a sweet, electric shock against my skin. She pulls again to the side so that I angle my head, giving her easier access to my neck. Leaning down, she nuzzles my neck, tracing her teeth and tongue from the base of my ear to my shoulder. I shudder silently as the tip of her tongue threatens to undo me right there.

She hums softly as she does, and the sound resonates through me. Right down... right down there, inside me. Unbidden, I groan quietly.

"Hush now," she breathes against my skin. She holds up her hands in front of me, her arms touching mine. In her right hand is a flogger. I remember the name from my first introduction to this room.

"Touch it," she whispers, and she sounds like the devil herself. My body flames in response. Tentatively, I reach out and brush the long strands. It has many long leather falls, all soft suede ending in square tips.

"I will use this. It will not hurt, but it will bring your blood to the surface of your skin and make you very sensitive."

Oh, she says it won't hurt.

"What are the safe words, Laura?"

"Um... yellow and red, Mistress," I whisper.

"Good girl. Remember, most of your fear is in your mind."

She drops the flogger on the bed, and her hands move to my waist.

"You won't be needing these," she murmurs and hooks her fingers into my panties and sweeps them down my legs. I gasp as I step unsteadily out of them, supporting myself on the ornate post of the bed.

"Stand still," she orders, and she kisses the small of my back and then gently nips my behind, making me tense. "Now lie down. Face up," she adds as she smacks me hard on the behind, making me jump.

Hastily, I crawl onto the bed's hard, unyielding mattress and lie down, looking up at her. The satin of the sheet beneath me is soft and cool against my skin. Her gaze is impassive, except for her eyes which glow with a barely leashed excitement.

"Hands above your head," she orders, and I do as I'm bid. Jeez, I want her already.

She turns, and out of the corner of my eye, I watch her saunter back over to the chest of drawers, returning with the MP3 player and what looks like a sleep mask, the kind you'd see on a long airplane flight. The thought makes me want to smile, but I can't quite make my lips cooperate. I am too consumed with anticipation. I just know my face is completely immobile, my eyes huge, as I gaze at her.

"Lift your head," she commands, and I do so immediately.

Slowly, she slides the mask on, pulling the elastic over the back of my head, and I'm blind. I'm deafened by my own breathing - it's shallow and erratic, reflecting my excitement. Carmilla takes my left arm, stretches it gently to the left-hand corner, and attaches the leather cuff around my wrist. Her long fingers stroke the length of my arm once she's finished. Her touch elicits a delicious, tickly shiver. I hear her move slowly round to the other side, takes my right arm and cuffs it. Again, her long fingers linger along my arm. Oh my... I am fit to burst already. Why is this so erotic?

She moves to the bottom of the bed and grabs both of my ankles.

"Lift your head again," she orders.

I comply, and she drags me down the bed so that my arms are stretched out and almost straining at the cuffs. Okay, I cannot move my arms. A feeling of trepidation mixed with exhilaration sweeps through my body, making me wetter as I groan. Parting my legs, she cuffs first my right ankle and then my left so I am staked out, spread-eagled, and totally vulnerable to her. It's so unnerving that I can't see her. I listen hard... what's she doing? And I hear nothing, just my breathing and the pounding thud of my heart as blood pulses furiously against my eardrums.

The music starts, and it's something that seems familiar, with violins that seem to be mournful, accompanied by a piano and a bass line that suggests darker things...

Carmilla trails her hand, unhurried and deliberate, down to my belly, circling my navel, then carefully from hip to hip, and I'm trying to anticipate where she's going next... but the music... it's in my head... transporting me... the hand across the line of my pubic hair...

I want to fly into your sun
Need faith to make me numb
Live like a teenage christ
I'm a saint, got a date with suicide

Her hand goes up between my legs, along my thighs, down one leg... up the other... it almost tickles... but not quite... more voices join...

And still, her fingertips are moving down my arms and round my waist... back up across my breasts. My nipples harden beneath the soft touch... and I'm panting... wondering where her hand will go next.

Oh Mary, Mary
To be this young is oh so scary
Mary, Mary
To be this young I'm oh so scared
I wanna live, I wanna love
But its a long hard road, out of hell
I wanna live, I wanna love
But its a long hard road, out of hell

Suddenly, I can feel the falls of the flogger flowing over my skin, following the same path as her hand, but it's so hard to concentrate with the feel of the soft suede against my skin... trailing over me... abruptly, it disappears. Then suddenly, sharply, it impacts against my belly.

You never said forever, could ever hurt like this
You never said forever, could ever hurt like this

"Aagghh!" I cry out. It takes me by surprise, and it doesn't exactly hurt, but tingles all over, and she hits me again. Harder.

Do do-do do, do-do do, do-do, do-do...


I want to move, to writhe... to escape, or to welcome, each blow... I don't know - it's so overwhelming... I can't pull my arms... my legs are stuck... I am held very firmly in place... and again she strikes across my breasts - I cry out. And it's a sweet agony - bearable, just... pleasant - no, not immediately, but as my skin sings with each blow in perfect counterpoint to the music in my head, I am dragged into a dark, dark part of my psyche that surrenders to this most erotic sensation.

Do do-do do, do-do do, do-do, do-do...

She keeps going as the music reaches a climax, and then suddenly - the music goes quiet. And she stops, resting the leather falls against my warm flesh, and I find myself actually wanting the flogger against my skin.

Spin my way out of hell, there's nothing left this soul to sell
Live fast and die fast too

How many times to do this for you?
How many times to do this for you?

As the tempo starts to build, she rains down blows on me... and I groan and writhe.. in an odd pleasure.

Mary, Mary
To be this young I'm oh so scared
I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell
I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell

Yes - I get this. She hits me across my hip, then moves in swift blows over my pubic hair, on my thighs, and down my inner thighs... and back up my body... and then just over my vulva. "Aagghh!" I cry out. It takes me by surprise, and it doesn't exactly hurt, but tingles all over, and she hits me again.

You never said forever, could ever hurt like this
You never said forever, could ever hurt like this

Harder, and I'm ready to climax from this, but then she stops. I arch up away from the bed, body begging to be hit some more. What's happening? What's she going to do now? The excitement is almost unbearable.

Do do-do do, do-do do, do-do, do-do...

I've entered a very dark, carnal place. The bed moves and shifts as I feel her clamber over me, her lips running down my neck and throat, kissing, sucking... trailing down to my breasts... Ah! Taunting each of my nipples in turn... her tongue swirling round one while her fingers relentlessly tease the other... I groan, loudly I think, though I can't hear.

Do do-do do, do-do do, do-do, do-do...

I am lost. Lost in her... lost to all the sensations I cannot escape... I am completely at the mercy of her expert touch. She's kissing and sucking and nibbling... moving south... and then her tongue is there. At the junction of my thighs, sliding inside of me and making my thighs shake in need.

I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell

I throw my head back and cry out as I almost detonate into orgasm... I'm on the brink, and she stops. "Please!" I wail, begging for release.

I wanna live, I wanna love
But it's a long hard road, out of hell

The bed shifts, and she kneels between my legs. She leans toward the bedpost, and the cuff on my ankle is suddenly gone. I pull my leg to the middle of the bed... resting it against her. She leans over to the opposite post and frees my other leg. Her hands travel quickly down both my legs, squeezing and kneading, bringing life back into them. Then, grasping my hips, she lifts me so that my back is no longer on the bed. I am arched, resting on my shoulders.

Long hard road, out of hell

She's kneeling up between my legs... and in one swift, slamming move she's inside me... oh fuck... and I cry out again. The quiver of my impending orgasm begins, and she stills. The quiver dies... oh no... she's going to torture me further.

I wanna live, I wanna love
But its a long hard road, out of hell

"Please," I beg, and in one swift move, she lowers me back onto the bed, and she's lying on top of me, her hands on the bed beside my breasts as she supports her weight, and she thrusts into me as the music and I reaches our climax and I fall... free fall... into the most intense, agonizing orgasm I have ever had, and Carmilla follows me... thrusting hard into me, three more times... finally stilling, then collapsing on top of me.

Sell my soul for anything, anything but you
Sell my soul for anything, anything but you

As my consciousness returns from wherever it's been, Carmilla pulls out of me. The music has stopped, and I can feel her stretch across my body as she undoes the cuff on my right wrist. I groan as my hand is freed. She quickly frees my other hand, gently pulls the mask from my eyes, and I blink in the dim soft light and stare up into her intense gaze.

"Hi," she murmurs.

"Hi, yourself," I breathe shyly back at her. Her lips quirk up into a smile, and she leans down and kisses me softly.

"Well done, you," she whispers. "Turn over."

Holy fuck - what's she going to do now? Her eyes soften.

"I'm just going to rub your shoulders."

"Oh... okay."

I roll stiffly onto my front. I am so tired. Carmilla sits astride me and starts to massage my shoulders. I groan loudly - she has such strong, knowing fingers. Leaning down, she kisses my head.

"What was that music?" I mumble almost inarticulately.

"Marilyn Manson - Long Hard Road out of Hell."

"It was... overwhelming."

"I've always wanted to fuck to it."

"Not another first, Ms. Karnstein?"

"Indeed, Miss Hollis."

I groan again as her fingers work their magic on my shoulders.

"Well, it's the first time I've fucked to it, too," I murmur sleepily.

"Hmm... you and I, we're giving each other many firsts." Her voice is matter-of-fact.

"Since you have work in the morning, you should probably be in bed in an hour."

"Okay," I breathe. "So what shall we do for half an hour?" I say as I snuggle into the bed, moaning at her massaging.

"I can think of a few things," she grins, dark eyes alight with mirth. I gaze back impassively as my insides clench and melt under her knowing look.

"On the other hand, we could talk," I suggest quietly.

Her brow creases.

"I prefer what I have in mind." She scoops me onto her lap.

"You'd always rather have sex than talk," I laugh, steadying myself by holding on to her upper arms.

"True. Especially with you." She nuzzles my hair and starts a steady trail of kisses from below my ear to my throat.

"I think I'm... fucked out for the night."

"Alright, cupcake."

"But I want to get something straight," I whisper as my pulse starts to accelerate, reveling in the feel of her lips on me.

She pauses momentarily before continuing her sensual assault.

"Always so eager for information, Miss Hollis. What needs straightening out?" she breathes against my skin at the base of my neck, continuing her soft gentle kisses.

"Us," I whisper as I close my eyes.

"Hmm. What about us?" She pauses her trail of kisses along my shoulder.

"The contract."

She lifts her head to gaze down at me, a hint of amusement in her eyes, and sighs. She strokes her fingertips down my cheek.

"Well, I think the contract is moot, don't you?" Her voice is low and husky, her eyes soft.


"Moot." She smiles. I gape at her quizzically.

"But you were so gung-ho on that."

"Well, that was before. Anyway, the rules aren't moot, they still stand when we're in the playroom." Her expression hardens slightly.

"Before... Before what?"

"Before," She pauses, and the wary expression is back, "more." She shrugs.


"Besides, we've played in my dungeon, and you haven't run screaming for the hills."

"Do you expect me to?"

"Nothing you do is expected, Laura." she says dryly.

"So, let me be clear. You just want me to follow the contract when we're playing in that room?"

"Yes, and maybe if we play in other places, and we'll figure that out when it happens. Look creampuff, I want you to follow the spirit of the contract outside of the playroom, and when we're inside it, I want you to follow the letter of the contract."

"And if I break one of the rules?"

"Then I'll punish you."

"But won't you need my permission?"

"Yes, I will."

"And if I say no?"

She gazes at me for a moment, with a confused expression.

"If you say no, you'll say no. But the punishment is just a part of the dynamic."

I pull away from her and stand. I need some distance. She frowns as I stare down at her. She looks puzzled and wary again.

"So the punishment aspect remains."

"Yes, but only if you break the rules."

"I'll need to re-read them," I say, trying to recall the detail.

"I'll fetch them for you." Her tone is suddenly businesslike.

Whoa. This has gotten serious so quickly. My scalp prickles. Jeez, I need some tea. The future of our so-called relationship is being discussed right now, after she has fucked my brains out? I try to get up to follow her but settle for just sitting up in bed.

"Here you go." She pushes a typed piece of paper toward me.

submissive agrees and understands that any infractions of this agreement, or any act submissive commits which displeases her Dominant, will result in punishment. submissive will gracefully accept punishment and try to learn from it. submissive agrees to assemble the punishment materials as ordered by her Dominant and assume any position needed to accept the punishment. submissive understands that failure to comply with her Dominant's orders will result in a more severe punishment. The Dominant will inform submissive that she is being punished when punishment occurs, and will explain the reason for punishment either before, or during punishment. The Dominant agrees to discipline only out of a desire to better the submissive and her servitude, and further agrees to never punish out of, or during, feelings of anger.

"So the obedience thing still stands, and there's no list of exactly what displeases you? I'm eventually going to get punished for something I didn't know was an infraction, aren't I?"

"Oh, yes." She grins.

I shake my head amused, and before I realize it, I roll my eyes at her.

"Did you just roll your eyes at me, Laura?" She breathes.

Oh fuck.

"Possibly, depends what your reaction is."

"Same as always," she says, shaking her head slightly, her eyes alight with excitement.

I swallow instinctively and a frisson of exhilaration runs through me.

"So... " Holy shit. What am I going to do?

"Yes?" She licks her lower lip.

"You want to spank me now."

"Yes. And I will."

"Oh, really, Ms. Karnstein?" I challenge, grinning back at her. Two can play this game.

"Are you going to stop me?"

"You're going to have to catch me first."

Her eyes widen a fraction, and she grins, slowly getting to her feet.

"Oh, really, sweetness? Can you even stand?"

I grimace at that. I honestly don't think I can.

"Are you going to come quietly?" she asks.

I arch an eyebrow. "Do I ever?" She smirks in reply.

"Cutie, you may fall and hurt yourself."

"I have been in danger since I met you, Ms. Karnstein, rules or no rules."

"Yes you have." She pauses, and her brow furrows slightly.

"I guess I feel about punishment the same way you feel about me touching you." Her entire demeanor changes in a nanosecond. Gone is playful Carmilla, and she stands staring at me as if I'd slapped her. She's ashen.

"That's how you feel?" she whispers.

Those four words, and the way she utters them, speaks volumes. Oh no. They tell me so much more about her and how she feels. They tell me about her fear and loathing.

"No. It doesn't affect me quite as much as that, but it gives you an idea," I murmur, staring anxiously at her.

"Oh," she says.

Crap. She looks completely and utterly lost, like I've pulled the rug from under her feet.

"You hate it that much?" she breathes, her eyes filled with horror.

"Well... no," I reassure her. Jeez - that's how she feels about people touching her?

"No. I feel ambivalent about it. I don't like it, but I don't hate it."

"But before, in this playroom, you... " she trails off.

"I do it for you, Carmilla, because you need it. I don't. You didn't hurt me with it, and that was in a different context, and I can rationalize that internally, and I trust you. But when you want to punish me, I worry that you'll hurt me."

Her dark eyes blaze like a turbulent storm. Time moves, and expands and slips away before she answers softly.

"I want to hurt you. But not beyond anything that you couldn't take."



She runs her hand through her hair, and she shrugs.

"I just need it." She pauses, gazing at me with anguish, and she closes her eyes and shakes her head. "I can't tell you," she whispers.

"Can't or won't?"

"Can't explain the concept of the color blue to a dog. You're not a Sadist, I am."

"Show me," I whisper.

"Show you?"

"Show me how much it can hurt."


"Punish me. I want to know how bad it can get."

Carmilla steps back away from me, completely confused.

"You would try?"

"Yes. I said I would." But I have an ulterior motive. If I do this for her, maybe she will let me touch her.

She blinks at me.

"Laura, you're so confusing."

"I'm confused too. I'm trying to work this out. And you and I will know, once and for all, if I can do this. If I can handle this, then maybe you - " My words fail me, and her eyes widen again. She knows I am referring to the touch thing. For a moment, she looks torn, but then resolve settles on her features, and she narrows her eyes, gazing at me speculatively as if weighing up alternatives.

Abruptly, she clasps my arm in a firm grip and turns me to rest on the bed on all fours. Pleasure and pain, reward and punishment - her words from so long ago echo through my mind.

"I'll show you how bad it can be, and you can make your own mind up." She pauses, uncertain. "Are you ready for this?"

I nod, my mind made up, and I'm vaguely lightheaded, faint as all the blood leaves my head.

"Stand up, and go bend over the bench," she murmurs softly. That wasn't confident, Dominant Carmilla. She sounds scared.

Okay. I can do this. I bend over the smooth soft leather, and turn to see her holding a cane. Holy fuck this is going to hurt... I just know it.

"We're here because you asked for this, Laura. I am going to hit you ten times, and you will count with me." Suddenly, it's gone - that nervous edgy fear in her voice. She's back from wherever she's been. I hear it in her tone, in the way she places her fingers on my back, holding me - and the atmosphere in the room changes.

Why the hell doesn't she just get on with it? She is making a production out of punishing me. I roll my eyes, knowing full well she can't see me.

I close my eyes, bracing myself for the blow. It comes hard, snapping across my backside, and the bite of the rod is everything I feared. I cry out involuntarily, and take a huge gulp of air.

"Count!" she commands.

"One!" I shout at her, and it sounds like an expletive.

She hits me again, and the pain pulses and echoes along the line of the cane. Fucking hell this hurts!

"Two!" I scream. It feels so good to scream.

Her breathing is ragged and harsh. Whereas mine is almost non-existent as I desperately scrabble around my psyche looking for some internal strength. The cane cuts into my flesh again.

"Three!" Tears spring unwelcome into my eyes. Jeez - this is harder than I thought - so much harder than the spanking. She's not holding anything back.

"Four!" I yell as the cane bites me again, and now the tears are streaming down my face.

I don't want to cry. It angers me that I am crying. She hits me again.

"Five." My voice is more a choked, strangled sob, and in this moment, I think I hate her. I'm halfway there, come on... My backside feels as if it's on fire.

"Six," I whisper as the blistering pain cuts across me again, and I hear her panting behind me, and she's aroused... she's fucking turned on by this...

"NO! Stop!" And I find myself struggling as the seventh blow hits, and I scream.

"RED! RED RED RED!" I hiss. I turn and face her, and she's watching me as if I might bolt, her eyes wide, licking her lips. I dash the tears angrily out of my eyes with the backs of my hands, glaring at her.

"This is what you really like?! Me, like this?"

She gazes at me warily.

"Well, you are one FUCKED UP BITCH!"

"Laura," she pleads, shocked.

"NO. Don't you dare, 'Laura' me! It's always 'sweetness' and 'cupcake' and playful unless you want something and then you're serious! You need to sort your shit out, Karnstein!" And with that, I turn stiffly, and I walk out of the playroom, slamming the door behind me.

I pace back to 'my' bedroom, furious.

Do I run? Do I stay? I am so mad, angry scalding tears spill down my cheeks, and I brush them furiously aside. I just want to curl up. Curl up and recuperate in some way. Heal my shattered faith. How could I have been so stupid? Of course it hurts.

Tentatively, I rub my backside. I enter my room, or the room that will be mine, no, is mine... was mine. This is why she wanted me to keep it. She knew I would need distance from her.

I rummage through the dresser and start putting on underwear and socks. I can't be this angry while I'm naked.

What was I thinking? Why did I let her do that to me? I wanted the dark, to explore how bad it could be - but it's too dark for me. I cannot do this. Yet, this is what she does, this is how she gets her kicks. What a monumental wake-up call. And to be fair to her, she warned me and warned me, time and again. She's not normal. She has needs that I cannot fulfill. I realize that now.

Run, Sixteen, Run. I recall the words in my dream.

I don't want her to hit me like that again, ever. I think of the couple of times she has hit me, and how easy she was on me by comparison. I am going to lose her. She won't want to be with me if I can't give her this. I have a pair of jeans and a shirt on as I slip on shoes that fit.

Why, why, why have I fallen in love with her? Why can't I love Danny, or someone like me?

I tried to follow my heart, to not over think things, and I have a sore ass and an anguished, broken spirit to show for it. I have to go. That's it... I have to leave. She's no good for me, and I am no good for her. How can we possibly make this work? And the thought of not seeing her again practically chokes me... but she's too fucked up.

I hear the door click open.

"Hush," she breathes, and I want to get past her and out of my room.

"Don't hate me," she whispers into the silent room. My heart clenches anew and releases a fresh wave of silent sobbing.

"I bought you some Advil and some arnica cream," she says after a long while.

I gaze at her beautiful face. She's giving nothing away, but she keeps her eyes on mine, hardly blinking. Oh, she is so breathtakingly gorgeous, but she doesn't see it. In such a short time, she's become so, so dear to me. Reaching up, I caress her cheek and run the tips of my fingers just behind her ear. She closes her eyes and exhales slightly.

"I'm sorry," I whisper.

She opens her eyes and looks at me puzzled.

"What for?"

"What I said."

"You didn't tell me anything I didn't know." And her eyes soften with relief. "I am sorry I hurt you."

I shrug.

"I asked for it." And now I know. I swallow. Here goes. I need to say my piece. "I don't think I can be everything you want me to be," I whisper. Her eyes widen slightly, and she blinks, her fearful expression returning.

"You are everything I want you to be."


"I don't understand. I'm not obedient, and you can be as sure as hell I'm not going to let you do that to me again. And that's what you need, you said so."

She closes her eyes again, and I can see a myriad of emotions cross her face. When she reopens them, her expression is bleak.

"You're right. I should let you go. I am no good for you."

My scalp prickles as every single hair follicle on my body stands to attention, and the world falls away from me, leaving a wide, yawning abyss for me to fall into.

"I don't want to go," I whisper. Fuck - this is it. Tears swim in my eyes once more.

"I don't want you to go either," she whispers, her voice raw. She reaches up and gently strokes my cheek and wipes away a falling tear with her thumb. "I've come alive since I met you." Her thumb traces the contours of my lower lip.

"Me too," I whisper, "I've fallen in love with you, Carmilla."

Her eyes widen again, but this time, with pure, undiluted fear.

"No," she breathes as if I've knocked the wind out of her.

"You can't be in love me, Laura. No... that's wrong." She's horrified.

"Wrong? Why's it wrong?"

"Well, look at you. I can't make you happy." Her voice is anguished.

"But you do make me happy." I frown.

"Not at the moment, not doing what I want to do."

Holy fuck. This really is it. This is what it boils down to - incompatibility - and all those poor subs come to mind.

"We'll never get past that, will we?" I whisper, my scalp prickling in fear.

She shakes her head bleakly.

I close my eyes. I cannot bear to look at her.

"Well... I'd better go, then," I murmur, gathering up a cold resolve I never knew I had.

"No, don't go." She sounds panicked.

"There's no point in me staying." Suddenly, I feel tired, really dog-tired, and I want to go now. I step around her and get out of the bedroom, and Carmilla follows.

I have had my eyes opened and glimpsed the extent of her depravity, and I now know she's not capable of love - of giving or receiving love. My worst fears have been realized. And strangely, it's very liberating.

The pain is such that I refuse to acknowledge it. I feel numb. I have somehow escaped from my body and am now a casual observer to this unfolding tragedy. I gaze at myself in the mirror. A pale and haunted ghost stares back at me. I scoop my hair into a ponytail and ignore how swollen my eyelids are from the crying.

I cannot believe that my world is crumbling around me into a sterile pile of ashes, all my hopes and dreams cruelly dashed. No, no don't think about it. Not now, not yet. Taking a deep breath, I head for the great room.

Carmilla is on the phone. "She said what!" she shouts, making me jump. "Well, she could have told us the fucking truth. What's her number, I need to call her... Spencer, this is a real fuck-up." She glances up and doesn't take her dark and brooding eyes off me. "Find her, and tell Will!" she snaps and presses the off switch.

I walk over to the couch and collect my backpack, doing my best to ignore her. When I turn to face her, she's staring at me, stupefied with horror.

"You can keep the smart car" My voice is clear and calm, devoid of emotion... extraordinary.

"Laura, I don't want it, it's yours," she says in disbelief. "Please, keep her."

"No Carmilla - I don't want to feel like I owe you."

"Laura, be reasonable," she scolds me, even now.

"I don't want anything that will remind me of you." My voice is quite monotone.

She gasps.

"Are you really trying to wound me?"

"No." I frown staring at her. Of course not... I love you. "I'm not. I'm trying to protect myself," I whisper. Because you don't want me the way I want you.

"Fine." she says acidly.


She doesn't smile, she just turns on her heel and stalks into her study. I take a last lingering look around her apartment - at the art on the walls - all abstracts, serene, cool... cold, even. Fitting, I think absently.

"Kirsch can drive you home."

Have the help ship me off?

"That's fine, I can get myself home, thank you."

I turn to stare at Carmilla, and I see the barely-contained fury in her eyes.

"Are you going to defy me at every turn?"

"Why change a habit of a lifetime?" I give her a small, apologetic shrug.

She closes her eyes in frustration and runs her hand through her hair.

"Please, Laura, let Kirsch take you home."

"I'll get the car, Miss Hollis," Kirsch announces authoritatively. Carmilla nods at him, and when I glance around, Kirsch has gone.

I turn back to face Carmilla. We are four feet apart. She steps forward, and instinctively I step back. She stops, and the anguish in her expression is palpable, her gray eyes burning.

"I don't want you to go," she murmurs, her voice full of longing.

"I can't stay. I know what I want and you can't give it to me, and I can't give you what you need."

She takes another step forward, and I hold up my hands.

"Don't, please." I recoil from her. There's no way I can tolerate her touch now, it will slay me. "I can't do this."

Grabbing my backpack, I head for the foyer. She follows me, keeping a careful distance. She presses the elevator button, and the doors open. I climb in.

"Goodbye, Carmilla," I murmur.

"Goodbye, Laura." she says softly, and she looks utterly, utterly broken, a woman in agonizing pain, reflecting how I feel inside. I tear my gaze away from her before I change my mind and try to comfort her.

The elevator doors close, and it whisks me down to the bowels of the basement and to my own personal hell.

Kirsch holds the door open for me, and I climb into the back of the car. I avoid eye contact.

Embarrassment and shame washes over me. I'm a complete failure. I had hoped to drag her into the light, but it's proved a task beyond my meager abilities. Desperately, I try to keep my emotions banked and at bay. As we head out, I stare blankly out of the window, and the enormity of what I've done slowly washes over me. Shit - I've left her. The only person I've ever loved. The only person I've ever slept with.

I gasp, and the levees burst. Tears course unbidden and unwelcome down my cheeks, and I wipe them away hurriedly with my fingers, scrambling in my bag for my sunglasses. As we pause at some traffic lights, Kirsch holds out a linen handkerchief for me. He says nothing and doesn't look in my direction, and I take it with gratitude.

"Thank you," I mutter, and this small discreet act of kindness is my undoing. I sit back in the luxurious leather seats and weep.

The dorm room is achingly empty and unfamiliar. I have not lived here long enough for it to feel like home. I flop onto my bed, and reality slams into me. Oh - what have I done?

I lay face down in my bed, shoes and all, and howl. The pain is indescribable... physical, mental... metaphysical... it is everywhere, seeping into the marrow of my bones. Grief.

This is grief - and I've brought it on myself. Deep down, a nasty, unbidden thought comes to me; the physical pain from the cane is nothing, nothing compared to this devastation. I curl up, desperately clutching my yellow pillow and Kirsch's handkerchief, and surrender myself to my grief.