Samantha leaned forward and spat, a sticky white string dangling briefly from her mouth before breaking.
Humiliation, she thought, her mouth full once again, her breasts swaying with the vigorous back-and-forth motion of her right hand.
Lost in thought, she'd been brushing her teeth for a full six minutes.
No, not just humiliation, degradation, she reflected. Nina doesn't just want to feel embarrassed, she wants to feel less than human. She wants to feel like an animal. Absent-minded, she rinsed for the third time. How did we even get into that conversation?
Oh, yeah, that's right. She remembered the purple-gray froth in the sink. Red wine. Lots of it.
Samantha spat, again, and grinned in the mirror. A bespectacled, bed-headed brunette, with the world's cleanest teeth and a tendency to overthink things - especially interesting rabbitholes like this one.
For a moment she wondered what she'd look like, all dressed up in leather and holding a whip - no, a riding crop. No. No, a boxing glove, big and red and shiny and exaggerated, like in a cartoon...
...or not. Sexy, Samantha, think sexy. Not functional.
But why not both? You wear boxing gloves so that you can beat each other up without doing too much damage. Why aren't boxing gloves sexy?
She lifted the lid, slid down her underwear and sat down. And so now you get an intriguing, sexy idea, and give it a turn for the ridiculous - something you've been trying to avoid. Also, why are you even ruminating on this in the first place? What are you going to do, go up to Nina and say "Hey, have you ever thought about getting a pair of big red boxing gloves and just letting someone beat you up with them?" What's the expression, backseat quarterback?
Break it down, Sam. Why boxing gloves? I imagine more along the lines of whips and gags and stuff when I hear "Bondage" or "Erotic humiliation," why am I thinking about boxing gloves?
Samantha always found the sound of running water conducive to any sort of contemplation. Pee works too, albeit for very brief sessions. She sat and followed the thought back towards its hidden origin, brow furrowed, chin resting on her upturned fist.
An observer would have noted the resemblance to Rodin's famous sculpture "The Thinker," except, you know, on a toilet.
The path of the shockwave from a downward-angled impact over the solar plexus. The sensation of air being forced out of your lungs, so similar to laughter that it makes you smile out of pure reflex. The shockwave rushing downwards, through your insides, your tummy, your crotch, your thighs, you don't feel it so much in your calves - but then rebounding through your feet from the floor and rushing upwards, angling strangely and dissipating, losing cohesion. The sensation of a phantom force rushing up your inner thighs, a strike now turned to a caress, maybe the slightest ghost whispering underneath your vagina, then it's gone, faded to nothing. And then you're standing there, still alive, stunned but surprised to feel fairly unhurt, knowing that you absorbed that much force, that much of an impact, without even falling over. Knowing that you're a red-blooded animal with a skeleto-muscular structure evolved to spread out incoming blows.
Knowing that you're an animal. Knowing it for sure, without a shadow of a doubt. Knowing it in your bones. Being aware of it, for that moment.
Wipe, flush. Is that sexy? I can't even tell. Is spanking sexy? Or is it just something that they put in porno films so that you can tell if your audio is properly synced up? Like a clapboard, only made out of butts.
Samantha stood up, pulling up her underwear. And I didn't answer my own question. Never mind the boxing gloves; what's the deal with this train of thought? She headed back to the bedroom, to dress for the day.
Is this a purely intellectual exercise? Purely hypothetical? Purely rhetorical? Why analyze it so much, then, if nothing will ever come of my analyses?
"Because I love her, of course," she muttered, and paused for a moment in dressing, the realization sinking in.
Huh. Of course. Silly of me not to notice. I love Nina - platonically, but very deeply, and for a long time. She opened up to me about her problems in her love life. Her happiness is essential to my own, so now I'm thinking about ways to make her happy.
Samantha frowned. But am I even capable of that? Could I, Sam, do that sort of thing with Nina? Could I make her happy?
Samantha stared into the wood of her dresser, seeing nothing, testing waters with an image of Nina, her freckles, her smile, her lips, parting. Eyes gently closing, Samantha pressed her mind's lips to Nina's.
Detail. Detail, to be sure.
The pores of Nina's skin. Her eyelashes. Her lips. Soft lips, slipping tenderly, shy, curious, between Samantha's.
Samantha breathed, deeply, and questioned herself.
Yes, came the reply. She smiled, feeling the beginnings of joy bloom in her, spreading out from her stomach like warm, slow sunlight. "Yes," she whispered, "yes, I could kiss Nina. And I can't believe I didn't think of it before!"
Samantha pulled her jeans up the rest of the way before realizing they were on backwards.
Nina growled, cords standing out on her neck, pajamas damp with sweat. In her mind's eye, Samantha held Nina's hair tightly in one hand, grinding her cunt into Nina's face - her labia enveloping Nina's nose, leaving slick trails between her eyes and over her lips. In Nina's fantasy, Samantha gripped her hair with both hands and used her, like Nina used the Special Toy right now.
As they usually did, Nina's fantasies had started so innocently - imagining Samantha's eyes closing and moving forwards, their lips touching in a close, tender, nervous first kiss. In the buildup to her first orgasm, Nina disrobed Samantha, kissed her, held her, touched her, made love with her - now, as she approached her second, things were different. Her imagination jumped in brutal, incoherent cuts from scene to lustful scene, deepening and intensifying.
Nina on hands and knees, butt in the air, naked save for her collar and leash, cleaning Samantha's toilet while Samantha smokes and reads a magazine, her feet propped up on Nina's back.
Nina's legs spread wide by a steel bar, Samantha's eyes on her exposed genitals, while her fingers push knuckle-deep into Nina's ass.
Nina bent over Samantha's knee, bare-bottomed and squirming in a public park, receiving a sound spanking while strangers watch, her cheeks tanned red.
Nina holding Samantha's hand, a little drunk, telling her... telling her about...
Telling her about wanting to be tied up... Telling Samantha about her cuffs and collars... Telling Samantha about the gags and the paddles and the chains and the files and...
Telling Samantha everything except how wet she was getting telling Samantha everything...
Nina's back arched, her teeth clenched together, her thighs squeezing tight, the shockwaves flowing. After a few months, she collapsed back to the bed with a little shudder, a little squeak, and remembered to breathe again.
In her afterglow, the fantasies turned to a replay of last night.
Samantha's eyes, enlarged by her glasses, watching Nina talk about the reinforced bolts in her rafters and walls, the little fasteners that hooked under her bed.
Samantha's lips, grinning in something between embarrassment and curiosity, not realizing how inviting they looked.
Samantha's oblivious nature, no doubt already thinking up some new contraption to help, purely as an intellectual exercise...
She'd do that, thought Nina. She'd show up with some fancy pneumatic rack or some amazing computer-controlled fucking machine, and then she'd say "Well, have fun!" and leave me to it. She'd go home, sit on her sofa, pet her cats and think "Mission accomplished!"
And I saw her pondering it, even as I was telling her. I saw those cogs beginning to spin behind her eyes; she was already having some idea. And I wanted to say, "Yes, that's very nice, I know that you're conjuring up some wonderful theoretical thingamajig, but Samantha, would you fuck me now, please?"
I sat there, panties soaked through and clinging to me, cheeks red as traffic lights and nipples that you could hang your coat on, and I told Samantha about my humiliation kink. And she sat there and thought "How fascinating! I, a human, was not aware that humans engaged in such behavior! I must consider how can I help my human friend, who I love as a human, using the twin marvels of science and technology!"
Nina sighed, but not unhappily. Her flirty conversations with an oblivious Samantha were par for the course these days - far more endearing than frustrating.
Still a little frustrating, though.
Nina dialled down the Special Toy until it faded out, leaving her feeling a little numb and tingly but still comfortably full.
And what makes the Special Toy so very Special? Samantha, of course. One throwaway remark about sex toys being so damned inconsistent and unreliable, and she sits there and sips her coffee and thinks about it for a minute, and then she comes out with all this talk about pulse width modulation and variable resistors. Next thing I know, we're at my place, to pick up my broken toys, and then we're at Radio Shack, Samantha bounding around in the drawers of Incomprehensible Doodads like a kid in a candy store, and then we're in her...
Nina grinned. Her laboratory. Meaning her kitchen table, piled high with the odd things she plays with - smelling of coffee and cookies and cats, and incense and solder and those weird Chinese batteries she goes on about.
For an hour, I watched her concentrate. Saw her little frowns. Heard her little tuts, pulling out inferior components, replacing them with special things from her parts boxes.
I made us coffee, petted her cats, and offered the occasional bit of small talk. She responded, sometimes trailing off mid-sentence as she concentrated on the innards of one of my most intimate items. From time to time I'd ask her what she was doing, and she'd look up, her eyes bright behind her glasses, and she'd explain it to me with an excited tone and a big, silly grin. I followed as best I could, and I think I did quite well, considering. I understood about eighty per cent of what she told me.
I pretended to be interested in what she was doing to my toy. I pretended to watch her hands, examine her tools, ask her what she was doing because I was interested in the mechanics.
But most of the time, I was watching her face. Watching her eyes scan this thing that had been inside of me. Watching her fingertips carefully turn it around, find its joints, open it up - not knowing whether or not it even occurred to her that she was handling something very intimate. I asked her things so that she would talk to me, in that tone of excited, mad-science exuberance. So that she would look at me with those big hazel eyes, while her delicate, careful hands touched something deeply personal.
And I watched it change. My ratty old rabbit became something that was as much Sam's as it was mine - with little wisps of solder smoke it grew new knobs, and switches, and this big battery pack...
I barely registered that she was putting it back together. Her sleeves were rolled up, showing the little light hairs on her forearms, the paleness of her wrists. It took a lot of self-restraint not to just reach out and caress her, saying "Oh, don't mind me, I just wanted to know if your skin was as soft as it looked."
The time came, Samantha said, to take my new-and-improved rabbit for a test run. She grinned, and we were silent for a moment - a very tense moment. For me, at least.
In my imagination, she looked at me with narrowed eyes and a lusty smile, and told me - no, commanded me - to take off my jeans and my underwear.
In reality, she activated it right where it sat - and we laughed as it vibrated itself right off the table, jumping around like its namesake.
Two women in a kitchen that smelled of solder, laughing in the sun, on a cold March morning - both of them happy and content, one of them extremely turned on. One of my happier memories, and it was only a few months ago. The rabbit, of course, hasn't missed a beat since then.
With a sigh, Nina pulled back slowly on the Special Toy, felt it begin to move out of her, leaving behind a yearning, empty feeling.
The next week, buying a new cellphone, realizing with wonder and horror that I am now intensely turned on by the smell of Radio Shack. The salesman asked me if I was friends with the tall lady, brunette, wears glasses, always friendly, always heads straight to the hardcore stuff in the back, I think I saw you two come in together last weekend, Samantha, that's her name. Yeah, Samantha's cool.
I bet he wondered why I was blushing. Thanks, Sam. As if my kinks weren't weird enough already.
Nina's inner labia slid wetly together as the head of the Special Toy left her empty. She turned the warm, wet shaft over in her hands, looking at the motors that were vaguely visible through its pink translucence. Her fluid streaked the toy in little random waves of clear to pale white. Was the toy made less beautiful by her glistening overcoat, or more? Did she spoil this work of art, or collaborate on it? She could never decide.
The whole time we sat at that kitchen table, Samantha never said anything like "Yeah, I tried this on one of my toys once." She was doing this just to see if she could. I don't know if she even owns any toys herself - if she just thinks of sex and orgasms as things that happen to other people.
Nina brought the toy close - as she always did, before and after - and breathed.
And it smells like her. Even when it smells so much like me, it smells like her. It smells of her hand lotion, and her kitchen table, with its odd scents of overheating electronics. She's touched it, and given it something of herself. Given me something of herself.
She reached into the drawer of her bedside table, for her toy-cleaning wipes.
She probably thought I was going to take it home, put it on the mantle and appreciate its engineering.
Right. Sex! Here we go!
Samantha's fingers rested on the keys. They tapped once or twice, not hard enough to trigger a contact, the search bar empty.
Here we go.
She bit her lip. She frowned.
Any minute now.
Samantha sat and thought for a second. Then she grinned, and her fingers flew.
"Sex boxing" appeared in the search bar, and a page of very unusual links presented themselves to Samantha.
A few minutes of scrolling, reading stories and looking at pictures, opening and closing tabs, while her right hand drifted absently down to her lap and began to stroke - rhythmic, comforting, warm, a little distracting.
Samantha sat back in her chair. "Well, that wasn't very useful at all, was it, Higgs?" Higgs looked up from her lap, purring.
"You really don't give a shit, do you, Higgs?"
Higgs did not give a shit. He looked at Samantha, blinking in that slow, lazy way that only cats can get away with, as she petted him.
"You don't care one tittle about sex boxing, because you're an animal. You just want me to stroke your head."
Higgs, indeed, just wanted Samantha to stroke his head. Something about that sparked a neuron somewhere, but where that led, Samantha didn't know. She followed the thought.
"Because you're just an animal. A cat."
Higgs was an animal. He was, on some vague feline level, dimly aware that he was a cat.
"An animal," she said again, quietly, trying to jump-start the ideation process.
Higgs blinked at Samantha. To a cat lover, his expression would have said "Why have you stopped touching my head?" To Samantha, obviously his expression said "Yes, I suppose I am an animal. Where are you going with this?" To any other outside observer, his expression said, quite clearly, "I am a cat."
She let the thought go, aware that it would come back and tug on her sleeve when it was good and ready. Instead, she turned her attention elsewhere.
Why am I still fixated on the whole boxing-gloves thing?
She contemplated for a moment. "Boxing gloves" appeared in the search bar, and Samantha tabbed over to the "Images" link.
Page after page of pictures of boxing gloves.
Well, yes. What else did I expect?
She rested her chin on her hand, and frowned.
There's something in particular about boxing gloves. Something that sets them apart from other things like them.
So what are the characteristics of a boxing glove?
It's something that you put on to do a specific thing. It's clothing, that lets you accomplish a certain...
Her eyes widened. She leaned forward in her chair.
It's an article of clothing that you put on to do a certain rough, animalistic thing, that prevents you from doing other things! That's why it's different - it makes your thumb useless! It focuses you entirely on the one thing that you're doing, reducing you - or maybe elevating you - to a perfectly-tuned tool for doing that one very specific thing!
If the subject is unskilled at that given thing, I bet I could turn that very easily into a feeling of degradation. For those purposes, all you'd have to do is duct-tape the thumb so it couldn't move. Hell, you could probably do it with an oven mitt.
Samantha sat and thought for a moment. Our thumbs are one of the very big, very fundamental things that set us apart from animals. To thoroughly degrade someone, take away those differences. You want someone to feel like a lower creature, make their thumbs useless. Language is right up there on the list too, so arrange things so that the subject can't talk. Or can only talk when spoken to, if I'm feeling generous.
Samantha smiled. I'm having good ideas. But I need some context to put them in.
CTRL-Tab over to her email. Apprehensive, tummy full of warmth and light, Samantha pressed a single key and Nina's email address autocompleted immediately - as though the machine were saying "Well, who the hell else would you email right now?"
Tab down to the composition box. Samantha's fingers did all the thinking for her. Halfway through, she realized she was blushing, a pleasant aching below her bellybutton.
She shifted her thighs. Higgs complained, then jumped off.
"Go on, Higgs. Sam-time, now. Go play with Boson."
Higgs stalked off, grumbling.
Her cursor hovered over the "Send" button. She read the message through one more time, took a deep breath, and hesitated.
Detail. Check the detail. How sure am I, that this is something I actually want to do?
Nina's breath, hot and wet, in her ear. Samantha's teeth, applying gentle pressure to Nina's neck. Samantha's hands, running down Nina's back, finding her curves, feeling her warmth, lower, lower, one soft buttock in either hand, squeeze- click.
Breathing hard, Samantha sat back in her chair, squeezing her thighs together and squirming.
"Platonic" my ass.
Nina pressed the Power button on her laptop, then headed into the kitchen to put on a pot of coffee. The task accomplished, she came back to the couch, closed all the popup windows, dismissed the nagging update thingies, waited a few minutes as the little light on the front flashed at her and the computer made its pointless grinding sounds, then double-clicked on the Internet icon. Then she got up to pour and adulterate her coffee, as the machine lurched into a waking state and started re-downloading all forty-seven tabs.