Blue Water Harbor 5: Through A Glass, Darkly by The Scribbler

It was a perfect late August California afternoon.  A few wispy clouds straggled across the sky as though they were embarrassed to besmirch the blue and were looking for somewhere to hide.  A light breeze off the ocean ruffled the waters of the inlet and made the sunlight glitter in the corner of Vanessa Carrington’s eye as she let her red Audi A5 coast down the long hill that led into Blue Water Harbor.  She passed the series of left turns that would have led her to the village itself.  That wasn’t her destination today.

As she approached the beach, she passed twin stone gateposts that looked as though they had been there forever.  The gleaming white stucco house that nestled between the road and the beach on the north side of the bay, several hundred yards past the gateposts, was no relic of a bygone era, however.  Barely three years old, it was nevertheless constructed in a neo-Classical faux-Spanish style with arched, paned windows and a red-tiled roof.  Vanessa had no doubt it was the right house – it was the only one on this road, except for a modern concrete-and-glass edifice that squatted further up the hillside.

She swung the car into the red brick paved driveway, stopped in front of twin garage doors, and sat for a moment before getting out of the car.  She had prepared quite carefully for this meeting, though she still wasn’t entirely sure what she was going to say, or what questions she was going to ask.  Very little that had happened since she came to Blue Water, had happened the way she had envisaged it.  She was learning not to place her faith in plans.

Vanessa had come to Blue Water to investigate some unusual tales.  As a Professor of Psychology, with a specialty in abnormal sexual behaviors, the rumors concerning this little cluster of towns – villages really – on the northern California coast had piqued her interest.  Over the years, Vanessa’s definition of what constituted ‘abnormal’ had undergone some significant evolution – she spent much of her time working among San Francisco’s thriving fetish community – but even by her standards, Blue Water was something different.  The entire town had apparently gone sex-mad, even to the point of public fights breaking out over who got to – or didn’t get to – fuck whom.

Vanessa had decided to devote a summer break to unraveling the mystery.  She and her husband Rob had taken a summer rental in Blue Water Village, over the ridge, and she had made discreet inquiries – there was a research paper in this place, at the very least.  Initially she had met a wall of silence until, out of the blue, she had gotten a phone call from a woman named Lisa Ramirez, the wife of the local mayor.  They had met, and it had been Vanessa’s first break.  In that meeting, she had learned about the newcomers whose arrival had coincided with, and seemingly precipitated, the transformation in Blue Water and its citizens.  Lisa had remained somewhat circumspect but had given her three names – three women – and advised her to talk to them.  The woman she had come to here to visit today, Jane Masters, was first on Lisa’s list.

That plan had not even lasted through her meeting with Lisa.  Vanessa had gotten into an argument and then, somehow, a fight with Brittany Beckett, wife of the town’s police chief.  Vanessa had lost, and had found out first-hand that there were consequences to losing a fight in this town.  Brittany and her friends, male and female, had made Vanessa their plaything for the night and then, after dawn broke, had delivered her to a house up on the hill above Blue Water Village, and into the hands of Aisha Pashir who, by an odd coincidence, was the second name on Lisa Ramirez’s list.

Vanessa had learned many things during the day she had spent in Aisha’s company – not all of them comfortable.  She had often interviewed submissives in the bdsm scene and had watched them and their Masters or Mistresses in action.  That day though, she had learned how it felt to surrender, how it felt to be helpless and to revel in that feeling.  She had never thought she could enjoy the feel of another woman’s toes in her mouth, but she had.  She had never imagined she could love the taste of a woman’ pussy on her tongue as she knelt and lapped in dedicated subservience, but she had.  Aisha, and a number of others at Aisha’s polite but firm command, had taught her those truths.

She had learned other things too, over that night and that day.  She had learned there was a dark side to Blue Water’s prurience.  While couples and groups were free to fornicate wherever and whenever they wished, an approach might not always be welcome or even polite and such cases, one might have to defend one’s refusal – quite literally.  Men apparently had no rights in that regard – no meant no – but a woman was free to challenge a rejection in combat.  In this town’s culture, a defeat meant getting fucked by the victor and perhaps her friends too, often publicly and frequently in a humiliating manner.  That had been the case with Vanessa.  Brittany and her cohorts had spent the night doing things to Vanessa that she had never imagined – to her shame, some of them highly pleasurable – and then had paraded her, naked and strapped to the roof of an SUV, though Blue Water Village before presenting her as a gift to Aisha.

She had learned that one’s obligation, after losing a fight, ended at sundown the next day.  It was then that Aisha’s friend – girlfriend, she had later learned – had driven her home to her husband.  They had dropped by earlier to tell him that she was safe and spending the day with Aisha.  He was been open-mouthed with amazement when she had told him what had transpired during the twenty-four hours she had been out of the house.

After that first experience, she had almost abandoned her quest for answers, packed up and gone back to San Francisco.  People had seen her, glistening with her captors’ cum, tied naked to the roof of a car and driven through the streets.  It had taken days before she had dared venture out of the house and even then it was in sweats with a baseball cap jammed low on her head and oversized sunglasses concealing her face.  Vanessa Carrington was hiding.

To her surprise, no-one had paid much attention to her humiliation.  On her first visit to Java Girl, the local coffee shop run by an ex-stripper and ex-hooker with the unlikely name of Misty Dawn, the characterful redhead had greeted her with a friendly wave.  “Hey Vanessa!  Been a few days…Aisha and her crowd can wear you out, I guess.”  Vanessa had nearly turned around and fled right then, but Misty had continued with, “Still, you win some, you lose some.  Your usual?” That had been the end of the matter.  No-one else had even brought it up.

She hadn’t forgotten the event however.  There was a good gym just off Main St.  She’d joined right after she left the coffee shop and had worked out every day since.  They also had a kick-boxing class and she’d enrolled in that too.  Her instructor, a well-built guy with a chiseled chin named Joel, said she was coming along nicely.  The next time somebody wanted to make a point, it wouldn’t be Vanessa on the losing end.

Now she was here in Jane Masters’ driveway, about to – hopefully – put another piece to this puzzle.  She understood some of what was happening here.  She knew when it had started.  What she didn’t know was how and why, and that was what she wanted – needed – to know.  This had stopped being just professional curiosity.  Now it was personal.

A broad path, brick-paved like the driveway, led along the front of the house past well-manicured rose bushes, to a portico over the double front doors.  Vanessa rang the doorbell and waited a few minutes, staring off toward the end of the peninsula to the Pacific Ocean beyond.

The door opened and Jane Masters stood leaning on the door-jamb.  She was a curvaceous woman – voluptuous was the word that came to mind – similar in height to Vanessa’s five feet three – perhaps a little taller but it was difficult to tell since Vanessa wore three inch wedge heels while her host was barefoot.  Jane was dressed casually in a yellow-and-white print tee and a matching pair of shorts.  A cloud of jet-black, curly hair cascaded down onto her shoulders and framed an oval face with big, brown, almond-shaped eyes and full lips that were obviously used to smiling, as they were doing now.

The most startling thing about Jane however, was her prodigious bust.  She was not a heavy-set woman by any means but her bosom was truly eye-catching, particularly in the rather tight-fitting tee with its low neckline.  Vanessa herself was by no means flat-chested but this woman made her look positively boyish by comparison.

“Doctor Carrington, I presume,” said Jane in a voice that was more mid-west than California in tone and accent.  She raised an eyebrow in a gesture that seemed effortlessly, casually coquettish.  So this was the woman whose arrival had triggered the sexual revolution in Blue Water.  Staring into her eyes now, Vanessa was not surprised that Jane could have such an effect on the people immediately around her – but on an entire town?

“Vanessa,” she replied.  “Nice to meet you, Dr Masters.”  Jane was a surgeon, as was her husband David.

Jane took the proffered hand in a firm grip.  It seemed to Vanessa that she held it a moment longer than was necessary – or was that her imagination?

“Likewise…and please, call me Jane.” She stood aside.  “Come in.”

Vanessa slid her sunglasses up as she stepped through the doorway, pushing back the neat bob of her auburn hair and perching them on top of her head .  She found herself in a foyer with white painted walls and a cream marble-tiled floor.  An archway led off to the right into a living room, also decorated in white, and there were a pair of closed double doors to her left at the foot of a staircase leading up to the second floor.  At the rear of the room, behind Jane, was another archway and beyond that Vanessa could see the sunlit waters of the bay.

She followed Jane through that archway and into another expansive living room that seemed to stretch the full length of the house.  Picture windows offered panoramic views from the town itself on the left, across the bay to the cliffs on the south side and the tiny marina that nestled beneath the bluffs, then to the open ocean on the right.  “What a beautiful view,” said Vanessa.

“Thank you.”  Jane smiled.  “The first time I saw it, was through the broken window of the old house that used to stand on this site.  My husband and I decided right then, this was the place for us.  Can I offer you something to drink?”  

“I’m fine for right now, thanks.”

“Okay…maybe later.”  Jane guided Vanessa to a U-shaped sectional couch, upholstered in white leather, which enclosed a colorful area rug in a bold pattern that broke up the monotone white carpet.

“You’ve been here how long?  Three years or so?” Vanessa placed her purse on the floor beside her feet as she seated herself, crossed one leg over the other and smoothed out a wrinkle in her tailored white pants.

“About that, yes.” Jane sat down near her, just around the corner of the couch, separated only by a glass coffee table built into the corner itself.

“Where did you live, before here?”

Jane leaned back, folded her hands in her lap and extended her long bare legs, crossed at the ankles.  “We were in Palm Beach…Florida, not California…for a long time.”

Vanessa did not ask more questions – yet.  “So I assume Lisa Ramirez told you why I’m here.”

Jane smiled.  “Her…and others, yes.” She looked intently at Vanessa.  “You’re a psychologist, here to find out what’s going on here in Blue Water…what makes us tick.”

It was Vanessa’s turn to smile.  She took a moment to think, stroking a strand of hair off her face.  “There have been rumors circulating about this town, and I thought they were worth some attention.”

Jane laughed.  “I have no doubt.  Let me guess…wild public orgies, fights among the women…am I on the right track?”

The woman’s laugh was infectious and Vanessa joined in.  “Pretty much,” she admitted.  “But at the same time, Blue Water has one of the lowest crime rates in the nation…including assaults…and according to social media statistics, it’s also one of the happiest places in America.” She returned Jane’s intent look, decided to take a risk and added.  “People say it all started around the time you came to town.  You were one of three people that Lisa told me to talk to.  Actually, you were the first.”

Jane’s smile faded just a little.  “It didn’t quite work out that way for you,” she said.  “I heard you were…waylaid.”  Vanessa blushed but Jane went on, “Don’t worry, honey.  It’s par for the course around here.  Even I don’t stay out of trouble all the time.”

Even I…  Vanessa already knew it was ludicrous to wonder what made this woman special.  That much was clear, just from sitting here with her.  Jane Masters exuded sensuality in a way that was similar to, yet profoundly different from Aisha Pashir.  Vanessa, strangely – such feelings toward women were still a new thing for her – wanted to kiss her lips, not her toes.

Vanessa’s eye was suddenly drawn to the picture on the wall above Jane’s head – or pictures to be more precise since it was actually a montage of photographs.  Her eyebrows drew together.

“Stand up, take a closer look,” urged Jane.

Vanessa did so and her eyebrows rose up under her bangs.  The photographs were all of women, varying in age from perhaps their late teens to their forties or even fifties.  All were smiling and all the pictures were beautifully cropped and composed.  What was unusual about them was that all were in various states of undress.  Shirts were pulled up or aside, dresses down to bare at least one breast, frequently both.  Many were naked.  Some were smiling into the camera over another woman’s bare loins, and quite a few held a cock in their hands.  One or two even had what appeared to be jism smeared or spattered across their faces or bare chests.  Vanessa felt a flush at her throat as she remembered her own experience at the hands of Brittany Beckett and her companions.  It took her a moment to get past the erotic – some might say pornographic – subject matter and to notice the setting.  “All of them were taken here.”

“Yes,” replied Jane, rising and turning to stand beside her.  “In this room…upstairs…outside on the patio.”  Her breast fleetingly brushed Vanessa’s arm.  Vanessa felt herself shiver involuntarily.  She blushed again and hoped Jane hadn’t noticed.  She didn’t dare turn to look into the other woman’s eyes.  

Vanessa had seen a similar array of pictures in Aisha’s house.  There, she had regarded it as a trophy wall.  Here however, it was different – something less and something more.  I bet you didn’t have to fight to get any of these women into bed.  The people of Blue Water – particularly Aisha and now Jane – were something very different from Vanessa’s prior experiences.

“They’re all friends we’ve made since we came to Blue Water,” continued Jane.

“So it did start when you arrived,” replied Vanessa thoughtfully.  Jane was no longer touching her, yet she still felt the woman’s presence like a tangible thing.

Jane resumed her seat.  When Vanessa finally looked at her, she found herself staring down past Jane’s face and into the depths of her cleavage.  She averted her eyes before Jane looked up, and seated herself again, tugging gently at the neckline of her own green silk blouse until she realized what she was doing – nervous gestures – and stopped.  The dark-haired woman was looking at her with mild amusement – and with something else too.  Under normal circumstances Vanessa might have thought that Jane was toying with her but in this case, she somehow felt otherwise.  She didn’t know exactly what was going on here, but it wasn’t a mind game.

Jane inhaled deeply, then let out her breath in a long sigh.  Vanessa tried to ignore the way it made her tee tighten across her massive breasts.  “I’ll tell you some things,” said Jane after a long pause.  “Not everything, but some things.  With time…with trust…maybe I’ll tell you more.”

Vanessa nodded.  ‘That’s fair.”

“There was…is…a group of us…”

Vanessa nodded again.  “The Pride.”

Jane smiled.  “Yes, the Pride.  As I said, David…my husband…and I were in Palm Beach.  There were others in South Florida too, mostly in Miami, and a few in New York.  For years we all got along…supported one another, ran our Foundation…”

“The Felix Foundation,” interjected Vanessa.  “I did a little homework before I came here.”  Jane nodded slightly and Vanessa went on, “Felix is a privately-run investment firm, headquartered in New York City and run by a board of directors whose identities are…” she smiled, “…not publicly disclosed.  You invest across…I presume…a diverse portfolio since the economic downturn hasn’t affected the Foundation’s net worth all that much.”

“For a psychologist, Professor, you’re quite the economist,” said Jane archly.

Vanessa’s smile broadened.  “Let’s just say I love a mystery.”  She went on, “You also fund a small, exclusive, women-only college in Colorado.”

Jane nodded.  “Felix University.”

Now it was Vanessa’s turn to raise a quizzical eyebrow.  “Seriously?  F U?”  They looked at one another for a moment, and then both burst out laughing.

“The college became necessary…useful at least…after…” Jane paused as though choosing her words carefully, “…after things changed.”

“After what changed?”

Jane thought again for a moment.  “Mainly, I think Aisha did.  She became very unhappy with the way we – ” she stopped momentarily and nodded gently again, “ – were running things.  She had her own ideas about the way certain things should be done and despite opposition from the rest of us, she went ahead and did them anyway.”

Vanessa noticed the fleeting change in Jane’s facial expression as she said ‘certain things’ but did not interrupt.

“We forced her off the board,” continued Jane, “Some wanted to go further but that was all we could do.”  Vanessa wanted to ask why but she let Jane continue.  “Of course, it got complicated…Aisha isn’t one to give up easily.  She worked behind the scenes, trying to undermine the board.  She was also dating Sean Sevrin, another of the board members.”

“I thought all the members were women,” said Vanessa.

“No, not all.  Most are, but there men too…Sean, for example, and David too.  Have you met Sean and his wife Lynda?  They live over in the Village, near you.”

Vanessa shook her head.

“You will…but when Sean found out what Aisha was doing, they broke up.  That was really the start of the division among the Pride.  We call it the Schism.  Aisha cut off all contact with us…or so we thought…and went her own way.  She was still a member of the Foundation of course…there was nothing we could do about that.”  Again Vanessa wanted to ask why but kept her silence.  “Over the next few months though, a few other members, along with some friends, began to grow more distant with the rest of us, and we found out that they’d been spending a lot of time with Aisha.  She can be quite persuasive,” Jane smiled thinly, “as you know.”

Vanessa nodded, feeling the blush creep into her cheeks and down her neck.  She did her best to ignore the mental image of herself, naked on her knees.

“Things got really bad when Sean met Lynda.  Aisha tried to steal her away from him…and from us…before we could properly initiate her into the Pride.”  Again Vanessa held back from questioning Jane about the term ‘initiate’ – she had learned from many interviews over the years, that it was best to let the story flow.  “When that failed, she even tried to kill Lynda.”

That news broke Vanessa’s silence.  “Kill her?  Seriously?  That’s pretty extreme for a business dispute.”

“Oh, it’s a lot more than a business dispute…but like I said, there are things I can’t say, at least not yet.  Aisha didn’t know what she was playing with.  She and Lynda fought…that was probably the first ever fight among Pride members.  As it turned out, it was Aisha who almost died that night.  For a while we thought she had…she disappeared for a while, but of course she surfaced again.  She learned a hard lesson though and she’s never tried to push her luck that far, since then.

“Things were fairly calm for a while…maybe a year.  Aisha and her people went their way, and we went ours.  It seemed like life had returned to normal,” she smiled suddenly, “or whatever passes for normal when you’re us.  The Pride adapted to the Schism, and life went on.”

“But…” prompted Vanessa gently.  This interview was raising more questions than it answered.  She was struggling to keep track of them all but she didn’t want to discourage Jane by recording or taking notes.

“Strangely, it wasn’t Aisha that caused the next…big…trouble.”  She stopped and looked thoughtful again, biting her lip.  “There was a young woman we were bringing into the Pride.  Her name was Mariette.  She was French.”  Jane looked somber.  “You know how things get among us,” she flicked a hand meaningfully at the pictures on the wall above her, “and in a group scene, things can be very intense.  Mariette had a heart condition.  None of us knew about it…neither, I think, did she.  

“She had a massive heart attack.  There was nothing we could do.  David and I are both doctors and God knows we tried.”  She sighed.  “We managed to keep the exact circumstances of her death quiet, of course, to avoid embarrassing her family.

“A few months later, Monique Morgaine appeared in Miami.”

“The third name on my list of people to talk to,” said Vanessa.

“Yes.  Monique is Mariette’s sister, though we didn’t know it at the time.  She met David before she met me or the rest of us, and convinced him that she was a…candidate for membership in the Pride.  She played him…and all of us.  We welcomed her into our midst.”

“So…is Monique actually a member of the Pride?”

“It’s complicated,” replied Jane.  “I know, I said that before about Aisha but trust me, many things about us are complicated.  Monique has never been formally initiated into the Pride, but she’s one of us without a shadow of a doubt…not that that’s a good thing.”

Before Vanessa had time to think about that, she continued.  “What we didn’t know at that time, was that Monique was out to destroy the Pride, to avenge her sister.  She thought we’d murdered her.”  She sighed deeply.  “She almost succeeded.  She…with help…killed one of our members and caused another to kill a third, though that was conveniently made to look like an accident.”  She looked over and saw Vanessa’s wide eyes.  “Yes, she did…we have no proof that would stand up in court though, and even if we did, I’m not sure we’d want the story to come out.

“She’s very good at mind games…as you’ll find out when you meet her, so be careful.  Eventually she tricked us into a situation where she could try to kill me…David too, we think.  We’ll never really know about that, but she definitely tried with me.  It wasn’t a fight…at least, not a conventional one, not like now…and of course she failed or we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

“We thought we’d gotten rid of Monique after that, but she turned up a few months later.  Angelina Suarez, who was Aisha’s housekeeper – and her lover – had a falling out with Aisha.  Basically, she didn’t like the way Aisha had backed off, so she teamed up with Monique instead.”  She fixed Vanessa with a steady gaze.  “Be very careful around those two.”  Her eyes darted down to Vanessa’s chest.  “Angelina will hate you from the moment she sets eyes on you.”

“Why?” Vanessa thought it was okay to ask, in this instance.

“Angelina hates busty women.  Nobody really knows why.  Some kind of misplaced jealousy, possibly – she’s quite flat-chested herself – but she likes nothing better than to hurt people and anyone with boobs is a favorite target.

“She and Monique got their hands on one of our members…Morgan.  They kidnapped her.”  She sighed again.  “I won’t go into the details of what they did to her but it’s enough to say that it wasn’t pretty.  It took us week to find her…the police were no use…and get her out of there.”  She fell silent and her eyes took on a faraway look.  “It took a lot longer than that for her to recover.  Physically was one thing…mentally is something else entirely.  She still has panic attacks, and she can’t stand to be in the same room as Angelina.

“That was when we decided to leave Miami…David and me, Morgan and her partner Gary.  Gary’s another of our male members.  We looked for somewhere else…somewhere as far away from them as possible…and we found Blue Water.  The Foundation built the houses…ours and the one up the hill where Morgan and Gary live.”  She pointed over her shoulder.

“But they followed you here.”

Jane nodded.  “They did…Aisha arrived a few months after we moved in, and Monique appeared about a year later.  We didn’t even know Monique was coming.  Like I said, she’s good at mind games and she bought the land and built the house through a third party.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t leave.”

“We thought about it, but strangely enough it was Morgan who said no.  She said she wasn’t running away again.”

“So you stayed…and Blue Water hasn’t been the same since.”

Jane smiled.  “We…have an effect on people.  Different effects, really.  We…myself, David, Morgan and Gary, Lynda and Sean…are about pleasure.  Aisha and her crowd are all about control…about power.  Monique and Angelina…and those that follow them…are about pain.”

Vanessa nodded.  “I’ve heard people mention ‘Pain Seekers’ a few times.”

“As you probably know, there are those for whom pain and pleasure are all wrapped up together.  For some, that means receiving pain…for others, it means inflicting it.”  Again Jane’s eyes took on that far-off, pensive look for a moment.  Then she seemed to focus again and added, “Different people in town have different preferences…different allegiances.”  She looked suddenly sad.  “There was a time when we didn’t need these labels…when we were all about caring, not slavery or suffering.”

They were interrupted by a young woman who appeared through the archway from the front of the house.  She was barefoot with strawberry blonde hair that fell in a loose tumble to her bare, tanned shoulders.  Her blue, green and white printed sundress showed off shapely legs and a curvaceous but well-toned figure – even more so by the fact that the dress was pulled down and tucked beneath her full, firm breasts which poked proudly at Jane and Vanessa.

“All finished upstairs, Annie?” asked Jane.

“For now,” replied the newcomer with a grin.  “Alice and I had a bet…who’d be the first to give the other five orgasms.”  She giggled lightly.  “She lost.”

Jane smiled.  “Be a sweetheart and fetch us each a glass of wine, will you honey?” she asked.  She looked at Vanessa.  “I don’t know about you, but I need one.”

Vanessa smiled and glanced at the retreating Annie as she padded silently across the thick carpet toward where twin arches at the far end of the living room revealed a large kitchen and dining room beyond.  “Household staff?” she asked.

“Oh no,” replied Jane.  “We do have a girl who comes in to clean, but Annie’s just a good friend.”  Vanessa’s eyes flickered upward to the photographs above Jane’s head.  Jane grinned.  “Yes, she’s up there.”  She stood again, turned and pointed.  “There.”  Vanessa joined her and saw a photograph of Annie, bare chested with an erect cock in her hand.  “The cock is David’s.”

“Your husband?”

“Of course…and yes, I was there.  I took the picture.”

Vanessa said nothing.

Annie returned with two glasses of buttery yellow white wine.  “Chardonnay,” she said.  “We opened the bottle last night.  I hope you like it.”

Jane touched glasses with Vanessa, then took a sip.  “Wonderful, thanks.”  She placed her glass on the coffee table at the corner of the couch.  “Annie, this is Vanessa Carrington.  She’s new in town.”

Annie smiled and stepped closer to Vanessa.  The younger woman was perhaps an inch shorter.  Vanessa reached out a hand but instead of taking it, Annie stepped closer still and slipped an arm around Vanessa’s waist.  Vanessa felt the girl’s hard nipples pressing through her shirt but before she had time to do anything but be surprised at the sudden embrace, Annie’s warm, soft lips were caressing her own.  Her mouth half open to say something – she didn’t know what – Vanessa found her mouth filled with Annie’s inquisitive tongue.  Before she knew it, she was returning the kiss.

She felt another arm slip around her from behind.  Jane took her glass gently from her hand and placed it on the coffee table, before wrapping her other arm around both Vanessa and Annie, pulling them all close.  Vanessa felt Jane’s breasts pressing firmly into her back.  “Let’s welcome Vanessa to Blue Water properly,” said Jane in a soft whisper, close in Vanessa’s ear.  “Shall we?”

*****

It was three – almost four – hours later when Vanessa sat in the passenger seat of Jane’s white BMW sedan, with Jane driving as they climbed the hill out of Blue Water Harbor.  The sun was almost on the horizon behind them and when Jane turned the car right along the western side of the valley, Vanessa had a beautiful view of the town nestled among the trees below and the sun-dappled wavelets of the inlet.

The intervening period had been spent most enjoyably in Jane’s and Annie’s company, right there on the floor of Jane’s living room where they had first kissed.  She had known both women only for hours – minutes back then – but she could think of no word more apt than ‘loving’ to describe their attentions.  They had lovingly lowered her to the floor, lovingly removed her clothing along with their own, and given her pleasure lovingly and expertly until Vanessa was a quivering, sweating, squirming mess of eager desire.  Even now she shifted a little in her seat, her loins twitching reflexively at the memory.

Jane glanced sideways at her and smiled.  “Aftershock?”  She reached over and squeezed Vanessa’s knee gently.

Vanessa smiled back.  “Yes.”  She blushed a little, still somewhat embarrassed at the way she had unquestioningly and enthusiastically succumbed to the ministrations of their fingers and tongues.  It had felt ‘right’ just as she had felt with Aisha, but a very different kind of right.  It had been simple desire, not compulsion that had driven her to join Jane and Annie without any indecision.  She hadn’t hesitated even when Annie had taken a picture of her lapping at Jane’s loins, nor later when Jane had photographed her framed by the little blonde’s thighs as Annie had knelt astride her and busied her tongue between Vanessa’s own twitching legs.  “For the wall?” she had asked with a grin, the second time.

“Only if you want, honey,” Jane assured her, bending to kiss her.  They took turns to lick the length of Annie’s glistening labia before Jane added, “and you get to choose the pic too.”  Vanessa had smiled and felt completely comfortable about that.  It had all been about trust, about giving herself to them – to Jane and by extension, to Annie too – without any reservation, without any fear of the consequences then or later.

Afterwards she had showered along with the other two women, upstairs in a cavernous open shower cubicle with glass walls that overlooked the bay.  The thought that she could see the whole town – and anyone looking her way could see her too, albeit from afar – made her feel deliciously decadent.

When she dressed again, Jane and Annie had made a few changes to her attire.  They had vetoed her bra, for other thing.  “Honey, please!  With these,” Jane had paused to cup and lift Vanessa’s left breast while Annie flicked her tongue across the head of the nipple, sending a pleasurable shiver down Vanessa’s spine, “you really don’t to lock them up.”  When Vanessa had slipped back into her shirt, Jane had gently but firmly stopped her from buttoning it and had instead knotted it beneath her bosom, exposing a good deal of cleavage and leaving her smooth, firm belly bare.  “Show these off,” she smiled, stroking Vanessa’s abs, though Vanessa was unsure whether she was referring to them or her breasts.

Now, as she glanced downward, Vanessa could see her own nipples half-revealed as her blouse gaped a little.  “Where are we going?” she asked.

“I’m taking you to dinner,” replied Jane.  She was in blue jeans and snake-skin stiletto pumps, which she’d removed to drive and tucked behind her seat.  She wore a snug-fitting white blouse along with a snake-skin vest that matched her shoes and buttoned beneath her bosom, cinching her narrow waist while emphasizing the impressive thrust of her ample chest.

“We’re going to San Vicente,” Jane continued.  “We’ll talk some more and do a little people watching.  The best way to learn about the people of Blue Water is to observe them.”  She grinned.  “Scientific method, Professor.”

They came to the junction with the main highway.  There was a gas station on the left and another building on the right with a sign that identified it as a gym.  “You said you’d joined the gym over in the Village,” noted Jane.

“Yeah.”  Vanessa had mentioned it when Jane and Annie were admiring – and caressing – her abs.  “After…well, after Brittany, I wanted to get in shape and learn to fight.”

Jane nodded.  They pulled out onto the highway.  “I’ll hook you up with some friends of mine,” she offered.  “Joel’s great to get you fit and teach you the basics but if you really want to learn how to fight another woman and win, Leila and Morgan can teach you a lot of things he can’t.”

“Morgan?  The same Morgan who Monique – ?”

“The same one,” said Jane.  “She and Leila…Leila’s family runs the general store in Blue Water Harbor by the way…can spar with you at our house, if you’d like.”

Vanessa smiled.  “I would.”

They traveled in silence for a few more minutes before she spoke again.  “You said Angelina used to be Aisha’s housekeeper before she hooked up with Monique.  When I was at Aisha’s, there was a woman named Carla.  Is that what she is, now?”

Jane didn’t answer immediately.  Vanessa glanced over at her.  Jane was biting her lip.  “Not exactly,” she replied at last, and sighed.  “Carla Roussemann is the daughter of Aaron Roussemann…another of our members.  They live in New York.  Years ago…about the same time as Aisha broke up with Sean and had her encounter with Lynda…Carla went to Miami and tried to persuade Aisha to see sense and rejoin the rest of us.”

“What happened?”

“Like I said before, Aisha’s all about power.  Poor Carla didn’t know what she was getting into.  Aisha decided to make an example of her, to send a message to the rest of us and particularly to her parents.  She broke Carla completely…made her a willing slave.”

“I remember she was wearing a collar.”

“We tried several times to rescue her…deprogram her, like they do with people who get brainwashed by cults,” said Jane.  “Every time, she ran away…back to Aisha.”

Vanessa stared out the window.  Again, she felt as though she was uncovering more and deeper mysteries.  What was going on here?  She had observed and worked with sex cults before, had met and interviewed Doms and Dommes, some of them extremely powerful and charismatic, but never anything like this.  Who were these people – the Pride – that they could make someone surrender herself to that extent?  What was it about this cult that its members would even kill one another to increase their power?

“Carla’s utterly devoted to Aisha,” Jane finished.  “I’m afraid she’s a lost cause.”  Vanessa could hear the pain in her voice.  Yet again she had the feeling that there was far more here than met even her trained eye.  This was no simple story of a sex cult.  Jane had the air of someone with a deep commitment to the Pride, as much out of duty as out of joy.  There were deeper mysteries swimming beneath the already turbulent surface of Blue Water.  There was danger here, Vanessa knew, but it did not dampen her desire to find the answers she sought.

Traffic was light and before long, they pulled into an open air parking lot beside a restaurant that bore the name The Pit in red letters.  “I know it sounds a little redneck,” said Jane as they got out of the car, “but they do great food.  You might even get to see a fight.”  She smiled at the look on Vanessa’s face.  “Don’t worry, you won’t get into a fight.  We’ll make sure of that.”

“How do you know we’ll see one, then?” asked Vanessa.  “Got some inside information, Doctor?”

Jane’s grin broadened.  “Wait and see, Professor.”

The interior, when they walked through the front doors, was not what Vanessa expected.  She wasn’t quite sure what it was that she expected, but it certainly wasn’t slate tiled floors, crisp white table cloths and attentive, black-clad wait-staff.  The restaurant was windowless and arranged like an amphitheater on multiple levels.  The entrance where they stood was on the uppermost tier, with tables on each level connected by a central staircase and facing a wall hung with crimson curtains.  Presumably there was some kind of stage behind the curtains.  The room was large but not enormous – perhaps twenty tables, about half of which were occupied.

She and Jane were greeted when they entered by a tall woman with flaming vermillion hair that hung in a long tapering mass down her back.  She was distinguished from the other staff by the fact that she wore a jacket while they were in dressed in form-fitting tees.  Unsurprisingly, she greeted Jane like an old friend.  “Hi Jane!  Good to see you!”

“Hello Brooke.”  They shared a kiss – on the lips, Vanessa noticed.  “Great to see you too.”  She slipped her arm around Vanessa’s waist.  “This is my friend Vanessa Carrington.”

Brooke smiled.  Her eyes were a piercing jade green.  “Great to meet you,” she said and stepped in to kiss Vanessa on the cheek.  She turned back to Jane.  “I can seat you front and center.”

“If you don’t mind, can we sit up top?” asked Jane.  “We’d like to do a little people watching and it’s a lot easier from back here.”

“Sure!”  Brooke took two menus from the hostess stand beside her and led them to a table in the corner of the upper level.  They seated themselves adjacent to one another, where both had a commanding view of the entire restaurant.  “There you go…one of the waiters will be right along to take your drinks order.”

Vanessa nodded toward the curtained wall.  “Dinner theater?”

Jane smiled.  “Like I said, you might get to see a fight.”  She noticed Vanessa’s frown and continued, “The ones you’ve…seen…so far have been spontaneous…challenges over, basically, who gets to fuck who.”  Vanessa nodded – she’d had precisely the same thought.  She’d even been the one they got to fuck.  She pushed that memory out of her mind.

“There are other reasons and other ways that we fight, though,” Jane went on.  “People sometimes fight to settle other kinds of disputes…to establish pecking order, to prove a point, even to prove themselves worthy of one or other of the cults.”

“Worthy?  In what way?”

Jane shrugged.  “We…the Pleasure Cult as they call us, though I dislike the label as I said…don’t bother with such things and we welcome all comers, but the others sometimes want a woman to prove she’s worthy of their attention.”  She smiled thinly.  “It’s easier to be claimed by those groups if you don’t want to be part of them, than if you do.”  

She waved a hand toward the curtains.  “Some fights just happen, but others are arranged, particularly when there’s a third party involved or when somebody wants to make a statement.  That’s why there are places like this.”

“So ‘the pit’ doesn’t refer to the barbecue,” observed Vanessa.

“Yes, and no,” laughed Jane.  “It’s a barbecue pit and a fighting pit in one.  The food is delicious.  The chef has even won a Michelin star.”

A girl in black with striking Asian features – southern Chinese, perhaps Vietnamese or Thai – walked up to their table.  She too seemed to know Jane and they exchanged pleasantries for a few moment before they ordered drinks – red wine for Vanessa, soda water for Jane.  “I’m our designated driver.”

In the few minutes it took for them to consult their menus, a number of people came by their table to greet and chat with Jane – a couple, man and woman, and a group of three women.  Vanessa didn’t know any of them, but they greeted her warmly when Jane introduced them.  To Vanessa’s surprise, the women all made a point of openly pulling their dresses or blouses down to display one or both breasts to Jane.  There was clearly some significance to the gesture and Vanessa asked Jane about it.

“There are…symbols,” replied Jane.  “People identify themselves with one faction or another, and the factions mark their conquests.  A circlet or torc necklace around a girl’s throat means she was recently claimed by Aisha’s Power Cult.  A collar…leather, usually…means she’s given herself willingly to them.  The Pain Cult uses piercings.  Ears don’t mean anything of course and nor do belly buttons usually, but tongues, lips, cheeks and nipples…not to mention clits and pussy lips…mean that somebody’s been taken by the Pain Seekers.”

“They pierce their victims, forcibly?”

“It’s the price one pays for losing to them,” said Jane.  “The rule is that you have to wear the piercing for a month.  Most people remove it after that.  Some don’t.”

“You mean they join the Pain Cult?”

“Sometimes, but there are also some who wear their piercings as a badge of honor, to show they’ve endured and haven’t broken.”

“It’s a complicated hierarchy…pecking order.”

Jane laughed softly.  “Honey, you have no idea.”

Their waitress – Jane called her Elizabeth – returned with the drinks and they ordered their food.  As she departed, Vanessa continued their conversation.  “The women who came by just now…they weren’t wearing collars or necklaces, and when they bared their boobs, nobody was pierced.”

“That’s because they’re ours.  I could see a necklace…or the lack of one…of course, but baring a boob, particularly the left nipple, was to show that they haven’t been claimed by the Pain Cult.”

“So these people,” Vanessa waved a hand around the room, “are all part of the Pleasure Cult?”

“Oh no.  Quite a few are, but we…all the cults…never exclude anyone from anywhere based on their allegiances.  Of course, we need to be a little discrete when we’re not at home in Blue Water.  San Vicente is about as far as we can go and still act freely in public, and even here we need to be careful.  You might see something happen on the spur of the moment here, but not out in the street.”

“So somebody could challenge anyone…me, or even you…here and now?”

“It’s possible.  Anywhere is fair game except your own house and Cat’s Lair…that’s the big building built out over the lake in Blue Water Village…but it’s unlikely.” Jane grinned and reached over to touch Vanessa’s hand reassuringly.  “I wouldn’t worry about it.  There are other things to keep people occupied tonight.”  She glanced toward the curtains.

Vanessa followed her gaze.  “So what’s going to happen?”

“I honestly don’t know.” Jane paused and after a moment, managed to catch Brooke’s eye.  The restaurant manager came bustling over.  “What can I do for you?”

“I heard there’s going to be some entertainment tonight,” said Jane, “but not what it’s going to be.  Vanessa and I are curious.”

Brooke grinned.  “I’m not going to totally spoil the surprise,” she replied, “but I can tell you that somebody apparently looked the wrong way at somebody else’s guy, and there’s going to be a fight over it.”  She raised her arm and checked her watch.  “About fifteen minutes from now, in fact.”

Jane grinned at Vanessa.  “Like I said…somebody wants to make a statement.”

“Some kind of rivalry between two of the cults?”

“Maybe…maybe not.  There’s no way to tell, what with Brooke being a tease about it.”

“So it might even be something within one cult,” mused Vanessa.  She smiled wryly.  “Interesting…I thought it was all about free love and you all shared.”

“Much of the time, it is and we do,” Jane replied.  She took a sip of her drink.  “But it doesn’t change human nature.  It’s a small town and sometimes, people just don’t like each other.  At least we have a way to settle our disputes.”

“For the women, at least,” agreed Vanessa.  “But what about the men?”

“Once in a while, we’ll see two guys fight over something.  I even saw a mixed fight once.  Mostly though, they leave it to us girls to settle things.”  She smiled again.  “Guys in Blue Water don’t have a lot to fight about.  I heard someone joke recently on TV that guys want three things…sex, food and sex.”  

Chuckling, she raised a hand to forestall Vanessa’s retort.  “Yeah, I know that’s…well, whatever the female equivalent of misogynistic is, but my point is that guys are pretty happy in Blue Water, and why wouldn’t they be?  There are plenty of available and willing women…even other men if that’s their thing, though I only know of two gay guys in the area.”  Vanessa raised her eyebrows skeptically and Jane went on, “I know!  And this is California!”  They both laughed.

Their food arrived.  Both had skipped appetizers and ordered steaks.  For the next few minutes, the conversation centered on the food before they were suddenly distracted by a low hum that pervaded the room, and the crimson curtains slowly drew back.

The space beyond was brightly lit, and made even more so when the lights in the restaurant dimmed in time with the motion of the curtains.  It was decorated all in black – walls, floor and ceiling – and was separated from the restaurant itself by floor-to-ceiling glass panels.  The only objects in that room were two bright orange wedge pillows, and against those pillows reclined two young women.

Each was naked.  They faced one another from opposite sides of the room like mirror images – heads lolled back over the edge of the pillow, legs spread wide.  Each held a large, thick, white vibrator between her thighs, and each writhed wantonly as she pleasured herself brazenly with it.

Vanessa realized she had stopped chewing though her mouth hung open.  She closed it and then, as she recognized one of the two, said in a wonder-filled whisper, “That’s – “

“ – Misty Dawn Barrington, who runs Java Girl in the Village,” Jane finished the sentence for her.  “You know her?”

“I go there every morning for coffee.”  Vanessa gazed at Misty’s naked, squirming form for a moment.  She could almost feel the woman’s arousal as a tangible thing.  Her own belly tightened and her nipples grew hard beneath her blouse.  Why?  She had watched hundreds of sex acts over the years and while they had sometimes – often – aroused her, it had never been like this.  She heard Jane’s words in her mind.  We have an effect on people.  That was certainly no lie.

She turned her eyes to the other woman behind the glass.  She was perhaps the same height as Misty though it was difficult to be sure when she was lying down.  Slightly more heavily built and had a mane of blonde hair that draped across her bare flesh and the pillow beneath her, falling to her waist.  She was bigger in the bust than Misty, and two gold barbells pierced her nipples with another piercing in her navel and a stud in her upper lip.  Vanessa was sure she’d never seen the girl before.  “I don’t know the other one,” she said to Jane.

“Her name’s Cameron Wilson…she’s one of the Pain Seekers.  Not very high in the pecking order…more of a hanger-on, really.”  Jane was watching the two women intently.  She took a deep breath and as her breasts swelled expansively, Vanessa noticed a flush there.  So I’m not the only one.  That was somehow encouraging.

“So it is a cult thing,” said Vanessa.  “I know Misty’s no Pain Seeker.”

“No…she isn’t really part of any of the cults, though she’s probably closer to us than to either of the others.”  Jane cut another piece of her steak and popped it into her mouth.  The simple, mundane act seemed awfully incongruous, given what was taking place before them.  “I’m guessing it was Misty who looked the wrong way at Cameron’s guy…or he looked the wrong way at her.” She smiled.  “Misty can start a fight just by breathing.”

Vanessa looked from Misty to the other girl – Cameron – and back again as they both continued to pleasure themselves, apparently oblivious to one another and the watching diners.  “I thought this was meant to be a fight,” she said thoughtfully.  She had seen sex fights before, where each protagonist attempted to force the other to orgasm, but they weren’t like this.  She didn’t know quite how to label this, but she was beginning to realize that her usual system of fitting things into a known framework of sexual behaviors wasn’t going to serve her well in Blue Water.

“It is,” answered Jane.

“Then what’s – “ Vanessa suddenly stopped as two doors opened at either end of the room.  A procession of people – two processions in fact – filed into the room and took up positions behind each of the women who continued masturbating ardently.  The newcomers around Misty, three of them, were all men while Cameron was surrounded by two men and a woman.  Vanessa didn’t recognize any of them.  All of them were naked.  The men were all erect, their cocks shining and the woman, an older blonde about Jane’s and Vanessa’s age, wore a gleaming black strap-on dildo that bounced as she moved.

“Uh oh,” murmured Jane.

“What’s the matter?”

“This is going to get serious.”

One of the men had seated himself on the floor, against the pillow beside Misty.  He reached beneath her and, with help from another guy who grasped her ankles, lifted her easily into his lap – Misty must have weighed no more than eighty pounds so it hardly required any effort.  The guy who had hold of her ankles released them and sank to his knees between her open legs.  He took the vibe out of her hand and tossed it aside.  Misty’s hips arched upward and she clutched needfully at him.  The third knelt behind her and, grasping her by her titian-red hair, bent her backwards over the edge of the pillow 

Misty stiffened as he shoved his rampant cock into her open mouth, but offered no objection.  Then she shuddered as the guy beneath her lifted her hips and thrust himself upward into her ass at the same moment his partner drove his own cock deep into her waiting pussy.  She thrashed wildly in their grasp but it was clear beyond any doubt that her gyrations were those of lust, not panic or protest.

The same tableau was playing out on the other side of the room, except that the little blonde Cameron was on her knees, one of the men beneath her with his cock inside her.  The other man was in her mouth, the woman with the strap-on in her ass, and she was rocking herself back and forth fervently, alternately deep throating one man or impaling herself on the man and woman in her pussy and ass.

“It already looks pretty serious to me,” murmured Vanessa.  She realized her own thighs were pressed tight together, and tried to distract herself by chewing on another mouthful of steak.  The meal was delicious but her mouth was desert dry.

“This isn’t going to be an ordinary fight,” Jane explained, her eyes still fixed on the two groups behind the glass.  “This is something special…they’re invoking the juice.”

Those words snapped Vanessa into the past again, back to that night on the beach, after she had lost the fight with Brittany Beckett, when Brittany and her friends had taken Vanessa in public like the cheapest, most wanton whore, and she had let them – no, more than that, she had encouraged them despite the horror and shame she had felt.  She remembered one of the men saying, “Should we draw a little blood too, and give her the juice properly?”  She hadn’t known what it meant and at the time, she had been too preoccupied to ask.

Now she didn’t need to.  Jane saw the look on her face and explained, “It’s something that the Pain Cult discovered…I guess you could call it a combination of chemistry and magic.”

Vanessa looked skeptical.  “Magic?”

Jane smiled.  “I know…Professor and all…but there are some things that can’t be explained by science.  Have you ever read the articles on honey?  Scientists have analyzed it every which way.  They know its exact chemical composition, every ingredient in it, but they can’t make it.  Only bees can.”

“And who makes this work?” asked Vanessa.  “You?”  She suddenly heard another voice from that night on the beach.  It needs an Indwelt to be here.  Should she ask what that meant?

Jane noticed her eyes widen and anticipated the question.  “Some things come with time…with trust,” she repeated her words from earlier that day.

The three attending Cameron had changed positions.  The man with his cock in her mouth had moved behind her and driven it deep into her ass, already gaping from the strap-on.  The woman had discarded the device and moved around in front of Cameron, thrusting her hips forward so the little blonde, head held back by her long hair, could lick urgently at her loins.

Vanessa glanced around the restaurant.  Glasses had been set down, forks were paused in mid-air.  Everyone was watching the show.  She could see from this angle that one of the men had his hand beneath the table, high up on his female companion’s bare thigh, beneath her skirt.

She shook herself mentally and realized it had translated to a physical shiver.  Her own insides were clenched tight.  She could feel her pulse in her nipples.  She tried to focus her thoughts.  “So…can you tell me what it does?”

“The combination of cum, blood and pee…some people say it represents birth, life and death though I don’t know whether that’s true but those three things…in the right company…make you crazy.”

Vanessa frowned.  “Crazy?”

“Whatever you’re feeling…horny, angry, violent…all gets amplified.”

Vanessa kept her eyes fixed on the two groups behind the glass.  The man in Misty’s mouth pulled back, the head of his cock popping free of her wide open lips.  She craned her neck toward him, eyes closed, searching blindly, but he too threw his head back and jetted his jism copiously over her face and neck, even spattering her breasts.  

Misty arched and writhed, mouth open wide with the other two cocks still inside her.  The guy in her pussy wasn’t far behind the one in her mouth.  He pulled out of her smoothly.  Her legs jerked wildly in the air as he thrust his hips forward and erupted over her belly and chest.

Despite her own vicarious arousal – her tightly pressed thighs were trembling – Vanessa could not help but be struck by the strangeness of all this.  She was used to seeing Misty bustling about the coffee shop in jeans and a cut-off tee with her hair tied back, two cups balanced on one hand and a pasty in the other.  This lustful creature flailing on the floor in front of her was entirely unfamiliar – almost alien.

The third man now gripped Misty by her slender waist and lifted her off his cock before sitting her back down on his lower belly.  Her legs still pointed in opposite directions – Vanessa was impressed at her limberness – she clutched frantically at his shaft, wanking him hard until, a few seconds later, he sprayed her crotch and belly with his sperm.  She continued to thrash on him, smearing his cum together with that of his cohorts, squeezing and pinching her own breasts with one hand while her other hand delved eagerly between her kicking legs.

The group surrounding Cameron had rolled her too onto her back, pulling her off the man in her ass.  He hovered over her on his knees as his companion continued to pump hard inside her, milking his own member with one hand.  The woman, with Cameron’s head clamped between her thighs now, face pressed tight to her crotch, had leaned forward and was pinching and pulling on the blonde’s pierced nipples.  Just as the second man pulled out of her dark-flushed pussy lips, the first flung his head back and roared aloud as they both exploded over her jiggling breasts and shuddering belly.  A moment later, the woman arched backwards, holding herself up on one hand as she squirted her juices over Cameron’s face and chest.  Cameron trembled and shuddered as the three of them came all over her in a perfectly choreographed climax.

Vanessa’s hand shook as she lifted her wine glass.  There was a raging fire of arousal in her own belly at the spectacle.  She tried – with limited success – to suppress the vision of herself in either of the two young women’s places.  She had been in their place, that night on the beach, then later at Brittany Beckett’s house, then later still, the following day at Aisha’s.  She tensed as Jane reached out beneath the table and squeezed her leg.  Perhaps the other woman was trying to be comforting, but she was having quite the reverse effect.  Vanessa wondered if white pants had been the best choice – Jane and Annie had confiscated her panties along with her bra when she had re-dressed.

“This is meant to make the fight more vicious?” she asked.  She could hear the husky tremble in her own voice.

“Yes,” replied Jane, watching as both sets of – what were they? Attendants? – climbed to their feet and formed a circle, each around their still-squirming charges.  “No mercy, asked or given.  Someone’s going to be carried out of that room…maybe both of them.”

The men took their cocks in hand, the woman squatting slightly with her feet spread wide astride Cameron’s shoulders.  She parted her labia with the fingers of one hand, and in unison they let loose with streams of urine that combined and rained down on the quivering bodies at their feet.

“They were going to do that to me, on the beach” said Vanessa quietly, “but after I’d already lost the fight with Brittany.”

“Then you’d have fucked yourself unconscious…or practically unconscious,” replied Jane.  “They’d have carried you off the beach.

Vanessa gulped.  “They did,” she said in a very small voice.  

She watched as Misty and Cameron writhed and twisted on the floor, each of them running her hands over face, chest and belly, smearing the piss and cum over their glistening bare flesh in a wanton frenzy.  Was that what Vanesssa herself had looked like, that night on the beach?  She remembered the feelings that had warred for supremacy within her that night – lust and anger, shame and fear.  Here and now she felt yet another emotion – envy.  She wasn’t sure however, whether she wanted to be one of the two squirming, naked women on the floor, or one of those standing over them.  That thought sent a chill up her spine and she shivered.  Jane noticed and took her hand.  Vanessa squeezed it tight.

Should we draw a little blood too…? The words echoed in Vanessa’s mind.  She wondered, as she had done fleetingly that night, how they would do so.  She knew something about blood rituals but she could see no blades or other cutting implements.  

She was about to ask Jane when the groups answered the question for her.  Two of the three standing over each soon-to-be fighter withdrew, one carrying the wedge pillow, one picking up the vibrator from the floor.  They disappeared through the doors at each end of the room.  Those remaining – a slender, muscular young man in Misty’s case, the blonde-haired woman in Cameron’s – crouched beside their charge, lifted her head and pressed their lips to hers in a long kiss.  

Vanessa was watching Misty closely and saw her suddenly stiffen, then shudder.  The man broke the kiss and let her head fall back to the floor.  He wiped a finger across her parted lips, then held it up so the watchers could see the smear of red across his fingertip.  “He bit her lip.”

“Yes,” said Jane softly.  “Watch.”

He reached down and swept his finger over Misty’s flesh from her navel to her breastbone, then stood up quickly and stepped backward through the door.  It closed behind him.

Misty lay there, still quivering, for a moment, as did the blonde opposite her.  Then her head whipped backward and she arched her back, thrusting her breasts up toward the ceiling until only her heels and the top of her head still touched the floor.  Her mouth opened wide and she let out a shrill scream, audible even through the thick glass, as her entire body convulsed.  Cameron too shook like a leaf, her head thrashing from side to side, her long golden hair flung back and forth across her face.

It lasted only a moment but looking on, Vanessa felt both chilled and intensely aroused by the savagery of what she was witnessing.  She began to understand something of what motivated the people of Blue Water to endure pain, risk humiliation, even give up their sense of self for the chance to be part of something bigger than themselves.  It was more than a thrill, deeper than tribalism.  What they felt – what she was feeling now – was something primal, something that reached back down the road of evolution, beneath the veneer of civilization to pluck at the most basic, primeval pack instinct.

Misty and Cameron moved now, almost at the same instant, rolling onto their bellies and rising, Misty into a crouch, the blonde onto her knees.  Their eyes locked across the twenty feet of space that separated them, and each woman’s lips curled back in a savage snarl.  Vanessa could not hear them hiss through the glass wall, but she felt their hatred nonetheless.

Without rising further, they began to circle on all fours, teeth bared, each with her gaze locked on the other’s face as they gradually spiraled in toward one another.  Vanessa whispered, mostly to herself, “They’re like…”  She paused, not knowing what to say.

“Wild animals,” Jane supplied the term Vanessa had been searching for.  “Right now, that’s exactly what they are.”

As if by some unspoken signal, the two suddenly leapt forward, bounding across the room and coming together chest to chest with a force that made Vanessa – and others in the restaurant – wince.  The impact spun them around in a quarter-circle as they grappled, arms wrapped around one another, the bunched muscles of their thighs sharply defined as each struggled to drive the other back.  They raked their nails down each other’s backs, clawed at one another’s sides, kicked and stomped as they fought for supremacy.

Misty twisted Cameron’s long blonde hair around her hand and jerked her enemy’s head back.  Disoriented, the blonde lost her footing and Misty shoved her back a step.  That gave her the space to pound her fist into the underside of Cameron’s left breast, flattening it against the blonde’s ribs.  Cameron’s face tightened in pain but she recovered fast, ducked low under Misty’s slashing claws and fired a punch of her own that sank deep into Misty’s taut belly, folding her over.  

Cameron ripped her fist free and as Misty staggered, the blonde landed an uppercut to the chin that straightened Misty up sharply, then slammed her open hand into the redhead’s chest between her breasts, sending Misty reeling backward against the glass.  It shook visibly.

Vanessa realized she was still grasping Jane’s hand, so hard that it hurt her own fingers.  She glanced at her companion and blushed a little.  “Sorry.  I guess I’m rooting for Misty.”

“It’s okay.” Jane smiled thinly without taking her eyes off the fight.  “She’s getting the worst of this, so far.”

The blonde followed up with another blow to the belly and Misty blocked it, knocking her enemy’s fist aside with her forearm.  She failed to block Cameron’s other fist however and it hammered into her midsection between her navel and her ribs.  She gagged.  Her legs buckled and she sank to her knees.

Cameron stepped back, her snarl turning into a cruel smile as she looked gloatingly down at the kneeling redhead.  She drew her right leg back, presumably to ram her foot into Misty’s gut or a knee up under her chin, but Misty threw herself forward, wrapping her arms around Cameron’s legs at mid-thigh.

Taken by surprise, Cameron screamed out loud as Misty surged up off her knees with a cry of her own.  Driving her shoulder into Cameron’s lower belly, she lifted the blonde off her feet.  Cameron tipped forward over Misty’s back as the redhead straightened up.  Legs kicking wildly in the air, she grabbed Misty around the waist with one arm to keep herself from falling, and clawed frantically at Misty’s bare butt cheeks with the other.

Misty shrieked in pain and anger but rather than releasing her opponent, she shoved herself backwards and the windows reverberated again as she slammed Cameron’s body between her own and the thick glass.  While the blonde’s arm around Misty slid lower, it was only to snake her hand between the redhead’s thighs.

Before she could claw Misty’s pussy however, Misty thwarted the vicious attack by dropping once more to her knees.  Cameron did not even have time to cry out as the top of her head slammed into the floor.  She let go of Misty and collapsed in a tangle of arms and legs while Misty scrambled away on all fours.  Four livid welts marred the smooth pale flesh of the redhead’s left buttock where Cameron’s claws had raked her skin.

Cameron again recovered with uncanny quickness, lashing out an arm to grab Misty’s ankle.  Misty lifted her other leg and fired a mule kick at the blonde’s face but Cameron rolled herself rapidly to the right and Misty’s foot passed harmlessly over her shoulder.  

Still held tight by one ankle, Misty twisted onto her butt.  Just as Cameron pushed up onto one knee, the redhead bent double to reach down and grasp the ends of Cameron’s hair where it tumbled across the black floor.  Wrenching herself hard to the left, she jerked on Cameron’s hair and sent her enemy sprawling onto her back.  Misty braced both feet on the blonde’s shoulders and, whipping her body straight once more, lay on her back and hauled brutally on Cameron’s hair.  

The blonde howled in agony.  In an obvious panic she threw her arms up, fingers scrabbling frantically in an attempt to reach Misty’s hands and relieve the tension on her scalp.  Misty’s hands were up around her own hips however – Cameron’s long hair was working against her.  All she could do was squeal, squirm and claw at Misty’s calves as the redhead wrenched her head this way and that.  Vanessa was shocked at the transformation in the redhead.  Gone was the friendly, laid-back coffee shop owner, replaced by this dangerous, feral creature, roaring with malicious glee as she tormented her enemy.

After perhaps a minute of this, Cameron managed to get a firm grip on Misty’s right ankle and dislodge the redhead’s foot from her shoulder.  With a whoop of vengeful delight she rolled onto her belly, pulled her knees up under her and hurled herself on Misty.  Her cry of triumph quickly turned to one of pain however, as Misty threw a leg up, driving her foot into Cameron’s lower belly, and monkey-flipped the blonde by her hair.  With a scream Cameron flew over Misty’s head and slammed down on her back, hitting hard enough that she bounced slightly.  Spit exploded from her parted lips.

Nevertheless she rolled over only a split second after Misty did, and again the two of them faced each other as they rose to their feet.  Each woman’s naked body shone with sweat.  Their bare chests heaved as they gulped for air.  Their hair hung in tangled tendrils – Misty’s sticking out at odd angles around her head while Cameron’s was plastered across her shoulders, chest and back.  Misty rubbed her belly, glaring balefully at the blonde who glared back at Misty, her face streaked with tears of pain.  She scowled something to Misty, who hissed a reply.  Their voices were too low to carry into the restaurant but the venom on their faces was obvious.

Cameron said something else and Misty leapt at her.  The blonde was ready however and she darted aside as Misty charged.  Spinning on the ball of one foot, she hooked her arm beneath Misty’s outstretched hands, drove her butt against her enemy’s belly and sent Misty flying over her hip in an ungainly half somersault to slam awkwardly into the back wall, her head and shoulders on the floor, back against the wall, legs waving in the air.

Now it was Cameron’s turn to leap forward and launch a vicious stomp kick aimed at Misty’s already injured belly, but Misty used the momentum of her legs to fling herself sideways at the last instant and Cameron’s foot struck the wall instead.  As the force of the blonde’s lunge carried her forward, she slapped both hands hard against the wall to brace herself and twisted to face the still-supine Misty.  She struck again, this time on-target, but the desperately defending Misty managed to grab her foot with both hands as it descended, halting Cameron in mid-stomp.  The redhead twisted, shoved and brought her adversary crashing to the floor beside her.

Misty sent her left fist arcing up and over in a wicked hook that connected with Cameron’s jaw and slammed the blonde’s head sideways into the floor.  She went to repeat the blow but Cameron threw an arm up and blocked it, then rammed her own hand up under Misty’s chin, knocking her over onto her back.  She rolled up astride Misty, grabbed the redhead’s hair in one hand and dragged her head up off the floor.  She fired a resounding slap across Misty’s left cheek, then a back-fist that snapped her head back the other way.

For a moment Misty went limp and Vanessa wondered if Cameron had stunned her or even knocked her unconscious.  Then Misty’s arms shot out straight to seize the blonde by her bouncing breasts.  Trapping Cameron’s nipple piercings between the knuckles of her fore and middle fingers, she twisted viciously.  The blonde wailed like a banshee, her back arching as she reared back, abandoning her assault to grasp at Misty’s wrists.

“I’m surprised she kept her piercings in,” remarked Vanessa.  “Did she forget to remove them?’

“Remember which one of the cults she’s with,” said Jane.  “They have a motto, ‘your pain too is welcome.’  I’m betting she left them in, deliberately.”

As Cameron threw her head back, Misty whipped her legs up behind the blonde.  Hooking her feet under Cameron’s chin, she jerked her legs downward again, straightening her body and flinging her enemy down on her back.

Vanessa sucked in her breath sharply.  “Oh my God!  Did you see that?”

Jane grinned.  “Honey, believe me when I say that’s not the most flexible thing I’ve seen that girl do…not by a long shot.”  She slipped her hand beneath the table and squeezed Vanessa’s thigh again, higher this time.  Vanessa shot her a sidelong glance and Jane winked back at her.  “Are we shocking you, Professor?”

“I…” She didn’t know what to say.  She had thought her own fight against Brittany had been brutal.  She had never imagined watching something like this – nor that it would arouse her the way it did.  “I didn’t think it would be like this.”

Jane’s hand slid higher still.  Her little finger nudged Vanessa’s crotch.  Vanessa could feel how wet she was down there.  She shifted slightly in her seat and blushed deeply as she realized that she had pushed her hips forward and pressed her loins more firmly against the edge of Jane’s hand.  Jane’s slightly wider smile told her that the other woman had noticed.

Cameron lay draped across Misty’s thighs but the redhead kicked one leg free.  Heaving herself up into a sitting position, she thrust one hand into Cameron’s hair and grabbed her enemy by one ankle with the other.  Leaning back again, driving her foot into the small of Cameron’s back, Misty hauled hard on Cameron’s hair and foot, bending the blonde’s back like a bow and eliciting an anguished scream from her squirming opponent.

Misty seemed to gain strength from Cameron’s suffering and she leaned back even further, jerking the blonde along with her, then pushing harder with both feet now, lifting Cameron off the floor and holding her up in the air, her spine bent almost double as she shrieked and thrashed.  Her arms flopped frantically but futilely as she fought to free herself, but there was nothing she could do to reach Misty’s hands in her current predicament except howl in agony.

“Why doesn’t she give in?” breathed Vanessa.  “That’s got to be killing her!”

“In any normal fight, she would,” Jane replied, her own voice husky too.  “Remember what I said about the juice…it makes you crazy.  She won’t give in.”

Cameron’s desperate thrashing finally rocked her off Misty’s feet and she fell to the floor on her side, tearing her hair free of Misty’s grip.  She lay there groaning for a moment, and Misty took the chance to grind her bare heel into the blonde’s right kidney, dragging another cry of pain from her anguished enemy.

Misty clambered to her feet, moving more slowly now.  She had turned the fight around on her opponent but the pace and sheer ferocity was taking its toll on her too.  Cameron levered herself up on one elbow, her long hair masking her face from the onlookers.  Misty bent at the waist, reached down and once more snared a handful of the blonde’s hair, jerking her up to her knees with a cry that everyone in the restaurant could hear.  Twisting her enemy’s head up toward her, she sent a back-handed slap across Cameron’s face that would have sent the blonde sprawling had Misty not had a firm grip on her hair.  As it was, Misty too staggered a step sideways from the force of her own blow.

She snarled something at Cameron, and the blonde spat a reply up at her.  Misty fired another slap at the kneeling blonde’s cheek but the blow never landed.  Cameron’s hand stabbed upward like a striking snake, between the redhead’s slightly spread thighs and her fingers, squeezed tight together in a spike, speared deep into Misty’s unprotected groin.

Misty’s eyes flew open wide, as did her mouth in a silent scream of anguish.  Cameron twisted her wrist violently between her adversary’s legs and Vanessa did not want to think of what her fingers must be doing.  She expected the redhead to collapse immediately but miraculously Misty retained her feet.  She found her voice, let out a tortured scream, “Fucking BITCH!!!” and drove both her fists down in a double hammer blow that slammed simultaneously into either side of Cameron’s head.

The blonde went down in an ungainly heap and Misty stumbled away with both hands clasped to her crotch, clearly in terrible pain as she slumped against the back wall.

“My God, they’re killing each other!” whispered Vanessa.

“They’ll stop the fight long before that happens,” Jane reassured her.  “But yes, neither of them is going to be in any kind of shape for a few days.  Remember though…they both agreed to all of this.”  Vanessa nodded as she placed her hand in her own lap, squeezing Jane’s fingers against her as she turned her attention back to the fight.

Cameron had crawled on her knees toward the glass wall, holding herself up with one hand while she held the other to the small of her back.  As she used the glass to ever so slowly regain her feet, Vanessa could see the drawn look on her face, her teeth clenched, her tears drawing dark streaks of mascara down her cheeks.  She turned, pressing her back and rounded butt against the wall, spreading her arms wide to steady herself.

Misty had regained her balance if not her composure.  Her face too was streaked with tears as she pushed off the wall and advanced on her enemy.  Cameron did the same.  Neither was running now, nor even moving quickly at all.  Misty limped and Cameron hobbled.  When at last they came together, they did not so much charge as fall against each other, leaning forward each with her head on the other’s right shoulder, one arm around her opponent, clutching at one another for support.

That did not dampen their ardor however.  Each pounded the other with her free hand, driving her fist into her enemy’s ribs, left breast and, by far most often, her belly.  Neither woman attempted to dodge or parry.  They simply weathered the blows, juddering and twitching as a punch went in, swaying on their feet, holding onto one another before returning the brutal punishment.  There was no finesse, no question of looking for an opening.  It was nothing but a battle of attrition, a matter of who could stand and take a beating the longest.

Somewhat to Vanessa’s surprise, it was Cameron who buckled first, slumping against Misty and sagging slowly to her knees.  Her hand twisted in Misty’s hair dragged the redhead down with her however, and they both continued slugging it out on their knees.  The pace slowed, but the intensity did not.

Vanessa caught a movement out of the corner of her eye and glanced off to her left.  A woman seated across the restaurant from her and Jane had stretched forward across her table on her belly with her dress hiked up around her waist.  Her male companion, his pants unzipped, stood behind her, holding her by the waist.  She propped herself up on her elbows, her eyes still fixed on the fighters as he drove himself into her with a rhythmic, passionate urgency.  Vanessa heard herself moan softly at the sight and pressed Jane’s fingers more firmly against her loins.

Jane left them there for a moment, then gently disengaged and reached into her purse.  “What are you doing?” asked Vanessa.  Her voice sounded ragged to her own ears.

“I’m texting Annie, if she’s still at our house.”  She looked archly at Vanessa.  “You’re in no shape to drive, honey, so I’ll get her to drive over to the Village and pick up your husband.  I’d like to meet him anyway, and I’d like you both to meet David…my husband.  He’ll be home by the time we get back.”

Vanessa nodded.  When she looked back at the fight, Misty and Cameron were leaning even more heavily on another.  Each of them was fighting to breathe through the pain, each in desperate straits from the pounding she was taking, each holding on out of nothing but sheer determination, unwilling to give her enemy the satisfaction of seeing her surrender.

Turn after turn they whaled on one another as Vanessa looked on, both hoping and dreading that each blow would end the fight.  Each impact made its recipient shudder and almost fall but she would steady herself at the last instant, clinging to her adversary for the ever-lengthening period it took to recover just enough to strike back.  Then she would return the punishment in kind.

For perhaps three or minutes they continued before Misty, taking the latest blow from the blonde, sagged forward into her opponent.  Vanessa let out her breath in a long sigh.  Misty was finished.  As Cameron twisted sideways to let her fall and shoved the battered redhead off her however, she gave Misty the distance she needed to launch her fist in an arc that ended with her knuckles slamming into the blonde’s left temple with all Misty’s meagre weight behind them.

Cameron crashed to the floor on her side, stunned.  Misty fell too, but caught herself on her elbows.  Slowly, painfully she pushed herself up as the blonde too began to stir.  Vanessa felt like she was watching the scene play out in slow motion.  Her heart pounded in her chest.  She had forgotten to breathe.  Her chest heaved as she inhaled deeply.

It was Cameron who reached a sitting position first and fired her final – clearly last-ditch – blow at Misty’s head, the blow that would finish the redhead.  Misty swayed, perhaps by design but more likely by accident, and the blonde’s knuckles bared brushed her chin.

Misty’s answering punch did not miss.  Vanessa didn’t know whether she hit her intended target but it didn’t matter.  Her fist caught Cameron right between the eyes and slammed her down on her back.  This time she didn’t move.

Levering herself up on one knee, Misty raised her arm again, high up over her head in an arc that would send her fist plunging down into the blonde’s motionless body.  As her arm descended however, she swayed again, faltered and then collapsed onto Cameron, as unmoving as her enemy.

The entire restaurant seemed to let out a collective sigh.  The man to Vanessa’s left who was fucking his girlfriend doggy-style gave a long, low groan as he came.  She too shuddered.  The sound, the motion resonated deep in Vanessa’s belly.  She bit her lip as a tiny tremor, the merest ghost of an orgasm, made her tremble.  Her eyes widened.  What the hell had just happened?  She stared blankly at the two motionless women as the curtains slowly drew closed.

Jane looked across at her, her eyes ablaze.  Her skin was flushed from her cheeks down her throat to her ample chest.  Her erect nipples were clearly visible through her white blouse.  Her tongue flicked across her lips.  She smiled as she took in Vanessa’s discomfiture.  “Welcome to the neighborhood, Professor.”

Vanessa shivered as she remembered the last time she had heard those words, as she knelt naked at Aisha Pashir’s feet.  She took a sip – no, a gulp – of her wine.  Her hand shook so hard she had trouble holding the glass.

They paid their bill and walked back to the car.  Jane held Vanessa close, one arm around her waist.  Vanessa did not object.  As they belted themselves into their seats, Jane’s phone buzzed once.  She looked at it, smiled and texted a short reply.

“Everything okay?” asked Vanessa as they backed out of the parking lot.

“That was Annie.  She’s picked up your hubby and they’re back at our house.  David just got home.  I told her to make sure the wine’s cold.”

“I could certainly use another drink…or several,” breathed Vanessa.

Jane grinned.  “No kidding.  I just hope Annie and the guys don’t get too carried away before we get there.”  She slipped the car into drive and squeezed Vanessa’s thigh.

Vanessa looked at her sharply.  “Rob would never – “

Jane cut her off with a laugh.  “Just like you wouldn’t?”  Vanessa was glad that the dark hid her blush.  Jane went on, “I’ll bet they’re doing Annie on the living room floor when we get home.”

“I’ll take that bet,” replied Vanessa with less certainty than she felt.

She lost the bet.

THE END

The End

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