Content Warning: This chapter contains a broken glass injury and some brief pain punishment involving it. This is where things get dark.
This couldn’t have gone any worse.
“Stop fidgeting, Helena,” the soft voice murmured in her ear.
“S-Sorry,” Helena said reflexively.
Helena had come here to confront Professor Diane Wood. To tell her she’d figured out what a fraud she was and was going to report her. Now, though, she wasn’t sure why she’d felt the need. Why had she come to Diane first? That question clung to her, sticky and wet like lipstick.
And she wasn’t sure she’d like the answer.
Diane’s hands were soft, her fingers moving delicately as they cleaned Helena’s self-inflicted injury. Her breath was warm against Helena’s cheek. Her body was warm, too. And soft. Diane smelled nice, felt nice, and the compulsion to lean in a bit felt…
“Sweetie, I said to quit fidgeting.” Diane giggled. “Not to go stiff as a board. Relax.”
The glass was in Helena’s hands. Diane had put it there. It glimmered, pretty and inviting, like a precious jewel. Helena hesitated. She already felt… dizzy. Diane had said the drink was low alcohol, but… “I-I, um…” She forced her gaze away from the glass, towards Diane.
This was a mistake.
Diane’s red hair glimmered like pouring wine in the dusky light. Her piercing blue eyes were focused intently on the hand she held in both of hers. “Honestly, Helena, I had no idea you were this danger-prone.”
Helena’s face heated up. “I—I—”
Diane smiled at her. “Shh. It’s going to hurt more if you squirm.” With a pair of tweezers, she plucked out a little shard, and Helena winced. “You’ve done enough damage to yourself for one day. Let me handle this.”
“B-But I—damn it, Diane, I don’t care about the hand!” Helena mustered a defiant glare. “I’m leaving. I can deal with this on my own. After I talk to the dean.”
“She’ll be asleep this time of night,” Diane murmured. She looked completely unconcerned. “And you’ll get an infection if you don’t get this bandaged. Are you planning to drive to her home and smear blood over her bedroom window?”
“You didn’t think any of this through.” Diane stroked Helena’s arm gently. “Not one of your strengths, is it?”
“Shh. Just let me take care of you.” Diane plucked away another shard. Helena stayed still this time and barely felt it. “Good girl.” Diane smiled up at Helena, eyes sparkling. “I seem to be better at it than you are.”
Helena’s breath caught. “I—you—” She wanted to argue. She wanted so badly to argue.
“Not to mention, drunk driving?” Diane shook her head with a tsk. “No, no, no. I won’t allow that. I’m not letting anything happen to my smartest student.”
Diane’s eyes half-narrowed. Her smile faded. “And if you insist on disappointing me by acting like my stupidest, I’ll just have to take over making the decisions for a while.”
Helena felt the insecurity flooding in. She whimpered.
Diane’s tweezers gripped another shard. This one was in deeper. It hurt. “Understood?”
Helena bit her lip, trying to hold in a soft cry of pain.
“Understood?” Diane’s gaze was cold. That nurturing softness was gone.
“F-Fine,” Helena managed, “just—”
The shard slipped out out. So did Helena’s cry, pathetic and weak.
Instantly, Diane’s smile was back, and the pretty blue eyes were wide with concern. “Oh, you poor thing.” Soft, soothing coos spilled from her lips as she reached up to stroke Helena’s hair. “Does it hurt?”
Helena felt dizzy from whiplash. She nodded, drunk, confused, vulnerable, staring at her bloody hand.
“Don’t look at it.”
Helena couldn’t look away. Her breathing started to quicken.
Diane took her chin roughly and tilted it up. “Don’t look at it. Look at me.”
So instead, Helena stared into Diane’s eyes.
Diane’s gaze was hypnotic. Her eyes were warm, inviting summer pools, promising sanctuary and comfort if only she sank into them. Her breathing slowed. “I… I, um…”
The back off Diane’s hand stroked Helena’s cheek, and Helena shivered at the tenderness of the touch. “Good girl,” she whispered. “Just relax. You’re safe. Do you understand why I’m worried about you going on your own?”
Helena trembled. She wanted Diane to keep touching her like this. She didn’t want Diane to turn cold again.
She gave a meek nod.
“Gooood,” the professor cooed. Still holding Helena’s chin, she turned Helena to face the left. “Don’t look at me. If it helps, look at your drink. We’re almost done.”
The drink glittered in the light like the glass was full of garnets. Helena’s heart pounded. Her lips felt dry.
She felt Diane release her, saw out of the corner of her eye Diane returning to work on her injury.
But she’d already had some. And she needed the distraction.
She relented, picking up the glass and taking a slow sip of sweet, comforting, toxic familiarity. Her eyes closed. She could have sworn she heard Diane laughing.
“That’s it. Just let me take care of you.” Diane’s voice poured around her like sweet pink mist. “Enjoy your drink. I’m almost done.”
She took another gulp as another tiny shard of glass hit the plate.
Her head felt hot. Swirly. Heavy. With her eyes closed, it felt so easy to just rest against Diane’s shoulder. To let herself sink into that cozy warmth. To tip her glass back and drink.
The pain was less now. Diane was being gentle. Diane was so gentle with her.
Was she so bad, really?
Helena’s eyes fluttered. Wait. “W-Wait.”
The tweezers dug in roughly. Helena gasped and whimpered with pain, burying her face in Diane’s shoulder. “Hm? What is it, sweetie?”
“N-Nothing,” Helena cried softly. She trembled against Diane’s warm, soft body.
“Good girl.” The tweezers, suddenly gentle again, pulled out one final shard, and relief swept through Helena’s body. A hand ran through Helena’s hair, tender, comforting. “That’s the very last one, my sweet girl. You’ve done so well.”
You’ve done so well.
To Helena’s panicky, impressionable mind, these words were even sweeter ambrosia than the alcohol. She squirmed. “A-All done?” she managed, flushing at how weak she sounded. How… vulnerable.
“All done.” As Helena’s eyes opened, she saw Diane smiling radiantly down at her. “Now I just have to disinfect and bandage the cuts.”
“O-Oh.” Helena bit her lip. “I, um, I can probably handle th—”
“Stay still.” Diane’s grip on her wrist tightened. Her voice was cool. “Relax. It’s easier to let me do it for you.”
“Helena.” Diane’s voice was firm. Helena looked up to see that Diane’s smile was gone. “You’re being irrational. It makes no sense for you to do this on your own.”
Helena’s breath caught. She stared up into those beautiful blue eyes, and part of her desperately missed the warmth, felt like she would say anything to bring it back. “I-I just… I…”
Diane’s fingertips brushed down her scalp and delicately over the nape of her neck, a ghost of the tenderness from before. “Be good for me, okay?”
Helena shivered. “O-Okay. Um, sorry.”
The warmth flowed back in an instant. Diane’s arm wrapped around her and pulled her close… then snaked up to take Helena’s hand holding the drink. “It’s completely fine,” she cooed. “You’re emotional, you poor thing. And no wonder, with everything you’ve put yourself through tonight. Just relax. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
“Oh.” Helena’s face was pressed against Diane’s chest, her cheek brushing the see-through silk of Diane’s nightgown. She breathed in Diane’s scent. “Oh.”
“That’s it. Such a good student.” The hand on hers guided her drink closer. “Drink.”
Helena hesitated, but a spark of annoyance in Diane’s eyes melted that hesitation almost instantly. She straightened a little and took a sip.
“That’s better.” Diane began to gently dab disinfectant over the wound. Helena didn’t squirm, even when it stung a little. “You’re doing so well. I’m so proud of you.”
Helena emptied her glass to hide her blush, to muffle her whimper. Those words were so close to what she’d always wanted to hear. But something was off here, wasn’t it? This wasn’t… how she’d pictured it. Cuddled up against her professor, injured, drunk…
She stared numbly at the glass. She was drunk. How had that happened?
“Oh, you’re empty?” The bandaging paused, and the bottle came into view in Diane’s hand. “More?”
Helena blinked rapidly. “I. Um. O-Okay. But—”
The bottle tipped down, and more liqueur sloshed in her glass. The quiet clinking mostly-melted ice cubes rang in Helena’s ears.
Everything felt slushy. Blurry. Wet. Sticky. She giggled. “You…” she slurred, as she lowered the glass. “You, um… I… earlier, when you kept… h-hurting me…”
“Hurting you, Helena?” A bright little laugh. “Sweetie, you’re the one who hurt yourself. I took care of you, see?” Diane smiled at her, holding up Helena’s bandaged hand. Her smile was so pretty. But also so… so evil. Right?
She’d lied to Helena. She’d been mean to Helena just seconds before. Hadn’t she?
Helena’s mind felt all buzzy, silly, confused. It had felt like Diane had been mean to her in the moment, at least. But nothing she’d said had been untrue. Helena couldn’t drive like this. And Diane had taken such gentle care of her hand. The evidence of that was right in front of her.
Helena blinked rapidly. Her own memories felt… suspect, unfair. Diane had been mean, hadn’t she? It didn’t feel real.
She was being so nice right now.
Maybe… maybe Helena had been the one at fault. She’d annoyed Diane. Helena felt that prey heartbeat fluttering again at the thought of making Diane annoyed again.
She bit her lip and took another deep gulp. “N’mind.”
She nodded meekly, watching the glittering drink rise to the brim of her glass.
“Drink. You’re still so nervous, kitten.” Diane’s voice was sultry and sweet like a cocktail syrup. “Settle your nerves. I don’t like seeing you scared.”
Helena drank. Helena drank deep.
“Such a good girl. This is why you’re my favorite, you know.” The praise wove around Helena, delicate strands of gauze. “You’re so clever and helpful. So smart and suggestible. So hardworking and loyal and obedient.”
Helena nodded with a drowsy smile. “Mmm… mm-hm…”
Helena emptied her glass. She giggled. Her brain felt like a liquid. “Um… I think I’ve p-porbab’y, um…”
Helena blinked up at the bottle as it descended. “Um, w-well—”
“Shh. You need more, don’t you?” Diane’s voice was soft, innocent, welcoming. “Haven’t you missed this feeling? This drink helps you feel safe. Anxious little kittens like you need something to help you lower your guard and relax.”
“B-But I, um—” Helena bit her lip. She didn’t want to upset Diane when Diane was being so nice to her. Diane was so nice, so pretty, even if… She giggled dumbly. “Seems like you’re, um…”
“Hm?” Diane smiled at her, a sweet, condescending smile.
Helena blushed. “Like you’re getting me kinda drink. Drank. Drunk. Almos’ like, um… you’re trying to, um…”
“Sweetie, you’re not making sense.” Diane raised an eyebrow. Her smile was starting to fade. “I thought you’d calmed down.”
“I-I did!” Helena protested, eyes widening, world spinning. “I—I mean, I… I thought I did, I just…” She relented and meekly held up her glass.
Diane’s smile returned in full, and it was like the sun was back out again as she tipped the bottle. “Good girl. Drink~”
“B-But I, um…” Her head was getting so melty and swirly, but she tipped the glass back. She’d missed this feeling so much. “I… mm…”
Helena felt a dizzy smile spread across her face. She nuzzled against Diane’s neck. It was fine. She was just… relaxing a little. It was fine. This didn’t change anything.
“I-I’ll, um…” She giggled again. She was giggling a lot. Normally that would be embarrassing, but it felt so nice to just relax. Diane was taking such good care of her, after all. “I’ll n-need to… call a ride.”
Leaving sounded exhausting to her ears and filled her cozy limbs with pangs of dread. Leaving meant getting up, meant leaving Diane’s arms. But it wasn’t as if she could…
“You’ll stay here tonight. I don’t trust you not to get yourself hurt, sweetie.”
Oh. That… Helena tried not to wriggle in closer. Staying the night with her professor? Was that a… good idea? “But my, um, my roommate will worry…”
“I’ll email your R.A. for you.”
“O-Oh.” Helena blinked. “B-But… if it’s from, um, your email address…” She looked drowsily at her hand, fully bandaged, then at the phone in Diane’s. Helena’s phone.
“What’s your password, sweetie?”
Helena squeezed her eyes shut, trying to clear her head a little. “Wait. I…”
“Oh. Your glass is empty, isn’t it~”
Something about Diane’s tone there—the non-question, the faint brightness of a smile, the insidious little predatory note—set off alarm bells in Helena’s head. Her eyes opened wide. “W-Wait—!”
“Calm down.” Diane’s tone brooked no argument. “More?”
The bottle tipped. Helena stared helplessly as her glass filled up.
“Drink. It’s fine. You’ll stay here tonight and sleep this off,” Diane said coolly, her confidence trampling over Helena’s hesitant, confused objections. “I’ll take good care of you and that hangover. In fact, maybe you’d better take tomorrow off, too. Password?”
“Drink. I can feel your heart racing, kitten.”
The chocolatey liqueur was sweet liquid relief on Helena’s tongue, but fear was starting to set in again, piercing through the murky fog of alcohol and desire like a drowner desperately struggling for the surface. But which direction was the surface? “B-But—but why do I have to stay here?” she whimpered. “I mean, I… I need to, um, report you.”
“Are you sure?”
Helena looked up into Diane’s eyes. Diane smiled down at her, tender, nurturing, cradling Helena’s face in her hands. Helena had never felt so small. So safe. So afraid. So weak.
“Y-Yes?” she whimpered.
Out of the corner of her eye, she finally glimpsed the front of the bottle.
Fischer’s Chocolate Melt Whiskey
Alcohol Content: 35%
Her heart started to pound.
Content Warning: This chapter contains a broken glass injury and some brief pain punishment involving it. This is where things get dark.