As the end credits to the 7th episode of the 3rd season began to reach across the screen the screen dimmed and displayed a message asking if anyone was still out there in the real world watching this show. The television wasn't going to waste the time and energy to perform episodic heists if there was no one out there to enjoy them.
"I don't know, pet. Are we still watching?" Beth smiled, idly running her fingers through Penny's curly hair. "What do you think?"
Penny looked up from the screen to see her Lady, calm and comfortable on the sofa and enjoying the ambience that was created by dim candle light, the scent of microwave popcorn and episodes of a decade old show that both women had seen many times before.
She then turned her eyes to look for the remote, which lay on the floor seemingly miles and miles from her perch on the sofa.
"I dunno..." she mused, sweetly, "That sounds like I'd have to get up... and I don't really want to get up."
Beth giggled and pulled her submissive up to allow her forehead to meet her waiting lips.
"And what is it that you do want, pet?" she questioned with a gated innocence, lingering on the knowledge that they both knew damned well what the answer was, but nothing was going to happen unless it was spoken aloud.
"I can snuggle..." Penny gently mused, her hand slithering over to catch a firm grip upon her Owner's thigh. "That sounds really nice."
"Oh... just snuggle?" there was a playfulness in Beth's tone... "I mean. If that's what you want."
There was no reply. Just the ruffling of bouncy curls against exposed skin mixed with a giddy sound of exhaled bliss.
The moment lingered in serenity. Beth's hand ran tenderly across Penny's exposed forearms leaving a swift reminder of goosepimple flesh in her wake.
But the problem with moments of quiet comfort is that there is quiet and there is a void which the brain enjoys filling with thoughts.
With every passing moment the tranquility gave way to the ghosts of that which remained unspoken. Insecurities which gnaw away at the spirit when given silence enough to travel.
"We've been dating for a while now..."
Penny's eyes opened and felt her heart grow heavy. There was something in that tone of voice which hinted at the gravity of sentiments to come.
"And... I just wanted to know. How am I doing? How does it feel for you to be in my power? Are you satisfied? Are you happy?"
"I... My Lady?" Penny could only stammer, taken completely off-guard by this brief moment of vulnerability from her beloved.
"I just need to know you're okay. I've been worried."
The melancholy of the moment swallowed all the domestic affection that had dwelled before. It was an important question. Even Penny knew that. How could she not? Beth had the keys to her mind. She knew the inside and out of her pet and there was enough evidence to suggest caution. Days where Beth had walked in to find Penny having destroyed her trinkets and mementos, days where she had deleted her social media accounts and the ever looming threat of bitterly spat comments under her breath.
Penny wasn't healthy and Beth just wanted to accept and embrace the beautiful young woman in her arms and was afraid that she'd bitten off more than she could chew, afraid her love would bring harm. Afraid. Locked within a prison of doubts which could not be dispelled by logic and simple self-assurance.
"Let me phrase it like this," she tried again, "What do you think about me?"
It shouldn't have been a difficult question.
But it was.
There was a tension in the air the moment the words had left Beth's lips. The oxygen drained from the room and the peaceful calm of a romantic evening had been swallowed by the underlying emotions that festered in the back of both partner's hearts.
Her eyes averted.
Beth hated it when her eyes averted. She hated that she hated it. Trust was something which wasn't owed but was earned. A dark unyielding shadow within her heart felt offended that it still wasn't offered, even when all proof marked that there was no more danger. There would never be danger for her precious little Penelope... but even months and months into the relationship there were still averted glares into nothingness. Walls of the heart and emotional doors slammed shut.
"I can't find words." Penny sighed, deflated.
Beth swallowed her lip. Fighting off her own negative emotions. It wasn't rejection, it wasn't mistrust.
But it was so hard not to take it personally.
Sensing this, Penny drew herself up to better look her partner in the eyes.
"What I mean is..." she began, fight or flight instincts raging within her to disengage, to not make matters worse, to not push someone she loves away with her honesty.
"I mean I love you!" she quickly stammered, "Of course I love you. That was never in doubt. But I worry--- that I'm not enough for you."
Beth drew in a breath and steadied herself. She had her own things to say here but it was better that Penny not be interrupted while trying desperately to communicate.
"I mean... you're..." she hesitated. Uncertain of herself. "You're... you!"
Beth had to fight a fond smile from forming at the unbidden thought 'Truly the heart of a poet, this one.'.
"I am me." Beth confirmed in a teasing tone, "Is that a problem?"
"No... no..." Penny whined, struggling her hardest, "But--- I just... I'm me!"
"Two for two, darling. Good. We have established who we are. Good." Beth giggled, her authoritative tone masking the tension of the conversation within their usual playful banter.
"...I'm ---I don't think I'm enough for you!" she finally managed, frustrated that she was not breaking through this communication barrier in any regard.
Beth shook her head slowly. "Oh my poor little thrall... such a silly silly little girl you are."
The determination on Penny's face melted into confusion, "Wait, what?" was all she could manage before Beth raised her hand dramatically and flowingly brought it back down in front of her rapidly glazing eyes.
Penny sunk down right away, pulled into the magnetic pull of her Lady's chest where her curls could better be petted.
"Deep and comforted and relaxed..." Beth sighed, "No more worries... you can just let yourself sleep now, pet."
"...my... lady?" Penny murmured, still confused and trying her hardest to hang on to the confidence she had been building up to openly communicate before.
"Hush now, my pet." Beth cooed, "No more worries. No more concerns..." and as suggested they melted away, pulled right off of Penny's silly head. "Your deep self can answer for me, can't it?"
There was a silence, then a long sighing exhale before finally Penny responded in a droning voice, "Yes, My Lady..."
They had done this many times before. Conversations held without the nervous barrier of the waking mind complicating the communication. Of course there would always be revising the notes at a later point, ensuring that the waking self agrees or accepts the things confessed in the sleeping state. It was a useful tool, not a crutch and certainly not a replacement for clear and consensual communication.
Beth gently maneuvered her partner to lay back in her lap with her sleepy head pointing directly up at her. Her features looked so calm and placid in this state, like she was so far away; free from all the little stresses and worries which burdened her during the day. "Okay, pet..." Beth sighed, brushing some hair from Penny's brow, "You're worried about not being enough for me, is that right?"
Her lip trembled and her eyelids flickered rapidly, "...yes My Lady..." the words came out with a hint of vulnerability, an edge of hesitance.
"Deeper and deeper..." Beth whispered, her fingers now at Penny's temples and running slow circles, "Tell me. Why do you think you're not enough for me. You know quite well that I am capable of making decisions for both of us if I need to and I have not decided that you are anything less than worthy of my love."
The firmly spoken words had the desired effect and a blushing unguarded smile bubbled to her docile expression, the kind of blushing shy grin that a school girl would give if told that they were adorable. Unbidden. Unavoidable.
"...I can't fulfill your needs..." Penny finally managed, her voice a distant sigh, emotional content and word choice not even remotely related in that moment. "...'m asexual..." she managed to add in.
"Ah..." Beth mused, digging the pressure of her massage in just that little bit stronger, "And that's why you're so worried..." she thought back to how Penny would roughly flinch any moment her touch lingered below the belt-line or how she would freeze up and avert her gaze whenever the topic of arousal was breached.
It was true, of course. Beth did have a strong and healthy sex-drive. In many ways she had needs enough for them both. The differences between the pair were evident enough that they did warrant discussion but words alone were not enough to breach the gap when Penny's self-esteem made her incapable of viewing her service and role as a submissive as equivalent to the satisfaction and energy that Beth withdrew from receiving it.
"Do you feel fulfilled, pet?" Beth finally asked after some brief consideration.
"I...?" Penny whimpered, pacified by another firm press against her temple.
"Am I enough for you?" Beth asked, her voice lowering, taking on a more commanding tone.
"Y---Yes My Lady!" Penny cried back.
"And do you not believe me when I say that you are enough for me?"
There was a pause.
A sound escaped Penny's throat like the last vestiges of air choked out of her by the sheer force of the question. Gentle and fearful. She swallowed and tensed, not even the massaging touch of her lady could soothe the tension of the moment.
"I can't..." her face twisted in agony. Beth considered pulling the ripcord on this session there and then.
"I don't want to..." she managed to force herself to continue, "You deserve someone who..."
Beth's finger pressed on Penny's lips. "I know you could, love." she assured, beneath her Penny's eyelids stopped moving in a way which would have been perfect for a pattern interrupt induction had she wanted to focus on deepening the state of trance. Instead she kept speaking, "You could use vibrators or hold me while I masturbate or lick me out..." the words came out clinical and devoid of implication, expectation or even enjoyment. She may as well have been listing household chores. "But you aren't ready for that--- and maybe you'll never be ready for that... and I need you to know that it's okay."
Penny's eyes slowly opened, double blinking, blearily looking in deep confusion at her Lady, unable to parse the sentiment in her entranced state, "...it's okay?"
"Of course it's okay." Beth assured. "Do you honestly think I've not gotten off even one time since we started living with one another?"
"...I...?" Penny stammered.
"Silly girl..." Beth giggled to herself, lowering her powerful façade a moment, "Do you even realize how hot you are?"
Penny's stammering did not stop but all syllables were just a confused slurry of sounds now.
With a fond sigh of exasperation, Beth slowly raised Penny's head up. "Kneel, pet."
Penny's body automatically folded to put all weight onto her knees, her head rigidly forced upwards, shoulders square back and hands delicately planted on her lap.
"Turn to face me." Beth added, waiting for her darling to pivot on the sofa cushion to be eye to eye with her. Beth reached in and traced a finger upon the exposed neck. "Mine." she declared firmly.
"...yours!" Penny chimed back, still carrying a weight of vulnerability to her state.
"So... you're asexual..." she mused, the sight before her stirring fire within her and drawing a devious energy to the surface.
"Then tell me, pet," in a bolt Beth crossed the miniscule gap between them and had a hand cupping Penny's chin and her teeth pressing gently in to her left earlobe, "do you enjoy it when I do this?"
Beth delighted in the tension that waved in and out of Penny's veins, the way she swallowed slowly, how her shoulders pushed back and her nostrils flared a long drawn out exhale. "Yes My Lady!" she confirmed.
"So it's alluring but not arousing, is that right?"
Penny was trembling in Beth's grasp, the weakest "mhmm..." escaped her lips.
"And you know that's okay, don't you? To be allured by my power, to find yourself kneeling and yearning. These are good things, are they not?" Beth's breath was hot against Penny's exposed neck, her lips touched skin, teeth teasing the flesh as she awaited Penny's reply.
"...I love being yours..." she whined intensely between trembled breaths, her torso shuddering against the patience of the moment.
"And I love having you." Beth stated, pressing her teeth in for a single bite, pausing to savor the moan of surrender that emitted from her partner. "You fulfill me. You inspire me. You make me feel powerful." she backed off a little to look at Penny again, drunkenly swaying, eyes rapidly blinking in and out. Completely lost in reverie.
"...I..." she helplessly stammered.
"What is it about all of this that fulfils you, pet? What about our little fun and games makes you feel so squirmy and happy?"
There was a brief pause as the thoughts worked to bubble through the haze but the words did not need to go through an edit filter in the mind. The deep self spoke not from the mind but from the heart, "Love the feeling of oblivion. The blank. The void. The empty."
"Mhmm..." Beth mused, swaying her pet left and right by her shoulders, "Go on... what else?"
"Love feeling the thrill of making you happy. Of not needing to think. Of surrender..."
"Yes, that's right. Surrender.", with that word a hand pressed to Penny's forehead and her limbs fell limp underneath her, crumpling back into a heap on the sofa. "Surrender to me. Surrender to emptiness. Surrender to blank and to void."
Penny whimpered but she obeyed, her lips delicately mouthing the words that were fed into her sleeping mind.
"Feels so good to sink and surrender and obey." Beth continued, "And what word do we use for nice and welcome feelings, pet?"
There was a hint of hesitation, of reluctance. "...pleasure...?" she ventured cautiously.
"That's right... but you still think of pleasure the way society has taught you." Beth whispered, pulling close to the heap of Penny at her side, "And that is why you are so tangled up and worried. Because you're not everyone else. You're Penelope Darling and you are my pet."
"My Lady...?" Penny breathed, barely audible against the weight of her Lady's will.
"Oh, my sweet pet..." Beth cooed, brushing Penny's forehead again, "Pleasure is whatever steals your breath away..." to illustrate her point she grasped a chunk of blue-green hair and pulled tightly, allowing Penny's desperate whimper fill the air before pressing on, "it's what makes you whimper..." a thumb to the forehead pressing her into the sofa provided the appropriate sound, "it's what floods your heart and soul with joy and passion and desire." the thumb pulled back and turned into an extended forefinger tilting up the chin. Guiding the drifting thrall up by her hair and this single finger she was once again leaning up enough to be able to look glazed and overwhelmed at her Lady. "It's what makes you mine."
"---yours!" Penny choked before being swiftly rewarded with another hair tug. Her breathing was rapid, her lips trembled, her body was weak. If she were not already in a hypnotic trance should would all but certainly be barreling headlong towards subspace.
"That pleasure is not sexual. It does not fire your loins." Penny's trembling lips paused, her fluttering eyelids focused on her Lady's stern and confident stare. "Pleasure is that feeling you crave, it is a rush of euphoria, delight, joy and passion. And you feel it eagerly. Hungrily. Insatiably."
"Y-y-yes My Lady!"
"And so when I gift you pleasure, do you not feel fulfilled, pet?"
"Say 'Yes My Lady', sweetness."
"Yes My Lady."
"Good girl." Beth smiled firmly and pulled her pet in for another all encompassing cuddle, gently twirling a curl of her pet's dyed hair around her finger. "This fulfills me, too. The way you gasp and moan, the way your body locks up and flops down, the empty gazes and the focused stares? My darling, you are such a good little hypnotic toy and I do so enjoy playing with you."
She waited a moment to feel Penny relax against her, the relief pulsing off of her in waves. "One day we may start exploring further ways you can serve me. You may end up finding that helping me achieve an orgasm can be as powerful an act of service as anything else we do. You could serve me by chanting words I deliver to you while I pleasure myself. You could feel such powerful elation tied into my climax... but that doesn't have to be. That doesn't have to be today, this month, this year or ever. We move at your pace. As slow as you need, remember? I won't force you to sleep naked. I won't force you to join me in the shower and I certainly won't command you to service me sexually."
"I... want to make you happy..." Penny whimpered.
Beth sighed and shook her head, whatever was she going to do with the selfless little sub? "Penny, look at me." with a surprised gasp Penny's head shot up to meet Beth's powerful eyes once more, "You will never under any circumstances bury your feelings to attempt to satiate my own. Am I understood?" she leaned in closer, narrowing her eyebrows into a pinning glare.
"Y---yes My Lady."
"Don't say it because it's what I want to hear." she commanded, "Say it because you can't stop yourself from doing anything but expressing your own needs."
"Y---yes My Lady."
"I know who you are, Penny. I knew who you were when I summoned you. I knew who you were when I bound you. When I first said I loved you. Do you think I made a mistake, my pet?"
"N---no My Lady."
"Then accept that I love you as you are and shall not allow yourself to cut parts of yourself away in a foolish attempt to please me. Nothing could make me more upset than to know you were killing parts of my beloved Darling."
Penny sighed out all remaining tension and melted against Beth, who caught her and began petting her hair. "That's my girl. We'll talk about this more soon, and we'll go over everything we spoke about again later. But I need to know if you're still worried you're not enough for me."
There was a hint of hesitation, but Penny's entranced voice soon responded, "I'm enough, My Lady."
"Good girl. You understand perfectly. Do you want to watch the next episode of our show and go to bed afterwards?"
A gentle nod brushed hair against Beth and the softest murmur of agreement emitted, once again confirming the cute fragility of Beth's pet.
"Good girl. Thank you for telling me what you needed. I promise this won't be the last time we discuss this, but for now, awake... and enjoy comfortable snuggles on the sofa."
And Penny happily obeyed.