The Thrill Of Defeat

Chapter One: A Spoonful Of Meekness

by alectashadow

Tags: #cw:noncon #dom:female #f/f #sub:female #classist_control #D/s #femdom_hypnosis #foot_kissing #humiliation #hypnosis #mind_control #mindbreak #multiple_partners #pov:bottom #wealth

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“How do I look?”
 
Alia twirls in a deep green dress before me, giggling for all the world like we haven’t spent most of the afternoon trudging through the mall. Still, I’m a good sport, so I give her a smile.

“Very pretty, Alia.”

God, I feel like I’m in the Say the line, Ralph! scene from The Simpsons.

“You should try some of these dresses yourself!” Alia says, picking another dress to try out. “Come on Zainab, live a little!”

“I’ll pass,” I say, stifling a groan. I swear, Alia’s memory can be awfully selective at times. As if I could actually afford anything they have on offer here. My family isn’t poor or anything, but the neighbourhood we live in is a bit too fancy for our current finances. We have to be careful with our budget.

Alia sees me as a friend first, but I can tell the money problem is completely alien to her – never even crossed her mind, and why would it? She’s a trust-fund child, down to every bratty, entitled element of the stereotype. And a good friend, nonetheless… but I do wish she were a bit more considerate about this stuff.

I give a weary sigh. Truth is, even if I had the money, I would likely buy nothing here anyway. Places like these don’t have clothes for big-boned, plain-faced girls like me, and I feel even more average than usual when pitted against Alia’s lithe grace.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not commiserating. I know I’m smart, I’ve always worked hard for everything I have, and I’m no less a person than Alia just because of my family background. Still, sometimes it does get to me – usually, when we’re at the mall.

It’s just a little frustrating to see how easy everything is for her. If it was just the money I could understand it, but Alia lives a life straight out of the cover of a glossy magazine with no effort whatsoever.

As if to prove my point, she emerges once more from the changing room, this time in a flowery summer dress that’s ten times as expensive as you’d guess from merely looking at it.

“What about this one?” A flash of mischief goes through her eyes.

“Looks pretty too,” I say, evenly. “They all do.”

Alia giggles, retreating back into the changing room, and leaving me alone with my thoughts.

Of course she has an easier time than I do when it comes to picking clothes. She’s petite, and cute, and rich. Even without makeup she looks so effortlessly pretty – and knows it. The clothes she picks “at random” seem to bring out the shine in her long hazel locks, and match the honey-gold in her clever eyes.

It’s the one interaction in our friendship where I feel, not simply restricted in my means compared to hers, but truly jealous. I’d rather stay home, but I guess she loves the attention too much to just go to the mall by herself. She gives me an innocent look every time she asks me to accompany her, but I know her well enough to see the clever manipulations behind the angelic persona.

Sometimes I flatly say no.

But when I do say yes, I’m left playing cheerleader, repeating “you look so pretty!” for hours on end, then carrying her new purchases like some kind of gopher. Alia and I aren’t normally like this - I won’t let anyone push me around – but as in all friendships, it pays to make concessions at least some of the time. I balance it out with my “outspoken rule”: I am always vocal and assertive when I feel my boundaries are being violated.

I have to admit that today I’m regretting the shopping trip more than usual. We’ve been at the mall for most of the afternoon, and I’m so tired. Alia is seemingly intent on purchasing half the mall’s stock, and predictably, I haven’t bought anything.

Besides, my mind isn’t on clothes at the moment. Alia and I are both in our senior years, and where I fret and worry about the future, she sails through life without a care in the world. Were it not for my full scholarship, I would never have gotten this far, but what next?

I try to ignore the knot of dread at the pit of my stomach, but I’m not doing a very good job of it.

As I stare at Alia, who is giggling with the cashier and flashing her father’s credit card, I realise the absurd paradox that comes with wealth inequality. I need a job, but she doesn’t: her trust fund is more than enough to sustain her lifestyle indefinitely, and that’s without counting her family’s liquidity and real estate assets. And yet, paradoxically, she’ll have her pick of jobs when she’s done. I won’t.

Still, it looks like the shopping binge is finally over. I’m carrying all the clothes, obviously, but so long as we leave in a hurry, I don’t really mind being a pack mule. Alia hasn’t lost a bit of bubbly enthusiasm though, alternating between her phone, and a rapid-fire monologue about the week’s upcoming parties.

I only half-listen, until I hear her say, “Come clubbing with me tomorrow night!”

I don’t have the emotional energy, or the money, to deal with this. And I’m more than a little miffed that Alia is going on and on about parties after we devoted the entire afternoon to her pastimes, when anyone with functioning eyes could tell I’m mentally in a bad place at the moment. She could take at least five minutes out of her day to be considerate and supportive about it!
I know she means well, that she isn’t being an emotional vampire or anything – hell, on some level, this might be her way of being supportive: trying to distract me with fun. Still, I am annoyed and I feel like my needs aren’t being addressed. And that means one thing: it’s outspoken rule time.

“No, Alia. You know I don’t like it, and besides, I have to study. I need to actually worry about my grades, and you know it.”

“You’re right, no problem! Just make sure you don’t burn out, alright?” The smile never leaves Alia’s face. Even when being rebuffed she manages to be perfectly graceful. On some level, I admire that, and I feel better for enforcing my boundaries. Alia and I might not be fully on the same wavelength, or members of the same social circles, but as friends, we are equals.

Alia’s composure doesn’t last long past the exit to the mall, though. Her smartphone vibrates to a new notification, and upon checking it, she switches to full brat mode again.

“Un-fucking-believable!” She mutters to herself. “My dad isn’t picking us up!”

I cringe internally. As if the man had nothing better to do in his life? Alia at her best is a really great friend, but damn she has a selfish streak. “We could take the bus? The stop is right over there.”

Alia’s face contorts in vague displeasure. “Ewww. No way, Zainab! We’ll call a cab. My treat.“

Of course the princess is too good to take the bus like the rest of us mortals. I roll my eyes, but I shut up – I’m not paying, after all, and by the time we do come home, we’ll hopefully get to do something we both enjoy, like watching some Netflix, or looking at recipes.

Alia and I are technically neighbours – which is how we became friends in the first place, during our childhood – but that’s where all similarities between our homes end. My parents got a hold of the cheapest middle-class unit they could, but Alia and her family live in a veritable mansion, surrounded by a walled garden that has hosted more parties than I can count – either here in the shade of the trees, or by the pool in the backyard.

The house itself is a sprawling, three-floor extravaganza whose carbon footprint I don’t even want to think about. Honestly, I’ve always thought it was a little impractical, the kind of place that would require an army of maids to clean and maintain at all times.

I’ve been here countless times since my childhood, so I don’t really take the time to take in the luxury and elegance as Alia and I make our way through the place and up to her bedroom. I say “bedroom” but that’s selling it short: the room is huge, with a king-sized bed, an expansive desk, plenty of furniture, and of course a walk-in closet that is just slightly smaller than my own room at home.

I help Alia sort and put away her newly purchased clothes, trying to ignore the small flashes of envy I feel. I wonder how much money I would have to earn just to be able to afford half of this closet’s content over a long period of time. Oh, well. I have the brains and the determination to see me through any obstacle. If a walk-in closet like this is what I want, I’m sure I’ll get it eventually. I just need to land the right job after college.

If I can land any at all…

Still, I’m here to have fun, not sulk. With the clothes sorted, Alia and I head back downstairs. I step over a stray set of slippers (Alia’s, of course) as I make my way to the living room, then crash on the sofa, exhausted. Finally, my weary limbs are getting some relief. I don’t care what other plans Alia has for the day, but I’m not moving away from the couch.

“You stay here and rest,” she says, basically hopping between each foot in excitement. “I gotta call Yasmin a sec. Totally gotta brag about what we just bought!”

What you bought, I almost say, but then nod my assent. I really dislike Yasmin – she has all of Alia’s flaws, and none of the positives – but admittedly I can use the downtime. My friend, high-strung as ever, rushes out of the living room, presumably back to her room, to make the call, and I stay, lounging on the sofa.

I don’t stay alone for long, though. Soon enough, the front door opens again, and Anbar – Alia’s younger sister – steps in. She’s built very differently from her sister, with a short crop of lighter blond hair that brushes her shoulders, and more of a tomboy look – unisex jeans, a loose shirt, and very little of the grace and innocence that so characterises her sister. She’s also quieter and a bit of a loner, but not at all unpleasant. We know we like different stuff, but we’re still cordial to each other.

“Hi, Zainab,” she says with a nod, munching on a pack of chips. God knows how she can maintain her good figure with all the carbs she eats… if I transgressed on food one time for every three of hers, my acne would explode, not to mention the instant weight gain. This family really does get all the blessings.

“Hello, Anbar!” I say, with a smile. “How are you doing?”

“Good, thanks,” she says without looking me in the eye. “Enjoy your time with Alia!” Then she slinks back into the hallway without a further word, doubtlessly to go back to her room and play videogames. Oh well, to each their own.

Time marches on, and there’s no sign of Alia coming down again. I find myself lightly dozing on the sofa when a sudden rustling awakens me. It isn’t my friend, though. It’s the… least charming member of the household, Sanae. Successful psychiatrist, local queen bee among the well-to-do, and more importantly from my perspective, Alia and Anbar’s mother.

She looks freakishly younger than she is – mostly thanks to her blemish-free skin. Were it not for the darker, almost brunette colour of her hair, and the fact that she has straight bangs rather than flowing locks, it would be impossible to tell her apart from Alia. She sits royally in a plushy armchair, one leg crossed over the other and a mug of tea on her lap. She doesn’t offer to make me any, but gives me a tentative, circumspect smile.

She’s always been cordial to me, but in a way that feels a little off. I don’t think she sees me as good friends material for her eldest daughter, which irks me more than a little, but I’m glad for the veneer of civility. Sanae is the kind of person that smiles a lot, it’s just that the smile never quite reaches her eyes. No… those are always cold and cunning.

We exchange pleasantries and I tell her about the day and Alia’s new clothes, but she seems to be only half-listening. I kinda wish she would just get up and go drink her tea somewhere else – I was basically about to doze off on the sofa anyway – but this is her house, and I shouldn’t be discourteous.

“It was very dutiful of you to accompany her,” she tells me abruptly, and I find that a rather…. peculiar turn of phrase, but whatever. “You look worried, though, if I may say so. Is something the matter, Zainab?”

I raise an eyebrow. Sanae is not the kind to show such quasi-maternal concern to her daughters’ friends, especially those born without a silver spoon in their mouths. Where’s the concern coming from? I don’t really want to open up to her, either. I mean, I guess I owe her kudos for spotting my discomfort at least, Alia has been completely oblivious. Still, I sense Sanae has always looked down on me, and I doubt she would find my worries about the future relatable anyway.

Whatever else can be said about Sanae, she knows how to read the room. Her daughters definitely take from her when it comes to perception, although perhaps with less social skill. She gives a half-embarassed smirk, probably realising what my line of thought is, and waves a hand. “It’s fine, you don’t need to talk. You can just relax, and listen. Who knows, I might have some useful pointers for you, after all.”

Relax and listen. Yeah, that’s easier. I can catch some rest while Alia does her thing. My eyes wander around the room – the fancy library, the fireplace, the sprawling sofas – until eventually I settle to focus on Sanae’s teaspoon, swirling and clinking against the rim of the mug.

It seems random at first, but it’s almost like there’s a rhythm to it, a musical quality. The clinks follow each other like a high-pitch beat to a rhythm I can’t really put together. The ripples across the surface of the tea swell and break like a rolling sea I might get lost in, and the arcs the spoon traces in the liquid… they have a beauty all of their own. The beauty of the spiral.

“Worrying is a perfectly natural state, Zainab. It’s the response to a problem. You’re a clever girl, and you know you have a problem.”

“A problem,” I repeat in a low, whispering voice I almost don’t recognise as my own. This situation feels… odd. This doesn’t sound like a normal conversation to have. Definitely not while my eyes are glued to the spoon as it races across the mug.

“You’re simply in the wrong place,” Sanae tells me in a tender, lulling voice. “You’re not where you’re supposed to be. You worry about the future because of the mismatch between what you are, and what you’re supposed to be.”

“Supposed…”

Sanae ignores my half-formed responses, marching on as if I haven’t spoken at all. “Supposed, yes. You act far above your station, Zainab. So prideful… it’s rather unbecoming. And as you can see, it hurts you, too. I’m here to fix that. To help you.”

Something is wrong. I don’t mean what Sanae is saying, at least the words themselves – I think? I’m not really following them. No, it’s the way she’s speaking to me, the condescension dripping from her every word. I can’t shake the feeling that the walls are closing in around me. If only the spoon would stop moving, then maybe I could focus.

“You’ve always been a fighter, Zainab,” Sanae says, her delicate fingers handling the spoon lithely and gracefully, like a musical instrument, or… like a weapon. “But it’s time to stop struggling. Then, all worries will go away. You’ll finally be at peace.”

I don’t have the energy to repeat anything back at her this time, and when the spoon stops, I find I still can’t look away. Now that worries me. It’s hard to figure out what exactly I’m feeling through the drowsy morass that’s descending over my brain, but I can’t quite figure out what’s wrong. I should be able to look away from the spoon. It’s not even moving anymore!

So… why can’t I? Should I be scared? Relaxed? Both? Neither? I can’t…

Movement at the periphery of my vision. My eyes don’t react – they’re still glued to the mug and the spoon, now resting on a coffee table – but I perceive it nonetheless. There’s nothing relaxed about the way Sanae rises from the chair, striding towards me with the measured step on a predator, ready for the final pounce. She bends down and grabs something from the floor – Alia’s pair of slippers.

“So let’s take away your ability to fight,” says Sanae, stepping right in front of me, as my mind’s eye keeps visualising the spoon. “Let’s put you in your place. You’ll be happier for it.”

Then, the slippers cover my face, clouding my vision. They reek of Alia’s foot sweat – an offensive, disgusting smell that engulfs my nostrils as Sanae talks to me in a sharp, whip-like voice that takes all strength out of my limbs. I don’t understand the words, though, except that they go on for a long time, and involve Alia and Anbar… somehow. For a moment, there is only the smell.

Then, everything goes dark.

I jolt awake at the sound of Alia rushing down the stairs. There’s no trace of Sanae, or her cup of tea – she must have left after I dozed off. I must remember to apologise to her – our conversation was pretty disjointed, probably because I was on my way to an impromptu nap. In fact, my recollection of it makes zero sense – I don’t remember a word she said, but I do remember a spoon, and a strange twinkle in her eyes. Must have been a dream.

“You won’t believe what Yasmin had to say,” Alia tells me in-between giggles as she enters the living room. Upon spotting her slippers, she decides to kick off her sneakers. I rub my eyes, still feeling groggy – and then I smell it. The stench of Alia’s sweaty feet.

Ugh. Trust her to be so inconsiderate about this stuff. We’ve both been walking all day, we both have sore feet, but I haven’t taken my shoes off. Ok, I’m a guest in Alia’s home, but the smell is really unpleasant, and there’s no way she doesn’t know or notice. I swear, somehow it’s like my friend thinks normal social rules don’t apply to her.

Which is why I follow the outspoken rule; hell, arguably it’s why I created it in the first instance. I clear my throat, ready to chastise Alia for her behaviour and ask her to put her shoes back on immediately –

And I don’t. All that comes out is a croak, which Alia promptly ignores. The fierce defensiveness I would normally feel about my boundaries is gone. I reach deeper within myself, looking for the combative spirit I’ve cultivated all my life, and all I find is passivity. Alia is metaphorically stepping over my boundaries, and I’m not lifting a finger to stop her.

For some reason, that makes me panic, but even this doesn’t manifest outwardly or create a disturbance. My breathing stays the same, as does my heart rate. My fear is purely conceptual, like I know I’m about to step into some kind of trap. I rub my temples, trying to focus, but it’s hard to even hear my thoughts over Alia’s foot stench!

Unaware of the frantic search going inside my mind, Alia crashes down on the couch next to me, popping her stinky feet on the sofa – I mean, really? But again, I say nothing. She gives a lazy stretch, contorting like a cat.

“Ahhhh,” she groans, “man, can a girl get sore after a solid day of shopping. You should totally give me a foot rub and make it all better!”

I gather my thoughts to tell her off for even jokingly suggesting I would do such a thing, but before the words can come to my lips, my fingers have already wrapped around Alia’s left foot. More, they have begun to gently knead it, looking for stress in the muscles and slowly massaging it out.

I look up at Alia, my face red with embarassment (and probably contorted by my disgust at her foot stench). She stares back at me with a raised eyebrow. What’s going through her mind? I am never this meek, not ever. And this is a very odd thing to be compliant about. Feet, of all things? They’re gross as hell!

“Take the socks off, please,” she says, in a tone that sounds half-curious and half-disbelieving, as if she’s expecting me to play a practical joke on her. “I can’t really feel the massage with the socks in the way.”

Again, I want to tell her off, and again, my body is way ahead of me. Before I know it, I’m staring at Alia’s naked feet, and worse, my fingers are touching them – clammy film of sweat and all.

Under Alia’s watchful gaze, I work her feet like I’ve done countless foot massages before, which of course, I haven’t! I push in circular patterns from the heel to the sole, pulling delicately on each of her toes to make the joints pop and work out the stress. Then, I resume with my thumbs, pressing in circles all along the arch and the ankle, and then back down to the heel.

“You’re so good at it!” Alia says, in a tone of admiration that sounds like, why am I only finding out now? And perhaps a little I could have used this before!
“Never,” I say, although it comes out a lot softer than I’ve intended. “This is my first foot massage.”

Alia’s clever eyes are inquisitive as they study my face. I can almost see the gears turning inside her brain, the sadistic streak rearing its head. She doesn’t know what’s going on, and for that matter neither do I, but she’s smelled prey, and she won’t let go.

“You’re coming with me to the club tomorrow night, okay?”

The mere fact that she’s revisiting the subject upsets me. The fact that she’s deliberately doing it as a way to test my reactions disturb me. But it’s my meekness that really scares me. I’ve always been the only real check on Alia’s penchant for casual bullying and mean snobbery. And now, that check is gone.

“Of course, Alia,” I say in a low voice. No, not just low. Demure. Respectful. Obedient.

Submissive.

What is happening to me?

Alia flashes me a slow grin of triumph, looking at me with a glint in her eyes – curiosity, but also ambition. It makes my knees quiver.

As her foot stench wafts around me and deeper into my nostrils, Alia speaks to me in a hesitant voice, as if trying to find her footing on new ground. Literally and metaphorically, perhaps.
“I don’t know what’s up with you today, but I like it when you’re so agreeable. It suits you.”

The words send shivers down my spine as I continue my massage. But they could never prepare me for the positive spasm of anticipation and fear caused by what she says next, as her grin widens and her voice grows lower, like a feline purr.

“I wonder what else you’ll do for me… and let me do to you.”

 


To be continued!

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