Don’t Forget to Like and Submit Chapter Five
Typically, the preview thumbnails for Rowan’s videos were website headlines, Twitter posts, or something similar which drew attention, plus a headshot of someone’s face related to the drama. It was a definite surprise to see a thumbnail for her video that took after the Lizzie Winter video style; both Lizzie’s face and her own were featured as laughing headshots against a brightly-coloured backdrop, their images outlined in thick lines, with the handwritten-font caption An Interview with Lizzie Winter.
For Lizzie followers who hadn’t already subscribed to Rowan’s channel, it would have been easy to think at a glance that this was one of Lizzie’s own videos.
All the same, the video itself began with Rowan’s face the only one on the screen; she was seated in her living room, as always, and the smile she wore on her face was a little… false, to say the least.
“Well,” she began. “This week has been crazy.”
Accompanied by the noise of a metal door slamming, a Tweet appeared in the bottom right of the image: @LizzieWinter don’t pay any attention to @RowanOlds #homewrecker
Another appeared in the middle left moments later: Rowan is just jealous she hasn’t got a man like Mick #LizzieWinter
A third then appeared right in the top right corner: @RowanOlds your just looking 4 credibility and audience from a more successful woman u dont care who you hurt #LizzieWinter
After these three were already on the screen, the slamming-door noise replayed a dozen or more times, very fast, with other tweets popping up at random points until they filled the screen. A second after the screen was completely filled, the video cut away - to Lizzie Winter, who gave her signature wave and smile. “Let’s try to be better than that, shall we?” she asked.
And with that, the musical sting and the 20-second slideshow intro Rowan had never gotten around to updating played. It cut back away to show a side-by-side splitscreen; both of their faces, close up, smiling comfortably. Rowan looked much as she always did;
“Right,” Rowan said, and if it wasn’t for the extra gusto with which she bit off the ‘t’ someone might have thought she was just pleasantly amused. “So last week I asked some questions about what at the time was Lizzie’s most recent video - of course there’ve been, what, three since then?”
Lizzie nodded. “Productivity is my jam,” she said with a grin. “But probably most people watching this already know that.”
“Yeah, absolutely,” Rowan agreed. “So one of the reasons I brought up your video is that I know most of my regular viewers also watch you, and as we just saw,” with her smile briefly becoming a grimace, “A fair few of Lizzie’s fans discovered me for the first time-”
“And by the way, guys, not cool,” Lizzie interjected. “Rowan runs a gossip channel - sure. But me and my relationships are fair game. I talk about them all the time. We’re not private, you know?” She paused. “And honestly, if you’d watched a few more of her videos first - she’s a lot more reasonable than some people.”
Rowan grinned. “I’m hardly going to disagree with any of that, am I?” she asked with a laugh. “It’s true, though. Anyway - almost everyone watching this video, 95% of you or more, already knows Lizzie. For the few of you who don’t, Lizzie’s one of YouTube’s most positive people. She talks freely about her life, about identity, the world around us, and she advocates for better communication in jobs, relationships, and more.”
Rowan raised a finger. “Importantly, outside relationships, ‘better’ communication does not always mean more honesty. But I’m getting ahead of myself, and her videos about this are better. One of my favourites will be linked in the description. Go give Lizzie the clicks!”
“Thank you,” Lizzie said, and there was laughter in her voice this time. “I’m a big believer that watching some random videos from a channel gives you a good sense of who they are, and if you’re here for me, I recommend you do the same with Rowan. But what we’re sort of both dodging around here is that this whole thing got the two of us talking.”
“Right,” Rowan said, picking it up. “Lizzie reached out to me, which was really nice of her. And we had what turned into a really, really long chat. And at the end of it, we’d sort of decided to do an interview video.” She blinked thoughtfully. “I was going to say it was your idea, Lizzie, but now I think about it I really can’t remember?”
“I was going to say I thought it was yours,” Lizzie said. She frowned, and to close observers, her eyes almost seemed to glaze as she did.
“I’m not sure, honestly,” Rowan continued. “Either way, that’s how this happened. And since then we’ve talked about it a bit - you probably all already know that a lot of YouTube interviews, like the ones on TV, do involve a bit of I’ll-talk-about-that-but-this-is-off-limits and a bit of what-can-we-do-to-make-this-must-see. So this is going to be a bit different.”
“Right,” Lizzie said, and then she finally looked sombre. She drew a deep breath. “I think it’s time I discussed my relationship after the past couple of months. I sort of don’t want to put that on my channel. Like Rowan says, I’m looking to keep it pretty positive.”
Rowan nodded. “So. I kind of want to point this out again. I wasn’t the only one to ask questions, but I did make a thing of the fact I was asking questions.”
“Still - in the spirit of not just going straight into the messy stuff. Hi! How are you?”
Lizzie sat back and her eyes unfocused. Her lips relaxed into a dreamy, absent smile. “Hi, Rowan,” she said, and she said it with a breathy contentment that none of the viewers really knew what to make of. “I’m actually really good. I can’t decide if it’s despite all this or because of all this.”
“Well, either way, it’s a good thing. So, just to confirm what I know everyone’s going to be talking about after this rambling start - what’s the status of you and Mick?”
“There is no me and Mick,” Lizzie said. She visibly gulped a breath, then exhaled, then smiled. “That actually felt… freeing… to say.”
“To admit, even?”
“Ye-es…” Lizzie said thoughtfully. “But to admit to myself, not to other people. This past little while, what I’ve come to realise is, Mick doesn’t matter.” The last three words seemed somehow to take on a different tone of voice, somehow vague and vacant but also more certain than anything else she’d said.
“I mean, that does sound a little harsh…” Rowan said.
“Does it? I guess so, if you haven’t lived it. I don’t think of it that way.” Her smile was still present, and her words came out fluently, but from the eyes up Lizzie’s face seemed still and somehow glassy. “I’m sure he’ll matter so, so much to another girl soon. And I don’t hate him, I’m not angry with him - I just don’t love him and I don’t miss him. It’s just easier for me not to think about him right now.”
While many of her long-term fans wondered how on earth that could be the case, Rowan’s expression was thoughtful and sympathetic, and she nodded so earnestly that some of those watching just assumed from Rowan’s certainty that this had to make sense.
“Okay,” Rowan said with a half-smile. “So… the message I’m sort of taking about this is maybe when you said you had stuff to work out about Mick, this is what you meant. But I’m betting you didn’t think this was going to be the solution?”
“Oh, no. I’d been with Mick for a long time now, and…” She shrugged. “Well, lately I’ve come to realise I’m not the woman who fell for him anymore.”
“When did that start?”
Lizzie blinked. The smile fell away, and her face was an expressionless mask. “I don’t know for sure,” she almost recited. “But it was definitely before the video with Ivan. I want to make that clear.”
A moment or two afterwards, her face returned to a soft smile, reminiscent. “He’s a good man, ladies,” she said, and there was a tinge of regret to her voice. “Whoever makes him happy, I’ll be happy for you both.”
It came across as the most honest thing she’d said.
“Hear hear,” Rowan agreed. “Um - actually, yeah, let’s follow that. So you’re sort of hinting there that Mick might be on the lookout for someone new-”
“I don’t know that,” Lizzie pointed out. “It’s possible, sure. And I’m sure eventually he’ll look for someone else.”
“Right. But there’s an obvious follow-up here - what’s your status? Are you looking for someone else?”
“Oh, no.” Lizzie glanced away from the camera, brushing a stray strand of hair back behind her ear, and seemed to blush. “I’m happy the way I am for right now. I’m not going to go looking for anyone and, uh - no offence, ladies and gentlemen, but I’m probably going to be looking for someone who doesn’t watch my show if and when I do start looking.”
“I can understand that,” Rowan says. “Again, no offence to anyone watching us, but there’s a - there’s a huge imbalance in information between a vlogger and a fan. I’ve dated someone who found me through my show, and it -” She broke away from looking at her monitor and looked directly into her camera, “I swear to God, Brandon, I am not comparing you to this, I’m saying how it felt, you were a gentleman - but it did feel like I was dating someone who’d been stalking me.”
“Stalking you,” Lizzie said in complete agreement, nodding along, just a few moments later. “Right. And that’s not because you guys are doing anything wrong! It’s just - so much of my life is out there for anyone to check, but I want my partner to discover me at the same rate, the same time, that I discover him. Or her,” she added. “Although girls are much scarier to go up to and say hey, do you want to date?”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Rowan replied, a slight smile on her lips. “All about the guys for me. About the gentlemen.”
“Oh, definitely,” Lizzie nodded. “So - I got into this a bit in the Ivan video, because one of the fan questions was about it, but I’m finding myself more and more interested in, like, power exchange kink-”
“I know your viewers will know what you mean, but for the five percent of my audience who aren’t following you, power exchange kink is?”
“Power exchange kink is…” Lizzie’s head shifted on camera as if she were squirming in her seat. Her tongue flicked out to lick her lips excitedly.
“Power exchange kink is where one party gives up some of their control - or all of their control - to the other partner. It centres on that; the lovely joy of, of… of the anticipation of what might be done to you when your say on things is surrendered. Of the freedom to - like, I know there are some people who enjoy sex but they feel bad that they do; unpleasant associations or weird parents or something else in their history, and for some of them, being able to say to themselves hey, this isn’t me, I have to do this, I’m being told to is, is, is freeing.
“And on the other side it centres on the rush from the power of control, and I imagine it centres on the satisfaction of seeing someone happy with something you made them do. And there’s a lot more to both sides than that and, of course, safewords are important, but for the short answer you asked for, that’s the basics.” Lizzie’s eyes were shining bright with enthusiasm now.
Rowan nodded. “So you were saying you’ve been getting interested?”
“Right. Right. And that is probably something I’m going to try exploring. But as you can imagine, I’m not keen to tell just anyone they can do that with me. I feel like you need to screen people before that. You need to be able to trust them or it’s not fun anymore.”
The interview didn’t pass without its fair share of comment, but it did silence a number of the viewers who’d been outraged with Rowan. Monitoring social media, she noticed that a lot of Lizzie’s fans were also suddenly cold toward Mick, where they’d been passionate defenders before. Even though Lizzie had carefully said nothing bad about him it seemed like her fans had heard something bad about him.
He’d been judged and he was paying the online price - #mickdoesntmatter trended for almost three days after the video was posted.
Rowan didn’t worry about it too much. She’d done as Ivan requested and helped paper over the concerns she’d raised, and she’d done it because she was a good girl. She’d done it because Ivan understood her need to be open, malleable, and suggestible. Because Ivan had taught her that it’s only satisfying to be open, malleable, and suggestible if someone gives you suggestions to follow.
Making that video and doing as Ivan said was completely natural for her. She and Lizzie had a secret from the world around them. They weren’t like other girls. They were open, malleable, suggestible girls who knew hypnosis was bliss. They knew Ivan was their hypnotist. They had given Ivan control.
At the time she’d recorded the interview, she hadn’t understood the way Lizzie reacted to power exchange. But afterwards, as their reward, Ivan had given them both a shared hypnotic session, and by the time that was done Rowan saw clearly why she hadn’t understood.
She hadn’t understood because she had suppressed her own submissive nature so totally and from such a young age it had taken Ivan to show it had always been there.
It had taken Ivan to give her permission to embrace it.
And it was only natural, on her obedient friend Lizzie’s recommendation, to ask Ivan if he would accept her submission.
Lizzie’s channel had seen a resurgence of interest. She wasn’t sure if it was the fact she’d dumped… dumped… well, whatever his name was… and was thus seen as available (as if any of them could compare to her Top), or if it was just that her videos now featured the new, more on-display look Ivan had encouraged her to adopt.
As much as she knew that realistically it would be one of the first two, she liked to tell herself that actually the change was in the renewed confidence she’d felt since Ivan had helped her come to embrace her submissive side.
It had been profitable, all the same, and she had taken care not to even hint that she had a new partner yet. The last thing she wanted was any suspicion that anything untoward had happened. After all, Ivan had assured her that nothing wrong had happened, even if the timeline was grown vague in her mind, as vague as the memory of her ex.
Two months after the interview with Rowan, with whats-his-name long departed from the home which had always had only her name on the lease, Lizzie packed a suitcase with the utmost care, packed with enough apparel for a holiday of six days.
She had worked diligently as Ivan had required to get ahead on her videos, because for everyone’s videos to stop at the same time would raise questions. Hers were already edited and queued, not just for her time away, but also for the next few days afterwards - just in case.
She stood in her bedroom, bare of body, and ceremoniously set in place a dark green garter belt, then clipped her sheer black stockings in place. Over the top of it all went a matching thong, which would be easily removed when required.
She took up the bra from the set and clipped it into place, having to fasten it across her chest and whisk it around before it could be fastened into place over her curves. She set aside a pair of black heels that she knew would set off the look perfectly, slipped into a pair of comfortable flats, and sat at her dressing table.
Crimson red lipstick paired with a very light blush and soft green eyeshadow gave her a very different look from the Lizzie Winter her fans were used to seeing. She teased her eyelash extensions into place, then added a dab of green glitter at the outer edges of her eyeshadow.
Lastly she drew her blonde hair back tight and put it up into a high blonde ponytail.
Satisfied everything was ready, she picked up her old black raincoat and slipped it over everything else, buttoning firmly from top to bottom. Checking her reflection in the mirror, she saw there was no clear indication of how little she was wearing; even the stockings might have been tights, with no confirmation of just how racy her outfit was.
She texted Rowan, then picked up her suitcase in one hand and her heels in the other and headed out to her car. Once the alarm was on and everything locked behind her, she pulled out of her garage and started the drive across to their rendezvous.
Rowan had come across by train, and wore a similar long raincoat with stockings visible beneath, also in flats. The two of them loaded her suitcase into the back of the car and continued driving to the airport, where Lizzie had booked them both seats on the same flight. Rowan’s lipstick was bright pink, her eyeshadow golden, and Lizzie knew without needing to check that the lingerie beneath would be a crisp yellow. Her dark hair had been gathered back in a long plait that Lizzie somehow found herself thinking of as a handle.
Unlike most passengers, they kept their long coats on throughout the short flight. As the pilot announced their descent, Lizzie sent Ivan a message ahead. They collected their luggage and went together into the airport toilets, where each of them, in their own cubicle, parted their coat, fitted in place an app-activated vibrator, and adjusted their panties to keep it in place. Then they switched from flats to heels and met again, to take an Uber to their destination.
It was a familiar route to Lizzie, who had visited with Mary before. For Rowan the whole thing was brand new. Lizzie was just glad her makeup blurred the lines of who she was just enough that she wasn’t approached as she had been the last time - they would almost certainly have been able to place Rowan, too, with the pair of them stood together.
Mary’s home was spacious; unlike the other two, she’d started with YouTube as a hobby, one of that class of vlogger whose family wealth allowed them the equipment budget and free time to make a splash early on. While nobody would confuse her house for that of a millionaire, there was plenty of room on both floors and a garden which, though it was almost untended, gave a lot of privacy behind high hedges.
They left the Uber at the gates and clip-clopped up the drive in their heels, their cases rattling along behind them on their wheels. Rounding the last corner of the drive they saw, not just the house, but the open-air pool beside it - and two figures beside the pool, one man seated on a lounger, and a woman in a black bikini and heels, shoulder-length red hair slicked back against her neck in evidence of a recent swim, who knelt by the side of the lounger, partially obscuring a low table which had a drink resting on it.
Lizzie knew Mary well, and both she and Rowan instantly recognised Ivan. They paused for a moment, both of them excited to finally meet him in the flesh, and saw him pick up a thin black rectangle from the table. As their vibrators buzzed into life simultaneously, they realised it must be his phone. He raised a hand and beckoned them over, and as one they started forward again, stopping about three yards out.
Each of them responding to commands buried deeply into their minds, they released their suitcases, letting them settle back on their sides or clatter to the ground unheeded. Their hands went to their coats, and almost simultaneously Lizzie began unbuttoning and Rowan unzipped her coat. Both coats were shrugged off and hit the ground at very close to the same time. Ivan smiled and they smiled in response.
“Good girls,” he said, and without any control over it, they preened. It escaped neither of their notice that Mary, who Ivan had been training for longer, moaned softly, blissfully. They had that level of devotion to look forward to.
For the first time they gave Mary’s figure some study, and noticed the thin black band around her neck, the small silver charm dangling at her throat.
“Come here, then,” Ivan said sharply. The two of them moved forward as one and stopped just in front of the lounger.
Ivan stood up. “You’re all three good girls,” he said again. “Open. Malleable. Suggestible. Yes?”
“Yes,” they answered, three voices echoing, a heartbeat at most from synchronisation.
“Good. And Lizzie, Rowan, your presence here means you’re ready to take your next step. Yes?”
“Yes.” There was even less separation between their words.
The redhead stood and removed a towel from the table, revealing below a green leather and yellow PVC collar.
Ivan smiled. “We will soon have you three good girls perfectly in tune…”