“Ant Alyssa! Ant Alyssa!” Tristan said with glee as he launched himself at her best friend. And launched really was the right word, she thought, his day-care cape fluttering behind him. It’d been a fight, but got him to agree to only wear it around the house. Which he had non-stop since he’d brought it home.

“That’s Aunt Alyssa,” she said mildly as Alyssa tried to peel her son off her leg.

“Hey buddy!” her friend replied, mussing his hear when she’d finally succeeded. “You being good for Mommy?”

He nodded, eagerly. “Of course, Ant Alyssa!” giving her his best innocent luck. She’d be lying if she said it wasn’t a damn good one, even if she was now (mostly) immune to it.

“Uh huh,” her friend said, playful but clearly not convinced. “Well you keep being good for her, okay?”

“Yes, Ant Alyssa!” he said as he peeled away from her back to the stack of blocks where he was apparently trying to build a fortress for his action figures. It looked more like a building that had been hit by an earthquake, but that was beside the point.

Sarah Jane hugged her friend. “Come in, come in. I bought a pint of i-c-e c-r-e-a-m for after he goes down.” She didn’t mind him having treats on occasion, but tried to limit it to once or twice a week and only then when he’d been good.

“Chunky Monkey?”

“Chocolate Therapy.”

“Good choice!”

“Thanks,” she said as she pulled down a pair of wine glasses after pulling out a bottle of white from the fridge. “I’m wondering if I need some myself so it seemed appropriate.”

Alyssa had been rummaging through a utensil drawer, looking for a corkscrew. She stopped her hunt to give Sarah Jane a Look.

“I promise to tell you everything,” she said. “It’s just been…different than what you’ve always told me about. Good. But different.”

Corkscrew now successfully found, Alyssa took the bottle of wine from her and poured them both a healthy glass. She’d only have the one, so she didn’t mind the heavy pour. She picked up the glass and moved to the couch, tucking her feet under her, and moving her bangs out of her face.

Her friend situated herself on couch.

“Now speak.”

So she did. She told her of walking into the room, of how she sat still for like an hour and a half. How he used her like a table, how he stayed fully dressed while she remained naked almost the entire time. How he’d fed from her, took her on a tour of the house, insisting that all the guards were Sir and finally taking her roughly against a wall, which admittedly, she’d rather enjoyed. Not that she got to bask in it. Her story ended with how not two minutes after they were done he told her to get dressed and get out and how this morning she found an e-mail with a schedule for the next three weeks.

“He barely touched me,” she said. “When he did, it was awesome, but…not what I expected.”

“What were you expecting? Something more like the party?”

She nodded. “He said that we would play like that on occasion, but not all the time.” She was about to add something else but she noticed that her son was blissfully passed out amongst his toys. Excusing herself to put him down, she carried him to bed, careful not to wake him up. It took her a good five minutes to get the cape off – it was harder to do when he was asleep than she imaged, and another minute to make sure he would stay down. Pausing at the door, she flipped on the Hulk nightlight and smiled at how peaceful he looked.

She hoped she’d have that peace soon.

She returned to the den to find that Alyssa had made good use of the time as she was handed a spoon and a bowl of ice cream. It was delicious.

“You know,” her friend said thoughtfully. Or at least as thoughtfully as one could sound with a spoon in her mouth “I don’t think you need therapy.”

“I don’t?” she asked. She was only half joking.

“Have you considered that you might just actually be submissive? Like, legit submissive? You know. Unlike me.”

She blinked, clearly confused.

“I like the kinky sex, but I wouldn’t have lasted twenty minutes sitting still the way you did! And most people wouldn’t have either.”

“True…but that doesn’t prove anything.”

“Why did you sit there?”

“Because that’s what the instructions said.”

“And didn’t you get tempted to break the rules at all? To scratch that itch or stretch your legs?”

“Well. Of course I did. But then I would have failed. And I didn’t want to fail. I wanted to make him happy so he’d keep me.”

Her friend gave a little sigh and a smile that Sarah Jane couldn’t interpret.

“I think he’s got you pegged. In fact, I think you’re damn lucky that you went after him.”

“You do?”

Her friend nodded. “You’d get eaten alive if you tried to go out into the community because you found the parties no longer satisfied you. I think he gets that. If making him happy is working for you for now, go for it. It’ll be good for you.”

She bit her lip in consideration.

“Go with your gut. The worst thing that happens is you call it off. Or he does.”

She nodded. She could do that. She’d already done it to this point hadn’t she?

She smiled and took up another spoonful of ice cream.

She knew she was friends with Alyssa for a reason.