Ariane recently modeled for Rachel’s photography assignment. The picture ended up in the museum downtown. Rachel found a way to reward Ariane for helping her out.
Ariane phone rings. “Hello, Rachel.”
“Hey cuddle buddy,” says Rachel.
Ariane sighs, “We definitely need a better description of our relationship.”
“Well, I got something you might like since you are the daring sort, ever hear of the Top Club?”
“The super secretive notorious sex club of the rich and famous? No, I haven’t. Why?”
“I got a guest invite, and I can bring a friend, so naturally I thought of you,” says Rachel.
“Aren’t you afraid if we go there they will kidnap us and turn us into prostitutes?” asks Ariane somewhat jokingly.
Rachel laughs, “Ha, you got that lecture from your mom as well?”
“Of course, over that big scandal a few years ago, club members went to jail, haven’t heard any mention of that club in the media since. It’s like no one wants to talk about it anymore.”
“Well, Mr. Ellison is the richest man in the city, he can afford to make people keep quiet,” says Rachel. “So, are you in?”
“Of course I’m in,” says Ariane. “Mostly out of curiosity, but I have to ask. If I find some male companionship there, would you mind if I, uh, indulge my urges?”
“I thought about that before I called you, and no I won’t get jealous. You have needs, and we are still just friends.”
“Then I’m definitely in, because autumn has not been good to me in that department. Work is really busy right now, but I can take a night off. How soon can we do this?” asks Ariane.
“I’m busy, too,” answers Rachel. “End of the semester. I got a 5000 word term paper to finish and final exams the first two weeks of December.”
“Actually the third week of December would work best for me as well,” says Ariane. “Hope I can hold out that long.”
Rachel laughs over the phone. “So, December 20th, pick you up around 7pm, you can wear a dress or business suit.”
“Sexy dress it is,” says Ariane. “It’s now in my calendar. Chat later?”
The night arrives. Rachel picks up Ariane and they drive to Ellison Tower, the tallest building in the city. The Top Club gets its name from being on the top floors of the building.
Rachel and Ariane discuss plans on the elevator up.
“So Rachel, are you looking for some ‘action’ tonight?” asks Ariane.
“You know my tastes, quick hookups are not my thing,” responds Rachel. “I’m simply here to observe.”
“But if an opportunity arises you are interested, would you?” asks Ariane. “Rumor is, there is a lot of role-play activities at a place like this.”
“Probably of the BDSM variety, not my thing either.”
“How do you know?”
“Well I’ve dabbled in that direction before with role playing, but I’m too nice of a person, to be a dominatrix, and I can’t imagine being a submissive. The truth is I really don’t know that much about it.”
“Maybe you should ask someone then,” suggests Ariane. “There will be Doms and Subs at this club. Talk to one, find out what the real deal is. Maybe you have the wrong idea.”
“That’s a good idea.”
“Then consider it an assignment.”
“Challenge accepted!” says Rachel.
They arrive on the right floor to see a security desk waiting for them.
After surrendering their jackets and handbags (including cell phones, no potential recording equipment allowed) at security, they go into the main lobby, which is much different from the rest of the building, much warmer and older looking.
They are met by a hostess. “Good evening ladies and welcome to the Top Club, I’m Tassiana, your hostess. Feel free to ask me anything.”
“First, since you are new, yes the rumors are true, this is an adult social club. The term sex club is also used, though it’s not accurate.”
“This is a private social club, like a Country Club, our members simply enjoy sex more than golf.”
Ariane and Rachel both smile nervously.
“There is no requirement to participate, all intercourse must be consensual, and any intercourse done on the premise requires protection.”
She goes on explaining memorized rules in a very clinical language, security procedures, emergency procedures, what’s allowed where and what isn’t, and potential penalties.
“This is not an ordinary sex club, whatever you have heard about typical sex clubs, or if you have been to others, you will find this one is very different. We have clients from around the world come here for the unique experiences we offer.”
“Any questions?”, she says as she finishes.
“Where should we go, first?” asks Ariane.
“There is a bar up these stairs where you can meet people, I’d start there,” suggests the hostess.
“By the way we are celebrating Saturnalia this week. There is a Roman style orgy later tonight, such events can be intimidating to first timers, however. You missed the sacrificial pig roast last night, but the dining room is still serving ham dinners and pulled pork sandwiches if you get hungry.”
Ariane looks over at Rachel they both look intimidated by it all, “Let’s head upstairs.”
They go to the bar upstairs. A large bar with bar stools cover two walls. Everyone in the bar is wearing business suits or nice dresses, except for a naked couple at the bar.
Rachel and Ariane sit at the second wall bar, both looking and smiling at the naked couple.
“Well this is different,” says Rachel.
“Yeah, nothing like I imagined,” says Ariane.
“Why? What did you imagine?”
“I don’t know, fetish ware, sex toys, except for the naked couple, this actually seems normal.”
“Yeah, even the bartender is ignoring us. Maybe we should just take off our dresses,” suggests Rachel.
“I’m game! but just my dress,” says Ariane, “my panties stay on, who knows what I am sitting on.”
“Now I wish I had worn panties,” says Rachel as she removed a strap off her shoulders. She throws a couple of bar napkins on the bar stool before sitting down.
As expected, as soon as they expose their boobs, the bartender comes over, “Can I get you two anything?”
“Whiskey and soda,” says Ariane.
“Something blue with alcohol on it,” says Rachel.
“That will be six dollars.”
“Does it look like I’m carrying any money?”
An Asian looking guy at the table of men, makes a gesture to the bartender.
“Your drinks our covered by that man over there.”
Ariane turns around holds up her beer and smiles at the Asian.
The Asian returns the gesture.
Heidi shows up and sits next to Ariane. A man sits down on the other side of Heidi.
“Hello Rachel, hello Ariane. I haven’t seen either of you here before,” says Heidi.
“Yes, it is our first time here,” offers Ariane.
“Oh, well good, and welcome to our little club,” says Heidi with a big smile. “You two a couple now?”
“No, we’re just friends,” says Ariane.
“So you just take your tits out to keep others away.”
“What? No,” responded Ariane. “We took our dresses off to attract the bartender, now we are trying to attract other people.”
“You are new here, so let me explain something,” says Heidi. “Two naked people together is the Top Club way of saying you are a couple, so don’t talk to us.”
“Well we aren’t the only ones,” says Rachel. “That couple over there…” Rachel turns around and looks towards the other bar where the naked couple was, to find their seats now empty.
She looks around the rest of the bar, only to see that the naked couple have moved to a couch on a small stage and are beginning to have sex on stage.
“Whoa, live porn,” says Rachel. Ariane looks over to check it out, too. No one else in the bar is watching, having seen it all before.
“They saw you undress and decided to go first,” say Heidi.
The idea of being ‘next’ on stage freaked out Rachel a little bit. “Uh, maybe we should put our dresses back on,” says Rachel.
Ariane agreed. They put their dresses back on.
“Rachel, could you help tie my back?” asks Ariane.
“Rookie mistake,” says Heidi, “wear dresses that easily open and close from the front.”
“Heidi, I take it you are a regular here?” asks Ariane.
“Yes, I come two to three times a week to give orgasms,” says Heidi enthusiastically, “It’s a service I provide.”
Rachel asks, “How?” and Ariane asks, “Why?” almost simultaneously.
“I do it mostly because I am good at it, I have only two talents: cutting hair and giving orgasms, and I enjoy them both.”
“And are you compensated in any way?” asked Ariane.
“What like getting paid? NO!” says Heidi. “I get free membership in the club, and if I come at least twice a week, Mr. Ellison lets me stay in his building for free.”
“You live here in Ellison Tower?” asks Ariane.
“No, I live above my Salon downtown.”
“So Mr. Ellison owns the building where you live and work, and you pay no rent for your home or business, as long as you come here twice a week and have sex with people? Doesn’t that make you a prostitute?” asks Ariane.
“Whoa, no way! You have it all wrong,” says Heidi upset at the idea. “I don’t have sex with people unless I want to, I give them orgasms only, and I don’t get paid for it. Mr. Ellison says I’m a courtesan, not a prostitute.”
“OK, sorry I touched a nerve, but let me make sure I understand this. ‘Prostitutes’ have sex for money, which you don’t do. You are a ‘courtesan’ who performs sex acts for rent, which has nothing to do with prostitution,” says Ariane thick with sarcasm.
“Yes, you got it.” says Heidi much more calmly completely oblivious to the sarcasm.
Suddenly the guy sitting on the other side of Heidi starts having some kind of fit.
Rachel is distracted from the floor show long enough to realize, “I think he is having an orgasm.”
After a few seconds he calms down. “Are you done Mr. Jones? Want some tissues?” asks Heidi.
“Thanks, Heidi,” he says as he stands up and zips his pants, then leaves.
The Asian guy who bought them drinks comes over and taps Ariane on the shoulder. Ariane turns around.
“Pardon,” he says as he does a Japanese bow, “My name is Fukuyama Hiro.”
“Hello, Mr. Hiro, I am Ariane.” Sitting on the bar stool she does not return the bow, just nods her head.
“Call me Hiro,” he says with a smile. “Is that you in the picture in the museum?” he asks with a Japanese accent.
“Yes, my picture is on the wall at the museum, Rachel here took the picture.”
Hiro bows to Rachel, “Very beautiful” pronouncing “beautiful” as “booty-foo” which got a smile out of Rachel.
He then turns back to Ariane. “I am hopeful you can join me in a scenario in my room.”
Ariane finds the word “scenario” to be a bit odd, but understands he is asking back to his place for sex. In an ordinary bar this would be rude, and Ariane would immediately reject him, but this is a sex club.
Ariane looks over at Rachel. Rachel can tell she wants to say yes, but seems to be asking permission. “Go ahead,” says Rachel, “this is why you came here, right?”
“Of course,” Ariane says still looking at Rachel. She turns to Hiro, “Lead the way.”
Hiro gets a big smile on his face, “Origato,” he instinctively says in Japanese, “Thank you.” The two of them leave together.
Rachel watches them leave. Honestly, she has mixed feelings about Ariane leaving with a guy. As a friend she is happy for Ariane, but part of her can’t help feel a little heart broken as well.
Mentally she also can’t help thinking that this Hiro guy may not be such a gentleman once he gets her to his room.
“Don’t worry, Mr. Fukuyama is a nice guy, and filthy rich,” says Heidi anticipating her concern, “she’ll probably enjoy herself.”
“Thanks Heidi,” Rachel says. “I hope she does.”
“So now that you are alone,” says Heidi, “there is someone that wants to meet you.”
“Unlike Ariane, I’m not interested in hooking up with anybody,” Rachel responds.
“I’m pretty sure Mr. Ellison doesn’t want that either,” says Heidi. “He has a business proposal for you, it’s the reason you got the guest passes to come here.”
“Ronald Ellison the billionaire real estate mogul wants a business meeting with me? He could have called my agent,” says Rachel. Rachel realized after she said it, that he did call her agent, it was her agent that gave her the passes.
“Let’s go meet Mr. Ellison,” Rachel finally said after a pause.
Heidi brings Rachel to a very minimalist office. Mr. Ellison sits at a desk behind a large monitor. Behind him is what looks to be the planet Saturn.
“Hello, Ms, Spahr and welcome to Holosuite 1,” says Mr. Ellison.
“Oh, from Deep Space 9,” says Rachel.
“A-ha, you know your Star Trek, most people would say Next Generation, but those were holodecks,” explains Mr. Ellison. “Since it is Saturnalia, we are currently in orbit around Saturn.”
“Replication tech does not exist yet, so not exactly the same,” he continued, “we can display stuff on the walls though. Curved monitors at 17280p are incredibly expensive though, we could only build two of them, so naturally I made one into my office since I own the place.”
“Please have a seat over here on my right where I can see you.”
The only other person in the room is a white haired woman sitting in the corner wearing a burlap shirt and a leather strap around her neck.
“Anything I can get you, Ms. Spahr? Water, soda?”
“I’m good, and you can call me Rachel.”
“So, the reason I wanted to meet you, Rachel, is to ask you to be my date, for New Years Eve, in New York City.”
Rachel looks surprised.
“Nothing romantic,” says Mr. Ellison, “I just need to make an impression on clients, and the most beautiful woman in town on my arm will help.”
“And whats in it for me?” asks Rachel knowing this was set up through her agent.
“Standard modeling fee, plus I’ll pay for everything, a private jet to New York, car service, designer dress, hair and makeup artists, your own private room, and most importantly I will introduce you to the right people to further your career goals.”
“Modeling or photography?” asks Rachel considering it.
“Both,” answers Mr. Ellison. “This is a big annual event, all the industry leaders in advertising and publishing will be there, and I’ll introduce you. Make an impression and you could have jobs lined up all year.”
“Actually, I want to be a scientist,” throws out Rachel as a challenge.
“Well I can’t help you there,” says Mr. Ellison surprisingly quick, “but working with these contacts could pay for grad school to get the doctorate you need to be a scientist.”
“You have the answers for everything, don’t you Mr. Ellison.”
“Yes, it’s how I got so rich,” he jokingly says in a rather charming voice.
“I like helping out talented people, like yourself” responded Mr. Ellison. “What else am I going to do with all my real estate wealth, run for President?”
Rachel realized it was time to answer his offer. “I already made plans for New Years Eve, but nothing I can’t break,” she says. “I’ll give you an answer once I have done so.”
“Of course,” he says, “I will send you a formal invitation, I await your RSVP.”
“Thank you,” says Rachel, “this does sound like an offer I can’t turn down. I just have one other request.”
“Anything you want.”
“Can I borrow your submissive?” asks Rachel pointing to the lady in the corner.
Rachel takes the submissive to the observation lounge with a view of the city below.
“So what do you want me to do?” she asks. “Until my master returns, I am your humble servant.”
“I just have some questions,” says Rachel. “You can drop the role play stuff for now. Consider that a command, if you want.”
“Very well, no role play,” the older lady says. “What do you want to know?”
“Let’s just say I am curious,” starts Rachel. “I am into sexual role play myself, but I do not understand the attraction of BDSM.”
“Let me guess, you read 50 Shades of Grey and you want to know more,” says the woman who has obviously heard these questions before.
“Actually, no,” answers Rachel, “Saw the movie, but I know it is a bad portrayal.”
“The worst,” the woman says a bit mad thinking about it. “The Grey books are not about BDSM, they are about an abusive relationship, not a good one for anybody.”
“All BDSM is ultimately about trust between participants. Bad Dominants like Grey lead to bad experiences and abuse.
“The Dominant Master provides me with experiences, experiences I often would never engage in myself. I can refuse to do anything I don’t want to, and have on occasion, but my master knows me, and I haven’t had to say ‘no’ in a long time.
She continues, “Say ‘yes’ to things I normally wouldn’t do, forces me to drop my normal inhibitions, which has led me to new pleasures and wonders, mostly sex related of course. Sex with strangers, celebrities, women, threesomes, foursomes…”
“I think I get the idea,” says Rachel.
“By the way, what I am wearing is not normal,” says the woman, “Mostly I run around half naked, but you caught me during Saturnalia when submissives are allowed to wear clothes.”
“Isn’t that a bit humiliating?” asks Rachel.
“It is all part of the experience,” explains the woman. “It’s not always about sex. A couple of months ago, my master shaved my head. I had to wear wigs in real life, but now I kind of like short hair now.”
“Me too,” says Rachel pointing to her own head. “So you are not full time, you have a regular life?”
“I just do this one night a week, sometimes a few hours, sometimes all night, depending on the wishes of my master,” says the woman. “I got a regular life the rest of the week. My master has a harem to serve him on other nights.”
Rachel smiles at this revelation. “Well thanks for your insights, they have been very enlightening. “I’ll let you get back to your master.”
“Glad I could help.”
Rachel’s interest in BDSM roleplay quickly evaporated before she got back to the bar. The idea was intriguing, but it was obviously not for her. Rachel likes more control of her encounters, but domination didn’t sound very good either.
A woman dressed in what looks like a private school uniform reminded her there are other kinds of sexual roleplay, though “age play” always came off to her as “creepy as fuck”.
The woman looked to be sitting alone so Rachel went over to talk to her.
She about died laughing when she realized it was Ariane.
“OK, tell me everything, start at the beginning, leave nothing out,” says Rachel, “well except the bodily fluid exchange stuff, eww.”
“First of all, I get it, role play sex can be really cool,” started Ariane.
“So, Hiro takes me to his room, a suite he rents a couple of floors down. He wants me to do something a little different.
“He hands me a home made booklet, each page has a couple of photo copied panels from a Japanese comic book.”
“A Manga?” asks Rachel.
“Yeah, that’s what he called it. Anyways, it was in Japanese of course, which I can’t read, but below each panel is the English translation, and below that was the Japanese words sounded out in English text.”
“What he wanted, was for us to act out the comic, panel for panel. I looked ahead and it was pretty much the story of young teen love and loss of virginity and stuff. It was sweet, and I’ve never done anything like it before, so I agreed.”
“He has this nice smile when he is happy, it’s infectious.”
“After I agreed, he handed me this school girl outfit and let me change in his bathroom. I did up my hair the way the girl has them in the comic, too.”
“When I come out, he has taken off his suit jacket and replaced it with a sweater vest like in the comic.”
“So we start reading the pages. He says his lines in Japanese. I read the Japanese pronunciations of the girl’s lines, with a lot of help from Hiro, and he smiles whenever I get it right.
“And then we do whatever is pictured in the picture.”
“Wow,” says Rachel. “By the way, does any of this involve tentacles?”
Ariane laughs. “No, but there was an octopus in an aquarium in his room. Why do you ask?”
“Oh just a common trope found in Manga, go on…” asks Rachel.
“Anyways, it’s about teenage friends finding love, and having sex for the first time, so I knew where this was headed. The whole experience is like the weirdest foreplay ever, and I was actually enjoying it.”
“Wow, that sounds like fun.”
“Well it did get a little weird at the end. The sex scene in the book was waist down nudity only, I wanted to get out of my costume, but he preferred the comic version, so it got a little awkward.”
“I went with it anyways, sex while wearing clothes is something I haven’t done since I dry humped Danny Fisser in the 8th grade. He climaxed quickly and easily, I was a little too uncomfortable to…, well you know.”
“I get it,” says Rachel, “Sorry you didn’t get your ‘O’ moment, but your experience sounds like something I would’ve liked.”
“Ironically,” Rachel continued, “I did as you asked and talked to someone about BDSM role play. It actually sounded like something you would enjoy more than me.”
“Really?” reacted Ariane, “Do you imagine me in skimpy black leather outfits and carrying a whip?”
“That would be something to see, though not as entertaining as that school girl outfit. I’ll tell you more later. So where is Hiro now?”
“Asleep, typical male reaction after sex. I grabbed my dress and left, but I thought I’d show you the outfit first.”
“I’m glad you did. So what do you want to do now?
“I want to check out the orgy next,” says Ariane. “Want to come with?”
“I’m not sure, I…” started Rachel.
“You shouldn’t go Rachel, you would hate it,” interrupted the bartender out of the blue.
“Excuse me?” says Rachel to the bartender a little offended.
“I apologize if I’m being too forward,” says the bartender, “but I have been analyzing the two of you all night, and while it is nice of you to want to be there for your friend, you don’t belong at an orgy.”
“So you have been stalking us?” asks Rachel.
“Psychoanalysis is the more accurate term,” he says. “Bartending is just a side job, by day I am a humble psychologist who specializes in couples therapy.”
“So, let me get this straight,” says Rachel now a little calmer, “you are a Psychologist who is pretending to be a bartender?”
Ariane laughs. Bartenders often get stuck listening to people’s problems and end up pretending to be psychologists, this is a new twist.
“Yeah, I don’t really need this job, it just comes with so many perks, I can’t stop,” explains the bartender.
“A couples therapist? Convenient. I assume a sex club is the perfect place to bring in business?” asks Rachel still a little snarky.
“No, solitication is forbidden here,” says the bartender psychologist, “I come here to learn and observe, and sometimes participate.”
Rachel raises her eyebrows.
“Hey, I’m a single guy who talks about sex all day,” says the bartender defending himself, “I got to blow off steam somehow.”
“I hear ya,” says Ariane holding her glass up as a salute.
“But as to me ‘stalking’ you, as you call it,” says the bartender, “Everyone here tonight are regular club members, people I already know. Hence my interest in you two: I don’t know you two.”
“We are just guests for the evening,” says Rachel. “So, what have you deduced about me that would tell you I shouldn’t go?” Rachel asks.
“I have seen your type in my office, but never at the Top Club,” he answers, “You are an Asexual.”
Rachel is stunned at his conclusion. Ariane can’t help it but to look at Rachel looking stunned at his conclusion.
“Asexual, someone who is not sexually attracted to either gender,” he explains.
“I know what the word means, I just don’t understand what would give you the idea that I was one,” says Rachel, now a bit mad again.
“I actually have a few asexual patients, so I know what I am talking about. I have watched your heterosexual friend here eyeing every man in the room, and even some of the women, and then she goes off with the first guy that says ‘hi’ to her.
“You have not looked at anyone that way, except maybe your friend,” he concludes. “Even that sex show on stage had you staring like you were witnessing a car accident.”
“Well for the record,” Rachel answers back, “I came here on an invite from Mr. Ellison, my intent was strictly to see what this place was about. When you grow up in this city, you hear rumors about the Top Club, you want to find out the truth for yourself. Ariane’s intent, as you have observed, was to get some carnal pleasure out of the night. That explains your observations.
“And also for the record, not that it is any of your business,” Rachel continues, “but, I consider myself a pansexual, I have had sex with both men and women, so that throws your asexual theory right out the door.”
“If you want to call yourself pansexual, that’s fine,” he says. “It is important that people feel comfortable with their own sexual identity.
“But if you let me explain, Asexuality is a very misunderstood sexual orientation, it is not the insult you are making it out to be.
“Asexuals by definition are people that don’t experience sexual attraction. Regular non-sexual attraction is normal, finding others aesthetically pleasing is just being human and having eyes.
“Sexual attraction is specifically feeling the urge to have sex with someone you meet or see. You want to see them naked, rub their genitals, make them moan, smell their sweat and cum.”
Rachel and Ariane both grimace at the last line. “OK, it varies from person to person.”
“Some asexuals are sex-averse, true, and some are not and do have sex. Some asexuals are also aromantic and have no desire to be with a romantic partner, but many are like you and they want a romantic relationship, they are just not that interested in the sex part of the relationship, which is why I know some in my practice.
“OK, for arguments sake supposed you are right,” returns Rachel, “What would that say about me? What does it mean to be ‘Ace’?”
The bartender continues, “If you are ‘ace’, you do not get aroused by any person you are with, though sometimes you can if you already established an emotional connection, like a close friend.
“Instead, you may find a way to get yourself sexually aroused, either with some special fantasies you imagine in your head, or some sexual predilection or fetish you have developed.
“For you, the best part of sex is probably after it is over, the cuddling part. You might even prefer no sex at all, and just a night of cuddling.”
Rachel is stunned, and does not know what to say.
Ariane on the other hand knows the diagnosis is spot on. “Damn, you are good! Do me next!”
The bartender isn’t quite done with Rachel though. “Of course, I am just a bartender making an observation. Look up asexuality online, do some research for yourself.
“Worst case, you will discover I am full of shit. Best case, you will learn something new about yourself that will change your life forever, and help you make better decisions in the future.”
Rachel manages a not enthusiastic “Thanks” as she is now lost in thought.
“As for you,” the bartender looks at Ariane giving her the once over like you might expect a detective looking over a suspect. “You are a typical bisexual female who leans hetero. Not very interesting really, very common. If you want to take some psychological tests I’m sure we can find something interesting about you.
The bartender thinks more about it then adds, “The most interesting thing about you is your relationship with Rachel here. It seems to be more than friendly, but as we have already established, not sexual. Hopefully, the relationship you two got going is mutually healthy.”
Ariane asks, “Do you think we have a future together?”
“Hell if I know, I’m just a damn bartender, not a fortune teller,” he says as he walks away toward another patron who just sat down.
“So what are you going to do?” asks Rachel to Ariane.
“I’m still going to the orgy, I want to see what it is like,” says Ariane. “May not get another opportunity like this again.”
“I think I’ll take the bartenders advice and skip,” says Rachel, “but if you feel the need to jump in the cold pool just for the experience, then by all means you should.”
Ariane leaves for the orgy, leaving Rachel to her thoughts.
Rachel is suddenly startled by seeing Tassiana the hostess she met earlier, standing where the bartender used to be, dressed in some old west steampunk costume.
“I’ve been keeping my eye on you,” she says somewhat seductively, “you have been asking a lot of questions, but you have not been participating.”
“Well I just found out I’m asexual, so I guess participation isn’t really my thing,” says Rachel.
“Don’t be silly, I have done my research, and participation is totally your thing,” says the hostess now looking straight into Rachel’s eyes.
“This club is the new world,” says Tassiana, “and in this world, you can be whoever the fuck you want.”
She reaches underneath the bar pulls out a black stetson and a white stetson and puts them on the bar. “Now choose.”
Rachel immediately gets the Westworld reference.
Somehow Tassiana knows about her fiction fetish. Rachel smiles.
Rachel finds herself in bed with another woman. She knew it was a bad idea, but her natural curiosity needed to know if there was anything to this “asexual” thing.
She found it awkward, but she was not the only one in an awkward sexual situation…
Ariane is at the bar when Rachel returns. Ariane is back in her original dress but kept the pig tails. Rachel added a black stetson.
“Hey there Tex, whats up with the hat?” asks Ariane.
“I’ll tell you later, tell me about the orgy?” asks Rachel.
“Keyword ‘the’ as it will be the only one I will ever go to,” says Ariane a little bitter. “Once again pornography has given me false expectations.”
“Ouch, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience,” says Rachel empathetically. “So what is a real orgy like?”
“High school,” Ariane answers surprisingly. “You know during lunch, everyone sits with their own group of friends, and there is a new kid who can’t find anyone to sit with? I was the new kid.”
“There were about 20 to 30 naked people. A guy dressed like Caesar gives a short speech about Saturnalia and Roman orgy traditions, really tacky, then he told everyone to get started.
“Everyone quickly coupled up or formed threesomes, and I just stood there like an idiot watching.”
“Wow,” is all Rachel could say.
“Eventually a group of three guys and a girl took pity on me and asked me to join.”
“That’s good, so what was that like?” asked Rachel.
“Remember that euphamism for sex ‘naked co-ed wrestling’?” explained Ariane. “It was literally that, lots of naked body parts touching, but not the right ones in the right places.”
“Eww, so nothing there either,” says Rachel.
“Didn’t say that,” says Ariane. “I tagged out of the wrestling match in less than 30 second, was about to leave when I spotted Heidi.”
“I did, got the 5 minute special from Heidi, so now at least I’m feeling more relaxed. Hope that doesn’t offend you too much that I went to a courtesan.”
“Well,” starts Rachel now feeling a little guilty. “It might have, if I didn’t also get with a courtesan.”
“What?!” says Ariane very surprised.
“She… seduced me.”
“What did she do dress like Danerys from Game of Thrones?”
“Umm, Maeve from Westworld. Hence the cowboy hat.”
“Well, I’d love to hear the details,” says Ariane, “but I’m ready to leave. Let’s blow this pop stand … OK, poor choice of words.”
They go down to the lobby, Tassiana is there. Rachel smiles at her.
“You two are leaving?” she says asking rhetorically. “Well, It was wonderful having you both here as guests tonight. Before you leave let me check…” She goes to an antique roll top desk, on top is a wooden box with red envelopes, she sorts through and finds two.
“Here you go, Happy Saturnalia.” she says handing an envelope to both Rachel and Ariane, but looking primarily at Rachel.
Ariane can’t help seeing how they are looking at each other. “Oh, I see how it is,” she says correctly identifying that Tassiana is the courtesan that gave Rachel a happy. “I’ll just sit down over here by the fake fire.”
Ariane sits down and opens up the envelope and the contents shocks her to the bone: 10 crisp $100 bills and a hand written thank you from Hiro.
“Did I have sex for money?” she thought nervously to herself, even though she knew the answer has to be “yes”.
Ariane starts to feel very conflicted. Yes, she is well above average in the number of sex partners over the years, but it was all about having fun and sharing feelings. Sex for money was just not in her nature.
Rachel opens her envelope, it is a fancy engraved invitation to the New Years Eve party in New York that Mr Ellison invited her to earlier.
“Yes?” Ariane asks as non-chalantly as possible, Ariane does not want to tell Rachel about the money until she decides what to do about it, so she puts a brave face on.
“I forgot to tell you earlier that I was invited to a New Years Eve party in New York City,” Rachel starts, “I know we had plans to go to the block party together, but…”
Ariane kind of zoned out at this point as Rachel explains why she wants to go to New York City. Ariane’s mind kept wandering back to the money. Part of her wanted to march downstairs to Hiro’s room and throw the money in his face, or better yet throw her fist. Another part of her felt disgusted and just wanted to go to the bathroom and throw up.
“Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine. Go to New York,” says Ariane after she noticed Rachel had stopped talking and was waiting for an answer. Ariane turns her attention to the fake fire as she deals with her brush with prostitution.
“Great, glad you understand,” says Rachel. Rachel pulls out the RSVP card from the envelope. “You got a pen?” she asks Tassiana.
Tassiana goes back to the antique desk, opens it up and grabs a pen from a box of pens. She hands it to Rachel who uses it to mark the “Yes” box on the card. Rachel hands the pen and the card to Tassiana. “Can you make sure Mr. Ellison get this?”
“No problem,” says Tassiana.
Rachel is about to tell Ariane that she is ready to leave, when she is distracted by someone coming down the stairs. Rachel instinctively looks to see who it is.
It is the white haired submissive woman she met earlier, no longer in the burlap tunic from before, but wearing a heavy metal t-shirt and a plain gray hoodie.
“Hello,” Rachel says to her, “Thanks again for answering my questions earlier, sorry I was so nosy about what you do.”
“That’s quite alright, Rachel,” says the woman, “It was really great to meet you.”
Ariane’s uneasy stomach quickly cures itself, replaced by sheer terror down her spine. “I know that voice,” she thinks to herself.
Ariane turns in her chair to see who Rachel is talking to, her worst fears are confirmed.
Rachel and Ariane didn’t meet again until after Christmas, six days later.
“Thanks for meeting me for coffee,” says Rachel.
“Well for future reference, the text phrase ‘we need to talk’ is a bit of a trigger for me,” says Ariane. “It is what I say to guys when I get tired of them and about to dump them.”
“Well, that was kind of my intent,” says Rachel.
“It has been almost a week since the Top Club, and we have never really got together and barely text,” explains Rachel. “I get the feeling something is wrong, and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced there might be.”
“You are right, something is wrong,” says Ariane. “But not between us, I swear.”
Ariane continues in detail. “Seeing my mom at a sex club was, well it was a shock. She keeps that part of her life away from the rest of the family, and I had no idea. This has taken most of my attention the last week, especially since yesterday was Christmas, and I had to spend the day with her.
“I was half expecting for her to cancel Christmas dinner, and I thought about doing it too to avoid the awkwardness,” Ariane continued. “She didn’t. In fact she was more concerned with me being at the sex club, than embarrassed about me seeing her.
Ariane pauses and takes a sip of coffee. “We had a good talk, turns out my mother and I have a lot more in common than either of us thought.”
“Anyways,” Ariane concludes, “that was the reason for my lack of contact the last few days, I was preoccupied with family.”
“Wow, that’s good to hear it all worked out with your mother,” says Rachel. “When I found out the BDSM submissive I talked to was your mother, it actually made a lot of sense. She’s a nice woman.”
“Well thanks, I think,” says Ariane.
“That’s only part of it though,” continued Rachel. “I looked up ‘asexual’ online and read up about it. I actually can identify with it.”
“My sexual adventures are actually low in number, and they are more memorable for their circumstances than any feelings I had,” explained Rachel. “Truth is, it has always been awkward for me.”
“That means that I am not really that much into sex, something I didn’t really notice until the bartender pointed it out, and you being someone that is very much into sex means we are not sexually compatible. This budding relationship we have can never go where you want it to go.”
Ariane realized where this was headed. “Stop it, you are trying to push me away before I can do it. I am the queen of pushing people away. The problem is, I don’t want to go away.”
“What?” asks Rachel, “but I’m ‘ace’ now.”
“You were ‘ace’ when we met, you have always been ‘ace’, nothing has changed except the label.”
“But it has. I’ll admit being called asexual was a bit of a shock, even though it seem to fit. My going off with the hostess at the club was in part to rebel against the label. The truth was, the sex with her was awkward, it’s like neither of us were into it.”
“Yes, sex at the Top Club wasn’t all it was advertised to be.” says Ariane. “I haven’t told you the worse part about that night.”
“Worse than seeing your mom there?” asks Rachel.
“You tell me. Remember when I left you and did the whole manga cosplay thing with that Japanese guy?”
“Well it turns out, he thought I was an escort, a prostitute. That red envelope I got at the end of the night, it was filled with $1000 cash.”
“Oh My God!” says Rachel.
“I seriously considered giving it back until the whole mom thing happened. I brought it up to her when we talked yesterday. She made me feel less guilty for keeping the money, but she couldn’t help slipping in a motherly ‘I told you so’ in there.”
“Wow, she’s great,” says Rachel.
“I agree, but I didn’t until yesterday,” says Ariane. “Because until yesterday we were not honest with each other, now that we are honest, we are closer. Another thing we talked about: She told me what she told you. Good relationships are built on trust.”
“Well she told me good BDSM relationships are built on trust, but I get your point.”
“So looking back on that night at the Top Club with all of its disasters, I realized something. The best parts of that night were sharing my experiences with you. I now realize, I can completely trust you.”
“Oh, that’s,” Rachel pauses thinking what to say but only came up with, “that’s so sweet!”
“Considering that I know you didn’t really want me going with the Japanese guy, or to the orgy, you supported my decisions, even if they were in hindsight wrong ones. You were there to give me a non-judgmental ear when I was done. I don’t think I have ever had anyone in my life to talk to about stuff like this.”
Rachel smiles, her eyes are starting to tear up. “But what about my asexuality, I will never be able to be what you want me to be.”
“Right back at you,” says Ariane, “If you want to play the label game, I’m pretty much a bi-curious heterosexual, so I’m not truly sexually attracted to you, either.
“I am however romantically attracted to you,” Ariane continued, “I looked up asexuality online, too. Apparently that’s a thing. Is our relationship ever going to be perfect? No, but who’s relationship ever is?”
“So you are saying you are a panromantic heterosexual?” asks Rachel with a big smile.
“I’m not that romantic actually,” protests Ariane. “If you must have a label, just call me a Rachel-romantic. The nights together kissing and cuddling, I enjoy that as much as you, and I’m not interested in stopping just because that’s as far as it will likely go.”
Rachel couldn’t hold back the happy tears after hearing that, she cried with joy, causing Ariane to do the same.
“Sleep over tonight?” asks Ariane.
“Funny,” says Rachel, “I’m feeling the need for a mid morning nap.”