Cali-Novel midway

This isn’t a whole week’s bit by far, but I wanted some feedback.

She looked nervous.

I wasn’t sure if I liked that. I mean… she held all the cards. If she was nervous, it means that either she thought I was going to screw something up – which really could be messy for me – or this was one of the cards she wasn’t actually holding.

“You want me to fake obedience,” I repeated slowly. “Just in front of other people. Certain other people? Or everyone?”

“Not Georgie, not just general people when we’re out-“

So she thought there would be a “we” “out.” That was interesting.

“-but in front of my mother, and people who report to her, yeah.”

“That sounds a lot like just being obedient, you know.”

She winced. She really flinched at that one.”

“I know it does. But it’s – baby steps?”

“Steps sounds like it’s going to go from ‘just these people’ to ‘all the time.'” How far could I push her?

“Well, you are</i. a slave now, whether you like it or not." Apparently, that far. Feeling childish, I stuck my tongue out at her.

“No, really? I thought the collar was a fashionable accessory here and you didn’t want my neck to be wrong. So I’m a slave. And you want me to pretn – no, let’s be honest. To be a good slave when it will make you look bad if I’m not.”

“Yes…” now she was really nervous. Neat.

“What’s in it for me?”

Instead of sputtering, she templed her fingers and looked at me over the tips. “Comfort. A lighter-weight collar, for starters. Nice clothes. The freedom to roam the grounds and, eventually, to go where you will within the city – and access to a car to do so, when I don’t need your services. Spending money. The chance to spend it.”

I sat back, a little overwhelmed. “You’re talking about almost having a life again.”

“I’m talking about truly being my companion.”

“Okay, you’re saying that like it’s supposed to mean something to me. You know it doesn’t, right?”

“I know it doesn’t yet,” she agreed. She was way too freaking calm about this whole thing. “But, not to be circular, it involves all that stuff I just mentioned.”

“A car? Spending cash? That doesn’t sound like a job, lady, that sounds like being a kept boy.” I blinked at her. “I thought you didn’t want me to be a rent boy.”

Okay, that ruffled her. “You’re a bit impossible, aren’t you?”

“I do my best. But right now, I’m just trying to understand.”

“Okay, where am I losing you?” She shifted again, looking all business.

“You want me to be a good boy in public. Obedient. Not mouth off. Probably not tell your mother that you people are all crazy.”

“Right so far,” she nodded. “Especially that last one; my mother is very devout.”

“Shit, religious and crazy. Okay. And, in return for that, you’ll pretty much give me a life again?” I tugged on the collar. “Or at least something of a life?”

“In stages, yes. I’m not going to give you access to a car today; I’m not stupid.”

“I’d never say you were,” I agreed. I liked my skin too much and, besides, she really seemed pretty on top of things, if a little angsty. “So I earn it by being a good boy.”

I was being sarcastic. I really was.

“Yes,” she answered, dead seriously. “Exactly.”

“This is more than a little demeaning, you know.”

“Well, yes,” she agreed, and then, I don’t know, saw something in my face or something and sighed. “Look, it’s sort of crazy to have an American slave fresh off the plane as a companion. It’s a position with a lot of responsibility and a lot of opportunity to mess up the Lady’s public standing.”

“So why do it? Why buy me at all?” I managed not to flinch on “buy” this time.

“I wanted someone with spirit and personality.”

“Oh, goody. You like me being a brat, but only when we’re in private. In public, you want me to be a good little boy toy. Wouldn’t it have been easier to buy a boy toy and order him to say no in private?”

Okay, she wasn’t the only one getting worked up. And now she looked really taken aback, like she hadn’t thought of that. “That’s not…”

“Too bad, ‘cause that’s what you’re doing. ‘I like your spark, but only as long as I’m the only one who sees it. If you act like that in public, it’s embarrassing.’ Just put me in a fucking burka, why don’t you?”

She actually backed up, and for a moment, I thought she was going to cry. Then she shot back at me, just as nastily, “Goddess fucking forfend I try to come to an arrangement that doesn’t involve breaking you . May she forbid that I pick you because the little lapdogs would survive anywhere and if I didn’t buy you, the Baron was going to be using you as a footstool. Consort forbid I try to help you adjust to a life as a slave without just tying you to the foot of my bed.”

“This is your idea of rescue?” I snapped back. “What about letting me go? What about just letting me be myself?”

She picked up her glass, and for a moment I thought she was either going to throw it or crush it. I didn’t know whether to duck or grab a towel. “If I let you ‘just be yourself,’” she answered, grating every word out and punctuating it with a thump of the glass on the table, “before long, my mother will be demanding that I have you whipped, and then beaten, and then sold. And I will have lost whatever freedom she chooses to give me, and you will be completely and thoroughly fucked.”

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13 thoughts on “Cali-Novel midway

  1. Hob said: Hmm… it occurs to me that he might need to experience ‘normal Cali’ for a bit. It might also help to have a few scenes involving other folks to establish ‘Cali normal’ for the reader. Right now, a typical reader might be very much on Patrick’s side. Show them exactly how sympathetic a character she really is.

  2. What is the legal or social response to sending a slave back to the east coast? Obviously people get across the border quietly quite often, for their to be so much traffic in Americans …

      • It’s covert on the American side; is it illegal in Cali to import slaves from the east? They don’t seem to be trying to conceal that. Possibly she wouldn’t have the contacts to make it happen, but it seems like it could, in theory, be done. It may just not be in her worldview to consider, though. “Well, you areand crazy. Okay. And, in return for that, you’ll pretty much give me a life again?” I tugged on the collar. “Or at least something of a life?” This line seems to’ve gotten a little mangled, and the dialog doesn’t quite flow from the line before?

        • Hrm. Think I need to change things in the story a bit; because I know what’s going on, I forget it’s not clear to others. The slave trade within Tir na Cali is government-sponsored and run; it started as a terror campaign. On the US side, they try to fight it, but these are the equivalent of Special Forces. They sneak through the US-protected border and are allowed through the Cali-protected. The “everyone knows it” truth on both sides is “no-one ever goes home.”

          • Much of this may be covered in bits of the book that you haven’t posted. And I think I knew that snatching people from the East was state-sponsored, even, and spaced it. Protagonists of a novel get to make things happen that normally don’t! At least, if you want them to.

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