Push the Limits

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Prequel to “The Collar,” wherein Nick and Natalie negotiate their kinks, so they can have sexyfuntimes without the vampire in the way.

Natalie stared down at her feet, waiting silently as she heard Nick rifling through the duffel she had brought with her; stocked full of several books and items of… rather specialized interest.

The clock on the wall was like a tribal drum to her ears.


Nick was quiet as he examined the contents of the bag. Say something, she wanted to beg. Please, say something. But she remained still. Waiting.

Finally, that cool liquid voice of his tickled her ears. “Natalie.”

Immediately, her gaze shot up to him, and she could feel her face growing hot with embarrassment. This was it, he was going to refuse, to laugh it off, to dismiss it as too dangerous…

“Are you sure about this?”

She didn’t trust herself to speak, so instead she nodded violently.

She couldn’t bear to look in his eyes, to imagine what might be in that oceanic gaze. So she stared at his mouth instead, watched those eminently kissable lips moving over white teeth. Pictured those canines drawn down by unseen muscles concealed above healthy pink gums. Sharp teeth that could puncture her pliant, willing flesh…

“We might be able to try it,” he admitted at last. “We’ll have to draw up some ground rules first.”

“I know it’s a stupid idea, really,” she yammered. “I mean the risks involved are even greater than—wait, you do want to try it?”

Now she locked eyes with him. He seemed both amused and saddened by how quickly she had expected a refusal. “Nat, if this gives us a chance to be… closer, without the vampire being a danger to you, I’m willing to take it.”

If she hadn’t been bright red before, she was probably tomato-coloured now. “I thought you’d say no.” She ducked her head again, shamed by her admission.

“Well,” he replied softly. “I’m not. If this gives me the chance—if this gives us a chance—to be together… God, you don’t know how much I’ve wanted that, for years now.”

She then felt his index finger gently pressing under her chin. “Natalie, please look at me.” When she tilted her head back up to regard him, he lovingly stroked her cheek. “I want to try. For us.”

“Okay.” Her voice was so soft that, were he human, she’d have expected him not to hear her. “I’ll… uh, photocopy the questionnaires and forms…” She cleared her throat, adding as quick as she could, “And uh,.. we’ll talk about it?” She mentally kicked herself for the intended statement coming out as a question.

“We can talk about it in more detail tomorrow,” he replied, his tone confident. “I’m off tomorrow, and your shift is over by three p.m. You can get some sleep at home, and I’ll swing by after midnight.”

She nodded. That sounded like a very good plan. She’d be exhausted after shift and, by having a good nap in afterward, she could discuss the matter with her batteries (at least) partly recharged.

“Nat, you’re not having second thoughts, are you?” he asked, probably worried by her silence. “I mean—I don’t mean to put pressure on you, but you’re the one that brought it up.”

She cleared her throat for the second time. “I… no. Just nerves, I guess.” Which was true enough. It had taken a lot of self-directed pep talks to even get far enough to broach the subject with him.

“Ok then, I’ll see you tomorrow night.”

She woke up around one a.m. to the smell of coffee brewing. Even in her sleep-induced haze, she realized that giving him her apartment keys six months after first meeting him was probably as blatant a come-on as she had ever managed. Hey, here’s unlimited access to my home. Feel free to jump into my bed any old time!

That he hadn’t taken advantage of her giving him unrestricted access to herself… well, that just proved he was a true gentleman. If he had, say, snuck in to watch her sleep like some supernatural stalker, it wasn’t like she could have called the cops. Hell, he was the cops.

Giving him her keys was a sign of her trust in him, and he’d never broken that trust. Bent it, maybe, when she briefly dated Roger Jamison… But there was no way she was about to hold that against Nick as, in retrospect, he had unwittingly diverted Roger from attacking her that night, and Nick did in fact save her from Roger’s homicidal designs later that same week.

Plus, it proved beyond the shadow of a doubt Nick really did care for her—way more than just like a sister—and that he had went quietly out of his mind with jealousy. He had wanted her, and she’d wanted him… but with his vampirism in the way…

Well, if they couldn’t push through it, maybe they could find a way around it—and that realization had hit her when, more out of a whim than premeditation, she had wandered into an adult bookstore and waded through their selection.

The section devoted to kink and edgeplay caught Natalie by surprise and, in perverse fascination, she had proceeded to scan the titles of the books. The store’s salesgirl—a lovely, petite blonde with a nametag that said “Lady Qetesh”—was also very gentle and helpful, pointing Natalie (without giving her any kind of sales pitch, and keeping the client/seller relationship very low-pressure and friendly) towards the volumes best-suited for novices.

Lady Qetesh had also cheerfully admitted she was a professional Domme and, if Natalie was interested in proper styles of bondage and punishment, she would be happy to provide Natalie and her plus-one with the relevant dates and times of demonstrations.

Natalie, of course, refused—admitting that her “plus-one” might not even be open to the idea. Lady Qetesh simply shrugged and said that if everybody’s tastes were the same, life would be boring. Natalie couldn’t have agreed more with that wisdom.

Reading the tower of books she’d lugged home from the store that day led Natalie to a rather novel idea: if they could construct a safe and controlled environment, Nick could release his vampire urges without harming himself or anyone else. By taking the submissive role, she could provide the illusion of being at his mercy, while holding the reins in actuality.

It was a tantalizing idea that taunted her in daydreams and in her sleep for over two weeks, until she’d finally worked up the nerve to tell him.

That he’d actually agreed had stunned her. And now he was really here at her apartment, as he had promised, making her coffee.

She dove out of bed, frantically flipping through her clothes—she wanted to appear mature but not uptight, she needed to look sexy but not desperate or distracting, in order for this confab to end the way she hoped.

She decided that the “sexy” part would be best handled by her underwear, so she unearthed a pair of tiny black lace panties and a matching bra underneath the granny-shaped underthings she typically wore for comfort. She had someone to impress now, so a wardrobe overhaul was definitely long overdue.

As soon as the thought of calling Janette for a few fashion tips crossed Natalie’s mind, she just as quickly squashed it. It would be too jealous-making to talk to the insanely gorgeous ex-girlfriend who he was still on friendly terms with (and, that one time a stone-cold sober Natalie had talked to Janette, the vampiress had seemed to enjoy provoking her).

No, this was something she’d have to handle herself. Cheer up, Natalie. You’re only trying to seduce a centuries-old vampire who’s had hundreds—maybe even thousands—of beautiful women throw themselves at him… Oh god, I’m doomed.

She paused, taking several deep breaths to steady herself.

But it’s not them he’s interested in, she remembered. It’s me he wants, me he… loves? So, I’ve got to be myself, just… with a little more sparkle added. No problem—I can do this.

Ten minutes and another minor panic attack later, she emerged wearing a tight but flattering pair of jeans and a fitted red blouse buttoned only partway (to give a tiny peek at that black-laced bra). Instead of sneakers, she went for the open-toed neon green pumps she had bought but had never really had the opportunity to wear. The heels were skinnier and taller than her usual dressy work shoes, but not so high as to be a death-trap. Plus, they were decorated with cartoon zombies, which appealed to her sometimes morbid sense of humor.

She wore the white-gold heart necklace with the long silver chain that Nick had bought her for her last birthday… belated, of course, but a treasured offering nonetheless. She also chose to forgo stockings; she needed to be at least somewhat comfortable, and Nick had admitted (during a post-thirty-hour-shift foot rub) that he thought her small and somewhat flat feet were cute.

Well, there’s no accounting for taste, she supposed, as those “cute” feet had developed callouses from the long periods of standing during her shifts. But she had painted her toenails the other day—a green that matched her zombie pumps—so maybe they’d be more appealing than usual.

He obviously heard her heels clicking on the wood floor in the living room, as he called to her, “I thought you’d never come out of there.”

Her somewhat abashed laugh preceded her into the kitchen. “Believe me, I thought about staying in there for the next eight hundred years.”

He gave a mock pout. “Am I really that intimidating?”

“Only when I’m nervous.”

He looked her over with the appreciative eye that only an interested male could conjure (which, from him, made her knees feel like jelly). His gaze raked down her form before finally stopping at her shoes, where he did a double-take. “What in the world is that?” When she placed a foot on one of the kitchen chairs, so he could get a better look, he added, “Are those zombies on your shoes?”

“Yup,” she replied, popping the P for emphasis.

He laughed. “Well, I’ll be damned all over again. That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen… and they’re very you.”

Just like that, the ice was broken.

Nick continued to ply her with tea (after two cups of java, she’d begged off for something that wouldn’t make her jittery in large doses), while they looked over the forms she’d printed out from one of the BDSM books.

Yes, she was no longer afraid of using the acronym, even in her own mind. Nick handling it with such aplomb certainly helped her relax her approach to the matter. They had been friends before they’d ever admitted to feeling for one another, so why should such a good thing in their relationship be shunted aside with the introduction of baser lusts?

Being friends first, and longest, made this aspect of their careful transition to lovers much easier to deal with. He might tease her, but he’d never mock or judge her. In that, she was completely safe.

At this point, they were writing a list of what the books termed “hard and soft limits.” The instructions provided were fairly simple: if it was something you would never, ever do, it was a hard limit; if it was something you weren’t really comfortable with right now, but might consider trying in the future, it was a soft limit.

Determining their hard limits was easy—anything that risked her bleeding, and thus risking the loss of his control, was immediately relegated to the “hard limits” section. Abrasions, biting, branding, cutting, hooks, knifeplay, piercing, or any kind of blood-related play was a no-fly zone for both of them. The behaviours and scenes that were too close to vampiric behaviour (with the notable exception of hypnotism) were also not on their list of possibles, simply by necessity.

The idea of fisting also scared her, and Nick wasn’t remotely titillated by it. So that also became a hard limit.

There was also the fact that Nick was incredibly strong—so punishment-based implements like paddles, whips, canes and floggers could, however unintentional, become deadly weapons in his hands.

He snarled at the notion of anything involving a third or more parties, and she couldn’t help but agree. She wanted to belong to Nick and no one else, so scenes involving gang bangs and orgies were also out.

Quite a number of fetishes listed in the books were far too niche to appeal to either of them—amputees, armpits? Jock straps?! FUCKING MACHINES?!—and  some were outright disgusting—scat, watersports and vomitplay were definitely not in the cards for either of them.

Anything that could potentially limit her air supply—breath control, gags and encasement, to name a few—was also a big fat “NO”.

And, while she didn’t object to being called cute or animal-based names, Natalie didn’t want to either pretend to be a baby or act like a pet. But roleplaying as the hot barely-legal mistress of an experienced and powerful older man—well, that concept definitely held appeal.

By the time they were halfway through the list of types of play, they had already nixed more than two-thirds of the items.

Nick had refused fireplay, gunplay and electricity. Any of the above were very dangerous, and he wanted to mitigate the risks even more than she did. Admittedly, she had been relieved—fire was a source of trauma or discomfort for the both of them, and it could kill any sensuality in a scene, even without the risk of being burned.

“Fire stays in the fireplace and on candle wicks,” Natalie remarked. Nick heartily agreed.

So, after all that, what were they left with?

As it turned out, there was a surprising amount of kinks still left to negotiate. Natalie loved the idea of being tied up or bound in any number of ways (as long as the bindings didn’t go near her mouth) to be, ostensibly, at his mercy. To make her point, she pilfered the handcuffs from his jacket and begged him to arrest her for being such a bad girl, what with interfering with police matters on behalf of her big, bad vampire boyfriend and all.

He chuckled over that, admitting that calling him that sounded just about right. Her moment of humor had helped to release the tension that had been ratcheting up in the room since they’d first started pruning the list. And, along with it, the sensual spark between them refused to gutter out… even amid talking about sexual proclivities that they didn’t find remotely enjoyable.

Indeed, it was the fact that they were talking about sex at all, and in so straightforward a manner at that, that fed the fires of lust between them.

When she admitted that she fantasized about him giving her a spanking, his eyes seemed to throw golden sparks. His voice was a little deeper than usual as he admitted the idea had some merit.

So, spanking and bondage were first on their list of acceptable kinks.

“You know what else I think about?” she purred at him, surprising herself with the vixen in her coming out. “You pinning me down with that super-strength, and taking me from behind.”

He growled, a lecherous expression on his face, “If you like, we could also find… interesting uses for my knowledge of Japanese rope art.”

So, physical restraint and Japanese rope art made their to-do list.

Nick’s artistic streak also meant that using her body as a canvas for painting—and/or photographing her in compromising positions—was also something they could try. And, apropos of nothing, he admitted that he’d also love to see her in a corset.

Natalie promised she’d try all of the above—just for him. So those made their to-do list.

They both agreed that the use of sex toys, in addition to providing pleasure for her, could potentially act as a buffer between her and his vampiric urges. Natalie also admitted she loved having his hands in her hair, and that hair-pulling might be something they’d do in the future… once they got a better handle on controlling his strength.

So that made the—admittedly pitiful, so far—soft limits list.

Watching porn together would be fairly easy—making their own porn, probably not so much. The former made the to-do list, and the latter became a soft limit.

Clips and clamps, ice and wax, oils and massages, tickling and spanking—those were all on the now fairly impressive to-do list.

Nick wasn’t amenable to cages or chains (his very unpleasant memories of being on the receiving end of both notwithstanding), but he did like the idea of giving her blindfolds and sensory deprivation. Natalie was of equal mind about it, as well, and hesitantly advanced the notion that binding her meant they might need furniture specially designed for that purpose. He insisted it would be money well spent.

Natalie, in their now hours-long discourse (the digital clock now read 4 a.m.), also shyly admitted she was curious about anal sex and related things, but had never tried it. Nick took the pen from her and wrote it under the soft limits section. “I’ll be as gentle as I can to prepare you once you’re willing and I’m able, but if you can’t handle it, it’s better we err on the side of caution.”

That careful consideration for her just made her love him even more.

He lightened the mood by adding, “Not that claiming your ass doesn’t appeal to the Neolithic portion of my brain.” This he followed with a grin and a light swat to her derriere. She squeaked in surprise at the impact, but there was no feeling of soreness.

They both stared at each other, now realizing he had a better handle on his physical prowess than they’d initially thought. Then his grin widened. “How about we get away from this drudgery for awhile and see what kind of trouble we can get into?” He paused significantly, then added, “I believe you said something about me pinning you down?”

She giggled. With that eidetic memory of his, he knew damn well what she had said. “Yes, my big, strong vampire. I want you to pin me down and have your wicked way with me.”

“Good. In my advanced age, I have to make sure of what I hear,” he joked. Then he surprised her by lifting her up, and slinging her over his shoulder like a sack of potatoes.

She let out another girlish squeal and swatted him in the backside.

“Hmm… someone’s being naughty,” he growled. “Looks like I’ll have to punish you.”

“Hey, we didn’t talk about that part yet!” she protested.

His eyes gleamed with a touch of faux-malice. “Oh, I think you’ll see things my way.”

Despite his rough handling of her mere moments before, he placed her gently on her bed, pushing her back into her pillows. Eyes wide with wonder at this creature—no, this man—before her, she stared up at him and waited.

He removed her pumps, then opened the fly of her jeans and slid them off her legs. The pumps were then returned onto her feet. He smiled. “I like your shoes. They can stay on.”

“Now,” and he gave a crook of his index finger. “Come here and show me that you want this.”

She had never been an especially small or skinny girl, but being in his arms made her feel as delicate as spun glass. The strength that flowed through his tall, muscular form was comforting rather than intimidating, and his large hand laced through her hair made her feel… sexy, desirable.

He gave a light tug on her hair, enough to pull her head back so that her neck was exposed to him. For one terrifying, tantalizing moment, she thought he would drink her up, to take her within himself. What scared her more was that some dark corner of her psyche wanted that desperately.

But no; he placed light kisses against her lips and chin, before pushing her back down onto the bed. This time he followed her, covering her body with his own. He released his grip on her hair to grab her wrists with both hands, holding them down just above her head.

There were golden sparks in his blue eyes as he growled, “You want this, don’t you? I can smell it.” She could feel his erection even through the layers of clothing separating them, as he angled himself so their hips joined.

God, he felt so big! Another small shot of fear lanced through her; the first time they had sex would probably hurt, because it had been so long since she’d had a lover. But no, she reasoned to herself amid the fog of lust clouding her brain. Nick would never hurt me. He cares too much about me. I need to trust him for this to work. The only way it can work is to trust him. And I do. Completely.

That decided, she felt herself relax. A quirk of an eyebrow told Natalie that Nick had noticed the change in her. He seemed to relax a little, too. His smile was sharpened by the points of his fangs. “Good girl,” he crooned. “Put your legs around my waist.”

Obediently, she hitched both her bare legs around his waist, his belt digging into her soft flesh—which made her delight in the marks she might still have tomorrow. He thrust against her, the bulge of his erection rubbing her through her panties. Could she actually have an orgasm just by dry-humping? Whatever the case, she felt breathless and clung to him like a lifeline, as their bodies rocked together.

This was love-making, she realized. Nick was a man who had more sensuality in his pinkie finger than most of the mortal men she knew could eke out with their best moves. Nick was dangerous for her libido even with clothes on and standing ten feet away from her; he would probably give her heart failure once stripped down.

The thought of them being naked together, his cool skin against her own arousal-heated body, nearly made her lose it right then. But she kept her self-control, until he demanded, “Natalie, put your hand down your underwear and touch yourself.” He then let one of her hands free to follow his instruction.

Holy shit. The man was going to kill her through sheer sensuality. It would be one hell of a way to go.

She placed her free hand between them, raising the elastic of her panties and slipping her hand underneath. Unerringly, from years of practice, she found her clitoris and preceded to gently rub, as Nick continued to push against her.

Her orgasm came with a suddenness that shocked her; she whimpered as her body pulsed with the energy, then sagged as it slowly dissipated. She felt boneless and light-headed, as Nick continued to grind against her, helping her ride out the wave.

He stopped, when she sighed and removed her hand from her panties. He shifted away from her, and she whined at the loss, until he gently pulled her against his chest in a loving embrace.

Though she wasn’t looking at his face, she could hear the cocky smirk in his voice. “I’d call that a successful trial run, wouldn’t you?”

“We are having so much sex later,” she panted, her brain-to-mouth filter knocked askew, as she burrowed against his shoulder.

He chuckled. “That’s the plan, isn’t it?”

“Yeah. It’s a good plan. I like this plan.”

It was another half-hour before they returned to the list, revitalized by their new-found intimacy (and Nick insisted her jeans remain on the floor). Masturbation was immediately placed on the good list, as was dry-humping and kissing.

Rough sex? Yes, please.

Firm and soft touches? Who wouldn’t?

Cunnilingus, handjobs and fellatio? She nearly melted into a puddle of goo at the thought of Nick’s mouth and fingers on her, and was heartbroken when Nick placed blowjobs as a limit for himself. She wanted to taste that length of hard, cool flesh—but she was forced to agree that it might be too dangerous for her.

Roleplaying? Well, that definitely held possibilities. As a princess abducted by an infamous pirate, a teacher making a wayward student stay after class to earn a better grade, an Arabian slave-girl dancing for her sheikh while wrapped in silks, or—and this was actually a surprise, given the reality of their jobs—the well-trained by-the-book cop arresting and interrogating his femme-fatale suspect.

Also, the “medieval roleplaying” was immediately placed on the list—she was dying to see what he looked like in full battle gear—and the books’ “medical fantasy” notations taunted her with possibilities.

But they were not going to implement breast or nipple torture. Nick made her laugh by quoting The Princess Bride: “There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. T’would be a pity to damage yours.”

Phone and online chat sex? Well, if nothing else worked out, at least that was safe.

Total power exchange? 24/7? She needed the ability to say no, to call a time-out. She needed to be able to put him in check, and removing all her power as the submissive partner was counterproductive. And, at any rate, Nick didn’t trust himself to handle having total control over her.

Unsurprisingly, it made the “hard limits” section.

“What was your mother’s name?” Natalie asked.

Nick’s eyebrows shot up at the non sequitur. “Mechteld. Why?”

“Mechteld? That’s a very… unusual name,” she said finally. “You loved her, right?”

“It’s Dutch,” he explained. “And of course, I did.”

“Well, discussing the TPE got me thinking about what our safeword should be. I just thought that… maybe it should be something that reminds you of your humanity.”

Nick seemed to consider this. “And by calling out my mother’s name, you’d essentially be asking me what my mother would have to say about it.”

She ducked her head. “It’s too weird, isn’t it?”

Nick smiled. “No, not at all. Reminding me of my mother might be just the thing to shock me back to my senses if I lose control. Mechteld it is.” A pause, and then he added, “How close to the end are we?”

“Not much longer. We’ve covered more than three-quarters of the list already.”

Outdoors and crowd scenes were refused, as Nick’s nature wasn’t something for public consumption. Surprisingly, Natalie felt a little let down by that—apparently she had a exhibitionist streak in her she’d never known she’d had. But it was a hard limit for Nick, so she’d respect that.

“You are not putting restrictions on my eating or bathroom breaks,” she declared, adding those to the hard limits section.

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” he replied blithely. “Although you might want to hit the gym.” Off of her hurt glare, he added quickly, “I’m only suggesting it, because this is quite a bit more than your body may be used to. You’ll have to build up some stamina.”

She had to agree. As unhappy as it made her, she flipped back to the requirements page.

“Exercise for at least a half-hour three times a week should help,” he said. “Along with eight hours of sleep every day. You’ll feel better too.”

She softened, realizing he was only looking out for her. “I guess I could also eat healthier,” she grudgingly admitted. “More greens and foods high in protein to keep up my energy.”

“And less caffeine?” he prodded.

“I just need one or two cups to wake me up in the morning,” she replied. “I could always drink water or tea the rest of the day.”

“Which will also help keep you healthy.”

“Right.” She flipped back to the hard and soft limits page. “So… ravishment and orgasm control?”

He smiled wickedly. “I like the sound of those.”

Her eyes dropped back down to one of the open books. “I don’t know if I could actually do a lap dance. I mean, I’m not some shadowy exotic striptease artist, or anything.”

“I’d love to see your best effort. I think you might surprise yourself.”

“I think you just want to see me naked.”

“I may be technically undead, my dear, but I’m still a man. And all men enjoy seeing the woman they love naked.”

She laughed, then was brought up short. “Did you just say… you love me?”

He smiled at her. “Yeah. Not the most romantic moment, I admit. But it is true.” Then he glanced back down at the open book. “Ooh, I think I could install a Jacuzzi for that one.”

“You’ve already got ideas for our playroom?”

“That I do. I don’t know about you, but I was thinking more along the lines of a teenager’s bedroom than the Marquis de Sade.”

Natalie smiled. “That sounds very nice and welcoming. Planning on putting up some Tiger Beat posters?”

“If you like.” He glanced down at the book again. “And it looks like we’re done. I have some calls to make to set things up.”

Natalie pouted. Admittedly, she hated the thought of him leaving.

“But… I suppose after all that mental effort,” and he gave another smirk, “and being such a good girl for me, you deserve a nice long bath and a massage.” He held out his hand. “Come with me, and let me take care of you.”

I used the questionnaires and lists in Playing Well With Others: Your Field Guide to Discovering, Navigating and Exploring the Kink, Leather and BDSM Communities as a basis for Nick and Nat’s discussion. The Kindle edition of the book is available for $1.99 here at Amazon. It’s an excellent book, for those who are intellectually curious about the kink community and the real-world nature of exploring kink.


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Mostly, I write stuff. And, like the Egyptians and the Internet, I put cat pictures on my walls. Also, I can read your Tarot.