The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

This Is Our Story

Chapter Eight

For the next couple weeks, Conner somehow managed to avoid the temptation to fiddle around any further with TIOS. Hailey could take the lion’s share of the credit for that; they met up under the auditorium stage most mornings for a quickie before school, every lunch period, and every evening. He’d already begun to forget that she was only playing the part of his obedient slut by choice; it was fast becoming the norm for him to touch her, use her, however and whenever he liked.

Meanwhile, Conner and Heather worked pleasantly together on the yearbook spread on several occasions. Hailey’s constant efforts to make him come helped quell his anxiety around the pretty blonde, and both escaped their sessions together unscathed. Besides, as he devoted thought to it, her willingness to believe him was not as useful as Angelica’s condition with Owen. Not like he could tell her how to feel or what to do. The apparent inability to take control over her actually took some of the edge off.

Another weekend came. Only two weeks since the academic decathlon and his first experiments with TIOS, yet it felt like a year. A steamy, sexually charged, endlessly erotic year.

Angelica had her chores done before her stepbrother was even awake that Saturday. The slam of the front door as she left for Owen’s house—for Owen’s cock—was what stirred him from fitful dreams. Even having gotten off mere minutes before falling asleep, he awakened as hard as he’d ever been. Trying not to think about the lingering image Angelica’s naked body that seemed intent on burning itself into his mind, Conner chalked his erection up to morning wood and turned down the temperate in the shower.

It hadn’t gone away by the time he got out.

How could he be jealous of Owen? It was so wrong, and on so many levels. First off, it was his sister. Stepsister, technically, but she was still family. Even if she’d only recently joined his family. Even if it had been an exercise of pure willpower to keep her out of his fantasies even before last night. Before he’d seen her reduced to a junkie whose drug of choice was a constant IV drip of cum, sucked direct from the source.

He had Hailey, though, he reminded himself. In Hayleigh McKnight’s gorgeous body, no less. She was obviously crazy about him, and had capitulated to his every sexual inclination. Heck, she’d flat out told him she’d do anything he wanted, and had even agreed to some things he decidedly didn’t want. He was already running out of new things he wanted to try; by now, it was just a matter of trying different paces, rhythms and positions. Conner wouldn’t even have to ask, in fact; he could just tell her, and she’d do it.

So then why did he still envy Owen?

He glanced out the window, looking across the street to where his friend was probably already coming in one of Angelica’s eager holes. Had he made her ask permission? Did he have her strip first? Did she thank him? It was all too easy to picture him leaning back on the sofa, legs spread and feet propped up on the couch, while Angelica adoringly serviced his cock for hour after hour.

He had to clear his head.

* * *

“Hey there, Conner,” said his stepdad as he cracked open the door to his room that evening. Conner rolled onto his back and forced his eyes open. The alarm clock on his nightstand read 9:22. “Wore yourself out today, eh?”

“Yeah, I guess.” He tried to remember what all he’d accomplished. Raking the yard. Reorganizing the shed. Then the garage. Then the basement. Cleaning out the gutters. Vacuuming, bathrooms, a deep clean of his own bedroom… anything he could think of to keep his hands busy.

“Well your mom and I didn’t want you to think we don’t appreciate you stepping it up today. I don’t know what got into you, but we’re… well, here.” He produced his wallet from his back pocket, crossing the room to place a few bills on Conner’s desk. “Why don’t you use this to take that young lady out for a nice dinner.”

Conner blinked, still trying to clear the sleep from his eyes. “Angelica?”

His stepdad looked at him askance. “What? No, I think after spending all day out playing with her friends Ang can buy her own dinner. I meant that girl that you’ve been hanging out with so much lately. Hailey, was it?”

His cheeks colored at his mistake. “Right. Sorry. Still tired. Thanks.”

“And look…” The man shifted uncomfortably on his feet. “I know you’re at that age where… look, I know you don’t need the whole birds and the bees talk, but…” He plunged a hand into his side pocket and came up carrying a pack of condoms. “Just don’t do anything stupid, all right?”

Not knowing what else to say, he murmured an assurance that he would not. With a little pat on the head, his stepdad made his exit, giving him a last, proud, man-to-man smile before closing the door behind him. For some time, Conner lay there in the dark room, staring at where the soft green glow of the clock shed its light on the prophylactics. He’d spent all day trying to keep thoughts of girls out of his head, and here was his reward.

He closed his eyes again, and for the thousandth time since he’d first seen it last week, the image of Angelica’s naked ass shimmying in his face immediately projected itself on his eyelids.

* * *

Hey you wanna do something today?

I’m like sooooooooo bored.

I got a new bra today. Here’s a peak.

She texted him an image of her lifting her shirt up until it just barely covered her breasts. He could see a hint of red along the tantalizing glimpse of underboob. Evenly tanned, now. Darker than before, since she’d wanted to make up for lost time, but they’d evened out quickly.

Matching panties, too. if you wanna see those you gotta come get me. ;)

This was the series of messages awaiting Conner the following morning. He’d somehow managed to sleep in despite his early crash time, but evidently Hailey had been up with the sun. Her first text was time-stamped 8:00 exactly, and he didn’t expect that was coincidence either. That was a calculation on the part of a desperate girl about how early was acceptable to text the guy she’d been fooling around the past couple weeks.

Conner picked up his phone, then texted Owen. You busy?

The reply came a minute later, featuring a picture of his stepsister’s lips pressed to the base of Owen’s shaft. Her eyes were closed, and she looked so peaceful and content that it almost looked like she was sleeping like that. Then came the words, a little lol. Conner looked long at the picture before backing out of the conversation and bringing up his conversation with Hailey.

omw he typed.

“My mom’s at work, and she brought my brother with her.” This was the only explanation Hailey offered as to how, when he opened the front door, she was able to be waiting in her family’s living room in a set of lingerie that wouldn’t be appropriate in a Victoria’s Secret catalogue. He stared so hard she had to coax him to shut the door before someone went by the house and saw her. Then she had to say it again, because it was that hot.

The bra wasn’t a bra at all. It was a few bright red strings shaped in a triangle around her breasts, meeting in the center in a little bow. There was clearly not enough to them to provide lift, but her youthful physique kept them perky enough regardless. Her panties matches the bra, both in style and in not being panties. A pair of red ribbons were tied at the hips, trailing down to her pussy and disappearing between smooth thighs. The wisp of fabric between them was transparent; Conner could see her pubic mound right through it, and noted she had shaved it bare. (No doubt after he’d responded to her question the other day by saying he didn’t have a preference, but thought shaved might be hot.) She was lying on her side, and from the way one leg was cocked forward, he could see it covered even less of that splendid ass of hers. She’d even finished off the ensemble with a pair of red stiletto heels that did wonders to her ass as she walked back towards the couch.

The ensemble served no other purpose than to invite his gaze and be removed if he so wished. It wasn’t clothing. It wasn’t underwear. It was wrapping on a toy.

“When does your mom get off work?” he asked, finally, after his brain registered that not only could he look at this vision of sex, but he could do things to it.

“Two o’clock. She had the early shift this morning, so she had to be in at six o’clock. Since it’s Sunday and all. Lots of churches have orders they need ready for morning services, so she has to be in way early for it. Though she might get out later than two. Sometimes she works late to—”

Conner had already done the math. “That gives us three hours and thirty-eight minutes. I don’t want my cock to be dry for that entire time, OK?”

Hailey giggled. “You have such a one-track mind, Conner.”

“I come in and find my little slut looking like that and she wonders why I don’t wanna sit down and do a jigsaw puzzle,” Conner said with a grin, hastily stripping off his clothes.

“Aw, but I was just gonna show you how well I can fit your piece into my slot.” Hailey rolled onto her back and threw one leg over the back of the sofa, thus confirming that not only was her thong scant, it was crotchless as well.

Conner had learned several things about their sexual preferences in the past two weeks. Regarding Hailey, it was largely information he used to enhance his own pleasure, but it wasn’t entirely selfish. How hard to pinch, where to suck to make her moan louder, the number of fingers she liked and the number that was too much.

For himself, Conner had learned that he narrowly preferred her pussy to her mouth, but suspected improved technique could tip the scales. He’d learned that when she sat on his lap and rode him, he preferred her back to him rather than her front, so he could use her tits as handles. That dirty talk was a good way to shorten his refractory time.

That he had no interest in her outside of sex. A fact that every single lull in their sweaty noon-time fuck-fest only served to reinforce.

It was kind of a relief, really. He’d been quietly kicking himself before this all started, thinking himself shallow for rejecting Hailey solely for her appearance. But it wasn’t that. Or rather, now that he’d accepted her solely for her body, it wasn’t only that. The more she chattered at him between rounds of wet torrid fucking, the more he realized he simply didn’t find her engaging. They didn’t have common interests. They didn’t share hobbies. Their friend circles didn’t overlap (to the extent that Hailey had a friend circle). She objectively talked too much and most often about things no one could possibly find interesting.

He forced himself to smile at a story about how her aunt had hand-stitched the Raggedy Ann doll on the end table for her as an infant, then gagged her with his cock the moment she paused for air.

Was it wrong, then, to string her along? Conner pondered as he leaned his head back and let Hailey practice her titty-fuck. (It wasn’t as pleasurable as the rest, but she insisted she wanted to get good at it, and it was a heady experience to watch that bitch Hayleigh McKnight’s face monitoring him for pleasure while she denied her own.) He definitely didn’t want to be a couple, to go public with her. Not only was there the social factor—regardless of how hot his redheaded goddess had become, nobody else saw anything but Hefty Hailey McManus—but there was also Heather. He couldn’t pursue his dream girl if he was in a relationship, and Heather was the sort of girl who would definitely honor such a thing.

So what did he do? He ran through the options as she sucked one ball into her mouth, then the other, then back to the shaft with a lusty moan. He could keep it to himself, fool around with her on the side. Hailey had painfully low self-esteem; she’d probably let him get away with it.

Of course, if he got caught—or if his conscience caught up with him—it would ruin everything. So he could break it off with Hailey. The thought was uncomfortable; she was unlikely to take it well. Still, even if the truth that he was into someone else was too much for her, he could always come up with something. Owen would help him make up an excuse. His friend was good for that much, at least.

And maybe he could use the visit as an excuse to ogle Angelica while she pleaded her heart out to be allowed to give him lap dances in exchange for the privilege of sucking his dick.

The longer Conner thought it through, with Hailey bobbing on his cock with a fervor, the more he was simply trying to talk himself out of doing something like Owen had done to Angelica. Hailey was a font of self-effacing dirty talk, and he had no doubt he could hook her with any number of offhand comments. He remembered her saying she’d do any sexual thing he wanted. That alone would probably be enough, if the simple words that had sealed Angelica’s fate was any measure.

“Tell me you’ll fuck me any way, any time I want,” Conner said suddenly.

Hailey stopped her blowjob with a long, slow withdrawal, a strand of drool trailing from her lips to his dick until it broke and landed on her scantily covered breasts. She pressed herself up against him as she dragged her body up to straddle his lap, easing herself down onto his cock inch by tight, wet inch.

“I’ll fuck you.” She pressed his hands to her tits, keeping him there until he was fondling in earnest.

“Any way.” She gyrated her hips once, then pressed herself down to the base. He was in her as fully as could be.

“Any time.” Her pussy seemed to grip his cock, rippling up and down his length.

“You want.” She fucked him. Exactly the way he wanted.

* * *

It was gray and overcast when Conner left at 2:05; he passed Hailey’s mother on the road. She didn’t notice him, he was pretty sure. Hailey had asked Conner—veritably begged him—to stay for a while and hang out, but once her clothes were back on, he remembered his disinterest and made up an excuse. He steered the car home, but when it arrived, he couldn’t make himself go in. His stepdad was home, totally unaware that his only daughter was presently across the street slobbering on his stepson’s ginger friend’s cock, helplessly addicted to it. Enslaved by it. By TIOS.

Conner couldn’t make himself grapple with the question of whether it had really been done by him.

He closed his eyes, and images of Hailey—Hayleigh—begging to be allowed to service his cock flooded his imagination. His stepsister made several appearances as well, and then the floodgates opened and any girl and woman he’d ever taken notice paraded through. Three hours spent in nonstop sex and he still couldn’t stop thinking about it. Except he couldn’t do anything about it even if he wanted to, because his family computer didn’t have a copy of TIOS installed. Only the ones at school did. Except…

As editor-in-chief of the yearbook, he had keys that could get him into the journalism classroom, where they were stored.

It would be simplicity itself. A couple logins, a few clicks and a few dozen strokes of the keys, and he could have Hayleigh McKnight’s body to use as his cock’s playground whenever he wanted. No more walking the line between girlfriend and hookup. No more nervousness that she’d abandon him if she figured it out, or that she might decide she didn’t like his authoritative style. He could pursue Heather and, if he ever got bored (or horny), could snap his fingers and have Hailey there to take care of him.

Literally, he realized. He could train Hailey to suck his cock with a snap of the fingers.

He started his car, and with some luck, managed to keep such thoughts muted enough that he didn’t crash on the way. The Northside High School lot always had a few cars in it—they never seemed to leave, probably abandoned and never towed away—but it was mostly vacant. Conner parked near the English section entrance and keyed his way in. There were gates up at various points around school to keep him from roaming far, but he could make it to Miss C’s room unimpeded. A second key for the classroom, and he was in. He made a beeline for the computer lab and the first station inside the door. The office on the opposite of the room was usually where he worked, but the lab was closer. He was already tired of waiting.

The dated computer in the yearbook computer lab never loaded so slowly as it did that afternoon. Conner found himself drumming his fingers, fiddling with his hair, mentally ordering the thing to load faster. Finally the soft blue light from the default background was glowing in the room. He double-clicked the TIOS icon and entered his editor-in-chief login. The moment it loaded, he guided it to Hailey McManus’s page, a thumbnail of her falsified portrait in the top right corner.

There was nothing written here. It was as if she were a blank slate, his to write on whatever he wanted. He had dozens of options of what to type compiled over two weeks of clandestine, filthy-mouthed fuck-fests. It was the one thing about the original Hailey that genuinely impressed him—her capacity to keep a steady stream of tawdry vulgarity going. She was impressive in that regard.

Your little butt slut always enjoys your touch.

Everything you do just feels so darn good.

I never want you to stop.

Your cock is like crack to me, Conner.

And so on. He could write them all, of course. But frankly, he worried that he might scramble her brain with all that. Heck, TIOS might digitally (magically?) lobotomize her. He’d read enough science fiction to have some slight inclination towards moderation. And really, there was only one thing he wanted from Hailey, and she’d made it painfully easy on him. With trembling fingers, he typed the words into the window.

“I’ll fuck you any way, any time you want.” He entered the date, and tried to edit his name in, but it autocorrected to the real version. Like it had in other spreads he’d tinkered with, it seemed to intuit pronoun references.

Conner moved the mouse to the Save icon on the top bar. One click, and she was his. One of the hottest girls in school—one of the hottest girls he’d ever seen—would become his sex slave.

And one of the most pathetic girls in school would, basically, cease to be. At least, cease to be what she was. A shy, pudgy, loquacious and ultimately forgettable girl who had the misfortune to be smitten with someone who simply wasn’t interested. One click, and his interest would become very real.

One click.

“Conner? Is that you in there?” came a sudden voice. Conner nearly jumped out of his skin, then craned his neck to peer out the entryway into the computer lab. The voice was suddenly joined by a silhouette in the doorway of the classroom, as black as the rest of the room against the thin shaft of fading daylight coming in through the hallway.

“Miss C?” he said, placing the voice as his teacher.

With the light of the screen in his eyes, he could only tell she was approaching by her footsteps. “What the heck are you doing here on a Sunday afternoon? Does some awful teacher have you in here doing her bidding? Tell me her name and she’s a dead woman.”

His heart had been pounding even before her arrival had scared the crap out of him. Conner hoped his smile passed for normal. “I’d write her name down for you, but honestly, it’s too hard to spell.”

“Hardy har,” she said, grinning. “Seriously though, what’re you doing here? One of those urgent breaking yearbook spreads like you read about on the googlebook?”

The screen served as a barrier between them, letting one side see and be seen, while the other dwelled in darkness. With the light in his face, he still couldn’t see more than the shape of her. “Just, um… say, what’re you doing here on a Sunday?” he deflected.

Conner heard a flip switch, and suddenly he had to squint as the small side room was illuminated in harsh fluorescence. After a moment, he could see that Miss C was wearing a sports bra and a pair of black athletic leggings, her thick mane of curly brown hair up in a ponytail. The sports bra covered her entire chest, but he’d never seen what a toned stomach his teacher had before. As occasionally happened when Miss C reminded him she was a woman, he forced his eyes on her face. He had enough troubles keeping her out of her fantasies without having to—getting to—see her wrapped up in spandex.

“Just out for a run with Brent,” she said. Conner had met his teacher’s boyfriend a couple times at after-school events. He was painfully handsome, and had one of those beards that always looked like five o’clock shadow. “I saw your car in the lot and figured I’d surprise you.”

“Oh, cool. Well don’t let me interrupt you.”

She made a face. “What, you saying I need more exercise? I think I’ve held up pretty good, for an older broad.”

“You’re what, twenty-eight?” he said with an eye roll.

“Ish.” She turned as if to leave, but rather than saying goodbye, she once again faced him. This time a concerned expression painted her features. “Is everything all right, Conner?”

The boy started. “W-why would you ask that?” he said, too quickly.

“I dunno. You’ve just seemed… I don’t know. A little off, the past week or two.”

His blood was like ice in his veins. Could she know? About TIOS, about Hailey and Hayleigh and Angelica and Owen and Heather? Could some strange trick of reflected light have shown her what he still had written on his screen?

No, he decided. She couldn’t possibly know. After all, if she knew he’d turned his stepsister into a blowjob queen for his best friend, she’d not be gently asking such a thing. Miss C was trying to show concern, but he was too nervous from what he was doing—by all the things he’d been hiding—to let his guard down. “I dunno. I, um, I guess I’m OK.”

Her expression made it clear his answer—and the awkward pause preceding it—had only deepened her apprehension, and she pulled up a chair in front of him and sat in it backwards. He was so used to the formal Miss C, dresses to mid-shin and blouses never showing a hint of cleavage, that seeing her sit so casually was jarring. Miss C had been his mentor, but he’d never needed to come to her for personal stuff before. He’d never really had personal stuff before.

Certainly nothing like this.

“Come on, Conner. I know there was that whole… whatever thing, with you and Jordan and Hayleigh McKnight. Have they been pestering you? Bullying you?”

He blinked. In the midst of all the TIOS upheaval, he’d nearly forgotten all that. In fact, he’d scarcely registered it while it was happening. Conner had seldom in his life been bullied, and while Jordan’s ribbing was fairly irksome, he didn’t take it home with him. Lately he’d been targeted more directly than any other time in his life; Hayleigh and Jayce had continued their harassment-in-passing routine these past two weeks—yet he’d been so focused on his intrigues that he hadn’t taken time to be upset.

After all, you can only be so demoralized by a girl picking on you when you only finished coming on her face two hours before.

“Some, maybe. Nothing I can’t handle. It was all a stupid misunderstanding anyway. Little stuff.”

She shrugged. “I’ve been around the block enough to know that ‘little stuff’ has a way of becoming big problems, if you don’t get out ahead of it. Come on, talk to me. Pretend I’m not your twenty-eight-ish teacher.”

“If we play that game, I’m worried I’m going to wind up asking you out,” Conner said. The moment he said it, he could feel the color blooming in his cheeks. Did he just flirt with Miss C?!

To his relief and surprise, after a moment she burst into laughter, and although it was a good long laugh, he still felt nervous when it was over. “Oh, Conner. Look at you, getting smooth on me. Should’ve told Brent to chaperone, keep me honest.” She laughed again, and patted his forearm. “Relax, we’re both kidding.”

Conner allowed himself an awkward chuckle. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to…”

“Forgotten. Now come on. Talk to me.”

“Oh, it’s nothing. Nothing you’d understand, anyway.” As if Conner understood it himself.

Miss C put a hand to her chest, affronted. “You don’t think I’d understand? Come on, not only have I taught high school the past five years, but I even used to go to one. I tell you what. Let me take a stab, you tell me if I’m warm.”

He glanced one more time at the words on his screen. “I promise you, you’re not going to—”

“Bp bp bp! Just let me try, and you tell me when I’m wrong. For starters, let’s see… it’s about a girl?”

“That’s an easy guess, Miss C.”

“But I’m not wrong. OK, so… something recent, or you wouldn’t have had that intense look on your face when I walked in.”

“Also easy.”

“And the girl is Heather. That specific enough for you?”

Conner paused. “Why would you guess Heather?”

“Because I’m not as dumb as you think I am,” she laughed. “You hide it well enough, but remember, I teach journalism too. Observe and record, remember?”

“Yeah, but… I mean, half the guys in school would die to go out with a girl like her. You may as well have guessed any of the really pretty girls.”

She brushed a strand of hair to the side, and a thin sheen of sweat held it in place. “Only half? I think you’re selling our girl short. Still, we’re talking high school boys, plenty of whom would pounce on anything with female anatomy. If we’re talking about people with a genuine interest, and maybe even a genuine shot, that’s a much smaller list.”

He frowned. “Wait… are you saying… you think Heather likes me?”

Miss C regarded him inscrutably. “Truth?”

He nodded.

“Truthfully, I doubt it. Mind you, that doesn’t mean she dislikes you, but it means you need to get her interested if you’re going to have a shot.”

“How do I do that? I don’t, um, have a lot of experience.” At least, not with normal, non-body-changed girls who weren’t already infatuated with him.

“I don’t know, you seemed to be capable of flirting a minute ago.” She waited for his cheeks to color with a little smirk, then went on. “But that’s what you need to do. Be confident. Not arrogant, not meek, but that balanced place in the middle that shows you’re someone she should take seriously.”

“So, what, I just… walk up to her and ask her out?”

She gave him a hard look. “No. That’s what creeps do. Look, there’s no manual for this stuff, and you can ask Brent, I’m not the expert. But you have something going for you that I don’t think Jordan or any of these other boys have.”

“I do?” What conceivable edge could he, Conner Fishers, have with Heather compared to all the buff guys, the rich guys, the slick guys?

She smiled at him, and there was an unmistakable fondness to it. “You know, most people take yearbook because they think it’s a blow-off class. They think they can roam the halls and pretend they’re working but really just goof off and put it on their transcript like they achieved something. But Conner, I’ve known you for going on four years now. You’re not the most open book, but I think I’ve gotten to know you pretty well. And I know you’re here because you genuinely care about people.”

Conner tried not to look at those words he’d written on the screen as she continued.

“You’re a good writer, but honestly? I’ve had better. I made you editor-in-chief because you don’t just want to snap photos and write up spreads. You want to take these days—these unpredictable, terribly wonderful days—and…” She paused. “Do you remember that spread you wrote on the tornado?”

He had to think for a moment. “Uh, kind of. That was freshman year.”

“I actually had Greg Neder—he was editor that year, remember?—write up a spread for it first. And he wrote about it, who lost what, cost estimates on damages, got some pictures of a torn-up strip mall. All very accurate, an unbiased historical account. Then I read yours. And you, Conner? You wrote about how the community was rallying around the victims. I remember you had this great quote from one of the victims about how afraid she’d been, but then you followed up to get her to explain how grateful she was for everyone’s support. You took a picture of a group of NHS students hauling boxes of donations out to a truck for delivery. You told a story of togetherness, and resilience, and hope.”

His cheeks flushed again, but for a different reason. Conner hadn’t realized he was doing any such thing. To him, his story had simply been the way it had happened.

“And that’s why I went with yours. Maybe it wasn’t as true, maybe it wasn’t quite as cleanly written. Maybe. But yours was us. And that’s when I knew I had a future editor in hand. You want to tell stories, and you want those stories to have heroes. You want the good guys to win and to cheer for them even when they can’t. I knew then that I had a future editor on my hands, and when I talked the board into splurging on This Is Our Story, it was because I wanted you to be able to tell that story just the way you know it should be told.”

Conner tried to hold back tears. “Wow. Um, thanks, Miss C.”

“You’re one of the good ones, Conner,” she said, putting a hand on his knee and giving it a hard squeeze. “Why do you think I assigned Heather to work on the yearbook spread with you?”

“Um, yeah, why did you?”

She rolled her eyes at her pupil’s denseness. “Maybe I want to good guys to win, too.”

“You… Oh. Geez. Thanks. Thanks again, I guess.”

“Don’t thank me yet,” she said, standing back up. “Feel any better?”

He nodded. “Yeah. I really do.”

“Good. Gotta earn that paycheck.” She grinned.

“Miss C… why did you come in here today? It’s not that weird for me to be in on weekends.”

“I had a hunch you weren’t happy lately, and you’re one of my kids, Conner. Not like all my students are, but I mean my kids. You mean the world to me, and all I ever want is for you to be happy.”

He smiled, wiping away a solitary tear that had managed to escape. “Mission accomplished.”

“Good. I’d offer you a hug, but I’m all…” He suspected she meant she was sweaty, though he’d have been too nervous to hug his pretty teacher when she was wearing nothing but spandex anyway.

“Mental hug, then.”

She squinted her eyes closed for a moment. “Done. Say, I’m gonna head out—you coming, or still feel the urge?” She nodded to the laptop.

“I actually just had one thing to do, and then I’m on my way out.”

“Okey doke, you finish up and I’ll wait, walk you out.”

As she made her way to her desk and rifled through some papers, he looked back to his screen. I’ll fuck you any way, any time you want, it still read.

Miss C had said she’d gotten TIOS—This Is Our Story—to let him do decide how to chronicle the life and times of the his classmates. Was that fact somehow related to the bizarre things it could do at his command? He didn’t know. It may well be unknowable. But she’d also reminded him of why he’d started down this bizarre, depraved path in the first place. After all, that was why he’d first dragged Hayleigh’s picture to Hailey’s name—imagining what her story would be if she’d been someone who looked like she could be loved.

And where had that taken her? If not for the timely intercession of his yearbook teacher, quite possibly to a future of servicing his every carnal desire as some kind of sex slave. He’d come that close to ending her story with a few taps of the keyboard.

Conner didn’t know whether or not his teacher was right about her characterization of him. It certainly didn’t seem to fit the kind of person he’d been lately. Using Hailey for sex. Lusting after his stepsister. Hardly trying to undo any of the chaos he’d caused because the truth was, the consequences were to his liking. Still, her description sounded like a version of himself. One that had taken a leave of absence recently, but could return at any moment.

As he stared at those words on the screen and reflected on what Miss C had said, and all that had happened of late, he was reminded of two pieces of wisdom that had been handed down to him. The first was also from Miss C, something she’d said to him his freshman year when he was first formally learning the ropes. Every history is someone’s version, she’d said. She’d explained how no matter how objective one might try to be, bias was inherent. The best a writer could try to do was be intentional in that bias, to be sure they were writing what they meant to write.

The second went back further, to when Conner had been around seven or eight years old. He’d been helping his mother with a scrapbook of photos and items from their camping trip together with his aunt and uncle and their kids. They’d gone fishing one day, and Conner’s little cousin Hannah had gotten excited and tried to look at something in the water, causing her boat (along with Conner’s aunt and uncle) to flip and dump the three of them in the murky lake.

His mom had told him he had to pick which picture to include for the event. There was one of everyone standing on the dock, preparing to get in the boats and catch some bluegill. The other was an after picture, with his cousin, aunt and uncle drenched and muddy and looking thoroughly displeased to have a camera pointed at them. Conner had struggled with which one to include; in one picture everyone looked so happy, but the other was a reminder of what to all those who’d remained dry had been the most hilarious moment of the trip.

How do I know which one to choose? young Conner had asked.

It depends, his mother had answered. Do you want the book to show what happened, or what we wish had happened?

The editor-in-chief deleted the quote and discarded the spread. Then, he navigated to the page he’d opened last week for the yearbook staff’s memories, and quickly added a quote from Miss C to help him remember this. He didn’t think he’d ever forget this talk, but he wanted to make sure. That was the point of a yearbook, after all, wasn’t it?

With the file saved and the computer powered down, he joined her at the door. They walked out in silence, his head a little higher than it had been in what felt like a very long time.

“Darn, Brent was right to go straight home. Finally started raining,” she observed. “Mind giving an old lady a ride?”

“I didn’t think teachers and students were supposed to be alone in a car.”

She patted his shoulder. “I won’t tell if you won’t.”

It was well and truly pouring, a late fall storm that left them both soaked and chilled by the time they reached his car only a hundred feet away. Since he’d only just driven here not half an hour ago, the heat turned on almost immediately, and they took a moment to blast themselves with the warmth before he put it in drive.

A radio station Miss C picked out and the occasional direction from her were the only sounds as they drove. He nearly missed a stop sign when she idly tugged down the zipper on the front of her sports bra. Not all the way, of course, but half—enough that from the side, he was seeing a stupefying amount of her impressive cleavage, and for the first time.

“Eyes on the road, Conner,” she rebuked him casually, though she didn’t zip back up. “It’s hot and wet in there—just airing things out.”

“Sure. Sorry. You’re just… I’m sorry.”

Then before he could even sneak another peek, they were at her house, a little gray one with faded pink shutters in bad need of paint. “Here you go, Miss C.”

She smiled at him. “When we’re alone, and we’re out of school, you can call me Kristy. OK?”

“Oh. OK, um, Kristy.”

She patted his leg. “Thanks for the lift, and good luck with the girl situation, OK? Come to me if you need to talk to someone. About whatever.” And she leaned over and gave him a hug after all. She was still wet, but so was he. In the mindset in which he’d gone to school that afternoon the feel of her breasts pressed against him would have dizzied him with arousal. Now, though, his head was clear, and he was able to enjoy it as a mere expression of kindness and friendship.

Then she gave him a peck on the cheek, and then she was gone.