Welcome to the final chapter of the first volume of Tom and Sophie's odyssey. I very much appreciate the positive and constructive feedback to date. Your encouragement truly helps provide the discipline and motivation it takes to dive headlong into each new installment. I relish hearing more of your thoughts on this chapter and the story overall via comments and direct messages. And think how pleased Sophie would be if you showed your support by voting on this and other chapters...

Consider yourself forewarned that this chapter is a bit different. You may find the writing style a bit curious. It might seem peculiar that it takes longer to climax than usual. Some of the taboos explored may not be your cup of tea. In fact, you might find some parts a good deal challenging.

But the truth is, it has to be challenging. Sophie wouldn't have it any other way. Just remind yourself, it's all for Her. Everything is Sophie.

So, without further ado, welcome to her Wonderland...

*All characters are 18 years old or older.


All in the golden afternoon

Full leisurely we glide;

For both our oars, with little skill,

By little arms are plied,

While little hands make vain pretence

Our wanderings to guide.

Saturday (continued)

Tom was beginning to get very nervous as he sat in the booth at the hotel bar. His eyes peeped between the two envelopes before him, each representing a fork in the road of his life. The blue envelope was the status quo, comfortably familiar with a fleeting touch of excitement. Red promised a resurrection of sorts, a chance to restart on a path to greatness and fulfillment - but potentially at a terrible price, as yet unknown. His thoughts were uncommonly clear. For the past few months, it had felt like a cloud settled over his mind, obscuring the paths between neurons, blinding his vision of himself; imposing a dream state of sexual fantasy and relinquishment of control. That cloud was Sophie. Sophie Vandenberg: his daughter's friend and volleyball teammate, his Goddess and all-consuming obsession. The 6'5" eighteen-year-old bombshell dropped into his life and exploded inside his head, unleashing passion like he had never known. He loved Her and feared Her, worshipped Her and submitted to Her with an intensity approaching religious fervor. She touched every nerve of his sexual being, scratched every fetishistic itch; rocking his body and mind just to the point of tipping over, then back again.But if Sophie was a cloud over his mind, She was but a layer over the thick smokescreen Tom had cloaked around his own ego. Even before Her, he had withdrawn from the person he once was, going through the motions of life with self-imposed passivity and ignorance; trying to forget the mistakes that derailed his stratospheric career rise, forcing himself to accept his mediocre fate. In the flatline of his apathy, he was numb to the signals of impending mid-life crisis. Sophie was like an injection of adrenaline to his heart: reawakening his ambitions, showing that his true self was still inside, affirming that his ultimate achievements could indeed lie ahead - in fulfilling his lifelong aspirations and possibly earning her Love.

Moments earlier, She presented him with a choice to devote himself completely to Her, to allow Her to take control of his life and transform him into a better man, one capable of achieving his dreams. The red envelope held that choice.

You'll take a trip through Hell before ascending to Heaven.

But it came with massive caveats: unspecified pain and the possibility of sacrificing everything he held dear.

In leaving him alone with the envelopes, Sophie had somehow lifted her fog from his psyche, allowing him to think clearly for the first time in months. It was only in her absence that Tom could fully recognize the absolute power She had imposed upon him. No thought had passed without worrying what She might think. No action had been taken without hoping it would earn her approval. No event had occurred without believing She had planned it.

Tom reflected on the experience of her Power with the cold rationale of his newfound clarity. His immense desire to please Her had morphed into a compulsion to follow Her and obey Her to an extent that his mind literally bent to her Will. His current incapacity to ejaculate was a manifestation of his need to not disappoint Her. His ability to suppress his gag reflex when She stuck her fingers down his throat for a kinky blowjob lesson came from his dedication to succeed for Her. On the surface they seemed like miracles. Underneath, Tom could discern her uncanny skill and the logical means She applied to achieve them - and that She would apply to train him.

You'll learn the incredible power of devotion and use it to attain your dreams. And achieve my Love.

It seemed obvious that ascending the difficult path to ambition would require devotion. But She added a twist in the path -- that it was actually devotion to Her that would enable his achievements. Sophie had dangled her Love as the ultimate carrot for him, her little rabbit.

Yet the stick was also there, quietly at the ready.

I may appear suddenly and punish you for no apparent reason.

Tom reached up and felt his cheek, still warm from her hard slap earlier, a rebuke for his passive acceptance of his lackluster condition. She could wield the carrot and the stick, sugar and spice, as equally effective tools in changing him.

...you'll come spontaneously to the conclusion that you always needed my discipline and motivation and all that I've shared with you will suddenly make sense.

If not yet making sense, he was at least beginning to piece together the method to her madness. From the moment he met Her, She began poking and prodding to discern his deepest fears and desires. With each emotional signal uncovered, She skillfully amplified the volume, pushing him to his limits, learning him, softening him to her next manipulations. When he caught glimpses of her Power before, he thought he understood. But in his freed mind he could now see how truly awesome it was and how little he actually comprehended.

I know my own Power. It scares even Me sometimes.

He thought She was being dramatic when She said it - but She was dead serious. Everything until now had been a prelude, breaking him in, preparing him for this moment and the future that lay beyond. He thought of the ache in his balls, increasing throughout the day as She took him repeatedly over the edge, each time suppressing his seed; like a can of soda, shaken repeatedly, primed to burst. Her mental shackle had seemed almost supernatural. Yet it now looked like a parlor trick compared to what She purported to be capable of. The red envelope promised a revelation of her true Power.

Tom sighed and looked at the five-minute timer Sophie had set on his phone.

3:15

Everything in him wanted to choose red.

Red = Love

His greatest ambitions. Sophie's affection.

Red = Danger

Unthinkable sacrifice.

He sighed in apprehension. He couldn't be impulsive. Impulsiveness had been part of his downfall. He had to think rationally and give due consideration to the alternative.

Blue = Tranquility

Was his life today really that bad? A good income. A nice house. A fast car. A pretty wife. A happy daughter. He had the American dream. And with it he could even have a small taste of Sophie's excitement for the next few months.

Blue = Sadness

But was it enough? The sky had once been his limit, but like Icarus, he had flown too close to the sun. Back on earth, he had worked hard and overcome obstacles, just to climb back up a small hill of respectability. Was he satisfied on that hill? Or could happiness only be found on the Mountain?

And could a teenager truly help him climb it? Her actions and achievements to date gave him no reason to doubt. Yet She was so young...there was so much She couldn't yet know, so much She couldn't have possibly done before. There was no question She had experience influencing other people. But he would almost certainly be the first person She would try to magically elevate in this way. That would make him her guinea pig.

Or perhaps rabbit-in-a-hat would be more apropos, he chuckled to himself.

And why? Why him? Why anyone at all? For the simple thrill of a successful "project"? Or was there something more? Perhaps She saw her own career aspirations accelerated through him? Possibly, but with her immense talents it seemed like She could achieve anything She wanted, with or without him.

And did the reason matter? Should her motive be important to him if She saw her project through to successful completion?

2:28

Tom closed his eyes. It seemed crazy to accept the control of a teenager to reshape his life. Maybe the answer was to stand up and walk away? Forget the envelopes. Answer her craziness with some coolheaded sanity. Take back control of his life. Yes!

Then he remembered her leverage. A video of him getting a blowjob from her 18-year-old volleyball teammate Gina. And the potential for legal troubles over the man She beat to a pulp, a possible felony the police wanted to pin on him. For those two things alone, he depended on her largesse and cunning.

And then he considered the undeniable excitement. In the stoic chill of his logic, memories of emotion and pleasure were reduced to fact. But the fact was, he'd never before experienced the level of thrills She imparted on him. The touch of her feet and fingers to his cock was electric. The sensation of his face buried in her breasts, sublime. The feeling of inferiority next to her Amazonian frame and mystifying genius, pure submission. The euphoria of being lifted by her muscular body, forced into complete dependency on Her, levitating in defiance of gravity. Majestic.

Tom opened his eyes and to his surprise saw the bartender Jezebel across from him, perched on top of the thick partition separating his booth from the next. The small twenty-something woman smiled broadly, showing a full mouth of straight teeth. Her goth-like appearance remained, yet there was something different about her. Her fingers trailed along the partition and he noticed her black-painted nails were long, almost claw-like. He glanced at her heavy metal t-shirt and observed it was vintage, displaying a wild image of Ted Nugent from his "Cat Scratch Fever" concert tour. The most prominent tattoo on her right arm was of a smiling feline.

"Hello, Jezebel," said Tom with hesitation, unsure of her intentions.

Jezebel's grin widened further. He noticed she had on a headband that wasn't there before, with two small pointed cat ears projecting up from her dark hair.

"I don't suppose you have an opinion on which envelope I should choose," Tom continued, somewhat in jest.

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said Jezebel.

"Well, I'm not entirely certain..." said Tom.

"Then it doesn't matter which you choose," said Jezebel.

"As long as I'm happy," Tom added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to be happy," said Jezebel. "It's more a question of how happy...and for how long."

"Which would you choose, then?" asked Tom incredulously, not expecting her to understand but grateful for someone to talk to.

"Oh, I would certainly choose red," said Jezebel.

"But wouldn't it be crazy to entrust my entire life to a teenager?" asked Tom, surprised by her definitive response.

"But knowing what you know, wouldn't you be mad not to?" said Jezebel, then she continued. "Either way, you're quite mad for being in this situation."

"I've never thought of myself as mad," said Tom.

"Oh, you can't help that," said Jezebel, "we're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."

"Now you're not making much sense," said Tom.

"Of course not," said Jezebel. "But our Homecoming Queen makes complete sense. I think you know that."

"Well, She does certainly drive me mad," said Tom.

"Well, then you should certainly choose red," said Jezebel.

Tom glanced down at the timer and envelopes.

1:05

He looked back up and Jezebel was gone. For some reason it troubled him that she was no longer there to help him. He stared again at the table.

0:52

"By the way, how did it feel to be lifted in the air by Her like that?" asked Jezebel, her grinning face reappearing from the next booth, looking around the side of the partition.

"Absolutely incredible," said Tom without hesitation. "You know, you're right. I have to choose red."

Jezebel purred, seemingly with envy, and disappeared again behind the partition. How well did she really know Sophie? Something seemed oddly familiar about their conversation. Curiosity overtook him. Tom slid out of his seat and walked around on his sock-clad feet to Jezebel's booth. When he arrived she was no longer there.

He turned back to look at his table. The blue envelope was gone. The timer on his phone was turned off. The red envelope lay at the end of the table beside a piece of white paper with words written in impeccable calligraphy.

"EAT ME"

On the paper lay a red pill. A mortar and pestle were imprinted on it, with what appeared to be flames coming up from the miniature bowl. A hand touched his waist, causing him to jump.

"Did you say red, or dread?" asked Jezebel.

"I said red," replied Tom. "And I wish you wouldn't keep appearing and vanishing like that. I'm nervous as it is."

"All right," said Jezebel, backing slowly away, "by the way, if anything is too much tonight, you need only say 'it's too much for me' and it all will end."

"That seems too easy," said Tom.

"She'll never speak to you again, of course," said Jezebel, turning her back to him and slinking further away.

With a double take, he noticed she wore a striped cat tail, projecting from the waistline of her pants. She turned her head to look back and he saw the whiteness of her grin. It was the last part of her he saw before she faded into the shadows. How curious, he thought.

Tom turned back to the table. For a moment he wondered if She would poison him, then quickly dismissed the notion as absurd. He picked up the red pill and touched it to his tongue. Finding the taste rather pleasant (a sort of chalky mint), he put it in his mouth. He could feel it quickly dissolving and he swallowed the powdery remnants. Then he tore open the red envelope and withdrew a stiff red card, with more artfully written text.

"You're not invited..."

He turned it over and a hotel key card was taped to the back with no other writing. He removed the key and flipped it over, looking for signs of a room number. Nothing.

At first he thought he was the butt of a cruel joke, an ironic and unceremonious end to the titillating evening. Then he remembered one of the last things Sophie said.

Things won't be as they seem...Hot may be cold. Light may be dark...

Not invited may be invited, he realized.

But how would he know which room the key belonged to? He could test it in every door slot. But he surmised the hotel likely had over 100 rooms. And he couldn't risk wandering and running into his daughter, Lauren. Despite choosing red and accepting the potential for sacrifice, he wasn't about to throw caution to the wind. An idea struck him: perhaps the front desk could scan it and tell him the room number?

He picked up his things and turned to leave the bar, then he remembered he was missing his shoes. Walking to the dance floor with his socks periodically sticking to the ground, he scoured the area, but they were nowhere to be seen. Jezebel must have taken them, he realized. But she was nowhere to be seen either.

Left no choice, Tom strode out of the bar in his socks and into the carpeted lobby. He located the front desk and walked up to see a small, mousy-looking man sleeping in a chair behind the counter. Noticing a bell, Tom dinged it to get the clerk's attention. He awoke with a start.

"I wasn't asleep," he said in a hoarse, feeble voice, "I heard every word you were saying."

"But I didn't say anything," countered Tom.

The middle-aged clerk shook his head impatiently, and said, without opening his eyes, "Of course, of course; just what I was going to remark myself."

Tom sighed in puzzlement, trying to keep his cool, then said, "I was hoping I could get some assistance. You see, I have a room key but I'm afraid I can't remember my room number."

"Do you have some identification, sir?" asked the clerk, opening his eyes and standing up, revealing himself to be considerably shorter than Tom's 5'8".

"Um, not sure how that would make any difference but yes I do. Here," said Tom, handing the clerk his driver's license.

The clerk proceeded to type one letter on the keyboard, then remarked "D. Hmm, what begins with D?"

"Come on!" said Tom urgently, leaning over the desk with a frustrated look on his face. "Can't you just scan the key card to see which room it is?"

"If you can't be civil, you'd better figure it out for yourself," the clerk sulkily remarked.

"No, I'm sorry, please go on with what you're doing," Tom said very humbly, "I won't interrupt again."

"Besides, it doesn't work like that, unfortunately for you," said the clerk. "However, I seem to have something here. Indeed I..."

"Well, what is it?" said Tom, quite forgetting his promise.

"It appears you reserved a block of seven rooms tonight," said the clerk.

"Well that doesn't make any sense," said Tom in surprise.

Then he thought for a moment. Would Lauren have booked rooms for all her friends without asking him? His anger rose. But it wouldn't have been like her to do that. With a jolt he recalled that Sophie had memorized his American Express card number. This was part of her plan. His temper calmed. He couldn't be mad at Sophie.

"The rooms are all checked in already," said the clerk, handing Tom back his driver's license and key card. "I can't know for sure which one your key is for."

He settled back into his chair and closed his eyes.

"Well then, what are the room numbers?" said an exasperated Tom.

"You only asked for one room number," said the clerk with a yawn.

"Well I'm asking for seven now," said Tom.

"That's a lot more to ask," replied the clerk, nodding his head forward to resume his nap. "You should have said what you meant."

"I meant what I said," replied Tom.

"That's not the same thing a bit!" said the clerk with his eyes still closed. "You might just as well say 'I breathe when I sleep' is the same thing as 'I sleep when I breathe'!"

"It is the same thing with you," said Tom, and here the conversation dropped, and the two sat silent for a minute.

"Is there anything I can do to help you change your mind?" said Tom, his patience about to run thin.

"Now why would I want to change my mind?" said the clerk. "It's perfectly good the way it is. At least I think so."

"Then it shouldn't be so hard for you to look up the room numbers," said Tom, trying to work with the man's strange logic.

The clerk took a minute or two to think about a response, and then said, "I guess you're right. Your rooms are 622 to 628..."

But Tom didn't wait to hear more as he took off at a run for the elevator. As he arrived and pushed the button, he visualized the door opening with Lauren staring back at him in dismay. He quickly changed course for the stairs. With a sense of purpose in finally having a destination, he bounded up the flights as quickly as he could, becoming winded by the third floor. Slowing down, he eventually slogged his way up to the sixth floor exit and stopped to rest a moment.
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Pub: Mar 13 2021 16:54 UTC
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