“Yes, ma’am, I understand.” You stammer the words, snapped out of your stressed out rebellion by her intensity. Grisham is nobody to mess with. You get the distinct impression that she will take things as far as they need to go in order to get your obedience, and you don’t want to play that game of chicken with your ass – or any other part of your body.
Her hard gaze softens. “Good,” she says, loosening her grip and lowering you to the floor. “I know this is scary for you. I know you haven’t had the training you need yet, but you’re going to get it. All you need to do is do as I say. It’s simple. Okay?”
“Okay,” you agree as your feet touch the floor again. You avoid Grisham’s gaze, feeling a little embarrassed at your own behavior, and a little scared of her capacity to punish you. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re scared, and when you’re scared, you get bratty,” Grisham says. “That’s fine, but it has consequences. Painful ones.”
“Yes, ma’am,” you nod. It’s been another hard day and you are truly exhausted. The trouble really never seems to end, and now Grisham’s telling you it’s far deeper than you imagined. “I just… I don’t know what’s so wrong with me,” you say softly.
“Nothing is wrong with you,” Grisham says, frowning slightly. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, I worked my ass off my whole life practically to get into the academy, and now, it’s all…” you take a deep breath and try not to cry from despair. “Terra’s left me here and I don’t know anybody and you’re saying I could be in danger, and… it’s too much.”
“You’re right,” Grisham says, reaching for you and drawing you into a warm hug. Her strong arms wrap around you, her broad body providing emotional shelter as you bury your face in her breast. “It’s a lot for anyone to take in, and hopefully I’m wrong. But I don’t think so. Your unit isn’t even marked as being here on our intake register. That’s enough to raise a whole factory of red flags. I don’t want to scare you, but you’re definitely wrapped up in something unregistered. But there’s some good news.”
“What?” You look up at her with watery eyes.
“You’ve got me on your side now,” she says. “I don’t like seeing cadets taken advantage of. I don’t like losing green units. It’s not right, and it should only ever be an absolute last resort. I’m going to look out for you. As long as you keep your nose clean with me, you’ll be okay.”
You nod, sniffing back the tears you didn’t quite cry.
“You look wrecked,” Grisham says, stepping back from you and letting her gaze run up and down your body. “You haven’t been looked after properly.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Soldiers trade something for their obedience,” she says. “Especially young, green ones. In return for putting your life in the hands of your commanding officer, you get looked after – or made to look after yourself. It’s the same thing really. You’ve got dark circles under your eyes from far more than one night without proper sleep, and your fingernails are ridged – that tells me you don’t sleep properly or eat properly, and I already know you don’t know how to take care of your uniform, or wear it correctly.”
“I’m trying,” you say, feeling embarrassed and more than a little defensive.
“You might be trying,” Grisham says. “But trying only goes so far. You need direction and discipline. If we had any green units here, I’d put you in with them, but we don’t. So you’re stuck with me.”
You smile a little. Being stuck with Grisham isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s kind of nice. She’s taking a really personal, detailed interest in you that nobody, not even Terra has so far. Grisham seems to notice almost everything. Every look, every hair out of place, every breath.
“Take your shirt off and lay on the bed, face down,” she says suddenly.
You blush as you comply, your fingers reluctantly unbuttoning your uniform blouse. Undressing yourself in front of Grisham makes you feel embarrassed and hot and… well, a lot of things. Her eyes stay on you as you do her bidding, revealing your bra clad upper body.
“Lay down,” she says, pointing to the bed. “On your stomach. Take the boots off first.”
You do as you’re told, laying on the bed. Your butt feels very vulnerable, but as she moves onto the bed above you, it’s not your bottom she’s interested in for once. Instead, her hands go to your back and begin moving over it in a slow massaging motion which draws a moan of sheer relaxation from you.
“This isn’t standard protocol,” Grisham admits as her warm hands massage along the length of your back. “But this isn’t a standard situation, and you need to relax. You’re wound far too tight right now, and it’s getting you into trouble.”
After a few moments, her fingers unsnap your bra, giving her fingers free reign from your tailbone to the nape of your neck. Grisham is good at massage, you discover, the pressure firm enough to be effective, but not so hard as to hurt.
You can’t help but begin to unwind underneath the slow ministrations, so different from any you’ve received so far. Grisham’s touch is intimate, but it’s not sexual. She’s not asking for anything from you, not even your desire. It’s enough to just be in the moment with her, to be yourself. It’s been a long time since you’ve felt free to do that, long before you joined the academy really. Ever since getting in, you’ve been desperately trying to prove yourself. But you don’t need to with Grisham. She makes you feel small sometimes, and a little bit inept, but she also makes it okay to be those things. She’s not expecting you to be anything other than what you are.
“That feels really nice,” you mumble into the blankets.
“Good,” Grisham says. “It’s nice to get a chance to put hands on you in a way that doesn’t involve making you cry yourself to sleep.”
“You like putting hands on me?” You can’t resist the question.
There’s a pause, then Grisham’s hand runs up to the back of your neck and tightens just enough around your nape to be exciting.
“You’re cute,” she drawls. “But you’re also at risk of getting yourself way out of your depth again, girl.”
You let out a little giggle. The kind of depths Grisham is talking about are ones you’d kind of like to explore, but that’s not on the agenda for the moment. Right now, she’s not doing anything but soothing you into a much more relaxed state in which obedience doesn’t feel like so much of a chore as it does a pleasure.