Bev tucked both grocery bags under one arm so that she could reach into her pocket for the keys. She fumbled with the lock for a moment before the door of the apartment sprang open. Readjusting the bags, she took them through to the kitchen, kicking the door closed behind her as she went. She heard it rattle the frame as it clicked into place.
She started unpacking; when she reached the tins of cat food, she called, "Duchess! I got your favourite!" She took one over to the mechanised can opener: Duchess usually appeared within seconds, though whether at the scraping sound or the smell, she was never quite sure.
By the time she had emptied the contents into Duchess's bowl and put it on the floor without Duchess herself having put in an appearance, she concluded that her cat must have gone hunting. Unusual for the day time, but not unheard of.
She finished unpacking the rest of the groceries and went to the lounge, imagining that she would hear the cat flap clattering open at some point.
She was certainly not expecting to see a woman stretched out on her back on the couch, stark naked and apparently completely unselfconscious about it.
"Who the hell are you?" she said.
"You're back!" the woman said. She leapt off the couch and crossed over to Bev. Bev tried to back away, but the burglar backed her into a corner and ... the only word to describe what happened next was nuzzled. The burglar nuzzled Bev, pushing against the side of her torso with her glossy black hair.
Bev tried her best to shrink away, her mind racing: Was this even a burglar? She was pretty sure a naked burglar would have made the news, and since when were burglars so hot? Was it legal to use force in a situation like this? Did she want to use force?
The burglar, or whatever she was, jumped back again just as suddenly. "OK, so where's the food?" she asked eagerly.
A strange suspicion began to form in the deepest recesses of Bev's mind. It took time for her to work up the courage to speak it aloud, but eventually she whispered, "Duchess?"
"Well, of course it's me! ... You haven't gone and got another cat while you were out, have you?"
"But, Duchess, you're human."
"I am?" The woman -- the woman who when Bev had left for the store an hour earlier had, supposedly, been a cat -- felt behind her, putting her hands on her buttocks with the same lack of self-consciousness that she had demonstrated throughout this strange encounter. "Huh, no tail. I did feel like my balance was a little wonky. Maybe I am human."
"But ... how?"
Duchess yelped in surprise. "That dream!"
"You had a dream?" Bev said. This whole business would make a lot more sense if she were the one dreaming, she thought, but she was as confident as she could be that she wouldn't. There were too many little details that made everything seem real: the way the dust danced in the shaft of sunlight sneaking through the gap in the curtains, the smell of the cat food in the kitchen starting to come in through the hallway, the after-impression of Duchess's head against her breast ...
Duchess -- and Bev found that she was beginning to really believe that it was Duchess -- was deep in thought. "Yes!" she announced suddenly. "I had a dream. Or maybe it was more of a vision, I don't know. But I do know that I received a boon from Bast."
"Bast, the Egyptian cat goddess Bast? That Bast?"
"You know another Bast? Of course that Bast. I must have done something very good in one of my previous eight lives to earn this." Duchess did a twirl in the middle of the room as though showing off a new outfit, her hair flying outwards as a result. "Ha!"
"It's a bit hard to explain ..." She began pacing around the room, occasionally shooting glances backwards at Bev over her shoulder. "It's as though I have to rerun all my old memories through my new human brain." She stopped pacing and headed straight for the door. "Anyway, never mind that for now. Hungry!"
Bev followed her the short distance to the kitchen. "Does it not bother you that you're naked?" she asked on the way.
"Never has before," Duchess said.
She seemed to be about to kneel down on the floor next to her bowl when she suddenly jumped backwards. "That smells disgusting." She looked at Bev accusingly. "Are you sure this is the right one?"
Bev picked up the empty can and thrust it in her face. Duchess crinkled her nose suspiciously and then, a moment later, shrugged. "Human nose must be different. By which I mean, worse. But yeah, I'm not eating that." She reached out with her foot to push the bowl into the corner. "So what are you going to cook for me?"
Bev did a double take. "I'm going to cook for you?"
"Well, it's not as though I've ever had lessons," Duchess said. "And, y'know, hungry!" She patted her stomach. "This is a lot bigger than it used to be. And I would assume being magically transformed is kind of draining."
"OK, OK, I'll cook!" Bev said. "You're getting pasta. Nothing fancy. But I promise that it won't smell disgusting."
Duchess hopped up onto the counter to watch the process, seemingly fascinated. Bev tried not to stare at her, but it was becoming difficult not to.
"Are you going to be naked all the time?" she asked as she put the pan on to boil.
"I hadn't really thought about it," Duchess said. "Why?"
"It's ... a bit distracting," Bev said. "A lot distracting, if I'm honest. Maybe I should go and get you something from the wardrobe."
"I think your clothes would probably be a little large for me," Duchess said after a moment. "And I think I like being naked."
Bev kept her eyes firmly fixed on the cooking. She didn't want to think about how alluring she was finding the round curves of Duchess's breasts, or the plumpness of her thighs. The whole situation was too bizarre to deal with being attracted to her on top of everything else.
"How long do you think it will last? Your ... transformation?" Once everything was back to normal, it would all be fine. She could just spend the rest of her life quietly ignoring the fact that she'd been turned on by her cat in human form.
"Pretty sure Bast said it was permanent," Duchess said off-handedly. "I dunno, bit hard to remember a cat dream with a human brain. But I suppose by the end of the dream I probably was human, so maybe that's why ... Oh wow!"
Duchess had jumped down from the counter and was pacing again. "What is it?" Bev asked.
Duchess laughed. "I'm remembering more now. I don't think Bast was granting the boon to me at all. I mean, she was, obviously. Here I am, human Duchess. But I think maybe Hathor or somebody leaned on her to do it."
"I don't understand," Bev said. "I was perfectly happy with you being a cat. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if I didn't prefer it. And since when would 'Hathor or somebody' take an interest in me?"
"Oh yes," Duchess said, "I was quite the perfect feline companion. But I think their divine majesties decided I'd be even better for you as a human one ..." She snuggled up behind Bev and hugged her tight, which made stirring rather difficult.
"What are you saying?"
"You used to tell me things," Duchess whispered. "Back when I was just your sweet little cat who you could talk to about anything when you were alone. About why things went wrong with all those girls--"
"Three long-term relationships in two years is not 'all those girls'," Bev said.
"Shhh," Duchess said. "But I do remember what you told me, about how they all seemed to be attracted to Big Strong Bev who could take control. When that was the exact opposite of what you wanted." She reached up and ran her finger along Bev's cheek.
"You're going to have to let go of me if you want there to be any sauce on this pasta," Bev said stiffly, trying to ignore the prickling sensation all over her skin at Duchess's words.
"You see, you're already waiting on me hand and foot," Duchess said teasingly, withdrawing to the other side of the kitchen.
Bev rooted in the vegetable rack for a fresh pepper, then began cutting it into chunks with rather more force than was strictly necessary.
"You know it's true," Duchess said. "You were the one who gave me my name, after all. Very little would have to change. You would feed me, and ... stroke me." Bev could imagine exactly the way in which Duchess was smiling even with her back turned. She was infuriated with herself for the way that the mental image sent a thrill down her spine, triggering further mental images: that grinning, almost smug, face looking down at her as she knelt on the floor in front of her ...
Duchess wasn't finished, though. "And some things would be the same in principle, even if the details would change. You could be my furniture ... In a rather different way to when I used to stretch out on your lap, though. And raking my nails down your back would sort of be the same as when I used to use your leg as a scratching post, wouldn't it?"
"Damn it, Duchess ..." Bev growled.
And then, she pounced, pulling Bev away from the chopping board. "Admit it, you want to be mine," she said, standing on tip toe to whisper in Bev's ear. "You already are."
"Yes," Bev said, her heart pounding, skin flushed with sweat. "I want it more than anything."
"Then who are we to argue with the gods?" Duchess said. "You will make such a pretty pet for me. Oh, such a very pretty pet." She let go, stepped back, her tone instantly becoming easygoing and everyday. "When will the food be ready?"
"About five more minutes," Bev said. "If you let me get on with it."
"I can see you need a lesson in manners," Duchess said. "But it will have to wait. I'm getting hungrier and hungrier, and I don't want anything to delay being fed further." A lesson in manners? What did Duchess mean by that? Bev didn't let herself think about that one too hard. "I'll go and wait in the other room; you can bring it through as soon as it's ready."
"Oh, and I expect when you come in that you're going to be naked!" Duchess shouted through.
Bev flushed at the thought, but couldn't deny the appeal. It was only the practicalities of avoiding splashing hot liquids while she finished preparing the meal that stopped her from stripping right away. As it was, she drained the pasta, quickly prepared two plates and only then stripped. Despite her mounting arousal, some instinct made her fold her clothes neatly and place them on a clear space at the side.
She picked up the plates, quickly shoved a fork into each, and took them through to Duchess, who made no secret of looking her up and down with an appraising gaze as she entered. "Good girl," Duchess said finally. "Now, let's eat. I really am very hungry."
"You might have mentioned that once or twice," Bev said, putting the plate in front of Duchess. She placed her own down on the opposite side of the small table.
"What do you think you're doing?" Bev's confusion must have shown in her face. Duchess smiled broadly. "Pets eat off the floor, my dear."
Bev nodded mutely. There was just the slightest hint of fear -- what have I gotten myself into? -- mixed in with the sensations that flooded through her body as she placed her plate down on the floor by Duchess's feet and knelt in front of it. But the overriding ones were the way her whole body felt as though it was thrumming with arousal, and even more than that a sense of rightness, that she was, finally, at very long last, where she belonged.
Duchess reached down and took the fork away. "Pets don't use utensils, either, my dear," she observed.
Bev gulped, but set herself to the task of eating the meal by shovelling food straight into her mouth with an eagerness she would never have expected.
Above her, Duchess said, "Hmm, this is very tasty. You have done well." She felt Duchess's foot rub against her back. "And you do look very, very good down there. I'm sure I'll let you earn back your eating at the table privileges eventually, but there might be times when I just want to see you like this."
"Yes, Duchess," Bev said between mouthfuls.
"Now that's a more respectful attitude, well done."
Bev went back to eating, but was distracted by Duchess's obvious subtext: she hadn't forgotten what she'd said about Bev needing a lesson in manners.
She found out what form that lesson was to take while she was washing up in the kitchen on Duchess's orders. She had thrown away the untouched bowl of cat food and was washing up the plates when she heard Duchess approach from behind. "Keep going," she said, and so Bev did, even as Duchess sank her teeth into the flesh just below her shoulder blade. If she had still had her feline teeth, Bev suspected that she would have drawn blood. At the same time, she roughly grabbed hold of Bev's ass and sank her nails into it.
Bev had to let the plate slide back into the washing up water to grip hold of the side of the counter.
Duchess dug her nails in even further, but began to make small nips all across Bev's back. The other shoulder. Down below her ribs. The nape of her neck. "You're mine," she said finally, and Bev knew that it was true, that she was being claimed.
Duchess stepped back and spoke lightly, her movements as sudden and her moods as mercurial as ever. "This is what you wanted, isn't it, my dear? To be my pet?"
"Oh, yes, Duchess," Bev said earnestly. "More than anything." The admission was both the most difficult and the easiest one she'd ever had to make.
"Well, then, here are the ground rules," Duchess said. "Actually ... I think you should kneel down for this."
Bev turned to face Duchess and sank to her knees. Duchess bent down slightly and stroked her cheek. "Oh yes, good girl, you are a very good pet," she said. Then she stood up again, more businesslike. "Rule number one: I expect you to keep me in the same standard of luxury as you did when I was your pet. It will be your responsibility to deal with all of that tedious human 'work' and 'money' and so on. The great goddess did not elevate me for a life of drudgery." Bev wasn't sure that anyone else would count sharing a small apartment counted as "luxury", but then Duchess had a unique perspective. "Rule number two: whenever you are here at home, you will be naked, as you are now. Well, perhaps we might get you a collar. It's a pity my old one wouldn't fit you, in a way." Bev thrilled at the idea, could imagine now the leather around her neck, the little tag hanging from it: "property of Duchess". "And whenever you are not following instructions I have already given you," Duchess went on, "you will kneel in front of me, just as you are now, and ask how you may please me."
"Yes, Duchess," Bev said, the breathy excitement in her own voice surprising her despite knowing how turned on she was by all this. "How may I please you, Duchess?"
"You can finish listening to the rules," Duchess said with a smile.
"Of course, Duchess, sorry, Duchess."
"Rule number three-- Oh wait, are you doing that on purpose? That should be a rule. Rule number three is that you must always address me as 'Duchess'. And rule number four, I mean the original rule number three, which is now rule number four: since you belong to me, your orgasms belong to me as well. Rule four-a: you must not come without permission. Rule four, part two: if I order you to come, you must do so, immediately. I imagine you'll need some training on that one, we'll work on it."
Bev felt as though she was rooted to the spot. She had never shared her fantasy about being conditioned into coming on command, without any physical contact, with anyone. If she had harboured any remaining doubts that divine intervention was involved, they were quashed now.
"Rule number five: if you break any of the other rules, or otherwise show disrespect to your owner, or displease me in any way, you will be punished in a manner of my choosing."
"Yes, Duchess," Bev said.
Duchess broke into a smile. "Any questions?"
"Just one, Duchess." She readjusted her position so that she was kneeling slightly more upright. "How may I please you, Duchess?"
"Hmm," Duchess said. "I seem to remember spending a lot of time watching TV. Perhaps we should try that first." She clapped her hands as she walked through to the lounge; Bev followed, crawling, slightly perplexed.
"What was that show I used to enjoy?" Duchess said. "I remember there being a lot of bright colours and sparkles and everyone swishing around."
"I know the one you mean," Bev said. She fetched the remote from where she had abandoned it that morning and jabbed at the buttons.
"You'd better show me how this works," Duchess said. "You're not going to be able to do it for me while you're being my footstool, after all."
* * *
It felt as though Duchess had marathoned half a season of Dancing with the Stars before her attention wandered again, though in reality it was probably only an episode or two. Bev had knelt down on the floor for Duchess to rest her feet on, and had plenty of time to consider her situation. Her glorious, wonderful, ever-so-slightly terrifying situation. She was painfully conscious of how wet she was, how much she ached for Duchess to use her completely, even as she was excited by being used in such an offhand way as nothing more than a piece of furniture.
Eventually, though, Duchess did get bored. Bev felt the weight on her back disappear as she swung her legs off. "Follow me," Duchess said. "Time to begin your training, I think."
Bev crawled behind her to the bedroom. "Lie on the bed," Duchess instructed. "No, face up," she clarified when she saw that Bev had prostrated herself.
Bev felt exposed to Duchess's view more completely than she had at any point before. She was pleased to see Duchess smiling. "Oh, my pet," she said. And then, she pounced on top of her in one smooth movement, so that she was straddling her, her hands going everywhere on Bev's torso, squeezing her breasts, pinching her nipples, pushing down against her abs. "Aren't I lucky, that all of this belongs to me?" And then she slid one hand further down. "You're so wet for me, aren't you, pet?"
"I've been wet for hours, Duchess," Bev said.
Duchess gave a slow, slow smile. "I know." She used her middle finger to draw tight circles around Bev's throbbing clit. "What was rule three?" she said.
"I must always address you as 'Duchess', Duchess," Bev said.
"Oh, yes, that's right. Rule four, then."
"My orgasms are yours, Duchess," Bev said. "I must not come without permission. I must come when ordered."
"You've been wet for hours," Duchess said. "You must be close."
"Very close, Duchess," Bev said. Realising what was going on, she added, "Please may I come, Duchess?"
"No, pet, not yet," Duchess said. "You must not come. If you come I'll have to punish you." She continued to stroke Bev's clit, and it felt as though she was doomed to fail at the very first attempt. But just as she was about to hit the point of no return, Duchess moved her finger downwards so that it slid inside her. She began to pump it in and out, quickly adding another, and then another, until she had all four fingers inside her, and all that Bev could think was that she wanted even more.
That, and that she was very close to coming. "Please may I come, Duchess?" she gasped.
"No, pet, not yet," Duchess said. And as she spoke, she withdrew her hand again and returned to stimulating her clit. It was slightly less sensitive than it had been when Duchess had broken off before, but not by much, and quickly she felt herself approaching orgasm again.
"Please may I come, Duchess?" It was more of a moan than a plea.
"No, pet, not yet," Duchess said, and switched over to fisting her again, this time not bothering to add fingers one at a time but simply sliding them all inside her instantly. Bev felt her wet pussy spasm around Duchess's hand and felt certain she was about to come without permission at the sudden stimulation, but she managed to hold it at bay.
It wasn't long, though, before she was begging again, and Duchess was refusing her permission again. Bev lost all track of time as the game continued, Duchess switching what she was doing each time Bev asked to be allowed her orgasm. The whole time, Duchess stared down at her, locking her eyes on Bev's, with the look of a predator toying with its prey.
Bev had never been more turned on in her life. As Duchess slid her hand inside her yet again, she whispered a short prayer of thanks to Bast, Hathor, or whoever else, for delivering her from a lifetime of unsatisfying encounters with women who had never been able to understand what they could have had, what had been theirs for the taking if they'd only done so.
"Asking for permission again, pet?" Duchess said.
"No, Duchess," Bev said.
"Clever girl," Duchess said. "I am going to let you come, you see. But not when you beg for it, when I decide it's time. You're going to learn to associate the feeling of me making you come with hearing me order you to, until you come from my voice alone."
Bev felt her orgasm building, and bit her lip to stop herself begging permission yet again. But what if this was another game Duchess was playing with her? What if she was about to come without permission, and be punished? Could she bear it? But no, she had to trust Duchess. This was all part of her training.
Duchess began to piston her hand in and out, faster and faster, until Bev's entire world narrowed to the sensations in her pussy and the look Duchess was giving her, boring into her eyes. "Come for me, pet," she said finally. "Come for me now."
As Bev's orgasm crashed through her, she screamed involuntarily at the release of so much tension. Her screams faded to whimpers and moans as Bev collapsed on top of her. "Good girl," she said. "Very good girl."
"Thank you, Duchess," Bev said. "Thank you for everything."
Duchess stroked her hair. "We are going to have such fun, you and I. Such fun." She leaned down to kiss Bev's forehead.
"How may I ... how may I please you, Duchess?" Bev said, but even as she spoke she knew she was falling asleep.
"There'll be plenty of time for that in the morning," Duchess said. "And every day after that. For now, just rest. Just go to sleep, my beautiful pet."
Bev fell asleep to Duchess's soft murmurings in her ear.