One of the biggest struggles with writing people in a romantic relationship is also finding the pieces that make up both of them and figuring out what slots with what and what particular faults and virtues they each have. How do you stop characters from blending into each other and becoming indistinct?
The aim of this particular story, from a writing perspective, is to write the perspective of two people who probably aren’t considered good necessarily in the regular sense, but are still protagonists and can get the audience to root for them. I enjoy a good story where my protagonists’ morality align with my own and all, but I also yearn for more from my stories.
Too often a narrative tries to justify a character or reframe them as something they are not. This one isn’t really an attempt to do that. It’s more to say that this is what happens when two people don’t let the world push them around, and instead push the world together. That, if anything, is the driving force behind the ‘Cruel’ tag.
I’m expecting this one to be 4-5 chapters and already have the second chapter written. It merely needs to undergo editing and betaing. This post will be updated with a link to it once it is uploaded.
(I say this knowing I have another WIP I’ve neglected and fully acknowledge needing to get right back to)
As always, constructive criticism is welcome. Queries and observations as well.
General Story Warnings: giant couple, NSFW, MF/f, MF/m, MF/mf, growth, shrink, cruel, insertion, oral sex, humiliation, domination, noncon, clothes ripping, sexist slurs, former bullying and harassment, language, alcohol use, pain, established relationship.
Chapter Specific Warnings: established relationship, instant shrinking, shrunken woman, domination, sexist slurs, F/f, former bullying and harassment, slight cruelty.
Estimated Reading Time: 17 minutes
Maya never said much about her high school experience. Judging by the growing coil of tension in her shoulders as they passed a balloon archway there was a reason for that.
The gym was like any other out there: azure painted walls, high ceilings full of trapped discards balls, the sour tang of fear that followed every dodgeball class, and worn beige rubber flooring reeking of dried sweat. White track lines circled the various courts and someone had opened the windows along the upper perimeter to air out the inside. If nothing else, Hazel appreciated the fresh air. Bleachers pushed back against the wall opened up the reception area even more.
Hazel didn’t look up, despite his instincts. Tall ceilings called to his senses with silent challenges, and he already had a hard time staying within the realm of heights on a normal outing.
“You all right there?” Maya said, coming to his side after escaping conversation with the event’s photographer. “If this is too much, we can head back.”
Hazel exhaled, releasing the power he’d gathered with an effort of will. He focused on her instead.
She wore a simple strapless navy dress that showed off her pale calves and she’d done something with her chestnut hair to catch his attention every time her curls bounced. Light makeup drew attention to eyes the color of rain clouds and cheekbones he loved to trace whenever she was small.
Maya noticed his staring. “What? Is there something in my teeth?”
“Nah, just in love.” He grinned.
She pushed him, her small hand strong against his chest in his cinder gray suit. A delightful curl of pink sprouted up her neckline. It was Hazel’s favorite color in the world.
“Jerk,” she said, avoiding his eyes. “Don’t drop stuff like that on me out of the blue. You know I’ve been stressing about tonight.”
All he thought was ‘cute’, even as he answered, “Yes, dear.”
“I’m serious.” Maya looked at the already sizable crowd. People were still filtering in through the gold and silver balloon arch over the entrance, all of them stopping to pose for the photographer. Forecast predicted a cramped dance floor for the night. “I don’t even know why we came to this thing.”
“Because you wanted to show off to your old high school friends how well you’re doing?”
“I wanted to show you off.” She scrunched her nose. “Sorry, that sounds like I’m using you.”
“Don’t be,” he assured, before leaning in and whispering in her ear, “After this morning, I’d say you using me would be completely fair.”
Maya shivered and took a purposeful step back from him. “You’re incorrigible.”
Hazel chuckled and gave a showy bow. “At your service.”
The tension lining her shoulders faded.
A raucous set of high-pitched squeals and giggles pierced the early event hush, prompting everyone with a working set of ears to look over. A group of women hovered around the entrance, jumping up and down, clutching each other tight enough to leave bruises.
“Nope.” Maya muttered, “I am not dealing with her. Not tonight.”
“Friend of yours?” The thrum and pulse from the deejay’s selection rose and reverberated through the reception, but he still heard the women talking. Well, yelling.
“Ten years was too short,” Maya continued from earlier, to herself. “Twenty year reunion would’ve been better. Maybe thirty. Fuck, might as well even do fifty.” She was getting too deep in her own head again.
Hazel pulled her into a hug, his broad arms wrapping around her and pinning her movements. She tensed and then relaxed, falling into the embrace after a second. She was a bird, small in every sense compared to him, awkward and petite, but still free in his arms.
He let her go, but not before squeezing more reassurances into her shoulders.
“Thanks.” She’d added purple highlights, and that combined with the dimmer lighting of the gym made her ethereal.
“Anytime. Want to talk about it?”
“Not a chance.” She resumed her rubbernecking, looking over at the gaggle of women with a sullen focus.
Hazel nearly asked her who she was looking for when she jerked and did an about-face.
“Come on,” she said, ushering him away and toward the drinks table.
“O… kay?” Maya was a hair above five two, almost a foot shorter than him, but Hazel let her drag him away. “Want to tell me what’s going on?”
“Not a chance,” she said tersely. “Just someone I haven’t talked to in a while. I want to keep it that way.”
Hazel thought the point of a high school reunion was to talk to people you hadn’t seen in years, but who was he to judge? He’d skipped out on his own last year. “Maya?”
She didn’t respond and kept pulling him away.
They passed a group of loud hooting men, who Hazel could only assign the roles of former football team members in his head. They had the same stances and overall shape. Some wore suits, but most just sported their nicest pants and what Hazel could only call car salesmen ties. Boisterous, arrogant, each of them looked like extras for B-list action movies.
One took notice and pointed at Maya. “Hey, ain’t that Slutty Mary’s girl?”
Maya froze in her tracks. War drums burst to life in Hazel’s ears, but he’d promised he wouldn’t do anything without her say so. Tonight was her night.
“Shit man, no way.”
“Can’t be she’s way too—”
“No!” said the idiot. This one had a neck like a Mack pickup, and a sunburnt balding pate. “She’s too clean. You guys remember her, yeah? She always had really oily hair and looked fuckin’ gross, like she was sick or something. And she was blonde.”
One of his buddies elbowed him, grinning like a sleaze. “You would know wouldn’t ya? South stairwell, right? How was she?”
The two men engaged in a shoving match more akin to something from Animal Planet.
Maya’s shoulders bunched up. Her face lowered so her bangs shadowed her face and she let go of Hazel’s hand. The war drums in his ears faded to make way for explosions.
“—sides, you remember what happened to her, right? She got sent up to St. Carson’s after that shit with Mr. Tannen—”
Hazel side-eyed them, a not-human snarl rising his throat. His power waited, drifting just below the surface of his skin, ready to answer his call if he so wished. One snap of his fingers and the former football star would lose at least six inches after tonight. If Hazel was generous.
But Mr. Stereotype wasn’t a priority.
“Maya,” Hazel whispered, coming up beside her and putting a hand on her shoulder. “What gives? Come on, talk to me, love.”
“It’s nothing,” she said, not facing him. He could hear the tears building up.
“Don’t sound like nothing.” He stepped in front of her, grabbed her hands, and opted for a tactic that never failed to garner a reaction. “Come on, you and me. On top of the world, remember?”
It wasn’t just a cheesy line. It was an invitation.
She snorted. “We’re in public.”
He grinned and lifted her chin. “Never stepped us before.”
“Those were empty fields and forests. Far away from others.” She still looked to the side, ashamed.
“I mean, yeah, at the start.” Hazel conceded her point with a nod. “Not sure how anything can be far when we get to that size though. Are you saying you haven’t thought about it tonight?” His eyes cut over to the group of simpletons engaging in another verbal dick-measuring contest. “Or what about the opposite? Anyone you feel could be more humble?”
She choked out a laugh and stopped averting his gaze.
There were tears in her eyes. The Jackass over there just got promoted to Supreme Jackass. His power bristled, irritated at the leash holding it back, but Hazel held on. There were benefits to patience.
“Not tonight,” Maya said, seeing his expression. She looked over at the group of men, who’d moved on in topic, heedless of her actual state after being called out. “We’re not doing that tonight, not yet anyway. I wanted to bring you here, dance with you, and maybe catch up with some old friends.”
He wondered if she caught the ‘yet’ she added in the middle there.
“So I’m guessing not mister football captain over there?”
“No, god no.” Maya gave him a curious look. “How’d you know Tyler was captain?”
“Too much of a cliché,” Hazel answered wryly. “That and they’re all wearing their team rings. Not to mention… ”
“Not to mention?” she pressed.
“It’s not a nice answer.”
Maya stepped in close, wrapping her arms around his midsection. Despite their different statures, Hazel got weak-kneed response every time she did this. Clearly, her mood had improved.
“I didn’t marry you because you’re nice,” Maya said. The tightness in her face slackened. “I married you because you’re mine.”
He saw the echoes of her laughter from earlier that day, when she’d spent it in his boxers being a brat, all while he tossed her around with ease. Despite their difference in power, he would have no one else at his side. From the second she walked into his life, he was completely and utterly fucked. In more ways than one.
“Fine, fine.” He rolled his neck and shrugged. If his suit was more snug along the shoulders, well, who would believe it other than Maya? “They just look like they peaked in high school.”
Maya slapped his arm, as if scolding him, but he didn’t miss the way her lips quirked upwards in the ghost of a smile.
“You’re going to be like this all night, aren’t you?” she mused. They found a solitary standing table already covered with the crumbs of cheap hors d’oeuvres. They stood on the outskirts, observing the gathering, apart and still within the growing throng of people. “Just being a complete nuisance. Hiding your little growth spurts whenever you think I won’t notice.”
His response was to put his hands on her waist and lift her. Maya yelped, squeaking at him to put her down. He spun her in the air, conscious of the eyes of every bystander, guest and organizer there. The music was now loud enough to drown out regular conversation, but a man spinning a woman like she was lighter than air attracted attention, music or not.
He put her down, having drifted several feet to the side, in the middle of the dance floor. Maya was laughing, breathless, that tantalizing, gorgeous pink blooming across her cheeks, asking him, daring him to do more.
“Guilty.” He tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. “Every time I see you getting down, I’ll be there, being a terrible influence.” He smirked. “Such as now, see anyone that ever pissed you off?”
“Of course.“ Maya raised a brow and grabbed him by the elbow, dragging him back to their spot on the outskirts. “There’s this guy: tall, dark-haired, lean, kind of scruffy, standing right next to me.”
“I like him already.”
“He’d be cute too, if he didn’t open his mouth.”
“Love you too, dear, but seriously—”
“Oh! My! God~! Maya?” cut in a voice. “Is that Maya Mendoza I see? C’mere girlfriend!”
Maya looked pained. Before he could react a willowy blonde wearing a peach, strapless dress weaved through the burgeoning crowd of alumni and all but yanked her into one of those hugs made to hurt.
“Oh sweetie!” said the woman, pulling back. She had the plastic smile Hazel would expect from a wax mannequin. “How ya been, you poor thing? Goodness me, when I heard you got sent up with the sisters at St. Carson’s I could not believe it! Y’know I was all for marching right on up there and givin’ ‘em a piece of my mind and—”
“Hi Chloe,” Maya said, interrupting her and extricating herself from the woman’s claws. “Good to see you too. Yeah, no, I didn’t get sent to Carson’s. I actually got into Corrain, funny enough. You remember, your first choice? Oh wait, you knew about that. I won that scholarship, after all.”
Chloe face twitched. It was an experience to watch, all nerves and muscles responding artificially to incorrect stimulus and somehow scrambling to form a response other than a sneer.
“How’s your mother, dear?” Chloe tried this time, her voice still sweet enough to give him diabetes. “Is she still trying to sleep her way onto City Council over in Clearwater Falls? You know no one’s going to vote for her after daddy exposed her business like that. After all, whores don’t know how to be anything but whores.”
Maya stared at the woman with a blank expression for a good thirty seconds. It was thirty seconds too long in Hazel’s opinion but it gave him plenty of time to unlock the mental seals and unlatch the door to his power. If someone had thought to, they’d notice the dry and static taste of a storm on the horizon.
“Hey Hazel?” Maya said, addressing him while staring Chloe down. “I change my mind. This one.”
For all that she reigned him in, Maya was the one who often jumped off that cliff first.
Hazel cracked his neck and took off his blazer. Stupid thing was expensive, and he didn’t want to chance mystical splashback. “How small?”
His raised his eyebrows, surprised despite the flint and matchstick nature of the situation. “Not sure if I should feel jealous or horny. She’s gonna be a yapper, judging by the bitchy chic dress.”
Maya’s smile sent shivers up his spine. “Good.”
“Excuse me, I am right here,” Chloe interjected. She sounded more irritated with being ignored than the insult. “Who the hell do you think you are, you little hussy, you can’t just—”
Hazel snapped his fingers. At the same time a thunderous boom coincidentally exploded from the speakers set up around the building, drawing everyone’s attention away from the sudden ‘pop’ of air rushing to fill a person-shaped vacuum.
A smaller ‘pop’ followed and there on the table in front of them stood a miniaturized version of Chloe. The woman stumbled as if drunk from the sudden displacement and now struggled to find her balance in a world much more unaccommodating of her than before.
“Wha… ?” Chloe looked around, supporting herself against an electric candle in the center of the table. It was about the size of a solo cup, but more than twice her height. “What’s going on?”
The pitch of her voice had risen. She was larger than he’d left Maya most of the day, but Maya was fond of nestling into his boxers when she was stressing out about something. She enjoyed it when he overwhelmed her body with the most casual of motions, mere breaths or unconscious twitches. It soothed her to be so close and so small.
Maya slammed her hand down on the table next to Chloe. The impact shook the surface and sent the tiny woman sprawling.
“Hey Chloe,” Maya drawled. “How’s it going, girlfriend?”
With one hand blocking any interloper’s view, she finger-walked her other hand over to the tiny woman. Chloe scrabbled back, squeaking, kicking uselessly with a set of heels whose material to cost ratio had just gone through the roof.
Hazel clenched and released a fist, feeling the cuff of his dress shirt pull at his wrist. He still wasn’t used to precision: his shirt was no longer snug, but painful, cutting into his circulation along his neck. Carefully, he released his cuffs, rolling the sleeves up his now bulging forearms and almost popping the top button from his shirt as he fiddled with it for some air.
“Careful,” Maya said, shooting his arms an appreciative glance before rounding back on the shrunken Chloe. “Any more of that and I’m not responsible for what I do to you.”
Without missing a beat she poked Chloe, knocking her down, and then pinning her to the tablecloth with a pinky. She rolled the woman around, back and forth, like a cat toying with its prey. It was a small action, but he saw from Chloe’s disheveled expression that this was most she’d ever been tossed around.
Fuck, he was getting hard just watching them.
The bottom of Chloe’s dress—a tight peach-colored sheath that looked good on her—ripped. It rode up her thigh as she continued a useless struggle against Maya’s hands. She took a breath during a break in the tussle, filled her lungs, and arched her back, readying for a scream fit for a final girl.
“Hush now.” Maya said, smirking, sapping little Chloe’s strength with just her words. She leaned her elbow on the table, hovering over Chloe like a gorgeous kaiju. One hand twirled a stray purple-tipped lock while the other came down again, pressing the tiny woman’s stomach with a finger. “For once in your life, you’re going to listen. Listen and behave.”
Chloe fought even harder. She couldn’t budge Maya’s finger.
“Is there anywhere we can go for a moment of privacy?” he asked Maya. The gym was almost full, and people were spreading out, joining up with old cliques and rediscovering how much or how little everyone moved with their lives. “I’m gonna need a moment to shrink down, and it’s getting kind of, uh, hard to focus watching you toy with her.”
Maya scooped Chloe into her palm.
“There’s always the southern stairwell.” Maya mused. She pinched Chloe around the middle between two fingers, squinting at the expression the little woman was making. “Bet you’d know all about it, wouldn’t you, Chlo? It’s kind of gross, though. Most schools are. How about the library?”
It was taking everything he had not to burst out of his clothes and that was only because he liked this outfit.
“Honey, we can go to a custodial closet for all I care. I just need to get out of here before I—” power surged and his shoes, once comfortable, encroached in on his feet like a bear trap. He groaned and failed to think small thoughts.
Maya blinked, as if waking from a trance, and looked at him properly. “Holy crap, Hazel, how are you still fitting into that?”
“Hard work and determination,” he gritted out. He’d altered his clothing to allow personal growth, but there was only so much before fabric tore and he got blisters because his shoes were cutting into his ankles. “Small or big as you want her to be, I swear, but we need to leave. Library. Now.”
“Alright, alright, but I want some time with you mister before you come down and join the rest of us mortals.”
“Are you talking about—”
“What can I say?” Maya shrugged, tossed Chloe up in the air and caught her. A brief shriek punctuated the shrunken woman’s fall, before disappearing into an inescapable fist. “It’s on my bucket list.”