Cherry walked back from the coffee-bar with our drinks as if she wasn’t famous. Despite wearing boring gym clothes, heads turned to follow her. I couldn’t blame them, the wisps of red in her short blonde hair were mesmerizing.
She slid into the booth across from me, sitting cross legged. “Give me some of that almond-milk, lamb-chops,” she said, in a low voice that sent shivers up my body. She was always trying to seduce me.
I started pouring into her cup. “Ahhh… yes, ma’am,” I said without thinking.
Her steely blue eyes jabbed me with a look I’d never seen. She put her phone down and her eyes moved across my face, consuming me with her presence, as I tried to not shift around uncomfortably. Her lips parted briefly. “I think you should give it a go,” she said warmly.
“You mean the sorority? No no… I would never…”
Cherry looked down at her feet. She was ashamed to talk about the sorority after the school administration had forced them to kick her out. There were rumors about her being some kind of bad-ass hazing queen, but I didn’t believe it for a second.
She looked up at me. “You should go through rush. Don’t worry… no hazing anymore. A cute little Korean girl like you would fit in perfectly.”
“I hate them for what they did to you.”
Cherry took a sip of her drink. “It wasn’t them, it was the Dean of Students.”
“You were obviously ratted out with lies. What was it like? What was the big deal? I heard that you used an app?”
“You know I don’t like to talk about it.”
“Not going to happen, lamb-chops… I’m not like that anymore. Let’s focus on our studies, plus I’m training for a marathon.”
“You were never like that! That whole situation was totally unfair. They had no right!”
Cherry, looked taken aback by my attitude. Again, she looked at her feet. “I wasn’t entirely innocent.”
“I don’t care, I’m tired of all the crazy exaggerated rumors. Obviously you are a good person, I’ve known you for over a month. So… haze me! I want to know firsthand what went on. To put the rumors to rest.”
Cherry looked at me like I was insane. “Not happening, lamb-chops. I don’t want to hurt you. Change the subject,” she warned, her expression quite serious.
I was offended. “I’m a psychology major. A lot tougher than I look.” Why was everyone always underestimating me?
She dismissed my comment with a shake of her head, looking back at her phone.
I glared boldly into her face. “I’m doing this, whether you help me or not.”
“You are going to haze yourself?” she laughed, still looking at her phone.
I was becoming desperate. “I need this Cherry. And for our friendship to continue, you can’t just blow me off when something is important to me.”
She looked up abruptly, the coldness in her steely gaze knocking me back in my seat. She looked around the room in irritation. “I told you, I’m not proud of my past. Don’t push me Lilly.”
“You like it… don’t you? That bad-ass reputation. You’re afraid I’ll figure out that you’re just a softie. That’s it! Isn’t it? Are you really that messed up?” I said, instantly regretting my words.
Her face hardened. “It was the app… look, don’t play with fire, lamb-chops… I’m warning you,” she said. The intensity of her gaze was alarming. Why was she being so dramatic?
“Oh come on, what’s a little skin,” I chided, I wasn’t that shy. I even let my bra straps show a little – sometimes.
She leaned back, reeling me in with her with her eyes. Her lips froze briefly. “You know how you are always talking about how we are a product of our environment?”
I nodded, uncertain where this was going.
“Well, I likely traumatized those girls… they might never be the same again.”
“You are just trying to frighten me,” I said, actually feeling scared. “Tell me about this app. How does it work?”
She shook her head in frustration. “It’s all about consensual leverage,” she said, showing me the app suddenly. “Look… once you get on this train, there is no backing out. Those are the rules. You have to buy a ticket to this rollercoaster ride, and it’s NOT cheap.”
She was working so hard to deter me. “Ahh… okay… so let’s do it,” I said, feeling semi-safe, after all she was my friend.
She looked at me with her lips pressed together. “Go to slave.com and download the leverage consent form. Provide five emails … people that you would be absolutely devastated, if they received the most embarrassing emails that you can imagine. The last people on the planet that you can imagine seeing you naked.”
“Ahhh…” I hesitated, but seeing her, looking confident that there was no way I would ever do it, annoyed me. Typing madly into my phone I did as she asked and hit send. “So? Now I’m all paid up!”
“Not quite there yet lamb-chops, but I’m impressed with your foolish bravado now go to the washroom, strip, and take a full frontal nude of yourself, face showing,” she laughed, knowing full well I would not do that in a million years.
“You are just trying to scare me.”
I marched to the washroom before I could think about it. I was going to win this little confrontation. I was going to surprise her. I could do this and – a rollercoaster ride – I would have. There was nothing she could do to stop me. With trembling hands, I took and texted her the image.
Blushing, I returned to my seat, unable to look her in the eye. After a few moments of uncomfortable silence, I finally looked up to see her. A tear escaped her left eye, “Oh Lilly, what have you done,” she said, brushing it away with the back of her hand.
She took out her phone and did something, finally showing me a strange app on her phone that had my signed consent form and my naked photo in it. It had a big ominous button with clear instructions. ‘Press this button in order to enroll as a participant.’
“This is it lamb-chops, your final chance to back out of this insanity. Do NOT press this button.”
Hesitating briefly, I reached over.
I pressed the button, grinning at my show of fearless audacity. Okay I was worried, but hiding it. “So now what?”
“Now we wait. Your application is uploaded to the Administrator and we wait to see if it is accepted.”
“What?! Somebody will see my picture? What the hell Cherry, I thought this was strictly just between the two of us!”
“Hell no… I’m not that creative, or evil. I outsource that shit. Everyone knew I was using the app, my role was to ensure compliance, and help girls make choices they could live with.”
“So… what? Who will see this?”
“I have no idea, but if you do all seven of your tasks then nothing bad will happen.”
“Yeah… I’ve seen a few dozen go through this and only one girl failed.”
“Wah…” I coughed. “What happened to her?”
“Well, you know. Her shit got emailed. That’s how it works.”
I felt my face go numb. What did I get myself into? Maybe I shouldn’t have been so hasty.
The app beeped. “Your application has been accepted. You have 7 days to complete 7 tasks, then your account will automatically be deleted along with the associated files.”
“So now what?” I asked, my alarm growing.
“Duh, now you do the tasks.”
“What kind of tasks?!”
“NOW you’re asking me?” Cherry shook her head, grinning sympathetically.
“Hey! I’ve been asking you all along.”
“Well now you’ll find out,” Cherry said, morosely.
“Just tell me, for God’s sake.”
“Well since you are my friend, I’m going to let you know everything, in advance.”
“Thanks,” I said, as sarcastically as possible.
“It starts with some light stuff, like streaking the cafeteria. Nude modeling class, playing soccer naked. Stuff like that.”
I started to hyperventilate. “Are you kidding me? You call that light stuff? Is the streaking naked?”
“You better believe it, lamb-chops. How many times did I warn you? How many times?”
I ignored the question. This was way too serious to be messing around. “What is the hard stuff,” I asked her in a quiet voice, sweating suddenly.
“You really don’t want to know.”
I gripped her arm. “Tell me!” I pleaded.
“Let go, you’re going to give me a bruise… fine, I’ll tell you,” Cherry said, looking apprehensive. “Ahh… well… it gets pretty bad but the worst is the last two. A ‘slut’ tattoo on your pussy, after you permanently remove the hair. And a video of yourself masturbating, with your face showing, uploaded to PornTube.”
My frozen shocked face caused her to sit back.
“It’s not that bad. It’s only up until the Administrator approves it, so a few days. Then you can take it down. Also you can use some anonymous account that nobody you know will likely see.”
I was in shock. “tattoo… pussy… permanent… masturbating…”
Cherry patted my shoulder. “Look, it won’t kill you. Probably put nipples on your chest. After all this, you will be fearless. You… will… be… Amazing!”
I couldn’t take it anymore, and started bawling. “I don’t want to be amaaaaziiiing!” I cried. After sniffling for a bit, I gave her a serious look. “I’m not doing any of it. Fuck em.”
“That’s my girl. I was hoping you would say that. Come to your senses. That’s why I let you know everything in advance.”
I was pretty sure I hated her now. “Thank you,” I said, my words dripping with sarcasm.
Cherry perked up. “Wait. There is one way to get this whole thing to go away.”
“What?” I asked desperately, hope filling my chest.
“The app has one alternative, if you agree to one mega task, more serious and intense than all the others combined. But we can specify exactly what it is, limit your exposure.”
“R… eally?” I asked, my brain spinning. “Like what?”
“Ahh well… the only thing that worked before was agreeing to be my naked sex slave for the semester.” After seeing my face, she quickly added. “But just when in my room. So limited exposure.”
“That’s my choice? Oh my God.” It was definitely a better option than doing those 7 tasks. And I liked Cherry, but this was all a little fast.
Cherry batted her eyes a little. “So… what will you choose?”
“It won’t be so bad. You will always be naked, cuddling me, kissing my neck. It will be fun!”
“Do I really have to be naked when we do that? What? Why are you smiling?”
She grabbed me, and pulled me into a big hug. “God, you are so precious, lamb-chops” she laughed. “Don’t you remember what I’m minoring in?”
“I dunno, computer science?”
“Bingo. What? You still don’t get it? I pulled a fast one on you lamb-chops. The website and app… all fake. Just tools I used to use.”
Sitting back, I suddenly punched her in the arm about as hard as I could.
“Ouch!” She winced, “That’s DEFINITELY going to leave a bruise.” She looked at me with that stupid grin. “So wanna cuddle up to a movie tonight?”
I couldn’t believe the gall. “Did you really… do that to those girls?”
“The app helped. But no, not tattoos or anything that crazy. I totally exaggerated. Sorry, you were annoying me. You should have seen your face!”
I punched her again. “Delete that photo immediately!”
She winced. “Not on your life lamb-chops! That’s the price for being so naive. So movie?”
“Whatever, I get to pick this time,” I mumbled, looking up into her big goofy grin.