Patty’s smile lit up the lobby of the stuffy Alexandria law firm. Eric noticed it immediately. “You look relaxed,” he remarked, taking her small suitcase and leading her out to his car.
Patty waited until they were out of the lobby before responding. “I’ve been getting plenty of rest,” she told him. “A lot more than your CD player has. I should probably buy you some fresh batteries.”
“Not to worry,” he replied, unlocking the door for her. “They’re rechargeable.”
The car eased out into traffic. “So,” Eric opened, “it sounds as though you tried out a few of the tracks on the CD.” And looks it, he thought to himself, remembering the relaxed, well-laid smile she’d flashed him in the lobby. A fantasy image came into his mind of Patty lying on a hotel bed with her eyes closed and headphones on, pulling at her clothing and writhing in ecstasy to his words. It was a vivid image that had been haunting the edges of his imagination the entire week; it took an effort of will to dismiss it.
“I think I’ve heard them all at least once,” she replied. “A couple, more than once.”
Patty felt the color rising in her cheeks as she recalled her night sessions with the hypnotic CD. “The inductions worked. The long one was too slow for me, though; I kept having this feeling that I was waiting for you to catch up. The short induction actually worked better for me.”
Eric nodded. “Not a huge surprise, considering how good a subject you are. Most people will need the longer one to get into a useable light trance state. After a few sessions, they can start using the short one to save some time.”
“The deepeners were nice. A couple of times I strung two or three of them together and totally zoned out—I think a bomb could have gone off in the room next door and I wouldn’t have noticed or cared.”
Eric nodded, making mental notes. “And the fantasies?”
“Effective,” Patty snapped, feeling the heat building up under her collar. Holy shit, were they effective, she thought. I’ve had more orgasms this week than I had last month!
“I’m sorry,” Eric said in a low voice. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I just need to know if they ... if you ... you know.”
“I know,” she replied. “And they did. You could probably sell the CD alone under the title Who Needs a Man?“
“Enough said,” Eric agreed, smiling to himself. The fantasy image floated through his mind again, and he imagined what Patty might look like in the throes of an orgasm.
“We’re here,” Patty pointed out, breaking Eric’s pleasant meditation. He pulled up to the curb in front of the train station and stopped. “Your player,” she said, handing him the Volt and headphones.
Eric checked the Volt. “You remembered to keep the CD,” he noted. “Enjoy it.” He held out his hand.
“Thanks.” Without thinking, she took his hand and shook it. When Eric snapped his fingers, her face had a split second to register surprise before her eyes fell shut and her body slumped against the seat.
Eric watched her face as she slipped into trance. “It’s okay, Patty,” he reassured her. “I’m not trying to take advantage of you. You can trust me and relax. Just relax and let yourself sink down into a nice, deep trance, just like you did on the train, just like you do when you listen to my voice on your CD. Squeeze my hand when your trance meter reads 70.” He waited for the squeeze, which came after a minute or so.
“Among other things, hypnosis can be used to improve memory,” he told her. “I’m going to tell you my phone number in a moment, and when I do your subconscious will record it carefully so that you will always be able to remember it. I want you to know that you can call me any time you want, for any reason, and I will always be happy to talk to you.” He recited his phone number twice, then woke Patty from her trance.
Her eyes fluttered open, and she shook her head to clear it. “You didn’t have to do that,” she said, smiling. “I’ve already programmed your number into my cell phone.”
“Oops.” Eric managed a sheepish shrug. “Would you like me to remove the trance trigger before you go?”
She thought about it for a second. “No, don’t. It might come in handy some day.”
Eric watched while Patty wheeled her travel bag into the train station, then he headed home. He drove mechanically, most of his mind still occupied with fantasies about Patty. She kept the trance trigger, he thought to himself. It was an encouraging thought.
There were two conference tables in the business class car, as there had been on the ride down, but they were both occupied by serious-looking men who, by the way their things were spread across the table, did not want company. Patty took the hint and settled into a window seat a few rows deep.
She opened the discreetly-covered copy of Eric’s book, hardly touched since the ride down, and began to read. She read with renewed interest, having experienced for herself some of the scenarios described in the book. At times she could almost hear Eric’s voice in the back of her mind, reading the book to her; other times it was her own voice she heard, imagining herself giving suggestions to Craig. It would be so nice to feel his hands on her body again. More than once she drifted off into a half daydream, scarcely noticing when the train stopped along the way.
She was almost to the end of the book and the ride when her cell phone chirped. Patty struggled back to reality, digging the phone out of her handbag just in time to answer. “Hello?”
The voice was deep and slightly strained, working hard to be heard over loud, chaotic background noises. “Hi, honey.”
Patty’s face brightened. “Craig! Are you at Penn Station already?”
The slight hesitation telegraphed his answer. “Uh, no. That’s what I’m calling about. I forgot I was supposed to play racquetball with the guys tonight. I’m still at the gym. Do you still need a ride home?”
Patty took a deep breath and let it out before answering. “Yes,” she said, being careful to keep her voice from showing annoyance. “I was counting on you to get me home.”
“I might be a little late. I have to shower and change, and we left my car back at the office. Where should I look for you?”
The hand holding the phone dropped to Patty’s lap as her eyes turned skyward, silently pleading her case. She brought the phone back up to her face. “Never mind, I’ll just get a cab. You finish your game and I’ll see you at home.”
“That’s cool,” he replied. “Hey, listen—the other guys were talking about going out for a beer afterwards. I could be kinda late getting home.”
Patty sighed again. “Have a good time, then,” she said, resigned.
“Thanks, hon. Bye!”
Patty glared at the phone in her hand. Gone almost a week, she argued silently. Would it have killed you to meet me at the station? She was still fuming inside when, during the cab ride home, she spotted an electronics store. On an impulse, she knocked on the safety partition to get the driver’s attention. “Can we stop there for a few minutes, please?”
The driver shrugged. “Meter stays on.”
“That’s fine,” she agreed.
The cab driver executed a deft maneuver, crossing three lanes of traffic and zipping into an alley near the store. Patty jumped out and hurried into the store. She found what she wanted quickly: a Rio Volt. She grabbed one and a package of batteries off the shelf, found the shortest checkout line, and was back in her cab quickly enough to draw an approving look from the driver.
A dark, disheveled apartment greeted Patty when she opened the door. She tried her best not to look at the kitchen as she dragged her suitcase into the bedroom. She straightened up the bed enough to be usable and sat on it with a heavy sigh. There would be a lot of cleaning up to do in the morning.
The Volt sat in its plastic bag beside her. She removed it, inserted a battery, and plugged in the headphones. Who needs a man? she thought, looking around at the unkempt room. Not me, I guess.
Setting the Volt aside, she retrieved Eric’s CD from her bag and loaded it into the player. The CD whirred and spun for a few seconds, then the Volt’s navigation menu appeared. Patty programmed a short playlist and set the unit down on the night stand. Her mind replayed the first time she’d listened to one of the hypnotic fantasies on the CD. She’d sat down in the easy chair, just like the first night, and programmed the tracks she’d wanted to hear: the short induction, two deepeners, and the first fantasy. She remembered her eyes closing, recalled imagining herself descending down a winding staircase, and then a vivid experience of making love with a masked man in the cloakroom at a costume ball. She’d awakened suddenly to find herself almost out of the chair, with her clothing twisted around, half undone, and sopping wet near the crotch. That experience had taught her to prepare a little before indulging.
She stripped naked, putting her clothes in the hamper, and grabbed an extra towel from the bathroom. She stretched out on the bed, placing the towel underneath her bottom to catch the juices she knew would flow soon, and then put on the headphones and got comfortable. There was a chance, she realized, that Craig would come home and find her laid out like this, having dream sex. So let him, she decided. Serves him right for not being here. She fingered the Volt’s wired remote and pushed Play.
Eric’s recorded voice filled her ears and her mind. Soon she was drifting off into a blissful trance, following Eric’s voice down the spiral staircase deeper and deeper into herself. She’d programmed three deepeners into this sequence, but reached an almost coma-like state during the first one. Patty’s body lay on the bed totally passive, completely unmoving, until the fantasy sequence began.
Patty saw herself entering a photography studio. She was going on a dare, she explained to the girl at the front desk; she wanted to have some very sexy pictures of herself taken to give to her lover. The receptionist smiled and led her back to one of the studio rooms.
There she found herself changing into a provocative, sexy lingerie that revealed more than it hid. An expert did her hair and makeup in record time, leaving her looking and feeling like the sexiest woman alive. As she approached the photographer, she could feel his eyes wandering all over her body, trying not to stare while still peeking through the layers of sheer fabric and lace. He led her to a huge bed made up with satin sheets and pillowcases, sinfully smooth to the touch, and explained to Patty that she should pretend the camera was her lover and do her best to seduce it.
The session began. Patty focused herself on the camera, pretending her lover was looking through it. Each pose was a little more intimate than the one before; each made her feel bolder and sexier. The photographer encouraged her, his smooth, mellow voice urging her to feel her own sexual power, to show her lover how incredibly desirable she really was. Pose after pose, camera flash after camera flash, Patty felt herself growing more and more aroused, more and more in touch with her sexual side. Soon it wasn’t enough to turn and bend and allow the lingerie to reveal a glimpse here and there; she found herself doing a strip tease, slowly, sensually removing layer after layer and flinging the unneeded garments aside.
The photographer moved in closer as Patty bared more and more skin, and she noticed that he had a raging hard-on. She let her hands glide over herself, feeling herself, letting herself become wet and warm all over. The photographer had stopped talking to her so she began talking to him, telling him how sexy she felt, how much she wanted his rock-hard cock inside of her, how she longed to feel him come. Patty didn’t know the man, but she had become so aroused by the posing that she no longer cared—she would have him.
Totally nude, she continued posing, drawing the photographer closer. He was practically standing over now, the camera recording every rise and fall of her breast. “You know you want me,” she told him, letting her hand reach out and stroke the bulge in the front of his jeans. “You’re getting so hard, so horny, it must be almost impossible to concentrate.”
The photographer stopped moving at her touch. She could sense him struggling with himself, wanting her so badly but being constrained by professional rules. Patty didn’t care about his rules; before he could pull away, she undid his pants and freed his cock. It sprang out at her, fully erect and ready, as she jerked his pants down. She pumped the shaft with one hand, kissing the head, and enjoyed hearing the photographer groan in sweet agony. In seconds the camera fell to the bed beside her and the photographer’s finger was inside her dripping center, probing for the spot that would send her into ecstasy. He found it and stroked the sides of her button, sending shockwaves of pleasure through Patty and leaving her panting on the bed.
But he wasn’t done. While Patty recovered, the photographer stripped off his remaining clothes and climbed on top of her. His thick cock found the sweet spot and plunged inside, filling her easily. His rhythmic stroking in and out brought Patty back to the edge and when he grunted and came she came with him, crying out with the pleasure of it.
Patty’s eyes opened to the sound of Eric’s voice finishing its ten count. A thin coating of sweat covered most of her body; the towel was sticky and damp in the middle, as expected. I really should take a shower, she thought to herself, but it seemed like too much exertion. She took the headphones off, closed her eyes, and went to sleep.
A low whistle broke the silence of the night. “All right,” Craig murmured appreciatively.
Patty heard the quiet clinking sounds of her man undressing and started to wake up. She had rolled over in her sleep and was comfortably settled onto a nest of extra pillows; not awake enough to move yet, she just wrenched her eyes open and stared into space.
A heavy, rough-skinned hand touched her bottom and squeezed a little bit, then headed quickly north. Her body responded out of habit, lifting a shoulder and turning her face to accept the kiss that she knew was coming. Their lips met as his hand slid around and cupped her breast, then his lips parted and the taste of beer and smoked sausage crept into her mouth.
Craig lowered himself onto the bed, letting his already-stiff cock rub against her rear end. His hand played with her breast like a resin bag, squeezing and releasing quickly, then moved swiftly down to find the furry patch at her center. When he found moisture there, he broke off the kissing and whispered into Patty’s ear. “Feels like you’re as ready for this as I am,” he observed. “Just relax and let me do the work.”
Patty felt the weight shifting on the mattress as Craig got up on all fours and then to his knees, pushing her legs apart to kneel between them. His hands grabbed her hips and lifted. She rose to her hands and knees and pushed back to meet him, reaching back with a hand to guide his rod into position. She ran the tip up and down her slit a few times, taking advantage of the residual moisture from her CD session, and then took him inside her.
Craig’s member was on the short side of average length-wise, but made up for it in girth; Patty felt inner walls straining a little as he pushed his way inside firmly. Craig heard her groan softly and took that as a signal to begin working himself in and out like a piston, hard and fast. Patty winced a little and tried to relax, feeling for her own clit with a fingertip to get some more lubrication flowing. Soon her body responded and the sensations became much more pleasant.
Then Craig grunted and pushed hard against her. Patty felt his cock quiver and spit as he came, his hands clenching her hips with all of his strength. The pulsing slowed and then stopped, and Craig’s rapidly dwindling cock slipped out. “Wow,” he said softly, patting her gently on the butt.
Before Patty could respond, he flopped over onto the bed beside her. “Welcome home, honey,” he said contentedly, looking adoringly into her eyes.
She kissed him once, then settled back down into her pillow nest. Within minutes he was blissfully asleep. Patty watched him for a while, then rolled over and went back to sleep herself.
The tantalizing scent of bacon and eggs drifted into Patty’s nose, waking her and inducing a pleasant feeling of being home. She dropped the towel, now dry and stiff in a few places, in the hamper and slipped on a short silky robe, belting it loosely around her waist.
She found Craig in the kitchen, busily stirring the eggs with one hand and keeping the bacon moving around in the skillet with the other. He wore a pair of gray running shorts and a tank shirt that, in better days, had been white. He looked so adorable, standing there cooking her favorite breakfast, that Patty forgave him for the night before. Walking up behind him, she put her arms around him and rested her chin lightly on his muscular shoulder. “Good morning.”
He turned his head enough for a quick peck. “Morning, babe.”
“What can I do?”
He nodded toward the side counter, where a fresh bag of English muffins sat ready. “Man the toaster?”
“Aye aye,” she replied, squeezing his solid stomach one more time.
They ate hungrily, without talking. Craig’s eye alternated between the kitchen clock, the Sports section of the newspaper, and the opening in the center of Patty’s robe. Sensing an opportunity, Patty surreptitiously loosened the belt a bit. The newspaper’s share of Craig’s attention dwindled as the gap increased.
When they were finished eating, Patty stood up slowly, pushing up from the table in a way that flashed plenty of nipple. “So,” she asked, giving Craig another generous eyeful as she gathered up the dishes, “how shall we spend our day?”
“You’re probably tired from your trip,” he began. Patty liked the sound of that; she turned and leaned back against the counter, trying to strike an enticing pose. “So why don’t you rest up today? The Red Sox are in town for a day/night doubleheader with the Yankees, and Joe got box seats to both games.”
Patty’s jaw dropped, and she found herself fighting to suppress a frustrated growl. Instead, she put on her best come-hither look and dropped the robe completely, letting it fall away as she approached Craig and buried his face between her breasts. “Wouldn’t you rather do something together?” she purred. “I was gone soooo looooong.”
Craig’s hands wandered over her naked body for a few seconds. He stood up and kissed her, and Patty thought for a second that she’d won.
But only for a second. “Love to, hon,” he replied, “but I’m supposed to be at Joe’s in half an hour and I need a shower. I’ll take a rain check, okay?”
Eric stood over Patty’s inert form, his rich voice coaxing her deeper and deeper into trance. As he talked, his fingers methodically opened the buttons that ran down the front of her dress.
“Your lover is here with you,” he told her. “Even now, as you let yourself drift more deeply into hypnosis, he is unbuttoning your dress. The sight of your body arouses him, and knowing that he is looking at you, undressing you, planning to make love to you while you sleep, arouses you more than anything you’ve ever experienced before. You feel your body responding, becoming so warm, so ready to make love, so willing to give yourself to your lover in every way.”
The final button on the dress gave way to his fingers. He laid the dress open, exposing Patty’s body in just bra and panties, and let his hand hover just above her stomach for a moment. “Your entire body is now an erogenous zone, Patty. Any touch anywhere on your body will feel as arousing, as pleasurable, as the most erotic touch of your clitoris. No matter where you lover touches you, you will respond with increasing pleasure and desire for him.” Very slowly, very gently, he let his hand come to rest on Patty’s belly. Her sudden moan and gasp at the moment of contact brought a smile to Eric’s face and a surge to his groin. He rubbed her belly in a circular motion, maintaining gentle but firm contact, and enjoyed listening to her moan with pleasure at his touch. “That’s it,” he coached her. “Every square inch of skin a pleasure point, responding to my touch. The places on your body that are normally pleasure zones are now ten times more sensitive, ten time more arousing when they are touched and stroked, ten times more pleasurable when I touch them or kiss them or lick them or suck them.”
Moving deliberately, he opened the front clasp on her bra and lifted the cups out of the way, exposing erect nipples. Patty’s chest rose as she took in a deep breath, perhaps anticipating his touch. He waited, imagined he saw her breast straining to reach the hand that hovered just above it. Then he laid his hand on her breast, squeezing gently and fondling the nipple with his thumb. Patty’s back arched with the electricity of his touch and a long, hungry moan escaped her lips. Pleased with his results, Eric leaned over and kissed the other breast, letting the nipple poke between his lips for a quick nibble.
Patty cried out in gasps as an orgasm rocked through her body. Eric prolonged it by sucking on her breast and running his hand over her body, relishing the sounds and sights and feelings of a woman in near-continuous orgasm.
Finally, he’d had enough—or, more accurately, he judged Patty had had enough and was ready for the main event. Spreading her legs slightly, he slid the soaking wet panties down her legs and dropped them on the floor. He admired the view of her glistening center for a moment, then peeled off his own clothes.
His cock felt like tempered steel in his hand as he climbed up between Patti’s heavy legs. She moaned anew at his touch as he kissed his way up her thigh, the scent of her inflaming him even more as he drew closer.
Suddenly a hand grasped the back of his head and jerked it sharply upward. He found himself face-to-face with Kelly—— a sad, disappointed-looking Kelly. “You’re not Craig,” she said, shaking her head slowly. “Haven’t you learned anything?”
Eric cried out. His body jumped out of bed and landed on the floor next to it, the sheets tangled up in his legs. Sunlight streamed in through the bedroom windows.
He was alone.
It took a few minutes for his pulse to quit racing and his breathing to return to normal. Holy shit, he thought to himself.
Craig crept quietly through the door to the dark apartment. The second game of his doubleheader had gone five and a half hours, so it was very late at night. Or very early in the morning, he corrected himself, looking at the clock. Patty’s gonna be pissed.
Even at this late hour, though, Craig wasn’t sleepy. He took a look around for the rest of the newspaper he hadn’t finished reading, but couldn’t find it.
He looked in on Patty. She was asleep, wearing what he thought of as her chastity gown: a very unsexy cotton nightgown with a cloth-covered button every half inch from throat to ankle. Don’t even think about it, he told himself, and went back to looking silently for the paper.
He searched the bedroom as best he could in the dark, then turned to the bathroom. A second sweep of the living/dining room and kitchen area turned up nothing, not even an old magazine. He took one more look around the bedroom and was about to give up when he spotted a paperback book in a grocery-bag cover sitting on the nightstand next to Patty’s side of the bed. Something about the anonymous, plain-brown-wrapper look of the book grabbed his eye even in the dim light from the hallway, which was the most he dared have on. He picked up the book and peeked inside at the title:
EROTIC HYPNOSIS: A Beginner’s Guide
by Eric Milton.
Intrigued, he took the book back to the living room and started to read.
Eric sat in his home office, typing away on the ThinkPad. As usual, he wrote in a light trance state, his concentration focused on this own thoughts rather than on his fingers. And also as usual, at least of late, his thoughts were dominated by images of himself and Patty acting out the material as he wrote it.
Thanks to the chance encounter on the train, Eric was well ahead of schedule on the new book. His agent, a pugnacious Brooklyn-born lady named Eleanor who normally had to prod him at least twice a week to stay focused, had called to express amazement at his sudden burst of productivity. “There’s something about a train that’s magic,” he’d explained cryptically, grinning to himself as he imagined the puzzled look on her face.
His concentration was broken by the ringing of the telephone. Giving himself a quick three-count, he picked up the handset. “Hello?”
He recognized the voice immediately—the voice that had been starring in his fantasies for over a month now. Be cool, he warned himself. Calm and confident. “Speaking.”
“It’s Patty. From the train, remember?”
“Of course I do,” he said warmly, flushing a little at the gross understatement. “How are you?”
“I’m good, very good. How’s the book coming?”
“Great! I’ve been on a tear lately. If I keep up this pace, I’ll finish it a good month ahead of my deadline.”
“Wow! Your publisher must be happy.”
“Not sure on that front yet. I’m coming up to New York next week to meet with them; I’ll find out then how happy they are.”
There was a slight pause before Patty replied. “Oh ... so you’ll be in New York next week?”
Something in her voice caused Eric’s eyebrows to rise. “Yes, that’s right. I’m taking the train up Monday morning and staying overnight.” He weighed his options and decided to go for broke. “Did you want to get together while I’m in town?”
Another pause. “Actually, that’s not a bad idea,” she said. “I’d like to pick your brain a little bit, and it might be easier in person than over the phone.”
“I’m intrigued. Pick my brain about what?”
“About hypnosis,” she replied. “You see, Craig found my copy of your book after I got home, and he read through it.”
Eric’s mouth went dry. Could it be this easy? he wondered. “What happened?”
“He was a little freaked out at first,” she explained. “But when he got to the section on fantasies and suggestions, he got interested. When I told him about what you and I did on the train, he thought it was the hottest thing he’d ever heard. I let him put me under a few times, and ... well, he’s had a good time with it.”
“That’s great,” Eric said, carefully masking his disappointment. “What can I do?”
“Well, things so far have been one-sided. I’ve tried to hypnotize Craig a few times, and I can’t seem to get it to work. I was hoping you could give me some pointers, or maybe recommend a class.”
“I know a few good people in New York,” Eric replied. “But I owe you a favor anyway for helping me test the CD. I could come over Monday evening and give you a lesson, if you and Craig are free.”
“You’d do that?”
“Sure,” he said. “It’s the least I can do.”
Eric took a taxi from his Manhattan hotel to the address Patty had given him on Staten Island. This is a teaching situation, he kept reminding himself. I am not doing this just to size up the fiancé. By the time the cab stopped in front of Patty’s building, he almost believed it himself.
He pulled out his wallet to pay the driver, but the heavyset man behind the wheel shook his head. “It’s already covered, Doc,” he said. “Phone charge, through the dispatcher.”
“Oh. Thanks,” Eric replied. He tipped the driver in cash and watched him pull away.
There was a standard-issue security system on the building door; he punched in Patty’s apartment number, and after a short delay something approximating her voice crackled through the cheap speaker. “Yes?”
“Great! Come on up.” There was a loud buzz and the door clicked, allowing Eric to open it and come through. He took the elevator to the fourth floor and found Patty waiting for him in the hallway. She was wearing a cream-colored wrap-style dress and pumps, and looked genuinely pleased to see him.
“Thanks for coming,” she told him, flashing that smile and meeting his eye as he took her offered hand. “It’s right around the corner.” She led him down the hall, took a sharp right, and gestured toward an open doorway.
The living area was nicely furnished in blonde woods, with lots of glass and light-colored accessories complemented by a rich honey-colored carpet. A maple bar occupied the corner opposite the door. Standing by the bar was Craig. “Hey there,” he said, crossing the room with purposeful strides to shake Eric’s hand.
Eric took Craig’s hand and tried not to wince visibly at the powerful grip while he sized up the competition. Craig stood a little below average in height, but had the broad chest and shoulders of a fullback. He wore a plain white polo shirt and khakis. The face that examined Eric felt sincerely friendly.
“Good to meet you,” Eric said, willing himself to mean it. Calm and confident, he reminded himself. Especially confident.
Craig was heading back toward the bar already. “Wanna beer?”
“Sure,” Eric replied with a broad smile, automatically starting to establish rapport with his subject.
Craig reached behind the bar and pulled out three bottles of generic domestic beer. “This do?”
“Long as it’s cold.” Eric saw a flash of approval in Craig’s eyes; he’d guessed right, apparently.
Patty stood by on one end of the sofa, sipping her beer and watching the men interact. After a few minutes, she felt the knot in her stomach easing. She’d had qualms about putting these two together—Craig’s competitive streak tended to come out in the presence of other men—but Eric had done a masterful job of establishing himself as someone Craig could accept.
Craig surprised Patty by being the first to mention the real reason for the visit. “I read through your book,” he said to Eric. “Did you do all of that stuff?”
Eric nodded, grinning. “Had to test it all thoroughly.”
“I can’t believe it. You must have this harem full of women at home.”
“No, just one,” Eric replied. “But she was very adventurous. Like Patty, in a lot of ways—she went under very easily and deeply, and could do just about anything without disturbing her trance state.”
“Patty really zones out,” he agreed. “It’s kind of fun doing it to her, too.” An idea seemed to strike Craig; he looked over at Patty. “Hey honey, you wanna show him one of the tricks we can do?”
“I don’t know if—” As she spoke, Craig clapped his hands twice quickly and Patty came to a sudden stop. Her body simply froze in position, mouth partially open, eyes staring forward.
Craig bounded out of his seat and over to his frozen fiancée. “Isn’t this cool?”
“Chapter 6,” Eric cited. “The time stop trick.”
“You got it—only I changed the trigger to a double clap, like that thing they sell on TV. You know, clap on, clap off?”
Eric nodded, admiring the way Patty managed to remain perfectly still, even as her body continued to make the usual minute adjustments needed to maintain balance. Then he saw Craig get down on his knees and reach up underneath Patty’s dress. “What are you doing?”
Craig looked over and grinned. “Having a little fun,” he said with impish glee. In a few seconds his hands reappeared, along with Patty’s panties and hose.
“Bad idea,” Eric warned.
“Nah, this is fun. Watch.” Craig rolled the hose down to her ankles, then carefully off each foot, removing and replacing the shoes as he went.
Eric watched in silence. You’ll regret this, Craig, he predicted silently. I know—I’ve been there.
Craig finished replacing Patty’s shoes, crept back to his chair and dropped the panty hose on the floor behind him. He clapped his hands again twice and Patty came back to life.
“... that’s really necessary,” she finished.
“Okay, hon,” Craig said, twirling her panties on his finger. “Whatever you say.”
Seeing the underwear in Craig’s hands made Patty suddenly aware of where it had come from. She blushed deeply, unconsciously gathering the skirt around herself for a moment before marching across the room and taking the panties back. “Excuse me a moment, please,” she said to Eric, and retreated to the bedroom.
She slipped her panties back on and sat down in front of her vanity for a few minutes to collect herself. It was fun the first time, she mused, remembering the night Craig had clapped his hands just as they got home from a dinner date and all of her clothing had vanished, as if by magic. It was amusing a few days later, when she had been sitting at the kitchen table fully clothed going over a new product guide, only to hear a noise and suddenly find herself stark naked and holding a Chippendale’s calendar. But when she’d started to open the door for his friend Joe in a T-shirt and jeans and finished opening it in just her underwear, she thought she’d made it clear that he was not to do that again without her permission. He’s got a lot of payback coming when I finally get him under, she vowed.
She took a few deep breaths and tried to relax. No point making a scene in front of Eric, she told herself. She wondered for a moment how much he’d seen, and whether he’d tried to stop Craig. Then she consigned the whole incident to the back of her mind and rejoined the men in the living room.
Eric saw her return and noted the firmness in her jaw, the forced nonchalance in her face. She’s got a right to be angry, he thought. I’ll bet that’s not the first time he’s pulled something like that. Then he became aware that Craig was asking him a question. “I’m sorry?”
“I said, have you ever had someone you just couldn’t put under?”
“Oh, sure,” Eric answered. “Going into hypnosis is a talent, like playing football. Some people are just naturally good at it, like Patty; most people can learn to do it reasonably well with practice. A few just can’t get the hang of it no matter how hard they try.” He noted the faint glimmer of satisfaction in Craig’s eyes, as if he had just seen an out, so he continued. “Normally, though, I’ve found that anybody who really wants to go into hypnosis can get there.”
“It’s probably my technique,” Patty volunteered. “I have a hard time telling when things are working and when they aren’t.”
“It’s hard to say without seeing you in action,” he replied. “Which leads us to the first step—observing your technique.”
Craig sat a little more upright. “Are you going to watch her try to put me under?”
Eric paused a moment and smiled. “No,” he countered. “You’re going to watch while Patty hypnotizes me.” Both of his companions looked at him in surprise. “Trust me,” he assured them. “I know what I’m doing.”
“But do I?” Patty questioned.
“We’ll know soon.”
In a few minutes, they had the environment arranged to Eric’s liking. He settled himself into Craig’s favorite chair, a padded lounge chair with leg support, almost like a very comfortable dentist’s chair, that reclined by rocking forward or back on a fixed base. He kept it mostly upright so that Patty would be able to watch his face easily, and see when his head began to tip forward. They dimmed the lights slightly, and Eric pronounced himself ready.
Craig observed from the couch, a good distance away. Patty sat on an ottoman near Eric’s side so she could watch him without being directly in front of him. “Which induction do you like best?” she asked.
“Remember the hourglass induction I used with you on the train?”
Patty nodded. “Close your eyes, then,” she said, letting her voice drop to a low, soothing tone, “and picture in your mind a large, ornate hourglass...”
Eric pictured the hourglass in his mind, the sand slowly falling from top to bottom. She has such a nice voice, he thought to himself. Smooth, flowing, easy to listen to. He listened intently while she told him, using the future tense, how he would soon find his body relaxing as the sand ran out of the top of the hourglass. He continued listening, and noticed after a while that she was now using the present tense. “You feel your jaw beginning to loosen up, your head beginning to tip forward ever so slightly ...” She’s right, he realized. She caught the transition before I did. He felt his body sinking deeper into the chair, and let go to the sensation.
“ ... Eight, feeling the alertness creeping back into your limbs ... Nine, eyes opening, taking a deep breath ... And ten, fully awake and alert.”
The first thing Eric noticed when his eyes focused again was that the room was much darker than it had been just a moment or two ago, when he’d first sat down. The second thing he noticed was Patty’s face, looking intently into his. Her eyes gleamed at him, her nostrils were flared, and she was licking her lips slowly as she watched. He knew exactly what she must be feeling—he’d felt it himself, countless times. The feeling of power, the erotic rush of seeing someone surrender totally, could be more seductive than sex itself.
“How did I do?” she was asking, looking deeply into his eyes for the answer.
Eric smiled. “You did fabulously,” he assured her. “I should get you to record a few tracks for the new book’s companion CD.”
“How much do you remember?” Eric was slightly startled by Craig’s voice; he’d half forgotten about him.
“Nothing after the induction started,” he said. “That happens a lot with me, though. It’ll come back as I need it—unless Patty told me otherwise, anyway.” He looked the question at her, and was intrigued at her coy look back.
“Let’s try a test,” she said, standing up and walking over to the bar area. “A simple matter of animal magnetism.”
Eric felt the pull immediately, but the direction surprised him. Instead of lifting toward the ceiling, his arms went to the armrests of the chair. His body rose of its own volition from the chair and approached Patty at the bar. Before Eric could think of what to say, his arms were wrapped around her in a tight embrace.
Craig let it go on for a few seconds, chuckling at the look of consternation on Eric’s face. “Hey!” he called out, “that’s my woman you’re groping, pal. Break it up.”
Eric tried to take his arms off Patty and failed miserably. The harder he tried to pry himself loose, the more powerfully he seemed to stick to her.
“Enough already,” Craig said, his voice becoming a little edgy.
Eric struggled one more time to escape, unsuccessfully. “I think you’ve made your point,” he said.
Patty laughed and snapped her fingers. As soon as he heard the sound, Eric felt the magnetic pull of Patty’s body subside; he quickly broke the embrace and stepped back several feet. Recovering his wits, he plopped down on a chair and looked at both of them. “I think we can safely say that Patty’s technique is not the problem,” he announced.
“So what happens next?” Craig asked.
“We switch places,” Eric replied. “You take the comfy chair, while I sit back and observe.”
A look of reluctance came over Craig’s face, then vanished. “Okay, I’ll try.”
Eric nodded. “Let’s get you as comfortable as possible. Why don’t you use the bathroom, take off your shoes, that sort of thing?”
As Craig left the room, Eric turned to Patty. “What inductions have you tried with him so far?”
“The hourglass, mostly,” Patty replied. “Also the sunset at the beach one. Neither one worked. Craig’s a very concrete guy; I think he has a hard time getting detailed mental pictures.”
“That’s a possibility. Have you tried a fixation induction?”
“You mean eye contact? I thought you said that was a bad one to use for beginners.”
“It usually is,” Eric agreed. “It requires supreme confidence on your part, and the ability to keep staring into his eyes for as long as it takes. I was thinking more of a fixation object, like a pendant or a shiny paperweight.”
Patty thought for a minute. “I think I know just the thing.” She slipped down the hallway to the back of the apartment and returned with a desk toy. It featured a pair of parallel bars made of plastic, between which were suspended five metal balls. The balls were secured to each bar with a piece of nylon line, and spaced so that they just touched one another.
Eric recognized the toy immediately. “Yes,” he agreed, “that should do very nicely. I’ve used something similar myself once or twice.”
They set the toy on an end table next to the lounge chair, pulling the table out a bit to give Craig a better viewing angle. Patty steadied the balls, angling the toy so that the shiny metal spheres caught the ambient room light and reflected it back in multiple directions. As she finished arranging the toy Craig returned, looking a little apprehensive.
“We’re ready for you,” Patty said, waving him to the chair.
Craig nodded and took his position in the lounge chair. “Okay,” Eric said, dropping partially into his induction voice. “You saw how easily Patty was able to guide me into a deep hypnotic state. If you concentrate just on her voice and do exactly as she tells you, nothing can prevent you from entering a deep hypnotic trance just as I did. Since this will be your first time, we won’t try any posthypnotic suggestions; Patty will just take you into trance, let you feel what it’s like for a few minutes, and then wake you up again. Ready?”
Craig looked at them both. “I guess.”
Eric’s and Patty’s eyes met. You can do this, he said inwardly, willing his gaze to telegraph his conviction to her.
Patty felt his confidence. Bolstered by that, and by her success in hypnotizing Eric earlier, she felt relaxed and ready. This is going to work, she thought to herself. I can really do this. She lifted a hand and caught Craig’s eye with it. “I want you to watch very closely right here,” she said, using her hand to guide Craig’s gaze to the desk toy. She pulled back on the rightmost silver ball, lifting it high and wide of the parallel bars, and let it go. As designed, the ball came back and struck the next one squarely; the force of the blow was transmitted through the three middle balls to the opposite side and sent the end ball swinging widely to the left. That ball swung out, then came back in and struck its neighbor, sending the rightmost ball swinging away again. A rhythm was established, the middle balls appearing to sit still while the outer two took turns flying outward and then slamming back into the middle.
Craig watched the toy with interest while Patty began speaking. “I want you to focus all of your attention on the balls in the middle,” she told him. “Just relax and watch those middle balls. See how the light shines off them. Notice how still they seem to be, even while the outer balls are swinging and bouncing against them. Study those middle balls, becoming aware of every detail, every reflection, every hint of movement. Let your mind and body become as still as those middle balls, resting comfortably and quietly while around you the world keeps moving and clicking. And while you’re watching the balls, notice how smooth and steady and rhythmic the clicking sound is as the outer balls swing back and forth, each in turn. Let that rhythm take you, let the clicking happen inside your mind as well as outside, so that you become one with the rhythm.”
Eric watched and listened, fascinated. She’s ad-libbing, he realized. Using the properties of the object to enhance the script—very impressive.
“And as you listen,” Patty continued, “you may notice that the rhythm of the balls becomes just a hair slower. The energy that moves those outer balls is slowly depleting itself, causing the whole system to slow down little by little. And as you observe this, you’ll notice that your own system will also slowing little by little, relaxing more and more, slowing down as the balls slow down.”
As Eric watched, Craig’s eyes appeared to glass over, the lids tending to blink more often. Patty caught the same signs and adjusted accordingly. “Slowing down now, your mind and body relaxing and slowing down, your eyes growing tired and heavy, wanting to close, wanting to rest. Don’t let it happen yet, Craig; keep your eyes focused on those middle balls, letting yourself experience every detail. You eyes will remain open until the outer balls come to a complete stop; you will not close your eyes and slip into a deep, satisfying, safe sleep until the balls come to rest.”
Patty’s words, along with the steady pattern of motion and sound from the toy, were having their desired effect. Craig’s eyes fluttered, struggling to stay open, as his body seemed to sink deeper and deeper into the chair. Patty continued in the same vein, talking him deeper as the toy slowed, watching with growing excitement as he succumbed. Soon the toy’s momentum was spent, the steady clicking sound deteriorating into a soft buzz. “Sleep now,” Patty said with authority, and Craig’s eyes dropped shut. His head dipped forward, and Patty felt that rush of raw erotic power once again.
Then, in an instant, it was gone. Craig’s head bobbed up and his eyes popped open. “Did it work?”
Patty felt the air rushing out of her, like a balloon with a fast leak. She looked to Eric, who had a grim expression on his face. “Almost,” he answered for her. “How do you feel?”
“Fine,” he said. “A little spacey, maybe.”
“You’re awake now,” Patty said, following Eric’s instructions from the book. “Wide awake.”
“I know, hon,” Craig replied. “It was a nice try, though.”
Eric cleared his throat. “What was the last thing that went through your mind? Right then, just before you opened your eyes?”
Craig looked into space. “I don’t know,” he said. “I just kinda perked up, I guess.”
They tried several more times, both with Patty as the hypnotist and with Eric, but had no better results. Each time Craig appeared to be slipping into trance, he would suddenly cough or laugh or otherwise jolt back to wakefulness. Eric could see the growing frustration in Patty’s face. Craig, on the other hand, seemed more at ease as the evening wore on.
Finally Eric saw no alternative but to give up. “I’m sorry,” he said, addressing himself to Craig. “You must be one of the rare people who just can’t reach the hypnotic state.”
Craig’s face took on a look of hopelessness. “That really sucks. Are you sure, Doc?”
“That’s how it looks,” Eric responded flatly.
Craig accepted his sentence with a sigh. “Sorry, honey,” he said to Patty. I’ll just bet, Eric remarked to himself.
Patty sighed back. “It’s okay,” she said. Then, to Eric, she added, “It’s late; instead of waiting for a cab, why don’t you let me drive you back to your hotel?”
There was a clear message in her eyes as well. Eric responded to that as much as the stated offer. “Either way is fine with me. Are you sure you don’t mind driving back alone this late?”
“We’re in a pretty good neighborhood,” she replied. “After all you’ve done here, it’s the least I can do.”
Eric endured Craig’s hearty handshake one more time. “Don’t blame yourself, Doc,” he said. “Like you said, some people just don’t go under.”
“Thanks,” Eric replied, not feeling at all thankful.
Patty was quiet as she led Eric through the well-lit parking garage below her building to her gray Saturn. She remained silent and thoughtful for most of the trip. Eric let her be, not sure exactly how much to say. The silence grew thick and electric before Patty finally broke it.
“What do you really think, Eric?”
Be damned careful, Eric, his inner voice warned. “About what?”
Patty shot him a sideways you-know-exactly-what-I-mean look. “About Craig. Do you really think he’s not hypnotizable, or were you just being diplomatic?”
Eric weighed his quickly. I could tell her, he thought, and risk looking like a jealous suitor trying to sabotage the relationship. Or I could bullshit her and risk getting caught at it. He took a deep breath before answering.
“It’s a possibility,” he said cautiously. “I couldn’t rule it out offhand.”
“You’re talking like a lawyer,” she admonished him. “I don’t need that. I need someone to tell me what I’m doing wrong.”
“It’s not you,” he replied with certainty. “Your technique is fine. You showed great instincts in that first induction, and you nearly had him. You definitely had me.”
“Why did you do that, anyway? Be my subject, I mean. And don’t say to observe my technique—you could have done that better by watching.”
Eric smiled. “A large part of being a hypnotist confidence. You have to believe that you can get people into trance, and so does your subject. I knew you’d have no problem with me—I was prepared to self-induce if I had to, but I didn’t have to—so what better way to help build that confidence? And it worked. You seemed positive that you could get Craig into trance after that.”
“I was positive,” she agreed. “I’d swear he was under at least once, maybe two or three times, but then he just suddenly shook it off at the critical moment. What happened?”
Feeling the eggshells beneath his feet, Eric tried again. “Some people are mentally capable of hypnosis, but have a hard time letting go. Maybe they have control issues, maybe there’s a certain fear factor, or not quite enough trust. I’ve seen people before who would start to enter a trance, realize it, and unconsciously snap themselves back to alertness without fully understanding why themselves.”
Patty nodded, her mouth turning into a grim line. “That’s what I’m thinking. Either he doesn’t trust me, or he’s afraid to give up control, which is really the same thing. But what can I do about it?”
His inner voice screamed at him not to say it, but Eric did anyway. “Often times, the answer to this kind of issue lies in the relationship itself. How are you and Craig getting along?”
Her brow wrinkled. “Fine,” she said. “Perfectly fine.”
Eric was not about to challenge that assertion, so an uncomfortable silence settled on them again. Soon Patty pulled up into the service lane in front of Eric’s hotel. There was a short-tem parking space near the entrance, so she pulled into it and put the transmission in Park.
“Thanks for coming,” she said. “I’m sorry for being so sullen on the way over here.”
“It’s okay,” he replied, offering his hand. “Good luck.”
As soon as she took his offered hand, Eric snapped his fingers. Patty’s body went limp and sunk into the seat; Eric caught her head and gently set it against the headrest. “That’s good, Patty,” he said. “Slide way down, deep into trance, relaxing and letting go of all the tension in your body. When your trance thermometer gets to 90, I want you to squeeze my hand.” He continued to relax and deepen her for about a minute and a half before he felt the squeeze. “Very good. Now Patty, I want you to listen carefully. You do not have to respond to any posthypnotic trigger that would cause you to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed, whether that trigger comes from Craig or from me or from anyone. Any time he tries to place you into trance, or use a trigger, that trigger will only be effective if you are in a safe, private environment and you feel completely safe and comfortable allowing it to work. You know this, but I want you to be extra aware from now on. You can always refuse a suggestion if you don’t want to comply. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” she replied hazily.
“Good. Now, on three, you’ll be completely awake and alert again. One ... two ... three.”
Her eyes opened and focused on his face. “Thanks,” she said sincerely, with her first true smile of the evening. “I needed that.”
“You’re welcome,” he said, smiling back.
Patty leaned toward and kissed him softly on the cheek, then whispered into his ear: “Sleep for me now, Eric.” His conscious mind barely registered the words before the blackness enveloped him and his body slumped into Patty’s waiting arms. “That’s it, deeper and deeper, letting go, trusting me completely. Count yourself down from twenty now, Eric, and when you’ve reached your deepest trance I want you to squeeze my hand.” She waited, letting the erotic thrill wash over her one more time, until she felt the slow, easy squeeze on her hand. “Now, Eric,” she continued, “Here is what is going to happen when you get to your room...”
Eric waved as Patty pulled away, the memory of that quick kiss tingling on his cheek. With a melancholy sigh, he turned and trudged into the hotel.
He closed the door to his room and leaned against it for a moment, eyes closed, wondering what might have been. Then he flipped on the light and stopped dead in his tracks.
Before him, sitting on the easy chair across from the door, was a woman. She was dressed in a silk robe and wore a veil over most of her face. Only a pair of powerful, mesmerizing eyes showed above the veil, and those eyes captured him instantly, leaving him transfixed. “Hello, Eric,” she said softly, in a voice both familiar and strange. “I’ve been waiting for you.”
Eric stood still, not thinking, not speaking, unable to break free of those captivating eyes.
“You feel my power already,” she remarked. “That’s good, very good. Look deeply into my eyes, Eric, and let me take you into that sweet, blissful sleep you so love. Surrender your will to me, and I will bring you ecstasy. Sleep, Eric. Sleep...”
Eric’s world narrowed until he found himself lost in those eyes, floating away on soft, gentle waves of the woman’s voice. The next thing he knew, he was naked and lying on his bed while a sweet voice whispered things into his ear—— things he didn’t quite hear, but which set his every nerve on overload and made his cock stand up like a rocket on the launch pad. Warm, loving hands caressed his body, and a pair of velvety lips brushed against his face, his chest, his cock. With great effort, he wrenched his eyes open in time to see the mysterious woman, naked now except for her veil, straddling him. The sight of her nakedness enticed him and aroused him even more, and when she slid on top of his throbbing cock and enveloped him he felt the electricity throughout his body. Still she whispered to him, her words taking him higher into bliss, until the smooth rhythm of them began to break down as she approached her climax. Eric felt the tension around his cock as she gasped and came, and the knowledge pushed him over the edge as well. A valve turned in his mind and his cock gushed, every nerve and muscle in his body participating in the orgasm. The woman rode him, her words now prolonging his climax, until he no longer had the energy to move. Only then, as he struggled to keep his eyes open another few seconds, did she move the veil and reveal her face.
“Sleep now, Eric,” Patty said. “And thank you.”
The apartment was dark when Patty returned. She flipped on the living room light and spotted Craig sitting in the lounge chair, naked.
“Hi, honey,” he said. “Surprise!”
“You shouldn’t have,” she replied, meaning it.
“But look, honey,” he insisted with a wink. “The one-eyed viper is calling your name.”
Patty blinked twice as the posthypnotic suggestion took hold. In a flash she had a visceral, irresistible need to kneel down and suck Craig’s cock until it flooded her mouth. Then, just as quickly, the desire vanished. “No thanks, Craig,” she said. “I’m too tired for games.”
Craig’s jaw dropped. “But the one-eyed viper is calling your name,” he repeated.
This time Patty only felt a quick twinge of desire, which passed before she even fully acknowledged it. “The one-eyed viper has called my name three times this week,” she told him. “At this point, I don’t care if it stands up and serenades. I didn’t buy that book so you could get blowjobs at will, Craig.”
Craig sighed and crossed his arms. “Then why did you buy it?”
Patty felt her patience fading away. “I bought it because it looked like something we could do together,” she explained. “Something that might add a little life and interest that’s been lacking around here for a while. But obviously I was wrong.”
“That’s not my fault,” he began, then gave up as Patty stomped out of the room and slammed the bedroom door behind her. “Fuck,” he said, looking down at his semi-erect penis. “Looks like you’re outta luck tonight, pal.”
Patty took a long shower, more for the quiet and privacy than any real need to wash. While the water ran over her body, she thought about her going-away present for Eric. I wonder what woman his imagination conjured up for him, she thought idly. She pictured him lying naked on his bed, giving in to the imaginary ministrations of a dream lover. She imagined herself as that lover, caressing him, kissing him, getting him so aroused and so ready for her, taking him inside of her. As she pictured the scene, her fingers wandered over her own body’s sensitive places. The stroking became more insistent, more urgent, and when in her mind Eric came, she came with him, biting on a washcloth to keep herself from crying out loud.
Craig was either asleep or pretending to be when she came to bed. She didn’t care which, as long as he kept doing it.