Jo pulled the headphones off her ears. Dina could see her eyes rolling so hard that they threatened to escape her head. “Lazy,” Jo spat. “Boring. Back in my day, we didn’t have all these fancy-shmancy audio editing programs with the subliminals and multiple tracks and whatnot. By God, I had a pocket watch and my voice, and that’s all I needed!” She adjusted her grey hair back over her ears.
Dina scoffed. “I don’t need the software, Jo. But if we have the technology to make things easier, why shouldn’t we use it?” She closed Audacity on the computer and turned to her elderly companion. “Do you still use a typewriter instead of email, or is that too ‘fancy-shmancy’ for you?”
“You think you’re so cool.” It was Jo’s turn to scoff. “Take away your fancy audio and you’re nothing. You couldn’t hypnotize your way out of a paper bag.”
Dina scowled and looked out the window at the flower stand across the street. A buxom blonde woman was helping a customer decide between two bouquets for his husband. Dina had been eying this woman for a while now – she needed a gardener, after all. “I could hook that lady over there. No files, all practical.”
Jo grinned. “Fine. Put your money where your mouth is. What’s your wager?”
“Two thralls. Your choice. But if I fail, you have to hypnotize her to prove you’re not just full of shit.”
Jo turned to look back into the kitchen, where sammi, leigh, and georgina were collaborating on making lunch for the two dommes. “Only two, eh? Shame, I’d love to complete the set.”
“Take it or leave it, Jo.”
“Fine. Show me what you’ve got. Do you need to borrow my watch?”
“Nobody uses pocket watches anymore. They’re too old-fashioned, so they put people off-guard.” Dina rose from her chair, put on her winter jacket, and grabbed her purse. “Watch. I’ll have her back here by lunchtime.”
She stormed out of the room, slamming the door perhaps a bit too hard behind her. Once on the stoop, she stopped. She needed to breathe. She didn’t have a chance of hypnotizing if she wasn’t calm herself. In for four, hold for four, out for eight. Repeat. Repeat.
Once she was calm, she got into character. She breathed in once more, this time deliberately evoking an exasperated sigh. She sagged her jaw and drooped her eyes slightly. She looked exhausted. Perfect.
The blonde was just bidding the man farewell, having successfully sold him on the more expensive of the two bouquets, when Dina walked up. “Golly, Dina! Having a rough day?”
“And it’s not even noon,” Dina replied, sighing and nodding. “Three meetings in the morning, plus two after lunch. Well, assuming I can fit in time for lunch. I really needed not be sitting for a few minutes. Hope you don’t mind, Kim.”
“Oh, it’s no problem. Always nice to talk to a regular. Can’t believe you work Saturdays like this, too!”
“That’s the job. Great pay, terrible hours.” She masqueraded as an international businesswoman. In reality, most of her income came from her thralls’ day jobs.
“Well, don’t feel like you need to buy anything.”
There it was. Her opportunity. “Well, maybe, actually… I know you’re mostly about the visuals, but do you have any bouquets that might add a relaxing scent to a room? You know, a stress-reliever.”
“I know just the thing.” Kim turned and grabbed a bundle of lavender. “Lavender is traditional. People use it in bedtime lotions, bed sprays, and stuff like that. Here, smell.”
Dina smelled it gratefully. Con or not, a stress-reliever aroma was welcome. “Oh, that’s wonderful.” Time for step two. “Come to think of it, how are your stress levels?”
Kim pouted a bit. “Well, I’m making do, but flowers aren’t really the vibe people generally want in November. I do alright with Christmas wreathes and mistletoe and all that, but there isn’t much room for creativity. Hard to stand out against the competition when you’re basically offering the same product. And I'm seriously sick of the smell of nutmeg. It’s not even December yet, and I’m already sick of it!”
Dina laughed a carefully practiced laugh. “Sounds like you need some stress relief, too! C’mon, take a sniff before I buy this off you.”
Kim did, slowly wafting the lavender into her nose. As she did, Dina softly put her hand over Kim’s. “There we go… just breathe.” She began to lightly massage Kim’s hand.
Kim blinked a few times. “What… are you…”
“Shh. An old friend of mine taught me this. Just breathe in the lavender and relax.”
“I… okay… relax.”
“Close your eyes, breathe, and feel my fingers on your hand. Now on your arm, on your shoulders…” Dina slowly worked her way up the flower girl’s arm until she almost embraced her. She whispered in Kim’s ear. “That’s good. This feels good, doesn’t it?”
“And it smells good…”
“You love this…”
“And you love me…”
“Good…” Dina allowed herself a devilish smile as she took her new thrall deeper. She fantasized about everything kimmi would do for her garden. She fantasized about what kimmi’s tits would feel like once that blouse finally came off. But more than anything, she fantasized about rubbing all this in Jo’s face. She looked over at the dining room window, where Jo watched with her arms crossed and her mouth in a pout. Grinning wider, Dina mouthed two words: