Scented candles really were something else. You enjoyed them, and really who doesn’t enjoy scented candles, but you weren’t going to make a career out of them. The job you’d taken up at your local mall was just a day-job, just something to help you pay your bills. The fact that you got a discount on the merchandise was just an added bonus.
You’d already gone through the orientation, you’d been taught how the store works, how to run the register and how to stock the shelves. Today was your first actual day on the job. The scents hit you almost all at once, crossing over the border that separated the plain white tiles and the carpet of the shop. Everything about this little scented-nook was made for warmth; the dim lighting, the caramel carpet, the dark wooden shelves, and the packaging on the candles themselves, large plain looking labels that didn’t take up much space on the wide glass container it sat in. You felt at ease, working here.
The co-workers that you hadn’t yet learned the names of smiled and nodded at you as you crossed into the shop, and you did the same on your way to the back. The rhythm was already in your head, and from the couple of days of training, you knew exactly how many footsteps would carry you to the back, the motion of typing in your number to clock in, and the steps to the register itself, but your walk was interrupted as you ran into- literally- the woman who owned the shop. She was built both wide and tall, soft in every form of the word with a radiant pale-lipped smile that shone off teeth as white as polished bone (Although since teeth themselves were made of bone, I probably could’ve found a better analogy). She wrapped her large arms around you, humming your name as she did so.
“Happy first day!” The woman cried, releasing you from the embrace. “Come on back to my office real quick, let’s get this day started!” Not leaving you any moment to respond, she turned and walked towards the backrooms where both her office and the storage room were.
The owner of the store, not the manager but the actual owner, was a bit disorganized, with papers and notes scattered over her desk, but she’d cleared out a good spot for a large white candle that looked as though it had just started to burn, as there was only a tiny puddle beneath the wick. She took a seat in a swivel chair, while directing you to sit in the office chair she’d managed to fit through the narrow door-frame. You did so, and as you did so you took a small whiff of the office air to see what sort of candle she was burning. The scent took a moment to process in your mind, and it smelled like... nothing?
Upon seeing your confusion, the woman laughed.
“Ironically enough, my own sense of smell doesn’t exactly work. I mainly keep the candle here for aesthetic purposes.” She turned turned to her computer and pulled up her admin controls, clocking you in. “There you go, you’re all clocked in!” She returned her gaze to you. “How are you feeling?” You gave her a response, but midway through your statement there was a small pain in the back of your head, you felt lightheaded. The woman seemed to notice this immediately. “Are you alright, love?” She asked, leaning forward. “It’s alright, just breathe.” You did so, and the pain began to clear up. It was sharp, but only momentarily. You managed to rub the rest of the pain away, stroking the top of your head with your palm. Again, the woman asked, “are you ok?” You told you that you were feeling better, and her expression hopped right back into a smile.
“Just keep your posture straight and keep breathing, love. Your senses might just be a bit overwhelmed at the moment.” You gave her suggestion a bit of thought, and you made sure to do both at the same time. Your back straightened, and you took one deep breath followed by a steady stream of air that remained consistent.
The two of you continued to talk about the store, about how working there would be. All the while, she was making sure that she remained comfortable.
“I’m sorry, I gotta take off these shoes, love, I hate walking around in them.” You only gave her a nod. It was her store, she had every right to be comfortable. This extended to the rest of her clothes as well. She crossed one leg over the other, and with the skirt she was wearing it left enough space for you to accidentally see the bright panties she wore. She told you not to worry or be embarrassed, as she saw your cheeks flush, and you listened to what she said. Soon after that, she still seemed to be uncomfortable, and so she removed her panties.
“It’s important that we’re all comfortable when we’re here, love.” She said, and she was right. You wouldn’t want to be uncomfortable while you worked.
The talk went on, but it was quickly devolving. She started to ask you about your home, your family, school, and while at first these questions seemed a bit strange, you found a bit of comfort in her words.
“Don’t worry, love, I just want to make sure that I have the schedule right for you, that I’m not overworking you.” All at once, your confusion melted away, and she continued to delve into the subjects. You gave her the answers she asked for, even though you weren’t sure if any employer would inquire about romantic or sexual partners. Still, it just showed that this woman was determined to make a good schedule for you, and it was something you could appreciate.
When she’d finished asking most of her questions, she probably could’ve written down your entire weekly schedule by heart, school and home life included. You’d told her about what classes you were taken, what your family was like, and everything in between. Every once in a while, she’d ask you to take a deep breath.
“Take a deep breath for me, love.” She said, and without even thinking, you’d done as she’d told you, and each time it felt easier and easier to do so. Eventually, she turned her eyes to the candle that was burning on her desk. “Tell me what this candle smells like, love.” She said. You replied that it didn’t smell like anything. “I know.” She said. “But the air is saturated with this things scent.” She turned back to you. “You’re going to enjoy working here, love.” Her words came out slowly, and it wasn’t until her last word, ‘love’, that you felt that she spoke the truth. It was a scented candle store, something relaxed, something less stressful than any job you’d held previously. Even before coming here, you’d always thought that you’d enjoy working here, but somehow now you were more certain that you ever were before.
As if she needed any sort of confirmation, you repeated those words back to her, that you would enjoy working here. Your nose felt... strange, all the while, but you paid it no mind. Instead, you listened as she leaned forward to speak again.
“It’s important that you listen to your manager, love.” You absolutely agreed. The manager was in charge, and they had far more experience than you did, especially this woman.
“It’s important that you take breaks, love.” She said, and once again her words rang true. You’d always known that breaks were important, but now... you nodded your head, knowing she was right.
“It’s important that you follow your schedule, love.” Again, and as always, you knew she was speaking the truth. As the talk went on, she told you more and more things that you already knew, that following the rules was important, that a job was a valuable thing, that you had to be a good employee, that you had to listen to her, that you wanted to be a good employee. The longer she spoke for, the more you became confused and disorientated. Everything she was saying was true, and you knew that you had to listen to her, but something in the back of your mind felt off. She continued to teach you, telling you that you wanted to be a good employee, that good employees listen, that good employees obey, and once again you knew she was right, which only made that feeling in the back of your mind feel worse.
The owner, however, saw this, and picked the candle up off of her desk.
“Take a whiff, love.” She said. That word, love, it made you feel almost as if you were at home. She’d been saying it quite a bit, but the more she said it, the better it felt. You didn’t have time to question why it made you feel good before she had the candle at a safe distance from your nose, and you listened to your manager, taking a long draugh of the air that surrounded the glass container. Whatever feeling had been there before, it was gone now, and now there wasn’t anything besides acceptance when you were told that you wanted to be a good employee. Without that hesitation, every single statement she made was not only sensible, but also smart. She told you that you wanted to listen to your manager, that you wanted to be a good employee, that good employees obey their manager, that their manager was always right.
She began to run through these same statements, but you lost track of how many times she said the same thing over and over again, nor did you care. Her voice was so warm, her words were so right; you didn’t much care how long you’d been listening. In fact, you wanted to listen. Your manager was always right, and you did want to be a good employee.
Her words slowly began to change. Good employees serve, good employees obey, good employees listen. These three statements were nailed into you over and over again, until it was just boiled down to three words: ‘serve, obey, listen’. Like heavy rainfall, it overpowered everything else around it. By the time she had finished talking, your eyes were only half open, and your hanging jaw was dropping the occasional drop of drool down your chin.
You knew that your manager was always right, so you didn’t think much of it when she lifted her skirt and spread her legs. You knew that you wanted to be a good employee, and that good employees listen, and so you didn’t talk back when you were told to get onto your knees. You knew that good employees obey, and so when you were told to burry your face between her legs, you did so without hesitation.
A version of you from about an hour ago might’ve been able to see you now, and know that that candle had addled your mind, dulled your thoughts, but the current you had no such thoughts. In fact, the current you didn’t have many thoughts at all, but had that version of you from an hour ago gotten a single taste of the scent between this woman’s legs, they would’ve become just as entranced as you were now within the span of a single moment. Before, you had driven your face to her crotch because you’d been told to. Now, you kept it there because you couldn’t get enough of that intoxicating smell and taste alike. You felt her hand on your head, giving you a few soft pats as she spoke to you again.
“Good employee.” Those two words triggered a response in your brain, and a flood of pure joy washed over you. You were a good employee, a good employee listened, a good employee obeys. She repeated her praises again, once again calling you a good employee, and each time it evoked the same reaction. You heard people entering and leaving the room over the next hour or so, but you didn’t hear anything aside from normal conversation, as though this was normal for the rest of the employees.
You didn’t have much time to process this thought, however, as you hadn’t been told to think or process anything. Instead, you continued to carry out the order you had been given. You didn’t want to be a bad employee, after all.
When you eventually clocked out, you left the mall before realizing that you weren’t 100% certain what you even did on your first day of work. For a moment, you questioned what had happened, why you had no memory of your first, but then something clicked in the back of your mind; you’d been a good employee. A smile crept across your lips. As long as you’d been a good employee, nothing much else mattered. You could barely wait for your second day at work, so you could be a good employee again.