Megan had always considered herself a bit of a wallflower. In the Rolodex of her litany of failed romantic relationships and personal connections there was always a firm trend in their personality types. Strong, confident and driven. She found herself swept up in the maelstrom of their lives and followed along as a passive observer of her own life.
It was no exaggeration to say that she had absolutely no experience with asserting herself with such high stakes.
Yet there she stood, towering higher than she had ever stood both physically and metaphorically and about to lay down the law upon the most unmoving and cruel human she had ever met. Evelyn Maguire held grudges. She knew this. If she chose the wrong words then she would suffer the consequences later; and yet with Evelyn's very own heart beating madly within her chest, Megan only had one option. Persist.
"You have to treat her better. You have to treat me better. You can't just go around bullying people!"
Evelyn had always known herself to be a force of nature born into an unfair world where the rules were all made up by cheaters and crooks. Before her teens she had already decided that she was never going to play within the framework of society's little games. She didn't tie herself down, she did not compromise, she did not think of the other passengers on this journey of life as people. She saw them as obstacles and tools.
Now she found herself inhabiting the body of a petty little peon who had never experienced the concept of empowerment. It was no exaggeration to say that she had never been so vulnerable and humiliated in her life.
"Do you think, Ms. Olson, for even one second; that I will show you a shred of mercy once this situation has been corrected?"
Megan swallowed. Evelyn was able to make Megan’s petite body quite intimidating when she put her mind to it, but she could not afford to back down. Not this time. "Why do you think I'll help you if you're going to punish me? Please. You've got to work with me here, boss."
Evelyn snorted, "And you're only asking for kindness?"
Megan drew herself up, folding her arms firmly. The body knew how to shift into a formidable stance even without checking in with the personality piloting it, "I am demanding respect. And you will give it to me."
It was brief. Barely a flicker. But Evelyn Maguire flinched. Her eyes flared and her shoe shuffled backwards.
Megan smirked. The sight of her former body twitching in brief terror was having a unique impact. It was a feeling that she simply could not pin down via comparisons to prior events in her life.
"Ms. Olson..." Evelyn growled defiantly. Her eyes lingered slowly up and down the towering form of her body, poised exactly as it should be in any world whether she were in it or not. There was really no way out. Without Olson's aid she couldn't keep her empire standing and would not be able to find her way back to her body. "I have to give credit where it is due. You may be able to pull off being me if that is how you carry yourself."
"Evelyn. That's not an agreement."
"That's boss! Ms. Maguire if you're being informal. If you demand my respect, I shall have yours in return. And believe me, young lady, what you're receiving is respect. I was worried we would have to hide you from the world. But this? This could work." behind cobalt blue eyes lurked a dazzling fire.
A lifetime of being swept up in the energy of those more driven and confident could not be undone in a single morning. The bursting energy in her borrowed veins dissipated as a coy and pleasant smile blossomed, "Then I'll take the compliment. And don't you worry none, boss. I'll help you get back to your own body. But I would like to discuss this a little bit more before it's all over."
"Well if you're going to make your demands, I get to lay down my own. The first of which is that no one must know about this little switcheroo we have engaged upon." Evelyn puffed herself up, recovering from the jab to her pride. Taking charge suited both of them better, if Olson would stop being stubborn and accept it.
"That goes without saying..." Megan agreed, "I would rather no one know about this."
"On the contrary, Ms. Olson, it very much goes with saying. This is a rule and you must not break it. You are not to tell anyone about this outside of this room."
"...right." Megan agreed, testily.
"So it's a deal? Rule One. No telling anyone outside of this room?"
Megan rolled her eyes, "Deal. I won't tell anyone."
"Fine. We have an agreement. Now, I have a few more demands..."
"You're not in the position to demand anything of anyone!" Megan sharply protested, "I'm the one who holds the cards here."
"Of course you do, my dear. Of course. But right now? Perhaps you should focus less upon me and more upon poor Gwendoline."
Gwendoline was standing like a puppet slack on strings, arms flopped at her sides, head dripped slightly and her expression completely void. It took Megan a moment to realize this was her reaction to Evelyn's mysterious power. The force that pushed from mind to mind.
"Oh my goodness..." Megan whispered, drawing back "did I expel her from her body? Is that what happened to me?"
Evelyn rolled her eyes and strode over to the butler. "Oh you poor ignorant twit." she sighed, her voice flooded with a pity which was only aided by the nasal tone of Megan's vocal tract. "Sometimes I'm astonished you manage to survive in my employ at all..." with an overly dramatic sigh she shook her head, "No, think of the power like a mind control beam, that is essentially what it is."
Megan approached, circling Gwendoline like a fragile work of art in a museum. Delicately she placed her thumb at the subject's chin and pushed upwards. Even the barest graze of precious was enough to manipulate the butler and neither her posture or breathing altered in the slightest, "So she's in a suggestible somnambulist state?" Megan asked, peering closely at a pair of pin-prick pupils.
"Maybe my dimwitted P.A is not such an idiot after all!" Evelyn grinned. As Megan inspected Gwendoline, she was working on pulling her hair into a tight bun. This new mess of wispy thin hair complied with the hair ties and pins far more readily than her own and soon enough she had given the demure body an intimating edge from hairstyle alone.
"I did some reading. My therapist was using hypnotherapy with me to help me deal with---" her voice trailed off.
"Deal with?" Evelyn queried, "Oh, Olson, I may just give a single iota of a shit about you and your pathetic life, pending how you end that sentence--- and make no mistake. You will end that sentence."
"Yes bo-" Megan raised a hand to her mouth in surprise. "Wait... what..." something felt weird. She shook her head and pushed on, "It was for stress. The stress of working a demanding job with a brutal taskmaster who gave no encouragement."
"Mmm..." Evelyn groaned, bored. "I should have expected something dull and dry like that."
"Excuse me?!" Megan snapped back, "What were you expecting? Therapy isn't exactly a gossip topic."
"Silly, silly girl... I cannot even fathom how you exist in such a bland world. You should be kissing my feet that I gave you something worth talking about. Either way, you seem familiar with the concepts at play here. Though this is a little bit more intricate than a pervert with a bargain basement certification from some nothing body offering 12 week courses over the phone." she pulled off her tie and wrapped it around Gwendoline's unresisting torso, "This is true power. Gwendoline. Kneel."
The butler's legs caved and in a fluid motion she sunk to her knees beneath Evelyn. Once again Megan felt a wave of heat flush her system.
"Tell me what you exist to do."
"I am Madame Maguire's house manager. I exist to serve Madame Maguire and her manor." Gwendoline's voice was as hollow as her expression. She spoke as if possessed by a spirit.
Megan shuffled in discomfort, this felt wrong and she hated how little she could object or turn away from it.
"Oh. That's hardly anything. Ms. Olson is my personal assistant and whether she realize it or not her life revolves around serving me too. But I need her to understand just how deeply I own you. Who were you? Before I found you? Before I molded you?"
A cracking voice emitted from Gwendoline's throat, her eyes rapidly fluttered.
"Sorry... before Madame Maguire found you." as she spoke Evelyn pulled the smooth fabric of the tie up her torso, jealously coveting the space between them and unwilling to give an inch.
The cracking sound rumbled, like sounds were trying to form but there was no substance to turn the will into words. The words simply did not exist.
"Go on, my dear. Tell her." Evelyn had now wrapped the tie around her throat and was pressed up against her, her own chin pointed up enough that she spoke to the dip of Gwendoline's nose. The tie yanked her face upwards, inches away from lips making contact.
“...I have always been Madame Maguire's. Madame Maguire is all I know. All I care for."
"No family? No friends? ...tell her... what is your last name, my sweet?"
The cracking noise returned a third time, her jaw wobbled as the command rattled against a mind incapable of perceiving the concepts which it was commanded to testify.
"Good puppet. Good obedient toy." Evelyn framed the butler's face and finally drew in for a forceful and dramatic kiss the likes of which Megan had only witnessed in the third act of her favorite romance movies. "Mine."
"Yours...!" whispered Gwendoline in a flurry of hypnotic reverie and absolute lust-fueled attraction. That word was not just a cute nickname or hyperbole. Megan's skin crawled in disgust as she came to truly understand. It was literal. Gwendoline was a human with the serial numbers filed off. No family, no friends, no memory. Her name was likely fake and there was simply no going back. All that remained was the butler.
"Did you do this to me as well?"
Evelyn paused midway through her disgustingly romantic display of dominance and turned to face her employee. "Have I ever hollowed out your mind and scooped out whatever I wanted from within? Have I controlled your relationships and living situation to the point of which you couldn't escape my employ no matter how much you struggled against me?" her face morphed into the most hideous emulation of Megan's default smile, a sweet and saccharine wall between her eyes and the world she wished to hide from the trashfire of stress and anger burning from within, "Why ever would I do that to my dear personal assistant?"
Something about that defiant mockery itched under Megan's skin.
She wanted, needed and had to wipe that smile off of that face.
As if driven by an outside force she marched the space between them and grabbed her shirt. "Kneel!"
She didn't know where the word came from. Why the compulsion drove her. But she needed to show her boss who was in charge. Evelyn's expression blossomed from the mocking smirk into a blissful euphoric grin of submissive fervor as she too slipped to her knees.
Evelyn saw it coming before it happened. She knew she had pushed her hand too far but she couldn't back down and she couldn't escape now that the process was in motion. She watched as if disembodied as Megan piloted herself over to her, face flooded with fury and intent.
The heart within her borrowed body clenched in the tension of the moment as her cheeks flushed and she felt the wave hit her. She had forced her will upon countless people before but she had only been on this side of it once. Her entire sense of being yielded and was forced down, under waves of this thick and pulsing power that repelled her inner experience in all regards.
Last time it had happened to her it had felt like such a violation.
This time it felt natural.
She slid to her knees.
"Did you ever use that power on me?" Megan repeated, dangerously.
"Yes, Miss Olson." Evelyn sweetly responded in an empty tone.
Sheer surprise pulled her out of the moment just a little bit, but not enough to investigate further.
"Tell me. Exactly what you did." she pushed further, deeper, harder. Seeing her body with that vapid smile was stirring her in a maelstrom of ways and rather than process any of these alien emotions she wanted to ride them to get what she wanted. Clarity.
"On your first day... when I hired you. I told you that everything you do in this building would seem normal to you..."
She didn't need to say another word.
Megan had never been more nervous in her life. This job was out of her weight-class by many degrees and yet it specifically requested none. No degrees. The posting was quite specific that the client only wished for high school educated or lower for the role of executive assistant. Entry level. Tasks included printing, scheduling, taking minutes in meetings and handling the phones.
She had done a good job psyching herself up through the preparation process. She had thrifted the best suit she could afford, gotten herself made up and printed a new copy of her sparse resume on the crispest piece of paper a library printer could put ink to.
But going through the security station, waiting in the elevator, crossing the immense expanse between the office door and the boss' desk... her nerves were aflame and she knew, not believed, but knew that she did not belong here.
"Yours is the most intriguing resume I've seen all day..."
The prospective boss was a formidable woman. She fit into a suit like it was constructed around her. Every part of the office was meticulously placed to put its owner in a realm of comfort and ensure all visitors knew they were alien to the environment. The entire time Megan stammered through her interview questions, this imposing boss watched through tented fingers, smirking enigmatically the whole time.
Megan stumbled on words. The more she could sense herself becoming overwhelmed the more tense she became. Her face hued a shade of scarlet and soon enough her words lost professional composure, slipping further into an unguarded midwestern drawl.
"You know..." Evelyn sighed, "You are by far the most sorry creature that has walked into my office."
Megan's heart punched at her ribs as the insult landed directly, her face fell and all bravado was gone in an instant. This only served to widen Madame Maguire's grin.
"I was born and raised on the East Coast. Watching my family claw and pick at the generational wealth we had come to this country with a couple centuries ago. That is the world I grew up in, Ms..." she glanced down at the single sheet of paper sitting on her desk, "Olson. I grew up surrounded by vultures who would murder their own than share a single scrap."
She held up the piece of paper and looked between it and the candidate demurely standing in inspection, shuffling discomforted under the spotlight of Madame Maguire's attention, "And you grew up in a Hicksville know nothing town full of extra-curricular activities? Did you really think I'd value 'soccer captain' on your resume, dear? You even mentioned working with your mother in the local grocery mart for a summer to earn extra dollars. Am I supposed to be impressed by this? Is this supposed to show me you can survive in this cutthroat environment?!"
Megan's teeth clenched together, she had never hated a person so swiftly. To imply that coming from a rich family made her work ethic somewhat more valid than her own. As if being the best to reach captain was not an accomplishment or having healthy support was something to be looked down upon.
"And look at you... Sloppy. Unprepared. Underqualified. Unable to hold together even a few sentences without falling apart."
Megan's nostrils flared as she turned away, begging the stinging sensation at the corners of her eyes not to turn into tears.
"Don't you dare turn your back on me!" Evelyn snapped, rising from her chair. "Turn and face me. Now."
Against her better judgment, Megan did as instructed. What did it matter if she spare herself some dignity, she wasn't going to get the job. It was a waste of time and effort to remain.
"And don't start crying either." Evelyn's words were dangerous, sharp. As she spoke she walked around the width of her desk, tracing her finger slowly on the lacquered wood surface. Megan dared not say a word.
Now that she was standing Megan could see that Madame Maguire towered above her. A mixture of the angle and the eye make-up made the whites of her eyes gather all of the young applicant's attention and refused to yield even a fraction of it in return. With every step an echo of clacking flooded the room, each step carried weight and purpose. It made Megan feel like she was about to lose her lunch money.
"God, look at you. I bet you think hairstyling is a pair of sheers and your mother's love." she tisked and grabbed Megan's cheek and started moving her neck too and through as she inspected, the grip hurt.
"No apparent skincare routine. Dental hygiene is acceptable. This eyeliner looks like it came from Wal-Mart." another tisk of dissatisfaction, "You're a mess, my dear."
"...are you hiring an assistant or a prize show pup?" Megan snarked.
"Did I ask you to speak?!" Evelyn demanded in return and Megan silenced herself instantly, her eyes lingering downwards towards the floor before Evelyn snatched her chin and squeezed even firmer. "Eyes up. On me. Don't disrespect me by starring at my feet."
Megan had been punished before. By parents, by principals and even by managers before. Crimes ranged from water balloon pranks to looking at her phone on the sales floor. But this was humiliating beyond all the trials and tribulations of the past.
Evelyn continued her inspection for several more moments before abruptly disengaging. She turned her back and walked towards the side of the office.
"...shall I leave...?" Megan tried, summoning all her bravery to simply ask permission to leave the moment.
Megan just blinked in response. She must have misheard. Misunderstood. Evelyn was talking to someone else about something else. Something. Anything.
"Strip!" Evelyn repeated angrily and with it this time there was something beyond the way her voice carried, something stronger than the tension of the moment that forced Megan's shame. It was powerful, like the inside of a balloon filling out and pushing the elastic barriers, so too did that word enter her and just rise and expand.
"...strip..." Megan whispered to herself.
Her expression fell and all danger was erased from the room. The threat of tears no longer lingered. There was just that one word which pounced on any other thought or consideration. As her mind demanded she needed to leave, the word latched on and she needed to strip. If she didn't know what was happening, the word insisted upon itself to remind that she was stripping.
Megan's hands moved without input from her brain. Her blouse loosened button by button and pooled on the floor along with her skirt, tights, bra and underwear.
Evelyn opened her cupboard and revealed a litany of toys.
"Truly the most pathetic candidate I have ever seen..." she sighed to herself, "I cannot wait to break you in."
Megan's lips parted, her heart rose within her chest but she could not say anything, she did not know what to do. All her senses were alert and alive with panic but she couldn't make a decision.
Evelyn strode back with a riding crop and a spreader bar. "You look troubled, toy. Is something amiss?"
"I... I..." she stammered, her voice barely carrying above a whisper.
"Mhmm... you. You're mine."
Megan's brow scrunched up, the word Yours was trying to invade her but she didn't want it. She refused it.
"It's normal to want me, you know. It is special to be desired by me in return, however."
Megan's fists balled and she struggled to pull herself out of this spell. She could feel the pressure of this beartrap of a moment clamping around her. Consuming her whole.
"Everything that happens in this building will feel normal to you in time."
Megan shivered, shook her head, tried desperately to depart.
Evelyn grabbed her chin and drew herself close enough that their noses grazed one another. "Everything that happens in this building will feel normal to you in time." she repeated, darker, with an air of danger.
But there was no danger to be found.
Megan's mind yielded and all the tension faded from her.
"Say it, toy."
"...everything that happens..."
"Go on, the whole thing."
"...everything that happens in this building... will feel normal to me..."
"In time, you pathetic thing. In time."
Then there was a crack of agony erupting from Megan's thigh... and everything felt normal. Safe and normal. This was how things were at Crystal Visions.
Through a vapid smile and empty whispers of submission, Megan surrendered herself to Evelyn, allowed herself to be used, to endure strike after strike until her skin was beat beet red, to have the limits of her sexual endurance tested beyond their logical breaking point. Megan submitted. Megan did what she was told. Megan stopped resisting. Megan was hired.
This was how things were at Megan's new job.
In the present, Megan starred down at Evelyn on her knees and wearing the same blissful empty expression that she herself had worn on that first day so long ago. The intense satisfaction and raw power of the moment melted into horror and she felt like she needed to throw up.
How much had Evelyn forced her to do? How long had she been under her thrall? How much humiliation had she suffered under her boss' cruel and careless hand?
"I'm sorry, is this a bad time?"
Megan was ejected from her disgusted panic and looked to the door.
Carly Ngyugen from IT was lingering in the doorway with an expression of pure confused horror.
In the center of the office a butler standing drooling all over herself, a personal assistant on her knees smiling vacantly into
nothingness and Madame Maguire herself hunched over looking ready to throw up. Nothing to be said for the chair that sat stranded in the middle of the room with rope and a gag sitting on the cushion.
"Because... I could come back..."
Megan looked to Evelyn, who was not at the drivers seat of either body, and then back to her coworker.
She had no idea how to spin this, but she was going to need to or rumors would spread and the first rule is no one was allowed to find out what had happened.