Sam blinked. "Sorry, what was the question?"
Gabrielle laughed, "I asked how are you, Sam?"
"Oh. I'm great. Just… still trying to make sense of things."
Gabrielle smiled and leaned closer. "What do you remember?"
Sam tried his best to gather his thoughts. "I remember… looking at your watch, hearing your voice… and then just feeling… so relaxed. And we were talking, but… the words didn't really matter…"
"But you can remember them now, Sam. You can do that for me."
Sam was slumped deep into the armchair, his eyes too heavy to open. His mind was resting on Gabrielle's voice, carried along.
"Now you can put your mind completely in my hands, Sam. You can let your mind rest under my control, as I guide you to somewhere wonderful.
"As I guide you, you can just allow your conscious mind, your waking self, to wander for me. You and I are going to talk privately, like two good friends stepping into another room, while your conscious self waits patiently here. Your conscious self can just relax, enjoying my smile and voice while the words drift past. The words can drift far away from your conscious mind, until I tell you you can remember. Good…
"The next step on our journey is a conversation, Sam. I want to talk with you honestly — talk to that deep part of you, who knows what you truly want, what you crave, what you need. I'd like you to trust me with that part of yourself. Do you feel comfortable doing that, Sam?"
"Yes Gabrielle," Sam found himself answering. His voice was languid and dazed, but it was definitely his.
"Thank you, Sam." Gabrielle sounded so pleased. Sam felt proud.
"Do you enjoy how you feel right now, Sam?"
"Mmmm… Yes Gabrielle…" Sam sighed happily.
"What do you enjoy about it exactly?"
"It's so good being so… focused on you. Your words, your voice. It feels like I'm…" Sam paused, as though the words struggled to escape. "Like I'm… under your control." Sam realised he'd let out a little gasp with those last words.
Gabrielle smiled. "Very good, Sam. You can relax and feel calm, safe, comfortable.
"Tell me, have you thought about being hypnotized before?"
"Who have you thought about hypnotizing you?"
"Usually… Usually women I found attractive. Partners, friends I've had a crush on…"
"Have you mentioned this to any partners before?"
"Does it feel good to tell me that now?"
Sam paused for a moment. "Yes, Gabrielle."
"Good, Sam. I promise it's okay for you to tell me these things."
"Thank you, Gabrielle."
"Now: have you thought about me hypnotizing you before?"
"I… Y-Yes, Gabrielle."
Gabrielle smiled, ignoring Sam's obvious signs of arousal.
"Did you imagine being so obedient, Sam?"
"Oh. I… I don't know if I… imagined I… would—"
Gabrielle snapped her fingers.
"Sleep, Sam. Relax even deeper for me. Thoughts, vanishing. There are only my words. You can only obey."
Sam found himself falling even deeper into the recliner under him. His eyelids fell helplessly, his body felt somehow so heavy and so far away. He didn't think. He just felt Gabrielle's words echo into his mind, into the space where his thoughts would be.
"You are a very good subject, Sam. Your every response has been exactly as I wished.
"In a moment I will count up to five. With each number, more of your conscious awareness will return. At five you will realise you are paying much more attention than you have been for the past few minutes.
"Our conversation will just have slipped your mind. It's as though you were in a daydream. The memories far away from your conscious mind, until I tell you that you can remember.
"One. Two. Three…"