"You want to do what?" Vic asked as he tried swallowing his water without choking on it. He watched Melinda, his old acquaintance, smile that almost wicked smile of hers whenever she got to punch him in the arm. That feeling was still fresh as she'd walked by him in the restaurant, unaware it was her until she punched him in the shoulder unexpectedly, greeting him with the same smile she bore now.
He should've expected the punch as a greeting though. Knowing her from years ago, both their arms were familiar with each other's fists. Since the age of 8, they were considered the king and queen of the Circle game, being the trickiest at making circles and being the least likely to be punched. But most of the time the king and queen were at war with each other, almost always on equal ground. It was kept between them mostly as Melinda thought the normal rules of the circle game were boring, and cheated by making circles wherever she wanted, mostly above the waist unlike how the game was supposed to be played. Only Vic agreed to playing dirty as well, as long as it meant getting back at her. Melinda being the hard-punching tomboy in her youth, and Vic loving giving as good as he got, they kept their arms consistently sore through their adolescence.
After middle school, they attended different high schools, colleges, and slightly different paths in life. And though they never stayed in-touch for long, they still met by chance every few years. This time she reached out to him via Facebook. And now they sat across from each other, grown up yet rekindling their combative nature against each other, or at least that's what she was proposing.
"No 'hi,' 'how've you been,' or nothing. Just straight into the game. In the middle of a restaurant of all places.""
"You seem to forget that we've already gone through some of the preliminary questions online. According to you, not much has changed, except for getting married two years ago. Congratulations by the way, in case you forgot that I already said that too via instant messenger. The way I see it, we're both eager to play. We've never not played the game over the years, and I think here makes for an interesting venue."
Vic just shook his head. "You'd think we could have both grown out of it this by now."
"Is this you finally wising up and conceding? It took you long enough to realize you don't have a chance. But better late than never."
Few people in his life knew how to goad Victor like Melinda could.
"She really hasn't changed," he thought to himself, silently acknowledging the same for himself as he reached over and offered his hand to shake, accepting her challenge.
Vic felt his hand jerked suddenly as she'd taken him by the wrist and turned his palm to face up. It was a normal reaction to look at what she was doing, which she counted on as he saw and felt a circle in his palm before he could look away.
"Strong start, as usual" he frowned.
"Can't blame a girl for wanting to make an impression," she told him gleefully.
"Are you sure you want to make a scene by having to reach over the table to punch me in the arm?" Vic asked inquisitively, hoping she wouldn't be bold enough. It would look strange enough to him, but social niceties meant he definitely couldn't lay a fist on her.
"Not to worry, Vicky-boy. There's more than one way to hit you."
She took his right wrist and brought it down to the edge of the table, firmly keeping it down while tracing a fingernail around the skin that wasn't pinned down.
"There. Now your wrist is stuck to the table," she suggested brazenly.
He looked at Melinda in disbelief, trying to decide whether this was more sensible or ridiculous than an arm punch.
"Really, Mel? Just like that?"
"Just-like-that. You can't move it, and you won't, so there's no need to even worry about it. You might as well relax that hand so the muscles won't be strained."
Fingers grazed the top of his hand, urging them to relax. Vic just looked at his hand and wondered why he should comply with her gesture at all, almost forgetting it was part of a contest. Once he remembered, he let her hand rest and decided not to put up any resistance.
"That's a good Vicky-b-"
She stopped mid-sentence as she looked down at his hand, happy to see it relaxed, amused to watch is fingers slyly make a circle of its own.
"Very good, Vic. You've still got the quick comebacks."
She extended her hand toward his.
"In all fairness, you can do something to my wrist if you like."
He gracefully took Melinda's hand in his, thinking about what to do with it. He thought about telling her to leave it in the air for a little while, a reverse punishment for her, but felt something that surprised him for a moment. He wondered how her skin suddenly felt so silky, and realized he might've been touching fabric he didn't see. Melinda addressed the confusion on his face.
"Like what you're feeling, Vic? It is silk. Sort of a trick up my sleeve. Matches my skin color really well, so when I offer guys my hand, they're surprised how soft my skin is to the touch of their fingers, or their lips if I let them kiss my hand."
That explanation sounded very much like her m.o. If there's one thing he always remembered about her, it was how she liked, probably loved, surprising people. Not jump-scare surprise, not usually, but surprising people with small details that made big differences. Kind of like how she dressed, still in a way that he considered tomboyish, but still drew guys' attention better than the women of the business crowd that surrounded them. Today she was adorned in black casual boots, jeans that hugged her sizable figure, a dark shirt with a fur-clad collar, an ovally-revealing neckline that gave a hint of cleavage and a purple jewel hanging on a thread. He liked how the wide, flowing sleeves moved like wind was passing through when she gestured. He liked the look of her burgundy lipstick and the scant blonde-colored curls amongst the brunette ones highlighting her face even more.
"Does it feel nice?" He looked into green, twinkling eyes, noticing one of the blonde curls fell between them. He let go of her hand rather sluggishly.
It did, but Vic wasn't going to respond.
"Thanks for the compliment," she said sarcastically. "I hope you treat your wife this well."
"No, she gets better," he said matter-of-factly.
"I would hope an old friend would get the same courtesy."
"I did notice, but I'm sure you get enough compliments from boyfriends."
"Not likely. They can have a hard time remembering whether I wear glasses or not, let alone what color my eyes are."
He looked down at his menu. "You switched to contacts, right?"
"No, lately I've been working with monocles, like this one."
He didn't move his head, but his eyes looked up to see a circle covering her eyes, the menu covering the scowl while Melinda's impish grin taunted him.
"Fortunately, you are more attentive than most boyfriends."
Her hand creeped up the arm stuck to the table, Vic waiting to see what she had in store next. Her hand seemed to get stuck at his bicep, just below his polo-shirt sleeve. He just watched her fingers play with the skin, wondering what she was getting at, beginning to enjoy the attention given.
"You've been working out more since last time, haven't you?"
Heat rose to his cheeks as she played with his right arm a little more before his eyes went to her face and that smile he was growing tired of.
"You're trying to seduce a married man, you know."
"'Seduce' is such a strong word. All I'm trying to do is enslave you. And it seems to be working. Never seen you blush before. It's awfully cute."
He brought the menu back up to block his cheeks.
"I told you there was more than one way to hit you."
"The blows usually aren't this low, Mel."
"I could construe that as you seducing me, in a weird way."
"Yeah, in a weird, reaching kind of way." He shook his head behind the menu, beginning to consider what he was hungry for before he heard her whispering.
He looked at her as she perused her menu, whispering some kind of sound that he was obviously supposed to hear.
It finally dawned on him what she was implying with the noise she was making, as he tore his eyes away from the water glass hiding her obscured circle.
"Jaws, eh? Clever. You almost had me with that one."
"It was worth a shot. The next o-ahh, dammit."
Vic looked as her hand jerked and saw something red fall on the table. He reached out for her hand while she protested his help.
"Mel, just stop and let me see it."
He got a hold of her wrist to inspect it, expecting a cut but finding a ketchup-covered circle instead.
"Ok, gotta admit that was good."
"Of course it was," Melinda said while trailing nails in a straight line all the way up to where she tickled his bicep earlier. He didn't blush this time, but silently enjoyed what her nails were doing to him. Part of him was afraid that he was being spoiled, welcoming her touch before it became another punch to the arm, making it hurt even more from the false expectation. That only seemed to make him enjoy it more while he still had it, even at great risk of softening to Melinda.
"And so was that."
It was kind of sexy to him how there was no trace of humility in her voice, but he still gave her a look.
She shrugged, bringing her own menu up. "So you know this place. What's good here? What goes well with victory?"
"Don't know why you're asking me; I'm the one that has to eat it."
"Sure Vicky-boy, sure."
"I hear their clams make a good consolation prize."
"They have clams? I don't see that."
He put down his own menu to help point out the dish.
"It should be right here in the seafood section."
He tried pointing it out with his finger ring to no avail, impressing Melinda a little in how she'd been caught off-guard.
"Huh, I though it was there. Maybe that was a different restaurant."
"I'm sure it was," came out snarkingly from Melinda as she extended her hand toward his for punishment. He gave a good pinch around the base of her fingers. She barely reacted, but he knew it hurt a little bit. Before he could pull away, she added
"Kiss my hand, or better yet, the silk around my sleeve. I want some feedback from someone who knows it's there about how it feels to them."
He looked at her, and her hand, and back to her again.
"Don't be shy."
He brought her hand to his face, and kissed just above the wrist as instructed. He tried to make it a chaste kiss, but his lips made him linger over that feeling, as it felt really good to feel it. The silk tempted his lips almost to another kiss before he let it go and gave her her hand back.
"Well," she asked her mystified acquaintance.
"It was....not bad."
"That's all? 'Not bad?' How about you give me some real feedback before I tell your wife you kissed my hand without permission."
Vic knew she was teasing, but he could never tell if she'd go as far as her threats said she would.
"Fine, it felt really good against my lips. It's the kind of thing I'd like the wife to do, and I pity the poor bastard who next kisses it and gets sucked in to a deceitful web of bruised arms and crushed hopes and dreams."
"It's charms like that that made me think I should've claimed you for myself years ago."
"Keep dreaming, Mel. You missed your chance two years ago and some change."
"I believe there's always hope," she said as she offered him her wrist again, smiling evilly. "And why dream when I can crush yours in real life?"
"Home wrecker," was what he muttered while playfully swatting her hand away. He responded a few seconds later than expected, as imagining silk against his lips again gave him pause.
"My lips are sticking with appetizers today. The food here is delicious, but is heavy on your stomach."
"What do you recommend?"
"Stuffed potatoes. We can share an order."
Vic signaled the waiter over to their table.
"Hey, I haven't been here in a while, are the stuffed potato orders pretty small still?"
"Yeah, they still are unfortunately."
"I think we'll stick to appetizers today. Can me and my friend get three orders then?"
He looked back at her as she smirked at seeing his hand having three raised fingers and a circle.
Melinda nodded in agreement to the waiter, and he took their menus and walked away.
"Well Vic, what would you like to do now? Or touch now?"
He reached over to caress the same hand as before, rubbing the nude-colored silk for a few seconds before pinching her pulse-point harder than before. Reflex caused her arm to jolt and her purse fell off the table. Being the gentleman he always was, he tried reaching for it, despite one hand still stuck to the table. He got close to it before he saw her finger-ring under the table.
Melinda enjoyed the deep sigh he uttered under the table as he came back up, handing her purse back to her, readying himself for her next hit. She surprised him again by keeping the stuck hand pressed down on the table, but rotating the wrist so his palm faced upwards. She teased the center of it and his pulse point, somehow synching his heart beat with the stroking of her nails. It felt like she was controlling his pulse as she stroked a little slower and thought his heart beat was trying to match it.
Vic mostly tried to keep himself from blushing again, distracted enough to forget about everything but his pulse and her nails, shaken as she removed them at the sight of the incoming appetizers.
The waiter thought it strange that Vic's hand was laying flat on the table, as if expecting him to place one of his appetizers there. It felt stranger than it looked for Vic, as his arm and hand felt a gentle numbness for some reason. Stimulated as it remained still, yet numb to the idea of moving it.
Melinda thanked the waiter as he walked off. The first small stuffed potato she took, she placed in his disabled hand.
"Enjoy," she giggled.
"You're cute," Vic mused taking the potato out of his hand.
"No, you're cute. Your hand just begs to be treated like that."
"You made it like that Mel, the punishment is supposed to be pain."
"You kept it that way, as per good sportsmanship. And typically, yes, a punch in the arm or some kind of hurting will follow seeing the ring. But while the form is different, I believe the spirit remains the same. You've gained some strength over the years, but I haven't lost any, and you remember how hard I could punch. This is a much more socially-acceptable, and satisfying way, given the circumstances. How does it feel having your arm on the opposite end of the pain spectrum now? You lost the last time, and complained about a sore arm. You came prepared to try to win today, but knew you might take some hits. But now those hits are different, ones you certainly didn't see coming."
Melinda's head gestured downward, and Vic followed to a fresh circle in his view.
"And now it's kind of fun to apply hits that your body reacts to differently from the expectations in your head."
She swallowed the remained of a sour cream-filled potato before running her hand along the same path of his bicep as before, from his palm's center to his bicep's center.
"Even taking a 'hit' feels different. Playful fingertips running all over your arm, telling it that it would be happier at rest, leaving it with the memory of my touch, struck in nice way. Maybe 'hit' should be redefined, like 'what's happening feels so good, it's addictive, and you can wait for your next hit.'"
There was a mirror on the side of the restaurant's wall that had both of them in clear view, which Melinda gestured toward to make Vic follow and find the circle near her reflected face.
"So I can keep doing this, and you can enjoy this hit."
Vic chewed his potatoes slower, enjoying sour cream and vegetable-filled recipe even more, content to have his rested arm stroked up and down by fingernails all but happy to drug it. Their ends felt sharp, reminding him of a doctor or an addict searching for a vein in his arms. But the drug, whatever it was, emblematically seeped into his skin from just being touched. The idea of moving his wrist or arm, or trying to think of an excuse to, had left his mind.
As she stopped touching his arm again, he felt the a loss at the absence of her ministrations. He looked up to find a confused look on his old acquaintance's face.
"Are you done? You look like you're done."
"No, no, not done. Thinking of my next move."
"Looks like you weren't even thinking; I kind of hope I haven't conditioned you for defeat."
"No worries, Mel. Everthing's a o.k," he told her as he made the same gesture as when he ordered their appetizers. Her eyes didn't deviate from his as she looked at him lamely.
"Come on. The same gesture twice, so soon, in front of your face with no creative trick? It's insulting that you expected me to fall for that. At least put some effort into your loss. Use what's left of that brain that your wife hasn't sucked out of you. Tell a story or something. Like 'my last boyfriend may have been a dummy, but he was a cunning beast in bed. He always knew where to excite me the most, and how.'"
As she told her faux story, her hand portrayed intercourse, with one finger pumping in and out of a hole. Vic gave Melinda his own lame look.
"Speaking of insulting, how do you expect me to look down at that," he asked, looking squarely in her eyes.
"Well, you're a guy. Guys like sex. Guys like sex stories. Even the most competitive guys would still have libidos willing to give up a point for the promise of a good sexual fantasy."
"It's a sexual fantasy of you Mel; you can imagine why I might have pause," he tried to say snarkly.
"Oh, I know why you have pause; might be too much for your senses to imagine you and me like that. I mean, just look at what I did to your arm." She loved look of his eyes widening at her last statement, throwing him a curveball that put their banter heavily in her favor.
"You say it's insulting for me to try and use that example to make you look down again, thinking that you're too good to concede to just looking down at what an easy point for me."
"It's not any point for you, and it's still insulting," he interrupted.
"So you say, but I'm still doing it. I'm still making that motion, with a hell of a lot more conviction than you're 'A o.k.' nonsense. You never even bothered to fight the idea that guys think about sex enough that a symbolic gesture is worth a little pain. Your trying to say that with me it's different in a negative way was cute, especially cute because knowing that circle is still there, just below eye-level, just waiting for you to take a peek. One little peak and your arm is back in nail-fetish heaven. More skin-stroking, and ego-stroking, complimenting you on how strong your muscles are getting. Your right arm and wrist must be in some kind of deep anticipation, like the kind of feeling you get when you're seconds away from a mind-blowing kiss, and even those seconds are too long a wait to get that feeling. Your arm wants it so bad, wants you to look down so bad. If it's got a real addiction to me, you might be feeling those sensations already, trying to stimulate where I might touch, trying to remember where I last touched, forcing the feeling of where you want my touch the most. So nice just thinking about that.
"And that circle that you want to look at is still down there, still part of a sexy show that let's your mind get to think about sex in-general, your last great sexual encounter, what sex with moi might be like. They say a weakened mind gets to feel more during sex, because it's feeling more than it is thinking. And who wants to think during sex? What's there to think about? If you're thinking while having sex, there's a good chance you're doing it wrong. And why do it wrong when you can do it right? Don't think, feel."
Melinda loved quoting Bruce Lee like that, loving the parallel of instructing a student or opponent who had no chance to win anyway.
"You won't be weak for long, just your mind while you sit here with me, thinking about the most natural and joyous act known to man. And which was that by the way, mind-blowing sex, or your arm being caressed by addictive fingernails? What does it matter? Pleasure is pleasure. Actually, I'll do you one better. What's pleasure times pleasure? There might not be a word to describe it yet, but I'm sure you know how do get pleasure like that, right?"
Melinda twinkling green eyes kept Vic eyes captive, waiting to be released into the arms of what she was suggesting. His fallible mind couldn't comprehend a way out or a means to leave. His only direction was forward. Downward.
"Right?" spoke almost sensually to him.
He blinked, his shoulders sagged, and she knew he was tipped over the edge. The gentle push from her words and he fell into the hole her fingers made, eyes first, anchoring the mind to fall with them. Melinda wondered how hard he was under their table as his listless smile grew wider as she stroked his arm in the middle of Vic's fantasy rendezvous with Melinda. That lasted for a good ten minutes before she saw the waiter coming their way. She quickly pinched and suggested he come out of the fantasy before he arrived.
"Are you alright sir?"
"He's fine, just got a little groggy,"
Vic continued to shake himself to wakefulness, nodding as if agreeing with Melinda, trying to keep from yawning. It pleased her to see that his wrist remained bound to their table.
"Sorry, long day. Check?" he looked at Melinda.
"Not yet; give us a few minutes please," she asked.
Watching the confused man leave them, Melinda quickly formed a new circle on top of the table that Vic responded to with a stern look at her face.
"Don't worry," she told him. "Our contest is over, but the fun continues."
"What?" he asked mystified.
The spellbound arm felt nails being dragged across it again, nerves anticipating more interaction. Just below the sleeve, she drew a circle on his bicep. Not a very big circle, and in fact the more she circled, the smaller it got. It took him a moment to realize she wasn't making circles, but a spiral. His confusion grew as his gaze lingered downward, squarely directed to the circle.
"Can you see what you feel?" she asked, willing him to see the same spiral in the ring she made that was being traced on his arm. He did see the outlines of Melinda's fingers making the circle, and his eyes followed an invisible line coiling its way into the circle's center. Looking at it made the tip of his finger ticklish to the air around it, nearly to the point of itching. It knew what to scratch before he did as the finger moved, towing his lesser-affected hand and arm to greet the circle. His finger touched the skin of hers, tracing the line only he could see, before penetrating the hole, as he was instructed to well before their lunch meeting.
"So good to see that still works on you. It works because it feels appropriate, doesn't it?"
Besides his submission, the little things about Vic always stuck out to her, like his nods that made him seem so shy despite how out-going he was. 25 years later, it was still among the cutest things she'd ever seen.
"Yes, you feel right as rain this way, wrapped up in me. And the tighter I hold you," Melinda told him as all the fingers of her hand closed around him, watching the affirming conditioning inside him shooting from his finger to somewhere deep in his center, blossoming from her suggestion. Stilled with his eyes closed, Vic's calm demeanor infectiously reached out to Melinda as well. She enjoyed the feeling for a few moments herself before her nail touched his index finger and ran it curvingly to the tip of his thumb.
"Your turn, Vicky-boy" she suggested, watching him form the last circle of their meeting.
She would've enjoyed watching Vic maintain a zen-like trance a little bit longer, but they couldn't spend all day there. The teasing of her nails around his circle's entrance was slowly breaking down that zen state he was in, first with gradually deepening breaths, then the subtle motions of his eyelids. As her finger inched its way to entering the hole, his lips parted at the rate of a sunrise. More than what she was doing with his and her fingers, she loved what was going on his mind. While the brain's structure has no real hole to speak of, his imagination graciously manifested the idea of Vic being literally mind-fucked somehow. Of anything Melinda had pre-programmed him with, this took the most effort, but delivered the best payoff. Watching him be on the receiving end of mental and physically-felt intercourse, totally unbeknownst to the public around them, she had to worry about being the one looking overly excited.
"You love getting taken this way don't you?" She breathed, fingering his circle with increasing vigor.
"MMmmmmm," Vic moaned. She couldn't get the passion out of his voice when they did this, so she restricted his responses to low moans.
"You'd be so embarrassed if you were conscious right about now, but no one knows but me, which is an even greater turn-on, yes?"
"How long can you last before it comes?"
He never could answer that question because he never knew, or how fast she would drive him to it.
"You know it only stays in your mind, all that your feeling. You feel it most in your head, and it maybe reaches your shoulders for now. Some of it will stay with you for the next time you release the, classical way. You know all this, don't you?"
"Shhh," she admonished him, fearing that moan might've drawn attention their way. "The less noise you make, the more you will enjoy this. A silent orgasm feels so good. As silent as it is dry. All in your head, only in your head. And when your brain cums, all that leaks out is more pleasure and more deference to me. That's all you want."
Melinda fingered faster, and no one but her could see behind Vic's masked calmness, the excitement. Once she got him to a certain point, an instruction popped up in the middle of his intercourse, reminding him of how he could finally release. His lips finally parted just enough to utter "You win."
It all happened as if at once. He breathed sharply, closing his fingers around hers, her hand covering his, and his dry orgasm flooded and took other thoughts out of him. The effort it took not to thrash or move was monumental, but it being reinforced under her will helped.
Out of the corner of her eye, the waiter approached. She raised the hand not trapped in his grasp to signal him for the check, and he went back to retrieve it.
"Vic, time to leave the circle, come back to the here and now with me. Here and now, Vic."
It took a minute for Vic to come back, even longer to really come back to the reality outside of what she created for this meeting.
The waiter brought the check, noticing how drowsy Vic still looked.
"Yeah," Melinda said on his behalf. "I think this guy needs a nap."
Vic smirked at her, and after pulling out his wallet for the bill, started whispering sweet somethings her way, trying to make her blush.
She could only shake her head to keep from laughing. "What would your wife say to that?"
"Is that you saying yes or no to my proposal?"
Vic watched her walk to the front of the entrance. He followed behind and pulled her to him for a brief kiss, not caring who stared. Normally she hated public displays of affection, but she leaned into the kiss this time, enjoying it. She whispered "yes" to him before walking away from, expecting him to follow. An added lightness was in his step as he finally had an answer to his important question from yesterday.
She would make him pay for it later though. First an arm punch once they got outside, for sure. After that, some kind of tormenting lasting hours, maybe a day. The punishment would be worth it as it kind of riled her up enough to want to play more mind games with him. Maybe a different restaurant, maybe a different induction style, maybe implanting a faux spouse into his mind again; the last one especially in the future, as Melinda would probably find it hotter that way, already being his spouse.
In reality, they did meet occasionally over the years, but both knew each other well enough to know of their strong feelings. Relationships they had never lasted long as they never burned as hot as even their rivalry over an adolescent game. Every reunion the game was played, and the anticipation for them peaked when Melinda spiced things up erotic hypnosis in recent years, something he never thought he would've come to love. Asking in his own way to "not really separate again" was impulsive, but he did mean it, and asked no matter the consequences. Consequences even came with her "yes," as they knew she'd be the reigning dominant in their relationship, hypnosis or not. Their repeating cycle would only get tougher as they spiraled into inseparability.
They celebrated their grim fate rushing to the closest apartment or hotel to embrace it as soon as they could.