Brown, sleepy eyes woke opened before the alarm clock on the nightstand went off, out of habit and conditioning as they stared at the back of the figure next to him. As it went off, they closed and he felt a hand reaching over to silence the alarm with a satisfying slam to the button. He heard a cute yawn, and opened his brown eyes to prepare for her onslaught of blue.
"Good morning," she smiled at him.
"Morning," he responded, hoping it would be a good one in that moment. Often her eyes would perform some variation of an enthralling stare. Sometimes she'd open them wide to swallow him, or narrow her lids to assume a laser-focused stare in his eyes, or something else she'd think of that he couldn't resist. That morning, she just looked at him sleepily, letting them blink occasionally as she stared almost without emotion at him, making him impatient for her to do something to him. Jon was the one that ended up with a focused gaze, peering as deeply as he could until the brown irises got a little unfocused and his body fell deeper into the cushioning. Such a calm state was interrupted by the alarm clock going off a second time, prompting Jon's harder, frustrating slam to the correct button that shut if off for the day.
Too embarrassed to look back at Sabrina, he just stared seethingly at the alarm clock. "Don't blame me," he communicated through thinking. "Blame Sabrina for not forgetting."
"Give up what you love for Lent, Jonathan," yawning herself awake, she spoke as sleepily as he wanted to be at that point. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." She kept her smile to herself from his grunt signifying how "fond" he was of the circumstance.
Jon forgot exactly when Lent started, but he never thought sacrifice would be this rough. He never expected either of them to observe Lent, nor give up anything considered substantial to them, but out of the blue one day, he'd heard "I think I'm going to try to give up hypnosis for Lent this year." He laughed at the notion, until he noticed she wasn't laughing back.
"I do. And maybe, unfortunately, you will too for a while."
He tried to not give it that much thought, assuming a trick was coming that she meant to surprised him with. Unfortunately, the surprise was that she was serious, and the removal of trance from their lives affected him more than he cared to show, even though she'd obviously noticed the difference.
Sabrina was happy to report that he wasn't acting like a trance-junkie, but it irked him to be described as "like a sad former smoker trying as hard as he can to keep up the former part."
Nearly every morning, he hoped she'd slip up purposefully seize control, but she never did. But it filled her eyes with glee to see his seize and then lose focus, as it never violated her hypnosis-giving fasting. An argument could've been made that her presence conditioned him to fall so well that they should stay apart the whole duration; it was an argument they both would've shot down, especially Jon as he took every opportunity to utilize any interaction she'd give him for a taste.
At her breakfast table, she started talking about the kind of day she expected to have, all the while noting how much close attention he was paying to her lips, and the sound of her voice rather than the meaning of the words. She imagined his thoughts supplanting innocuous discussion for a brief and wicked induction his programmed mind could feed off of. It would've annoyed her, but also it was the first time she'd seen him attempt any kind of self-hypnosis, so it fascinated her to watch him try.
"What was I saying, Jonathan?"
"I lost my train of thought, was hoping yours hadn't derailed."
"Won't lie and say my train was on the same tracks."
"Oh, and where was your train heading?"
Huffing a long sigh, he spoke honestly "...on a path to begging you for a kiss."
"Hmmm," tapping her finger to her lips as she hummed. "I do like kissing, and you are a cute beggar. But the way you read my lips without hearing me..." her pause belied taking his hand and pulling him close for a kiss. The phrasing of her last sentence sounded hypnotically descriptive enough that he vigorously kissed, holding her hand tenderly, slowly moving hers so it would rest around his waist. Signs of a smirk were felt over her lips in the wait for the physical pinch to squeeze his skin and trigger a deep post-kiss trance. Pulling back from the pinchless kiss, while wonderful, felt like a wonderful dish without spices.
"But I guess you forgot the time you read my lips and heard me when I said I was serious about the Lent this year."
Chiding words fell on slightly deaf ears as he tried to let the feel of her lips linger on his as he focused on her sense of control in him. He searched for it while still in her embrace, allowed to as she watched carefully. When his efforts came up short again, she playfully smacked him for his pouty whine and puppy-dog pleading eyes.
"Nice try, but no cheating the Lent this year, ok?"
A downward glance and slouching posture suggested "not ok," but he nodded anyway.
"Give up what you love for Lent, Jonathan. It'll feel so good when we can do it again."
He wanted to ball his fists and shake them, having nothing to strike and frustrated from feeling how good it felt yet missing something so important. Striking himself, no matter how weird it would've looked, came to him, and he almost acted on it. But the image of red lips came to him, and he felt a hand of its own accord pinch his skin. He knew it was his own as the fingers felt stronger yet less confident about what they wanted to elicit. He tried to feel those lips his mind saw, bonding them to a Sabrina trigger that wasn't really her.
"You might be out of it enough today that I think it's better to carpool you to work," shook him from his reverie, tingling skin and calm, deep breaths made him wonder if he'd achieved what he'd sought. He wanted to ask her about it, but if she was serious about giving it up for the duration, at best she'd be non-responsive, further driving him up the wall. In the end, he just huffed and grabbed his suit jacket and briefcase.
The drive there was spent mostly looking away from Sabrina in the passenger seat of her car. He didn't want to seem like a fussy jerk who was angry that wasn't getting his way, but he didn't hold it back completely since she could hold a little blame for conditioning him to expect it regularly, and then steal it away at the drop of a questionable, highly-inconvenient practice. Halfway to work at a stop light, he felt a hand rest on his shoulder, the warmth lowering his guard and smothering the pent-up feelings.
"Trust me, Jonathan, I know. I really know. I would love to have done it already, a few times this morning maybe, but..."
"Why did you decide to do this again?" He looked her way, one eyebrow raised above the other. If not for her hand, he might've been even less subtle.
"I...just felt like it was a good thing to do, to realize we're more than just...you know. That I don't always have to...well, for things to feel good between us."
It made him smile a little to hear her express herself with a matching tone, to ease the tension and bring a deep, rational breath over him. He leaned down to kiss the hand and spoke tenderly. "You're right. We are more than just...that. Even if it's a big part of us, it's not everything. And anything with you is special, so I'm just glad to be with you, no matter what you're doing. Almost..." He felt obligated to throw in a caveat to describe the hypnotist's innate ability to push buttons and limits that he'd secretly love later.
"Oh, I hate how your understanding words just makes me want to..." The hand from his shoulder caressed his face affectionately, ruffling his hair a little, and stroking under his cheek. Something about the touch felt magnetic, generating an attraction to the heat that made his neck and head malleable. The hand was still in the fuzzy space around him, making his eyes flutter, bringing up the absent memory of their last tactile induction.
"...but give up what you love for Lent, Jonathan. 'Not now' means 'when I say so,'" she spoke firmly, as if more to herself to resist the temptation.
"Yeah..." he heard her clearly, understood the words and wasn't going to argue against them. But something in her words, maybe the commanding tone of firmness of "when I say so" only increased the fuzz and liberal touches that lolled his head softly wherever it led. He remained that way until the loud sound and vibration of a car door slamming shut forced him awake. Shaking his head like he only slipped off to a daydream for a second seemed sillier than expected, staring at Sabrina standing outside her parked car. Head cocked to the side, she observed Jon curiously, especially his senses searching for the hand that literally departed long before he knew.
He thought he heard laughing as she walked toward the parking garage's exit, moving to leave her car and catch up.
Productivity that morning was frankly half-assed as the need for a trance was still on his mind. A strange encouragement bubbling inside that he'd nearly reached something akin to what he craved kept his eyes half-focused on the figures on his screen. After several hours of trying, the graphs and figures literally meant nothing to him; relevance might've come to him if a graph or a set of numbers slowly descended down and down until it reached a zero point of no return his mind was so used to. An hour before lunch, he caved, picking up his phone.
"Ms. Marks, can I see you for a moment?"
"Certainly, Mr. Task," Sabrina sounded totally work-appropriate on the other end, but he could still hear the smile that meant more.
Less than a minute later, she'd casually walked into his office, greeting Jon standing in-front of his desk from a professional distance.
"How can I help you, Jonathan?"
Slowly, she let the proper-employee smile slip as the corners of her mouth widened unabashedly.
"Honestly, not in the way I want, I really, really want..." he stopped caring if the resigned timbre sounded like begging, the slump in his shoulders and overall posture and his inability to keep his gaze totally spoke volumes about how little guard he was willing to put up. It amounted to something pre-Lent Sabrina would've pounced on, and it being a possible ploy couldn't be dismissed, even if she sensed that wasn't likely.
"But you coming helps, because....cheesy as it is, I had to see you."
His sheepish laugh following the cheesy line proved to Sabrina that it was a ploy one way or another, an effective one as she strolled up to him, grabbed his tie, and wrapped the other hand around his head to bring their foreheads together, brown eyes drowning in blue quicker than earlier that morning.
"Can you see me now? Good, boy," she levied her cheesy retort back to him, aware that her smiling eyes did most of the talking, leading him to a space he could practically taste.
"Please, please just say it," sincere pleading whispered to her, hoping against hope that her womanly wisdom would for once answer his prayers.
"No," was the sweet reply. It took a moment for his hopes to come crashing down, and more than that falling as he heard "give up for Lent, Jonathan. You know you love it."
An incomprehensible smile formed on his face, confusion giving way to the magnified, self-sustaining state from earlier, pushing him to sink inwardly, still seeing and drowning in blue, feeling her power almost vicariously.
Moving away to lock his door and sit on top of his desk, she observed him being absorbed in the phenomenon he didn't understand. That her observation was par for the course, mostly happening in his office, made her laugh quietly to herself.
It might've been cruel if Jon knew that the official Lent ended months ago, and was successful in ways Sabrina never expected. Not only did she successfully overcome every urge to mentally assume control, she found his own mind seeking it out to compensate, right into bouts of unplanned self-hypnosis. Neither of them had ever considered it, and yet his subconscious seemed to be all for it when she'd cut him off for the longest month it knew in a long time. It was enough of a success that random days after became part of Lent, extensions that forced Jon to compensate when denied, and supplied Sabrina with boundless entertainment. Watching him stand stationary as if he was still in her grasp, she wished she was at home to strip and react like she wanted to, imagining all the things he'd hear her say, taking himself deeper just because he sensed that's what she desired. She let the hand itching to reach under her skirt simply stroke her thighs, wondering if he'd feel the need to stroke something before long.
It was hard to keep the illusion of Lent days up; always convinced that he was smack-dab in the middle of it or that Lent had just begun, and either way that needed relief was so far away. It always made him do something to make her not last the whole day, threatening to end his self-hypnotizing, but she always held fast. "It's not really an illusion," she lied to herself. "The prep-trances, stares and touches don't count; it's all him. He wants is, he can't help it."
"Give up for Lent, Jonathan. You know I love it," she spoke his Lent trigger again, knowing it would be a slow day of productivity for both of them.