Last Resort

by scifiscribbler

Tags: #brainwashing #computer_brainwashing #consensual_kink #m/f

As their marriage seems to be falling apart, Rochelle and Michael try the last option open to them; experimental brainwashing learned off the internet.

Rochelle had stayed late at work for the best part of a year now, and her colleagues knew that she would not leave until everyone else had gone.

She was fairly sure that none of them knew yet that once she had the place to herself she would bury her head and cry. Just… not as sure as she wanted to be. And in any case, some of them were certain to suspect. She wasn’t able to play the workaholic well enough.

The crying hadn’t been a feature of her late stays at first, though. It had just been a case of not wanting to go home. Of finding home frustrating.

She and her husband were not having a great time of things. Having married in their early 20s, they’d found by the time Rochelle was 27 that they didn’t have much in common, but they still enjoyed each other. So they tried to fix things by getting something in common and the result was Blair, their daughter, coming up now on 12 and, in her husband’s words, “the best mistake we could have made”.

Blair had not united them, except insofar as now they had something new they both wanted to support. Nor had they come together over ballroom dancing (Rochelle’s idea) nor golf (husband Michael’s) nor miniature gaming (Rochelle’s). And as Rochelle grew up, she needed less and less support, meaning she was much less a distraction in the evenings.

Rochelle’s refuge was the store, and the little office at the back where she could get peace once the place was locked up. Michael retreated, too, spending more and more time in the little room they’d agreed would be his study when they bought the house. Their bedroom, like the public areas of the house, was just more shared property and shared burden, and on some days it was avoided until they were too tired not to sleep.

Tonight she had vowed not to cry; tonight she was instead on her own laptop, clandestinely brought into work to use for late-night research. The onion browser she’d put in place kept her anonymous, but just as importantly it gave her access to areas of the internet most search engines couldn’t reach.

The problem, she told herself, was how stubborn they both were. Just because it was hard for either of them to be in the same room as one another without their daughter as a distraction didn’t mean they didn’t talk about loving each other. And love each other they did; she knew her own feelings, and Michael couldn’t hide anything from her these days. They knew each other too well for that. If they could ever have talked clearly about the problems they had, their relationship might still have been healthy.

Love just wasn’t enough; they were too different as people, and as willing as they’d both claimed to be to change for one another, they’d proved to be unable to make the changes.

But Rochelle had an alternative in mind. The kind of thing you had to be pretty desperate even to consider. The kind of thing most people would dismiss as impossible - but then, most people hadn’t spent the disastrous weekend in Vegas that she and her husband had. Hadn’t seen firsthand the reality behind the Piper Irish scandal.

The pop starlet’s behaviour that weekend had been captured on countless cameraphones, uploaded across YouTube, speculated about on right-wing and left-wing news sites alike (and blamed by both, somehow, on the other side). When she’d gone from buttoned-down beauty to unrestrained sex octopus in a casino lobby, with no apparent explanation.

Except that if you’d been there, if you’d had just the right viewpoint, and if you’d looked up twenty minutes before Piper’s lobby striptease had begun, you might have a few more puzzle pieces.

And if you took those puzzle pieces and made the right guesses, then if you were just desperate enough you might find yourself running some very specific searches in the seediest side of the internet.

*

“We need to talk,” Rochelle informed her husband. She had quickly leaned in the doorway of the kitchen, and she withdrew just as quickly.

Michael closed his eyes and took a deep breath, reminding himself that irritation wasn’t going to help. “She doesn’t mean to piss you off,” he said quietly. “She’s uncomfortable about whatever it is.”

He turned the hob off, moved the pan off the simmer, and went to find her.

She was in his study, where she was pacing anxiously. Which meant this was a conversation not for Blair’s ears; that was the only reason Rochelle ever set foot in there these days.

Not like the old days… Michael still missed the times when she’d darted into his room on a whim, to tease him or plant a kiss. Back then neither of them had seen the frustration they would be to one another coming; life, as he remembered it, had been flirtation, attraction, and enough agreement and shared taste to bury the rest… for the time being, at least.

Rochelle wouldn’t meet his eye. Usually that meant it was money worries; them agreeing back at the start of their marriage that he’d handle finances had turned out not to be the end of it for either of them. Michael found he wasn’t entirely comfortable having the final say, and Rochelle found herself second-guessing, and the result was that neither of them were willing to communicate about money unless they knew - or suspected - a crisis. The fact neither of them were confident in their mental arithmetic hadn’t helped.

“What’s up?” he said quietly. He was trying not to stand in the way he knew made Rochelle antsy. It helped - a little - that he could see she was trying the same thing.

Not for the first time, he wished that when fresh out of college he’d had a better idea how to spot long-term compatibility. Or that Rochelle had. Some of his friends still carried a flame for ‘the one that got away’ - which wasn’t exactly the way he’d want to think about a partner, but it gave him some idea how he might think of his wife if they’d fallen out of touch.

The fact he’d think better of her that was was what really hurt.

Rochelle took a deep breath. “I still want to make this work,” she said.

No need to ask what ‘this’ was. It was all they ever used to refer to their troubles, no matter how wide-ranging they became.

Michael nodded. Could he say the same?

He asked himself every time they came near to talking, every time he bit down his frustrations - every time it was his turn to do the shopping, even, and he was planning out the meals for a new week. More to his tastes, shared favourites, or a treat for her? It should be an easy decision. What hurt wasn’t how tough it could be; it was the way it had come to feel like a contest every other week.

And every time he asked himself, he came back with the same answer. “Me, too,” he said quietly. “We’re both still here.”

At that - their unofficial shared joke about their frustrations - Rochelle looked up and met his eyes for just a moment. The expression on her face was only a smile if you were prepared to be quite generous; all the same, it was something. A moment of connection. But what Michael really took from that brief look up was her cheeks were pink.

She was blushing over something. What?

“Good,” she said. “But - it’s not working, is it?”

The bottom seemed to drop out of his stomach and his world at once. A surge of panic was swiftly followed by a rush of anger. The urge to lash out verbally, try to hurt her as her words had just hurt him - it was there and it was strong. But he held off. Her tone wasn’t hurtful. It wasn’t even resigned. He knew her well enough to hear when she had something in mind, when she was leading up to it.

He’d stopped listening to that, hadn’t he?

“Say I agree,” he said slowly. “What do we do then?”

“I have an idea,” Rochelle said. “But I don’t want you to dismiss it out of hand, OK? It’s - I think this could be really useful. But it’s going to sound weird.”

That definitely sounded weird already. “So…”

“It’s complicated,” she said, “and it involves that Vegas trip, and I think maybe I’d better start at the beginning. Yes?”

“Maybe you had,” Michael said quietly. He was more unsettled by the way she was leading up to this, he thought, than he probably would be by the idea itself.

*

Remember you love each other.

Remember you find each other attractive.

Communicate with each other without anger.

Allow Michael to handle the money.

Michael can handle the money.

Don’t interrupt Rochelle when she has trouble making her point.

Rochelle can make her points.

Listen and love.

*

Michael had definitely been wrong on that point. He’d been bewildered, frustrated, angry, and it had taken all of his wife’s dogged perseverance to wear down his reactions until he was prepared to admit that every one of them stemmed from fear.

But Rochelle was insistent. And she had an answer for every one of his concerns. And so, three days later, with Blair safely away playing at the home of a friend, they were sat on the sofa together, Michael’s desktop PC streaming to the TV.

He glanced across to his wife and realised for the first time she was at least as nervous as he. Her eyes darted to him, then to the corner of the room, then on to the big screen and back.

“Do you know how this is going to work?” he murmured, and Rochelle shook her head.

“I just set up the program the way it advises,” she said. “The suggestions are the ones we agreed…”

She trailed off, her eyes on the screen. Michael found himself tensing up, uncertain, but he couldn’t help but follow her gaze for just a moment.

On the screen were two sets of blue and white concentric circles; where the two sets reached each other they seemed to merge, so that the outskirts of the image had a sort of ‘binoculars’ shape to them. The circles were about half an inch wide each, at first glance. But it was hard, somehow, to give them only a first glance. Hard not to keep watching.

Michael still felt nervous, but he wasn’t looking away. It didn’t occur to him to.

He knew there were suggestions in the image, buried somewhere, hidden for only the subconscious to pick out. He could hardly believe it, all the same - there was nothing there which gave it away, and he didn’t feel anything shifting in his head. So far as he could make out, things were as they had been.

He could feel himself getting hard, intensely conscious that the other person on the sofa was his wife. He could hear her breathing shallow and slow now, a sure sign of her own excitement.

Michael was never sure which of them made the first move, but their bodies came together with mute and deliberate purpose, both pairs of eyes still staring at the screen. Her hands quested at his belt; his found her body, settling into old familiar places with a certainty and passion that had been missing for years. When was the last time they’d even been together?

In any case they moved as one, each seeming to know what the other wanted. He brought his legs across, one lying on the sofa, one braced on the floor, so that Rochelle could straddle his hips without taking her eyes from the screen. She planted one knee past his hip, the other foot also on the floor and in position.

He wasn’t sure how she’d got her jeans off, but he felt the wetness soaking her panties brush against his cock, and his breathing shuddered to an excited halt before it started once again. He reached a hand down, caught the wet fabric in a loop of fingers, and jerked it aside, and then she was on him, his cock poking free of his boxers, the metal of his zipper pressed against him by her thigh, and none of that mattered because his wife was riding him, the woman he loved, and it was as if they were back at the start of their marriage again, unsullied by arguments or frustration of even practicalities of life.

They didn’t look away from the screen once but they rode each other through multiple orgasms, unwilling to stop, until the screen went blank an hour and a half after it started and they collapsed into each other’s arms, gasping for breath and giggling in shared amusement, atop cushions dripping with their own juices.

*

It was less than an overnight success, of course.

They’d started with some relatively minor suggestions. Wanted to know if it could work before they pushed it too far. The lust, the attraction, and the passion were back, but - once the initial trance state wore off - most of the other frustrations were still present. About the only thing Michael was certain had improved was the financial question; Rochelle accepted his figures without question, now, and he felt more confident in his numbers. His mental arithmetic was more confident, and his recall of what had been spent was sharper.

So he had one suggestion apiece he could clearly point to and say ‘yes, this has taken effect’. But most of the others had been much less certain. How could you really tell if your partner was listening more?

There was suspicion about every action either of them made - not at all ideal - and even some concern about their own actions.

“I’m worried that we blew our first chance,” Rochelle confided in him one evening, with Blair safely in her room as the two of them sat in front of the TV. “I look back on the suggestions we put in there, and…” Her hands made shapes in the empty air as she grasped for the words she wanted.

“Some of them are just things we were already doing or thinking,” Michael said. Rochelle smiled gratefully, nodding enthusiastically.

“That seems to just sum it up,” she said.

“I don’t know why, either. But I think it might be time to revise a new list?”

Michael nodded. “But let’s take our time over this one,” he said. “Let’s make it the best we can.”

*

Rochelle wondered a little, sometimes, if the software had really done anything at all, because so little seemed to have changed in her head. So far as she could see, the change had been entirely external; they were getting on better. They had more affection. And Michael had stopped doing a couple of the things that had frustrated her the most; he was much less prone to retreat on into himself when he was worried about a conversation.

Their communication was so much better. Even if one of them wasn’t entirely comfortable raising a topic, it felt easier to do; she’d never have admitted to the old Michael that she didn’t really feel changed.

She’d tried thinking back to before they first ran the software, to see if she could understand why they’d chosen to make ‘changes’ which were already firmly in place. It was hard to do, somehow; a lot of her memories of that time didn’t make sense given what she knew of herself, and of her husband.

She had to assume there had been some minor changes, and that these minor changes had been just enough to tip the balance back in favour of a successful marriage. But there was clearly still some room to go.

It could be a nightmare getting Michael to make a decision for the two of them, for example; sometimes it was trouble if you gave him a couple of options to pick from, but he was at his worst if you asked an open-ended question. He’d often withdraw back into himself, and it had frustrated Rochelle for years to recognise that he would have a ‘favourite’ option, but be unwilling to speak up for it.

“But you, um…” Michael flushed when she brought this up. “You’ve been kind of sharp when I’ve suggested things and you didn’t want them, in the past.” Which - after a few examples he’d carried in memory since not long after Blair was born - she had to admit was true. She hadn’t done it often, and she’d forgotten each and every one of his examples over the intervening years. But it had happened. “It’s like you expect me to answer the same way you’ve already decided on, and I don’t have any clues to work with.”

“We were both younger,” Rochelle parried, feeling stung. It wasn’t exactly untrue, though. There had been the silly vision of a marriage where everything was clear, everything was right, and there was no difficulty in maintenance.

She hadn’t been the only one to fail in maintenance, though. Nor the only one to allow a breakdown in communications.

The new list of suggestions grew and changed as they discussed. The original pitch had been simple - this is a way to make the changes we’ve failed to make before. But it was becoming a chance to define their relationship in better and brighter ways.

Rochelle didn’t really believe that the suggestion issued the first time - be open and honest about issues - had been necessary. They’d always had that intent. But perhaps it was freeing to have made it an explicit rule?

*

Remember you love each other.

Remember you find each other attractive.

Remember how great it is to have sex with each other.

Communicate with each other without anger.

Michael is free to make choices.

Rochelle can accept Michael’s choices.

Rochelle can make plans for both.

Michael will enjoy Rochelle’s plans.

There is no right opinion about ‘Game of Thrones’.

Listen and love.

*

The second time, Rochelle had been practical. Blair was having a sleepover elsewhere, so the fact the program had run for longer than either of them had anticipated shouldn’t be a problem again. And they were nude, so as not to have zipper marks pressed so firmly into their flesh that they were still there two days later. On top of that, there was a layer of plastic sheeting over the sofa cushions, followed by a pair of large towels so they wouldn’t stick too easily to the plastic.

Somehow this gave the second brainwash a greater air of occasion - a crude one, perhaps, and they both had embarrassed smiles on their faces at times - and when they took their seats side by side, their hands found each other.

They sat with fingers intertwined as the big screen hummed into life and the blue and white circles fluctuated in and out into each other. Their eyes were captured by the program together. The strange, delicious prickling across their scalps as the program shifted their minds from thinking to being taught settled over them both together.

They were programmed together, and as they were, their fingers unclasped so that they could stray across one another’s thighs, their chests, caress breasts and cocks, tease clits, and more. Again they turned toward each other, even as their eyes remained locked to the screen. This time Michael’s hand settled on Rochelle’s sternum and he pushed her back so that as she lay down, her head came to rest on the inner corner of the sofa headrest, turned just enough to see the screen. Michael braced one foot against the sofa itself, the other reaching back against the other armrest.

Rochelle’s thighs wrapped tight around him, pulling him down against her. An elbow supported his torso enough that both of their heads could continue to watch the screen - and with a sudden thrust he was in her once again, bearing down on her against the sofa, hearing her moans as his brain continued to accept its programming.

Rochelle felt him hard inside her, lusting after her as she lusted after him. Something about this sex, this fucking, felt better than before, better even than before they had begun to go wrong years earlier. As if instead of growing apart all that time, they’d grown together; as if Michael no longer held back through nerves. As if she gave herself the room to enjoy.

Neither of them were caught up in the question of what they should do or how to do it. Under the influence of the program they fucked as if they had grown closer and closer over time. As if they had learned every trick to pleasure the other needed.

Or as if the program itself was telling them that the way the other fucked was perfect for them, and their mind was instantly adjusted to accept that as true. This wasn’t a thought either Rochelle or Michael had; just as Rochelle found that her memories before the first brainwashing were fuzzy in one or two small aspects, their memories would not permit them to remember how lovemaking had felt before.

The program stopped running after an hour and three quarters; they fell together, their gazes finally released, and they dozed on the sofa, arms around each other, until nearly midnight, when they hastily tidied the evidence away and went up to bed.

*

Improvement was still not overnight. They had long, long conversations to go. But Blair was already happier around them, and they found themselves spending more time around each other.

Michael started to run their day-to-day lives; the directions given in programming to make him more decisive and to help Rochelle accept his decisions reached further than they had expected, and one of Rochelle’s friends even jokingly referred to her as ‘Stepford Rochelle’ after attending a dinner at the house. Rochelle laughed it off, but blushed, and found herself wondering what else her lover might do.

And yet the long-term plans for the couple came from Rochelle, with the same over-extended programming ensuring that it was always Rochelle’s ideas for special events, vacations, and more which were followed.

They were uncertain what might happen if they overused the program, and so they booted it up only once more, three full years later.

*

Remember you love each other.

Remember you find each other attractive.

Remember how great it is to have sex with each other.

Communicate with each other without anger.

Michael will shave every day. He will take his grooming seriously. He will present as attractively as he can.

Rochelle will always take time for full makeup. She will present as attractively as she can.

Both of you will work hard in the gym to keep your body toned and sexy for your lover.

Listen and love.

x3

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