John did not believe in the concept of love at first sight.
Perhaps to others, this was not an uncommon sort of typical male rebellion to chick flick culture, to the idea of romance that had no basis in reality, to the Disney princess mentality that so many of his female friends had held as teenagers and now as young women.
At 24, he was on the cusp of outgrowing his own more immature fantasies; he’d graduated college with an English degree and was using it currently to work just above minimum wage at a coffee shop near his apartment, searching for some kind of work adjacent to his field on his days off. The fantasy of being funneled easily into employment after education had died, replaced with the reality of student loans, and entry-level jobs requiring 5 years of experience.
The millennial dream.
He was lucky, though, to have kept up socially with his friends from college; most of them lived in the same area, went through the same struggles, and were able to see each other relatively frequently. However, as years began to pass since their graduation, more and more of them began sort of pairing up, some incestuously in the friend group itself and others finding partners from their jobs and hobbies. John watched as they became different, somehow, as they changed humanly around the influence of others, partners who they would bend over backwards for, especially in that honeymoon period of the first year where they would just have to sit next to each other, hold hands, stare at each other when they felt no one else was watching.
John didn’t feel disgust from the envy, more of a sort of sociological curiosity. He hadn’t had a girlfriend since their freshman year. Jenna, a sweet girl with long blonde hair and a tendency for wearing short skirts. They lasted about 8 months but couldn’t handle the distance when summer break came along. John had enjoyed it while it lasted, but truth be told, she had started slinging the L-word around fairly quickly, and he couldn’t help but feel a little bit juvenile when he said it back out of obligation. Realistically, the failure of that relationship was probably due to his “commitment issues”, as his friends called it, but for John, it felt like he’d never really felt that spark. The spark that he saw in his friends’ relationships, the thing that made them act a little bit crazy.
John sighed and sort of shook himself out of his introspection. He was closing tonight at the cafe, and it was nearly time for them to lock up. He was washing down the tables and the coffee machines, sort of on autopilot, anticipating the feel of his bed and perhaps a beer before sleep.
The bell on the door jingled, and he looked up to see who this last person was, coming in for a late-night coffee.
John didn’t believe in love at first sight, but what he did allow himself to believe in was a voracious curiosity, a stirring somewhere inside of him, something that told his brain to go and not stop.
She was a bigger girl, not much older than he was, with short brown hair and deep, plunging cleavage. John found himself with just a touch of an uncharacteristic blush, not believing that his eyes were drawn down so quickly. He averted his gaze and continued wiping down the countertops, waiting patiently for her to approach.
“Hi,” he said, standing up at the register. “How can I help you?”
Her eyes fixed on him, an almost unearthly green and hazel, and she smiled.
“Just a medium hot coffee,” she said, and her voice was smooth and John could not imagine why she would need something hot when her voice was so warm and oh my God what was going on in his head?
“Sure,” he forced out, then hesitated, “Well, usually we have to ask names to make sure I give you the right order, but I don’t think I really need to do that right now.”
“I can give you my name anyways,” the woman said with a grin. “It’s Lisa.”
“Nice to meet you, Lisa,” he said, trying to keep his composure. God, she was flirting with him… Barely with him, more at him. “My name is John.”
“I know,” Lisa said, pointing to his chest. “It’s on your nametag.”
“Oh. Right.” Nervous laughter. Still holding the empty cup.
What was actually going on right now?
He had to actually do his job, and this woman was making him lose his cool.
“Let me get you that coffee.”
John rushed to make it for her, muscle memory taking over, filling the cup and popping the lid on before coming back to her. When he met her at the register again, she was bent over it with a pen and one of their survey forms. He set the cup down in front of her as she finished what she was writing.
“That’s $2.49,” he said, punching it in and taking the money as Lisa handed it over. “Thank you.”
“I had some comments,” Lisa said with a mischievous smile, handing the paper over. “But they’re for you, so don’t give this one to your manager.”
John’s heart thudded loud in his chest as he took the paper she offered. His mouth opened slightly, but nothing came out.
“Have a good night, John,” she said, taking her coffee, and turning to walk out the door.
He watched her curvy hips sway and only knew she was fully gone when the bell jingled again as the door shut.
John kept the paper folded in his pocket until he got in the door to his apartment, set his bag down, and sat on the couch. With shaky fingers, he retrieved it and read what she had put in the “comments” section, in flowing, feminine writing:
“I think you’re very cute, John. I’d like to see you sometime. Text me when you get home.”
And a phone number.
“Text me when you get home.” That was… rather forward. Almost a command rather than a request. A definitive timeframe. Something real. John had so much knowledge of language that was going to waste at the coffee shop, and it would be easy to sit there and try to analyze her intent, her thoughts and feelings from just the context in those few words. His mouth felt dry.
If he was honest with himself, he liked this kind of forwardness. Whereas Jenna was a soft, submissive girl, Lisa seemed to be just the opposite; from her flirtatiousness to the way she carried herself, there was an air of dominance around her that John found very attractive.
While he hadn’t had much experience in love and sex, he wasn’t a prude. He understood that some people were naturally more dominant and submissive in the bedroom… and outside of it. He’d always considered himself ambivalent to roles like that, but the way his blood seemed hot in his body when thinking about this woman he just met, he was beginning to question everything.
Was this it? Was this that spark that everyone talked about, that everyone felt? John wasn’t deluded; he wasn’t in love with this girl, but god, he was already reaching for his phone, and if it that wasn’t a sign of his behavior being drastically changed by someone he just met, then he didn’t know what else to look for.
“Hey, it’s John. It was nice to meet you tonight.”
He stared at the text.
“Hope you enjoyed the coffee.”
Send. Send, before he psyched himself out.
What was he doing? Someone had actually just given him their number, and he was actually texting her. What did she see in him, besides a nervous boy out of his comfort zone?
Was that what attracted her?
He quickly unlocked his phone.
“Hi John ;) Thanks for texting. That was very good of you. Are you working tomorrow?”
…Very good of him?
He couldn’t help but feel a little rush at being praised.
“No, I’m off tomorrow.”
Fuck. His thumbs were already writing more.
“Did you want to get lunch? I’d like to get to know you.”
“I’d love that. Let’s meet at the burger place in town. 12pm?”
12pm. It was a date. Really, he had a date with her. What was he thinking? What was he doing? He was beginning to feel like a broken record. Well, if nothing else, this would interrupt the dullness of his routine, flip it over and give him something to look forward to.
For tonight, he had his beer and a good book, and hopefully that would distract him from the uncertainty of tomorrow.
He got to the restaurant early, wanting to set a good example, hoping that she hadn’t somehow still arrived before him. He wanted a few minutes to sit and relax, but the reality was that he was fidgeting in his chair with sweaty palms, more nervous than he had any right to be for what was essentially just a date. No expectations. Nothing.
But then there she was coming over to him, Lisa, in a cute flower-print dress that went down to her knees and seemed to accentuate the curves of her breasts and hips. Eyes sharp and focused on him as she walked over and sat down. John managed a little smile, managed to keep his gaze on her.
“Hi,” he said dumbly.
“Hey,” she replied with a grin. “Thanks for meeting me. I know that was probably hard.”
John laughed, a little relieved. “Yeah. I’ve never done this sort of thing before. You know. Just a random date. Well. Not random. You know…”
“I get it,” she said. “It took a lot of courage.”
He blushed, actually blushed.
“Thanks,” he said quietly. Lisa laughed, and getting to hear her laugh like that for the first time, so genuinely, made it all worth it.
“So, tell me about yourself,” she said.
And so he did. It was odd, as nervous and out of his element as he felt around her, John felt like he could talk to her, perhaps because of the feeling like there was no shared history, no baggage, he was able to be more of himself with her than he’d ever really felt before. He told her about college, and his difficulties finding a job, he told her about the books he was reading, and he even told her about Jenna and what his perspective was on feeling that spark, on being jealous of other people’s ability to feel it so freely.
Lisa talked about herself as well, and John listened with absorbative interest. She worked for an accounting firm – less exciting than it sounded, she assured him – and had a colorful group of friends from the job. She enjoyed reading as well and they shared some of their favorite authors with each other, finding common ground among Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and others. He recommended a few series to her, which she took notes on in her phone. John found that just so charming. She was remarkably comfortable with him, gentle and yet still with that air of power, making little comments here and there about how cute he was, leading the conversations with the waiter. He nearly expected her to order for him. It almost disappointed him when she did not.
They had fallen into an easy back-and-forth of conversation, even when their food arrived, they were barely touching it. John was far more interested in getting to know her, more and more and more.
“What else do you do in your spare time?” he asked. “Do you have any other hobbies?”
Lisa grinned, and suddenly John felt as though the weight of the air around them was on the cusp of shifting, anticipatory.
“Well,” she said. “I’m actually a hypnotist.”
…Why did that excite him?
“Oh,” he said, clearing his throat. “Really? Like, a therapist? Or do you do shows or something?”
But somehow, he already knew the answer. He couldn’t see Lisa doing performative comedy shows, or helping someone stop smoking. John was a smart guy, and he always prided himself on that, and it didn’t take much to put two and two together. Lisa was flirtatious. Lisa was dominant. This was another flirt, another power move.
His chest felt tight.
Lisa leaned in, as though she was sharing something private, something meant just for him.
“I’m an erotic hypnotist.”
Even though he wasn’t surprised, he felt the flush of heat. His tongue felt thick, and he felt a surge of something like desire, like not wanting to lose a moment.
“What…” He wet his lips. “What does… an erotic hypnotist do?”
She met him with that grin that he was beginning to recognize.
“Want to find out?”
“Right here?” John asked, hushed, feeling like they had transcended past the restaurant, in a quiet bubble with just the two of them.
“What makes you think I haven’t been hypnotizing you here already?”
John was a smart guy, and he began to question everything. Going back over the words she was using with him, the tone and posture she took. He didn’t know much about hypnosis, but he knew language, and it was the only thing he could grasp onto at this point.
“Am I in a trance right now?” he asked quietly.
“Yes,” Lisa replied. “You’ve been in trance since we started really getting into the conversation. Does it feel good?”
As though at her prompting, John felt a surge of something like satisfaction, and a sense of fuzziness trying to recall what she’d been saying.
“Yes,” he said, almost in awe. He took a little stock of his body; his shoulders and jaw felt relaxed, which he’d attributed to being comfortable with her, but noticing it now gave it the sense like it was something out of his control.
“Good boy,” Lisa said, and his head spun with it. “Do you want to go deeper for me?”
“Yes,” John breathed out, and even as he said it he felt himself sink down into it, into the experience of letting go of his body, into becoming more transfixed on Lisa, everything else in his vision seeming to fade and melt away.
“That’s right,” she murmured, voice lowering so only he could hear it. “It feels so good to drop deep for me. That’s a valuable thing to learn, and something you learned so quickly. You are so good at this…”
The praise hit him hard, like a wave washing over him, and the loss of control became something even more palpable and intense. He was getting hard and he could feel it, but his focus was so tuned to Lisa that it was just another sensation, something there for him to be aware of and enhance his slow sinking down.
“I knew you would be good at this,” she continued. “I knew from the way you focused on me when you first saw me. Hypnosis is all about focus, in some ways, and I knew that I would be so good at directing yours. And, I knew that you’d want this. You’d want me to direct your focus, to control your focus.”
John moaned softly, so softly, lips parted and watching. He could feel his eyelids doing this sort of little flutter that he noticed with a distant curiosity. He was hypnotized. He was really hypnotized.
“You’d like to be able to do this more, now, wouldn’t you?”
“Yes,” John whispered, and his voice sounded so, so far away to himself.
“That’s right. Because when you’re like this, you’re so very good at paying attention, at listening to me, at minding me. And that’s something you want more of, deep down and on the surface, in all parts of you.” At the implication, his cock twitched in his pants. “You want to be able to Mind Me, whenever I say to.”
“Of course you do. And so that’s another thing you’ve learned right now, so good at learning and dropping deep, that you’ll Mind Me whenever I tell you to.”
John sighed out, gentle pride and submissiveness swimming inside of him.
“Now wake up, John.”
John blinked, and if he wasn’t convinced before that he had been totally hypnotized and under her spell, the feeling of waking up, of everything becoming sharp and real around him once more was enough. It was a little bit jarring, but not in a bad way; he felt almost drunk. He rubbed his eyes and then looked up at Lisa, finally, and seeing her beautiful eyes and how pleased she was gave him such a thrill.
“How are you doing?” she asked.
“Good,” he whispered, then cleared his throat and spoke louder. “Good.”
“That’s great,” Lisa said, smiling. “Oh, you are just too much fun.”
“I wasn’t really doing much of anything…” John said sheepishly.
“You are so responsive,” she insisted, then gave a mischievous grin. “Very responsive, if I’m reading you right, and I think I’ve got that down.”
John blushed again and drew into himself a little bit, as he was still quite hard just from having her hypnotize him.
“That’s what I thought. Mind Me, John.”
The suddenness of it shocked him, and his eyes fluttered and slipped closed this time. He felt that sinking deepness of before, overwhelming him. She started talking again in that low tone, but this time it felt as though some of the words were passing over him or through him, and it felt good to let them go for her, for Lisa.
As he drifted and felt the vibrations of her voice inside his head, he had this sense of feeling so lucky. Distantly, he couldn’t believe any of this was real; how much she seemed to like him and enjoy toying with him. Perhaps normally it would have bothered him that they were moving so fast, but everything felt right, and good. Maybe it was because Lisa was such a skilled hypnotist and wordsmith, but to have someone match him in that way, to lead him, seemed like the most perfect thing.
“You can listen to me again, John,” her voice said, and he felt himself refocus, readjust. “That’s right. And you’ve told me some very interesting things today, and I’ve told you some very interesting things as well. I know how you feel about me already, and I know you want to fall deeper into that feeling.”
He did, oh, he did, and her words were hitting some spot inside him that made his cock throb.
“That’s right. So your mind is already working to reorient itself to do what I want – what you want. You can take a moment to unconsciously set those things up, and then wake up, John.”
John took a long, slow breath, felt the beating of his heart, felt the heat and arousal inside of him. And then he opened his eyes to look at her.
He could so easily get lost in her eyes but he knew that he wouldn’t until it was time. It felt like something had changed, like his inhibitions were down, not just with his behavior but with his emotions. He was less inhibited in feeling things, and he felt Lisa’s attention so strongly as something that affected him. Affected the way that he felt about her. Affected that growing spark of tension inside of him, between them.
That spark. This was it, this was certainly what everyone felt, although he had the sense like no one had ever felt something this strong before. But even that, he knew, was part of it.
“Thank you,” he whispered, finally.
“Thank you,” Lisa said softly, and his heart jumped. “Want to go somewhere a little more private?”
Oh, that’s right. They were in a restaurant. Jeez.
“I’d like that,” John said. “My apartment isn’t too far from here.”
“Sounds like a plan.” Lisa grinned. “Did you think you’d be inviting me over when you decided to meet me for lunch?”
“I don’t remember,” John confessed, and to his surprise, Lisa laughed.
“Oh, that’s so good,” she said warmly.
When they got into his apartment, Lisa complimented him on what he’d done with the place, even though he hadn’t done much with it besides move his furniture in and keep it clean. John was pretty pleased in this moment that he was rather neat in general, though, to be able to invite company over like this. He sat on the couch and offered her a seat next to him.
But he wasn’t even able to be in his head for a moment, because she said, “Mind Me, John,” and he flopped over so quickly and so profoundly.
“That’s right, John, and you’re getting better and better at this each time it happens, and you can imagine just how good you’ll be next time, or a week from now, or longer…”
John moaned at the thought of being able to do this again, and because he was already getting hard again, as though he was getting conditioned to Lisa’s voice. Had she done something to facilitate that? He didn’t know, and he didn’t really care.
“Now, I gave you a little gift while we were at the restaurant, but you might not remember… Something I can easily reward you with when I feel like you’ve been a good boy.”
His hips wanted to twitch off the couch and move up to meet something, but his body was so relaxed out of his control that he was stuck, motionless, listening helplessly to her as she talked.
“And it feels so good to be a good boy for me, it only makes sense that I’d reward you. It feels so good to listen to me when I talk to you like this, down so deep. Unconsciously, you know what you deserve to be rewarded for being such a good listener. You are so good at being hypnotized by me, and you want to be even better, and in the back of your mind you want that reward, you know what it is, a little something special…”
John’s head, so dazed, swam through fuzzy possibilities as his cock got harder and harder – a pat on the head, or a kiss? Something else? Some part of him… already knew…?
“That’s right, John, and you have been so good for me, so have a little Treat.”
His mind exploded in whiteness and he felt his cock twitch and throb as though he was cumming – actually cumming! – moaning out and open and then dropping deep, so deep down, deeper than before.
“Good boy, John, good boy, and there’s something so exciting that we were able to do that together behind your back; we made it so interesting for you and so good for you… And now you know that even that is something I can do, something I can control. And you want that control, don’t you? Answer me, John.”
“Yes…” John groaned out low and long, out of his own control, as though Lisa had forced his voice out of him as well.
“Oh, yes, John. I know you do.” He heard her laugh, that beautiful laugh, and sank and drifted and dropped deeper, just for her.