“Excuse me a second,” I said, sliding her sock covered feet out of my lap, covering my crotch with my hands as I stood up. “Need to... um, ah... run to the bathroom.”
Cyndi said nothing, merely sat there with an amused grin as I practically sprinted down the hallway. When I came back a few minutes later with my pants noticeably less tight, her amusement only grew. “So... I guess you’re okay, then,” she said lightly, her crossed legs bobbing slightly. “I was starting to worry that the effort of trying to put me under your spell really got to you. Nice try, by the way. I can’t say I found the attempt all that funny, but it was... mmm...” she said, stretching, “very enjoyable.”
I blinked, my jaw dropping. Not only did she not remember anything that happened while she was hypnotized, she didn’t even remember going under! She thought I’d failed to hypnotize her. “Are you... trying to say, you don’t remember that I put you under hypnosis?”
She looked at me as if I asked her if the sky was green. “Johnny, did you hit your head in the bathroom or something? We both know you failed to put me under. You just sat there, blabbering on and on about words this and words that, and your big brown eyes... and then you got up and went to the bathroom! Nothing happened!” I couldn’t help myself. I laughed, which of course, made her scowl. “Oh come on. You’re going to try and tell me that you actually hypnotized me and I didn’t even notice it? Just how crazy do you think I—”
“Look at that ‘dere chicken!” I said in a loud and clear voice.
“Aarrrrraaccccooocka doodle dooooo!” Cyndi crowed loudly, before slapping her hands over her mouth, shock evident on her face. “Whhh... what... what the hell?” she whispered, eyes wide.
“Oh, sorry, I said, ‘Look at that ‘dere chicken!’” I repeated smugly, making her crow again. Seeing her expression, I started laughing again.
“What the hell?” she asked, shaking her head in disbelief as recognition finally dawned on her. “Holy shit... you mean... you really... I was really?”
“Yes, yes, and definitely yes,” I said smugly. “And you dropped like a stone. So... are you ready to admit that hypnosis is real, or are you trying to tell me that one of your ancestors had feathers and a bill?”
“Hmph,” she grumbled, trying not to laugh. “It’s not funny... stop trying to make me laugh. I can’t... I just can’t wrap my head around it... dammit, you got me.” She sighed, hugging herself gently. “It just felt so... weird. I mean, it was like... I just zoned out for a minute, not even falling asleep or anything, and the next you’re running off to the bathroom...” She suddenly glanced at me with a frown. “Wait a second. How long is this chicken thing going to last? It’s not permanent or anything, is it? You didn’t... um... leave any other nasty little surprises for me, did you?”
“Cyndi! I’m hurt!” I said, scowling. “You’re my best friend. You know I wouldn’t do anything to hurt or embarrass you... well, besides the chicken thing, which I told you about beforehand anyway! And no, it’s not permanent. You’ll only do that when I say that special combination of words... just me and no one else. I just wanted to demonstrate hypnosis to you, and prove a point, not do anything to get you in trouble.”
“Oh, yeah. Sorry,” she said sheepishly. “I know. I guess I was just a little... um... freaked out about it, that’s all. Being out of control of myself like that....” she said, trailing off, her eyes glazing for a moment, before shaking herself. “It just freaked me out a little, that’s all.” Forcing a smile, she gestured to the TV. “So., anyway, are we gonna sit around and do parlor tricks all night or watch some movies? Start up the DVD player!”
The night ended way too soon for my tastes. Two movies, six video games, and two cases of beer later, we were simply too pooped to continue. “I guess I should head back to my hotel,” Cyndi said with a yawn, around three forty-five AM. “Tomorrow I have a few errands to run, before I meet up with an old friend of mine from college. Guess I better call myself a taxi?”
“Taxi? Nah,” I said dismissively, taking the phone from her hand. “Don’t bother. You can spend the night here. There’s plenty of room.”
“No, no, I can’t” she said, getting to her feet. “Your apartment’s a nice place to visit, but I don’t wanna sleep here!” She giggled slightly. “Seriously, though. I gotta get back to my own bed...”
“Well, then... by your leave, your Majesty,” I said with a slight flourish. Cyndi’s eyes widened, then glazed over, her posture relaxing as she slid bonelessly back down to the couch.
“Mmmm... yes Master,” she said in a soft sleepy voice, “I’m listening.”
Sighing with relief, I dropped the pretense of being as drunk as she was. “Good girl, Cyndi. Now, listen carefully. I’m going to give you some instructions...”
Cyndi yawned deeply, stretching, as she rolled over, covering her face from the pillow to shut out the sunshine. She grumbled softly, pulling the pillow tighter over her head, wondering idly why the hell she hadn’t thought to close the thick heavy hotel curtains when before she’d slid into bed for the night. Then, groaning again, she sat up in bed, taking in her surroundings.
What the fuck... I’m not in the hotel! I’m... in Johnny’s bedroom! In a t-shirt and panties?!?!
Bits and pieces of last night came back to her, slowly at first, then faster, and faster. She remembered tying the score in their Street Fighter/ Soul Caliber tournament, then deciding that it was time to leave for the night... something about not wanting to drive home drunk and calling a taxi. Or... she was about to call a taxi, when Johnny had convinced her to stay the night.
In his bed.
Oh, shit! she gasped, going cold inside. Other memories returned to her now, the dare, and the hypnosis session, and her crowing like a rooster against her will. She felt a momentary flutter at the memory, part fear and part... something else that she pushed aside for the moment. Johnny... he was pretty damn drunk too, last night. He.... well... surely he wouldn’t have slept in here.... with me? She closed her eyes, trying to will the pounding in her head to stop so she could think clearly. No. No way. Drunk or not, there’s no way he would do something like that... even if he DID confess his undying love for me the night before.... fuck!
A loud clatter sounded from outside the bedroom, following by a loud shout. Well, he must be awake at any rate. Sliding out of bed, she quickly pulled on her jeans, and made her way out into the hallway.
I continued to curse and mutter softly under my breath as the bedroom door opened. Poking my head out of the apartment’s tiny kitchenette, I gave Cyndi a wan smile as she padded barefoot into the den. “Hey. Morning sleepyhead. Sorry if I woke you. I was in the process of cooking us some breakfast when this pitiful excuse for a toaster decided to stick in the on position AGAIN, burning the toast... and my hand when I tried to pry it out.”
“Oh... I see,” she said, glancing to the side over at the couch. I noted the soft sigh and look of relief on her face when she saw the bedding and pillows I’d used last night. “Well,” she said cheerfully after a moment, “you never were exactly at home in the kitchen, as I recall. I seem to remember you tried making a cake in Home Ec with baking soda instead of baking powder one time.”
I rolled my eyes, harrumphing. “Ha ha ha. I’ll have you know I got a lot better. At least I gave it a shot and took Home Economics, instead of taking Machine Shop like you. I’ll bet you can’t even fry an egg!”
“Meh. Eggs are overrated anyway,” she said with a grin, walking past me into the kitchen. “Damn! This is some spread! I guess sleeping over here was a good idea after all.”
Remembering the look of relief on her face, I let the comment slide. I hadn’t taken advantage of her being in a drunken stupor... well, not in THAT way, anyway. Besides which, I was genuinely happy at seeing her first thing in the morning. “Well, help yourself, hon! I don’t usually get to cook for anyone but myself, so I went a little overboard, but aside from the toast, everything is edible.”
As we sat down together, I took a moment to consider my words. “So, um... Cyn? You said you had a few... errands to run later?” She nodded, her mouth full of food. “As it turns out, I need to go into the office later today... another worker called out sick, so I need to go in and cover for a few hours tonight. So... sorry, but I guess we won’t be able to hook up later tonight.”
“Oh... wow, that kinda sucks,” she said after a moment, glancing down. “I was kind of hoping we could... um... maybe try that hypnosis thing you did yesterday. It was kind of... well... yanno... kind of interesting. I wouldn’t let anyone else into my head that way, but... I trust you Johnny,” she said, meeting my gaze with a smile. “Damn. Oh well... maybe we’ll hook up later on in the week.”
“Yeah, maybe,” I said noncommittally. “Still, so it shouldn’t be a total loss, why don’t you hot the clubs out by yourself tonight? This is your vacation, after all... you don’t have to spend all your time hanging around me! You’re a young, hot, single chick... why don’t you find yourself a date for the night and just have fun?” I grinned wickedly. “You can tell me all the details next time we see each other.”
Grinning, she gulped down the last of her orange juice and pushed her empty plate aside. “You know what? That’s not a bad idea! No offense, Johnny, but I could use a little alone time with someone who doesn’t pee standing up.” She chuckled. “And you’re right. The best way to get over feeling bummed out about Karen is to just jump back into the dating pool feet first.” Standing up from the table, she started to bus her dishes, but I waved her off.
“Don’t worry about the cleanup, you’re a guest. I’ll handle it. By the way, I don’t know what kind of facilities you have there at the Red Roof Inn, but the landlord kind of splurged when he redid the bathroom. If you want, feel free to take a shower before you do.” I yawned and stretched, getting up from the table. “Well, hon, if you’ll excuse me, I need to head out for a bit and pick up a few things before I go into the pharmacy. Just lock up on the way out... and the keys under the doormat if you forget something and need back in.”
“Nah, that’s okay. I really need to run too. I’ll just grab my shoes and my jack, and follow you out.”
So, I waited patiently by the door for her to emerge, fully dressed again, just as she’d been when she first came over last night. We hugged once more out on the doorstep, then I went to my car and she went to hers. “By your...”
“What?” Cyndi blinked, shaking her head. “I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“I said, send me a text later on about how your night went,” I said, waving to her as I pulled out from the driveway. “Have a fun day. I’ll see you later.”
Cyndi yawned slightly, sipping her rum and coke, glancing around at the mostly empty bar room, wondering again why she’d even bothered to dress up and go out in the first place. Kym’s, her favorite local lesbian bar growing up, was usually a ‘happening’ place to be, but apparently Sunday night were slow. There were only five other women in the bar besides her; four of them had paired off into couples, and the fifth... was the bartender.
“Well this night sure turned out to be a bust,” she murmured softly, finishing her drink. Standing up, she glanced down at her watch with a sigh. Eleven o’clock. Kind of early to be calling it a night, but considering the fact that this was the third bar she’d been to, and this was the busiest of the three, maybe it was time to cut her losses. She reached for her car keys, and accidentally knocked them to the floor. “Damn,” she muttered softly. “And I’m not even drunk yet.” Pushing the chair aside, she glanced down for her keys.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”
A soft voice spoke from behind Cyndi just as she bent over. Glancing back, she saw the most attractive young black woman she’d even seen in her life dressed all in scarlet, staring down at her with an amused grin, and a glass of vodka in her left hand. Cyndi felt a bit of a flush run through her at the sight; the woman seemed a few years older than her, with deep brown eyes, and short black hair with light brown highlights. Her skin was a soft mocha brown, with full kissable lips, and a dazzling smile that made Cyndi’s pulse race. She reminded her of a hot, slightly curvier Halle Berry.
“I was referring to the chair, of course,” she added mischievously.
“Huh? what?” Cyndi asked, finally straightening back up. “I’m sorry... what was that again?”
The woman smirked, a familiar twisting of her lips that reminded her of someone else. “When I asked earlier, if that seat was taken. You were bent over, with your ass exposed, so it was kind of a loaded question about which ‘seat’ I was inquiring about. Although,” she said with a bit of a leer, glancing behind Cyndi, “your seat isn’t too bad, either.”
Cyndi blushed at the attention, feeling completely out of her element. Usually, she was the one who made the first move, playing the part of the aggressor; now, suddenly, just as she’d given up all hope of making a meaningful connection, she found herself being chatted up by easily the most attractive woman she’d even met. Even more disarming, the woman seemed really seemed to be into her.
Okay. Now if I can just keep from saying anything stupid in the next few minutes to keep from screwing this up...
“Thanks,” Cyndi said with a wide grin of her own. “Maybe you’d like to go somewhere a bit more private and have another look? I’ve got a lot more ass where that came from.”
The woman blinked. Then laughing, replied, “I’m not exactly what sure what you mean by that...” Cyndi groaned, thinking Dammit... open mouth, insert foot... “but if you’re asking whether or not I’d like to come back to your place, then the answer is yes.”
Now it was Cyndi’s turn to blink in surprise. “Really? You wanna get out of here?” The woman shrugged.
“Sure, why not? You’re really cute, and you seem pretty harmless. And by the way, my name is Joanne.” Turning to the bartender, she tossed the woman a twenty, and drained her glass in a single gulp. “Keep the change, Suzie. My new friend and I are heading out.” Facing Cyndi again, she gestured to the door. “After you, my dear,” she said with a flourish, as Cyndi lead the way.
“I’ll be back in a bit,” I said aloud, heading to the men’s bathroom. I let out a soft sigh as relieved myself, letting my mind wander to how Cyndi was faring. I large part of me felt really guilty about the way I was manipulating her, even though up to this point, everything had been completely harmless. True, I’d set the stage for what would hopefully happen next to sway her over to my side, but I still had time to call things off, to back out before I passed the point of no return. Once I reached that point, I was committed, for good or for ill.
And more than anything else, I dreaded the day that I finally revealed to Cyndi what I’d done to her.
How would she react? Would she by then be so deeply in love and lust for me that she wouldn’t care about the circumstances leading her there? Or would she look in all this as a complete and total betrayal of her, or me taking advantage of our friendship and her trust in me? The closer we came to the deadline, the more real that possibility became, and the more I began to wonder if losing Cyndi forever was worth the risk. My mind was like a fucking pendulum.... going back and forth, from one extreme to the other, one minute confident that this was the right thing to do, and the next, all but ready to chuck the entire plan out the window.
I sighed again, pulling my pants back up, my hand rubbing lightly against the small bottle in my lab coat pocket. I’d managed to obtain another small sample of the same drugs I’d slipped into her orange soda previously to ensure she went into an extremely deep trance. It had worked wonderfully the first time, but truth be told, I was hesitant to use it again. Besides the fact that just having them in my pocket, having taken them out of the pharmacy, was probably a federal offense, and the obvious moral ambiguity of drugging my dearest friend without her knowledge... there was the simple fact that I had no idea what kind of effect repeated exposure would do to her. Of course, I’d checked her medical history beforehand, to make sure she wasn’t taking anything that might cause unforeseen complications. Still, the last thing I wanted to do was to hurt Cyndi, even in the slightest unforeseen way.
Yeah, keep telling yourself that, my stupid conscience replied, tossing in his two cents worth. If you’d really cared about what was best for Cynthia, you wouldn’t have done any of this. You’d simply let her go and get on with her life. So don’t try and sugar coat it, pal. This is all about you.
Damn. Flushing, and washing my hands, I shook my head. Sometimes I really hated myself. Staring at myself in the mirror, I contemplated what to do. This was the point of no return. Once I left this bathroom, I had to make a choice. I stared at my reflection in the mirror for a few more minutes, wondering if the old saying about being able to look at yourself was true. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Fingering the vial in my pocket, however, I decided to ignore my conscience and continue on with the plan. Opening my eyes, taking one last look at myself, I turned and left the bathroom.