When I started dating Steven it was no problem. It didn’t even come up actually, not for one second. We’d been together for six months, long enough for me to refer to him as my ‘partner’. And he’d been perfect, always so perfect. So I could understand his surprise when I tied him up and threw him into the boot of my car. Okay, let me explain.
I met Steven when I went to see him to ‘cure’ me. Well to make me stop smoking anyway. I’d tried everything, patches, eating different foods, hanging upside down to sleep. Nothing. Always had to have a cigarette in my hand. I’d never been able to quit for more than three days. So I went to Steven, on my friend Daniella’s recommendation, because he is a hypnotherapist. She’d read an article on it somewhere.
Steven is not the best looking guy. His forehead is growing, his eyes are dark, and his bottom row of teeth are a little crooked. But he was nice and understanding and he talked me through the whole process. He explained how everything would come together and work. He’d convince my mind that I no longer needed nicotine anymore. I asked him to make sure he didn’t awaken some personality from a past life and he laughed, like he’d never heard it before.
It was after he’d tweaked my mind that he asked me out on a date, said he ‘didn’t normally do this’ when he did it. And a week later he took me out to dinner. Everything went like you’d dream it. He was a perfect gentleman at every door and chair. He made me feel special, important, and beautiful. And I hadn’t needed a smoke the whole time.
A month later, at work, I was giving Daniella the review so far, over-explaining details only I would care about. But she looked sceptical, unsure. She brushed off my stories like they were flies on her sandwich.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked her.
‘Don’t you ever wonder?’
‘Wonder what, Daniella?’
‘Okay, you’re an attractive woman, you go to a hypnotherapist, go under his spell or power or whatever, where he can make you do anything, anything at all.’
‘Yes, what are you getting at?’
‘Where he can suggest to your mind that he is attractive. Where he can make you want him. He can take your addiction away, he could give you a new one.’ Her cynical attitude made some sense. This was the first time I’d agreed with her anti-male pessimism. Her words fell into my mind like gumballs into a lolly jar. Like suggestions into a hypnotised persons brain. It all made sense.
Steven had me under his spell.
At dinner that night I said nothing to Steven. Well, nothing except one word answers. He asked if I was okay and if there was anything he could do. I just stared at him with narrowed eyes.
‘Have I done something wrong?’ He asked. I resisted the urge to say ‘yes, turning me into your sex slave, that was kinda’ wrong, don’t you think?’ He played dumb, and he played it well. I remember wondering all that night why I always got the weirdo’s.
At his house, I lie still with my arms at my sides in his huge, black, bed. I stared, paranoid at the roof while Steven talked in my ear. I wasn’t going to answer him, I wasn’t his servant. I wondered whether he could just click his fingers and call me to have sex with him and I’d have no idea what happened afterwards. I wondered if he’d done that already. Eventually he slept and I watched him breathe deep in and out, thinking of ways I could beat him.
Daniella suggested that he would never volunteer that he’d done this to me. I’d have to get it out of him. But how? With his mind-bending he could snap his fingers any moment and stop me. Unless his fingers were tied. And yes, this is how it begun. Daniella and I devised a plan, a scheme, to take him to a destination far away and question him with the threat of leaving him there for dead. And it made a whole lotta’ sense at the time. Probably more sense than I’ve been able to explain to you.
I invited Steven, my ‘partner’, over for dinner to apologise for how I’d acted on the weekend. He said he didn’t care, he was just relieved that I was okay and that I was speaking to him again. More like relieved that his spell hadn’t worn off. He came over, dressed in a business shirt and carrying champagne. He said he’d come straight from work, quick as possible. He smiled nicely, happily, and kissed me over and over. It was after dinner that I decided to hit him over the head with a statue. The first hit didn’t work like in the movies though. Took four hits to knock him out. Four dings on his bald head.
Daniella came out from the bathroom and helped me tie him up before throwing him into the boot. We drove off into the night, out far from home, towards trees that covered the stars.
In the headlights, Steven’s breath fogged, bent over in front of us, trying to pull his hands free from behind his back. He squinted in the light.
‘Please, Laura, why are you doing this?’
‘You bastard, you hypnotised her into loving you. You brainwashed her into being your slave. You’ve been controlling her.’ Daniella pointed as she spoke at him.
‘What?!’ Steven asked, defeatedly.
‘Is it true, Steven? Has this all been a spell?’ I spoke dramatically.
‘No Laura. I love you. I love being with you, I don’t…’
‘Rubbish.’ Daniella interrupted. ‘Why else would she be attracted to a balding, overweight, old man? Why? You do this to every pretty girl who comes in, Steve?’
‘I guess I don’t know why.’ Steven dropped to the ground, sat down. ‘But if I’ve hypnotised her, then why is she doing this now? If she’s under my ‘spell’, why this?’ Steven made some sense.
‘Because you can’t click your fingers.’ Daniella made some sense.
‘I’ve never clicked my fingers before.’ Steven made sense again.
‘Well, maybe you have but you’ve just erased her memory of it.’ Steven let out a deep breath, looked down at the stones between his legs.
‘Laura, I love every moment I spend with you. I just want to be with you. I promise I’ve never hypnotised you to love me.’ Daniella shook her head. ‘I couldn’t make you love me. I just want to be with you.’
‘So you never?’
‘Laura, maybe you just found happiness with someone. Happiness with me. Maybe that’s all there is to it. Think, Laura, why aren’t you under my control now? Really. Please.’ His face all scrunched in the lights, that helpless look on his face.
‘Oh, Steven.’ I ran up to him, kissed him on his ample forehead. Daniella shook her head harder, telling me ‘no, don’t believe him.’ But I couldn’t stop. I loved Steven. Really.
And that was pretty much the last time I saw him. The only other time was months later. He was out with some model looking, tall blonde. I wondered whether she was being hypnotised, whether us suggesting it to him put an idea into his head. But no, probably not.
He clicked his fingers and I took out a cigarette, watched him kiss the blonde as I lit up.