Vanilla (Part 1)

A husband learns a great deal about his wife and her friend in a small afterparty.

Empty beer and vodka bottles strewn about, half of the edible spread of meats and cheeses already gone, a thin cloud of cigarette smoke with the faintest hint of what was probably refer, it was official – that was the liveliest party Robb had been to in years. White wine gatherings with friends was usually his and Trudy’s speed, but he had to admit – what looked like a low-key college mixer or an every-other-weekend frat affair made his usual parties seem boring for nothing if not the unpredictability of it all.

Despite it not being boring, he wasn’t really ready to commit to anything there. Standing around in a corner while Trudy went searching for her friend who was the reason they came to this party in the first place seemed strange, but he wasn’t necessarily comfortable talking with a bunch of strangers, guys who he didn’t know, and girls who were already occupied by guys trying to hook-up with them. It was just a few suburbs over from theirs, but it might as well have been a whole different state, a more cosmopolitan one where the adults acted ten years their junior after sundown. The only flotsam he could find was a roundtable game of Telephone, or “Chinese Whispers,” as his wife told him was the proper title. To pass the time while Trudy was still searching and everyone was waiting for some kind of big show to kick off, Robb figured it would be a worthwhile time-waster to ask to play something he was familiar with, something he thought was innocuous enough.

A place was made for him when he inquired about it, and he sat in the last free chair around, awaiting the phrase to make its way around. Confusion struck him as “someone is very suggestible” was whispered into his ear. Robb paused for a second, wondering if someone was drunk or high enough to mess the original message up so spectacularly. It was spectacular to Robb only because of how something like suggestibility would come up in such a random fashion. The originator of the game, a woman in a red striped see-through top had the phrase read back to her, and smiled as if pleased with the table.

“Well done,” she said, prompting everyone to smile with her, though they shared a little of the same confusion Robb had. The leading lady then suggested a lightning version of the game after what was a warm-up. The rules changed to having to say what you heard automatically, without thinking. No one at the table seemed to mind the new rules; they were all as intrigued as Robb felt, so none were inclined to question it. Robb momentarily wondered why the change, and more if it people were intrigued by the change moreso, or the lady who made it. By appearances alone, even amongst the diverse, liberal crowd, she stood out. Even without the shirt, her make-up was expertly done, subtle but having an undeniable draw, partly because she never drew attention to it herself. The dark mass of hair tied behind her head with red chopsticks made him wonder how long it was if it fell down her shoulders or past them. A simple nose ring piercing complimented her face surprisingly well for his tastes. Her whole ensemble made him think she was dressed for some high-stakes underground poker game, yet she chose to play Telephone oddly enough.

The whispers continued, and the next thing he heard was “suggestibility is susceptibility,” and as the rules were established, he only thought about how odd the statement sounded after he told the next person. For some reason, the woman in red never stopped to analyze whether the original statement was retained; she just whispered something new into the next person’s ears, and “listening is suggestibility,” came and went before registering on everyone’s minds. The rounds seemed to bleed into one another as everyone was wondering where things were going, but that never stopped them from relaying “someone is very susceptible,” “suggestibility is listening,” “susceptibility is natural,” “susceptibility is listening is suggestibility,” several different amalgamations of the same phrasing.

The challenge of keeping up at that speed was a strain everyone was determined to endure, until it made it to the sixth or seventh rotation before someone started barking loudly for no reason. Everyone at the party seemed shocked and drew their attention to the guy who couldn’t stop his terrible angry terrier noise. Lady in red was quick to come to the guy’s side to calm him down by whispering something in his ear. Whatever it was, he’d stopped, and started laughing as if in on a joke no one knew about. Robb mouthed to the lady before him “what did you say to him?” She mouthed “bark” back.

Lady in red nonchalantly regarded the table.

“Sorry guys, forgot to tell you. Once you succumb to a suggestion, you’re out of the game for a little while.”

Though we understood it what she said, it didn’t clear up the missing context, which she had to know and quickly addressed.

“What? Don’t know a hypnotism show when you’re in one?”

That cleared up the context for everyone but Robb, who just realized what kind of party he’d been brought to, and the kind of the kind of show everyone didn’t know was already under way. Robb stared at her in amazement as the red-clad mentalist introduced herself as Paula, who happened to be the long-time friend Trudy had been looking for. Robb noticed in the crowd that gathered that Trudy had found her and neglected to inform her husband, enjoying her friend’s antics too much to interrupt.

In her introduction, Paula explained that tonight’s show would be an all-inclusive one in game form, with as many who wanted to play as they liked at the round table, but anyone who didn’t want to play and just felt like spectating, that was fine too. Robb didn’t ask twice as at the extent of her mercy, excusing himself to go to the bathroom. He got up carefully and was happy everyone’s attentions were elsewhere, including his wife. By the time he found it, he was happy to get in and splash cold water on his face, something that didn’t seem to quell the hard-on his T-shirt somehow hid in his jeans.

It wasn’t a simple, unexpected charge for Robb; his well-hidden fetish for hypnosis was nearly exploited in public, only the shock of it happening right before his eyes kept him from relishing in it. He spent five to ten minutes in the bathroom counseling himself, trying to think anti-sexy thoughts, willing himself to accept that the one thing he loved that no one in his life knew of and was afraid to tell his wife about had to be treated like he didn’t care about it in the slightest. Trudy asked when he got back if he was ok; he explained the Mexican lunch gave made his stomach a little uneasy, but it passed after a while in the bathroom and he felt better. For the rest of their time, Trudy explained a little about her friend, apologizing for letting him get caught up in her ruse. He played it as cool as he could, enjoying her closeness as they watched.

The more he watched Paula’s game unfold, the more he could feel from first-hand knowledge what everyone was going through at that table, suggestions slipping into their minds with little to no time to respond. Reacting was a different story as everyone eventually did; knowing this was a game of wills didn’t seem to matter, as Paula masterfully worked her hybrid game of Telephone and Musical Chairs, everytime someone succumbed to a random suggestion, they did so automatically, and the number of people playing per round dwindled. The shock was minimal and the surprise was joyous at the table and in the crowd. No one knowing what to expect made it even more clever and fun to spectate versus other shows Robb had seen, and made everyone excited to have their turn while the carried whispers turned everyone into Paula’s conditioned contestants.

Sometimes a suggestion would make someone do something crazy, like actually become a dog instead of just barking, and Paula would erase the suggestion quickly. Sometimes she wouldn’t and those affected were allowed to sing, or give lap-dances to those still playing. Robb recognized such tactics as expertly bypassing any chance anyone had at resistance. Those who willed themselves to become the last person standing against Paula had to look directly at Paula as they volleyed whispers back and forth to each other, as if trying to see who would succumb first. It didn’t seem to be unfair to most because Paula made it seem like either the hypnotist or subject could be affected first, but Robb could tell from her inflection, the way she stared point blank into their eyes, and how well she controlled her whispers, down to the softness and seductive tones that everyone responded to, that Paula would always come out on top. Her last suggestion of her last round was with a woman who got lost in Paula’s brown eyes early in the game, and was merely reciting the whispered phrase filing her head. It took no effort at all for her to succumb to the outright command of “kiss me.” Robb was afraid the yelps and hollering would’ve had the cops come break up the party from noise complaints, the cheering for that display was that loud.

Paula’s kiss didn’t last long, and gave her last female subject a cute kiss on the cheek, and received a helpless smile as a reward. Most would assume she might’ve been homosexual or bi, but Robb wouldn’t have been surprised if the lady thought she was merely straight until Paula messed with her head for a little while, which made it even hotter for him to watch. As close as Robb and Trudy embraced each other while watching Paula, he had the excuse of associating his hard-on with being that close to his wife. Closeness always caused a strong reaction in Robb, but most of his sexual excitement had to be attributed to Paula’s act, only made stronger to see this brazen hypnotist stand a top the table they’d been using all night and gave a bow in every direction. Her next stop off the table was straight to her friend, as they hugged and and shared pleasantries.

“Good to see you again, show-boater,” Trudy told her.

“You too Dee; always nice to liven up your part of the world; keep it interesting for the boring.”

They both simultaneously stuck tongues out at each other, and had a good laugh. Then they both looked at Robb with a hawkish glare, scaring him before Trudy broke into fits of giggling.

“Gosh girl, you can’t even keep that act up long, can you?”

“You’ve got enough act for five of me Paula, and only some of it is classy.”

“I forget how well you know me,” Paula said confidently. Strangely enough, and much to Robb’s relief, Paula only extended her hand to shake Robb’s.

“Thanks for playing along with at least one of the rounds tonight. You were a good sport, and I’m glad the wife let you play around a little at least.”

Robb gave a thank you, but analyzed everything that could’ve meant.

“So, are we ready to blow this popsicle stand?” Trudy asked.

“Not before I give my thanks to the hostess.”

“Maybe you should let her recover from that kiss.”

“Maybe…” the hypnotist trailed off as she sauntered off.

**********

A trio of silver spoons clinked together at a smaller round table, not unlike the crossing of swords among knights. It was a tradition expanded on from just a pair of the long-time friends to the inclusion of Trudy’s husband. Paula and Trudy had known each other since before college, and Robb had only heard of Paula through Trudy, sordid stories and all. Meeting her was an experience unto itself, mainly because he’d never seen a live erotic hypnosis show in-person before. It surprised Robb that Trudy decided to entertain with a show like her friend’s. As tasteful as she somehow made it all, there was no doubt that it still handily retained its X-rating.

With the exception of an adventurous long-time couple known to them in the neighborhood, Robb didn’t know anybody else Trudy had been entertaining at their latest party. He wordlessly settled on the probability that the guests, the activities, hell, the party itself was all at the insistence of the natural force of persuasion known as Paula. As she sat brazenly across from her old and new friend, still dressed in the stripped red top that teased , Robb just noticing that one of the stripes teased a bit of her areolas, maybe her nipples if she shifted in the right way. Below, she’d put on some comfortable jeans once the show concluded, trying to be casual, and half-failing. She was apparently all-smiles post-show, and none of those smiles would’ve been called casual in his opinion.

Robb felt lucky he had a wife like Trudy who seemed to completely trust her husband around a flirtatious friend. He tried not to think about it too much, instead casually smiling at both women, enjoying the ice cream Paula bought for the three of them. That seemed to be another tradition, a sweet means to cool off after hot interactions. She was nice enough to bring everyone’s favorites; Robb got the cookies and cream, Trudy with her vanilla bean, but Paula’s seemed to be a weird amalgamation of a few different flavors; pistachio, rocky road, some kind of mint, and cookie dough were the ones he could identify enough, but he wouldn’t be surprised if he missed one. He didn’t know of his flavor spoke to anything about himself, but Paula sort of was what she ate, an interesting concoction that was up for a healthy mix of adventure. Trudy’s vanilla bean, he didn’t want to admit his wife was the most vanilla person at the table, but from what he knew of the three of them, she really was.

“You sure you don’t want to try some of mine Dee?”

Trudy looked down at her friend’s bowl with mocking, convincing disgust.

“Ugh. I can’t even tell what I’d be trying.”

“Something amazing. As oppose to your bowl of mundane with mini-beans. Is plain even a flavor at this point?”

“Were you two always such extremes?” Robb joked.

“More or less,” his wife informed him. “Not always about the same things, but we always went about things are own way. It was just funny how some of those things ran parallel sometimes.”

“Luckily for you they ran parallel, otherwise you wouldn’t have such an awesome bestie. Although you would have an awesome husband, who isn’t afraid to spice things up a bit. With cookies.”

He would’ve stuck his tongue out at Paula, mimicking their shared gesture, but memory served him an image of one of Paula’s many subjects being made to freeze in a most compromising position. It was funny to see them imagine they were skiing down a slope, but Paula’s devious mind turned it into being frozen with their ass sticking out. Everyone who wanted to got to take turns slapping the pantless ass, which mercifully was suggestively interpreted as a ticklish sensation. Wasn’t Robb’s kink, so he really wished the still, “punished” girl would’ve have asked for more.

“We can’t all be wildcards like you Paula,” Robb replied, diplomatically.

“Who says we can’t?”

“You’d have to ask the lady of the house.” Robb pointed his spoon at Trudy, who simply smiled at Robb like a trophy spouse.

“But I spiked all of our bowls.”

Stark silence rang loudly in the married couple’s ears as they looked at each other, then at Paula. Robb chuckled a little, figuring it to be a joke, and Trudy joined in, until it died at the sight of Paula’s unchanged “I’m not kidding” face. Robb didn’t expect an indirect suggestion to freeze from Paula’s words, but that’s exactly what he and his wife did the moment the meaning of Paula’s words finally hit them.

“I mean, you should all be feeling it by now, besides that delicious chill running past your tongues. Your taste buds are telling you something sweet hit your tongue, while something’s going well past that, a little something I whipped up that’ll be interpreted a little different to the body, but no less sweeter as a result. And you know me Dee, I do make things quite sweet don’t I? Like ticklish tingles moving through the bloodstream, all those experiments, and some substances I got you to try out in college, taking you back to those days of less responsibility, those sinful Saturday nights where there was no such thing as Sunday morning, and you couldn’t even think of let alone be asked to think of what a Monday was. And I bet Robb wishes he would’ve met both of us in college, how loose and unpredictable life could’ve been between study sessions. All you’d be reading around me was the back of your eyelids, written words manifested by a voice telling you to ‘relax,’ ‘let go,’ ‘be free,’ all the good stuff. Yeah, all that good stuff running through you right now, the stuff not letting you move, not out of discomfort, but because it really wants you to pay attention to every little place it lights up your skin and insides in a beautiful way. In the skin of those hands, those fingertips, the way your toes shiver in pleasure, the crown of your head supplanted with a pillow for a crown, nipples cold like that sweet sugary treat that’s melting the longer you leave it uneaten, melting like you are into soft words and sensations of pleasure that makes a girl say ‘my god I can’t believe you guys are this easy…'”

Somewhere along the line, Paula just stopped, as did the drug in their system as if on cue. It took Robb and Trudy a few moments to realize they didn’t have to really feel it anymore; once the couple started blinking away, the erotic hypnotist took to chuckling mercilessly and what she’d done to the couple.

Trudy sighed a sigh of big relief and took to glaring at her friend for as long as she laughed and batted playful eyelashes for the better part of ten minutes, half of which her tongue was stuck out. Robb used that time to come off the high of Paula’s deviant words, the tingles slowly going away in everyplace but his crotch. He clearly remembered hoping not to be a part of any show, and was happy to have his hope fulfilled; in retrospect, he should’ve prayed to not be part of an act for the whole night. Thinking of the semantics didn’t seem to make his blood shift back to his head; he was glad they’d chosen the tall table to sit at instead of the living room couch and love seats, lest his excited state be apparent to all. Neither would let him live it down, and Robb would have to explain how much the whole hypno thing was an absolute turn-on for him.

Lost in his own thoughts, his eyes caught sight of Trudy’s hand, specifically the nail of her middle finger, being steadily tapped upon by Paula’s. She kept that up for about a minute, expecting some kind of faux outburst, until her fingers started walking, no, strutting up that finger, up the back of her hand, trying to act like her fingers had hips to sway. He nearly laughed until he saw Paula looking straight at Trudy looking straight back at her assertive friend. The key difference between them was their smiles, one dreamy, the other increasingly, consciously loving how dreamy the other looked. He might’ve spoken up on her behalf if he wasn’t halfway into the trance Trudy was being guided to. Robb could only look down to see the walking fingers gripping a surprisingly limp arm by the wrist, picking it up, swaying it from side to side, leaving Robb in amazement of how it got so limp like that already, without a normal induction. Finally her hand was moved back so it could fall in her lap, and Trudy’s head fell with it.

Paula’s visage kept its joy as she looked to confirm Robb’s “holy shit” face.

“I’d ask you to get up to get wifey a pillow, but that would completely blow your cover, wouldn’t it?”

Robb didn’t react to her words automatically, making Paula even more fond of her best friend’s husband. She resisted the temptation of reaching under the table with her own hand or unsheathed foot, and just turned her smile to one of sympathy.

“So, how long have you had a thing for hypno?”

Part 2

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