Rick Logan seethed as he fidgeted on the couch. He was fed up with waiting. Every time he went out with Candace, she would pull this little game with him. She would greet him at the door with a bright smile, and usher him into her living room. Then she would take on an apologetic expression and explain that she hadn’t had time to get ready yet, and ask if he would mind waiting a few minutes.
Rick always assented. At first, he’d done this because he was a very patient person, and it didn’t matter to him if they were a few minutes late. But after being kept waiting for half an hour for each of their first five dates, he’d begun to get irritated.
So on the sixth date, he’d deliberately shown up fifteen minutes late, in order to give her some extra time to prepare. He’d figured it was the easiest possible solution to the problem. There was no point in haranguing Candace about her tardiness when he could just as easily adjust his own schedule.
Unfortunately, the plan had backfired. When he’d arrived late at her apartment, she’d met him at the door with an angry glare. She’d chastised him for being late, complaining that she’d been ready right on time, that he was a jerk for being late, and that she’d appreciate it if he would try to be a bit more timely in the future.
He should’ve argued with her, and had it out right then and there. He should’ve pointed out that she was the one who’d kept him waiting for the first five dates, and that he’d only been trying to solve the problem in a manner that would involve the least inconvenience for both of them.
But he hadn’t. He’d been afraid that starting an argument might damage or destroy their budding relationship. He remembered seeing a calculating glint in her eye, as though she’d been testing him, to see whether he’d rebel or not. And he hadn’t. He’d meekly agreed that it was his fault, and that he’d try to be on time more often.
And that, Rick reflected, was his problem. He was never good at confrontations. In any dispute, he would always take the easy way out. That was probably why he’d been stuck in the same dead-end job for six years, working in the mailroom of a large medical-supply company. No promotion, no pay raise. Nothing. And that pretty much summed up his life.
Candace Cunningham turned her head and looked at the clock next to the bed, her soft brown hair twisting across the pillow as she did so. Twenty-five minutes. She decided that she’d kept Rick waiting long enough. With a grunt of exertion, she lifted herself off the bed.
She looked at herself in the mirror as she brushed her hair. She kept it simple, brushing it straight down her back. It was important to keep it neat and simple, so that Rick didn’t get an inflated notion of how important he was to her. Men were nice enough as diversions, but they were hardly one of the necessities of life.
Candace pondered her relationship with Rick as she looked through her wardrobe for something to wear. It was so much trouble to find clothes for a woman that weren’t degrading. After all, the vast majority of clothes were designed by men who could only view a woman as a sex object. Shoes that sacrificed stability and comfort for the sake of putting a curve in the back of the leg, skirts that were designed to bring about thoughts of sex in men, blouses that practically put breasts on display... it was disgraceful.
She settled on a pair of brown slacks, a flowery button-down shirt and a pair of brown loafers. Stylish, yet comfortable. She was ready for the evening. She didn’t own any makeup or jewelry; these, too, were male inventions designed with the debasement of woman in mind.
Rick stood as Candace entered the living room, sighing in wonder as he did every time he saw her face. She was quite beautiful. Wide brown eyes gazed out under thick eyebrows. High cheekbones framed an aqualine nose, and a wide mouth smiled beneath it. A thick mane of chestnut brown hair fell down her back, framing her face.
Though the slacks and shirt hid it, Rick knew her body to be quite attractive. Years of vegetarian eating had given her a thin, though not quite willowy figure. Her breasts were small but quite pert, and her legs and ass thin, but shapely.
For the hundredth time, Rick looked at her, thinking that if only she would put some effort into it, she could be dynamite. All she’d need was the right clothes, a little makeup, and some jewelry and she could be sexy as all hell. But he knew what she thought on these subjects, and didn’t want to get an earful, so he let it lie.
“You look fabulous.”
“Thanks,” she replied. “Let’s go.”
Rick treated her to a nice dinner at a charming Italian restaurant. They talked about the usual things; the weather, politics, movies, her job. Candace was an editor for Woman’s Work, a prominent and rather militant feminist magazine. Rick had read a few issues of the magazine at her urging, and was rather distuurbed by its contents. Rickfully supported most of the ideals of the women’s movement, but he thought Woman’s Work was far too radical. He hadn’t said as much to Candace, though. Not yet.
Although the content of their conversation was not unusual, Rick detected a certain weariness in Candace’s manner. But their dinner ended without incident, and Rick drove her home as usual.
It was with a sense of relief that Candace closed the door behind her after Rick dropped her off. Thank god that was over!
When she’d first started going out with Rick, they’d had a good time. She’d been amused by his quick mind and ready wit. And he was pretty handsome, too. Candace had had high hopes at the beginning that Rick would turn out to be different from other men. But as the weeks and months wore on, it’d become obvious that that wasn’t the case.
He’d begun to pay increasing amounts of attention to her body. She’d caught a number of sidelong glances at her breasts and ass. It was so frustrating! Try to have a decent, equal-status relationship with a man, and you always wound up being viewed as a sex object.
She had to admit to herself, though, that she enjoyed the attention. It was fun to play with mens’ minds, get them aroused and watch them boil in frustration. Served them right, for all they’d done to keep her gender in the dirt.
And it had been fun to do it to Rick, once she’d discovered that he was just an ordinary mind-in-the-pants sleazeball like all the rest. She’d occasionally arrange things so that her breast would press againt his arm, or her hand would innocently brush his crotch. Sometimes she could see him getting hard through his pants. She enjoyed the control she had over him.
But ultimately, it was getting stale, and even dangerous. Rick was starting to get bolder. Several times he’d tried to kiss her, and she’d had to make up some clever ruse on the spot to avoid it. She knew what men were capable of—rape, or worse—and she didn’t want to risk provoking the rapist in Rick.
So it was time to get someone new. Tomorrow, she decided, she’d dump him. They already had dinner plans, and she could break it to him gently. Tomorrow.
Rick went to work the next day feeling more depressed than ever about his relationship with Candace.
“Yo, Rick!” Rick looked up in the direction the voice had come from just in time to see a small package sailing toward him through the air. He caught it deftly. “That needs to go up to Briggs, pronto!” The voice belonged to Harvey Sheldon, the mail room chief. “It’s several hours late, and he’s been calling me every fifteen minutes since six this morning.”
“On my way,” Rick responded without enthusiasm, heading for the elevator. Damon Briggs, vice-president for marketing, was the primary reason Rick had been stuck in this dead-end job for so long. Three times Rick had applied for open positions in marketing, and three times Briggs had turned him down, despite the fact that he had clearly been the best-qualified candidate all three times.
Rick punched the elevator button for the marketing floor, visualizing Briggs’s slack-jowled, bulldog face. “The problem with you, Rick,” said Briggs’s voice, echoing in his head, “is that you just don’t have the drive. Sure, you look good on paper, but you just don’t have that special something it takes to make it in the corporate world. Probably never in your life are you gonna grab the bull by the balls, Rick. I really don’t think you belong here.” And of course, he’d just sat there and taken it, as he’d taken so many other things in his life. A stronger person, Rick thought, would have stood up to Briggs, demanded a chance to prove himself. But he’d just sat there and listened to Briggs drive him into the ground.
The elevator pinged as it reached the 25th floor, where the marketing department was located. Rick stepped out and strode through the glass doors into the marketing lobby.
“Morning, Rick,” said Jennifer Cipriani, Briggs’s secretary. Jennifer was a pudgy Mediterranean woman who looked to be about thirty. Her face was rather pretty, with strong classical features, but the fact that she was about thirty pounds overweight kept her from being attractive, in Rick’s view. Unfortunately, he’d had to brush off a number of passes she’d made at him. In spite of this, though, they’d become friends, and shared between them a certain wry humor regarding Briggs.
The standard half-eaten bar of chocolate lay in its wrapper on her desk. Jennifer nibbled absentmindedly at it as she scribbled Briggs’s signature on a sheaf of papers. “What can I do for you?” she asked, looking up and smiling at Rick.
“Morning, Jen. Package for Mr. Briggs.”
“Oooh, he’s been waiting for that all morning. Better take it in. He’s alone right now.” Jennifer spoke into the intercom. “Rick’s here with that packace, Mr. Briggs.”
“Thanks, Jen,” Rick said, walking past her desk to the big oak doors. A large gold-finished plate announced the entrance to “The Office of Damon Briggs, Vice-President of Marketing.” Rick pushed the doors open and strode in.
The corpusculent form of Damon Briggs greeted him from behind the desk. “Rick! Good to see you again!” he exclaimed without much sincerity. “Let’s have it.” A pudgy hand reached for the package. Rick passed it over to him. “Thanks, Rick,” Briggs said, eagerly tearing the package open.
Rick turned and left, waving goodbye to Jennifer as he headed to the elevator. He’d almost made it when Briggs’s yell of anguish hit him from behind.
“No! Dammit, dammit, dammit!”
Rick turned just in time to see Briggs storm out of the office, the opened package in one hand. “The stupid bastards screwed up again! Jennifer, get on the phone to Dexalco and tell them we wanted tetracamine, not tetracaTHALamine. Make sure whichever moron you speak to understands the difference between four syllables and five. Christ.”
Briggs’s jaw worked furiously as he strode over to Rick and thrust the package into his hands. “Take this down to pharmaceutical disposal, Rick, and get rid of it.”
Rick accepted the package and watched as Briggs strode angrily back to his office. Jennifer, already dialing the phone, looked ruefully at him. “It’s a great day already, Rick!” she said.
“Good luck with Briggs,” Rick replied, and headed for the elevator. Curiously, he examined the contents of the package. There were six small vials of liquid and several sheets of paper. Rick glanced over the top sheet as he waited for the elevator. Beneath the letterhead of Dexalco Pharmaceuticals was a short description of the drug.
TETRACATHALAMINE: Strong hypnotic drug. Dosage of 5 drops standard solution will put a 125-pound subject into a deeply suggestible mental state in approximately thirty minutes. Standard hypnotic techniques may then be used. Required dosage varies with weight. No known...
Rick was interrupted by the chime of the arriving elevator. He stuffed the paper back into the box as a gray-haired executive walked past him out of the elevator. He could get into big trouble for reading mail.
Rick stepped into the elevator and pressed the button for the third floor, where the company’s pharmaceutical disposal unit was located. Federal law required the disposal of unused narcotics according to a complex set of safety guidelines.
The elevator doors closed and the car descended. Rick pondered what he’d read, an idea slowly creeping into his mind. Could he... make use of the drug? He could drug Candace, hypnotize her to be more friendly toward him, to...
No, he couldn’t do that. The thought of forcing a woman to have sex with him was revolting. Even a hypnotized sexual partner was still, in reality, an unwilling one.
Besides, he had to take the drug to the disposal unit. These things were tracked carefully, and if the package wasn’t handed over to the disposal technicians, it would eventually be traced to him, and he’d be in trouble. The package had to go to disposal. And that was that. But what if...
Rick looked in the box again. Six vials of liquid. What if there were only five when it got to the dispossal techs? Would they notice? Maybe. He wasn’t sure how thoroughly they checked these things. But if they did notice, how likely would they be to track it down? Probably not very likely, he guessed. After all, they dealt with several thousand bottles and packages every day. What would one missing vial count for among all that?
But could he possibly bring himself to do this sort of thing? It was immoral to hypnotize people for your own gain. Wasn’t it? Unbidden, Briggs’s face appeared in Rick’s mind. “You’re probably never gonna grab the bull by the balls, Rick.”
Rick snatched one of the vials out of the package and thrust it into his pocket just as the elevator doors opened. Nonchalantly, he strode to the disposal desk, placing the package on the counter. “Package from Briggs,” he informed the technician behind the desk, fighting to keep the tremor from his voice.
The tech took it and made a cursory examination of the contents. “Thanks. Here’s your receipt.”
Rick took the receipt and hurried to the elevator before his nervousness could show. Flush with success, he reached into his pocket and fingered the vial.
When he got back to the mailroom, Rick found himself in the middle of a crisis. Three regular mailbags from the Los Angeles office had run into unexpected delays and had all arrived while Rick was running the errand for Briggs. It took the rest of the day for the mailroom staff to get all the backed-up mail delivered. Consequently, Rick forgot about the vial.
He arrived at Candace’s aparment promptly at 7:00 that evening, right on time for their dinner date. Half an hour later, they left and went to a vegetarian restaurant that Candace liked. Rick hated vegetarian food, but it was all she would eat. This meant that most of the time, he had to eat it as well. Occasionally, they would go to a normal restaurant, where she would get a salad or something non-meaty. At those places, he occasionally got a meat dish, but she made her disapproval evident whenever he did this.
During their dinner conversation, Rick detected the same weariness in Candace’s manner he’d seen last night. But it was stronger tonight. She seemed to be a bit nervous about something. After finishing the meal, they ordered after-dinner drinks. Candace excused herself to go to the restroom.
Rick took the opportunity to ponder the situation. What had her so worked up? It was as though she had something really big she needed to get off her chest. Something...
Of course! She was going to dump him! She was trying to find the right moment to tell him. He felt a surge of anger wash over him. Dammit, they’d been dating for months, he’d paid for every meal, and he hadn’t gotten so much as a kiss from her. Why had she strung him along for so long? He leaned back, thrusting his hands into his pockets...
...and his fingers burshed against the glass vial. He started, remembering it for the first time since getting out of the elevator. Slowly, carefully, he pulled it out of his pocket and held it up to the light. Inside, the clear liquid sloshed around.
Rick gazed at the vial. It wasn’t right to do this to someone, but... dammit, she’d been such a bitch. He could see it now. She’d strung him along, using him as a source of free food while keeping him at arms’ length emotionally and physically, teasing him all the while to keep up his interest. She had manipulated him, coldly and cynically, and it was only fair to give her a little taste in return.
Resolved, Rick unscrewed the top of the bottle, pulling out the built-in dropper. He filled the dropper and struggled to recall the writing on the sheet. Five drops. Yes, that was it. Placing the dropper over Candace’s drink, he squeezed and watched the drops fall. One... two... three... four... five. Hurriedly, he screwed the cap back onto the top of the bottle and shoved it back into his pocket.
Candace reappeared a moment later and took her seat. They talked and drank as they sipped their drinks. Rick watched Candace for any sign that the drug was affecting her behavior, and found none. But the sheet had said thirty minutes, hadn’t it? He thought so, but it was hard to remember.
They finished their drinks and began the drive home, continuing the incessant conversation. It was as though they were both talking more excitedly and animatedly, and with more feigned interest, because they both knew that something bad was coming up, Rick mused.
He took no notice when her participation began to drop off. She stopped offering her own ideas and opinions, and started simply agreeing to whatever he said. Gradually, her responses became monosyllabic. Suddenly, he realized what had happened.
“Candace?” he ventured.
“Mmm. Yes?” she responded, staring ahead out the front of the car.
“How are you feeling?”
She thought for a moment. “Fine, I guess.” Her face remained forward.
Take it slowly, Rick told himself. Make sure it’s working. “Look out the window to your right,” he said.
“Okay.” Her head swiveled ninety degrees to the right, and remained facing that way. She made no other move.
Rick couldn’t believe it. Here was the most independent-minded woman he’d ever met, accepting his odd suggestions as though they were perfectly natural. He racked his brain to recall what he could of hypnosis. The important thing seemed to be that the subject wouldn’t respond to all suggestions, just those that seemed reasonable. So having her, say, engage in sex with him right here in the car was probably out of the question. Take it slowly, he admonished himself again. “Candace?”
“Yes?” Her voice was muffled; Rick realized she was still looking out the window.
“Face forward again.” She did so immediately. “I want you to answer the questions I ask honestly and completely.”
“Okay,” she agreed.
“What do you think of me?”
“I thought you were a nice guy when we first met, but lately I’ve come to realize that you’re just like all the other men.”
Hmmm. This was interesting. “And what are other men like?”
“They’re only interested in sex. They can only view women as sex objects. They’d probably rape any woman they could if they thought they could get away with it.”
This was really unusual, Rick thought. He’d known she was very much into women’s liberation, even to the point of being somewhat bitter toward men in general, but he’d had no idea she harbored such a misandronistic streak. “So... you think I would rape you if I thought I could get away with it?”
“Well, not necessarily. But after we’d been together long enough, I’m sure you’d do it eventually. That’s why I’m planning to break up with you when you drop me off.”
So his instincts had been on the right track, Rick thought. “What made you realize that I’m like that?”
“The way you keep looking at my body. You look at my breasts, or my butt, or my legs. I can tell you’re thinking about having sex with me. It’s quite demeaning.”
“Have you ever had sex with a man?”
“No. I could never let a man have that sort of power over me. Besides, I can bring myself more pleasure masturbating than any man could ever give me.”
“Yes. Men only care about themselves.”
A thought crossed Rick’s mind. “Have you ever had sex with another woman?”
Rick paused for a moment, considering what to do. The first priority was to preserve the relationship. If he stopped seeing Candace, no amount of drug could get what he wanted. But, he reminded himself again, it was important to be careful in this, and take things in slow, natural steps.
How best to do this? he wondered. He didn’t have the foggiest clue as to what was the best way to make a suggestion, so he decided to just try the easy way. “Candace?”
“You don’t really think I’m as bad as other men,” Rick said in what he hoped was a calm voice. “Sure, I’m still a man, and that carries some intrinsic meaning, but I’m actually very civilized compared to most. Isn’t that right?”
Her face scrunched up in thought. “Yes, I suppose so. You’re not nearly as bad as I thought.”
“In fact, maybe you don’t need to break off our relationship just yet. You could probably date me safely for at least another month. Don’t you think so?”
“Yes... yes, that’s right. I don’t need to dump you just yet.” She sat back, pleased at her realization.
Rick smiled a bit at her choice of words. It was funny that she should talk about dumping him when he was clearly the one in control. He decided to take one more small step tonight. “And when I look at you, like I want to have sex with you, you won’t find it disgusting anymore. In fact, when you see me looking at your body, you’ll get a little excited by it. Almost like you were masturbating. Not really stong, but noticeable... and pleasurable. Okay?”
She shrugged. “Okay.”
Rick decided to hold it there for the evening. He didn’t want to press his luck. But he had to clean up after himself. What was the mumbo-jumbo that hypnotists did when they were done? “Candace, I’m going to start slowly counting down from five. You’re going to feel your mind get fuzzier and more confused as I do so. When I reach one, you will have forgotten everything that’s happened since I asked you how you were feeling a few minutes ago. Remember that?”
“Good. All you’ll be able to remember will be that we had a nice conversation on the way home. All right?”
“Here we go. Five... four... three... two... one.” Candace made no movement, simply staring ahead. Carefully, Rick tried to restart the conversation. “So... have you tried that new Chinese takeout place?”
Well, Rick thought, even if he’d successfully caused her to block out the conversation, she’d still be under the influence of the drug. He continued to talk as though they were having a perfectly ordinary conversation. Gradually, her speech moved from monosyllabic responses to simple statements of agreement. Soon she was back into the swing of things, offering up her own opinions and ideas in response to Rick’s. He relaxed, confident that she’d forgotten their earlier conversation.
Rick dropped her off at her apartment. She never invited him in, so there was no point in parking. “Thanks for dinner, Rick,” she said sweetly.
“You’re welcome,” he responded, glancing at her chest. She flushed a little at that, and opened her mouth as though about to say something. But whatever words had been about to come out froze in her mouth, and a puzzled look crossed her face. Rick did his best to look confused. “Candace?”
“Ummm... oh, nothing. Nothing,” she said hurriedly. “How about dinner tomorrow?”
“Sounds good. Seven o’clock?”
“Sure. See you then.” She got out of the car, closed the door, and hurried up to the building. Rick smiled, pleased with a job well done, as he drove off into the night.
Candace paused at the door to her building. Why had she done that? She’d planned the whole evening to dump Rick when he dropped her off. Why hadn’t she done it? And why the hell had she been so... excited... by that glance he’d given her breasts?
Confused, she unlocked the door and hurried up the stairs to her apartment. Dammit, it had just been another one of those lustful sex-crazed male looks at her body. Those had never had any effect on her before, other than inspiring disgust at men in general. Why had that glance from Rick seemed so... different?
She entered the apartment and sat down on the couch to think. Rick seemed... different, somehow. Less of a creep. Kinder. In fact, why had she been planning to dump him in the first place? She thought back to the reasoning she’d used earlier, when she’d made the decision to dump him. None of it seemed to make sense anymore. Well, at any rate, Rick would probably be worth having around for at least... oh, at least another month.
Over the course of the next week and a half, Rick took Candace out to dinner five times, and often to a movie afterward. For the most part, her manner on these dates was unchanged. But several times Rick let her catch him looking at her breasts, ass or legs. Rick noted with pleasure the flush of excitement that rushed into her face. She would nervously look away whenever this happened. He was enjoying their time together quite a bit more, knowing that his glances got her excited.
When he was at work, however, he was a nervous wreck. He toiled at his job in dread, constantly worried that some inventory-checker somewhere would discover the missing vial of drug and trace it to him. Every time the P.A. system came on, Rick’s heart leapt into his throat. The only positive effect of the whole ordeal was that his nerves drove him to work very hard at his job, earning quite a bit of admiration from his supervisor.
On his fifth date with Candace since he’d hypnotized her, Rick got his second chance. Again, it was just after the empty dinner plates had been cleared away and the after-dinner drinks served. Candace took a few sips of her drink and excused herself to go to the bathroom. Rick shot a look at her breasts as she got up, causing her once again to get flustered and hurry away.
Smiling, Rick waited until she was out of sight and pulled the bottle out of his pocket. Measuring carefully, he dispensed five drops into her drink, swirling the glass slightly in order to mix the drug thoroughly.
Candace returned in a few minutes. They finished their drinks and began the drive home. As before, Candace gradually allowed her end of the conversation to drop off into simple yes’s and no’s. When Rick was confident that the drug had taken effect, he decided it was time to begin.
“How are you feeling, Candace?”
“How are your toes feeling?”
A brief shrug. “Fine.”
All right, then. “So how do you feel around me?”
She sighed. “Excited. It really affects me when you look at my breasts or my legs like you want to have sex with me. I mean, I know it’s the ordinary male lust, but for some reason, when you do it, it has this effect on me.”
“So you enjoy it when I look at your body?”
“Yes, I do.”
“You’d enjoy it even more if I looked at your body more often, then, wouldn’t you?”
Color was rising in her cheeks. She smiled happily. “Oh, yes, I’d enjoy that very much.”
“Well, there are a couple things you could do to make me look at you more often.”
“You could wear some different clothes. Like a skirt that would let some of your legs show, or a blouse that was cut low enough to give a glimpse of your breasts.”
She frowned. “No, I couldn’t wear those things. They’re... degrading. They’ll make me a sex object.”
Oops. Well, what could he do to control the damage? “But there are plenty of long, conservative skirts that don’t reveal much. And blouses that just give a nice view of your upper chest without showing too much of your breasts. Plenty of women wear those. Why don’t you try a couple of outfits like that next time you’re at the store, and buy a few?”
“Hmmm. Well, okay. It will get me more looks from you, I guess.”
“Also, a little bit of lipstick might help.”
“Mmmm... okay, I’ll try that, too.”
“Good girl. And while we’re on the subject, you’re going to continue to get excited whenever I look at your body. In fact, it’s going to get you even more excited than it has been. Okay?”
“Okay,” she agreed.
“So I must be kind of special to you, if I make you feel this way, huh?”
“Well, yes, I suppose that’s true. Nobody else makes me feel like that.”
“Don’t you think you should show me how special I am? I mean, do something nice to let me know what I mean to you?”
“When I drop you off tonight, you can kiss me. Nothing fancy, just a quick peck on the lips. I’ll be surprised by it. And it’ll let me know how special I am.”
“All right, I’ll give you a kiss. But that’s all.”
“Fine. And when you kiss me, you’ll feel a surge of pleasure, like you do when I look at you, only stronger.”
Rick paused for a moment, a thought percolating up through his mind. He’d accomplished all he really needed to this time, but there was one other thing he was curious to try. Just for fun... “One last thing, Candace. The way you’ve been getting excited by me looking at you. You’re going to start feeling that way when other men look at your body. Not as much as you do for me, but you’ll still feel the excitement. Got that?”
Satisfied with his work, Rick led her through the procedure to erase the memory of the conversation from her brain. Gradually, the drug wore off, and her conversational skills picked up again as they arrived at her place.
Candace looked at Rick as he stopped the car in front of her building. He was so... so different. When she was around him, she felt so... wonderful. It was impossible to describe. Suddenly, some deep part of her subconscious took control of her body. She leaned over and put her lips to Rick’s.
An electric thrill shot down her spine at the touch of his lips. She pulled away, startled, trying to compose herself. “Umm... uh... Thanks for dinner, Rick. We’re still on for tomorrow, right?” She made a queasy smile in an attempt to hide her nerves.
“Sure, Candace,” he replied, smiling broadly. “Pick you up at eight?”
“Uh... yeah, yeah. Okay, see ya!” She hurried out of the car, closing the door behind her, and trotted up to the steps. She heard the car accelerate down the street.
What was coming over her? All her life, she’d striven to be the very model of the independent female, dependent on men for nothing, least of all emotional well-being, and here she was going all goo-goo eyed over Rick! She wasn’t so much bothered by the fact that she’d kissed him as by the reason she’d kissed him. Why did he have this power over her?
Confused, she strode up the stairs to her apartment.
Rick glanced back at Candace in the rear-view mirror as he drove off down the street. Perfect. She was slowly, but surely, falling in love with him. The hypnotic drug had given him the key to a more balanced, a more equal relationship. With a few more uses of the drug, he could guide Candace and himself in a deep, lasting love, the kind that he’d dreamed of having when he’d first met her.
But something bothered him. Was that what he really wanted, a deep, lasting, “equal” relationship? Or was he really after something else? It wouldn’t have occurred to him to question his own motives if not for that one additional suggestion he’d given to Candace. She would get turned on by other men looking at her. Why had he done that?
Rick pondered these questions as he drove on into the night.