Command and Control Ch. 02byBob_Aganoush©
This is dedicated to KRR1957, one of the best authors on Literotica, whose stories have inspired this one. As with most of my stories, this one includes quite a bit of character development, so please be patient.
It had been about ten days since I had attended the meeting in Kansas City and had my run-in with Noreen Taylor. At first after I returned home I was obsessed with how she had hypnotized me. I went on the Internet and read everything I could about hypnosis, not knowing anything about it. There was little there to help me, especially about how one could break a hypnotic spell if you didn't know the code words.
At first, I awoke every day worried that I'd somehow be put into a spell by someone inadvertently saying the code words. But after a week, I realized that this was very unlikely, as she would not have used a common enough phrase to cause that to happen. I also read everything I could about Noreen and her career, to try to understand more about why she had done this. I understood she was royally pissed about my screwing up her chance at the endowed chair at the University of Virginia, as that seemed to be the brass ring that she had missed out on and had not had a similar opportunity since.
I was careful not to do this surfing at the office, as I knew that the IT department sometimes did spot checks of the websites employees visited, to ensure that nobody was using state equipment for untoward purposes. So I worked a lot at home, using my computer there, and avoided the office other than when I need to be there for class or meetings. While none of the websites were ones that would get me in trouble, I didn't want to take the chance of raising any suspicions.
I was walking down the hall one of the few mornings I was in the office, when I was stopped by one of my colleagues with a shout of "Hey, Bob" from his office. I stopped, backtracked a few feet, and poked my head in.
"Hi, Jerry, what's up?" I asked, standing in his doorway.
"Will you do me a favor," he replied, getting up from behind his desk and handing me a stack of papers clipped together. "This is a CV and paper from one of the applicants in the search."
I took the papers from his hand and glanced at them. We had a search open for a new assistant professor in the department, and while I was not on the search committee, my colleagues who were would often run the applications by me. As I started to read down the CV, Jerry said, "He's a student of Noreen Taylor's."
At hearing her name, my mind sputtered for a second, almost like an engine misfiring a cylinder. A tingling sensation went up and down my body, and I had to concentrate to hold on to the papers and not drop them.
"What," I said, not knowing what else to say, and trying to get my concentration back.
"Yeah," Jerry replied, "he's finishing up this year, and I think he has a pretty good CV, but I wanted to get your reading on it."
I listened to Jerry's words, and fought hard to regain my mental acuity. After a few moments, I seemed to be getting a grip on what was happening, though was still a bit unsure of myself, and the tingling sensation left my body.
"Oh, okay," I said, not knowing what else to do at that stage. "I'll take a look and let you know what I think." I turned and started walking back to my office, before Jerry tried to engage me in any further conversation and possibly expose my momentary lack of mental sharpness.
"Thanks," I heard Jerry yell from his office as I was already five feet or so down the hallway.
I continued down the hall and into my office, closing the door behind me. "What the fuck just happened?" I thought to myself, as I placed the papers down on my desk. I knew that hearing Noreen's name must have triggered something in me, or was it an incredible coincidence that that feeling had hit at exactly the precise moment Jerry had said her name. I chalked it up to just a reaction to hearing her name and subconsciously flashing back to what had happened in that hotel room in Kansas City.
I picked up the papers again, and tried to read through them, but couldn't concentrate on the words that were written there. I threw them down in disgust, and picked up some student papers to grade, but had the same problem at first. I put them back, and went to my computer and started surfing the web aimlessly. After about an hour of that, I finally gave up, and seeing that it was already 4:00pm, I grabbed my backpack and headed home.
I made myself some dinner, watched a baseball game on TV, and went to bed. At first, I tossed and turned, trying to figure out what had happened to me, but I still didn't understand it. After a while, I finally fell asleep, but slept very fitfully.
The next morning I woke up, showered and shaved, and felt much better. I was still bothered by what transpired the day before, but I headed into the office and tried to shake it off. When I got there, I picked up the pack of papers Jerry gave me the day before, and started reading them. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised that I could now concentrate, and I finished reading the CV and article, and fired off an email to Jerry with my impressions. After hitting the "send" button, I sat back in my chair with a satisfied smile, and thought to myself, "Glad that's behind me."
On the way home from work later that day, I stopped at a supermarket to pick up some food. I don't like food shopping, so generally try to do it just once a week. Being divorced with no kids, shopping wasn't a complicated task, but I just felt like it was a waste of time. If I lived in a city that had one of those shopping delivery services, I would most certainly have utilized it and shopped on-line. But being in a relatively small college town, that wasn't available.
I had been divorced for about ten years, and never remarried. I had had a succession of girlfriends – or "lovers," if that was the more politically-correct term – in the ensuring decade, but never one that I was very serious about. I was somewhat jaded by the end of the marriage – there had been a number of fights between my ex-wife and me at the end, with her accusing me on multiple of occasions of being a "sexist pig" and my throwing out the word "bitch" at her. Suffice it to say that neither of us was sad to be done with the other by the time we signed our divorce papers.
The shopping took much longer than usual because I was at a market that I was not familiar with. I usually shopped at one that was closer to my home but a few miles in the other direction from campus. This one was on my route home, though, so I decided to stop in.
As I finished my shopping, I scanned the checkout lines. Unlike most people who would automatically search for the one with the shortest line, I instead looked at the clerks behind the cash registers. I was keeping an eye out for a cute one, preferably one dressed in a tight or low-cut – or even better, both – blouse that would provide a little eye candy for a few minutes.
Since my divorce, and even before, I was very cautious about not getting involved in relationships with anyone in my department, including the graduate students. It was easy to avoid relationships with the other professors; most of the women were either highly unattractive to me, or had personalities that would send me running at the thought of having to spend an evening with them, never mind being in a relationship with them.
I avoided the graduate students also. Even though I had colleagues, including some in my own department, who had had relationships with students, it always seemed to end poorly with accusations of sexual harassment on the part of the professor. While my few colleagues who had crossed this line had all managed to survive the scandal, it always created quite a mess and I never wished to put myself in that position.
Having made the decision to avoid any office romances, however, I never hesitated to visually check out women, even on campus. I was always discreet enough to avoid getting a reputation as one of "those" professors who the female students talked about, the one who was always making eye contact with their nipples rather than their eyes. But I did enjoy looking at women's bodies when I could grab a glance, and occasionally fantasizing about what sex with them would be like.
I spotted an aisle with a cute young woman in it, and as luck would have it, there was only one person ahead of me in line, and he was just finishing putting his groceries on the belt. "My lucky day," I thought, as I pulled into the aisle and looked at the tight t-shirt on the woman, which clearly was thrown on without thought of a bra underneath as she got ready for her work, as her nipples were clearly apparent. "Bonus time," I chuckled to myself.
As the customer in front of me finished up, I took the last of my groceries from my cart, put them on the belt, and smiled and said hello to the clerk. She gave me a big toothy smile back, saying "Hello, how are you today, sir?"
I smiled again, and looking at the nametag that was prominently displayed on her left breast said, "Just great, thanks. And how are you, Ashley?"
She said, "Doing okay, wish I wasn't working, but my shift is almost over."
"Good for you," I said, as she dragged my items across the scanner. "Damn," I thought, I should have bought more so I could stand here even longer.
Just as I thought this, I glanced over at the aisle next to me, and saw standing there Elizabeth Carmichael, one of my colleagues in the department. Elizabeth (never "Liz," or "Betsy," or "Lizzie" – always "Elizabeth") and I often did not see eye-to-eye on things. We had joined the department around the same time, and had had conflicts with each other right from the get-go. I suspected that one of my issues with her was that she reminded me too much of my ex-wife; not in looks, but in personality. While my ex-wife was thin and tall, only a few inches shorter than my six feet, Elizabeth was just a shade over five feet tall, and carried probably an extra 40 or 50 pounds on her. She was not an unattractive woman, as she had what could objectively be described as a pretty face, but she was quite plump. Even with her plumpness, though, I had noticed that she still liked to dress in tight clothes that accentuated her large breasts and generous ass. Today she had on what looked like a workout uniform, with fairly tight Spandex pants and a V-neck t-shirt that showed off her ample cleavage.
But as different as Elizabeth and my ex-wife were in looks, they were similar in personalities – strong women who had little patience for men who were sexist and perceived as not being supportive of women. While I was careful not to say anything too impolitic at the office, particularly when it came to issues of race or gender, I doubted that anyone would put me in the camp of being an overt supporter of more opportunities for women. I liked to think of myself as a believer in meritocracy; I didn't care if women received their just opportunities, as long as they fairly earned them. But I knew that Elizabeth and other women in the department interpreted my position of one that called into question whether women in general were as qualified to be in the professoriate as men. Earlier in my career this may have concerned me, but as a full professor with tenure, I had earned the right not to give much of a damn about what people like Elizabeth and others thought.
So naturally, seeing Elizabeth next to me, I tried to hurry up the check-out process and get out of there before she saw me and tried to say hello. As much as I was enjoying looking at the check-out girl's tits in front of me, I didn't want to talk to Elizabeth. While we were not on the best of terms, she was the type who felt obligated to engage in chitchat when she bumped into a colleague somewhere in town.
I had almost finished up, receiving the receipt from the clerk, and getting ready to make a run for it. Luckily Elizabeth's aisle was away from the door, so I was hoping to head for the door without her seeing me. I thanked Ashley, grabbed my cart, and started pushing it toward the door.
"Hi, Robert," I heard behind me, cringing at the sound of my formal name that was never used by any of my friends. I suspected that Elizabeth knew it bothered me, which only encouraged her to use it.
I turned, and feigning surprise, said, "Elizabeth! How are you?" I thought I sounded pretty convincing. I was tempted to call her "Liz" just to get back at her, but decided I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as I could.
"Good, thanks. Just doing my shopping after working out at the gym. Haven't seen much of you around the office lately, have you been away?"
"I did have a meeting in Kansas City a couple of weeks ago, but mostly I've been working at home since. I'm on deadline for an article I'm trying to finish up, so have been trying to avoid distractions in the office," I lied. "You know how it is, when you're in there, everyone wants a piece of you," I chuckled, trying to sound convincing again.
"Oh yes, I certainly understand that. I get the most work done at home, too."
We walked toward the doors, each of us pushing a cart. I glanced in and was surprised to see she had about four bags worth of food, which seemed like a lot for someone who was single like me. I figured she must not like shopping either, and probably did it as infrequently as possible.
She must have seen me glancing at her bags, because she said, "I'm having some friends over tonight, so I was stocking up on snacks, and beer and wine," she said as an explanation.
"Oh," I replied, not sure why I was feeling guilty at being caught looking in her cart.
We got to the doors and they parted automatically as we stepped on the black mats. As we reached the curb, I said, "Well, nice seeing you, Elizabeth, enjoy your party tonight," trying to extricate myself from the conversation. I quickly headed toward my car.
"You too, Bob," she replied, and headed in the same direction.
I tried not to walk too quickly, to make it look like I was trying to get away from her. But Elizabeth kept following me, and as I got to my car, I saw her stop at the one right next to me, hitting her remote followed by the beep, beep, click of her doors being unlocked.
As I quickly loaded my bags in the trunk, I heard Elizabeth's voice. "Robert, would you do me a big favor?"
I stifled a groan, and as tempted as I was to say, "No," I didn't want to come across as an absolute dick. So I replied, "Sure, Elizabeth, what is it?"
"I think I may have pulled something in my back working out earlier, so I was wondering if you'd mind helping me put these bags in my car. I've got some heavy ones, with all the beer and wine I bought."
"Easy enough," I thought to myself. I said, "No problem, happy to help out," slammed my trunk shut, and walked over to her car.
As I was lowering the first two bags into her open trunk, I heard her say, "Noreen Taylor."
I jumped at hearing those words, and almost dropped the two bags. I quickly recovered, easing them down, but realized that I was experiencing the same tingly sensation in my body that I had felt when Jerry had said Noreen's name the day before. I tried to grab the last of Elizabeth's grocery bags, and get out of there as quickly as possible, but before I could put my hands on them, I heard it again.
This time I froze, unable to move. I just stood there, looking at the bags, unable to mentally comprehend what I had just been doing.
"Get into my car, Bob" I heard Elizabeth say. I was conscious that she had switched to my more familiar name that most people used. Without understanding why, I followed her direction, walked to the passenger side door, opened it, and got in and sat down. I was conscious of Elizabeth putting the rest of her groceries in her trunk, and out of the corner of my eye saw her take both of our carts and put them in the cart area.
She got into her car and said, "Give me your keys, Bob." Still not understanding what was happening, I fished them out of my pocket, and handed them to her. She pushed the locking button once, and I heard a beep as the doors of my car locked. She dropped the keys into her purse. "I hope you didn't get any frozen items," she said with a chuckle, as she started her engine.
I just stared ahead, not knowing what I was doing there. Something in the back of my head told me I should open the door and get out, but I could not will my body to do what my brain told it.
She backed out of the space, exited the supermarket's parking lot, and began driving. I had no idea where we were going; while logically I should have figured she was driving home, I had no rationality yet with which to work. I was just along for the ride.
After about ten minutes, we pulled up to a condominium, and she pressed the button to open her garage door. She pulled in, stopped the engine, and closed the garage door with the same button. She pushed another button, and I heard her trunk pop open. "Grab the groceries and follow me," she said, as she got out of the car.
I tried to say something in objection, but I could not form the words. When I still sat there, unmoving, I saw her come around to my side and open my door. "I said, get the groceries and follow me," I heard her say in a more stern-sounding voice. "You better learn to start obeying, me, Bob, or it's going to be a very long night." This helped snap me out of my reverie, and I got out of the car, reached into the trunk, and grabbed three of the bags of groceries.
I followed her into her home and through it into the kitchen, which was on the other side of the house, where I put the groceries on a counter. "Get the rest of them," she commanded me.
I turned around and headed back from where I had come. As I approached the door to the garage, I noticed a key hook with her keys sitting on them. I had a fleeting thought of grabbing them and using her car to get away, but I couldn't put the mental thoughts together in a cogent fashion that would allow me to execute such a plan. So instead, I simply got the remaining bags out of her trunk and brought them into the kitchen.
"Good boy," she said. The condescending tone rankled me for a split second, and I started to say something back to her in anger, but again, my mind wouldn't allow me to form the words.
I watched as she left the kitchen and walked into her living room. I followed a few steps behind her, and as she stopped, I stopped. "Sit down, I'll be right back," and she pointed to the sofa.
I did as she said, sitting and waiting expectedly. She walked off to an adjacent room that looked like some kind of home office. I could hear her tapping away at the keyboard, and after only a minute, she returned.
She plopped down in a chair facing the sofa, with a stocky wooden cocktail table between the two of us. I felt like my mind was working at only 10 or 20 percent capacity; I was conscious of my surroundings, and could hear and understand what she was saying to me, enough to be able to follow through on her commands. But it wasn't working at a capacity enough for me to do much else but sit and listen to her.
"You remember what happened in Kansas City, don't you Bob," Elizabeth started.
When she asked this, I tried to think back to my trip there less than two weeks ago. I remember I had been there for a meeting of the advisory board of a research project, but I didn't remember much else. It felt as if I were trying to recall the remnants of a dream that were located deep in my subconscious. I could retrieve bits and pieces of what had transpired, but could not put the whole thing together into a cogent narrative of the events. I stared at her blankly, not responding, so she must have realized I couldn't remember it enough to able to tell her.