To those of you who have stuck with me so far, thank you. To those of you who have abandoned me – nothing at all! You’re not reading this! To those of you who have just joined and have not read any earlier chapters, go back and read them; otherwise it will not make any sense - if it ever did.
Finally Dr Mark, my editor – who keeps me honest and hopefully enjoys the process too.
Chapter 28 - Healing.
I was assaulted by a wealth of sights, sounds and smells. The sudden mayhem was overwhelming. I was at a wedding, in India. Everywhere there were bright colors, flowers, and people dressed in formal attire. There was a lot of red. I knew it wasn’t my wedding - or rather that it wasn’t Jeevan’s, whose memories I was experiencing. In it, he was about ten years old. Why this was a memory he didn’t want me to see became apparent when I saw he had continuously stuffed his face throughout the entire day and ended up vomiting all over the bride’s father. As the nephew of the groom, he’d been sent home in disgrace.
I had asked to see his guilty secrets, and there were quite a few from when he’d been a child, including the time he’d inadvertently walked in on his eighteen-year-old sister in the bath and was accused of doing it deliberately. Nothing from his childhood stood out to me; I raced through the memories and didn’t see or feel anything particularly sinister or malicious. Jeevan had not been a perfect angel as a child, but then again, I imagined that was true of nearly everyone.
I cringed again when I saw his wedding night, though not quite for the same reason. He and his very beautiful bride had both been virgins, and I witnessed their first time together through his eyes. I felt bad to have invaded his privacy in such a way. I did feel, however, somehow uplifted by the experience. It hadn’t made me horny; it had been a moment filled with love, and I felt included in that love. There was no guilt whatsoever; rather, it was simply a deeply private memory that he didn’t want me to see.
His argument with his parents when he had told them he was moving to the US had been vicious, and his father had died before they had reconciled. Jeevan had brought his mother to the US after her husband’s death, though, and apparently they were very close.
Strangely, I saw that he’d known all along that he had power, or at least from the earliest memory I experienced. He used it to play pranks on his siblings and school friends. When he was twelve, his uncle took him on a trip out into the country, told him all about his powers, and started to train him in their use. Jeevan, like me, had had the epiphany when he’d realized he could use his powers to control women to do his bidding. His reaction had been very close to mine. He had been afraid to tell his uncle about it, but his uncle had picked the event out of his mind at their next meeting. He had actually praised him, and had reassured him that the thought had been a perfectly natural one, and that Jeevan’s reaction to it had been very appropriate.
There were several memories of times with his wife, and I regretted over and over the way I had phrased my question. I thought I had been quite clever in asking him to show me what he wouldn’t want me to see. I had thought it would give me access to his guilty secrets, not a POV porn show of all the times he had sex with his wife.
Watching his daughter being born was both amazing and revolting. I had no idea why any woman would want to go through that.
Jeevan had been about forty when he’d started his training as a Healer. He and his uncle had lost touch when Jeevan had come to the U.S. in his late twenties. Jeevan had found himself a job in sales. Knowing what the buyer is thinking during a sales process gives you an amazing advantage. I didn’t find a single instance where he’d Compelled anyone to buy something they hadn’t wanted or needed, but he’d been shameless in using his Telepathy. He hadn’t invaded people’s minds, but he had listened in to their surface thoughts, and that had made him a top salesman.
He’d been spotted by an old man, a Healer, when he’d gone with his mother to a hospital appointment. After a lot of talking and meetings, he’d convinced him to join their ranks. He’d been trained by that old man, who, sadly, had since died. He had been very old when they had met, although Jeevan had never found out his actual age.
I had no idea how long I was in Jeevan’s mind, but I could find nothing to indicate that he was anything other than he had told me he was. I saw several of his Healings - some that worked and some that didn’t. I saw his failures where the patient had either refused Healing or had died despite his best efforts. I saw his frustrations when he’d known that if he had only been stronger, he would have been able to save patients - sometimes a child, sometimes even a baby - but he just hadn’t had the raw power.
One interesting fact I pulled out of Jeevan’s head was that, despite him being an Empath, he had never had any kind of sex with anyone other than his wife. His wife had no powers. He felt the urge to ‘share,’ but he loved his wife so completely and knew it would destroy her if he did. He suppressed his need, and it was hurting him. I could see the damage it had done to him over the years. He had never told his wife. Jeevan knew his wife loved him so much that she would have been devastated to learn he was suffering on her behalf, and would have insisted, despite her own feelings.
I pulled my awareness out of his mind and looked at him guiltily.
“I am so sorry Jeevan,” I said. “I never meant to see all those personal memories.”
He smiled at me. “Caleb, my brother. All memories are personal. They are what make us who we are. It is of no matter if it is an intimate moment with a loved one or watching a man on the subway read his paper. Those experiences mold us, each in their own way. I hope that seeing who I am - how the Jeevan you see before you came to be - has eased your mind.”
I looked at my watch. It was getting on for dinner time.
“Can I invite you to eat with us?” I asked.
He smiled. “Thank you, that would be welcome.”
I went into the kitchen and introduced Jeevan to the rest of the household. They welcomed him, and they all sat chatting in the living room as I cooked. Since I had just spent a good amount of time in his memory, I had a good idea of the kinds of foods that he liked. Fortunately, he was quite happy with standard fare.
After dinner, the girls offered to clean up. Jeevan and I went back into the den; it was the moment of truth. I had to decide whether to trust him or to walk away. I considered what I had learned from
him and could see no reason not to trust him. Once more, the feeling of being enveloped in the love Jeevan and his wife had shared on their wedding night washed over me, and I made my decision.
I dropped my shields.
I felt him enter my mind. It wasn’t like before. Every time anyone other than Dianna had been in my mind, it had felt like an itch - something that was irritating and shouldn’t be there. I’d had to consciously suppress the urge to fight with them and push them out.
When Dianna had taken my memories that first time, it had felt like being enveloped in warmth - almost a feeling of love. Jeevan’s didn’t feel like that. It did feel right, though - like whoever was in there was a friend.
An hour passed. After the first fifteen minutes, I started to meditate to pass the time. It was Jeevan’s chuckle that roused me. I felt his mind withdraw from mine. Almost as a reflex, my shield was back up and I was cloaked again.
Jeevan was still chuckling. “I have never seen a cow dance before,” he said.
I blushed. “I have absolutely no idea why I did that,” I responded. “Judging by the look I got from her when it ended, she was not pleased with me either.”
He smiled at me. “Bhaiya, I can see that you are a good man. I would be pleased to teach you, although I think you need some Healing first before we begin. Indeed, there are a couple of occasions when you have used the principles of Healing already. Firstly, you blocked pain. That is a primary principle. You have become adept at that, and so have a head start on where I was when I began. You gave a boy diarrhea on the first day of your powers. That is also a principle of Healing, although used in a negative way. You forced his body to do your will. You did no permanent harm, and nobody will hold that incident against you, but it is not something you should repeat without just cause.
“There were two points that I need to discuss with you. You had a meeting with Vincent Wragge.”
“Yes,” I said. “He helped me with my problem with the FBI. He works for the NSA.”
“I saw that,” he said. “However, he left something in your mind.”
I stared. “He was supposed to be a friend.”
“I think he was,” he said. “I have never seen such a thing before. I would like you to drop your shield for me once again. I need to pull you into an illusion.”
Strangely, I had no qualms. I dropped my shield.
The den door opened, and a little girl, no more than six, wearing an elaborate nightgown stepped in. “They got you again Papa,” she said, grinning.
“The tell,” I said. I fully remembered everything that had gone on in my meeting with Vincent Wragge and why he had told me he was in my debt. That had been a niggle for me since that meeting. I also knew that I wouldn’t remember it once I left the illusion.
“This is a very useful device,” Jeevan said, still inside the illusion. “I can remove the part that makes you forget about it once the illusion is over if you wish.”
“No,” I said. “I gave my word I would keep his secret. I won’t increase the risk that I can’t.”
Jeevan broke us both out of the illusion and I raised my shields once more.
“The more concerning thing is the bond,” he said. “Before we start training, that has to go. The bond you have with Jules and Ness is fine. The one you have with Amanda and Mary is a corruption - an abomination. It looks designed to hurt those trapped within it. It will bring you no joy.”
“I wish I could get rid of it,” I said, “but I don’t know how.”
He looked at me. “Yes, you do,” he said. “You created the bond. It would be a matter of a thought only to remove it. You don’t want to, because of the pain you think it will cause you.”
“I don’t think,” I said vehemently, “I know. I blocked the bond on that first day. The pain was indescribable.”
“Exactly,” he said. “You blocked the bond. Its anchors were left in place in the minds of you and the twins. When they were unable to connect, that is what caused the pain. You need to remove the bond, not block it.”
“How?” I asked.
“How did you bring it into being?” he asked.
I grimaced, then blushed. “I have no idea. I was kind of distracted at the time.”
He smiled. “I saw, and as much as you felt uplifted by the love you felt at mine and Meena’s first time, the love I felt at yours was staggering. You need to examine that memory carefully. Watch yourself. Ignore the sex, and the love, and watch exactly how you brought the bond into being. Then you will know exactly what to do to remove it. You must remove it from the three of you simultaneously though. If you try and do it one at a time, the others will suffer the pain of disconnection.”
“Can you help me?” I asked.
He shook his head. “You brought it into being; only you can remove it. Trust yourself. Examine the memory. When you understand how the bond was formed, you will know how to remove it. Remember how your powers work. You are a dreamer, imagine the bond is gone, without consequence, and it will be so. You will still feel loss, but not the crushing pain. Make sure that everyone in the bond is together when you do it, as you will need to remake all the bonds, since Jules and Ness are connected to your original.
“I am guessing this will have to be done when you go up for Ness’s birthday in March, so we won’t be able to start training until after then.”
“Why not?” I asked. “Is the bond that much of a hindrance?”
He nodded. “It is, as I said, a curse. It will get in the way and may cause untoward side effects. You need to get rid it before you start doing any serious healing.
“That three months won’t make any difference. As I said, you can already block pain, and have already affected a body’s functions. You will be a quick study, I think. I have some other things for you.
“First, I can make you sterile, temporarily, until you decide you want to have children. Normally, I would guide you through the process, and then you would know how to undo what was done. Once you are free of the bond, I will show you what I did, and instruct you on how to undo it. It will not
affect function, only result. I saw that you have concerns about your matriarch tampering with your girls’ birth control. In a normal world, I would say you were being paranoid, but we are not a part of the normal world.
“Thus, it would be wise to do the same to your girls too. If you are ‘sharing,’ and the powers that be tamper with their birth control, it is feasible that they may be impregnated by someone else. Obviously, I would need to have their consent before I performed any Healing on them.
“Another thing I can do would require Jules’s consent. I can stop the pain she gets every month, not just block it. She has a condition called endometriosis. It happens when tissues that should be inside the womb grow outside of it. When they ‘shed’ during her monthly, they cause a great deal of pain. I can get those cells to die away and never return. Once again, once you are free of the bond, I can show you how to do it, and you will be able to cure Ness. Until then, you will have to be content with blocking her pain. I do have to say, though: I am impressed with your ability to do that at such a distance.”
I looked at him for a second. Trusting him with my mind seemed a small thing compared to trusting him with one of my girls. I decided to leave it to the girls.
“Girls, would you come to the den please?” I sent.
There was a knock on the door and Jules poked her head in. She was followed in by the twins.
I sent them the memory of our conversation, and that we would need their consent. I turned to Jules first.
“Yes!” she said to him instantly. “Please. If you can get rid of that for me, and teach Caleb how to do it for Ness, my family will be in your debt.”
“There will be no debt,” he said. “We are family; we care for each other.”
Jules looked at me a little wide-eyed.
Jeevan looked at Jules and I saw his power flare. I wanted to watch what he was doing, but I didn’t want to distract him while he was working on Jules. I still didn’t understand what he meant by the bond being a curse; I thought it best to do things his way, and stand aside until I’d gotten my own house in order.
“Jules,” he asked, “would you like me to make sure that you are not able to conceive until you wish to do so? I know that Caleb is concerned about someone interfering with the twin’s birth control. Since I accessed Caleb’s mind, I am aware of your special circumstances, but I would make you the same offer as I will make the twins. What do you think?”
“You can do that too?” she asked. “I know we haven’t had sex full yet, but taking the contraceptive pill is a real pain.”
Jeevan nodded. “It would be a good idea to do so,” he said, and then turned to the other girls. “For you as well. Caleb will not impregnate you until he is ready, but if your contraceptives are tampered with, as he fears, your sharing may result in more than you had anticipated.”
Both twins nodded. “If we don’t have to take the pill,” Mary said, “then that’s a bonus too.”
Once more I felt Jeevan’s power flare, and I could sense that he was making some changes to Jules. I couldn’t see what he was doing, but I felt no anxiety. For someone as paranoid as I had become,
being so relaxed when someone else was using their powers on my girls was a foreign concept to me, and yet it felt perfectly natural. That, in turn, should have made me suspicious, but it didn’t.
“So,” asked Jules, “where do you want me? Do I have to get undressed or something?” She blushed a little at the thought of doing so in front of Jeevan, but the prospect of getting a permanent cure for her pain overrode her embarrassment.
“No need,” said Jeevan. “It is done.”
Jules looked at me, disbelief in her eyes.
“It will take about ten days for your body to do what I asked it to,” he explained. “After that, it should be all good. I’ll check in and make sure then. By the time you are ready for children, Caleb will have learned all he needs to know to reverse what I have done.”
Tears sprang into her eyes, and she threw her arms around Jeevan. “Thank you,” she said. “Caleb being able to block the pain was wonderful, but knowing I never have to worry about it ever again is so much better. I dreaded the time that he was, for some reason, not able to help me.” Then she looked at me. “It’s not just me you have healed tonight.”
Jules left the room wiping her eyes.
The twins looked at Jeevan and he nodded. “You too. Neither of you is able to conceive until you are ready. Caleb will know how to undo it by then. If anything happens to him, then I or another healer would be able to reverse it easily.”
“Nothing is going to happen to him,” said Amanda vehemently, and I smiled at her. Sensing Jeevan and I still had more to discuss, the twins also left the room.
“Now you,” he said. He looked at me for a moment, and once again I felt his power flare. This time I felt it playing over my body, although I didn’t feel anything physically.
“You will still have some viable sperm in your system for up to a couple of days,” he said. “I suggest you get rid of that.” He grinned at me. “Let’s call it homework.”
I shook my head wryly. “I’ve never had a teacher give me that kind of homework before.”
“Once you reactivate, it will take a couple of days before you are fertile again,” he said. “But other than that, you are now protected. One final thing: extend your shield to cover your entire body. I can’t access your mind, but I could still do you a lot of damage with my ‘Healing.’ You need to shield against anyone using their powers on your body, not just your mind.”
That made perfect sense. If cells and organs could be Compelled, then even with my mind shielded, I was vulnerable to a power user who knew about that.
He stood. “Thank you for the meal; it was delicious. When we start training, you and your girls will have to come and meet Meena. She loves meeting new people, especially those with power. They are exotic to her.”
“Will we keep in touch?” I asked. “Or should I just call you when I have managed to get rid of the bond?”
“Bhaiya, we are family now,” he said with a smile. “We will keep in touch. I am at the end of a telephone if you need me.”
I stood and he pulled me into a hug. “Thank you for trusting me,” he said. “I know how hard that was for you. I promise you; I will not betray that trust.”
I believed him.
As he walked through the living room to get to the door, all three of my girls stood, and, one by one, embraced him and kissed his cheek. He returned the embraces and waved off the thanks. Then he left.
I looked at the girls and sent them the memory of the entire conversation I’d had with Jeevan. I omitted the memories of his that I had seen, though. I was not going to share those with anyone.
“You need to get rid of the bond,” asked Amanda, “and replace it with another that’s like the one we have with Jules and Ness?”
I nodded. “If I can figure it out,” I said. “I’m not even going to attempt it unless I am one hundred percent certain I can do it without hurting anyone. Jeevan said there will be a feeling of loss for all of us, as all our bonds will disappear. I will have to remake them again. It won’t be the searing pain we got when I blocked the bond though.”
I didn’t know why I said that. She had the memory of the conversation.
Mary smiled at me. “How do you feel?” she asked.
“Better,” I said. “It feels good to have someone else powered that I feel I can rely on.”
She and Amanda both came and hugged me. Jules joined half a second later.
“Now,” said Amanda with a lascivious grin, “I believe that he gave you some homework?”
The next morning, I went in again at the same time as the girls. Since my first class wasn’t until after lunch, I spent most of the morning emptying room B11c. The head janitor had arrived at around ten in the morning and asked me what I was doing. I explained. He didn’t tell me to stop, but said he was going to have to go and verify with the Dean.
I had made two more trips to the city dump by the time he came back. He was pushing a shopping cart full of cleaning supplies, paint, and and some other odds and ends.
“Make you a deal?” he asked as he approached.
“I’m listening,” I said.
“My wife has been nagging me to stop smoking for years,” he said. “I have tried all kinds of things, including hypnotherapy, before. But I hear that you are the real deal. You’ve pretty much cleared out the room. Now that it’s empty, I’ll clean it, paint it, and put a new lock on the door for you. I think I might have a desk and some chairs in storage that won’t be missed also. Obviously, they are PSU property, and you can’t take them with you, but you can use them while you are here. In return, you help me to stop smoking?”
That was a real no-brainer for me. Cleaning out the room and repainting it would have taken me far longer than the three sessions of hypnotherapy I gave for smoking cessation. Not having to buy a desk and chairs would save me money too. I was getting a great deal. I pretended to consider the matter.
“Okay,” I said. “It’s a deal.” We shook on it.
He helped me carry out the last item from the room - the rusty water cooler - and we dumped it in my truck. I drove to the dump and got rid of everything. I had intended to meet the girls for lunch, but since I had spent the morning clearing out the junk from my new office, I was filthy. I went home, showered, and changed, and just about made it back in time for my afternoon classes.
On the way home after classes, I told the girls all about the janitor’s offer, and how, very soon, I would have an ‘office’ on campus to run my hypnotherapy business from. I decided that I would use my old laptop to keep the records, using a cloud storage account.
When we got home, I immediately started dinner. I had missed lunch, so I was hungry. I also had to be at Jamie’s house at eight to meet her husband. I wondered idly, as I cooked, what his deal was, and what I would find when I got into his mind. I also thought about the ethics of Jamie being in the room while I was hypnotizing him. For all she knew, he might blurt out something incredibly embarrassing, or something even worse than that. I supposed it would be beyond suspicious if she remained in the room and he didn’t say anything at all. I sighed, lamenting the need for so much deception.
After dinner, I got my old laptop and made my way to Jamie’s house. They were about a thirty-minute drive from my house. I arrived at five minutes before eight. I knocked on the door. Jamie answered and led me into her living room, where her husband was waiting.
Malcolm Smythe stood as I entered. A small man, easily a good two inches shorter than Jamie, he was skinny, with brown, collar-length hair and bright blue eyes. He was apparently a British ex-pat who had been doing some volunteer work while he’d been at uni, studying to become a physiotherapist in the U.K. Jamie had been on the same assignment, which was where they’d met. After having spent his gap year with her, he had decided to move to the U.S. and convert his physiotherapy qualifications to meet the U.S. physical therapy requirements, and they had been together ever since.
Jamie made coffee, and we sat. They sat on the sofa, side by side, staring at me. I felt a little bit uncomfortable. I looked at Malcolm.
“Malcolm,” I said, “it would be helpful, to start, if you would tell me how you think I can help you.”
Malcolm looked as uncomfortable as I felt.
“Perhaps we should start with this,” I offered. I handed my laptop to him, and he was the first person to actually read the consent for treatment form, along with the confidentiality agreement. It took him nearly twenty minutes, and he went back and reread some of it.
“What does this mean?” he asked, reading from the agreement. “‘Information may be obtained directly from the subconscious mind.’”
“When you are in a suggestive state,” I said, “you may remember, or say, some things that you either wouldn’t have said if you were ‘awake,’ or that you do not even remember. Your subconscious remembers a lot more than your conscious mind recognizes.”
“But you are not a qualified medical professional,” he argued.
“I never claimed to be,” I replied. “My skillset is hypnosis. It is very possible that I can at least find the root cause of any issues you are having. Any treatment required, you can discuss with your wife when I wake you up. In the first instance, this will just be to see if we can find out where the
problem is. But that does bring me to a question I need you to answer: do you want Jamie to be present? I cannot keep your information confidential from her if she is present at the time I learn it. I think that is something you need to discuss with her.”
“We already did,” he said. “I am reassured that you would ask though. It shows that you are serious about your information confidentiality. I keep no secrets from my wife.” He paused for a moment, looking at the document, and then ‘signed’ it.
“Jamie told me what you did for her,” he said finally, “to get her to stop biting her nails. How you found the cause and treated it successfully. We both know that my feelings about being intimate are not normal. We have discussed it at length over the last couple of months. I just can’t seem to change, and we think that you may be able to help me to find out why.”
“What I suggest,” I said, “is that we approach this in two parts. As I said before, I think this initial session we should use to see if we can find a root cause. Once we have that, I think we should stop, and then make some kind of plan between us as to how best to deal with it. That may be the end of my involvement in the process; that will be up to you. As you said, Jamie is far better qualified than me to create a treatment plan if one is needed.” I looked at Jamie, but she was looking at her husband.
“What do you think?” she asked.
He nodded. “Make sense.”
“When you are ready,” I said, “I want you to start counting back from one hundred.”
He got all the way to seventy-three before I remembered I was supposed to be putting him in a trance. I had been stunned by what I had found when I had looked in his mind.
The memory was locked away in his subconscious, but it governed every interaction he’d ever had with any female. His father, Greg - who, as far as his conscious mind knew, had died when he was young - had been an abusive drunk. Greg had regularly beaten Malcom’s mother in fits of alcohol-induced rage. She had managed to protect the then-eighteen-month-old Malcolm by simply taking the beatings herself. They had lived in a small council flat – something I supposed was like our low-income housing stateside. His father couldn’t hold a job. They lived on benefits, which would go straight to feeding Greg’s alcohol habit. Had it not been for local food banks and covert assistance from her family, both Malcolm’s mother and the baby Malcolm might have starved.
Since the flat had been so small, and Malcolm had still been in a cot, they’d all slept in the single room. He’d often been subjected to the sight of his father, steaming drunk, beating his mother. One night, however, his father had come home drunk, but also horny. When he’d made advances on his wife - who, moments before, he had been yelling at - she’d refused him. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. His mother had been hospitalized, and the family had taken Malcolm in for a short while, knowing that Greg would neither have the inclination or capability to look after a child of his age.
Greg had been arrested, and his mother had finally been convinced by her family to give a statement to the police. In those days, domestic violence hadn’t often been prosecuted. Even so, he’d been charged with actual bodily harm and sexual assault. Greg had gone to prison for five years. Neither Malcolm nor his mother had seen him since his incarceration. Malcolm’s subconscious held a memory of him overhearing his mother being told the news by her brother: Greg had died, probably from alcohol poisoning. She had heaved a sigh of relief.
Malcolm’s mother had never remarried. He’d never seen her with another man, and then, at the age of only fifty-nine, she’d died of breast cancer. She had never really spoken with him about what had happened to her. She had, however, always drummed into him that he should treat any women with respect and reverence.
I spent the next twenty minutes ‘teasing’ the story out of him for Jamie’s benefit. When I brought him out of the ‘trance,’ he was surprised to find Jamie in tears and holding him. I let her explain the situation to him, and what we had learned from him while he’d been ‘under.’
He looked at me. “I never knew anything about that.” he said. “I was told that my father had died when I was young, but since my parents were separated before then, I never knew about the abuse, and I still have no memory of seeing my father rape my mother. My first memory is of being at junior school; I have nothing before then. How is it that my subconscious remembers it?”
“The subconscious forgets nothing,” said Jamie. “That often causes dissonance when the conscious mind wants to protect itself and buries memories, but the subconscious sometimes won’t let go.”
“Will it cause issues if he still doesn’t remember?” I asked. “Would he need to be able to recall the memory to be able to deal with it?”
“Not necessarily,” she said, “but that’s a discussion for Malcolm to have with a trained and licensed therapist. In any case, I think that you have taken this as far as you can, Caleb. I think this goes beyond what can be achieved by hypnosis. You have uncovered the memory, and that is a great starting point. But this is going to require some serious thinking and planning of a treatment regimen. Obviously it would be unethical for me to treat my own husband, so we need to find someone to help us.”
I nodded. I fully agreed with her. There was no way I wanted to get involved in something so fraught; it would have been beyond incredible if some random college kid had managed to fix the problem with ‘hypnosis,’ and I cringed at the thought of how many fake sessions I would have needed to include in the package regardless.
“I think, then,” I said, “that I need to leave you two to it.” I stood, and they did likewise. Malcolm shook my hand.
“Thanks for your help,” he said. “What do we owe you?”
“Jamie and I have an arrangement,” I said. “She has referred several clients to me, so I think we’ll just call it even.”
He smiled. “Thanks. I may know one or two people who would find your services useful myself. Do you have any cards I could give out?”
I thought about that. I should have had some printed up; I made a note to do so.
“I don’t,” I said, “but feel free to give out my email address.”
Jamie showed me to the door and gave me a brief but surprising hug. “Thank you,” was all she said.
When I got home, the girls were sitting in the living room watching more trash TV. Josh and Louise were nowhere to be seen. I spent a half hour with them, losing brain cells by watching reality television, and then took myself off to bed.
Once again life began to settle into a routine. I got up, trained, and went to PSU. I either studied or, in the free time I had, ran my hypnotherapy business from the little office by the library – which ended up, conveniently enough, doubling as my waiting room. The head janitor had been as good as his word. He’d caught up with me in the hallway one day and presented me with a key.
“Your room is ready,” he’d said, and I’d booked him in for his smoking cessation session.
The room was clean, and painted in the same drab off-white as the rest of the university. He had found a desk and three reasonably-comfortable chairs. Realistically, that was all the room could hold.
I was seeing on average three or four new people a week, as well as my weight loss and smoking cessation repeats, and money was rolling in. I had to implement a waiting list, since I only had so many sessions a week to use. Mary suggested that I increase my prices, supply and demand being as it was, but as yet I hadn’t done so.
I spent a lot of my ‘off’ time re-examining the memory of my first time with Mary and Amanda. For the first week or so, it had just made me so horny, which had then been communicated to the twins through the bond, which had then led to many distractions.
Eventually I’d managed to control my libido, and then I’d just been swamped by the amount of love that the memory engendered. It was truly amazing. I had originally thought that the bond was the source, but I was becoming increasingly convinced that that was not the case. The feelings of love were genuine, from all of us.
It was really difficult to ignore the memories of the sensations and the love, but I eventually managed to separate things out and just look at what my powers had been doing at the time. As I had suspected, it was my Telepathy that had inserted the idea into both Mary and Amanda that they wanted a long-term relationship with me, although they both maintained that they had already decided that independently, before we’d actually had sex.
I was also looking to see what my Compulsion and Empathy had been doing. Again, it took me a good few attempts not to become love drunk each time I reviewed the memory. When I finally got over that again, I quickly set aside Empathy with a mighty cringe. It, combined with Telepathy, had invited Dianna and my parents to join. Surprisingly, my Empathy hadn’t had a major impact on the twins. I could practically see them poking and prodding at it like a new, very weak plaything. They’d allowed it in, but they easily could have quashed it.
I didn’t even bother focusing on TK; it seemed ridiculous that it might’ve had anything to do with the bond. It had spared Mary a little bump from falling off the bed.
That left Compulsion, and finally I was able to separate it out. At the moment of my orgasm, my Compulsion had created the binding. Initially it had formed between Mary and myself, but the twin bond had then gotten involved and extended it to Amanda. I saw what the Compulsion had done in locking ‘anchors’ in each of our minds that would cause us severe emotional distress should they not be able to connect to both of the other two. As Jules had hypothesized, the bond was nothing more than a shackle – or a collection of them, I supposed, since our version involved three people instead of two.
Having seen where and how the bond had been constructed, I set about working out how I could remove it. I figured that it should be simple enough. Jeevan’s analysis rang true: since my power had created it, my power should likewise be enough to remove it.
I thought I could see how it might be done, but I wanted to test it before I tried it out on the girls for real. To that end, I created an illusion for myself. It was strange pulling myself into an illusion. Instantly, the little girl popped up to tell me that I had been ‘got again,’ but I ignored her. In my illusion, I created an illusory Mary and Amanda; ironically, thanks to the bond, I was able to construct incredibly accurate copies of each of them. I looked into each of their minds to see the bond’s anchors sitting there - a malevolent presence, and not the loving connection I had originally thought.
My first attempt to remove the bond was an unmitigated disaster. I barely had the wherewithal to end the illusion and so end my pain on the disruption of the bond. It was some time before I could bring myself to try again.
Three attempts later, although I hadn’t actually achieved what I was aiming for, I was at least becoming desensitized to the pain of the bond being disrupted. That was progress, but not what I was aiming for. I gave up for the evening, not willing to put myself through that illusion again that night.
I looked around the den, where I had been sitting alone while I’d tried to figure things out. I hadn’t wanted to disturb the girls, who’d either been tackling their university work or watching television in the living room. I wasn’t sure which.
That night, while I was asleep, I dreamed. The dream was very much like the illusion, with the exception that I knew I could remove the bond, and that it would cause no trouble whatsoever. I dreamed exactly how the bond had been formed. I had been scared of losing what I had just been granted: the love of the twins. My subconscious had wanted to hold onto that, having already made the decision that it – I - wanted them in my life forever. I’d bound them to me. I was disgusted with myself for that act of pure selfishness. Despite the fact that the twins had been willing to enter into the bond, it had been nothing short of enslaving them.
I woke up the next morning with a clear idea of how the bond could be removed. I pulled myself into an illusion and tested the method. It worked flawlessly. The girls and I were upset at the loss of the bond, but that was quickly remedied by creating a non-binding bond as I had with Jules and Ness.
Over and over, I tested the method, and each time, it worked. I was certain that it would work for real. All I needed to do was to wait the few weeks before we were due to go to the Steadman’s farm for Ness’s eighteenth birthday. I would finally be rid of the Achilles heel that was the bond – though of course the girls themselves were another. I knew I would be devastated if anything happened to any of them.
My main concern until then was finding an eighteenth birthday gift suitable for my darling Ness.