He considered her, “You wish to recreate what I am.” he accused.
She shook her head, “I am trying to un-create that which you have created.” His eyes narrowed and she knew she had his attention. “Besides the respect you have, and control you get, do you like yourself really?” she asked him pointedly.
His silence spoke volumes. And it stretched between them as she waited on what he would answer. “I start them disliking me before they have the chance to dislike me.” he finally told her. In that pure moment she saw the man behind the monster, and it gave her some hope.
“Sit back and close your eyes.” she told him. He gave her a suspicious look. After her staring him down he finally listened. She came over and undid one of his cuffs. His hands clenched when she rolled it back under his jacket. “I need you to go into your mind.” she advised quietly near his ear. “You have taste and charm enough, but do they see that when you tweet out your words from your couch on a saturday morning without shaving?” she asked. His scowl began to form.
Undoing his jacket buttons she tried to concentrate on him and not on the fact that she was slowly undressing a delicious man in her livingroom. Unlike when she pushed people to the brink with performances, this was like a gentle nudge to a different experience. One step too far and he would shatter. She undid his other cuff and saw he was beginning to get a sheen of sweat as she rolled that sleeve up his arm, not bothering to fold it, but to roll it unevenly. At last she undid his tie and he held his breath for a moment when she slid it off him. The moment felt too intimate for her but she held her ground. She needed to hold her ground or she could fail to understand him.
Getting up she put it on the table in a pile in front of him and sat back in her own chair. Like that he looked amazing. Briefly she thought about that as his new image. It might work. “Alright, open your eyes and try hard not to adjust anything.”
His eyes landed on his tie and he got a stormy expression on his face, but he did not move. “I feel dreadful.” he muttered.
“Do you?” she asked curiously. “I know that when you have had enough you will tidy your sleeves, adjust your jacket and fix your tie. You do it when you are uncomfortable with a situation or a person, and it’s an easy queue to read in public.”
He thought that point over, “You are right.” he said thoughtfully.
“So now, what is to straighten or fix?” she asked.
Looking down he studied the state of his clothing. “I see plenty, but as far as not giving any queues in public, nothing.”
She nodded. “Not bad professor, much brighter than the average Joe.” she told him. She reached over and undid his top buttons before he knocked her hand away.
“One step at a time woman.” he chided and she laughed at his response to her. It wasn’t threatening but playful. “And of course I am smarter than the average person, I have to be.”
“Says who?” she challenged.
“The people I have to keep up with.” he warned her. His hands came up to fix his buttons before he clenched them and put them on the table.
“You got insecure there.” she pointed out, “And you immediately tried to fix yourself.”
– Haunted Wilderness, Bee 2016