Love Potion #6 & 7/8ths


Oh, brother! Tina thought. I really blew it this time! Now what the hell am I gonna do?

Tina had had a wonderful time that evening up until then, first becoming invisible, then using her new power to play tricks on Mark, and then finally, using it to seduce him. She and Mark had spent the remainder of the evening engaging in the most wild, passionate lovemaking they’d enjoyed in weeks. But now that it was all over, and Mark was sound asleep, Tina had time to ponder her actions, and only now did she realize that she’d had a serious blind-spot, and had made a terrible mistake.

It now seemed so obvious that Tina couldn’t understand why she hadn’t seen it earlier. Her original purpose in using the magic perfume was to try to mend her troubled relationship with Mark, to cure his indifference to her and get him to start paying more attention to her. At first, it seemed to work; Mark’s arousal was almost immediate, and he’d shown more passion than he had in a long, long time.

But, as Tina now realized, that was only because he thought he was making love to someone else: a ghost, and an anonymous one at that. Because of the elaborate mind-game Tina had played on him, Mark never knew that it was she that he was making love to. In a sense, he was cheating on her; the fact that it was Tina, unknown to him, didn’t change anything. Tina felt betrayed, and yet, she also realized, it was really all her own fault. After all, it was only through her own actions that Mark had behaved the way he had. She was just as responsible, if not more, for Mark’s behavior, and what followed as a result. Moreover, if there was now passion between them, it was because she had taken the initiative, and had done so anonymously, by virtue of being invisible. How likely was it that she would be able to repeat those circumstances in the future? Without Mark catching on? Very unlikely.

The perfume, Tina now realized, not only hadn’t helped her relationship; it further jeopardized it. She felt so stupid now. The perfume had apparently unlocked secret, hidden desires, not only within Mark, but also within herself. By indulging those hidden desires, Tina had discovered some things about herself, about Mark and about her relationship that she now wished had remained hidden.

She also began to feel guilty about the things she had done to Mark while in her unseen state. Okay, okay, she thought. So maybe he hasn’t been paying as much attention to me lately as I’d have likedDoes that give me the right to take advantage of him?

Tina shuddered as she recalled some of the things she had done. God, what was I thinking?!? How could I have done such things? I never…I never felt the urge to do such things before, never…!

She settled into a chair, and buried her face in her hands. Oh my God, what am I going to do now…? she thought. Originally she thought she would tell Mark about the magic perfume and its remarkable properties. She planned to tell him everything…eventually. But now… What could she possibly tell him? That she was the ‘spirit’ that ‘haunted him? What then? First of all, he’d never believe it. And even if he did, then what? Tina didn’t have to think too hard to imagine what Mark’s reaction would be, to find out he’d been the object of such an elaborate mind-game. He’d be pissed! He’d be hurt, angry and he’d feel betrayed and rightly so. Not only for having been deceived, but also for some of the other things Tina had done to him when she had him at a disadvantage. He might even want to break up. And in thinking it over, Tina really couldn’t blame him.

So what was she going to do? She tried to think…

Maybe…maybe there was still a chance. Maybe there was still hope and the relationship could be salvaged somehow. True, Mark became passionate only when he thought he was making love to a ghost, but maybe…maybe that was only because of the magic perfume. After all, Mia said it had the effect to cloud men’s’ minds and make them fall madly in love. Maybe that was it! Sure! She and Mark weren’t responsible; it was the perfume that made them act the way they had. Of course! That’s got to be it!

She turned around and looked at Mark. He slept heavily, snoring loudly. So maybe…maybe if I could make him think that this was all just a dream…then maybe he could just forget all about it…and maybe…we could start all over…somehow…

Tina looked around at the clock What time is it? she thought. 12:30?? Omigod! It was later than she thought. She had lost all track of time, playing her love games with Mark. They’d been at it for over six hours! No wonder she was tired!

Listening to Mark’s heavy snoring, she knew he’d be out cold for hours. Okay, she thought. I’ve got time… Now think! What can I do…?

She jumped up from the chair. First thing to do was to get rid of the evidence, remove all traces that the whole thing ever happened. Without proof, Mark could only conclude that the events of the evening were all just a dream.

First thing to do was to hide the outfit she had worn earlier: the corset, the gloves and stockings, everything. She looked about the bedroom, dimly illuminated by the nightlight. The articles of clothing were strewn everywhere about the room. One by one, she picked them up and placed them into the shopping bag she brought them home in. She tried to be quiet as she packed up the clothes, but it was difficult; the bag crumpled as she did so. Finally, when she had picked up the last article and placed it in the bag, she carried it over to the closet, and stuffed it waaaayyyy in the back, with the other bags of her discarded clothing. Mark will never find it there, she thought. I’ll don’t know what I’ll do with it eventually…probably give it away, I suppose…I don’t really want to, though…well, I’ll worry about it later…

Tina then quickly tiptoed out into the darkened living room. She turned on the lights and immediately dimmed them to a soft glow. A bright light might wake him, she thought. Can’t be too careful. She gingerly tiptoed over to the desk in the corner and picked up the sheet of paper on which she wrote her ‘ghostly’ messages, as well as the sheaf of papers upon which Mark had written his notes concerning the ‘supernatural event’ he had witnessed. This stuff definitely has to go! she thought, as she crumpled the papers up into a ball and dropped it in the wastebasket.

Let’s see, what else? she thought, looking around the room. Oh, geez, the kitchen! I almost forgot about that! She walked over to the kitchen table, and began to pick up the mail that she had scattered all over the table and floor. She dropped the opened, empty envelopes into the wastebasket and sorted out the bills and letters into neatly-organized stacks, the way Mark always did. He’ll see this and think that he did it himself, she thought. At least, I hope he will! She then picked up the paper towels that had cascaded over the floor during her ‘ghostly’ performance. She shook her head as she scooped them up. Geez, I must have been out of my mind to waste these things, at the prices they’re going for these days!

When she got the last bit of paper towel scooped up and disposed in the wastebasket, she took a final look around the kitchen and living room. Let’s see, have I got everything? She wondered. I think that’s it. She walked back into the living room, carrying the wastebasket. She stopped at the desk in the corner and had just set the wastebasket down on the floor when she suddenly froze. Damn! She thought. Well, that’s real smart! Leave all this stuff just laying around for him to see, right under his nose! She let out a disgusted sigh, and picked up the basket again. As tired as she was, she knew what needed to be done. She couldn’t just leave this stuff laying around in plain sight for Mark to see; all he’d have to do would be to glance down into the wastebasket, take one look at all this junk and that would give the whole game away. No, no, the basket had to be emptied now. She carried the basket back into the kitchen, quickly bundled up the contents into a garbage bag and carried it over to the front door.

Only then did she remember she was still invisible. Damn! she thought. She wanted to take the stuff out to the garbage chute in the hall now, while Mark was still safely sound asleep. She couldn’t risk taking time to shower and get dressed; she had to do it now. But what would it look like to see a garbage bag floating down the hallway by itself? But she had no choice. On the other hand, it was now quite late. What time was it? It must be close to one. Who’d be hanging around out in the hallway at this time of night? Nobody… So maybe…maybe if she made a quick dash…

She opened the door a tiny crack and peered outside. The hallway was empty. Okay…okay, coast is clear…NOW! She opened the door wide enough to slip herself and the bag through, closed it almost all the way without locking it, then hurried down the hallway to the garbage chute. Her heart was pounding. God, I must be out of my mind! she thought. Here I am, running down the hallway buck naked! It didn’t matter that she was invisible; it just felt so strange to be out in public without a stitch of clothing on.

She suddenly heard a loud cry from behind her. She jumped about a foot in the air and quickly spun around. Jeezis H…! she nearly cried out. What the hell was that?!? She looked back to see a man and a woman, coming home after what was evidently a very late-night party, with expressions of shock and disbelief on their faces. She then looked down to see what they were staring at, and realized that, from their point of view, the trash-bag she held in her hand was floating down the hallway by itself.

The absurdity of the situation struck Tina and she let out a brief, nervous laugh. "I beg your pardon," she said to the couple. "I didn’t mean to scare you. I just need to toss out some trash. Hope you don’t mind."

The stunned couple watched as the trash-bag floated briskly down the hall to the garbage-chute. The hatch popped open by itself and the trash-bag floated up and through the hatch and down the chute. The hatch closed itself.

Tina slipped past the ashen-faced couple, now frozen in stunned immobility, back to her apartment. She reached the door and looked back to see them still staring at the chute. A sudden impulse struck her, which she could not resist.

"Have a good night," she called out in parting to the stunned couple, who immediately whipped their heads around to face the new location the ghostly voice seemed to come from. Tina closed the door, and leaned heavily against it. Oh, great! She thought. That’s just great! I suppose by tomorrow it’ll be all over the building that the place is haunted! When Mark hears about it, he’s going to have an even harder time believing this was all a dream! Damn!

Tina let out a disgusted sigh, then turned and slowly walked toward the bathroom. On the way, she stopped, opened a dresser drawer, and pulled out a plain flannel nightgown. She walked into the bathroom, switched on the light and jumped when she her reflection. There, in the mirror, she saw the bundled-up nightgown floating in space. She let out a sigh, and felt foolish for having been startled; even after all that had happened, she still forgot that she was invisible. Talk about being scared of your own shadow! she thought. She now began to realize just how frightening she must appear to other people in such a state.

She hung the nightgown on a hook and opened the shower curtains. Well, she thought, time to fade back into view. A brief flicker of apprehension flashed through Tina. I sure hope I can fade back! she thought. Mia said the stuff wears off in a bath or shower. I sure hope it does… It damned well better!

She reached into the shower stall and turned on the taps. The water ran cold for a minute, then ran piping hot. Steam began to fill the bathroom and fog the mirror. Tina was just about to step into the shower stall when she caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of her eye. At first she wasn’t sure she saw anything at all, until she looked more closely.

It was the faint outline of her arm, going all the way up to her shoulder. The outline was clear, almost perfectly transparent, yet its form could be clearly seen, almost as though her arm were an elongated, perfectly-detailed bubble. Tina looked and, sure enough, her other arm was now semi-visible too, and appeared to be a clear, crystalline bubble. She realized that it was the steam condensing on her invisible skin. She looked down and saw the rest of her naked body faintly materializing from thin air as well. She smiled as she looked down at her breasts. Too bad Mark is asleep, she thought, or he’d love to see this!

Gently, she began to stroke and caress her breasts, marveling at their semi-transparent quality. Long streaks began to appear in their surface as Tina’s fingers smeared the condensed water vapor into long, evenly-spaced tracks. The warm humidity of the steam heightened the sensitivity of her skin, and the touch of her own invisible fingers caused the nipples to become erect. Gently, she stroked and prodded at them. Excitement tingled anew within her as she did so.

No, no, stop it now! she told herself. Enough is enough! She shook her head, as though trying to clear it of such impulses. It had been a long day, longer than she ever could have anticipated. She must be more tired than she realized, she thought. It was time to shower off and go to bed, she told herself. She yawned widely and stepped into the shower stall. The warm water ran down her body and slowly, gradually, the contours of her body began to fade back into view. Tina’s head and face were the first to reappear under the warm pulsating jets of the showerhead, but she did not know this. No, the first inkling she had that she was returning to visibility was when her arms and shoulders began to reappear. She looked down at them in amazement. To her, it looked as though a disembodied pair of hands floated about in the foggy air of the shower stall. She looked down and saw that her breasts were now starting to reappear as well.

She picked up a bar of soap and a sponge and proceeded to wash herself. The addition of soap hastened the removal of the lingering effects of the perfume. In long, crisscrossing rivulets, her skin now appeared where only moments before there had been only empty space. It was as though Tina were covered with invisible paint, now being washed away from her body. In minutes, the rest of her body faded completely back into view.

She thoroughly bathed, shampooed and rinsed herself three times, just to make sure she hadn’t missed a spot. When she felt sure that the last of the perfume’s effects had been washed away, she turned off the taps and stepped out of the shower, drying herself with a towel. When she was dry, she looked herself all over, from head to foot. She wiped the steam away from the mirror and examined herself very, very closely. She then took a hand mirror and checked her body from all possible angles. Well, she thought, it looks like I’m all here. She faced her reflection in the hand mirror and smiled. Welcome back, she thought.

She put the mirror down and slipped into the nightgown. She turned out the light and walked out into the bedroom. Tiptoeing quietly, she walked over and looked at Mark’s sleeping form in the dim glow of the night-light. He didn’t seem to have stirred. Good, good, I didn’t wake him. she thought. Man, he’s really out of it! So am I, come to think of it! She yawned widely.

Carefully, she pulled the covers back on the side of the bed opposite to Mark and slipped under them. She settled back against the pillow, and waited for sleep to come. As tired as Tina was however, sleep was a long time in coming. She lay there awake, the events of the day turning over and over again in her mind, as did the possible scenarios she would encounter the next day when she had to face Mark again. She tried to imagine the kinds of questions he would ask, and tried to formulate answers to them.

If only I can get away with this, she thought. If only I can make him believe that it was all just a dream…just a dream…just a dream… She drifted off to sleep.

* * *

The next morning, Tina awoke and out of habit, reached over to Mark’s side of the bed. But it was empty; he had gone. Where is he? She looked around. What time is it? eight…eight-thirty? Immediately, Tina bolted out of bed; she hadn’t intended to sleep so late. It was a good thing today was a Saturday.

She quickly slipped into a bathrobe and walked out into the living room and kitchen, expecting to find Mark there, eating breakfast or perhaps watching TV. But both rooms were empty; Mark had apparently gone out. Where the devil did he go? she wondered. She returned to the bedroom, slipped out of the robe and nightgown, washed up and got dressed.

Hours passed. Mark had still not returned. It was now mid-day, and by now Tina was getting worried. She looked around the bedroom, in the closets and drawers. Well, he can’t have gone far, she thought, his clothes are still here. Except for his jacket and jeans and loafers.

Just then, she heard the sound of a key opening the front door, followed by the sound of familiar footsteps. He’s home! Finally! Tina thought as she turned and headed out into the living room.

"Well, hey!" she greeted him with a smile that, upon close examination, might have appeared to be a bit strained. "Where did you go?"

Mark turned to face her with an expression on his face that Tina couldn’t quite identify.

Why’s he looking at me so funny? Tina wondered.

He stared at her in silence for several seconds before he finally answered her. "Oh, I uh—I just went out. For a walk. I…needed to think over some things."

Oh no! Tina thought. He’s on to me! He knows, he knows everything! And he’s pissed! I can tell he is, just like I thought! Okay…okay, easy now, don’t let on that I know he knows… don’t give anything away...

"Oh," she said simply. "That-that’s nice." She paused, trying to think of what to say next. "Did-did you have anything to eat?"

Another long, silent stare. "I had a bagel and a coffee." he said, simply.

"Would you," she swallowed. Easy now, easy…don’t let on or you’ll give the whole game away. "Would you like me to fix you anything?"

"Um, no thanks." He settled down gently into the sofa. He glanced around the room, his gaze settling on the desk in the corner. He stared hard at it, with one hand covering his mouth, as though deep in thought about something.

"Is something the matter?"

Mark turned and regarded her with another long, impenetrable stare. "No, no, nothing." He shook his head. "Um—what-what time did you finally get home last night."

"Oh, geez, late… You were asleep."

"Uh-huh." A long silence. "Did you have a nice time?"

"Uh, yeah, we had fun. I mean--," she hastened to add. "That is, we all did. And we kind of lost track of time and before we knew it, it was late." She paused, waiting for a response of some kind from Mark. But he remained silent; in lieu of words, the expression on his face changed slightly, although Tina still couldn’t quite read it.

"How ‘bout you?" she finally said, to break the silence.

"Oh, I—I kept myself busy, I—I…" his voice trailed off to silence for a moment, then: "Tina," he said, motioning her over. "Sit down. Please."

Uh-oh! Tina thought, as she cautiously approached the couch and sat down beside him.

"I—that is, we need to talk."

Oh, no! I knew it! He knows! He knows everything! And he is pissed! He’s going to tell me he doesn’t want to live with me anymore! I just know it!

"Tina, I—I—" he began. "Tina, something happened to me last night. I don’t know exactly what, I don’t know if I can explain it in any kind of way that makes sense, but—" he hesitated. "Well, I—I’m not going to go into details, that’s not important, but…"

Here it comes!

"Well, it—it made me realize something. I—I’ve been acting like a jerk lately, I know. I know I’ve been ignoring you and I’ve been neglecting you." Mark paused. "I haven’t been paying hardly any attention to you at all these past few weeks. And I—I guess I’ve been feeling guilty about it and…well, maybe what happened last night was just my own guilty conscience or something…" His voice trailed off, and he took a long breath. "Anyway, Tina what I’m trying to say is, I’m sorry."

Tina blinked twice in disbelief. Was she hearing right? It was literally the last thing she expected to hear.

Mark paused, momentarily distracted by the look of surprise on Tina’s face. He reached out and took her hand. "I’m sorry for the way I’ve been treating you. I—I guess I just never realized before how fortunate I am to have you. To have you here with me, here and now. If anything were ever to happen to you…" he couldn’t continue. "I—I don’t even want to think about it."

Another long pause. "I—I really do consider myself lucky to have you," he went on. "And I now realize that I should be grateful for what I have rather than wish for what I don’t have…if that makes any sense."

Believe it or not, it does! Tina thought. Without a word, she reached her arms out to Mark for an embrace and held him close to her. She gently rubbed his back, and soon she felt his body shudder with sobs.

"Shhh….shhh… It’s okay….it’s okay, baby," she said soothingly. Her own eyes were now welling with tears.

"Tina, don’t ever leave me," he said, softly. "Please."

"I won’t, I promise…"

"Tina, I love you."

"I love you too."

How about that! Tina thought as she wiped away a tear. That perfume did work after all! It was supposed to make Mark fall in love with me…and it did!

"Mark, I—I need to tell you something…"

"Yes?" he said, as he softly kissed her.

"Yesterday, I—when I was gone and you were here alone, I—"

"Yes…?" another prolonged kiss.

"Oh, I…I…never mind…it’s not important…"

She cradled Mark in her arms, gently stroking him, as much from gratitude as from love. Someday…perhaps someday, she would tell Mark the whole story, but…that could wait…for now, she just wanted to enjoy his closeness.

* * *

In another apartment, some miles away, some curious things were taking place. The apartment seemed to be empty. But in the bedroom, two objects floated in mid-air by themselves. One was a telephone receiver. The other was a small bottle of perfume. Although the room was empty, a woman’s voice filled the room.

"Hello? Hello, Jeffrey?" the voice said, seeming to come from the vicinity of the floating telephone. "Hi, it’s me. Mia. Oh, come on, you remember! Right. Say, I was just thinking," the voice paused, and the little perfume bottle floated closer to the phone, until it was on the same level. "I was just thinking, how would you like to come over to my place? Yeah, today. Right now."

The voice paused, as though listening, and the floating telephone dipped slightly. The voice continued. "No, no, I understand. I know it’s all over, I know it’s been over for a long time. But we can still be friends, can’t we? We don’t need to be hostile towards one another, do we?" The voice paused. "Yeah, just a friendly visit, that’s all. I uh," the voice paused, as though trying to stifle laughter. "I just want you to see something. I think you’ll get a big kick out of it. Yeah, just for fun. No strings attached. Okay? Okay. See you in a little bit. ‘Bye."

The phone receiver floated down to its cradle and the phone hung itself up. The little perfume bottle bobbed up in down in mid-air a few more times, then floated down gently into an open dresser drawer, which then closed by itself.

"I think you’ll get a big kick out of it…" The ghostly voice repeated quietly. "I know I will!" A soft giggle filled the room.