"Okay," Denise said. "But this doesn't prove anything."
Her reaction surprised Patrick. He'd expected her to agree, of course. He was a mind controller; making his victims do what he wanted was his whole deal.
What was surprising was her cool, calm reaction to his request that she take off her shirt.
Patrick had been bullied his whole life - he'd grown up the archetypal nerd, and spent years trying to shake the image. Just before high-school ended, he'd started working out, and had even developed a few muscles. He'd paid through the nose to get his hair styled, to get a wardrobe that suited him, to get surgery so he no longer had to wear glasses ... he'd even managed to afford a nice car, but nothing worked. No matter what he did, he knew couldn't escape his inherent nerdiness.
When he'd started at college, he hadn't even bothered approaching anyone in his class; he knew what the result would be. Rejection, teasing, forced isolation. It would be high school all over again. Patrick had spent the past six months keeping to himself, refusing to get sucked into any interactions with his fellow students. He knew how it would end.
His loneliness was only highlighted by the emails he got, inviting him to all manner of events: keggers, private lingerie parties, charity functions, beer nights, all due to a glitch in the system that gave him another student's emails. What were the odds of there being another Xuji Patrick Cabarello on campus? Whoever he was, he seemed to be a bit of a ladies man - he was constantly getting pinged by women, wanting to know more about him, wanting to come over and hang out, cook for him.
The worst part was the time that the other Xuji received an email from Denise.
Denise was Patrick's ultimate dream-girl. He'd met her on his first day - they'd shared a Quantum Physics class, and Patrick hadn't been able to look away. She was a beautiful blonde - big blue eyes, long flowing hair, and the greatest body that Patrick had ever seen.
When the professor had asked his first question of the semester, only two hands had gone up - his, and Denise's. They both knew the Planck Constant, to ten decimal places ... Denise was beautiful, smart, and kind as well. From the sounds of the email, she'd noticed the other Xuji in class, found out that he was new, and offered to show him around.
Obviously if she'd known she was accidentally emailing him, Patrick the nerd, she would never have bothered. It was such a double standard - when she knew the equation for the Weyl quantization he'd found it insanely attractive, but he knew that she'd just find his knowledge of the Kochen-Specker theorum pathetic. He'd have killed to spend just a half-hour being shown around by Denise, but it just wasn't to be. She wanted the wrong Xuji.
So Patrick spent most of first six months on campus alone; studying, working out, volunteering with the homeless ... and working on his inventions every chance he got.
In high school, Patrick had discovered a way of trebling the capacity of a standard hard drive, and the money he'd made selling the technology had paid for his course. (and his new look, eye surgery, sportscar, and small island for his vacations.) He was always tinkering with electronics, and that morning, he'd made a breakthrough.
He'd discovered a device that let him control minds.
"Prove it," Denise had responded when Patrick explained he was going to control her mind.
Half an hour earlier he'd ambushed Denise and invited her back to his mansion. She'd agreed, of course - the watch made sure of that - and when he had her alone, he'd told her about his invention, and about his plans for her.
"Prove it," she'd demanded, one eyebrow raised and a smirk dancing around her lips. It made sense - Patrick knew that anyone would be skeptical, especially someone with a scientific mind like Denise. But annoyingly, she didn't seem to accept any proof that he offered.
"Well ... you're here, aren't you?" he'd asked.
"That doesn't prove anything. I heard you had a cool place, and I wanted to check it out. You're a good guy, I knew I'd be safe."
"Yeah, but ... I'm not really a good guy. I'm about to control your mind with my latest invention..."
Patrick had no idea how it worked; he'd been trying to find a way to make his watch switch between time-zones with the press of a button (it was an analog watch) and while he'd been playing around, a particularly attractive girl from his course had passed by, Holly.
Holly was the exact kind of girl who would never give Patrick a second glance - she was dressed in denim shorts, flip-flops on her feet, and a button-up shirt tied up around her breasts, revealing her sexy midriff. She had long red hair, and a cheeky grin.
She'd stopped and asked what he was doing. Her voice drove him mad ... she was either unaware of the sultry, sticky way that she spoke, or she just did it to rub in the fact that he would never have a girl like her. Even when she just said hello, her voice dripped sex, and Patrick sometimes found himself erect just from a conversation with the girl.
"Hey Holly," Patrick had replied. "I'm just working on fixing my watch."
He cursed himself - he'd opened up the floodgates. Now Holly was going to let everyone know that Patrick, the nerdy kid, did stupid stuff like fix his own watch. He could imagine the beatings now; just like in high-school. Everything he did made him a magnet for bullying, whether it was standing up for the gay kid in his class, or when he grew two feet in a single year, making him the stupid-looking 6'3" lanky kid.
He braced himself for the inevitable cry of "NERD!", waited for her to dump her bowl of pudding onto his head, but to his surprise ... her reaction was quite different.
She'd seemed interested.
She'd leaned forward, giving Patrick a great view of her cleavage, and asked a few questions. There'd been no teasing, no laughing, no mockery...
And that's when Patrick realised what had happened: for some reason, his tinkerings with the old watch had turned it into a mind-control device.
"You say that, but I don't see any evidence of proof."
"Denise, raise one arm."
"Okay," Denise replied, and raised one arm. She didn't look at all worried. In fact, she was grinning.
"Does that prove it to you?"
"Not at all. Maybe I just wanted to raise that arm."
"But then ... how am I supposed to prove my power? Anything I ask you to do, you can do and then claim that you wanted to do it all along."
"It's simple," Denise replied, stepping closer to Patrick. She put one hand against the side of his face, and stared him directly in the eyes.
"Just ask me to do something I wouldn't normally do."
It didn't make a lot of sense - it was an old watch that he'd inherited from his grandpa. It didn't have any parts that could emit a signal; it didn't even have any electronics. But somehow, while trying to add functionality to the time-piece, it had turned into a device that controlled the actions of people around him.
Ever the scientist, Patrick did a few more tests - he asked Holly if he could borrow a screw-driver, and she ran all the way across campus to her dorm to get him one. He asked what she was doing that night, and she cancelled her plans without hesitation to go see a movie with him. He'd even told her what to wear, and when he showed up in his Enzo to pick her up, she'd been wearing exactly what he'd requested.
The ultimate test, however, came after the movie, when he dropped her home. He asked her for a kiss goodnight, and she'd agreed - Holly, practically a goddess among women, had kissed him, a lowly, pathetic nerd.
Patrick couldn't sleep that night - he'd done it! He'd discovered a watch that allowed him to control minds. All he had to do was wear it, and he could make all his dreams come true.
He went out with Holly again the next night, and this time got to second base with her - a kiss with tongue. He kept seeing her, night after night, and after two weeks had passed, he decided to see if his watch could pass the ultimate test...