Chapter 1 – Lorne
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She had come back to his little restaurant within a week which he took to be a good sign.  From what the owner had told him about her, she was quite the mark; rich, single and, he had to say, gorgeous.  Now all Lorne needed to do was just reel her in. 

In his half-baked idea of a plan, he’d try to seduce her and then, if that worked, see how much he could live off her money.  He wasn’t a thief, and he certainly wasn’t a confidence man, but he was not above living off her if he could manage it. New York was so expensive.  Plus, by his way of thinking, maybe she’d help him get the art gallery he had always wanted. It sounded like she had more than enough money to take care of him and back him. 

At least, that was his plan as he saw it.  Little did he know that he would be the central figure in a plot of her own.  One that would change his life forever.

Chapter 1

“I’ll have the gnocchi and a gem salad to start,” she said, handing back the menu to waiter. 

“This is becoming your usual.  I like that,” Lorne responded. “Anything to drink,” he said, smiling at her. 

He was nothing if not cute in a pretty sort of way she thought to herself. 

“I’m not sure what I’m in the mood for, what do you suggest?” she said coyly.

“Hmm…Well, you usually have the cabernet,” he said referring to the house wine they carried.  “I think you should try the pinot, to change it up a bit.  If you don’t like it, I’ll bring you the cab.”

She had been studying him these last several weeks when she came into the brasserie, and clearly, he had done the same.  She was incredibly attractive she knew so that was to be expected.  She wouldn’t have much difficulty with her scheme.

He was long and lanky but not too tall, perhaps 5’7”.  His legs were long and lean, and he had a small tight ass that she liked.  His torso was scrawny as were his arms as though he had never seen the inside of the gym.  The consequence, she would later find out, of an amateur running career that ended midway through his university years.  His face was lean and angular, with a high cheekbone, but somehow soft; he couldn’t grow a beard if his life depended on it. 

He wore his long, thick sandy brown hair pulled back with a thin leather hair band, a look men could only pull off in the last decade maybe. She noted that she herself owned headbands similar to the one Lorne wore.  Honestly, from behind, depending on what he was wearing, you wouldn’t have immediately known whether he as a man or a woman, such was the thickness of his almost shoulder length hair. 

Physically, he would be perfect.

“I’ll try a glass of the pinot, Lorne, thank you,” she said with a smile and picked up her phone.

“Excellent,” he said as he turned and retreated to the kitchen.

She watched him go over the display of her phone.  She’d have to learn a little more about him, but everything looked good so far.  The next step was simple enough for her, a fit and attractive woman.  She would seduce him and determine if he was right for her experiment.

The “experiment” as it were, was to see if she could take a person of her choosing and transform them into another person of her making.  The idea wasn’t like something you would see on a makeover show on TV, it was something far more diabolical than that.  It would be a transformation challenge worthy of her time and maximum effort, so it had to be truly life altering to her target. 

Further, and to add to the challenge, Anna wasn’t interested in just breaking someone down into some sort of sycophant or sex slave, nothing as prosaic as that.  She wanted the transformation to be remarkable, physical and mental and of her making but fully embraced by the mark, ideally without them even knowing she was the puppet master behind it all. 

After perhaps a year’s worth of study and scheming, she had finally settled on a scenario she felt was interesting enough, big enough and doable.  She would take a heterosexual man and turn him into a heterosexual, or at least bisexual, woman. As a trained psychiatrist and psychotherapist, turned hedge fund magnate, she had both the training and the resources to give it a shot.

Anna was nothing if not self-aware enough to know that she was a borderline psychopath.  Technically, the proper diagnosis would have been “Machiavellianist”.  By her own admission she has never doubted that she had some degree of anti-social personality disorder, but she was hard to label specifically.  She was certainly amoral, which played out in her work and her social life.  She loved and had loved, but only under very specific conditions.  In that sense, she could be fiercely loyal, as she was to her two hedge fund partners.  But the rest of the world, and the relationships in it, were merely her playground and she relished in her unparalleled ability to manipulate and control those she wished to, which was most people.

She had graduated Princeton and gone straight to medical school at Johns Hopkins choosing psychiatry as her specialty.  But it wasn’t until she did her residency at Penn that she started to pay attention to business and finance.  She had had a short fling with a grad student at Wharton when she first arrived on campus.  He was a douche bag, but he piqued her interest in finance, the language of business.  Before long she was getting an MBA in finance, no small feat considering the rigors of the residency program.  She took up practice in New York at the age of 30 and practiced in Manhattan for ten years where she flourished in more ways than one. 

Until arriving in New York, Anna had never really experienced situations where her own moral integrity had been tested, but dealing with the breadth and depth of depravity in the ‘Big Apple’ left its mark.  She saw the worst of society, at least from a mental health perspective and didn’t shy away from it.  Oddly, she embraced it and, in that time, learned to understand the benefits of having flexible morals in today’s world. 

It wasn’t long before she had carved out a special place in the Manhattan financial elite’s mental well-being.  She was sought after by the Wall Street types, not only because she was stunningly beautiful but also because of her “flexibility” in prescribing various medications to the bankers and traders.  That flexibility made her a lot of money, mostly under the table.  Her understanding of finance only helped her channel and focus her work.  Soon she was on retainer to five of the most important banks and hedge funds in the world helping focus the traders, bolstering the confidence and giving them a psychological kick in the ass when it was needed.  By 35 she was worth $10 million.  By 40 she was worth north of $50 million.

To say she was intoxicated by the money would be an understatement.  And so, three months after her 40th birthday she struck out with two partners, both from prestigious investment banks, both with similar questionable moral standards, and started her own hedge fund.  She put all her money into the first fund and made almost 10 times that in three years, an unprecedented rate of return.  Soon the firm was the darling of the financial world, but with that attention came the scrutiny of various legal agencies.  Though they couldn’t prove anything to take to a grand jury, Anna and her partners decided to curtail their most brazen tactics, insider trades, side deals, and double-dealings, so they could enjoy their wealth outside of a prison cell.  The firm merely tripled their money in the following two years, and so at age 45 Anna was well ensconced in the “Tres Commas” club.

The wealth served to give her the means to pursue whatever passions or projects she wanted, and it shielded her from the personal faults that would hamper the life and career of someone without her means.  She freely admitted to herself she could be evil.  Hell, she embraced that fact; it made her particularly good at making money.  With her doctorate in psychiatry, it also made her particularly good at psycho-manipulation and perfidy.  This, of course, was why Lorne wouldn’t have a chance.

After a short while Lorne came back with the glass of pinot, setting it down for her.  He turned to leave when she called to him.

“Oh, Lorne.”

“Yes ma’am, what can I get you?” he asked cheerfully.  She was a good tipper.

“It’s Anna, please,” she replied personably.

“Of course, Anna.  What can I get you?”

“Lorne we’re going to have a drink tonight, you and me.  What time shall I fetch you?”