Christopher stood up. Amiably, he said, “I’m sorry, sir. It’s so easy to lose track of time and your daughter truly is pleasurable company.” My heart fluttered at how enchanting his voice was.
“Have you done something with your hair?” my dad asked Christopher, sounding puzzled.
‘Oh, Christopher,’ I laughed in my head. ‘What are you going to say?’
‘How about ‘Your daughter’s incredibly distracting’?’ He turned to smile at me. ‘I have to hypnotise him, anyway. You can look away if you feel awkward.’
Oh, I didn’t mean to distract, darling. Sorry.
‘Don’t apologise.’ His soft chuckle filled my mind. ‘I like you distracting me.’
‘Oh, really?!’ I wondered why I was so excitable.
My dear, you sound positively drunk. Are you getting enough oxygen?
Oh, more than enough, I’m sure. Um, Christopher, my dad’s staring at you.
I rolled over, unsure as to whether daughters should condone their fathers being hypnotised.
Christopher quietly suggested my dad forget he’d looked different and that nothing strange had happened while he’d been upstairs. I heard his musical voice, saying, a bit louder, “Go back downstairs and if I haven’t left in half an hour, come back up.” His actual voice was so naturally suggestive, I found myself standing up.
“Sit down, Terri,” he chuckled. I obliged, trying to shake the feeling that I needed to be downstairs too.
I heard a click and then the thump of my dad’s slippers against the stairs as he descended.
I rolled back over to see Christopher coming towards me. “Wow, no wonder you don’t talk aloud a lot,” I said.
He chuckled. ‘It’s not my fault if you happen to be as suggestible as a person in a trance. It was very bemusing when I heard you stand up. I thought ‘What is she doing?’ If I ever need you to do something, I’ll just ask you out loud.’
“Don’t even joke! You’re scarily suggestive. I felt like something bad would happen if I didn’t follow the instructions you gave Dad.”
Too bad I wasn’t joking then.
“You wouldn’t...” I gulped. “Would you?”
“Go make me a cup of tea.” He smiled as I stood up, even though I was glaring at him. I tried to stop myself at the doorframe, by trying to hold onto the door, but he merely said, “Don’t resist me.”
Fifteen minutes later, I trudged back into the room, carrying a mug of steaming tea.
“Thank you,” he said, and the fact he had said it a loud seemed to increase the gratitude conveyed.
I was annoyed though. I placed the tea on my bedside table, sat on my bed, crossed my arms and refused to talk.
Oh, come on! That was funny!
I glared at him.
You can treat me how you want to, now.
“Is that how you want to treat me?”
No, of course not. Darling, I’m still not thinking straight from the blood. Can you forgive me?
“Can a cat purr?” I replied grudgingly.
‘Oh, thank you!’ He sat beside me and had the nerve to start kissing me. He suddenly broke away and burst into raucous laughter.
“You put salt in the tea! You crafty devil! How did you manage that?!”
He laughed for another few minutes, ending up with a red, tear-strewn face. He finally stopped. “But, seriously, how did you do that? You must be either awfully strong or very clever.”
“Strong enough to deviate from the suggestion,” he clarified.
“Oh, I guess I must have convinced myself the salt was sugar. We have no sugar, and I was very put out with you.”
Christopher looked at me with something like admiration in his eyes. “That’s ingenious. Truly brilliant.”
There was a silence, in which I remembered I could treat him as I pleased.
“I have more of a request than a plan of how to treat you.”
“Later tonight, after you’ve fooled my parents into thinking you’ve left, could you sneak in through the back door and keep me company until you’re meant to be back at home?”
You are diabolical, my dove. Maybe dove is the wrong nickname for you.
“Will you come back or not?”
Of course I will. I want to as much as you want me to.
“Now, thanks to your ‘tea suggestion’, we only have about ten minutes.”
“Kiss me, then,” he said simply.
I found my lips on his almost instantaneously.
‘My dove?’ he asked a few minutes into the kiss.
Have you ever considered being a vampire?
‘No,’ I answered slowly.
Would you ever consider it?
‘But I’d remain the same age as you grew up.’ I recalled from films I’d seen that vampires supposedly didn’t grow up, but I realised that Christopher must have been able to age. ‘And who else would offer their blood for your drink?’
‘Two very valid points,’ he mused.
Why do you ask?
Oh, I was just curious.
He broke away and held my shoulders away as I was still trying to follow his suggestion. He beamed at me, very happy from our kiss. “You can stop now.”
‘Now, it’s been half an hour,’ he continued in thought-speech. ‘Do you want to ‘see me out’?’
Yes. Hang on a second, though.
Hanging on... Don’t let go. I can’t live without my heart.
I smiled. ‘Won’t you need to hypnotise my parents to forget you look inhuman?’ I asked.
So, why not just make them believe you’ve left?
It could work.
You could snap your fingers loudly from somewhere they won’t see you when they wake up.
Terri, if they believed I had left, they wouldn’t see me.
Why aren’t you straight agreeing with me, then?
They’re your parents. Are you okay with deceiving them so much?
‘I told them you were called Charlie,’ I pointed out.
That’s partly true.
This morning, I said I was going to town to see a friend.
This caught him off guard a moment. He frowned. ‘That may have been dangerous.’
But, I’m okay. Look, if I wasn’t a little deceptive, Charlie would think I was insane. Don’t you want to stay here tonight?
‘Yes,’ he replied simply. ‘I love you, don’t I?’
Let’s go, then.
Wait a moment.
I paused, halfway towards the door. He came up in front of me, turned around and stared very deep into my eyes. “From after tonight, don’t be more deceptive than necessary.”
I winced at his authoritative manner, but I could see he cared about me,
‘Sorry,’ he apologised. ‘I couldn’t live if something happened to you.’
Christopher’s arm was around my shoulder as we walked downstairs, his aura enveloping me, I felt like I was sun-bathing.
He chuckled softly. It’s not an aura. It’s just a golden glow.
Oh, so it’s just coincidence that it matches your personality, then?
He smiled. Why’ve you stopped talking aloud, by the way?
It’s fun to talk with my thoughts. It also feels more private.
Can I come to yours tonight?
There was a long pause.
I suppose so.
Why was that a difficult decision?
I was thinking about potential dangers.
That’s lovely of you.
Just then, we entered the living room. My parents stood up, alarmed by the glow surrounding myself and Christopher.
Christopher went up to them and gave them each a well-directed stare (I forgot to look away).
“When I click my fingers, you will be under the impression I have left. You will not check on Terri, but you’ll believe her to be safe. Goodnight.” He clicked his fingers.
As I walked back to my room, I had a fleeting sensation that I could hear Christopher’s mental voice saying ‘Terri! You listened?!’, but that was impossible. He’d left. I’d seen with my own eyes, as he’d walked out the front door waving cheerily to my parents. He’d hugged me tightly, kissed my hair, ruffling it slightly, and walked out into the night. I climbed into bed, feeling as if there was something important to remember. I couldn’t, no matter how hard I tried, recall it. I gave up and settled into my duvet, snug and warm.
“Come, come, delightful one,
Leave your cares behind, have fun.”
The lyrics drifted through my window. I sat bolt upright. He’d returned? How wonderful! And now, he was serenading me.
I never left, you idiot.
I ran to the window, and there he was, standing on the gravel, arms crossed. He glared before thinking to me, ‘I’ll meet you on your bed.’
Ten minutes later, he was standing in front of me, having entered through the back door.
‘Why did you listen?!’ He was almost shouting in my head.
‘I don’t understand,’ I replied.
You listened to the suggestion meant for your parents! You’re far too suggestible, you know.
‘Don’t be mad,’ I pleaded.
Give me one good reason why I shouldn’t hypnotise you to forget you met me! At least I wouldn’t end up in this situation again, if I did.
I was truly terrified. I’d never seen him this angry before.
Well? Do you have a reason?