Rick came slowly and purposefully towards me. I gulped. He just grinned and said, in his most captivating voice, “Don’t be afraid.”

Unnatural calm seeped through me and I winced at how easily I followed his suggestions.

“It’s not like you can help it.” He sounded as if he meant to reassure but the way he said it would’ve scared me if I’d had free rein over my emotions.

He stopped, inches from my face, his emerald ones blazing. Oh no, I thought. This can’t be good. I couldn’t, however, tear my eyes away.

“Why don’t you just relax?” His question was a suggestion and I felt my worries and tension float away.

“Now isn’t that so much better?”

“No,” I answered. I was calm but I knew I had to stay loyal to Christopher.

“I’ll make things better then.”

“Don’t mess with my thoughts.”

“I wasn’t planning to.”

He grabbed my wrists and held them against my sides. He then leant towards me; I realised, to kiss me.

I lifted my knee sharply to slam it where it hurt.

He doubled up in pain, releasing my wrists.

Gasping, he asked, “Why are you denying yourself pleasure?”

“Oh, sorry,” I said sweetly. “You told me not to wake Charlie up.”

He looked quite annoyed.

Suddenly, he was staring deeper into my eyes. I felt myself falling through green, the way I’d fallen through blue so many times before me.

“Do you love me?” His voice was so beautiful it wasn’t fair.

“N-no,” I stammered, trying to concentrate.

“I think you do, though.” His hand brushed against my cheek. Simultaneously, I felt a chill travel down my spine and a thrill of delight course through me.

Unable to move, I was forced to endure this uncomfortable sensation of more chills and thrills as he stroked my cheek.

Barely audibly, he murmured in a mesmerising voice, “Close your eyes.”

I closed them but his voice maintained the effect of immobility that his eyes had produced.

I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise as his breath on my face came closer and closer until his lips touched mine.

The sensation was exhilarating. I felt dizzy and light-headed, and the world seemed to be spinning.

‘Breathe, Terri,’ came Rick’s voice, but strangely also the memories of having my breath taken away by Christopher so many times before. I did breathe. I thought of Christopher’s chuckle and the blue depths of his eyes before I realised I was kissing Rick back. I stopped, but he continued to kiss me, wrapping his arms around my waist.

I needed Christopher, I thought and quickly concentrated me thoughts on pretending to like Rick. I had to be a good actor. Unfortunately, I realised I’d have to kiss him back. I flung my arms around his neck and started kissing him passionately.

‘I told you so.’

I tried to hide my annoyance at his cockiness. ‘Wow, you were right,’ I lied.

Aren’t you glad I was?

‘Oh yes. But Rick...,’ I paused. ‘I don’t feel as if this is private enough. May I send Charlie out?’

‘Of course.’ He sounded delighted.

I gently pushed him away and walked over to Charlie.

“Go to the study,” I said before clicking my fingers.

“The study?” Rick sounded confused.

“His parents may have been concerned if he’d gone around the house alone. He spends a lot of time by himself in the study, though,” I said inventively.

“Clever girl,” he said, his musical voice making my unwilling heart do a somersault.

I sat on the bed and smiled alluringly. “Where were we?”

He grinned and came to sit next to me.

He leant in and kissed me. I didn’t respond so much this time.

Why so unresponsive?

Oh, I’m just too captivated by you to do anything.

A very good sign.

          At that moment, Christopher walked in, looking mildly confused. “That’s strange,” he muttered to himself. “Charlie doesn’t usually go there.”

My heart leapt at his voice. All pretences forgotten, I cried out with my thoughts ‘Oh, Christopher!’

He stared at the scene before him and said, “Er, excuse me Rick. What are you doing with my girlfriend?”

Rick stopped kissing me and stood up to face Christopher. I sighed with relief.

You okay, my dove? Christopher asked. My heart did a somersault rather more willingly this time. I smiled.

I’ll take that as a yes.

Christopher then turned to look at Rick. “So, what were you doing?”

Rick smiled. “Enjoying the fact that she loves me.”

“You wish.” Christopher snorted.

“Well, she kissed me back.”

‘Poor dove, having to do a thing like that’ came a sympathetic voice in m mind. To Rick, he said, “Oh, she’s a good actor, isn’t she?”

“Actor?” Rick glared at me. “You were acting? Well, that’s not going to help you deal with your denial.”

“I can’t see what she’d see in you.”

“Ah, well, love works in funny ways.”

“You wouldn’t know how to love a hamster.”

“And you would?”

“Well, it’s kind of obvious because I have a girlfriend.”

“Who you’ve hypnotised so much she’d believe you were the King of England.”

“Hypnotism doesn’t work for love, you idiot.”

“Don’t you call me an idiot.”

“What will you do, if I do, idiot? Run to Auntie Mel and say ‘Christopher’s upset me.’” Christopher sounded really patronising. I was mildly surprised that he could be mean.

A soft chuckle in my mind preceded the words ‘It’s harder to be mean now I’ve met you.’

I smiled.

Rick looked extremely annoyed.

“Baby,” continued Christopher.

“Half-breed,” Rick spat.

Christopher froze. “Say that again,” he said softly, menace flooding his tone.

“You heard.”

“Say it again.” Christopher sounded angry - and scary.

My dove, don’t worry. I’m just giving the jerk what he deserves.

“Half-breed,” Rick repeated.

Suddenly, Christopher ran up to him and punched his nose. He then proceeded to kick Rick’s shins from under him so he fell flat and then continued to kick him.

I was shocked. “Christopher, stop!”

He looked at me and pain flooded his eyes. ‘I am so sorry, my dove. I never meant for you to see this side of me. He’s just so infuriating, isn’t he?’ He was seeking understanding.

“He is. I slapped him earlier.” We both smiled.

Rick groaned on the floor.

“Oh, and slammed my knee up where it hurts,” I added.

My dove, you fight dirty.

I shrugged.

          Just then, Harry entered the room. He took one look at Rick and said, very quietly, “Terri, leave.”

I gulped and looked apologetically at Christopher as I left.


The End

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