At home the two found Maeve's mum unloading the shopping. Maeve decided to help her out and she put groceries away in the fridge and freezer while Perry went upstairs and waited for her to come and see what he'd bought.
"Did you have a nice day in town?" her mum asked.
"Oh yes," Maeve replied, smiling. "I bought a book."
Her mum smiled. "Well, enjoy reading it."
And so, the groceries put away, Maeve headed upstairs, carrying her two small shopping bags. Perry was sitting at her bureau when she entered her room, the plastic bag which was large and black and contained his purchase by his feet.
"Hello, my beauty," he said, causing Maeve instantly to scowl.
"I'm not yours," she said curtly.
"Oh, but you are. I've just not demonstrated it for a while."
"Oh shut up, Perry. Isn't it enough that you've accidentally hypnotised me?"
Perry grinned. "No. Come sit on my lap, my darling."
"No, thanks." Maeve went to her closet and hung up her new shirt. She would remove the tag later.
"There weren't other options, Maeve. Come here now."
When Maeve ignored him, putting her shoes at the base of her wardrobe, he used mind control.
Maeve found herself unwillingly walking over to him and sitting on his lap.
"Please don't patronise me," she said, already annoyed by the mind control.
Perry didn't say anything and reached down for the bag. He straightened up and handed it to her.
At first, Maeve could only see smooth material that was a rick shade of green that reminded her of emeralds. After amethyst, emeralds were probably Maeve's favourite precious stone.
Intrigued, Maeve pulled the clothing out, discovering it to be a lot longer than she'd expected.
She held the top of it and let it roll out before her.
It was a satin ball gown - at least, a ball was the first event Maeve could imagine wearing it at. It was full-length, sleeveless (but not strapless), and lacking decorations like sequins, glitter, beads or ribbons, though it was still tremendously beautiful, and it was so soft that Maeve enjoyed just holding and caressing it.
She felt Perry's fingers tangle in her hair at her back.
"Do you like it?" he asked.
"I love it," she whispered, too enchanted to even mind that he was stroking her hair. "It's the sort of dress I'd always imagined wearing to the Prom at the end of this year."
Perry didn't reply. She glanced at him and saw him gazing at the dress, eyes unfocused like he was daydreaming.
"Why?" she asked, confused. "If it's not short, if it's not revealing, if I truly love it, why did you buy it for me?"
Perry slowly came out of his mysterious reverie. His gaze rested on her and his eyes seemed to bore into hers as though he were hypnotising her.
"You'll look beautiful in it," he replied. "And I know you'll wear it if you like it." He paused and in a quieter voice said "I'll want you even more but perhaps you'll let yourself go if you feel as in a dream."
Maeve was silent. She knew there was something wrong in what Perry was saying; she understood that all of his actions were tainted by his bad personality. But she couldn't deny that he was being logical and that she had felt a slip in her self-control as she had fallen down the flowing material while looking at it in admiration.
She frowned slightly. "You can sound so romantic sometimes, Perry. And I know your intentions are bad but ..." She trailed off, neither wanting nor needing to convey that she found herself deceived by him.
"Must you play with me this way?" she asked, a hint of sad resentment in her tone.
Perry chuckled lightly. "I couldn't stop if I wanted to. This is what I am, what I've made myself. And one day, I think, you will give in. Of your accord."
Maeve found herself thinking about what Perry had told her in town. Of how he'd implied she couldn't desire him because of her character.
"Why do you think I'm accidentally under your spell, then? If I'll surrender to you of my own accord eventually, why isn't it possible now?"
Perry frowned. "Well, ... you just seem so in control now. I think you're going to change. You'll actually want to want me. At the moment, you're closed to the idea of a boyfriend like me. Do you truly think you desire me?"
Maeve shrugged. "I don't know. I could put it down to Nature, myself. But not controlling my feelings is a nice idea (in this context, anyway) and if it's likely..." She smiled.
"It'll also be nice to go through the process of changing you," Perry said.
Maeve frowned. "I guess I should thank you for reminding me why I didn't like you but why' d'you have to be this way, Perry?"
"I told you - it's my character. Deal with it or change."
Maeve shook her head in exasperation.
"How will you tell anyway?" she asked. "Can you detect the differences between the results of hypnosis and genuine inspiration?"
"Well, not exactly, but when ‘genuinely inspired', you'll actually kiss me, won't you? What would make it more difficult is if you were showing your love or desire for me presently. In a way it's almost good you possess so much self-control."
Maeve nodded. "That makes sense. And yes, it's great I have self-control."
Perry stroked her spine.
"You shouldn't celebrate your inability to enjoy yourself," he murmured.
Maeve shivered a little.
"Come on, Perry, we don't want the lines to blur."
"Don't we?" he asked, his voice intense.
He tenderly caressed her sides.
Maeve, becoming very worried about where this was going, tried to find a reason Perry might use to dissuade himself.
"Don't you want to celebrate the exact moment I yield to you because I've chosen to?"
Perry let go of her.
"You're very intelligent," he said quietly.
Maeve exhaled heavily and was aware of her heart thumping exceedingly fast in her chest.
"Can you try the dress on?" he asked.
Maeve looked back at the dress. It was inviting her to try it on too.
"Of course," she murmured.
She left her room and walked across the landing to the upstairs bathroom. There she changed, admiring herself in the mirror before returning to Perry. The dress hugged her curves and was beautifully soft and cool against her skin. It also made her feel happy, carefree and like a princess in a fairytale. When she re-entered her room, she performed a twirl, smiling widely.
Perry smiled appreciatively. He rose to his feet and told her, "You look stunning."
Maeve blushed in a manner uncharacteristic of her.
"Thank you," she murmured, eyes lowered to the floor.
Perry closed the distance between them and lifted her chin. He looked intently into her eyes and asked "How do you feel?"
"Like I'm in a dream," she whispered.
Perry's smile grew. "Thought you would."
"But I don't want to lose control." Maeve's response was automatic, like an answer message on the phone. Her brain wasn't functioning well enough to consider the situation and produce this reply itself.
"Sh," he said soothingly. "We agreed I'd have to change you first, didn't we?"
"I guess," she answered quietly.
Perry placed one of his hands on the left side of Maeve's waist and took her right hand in his other. Slowly, she lifted her left hand and rested it on his right shoulder. Perry initiated a swaying action which Maeve joined in with gradually.
"What are you doing?" she questioned curiously.
"It's my honest belief you shouldn't tell women things that will displease them," Perry told her.
"Oh," Maeve said, but she neither pressed him nor chided him for having such an attitude.
Perry was enjoying the combination of the effect of the dress on Maeve and the subtle captivation of her mind. He would honour the agreement not to use that latter phenomenon to cause Maeve to kiss him but for now he was content in holding her and watching the stars dance in her eyes.
He was very glad she had gotten over the submission from earlier. Despite the carefree response he had given, he had actually been rather worried when Maeve had threatened to act subservient if he used mind control on her in town. It wasn't like he hated her. The motivations for his anger with her when she'd felt witchfire were the pain it had caused him, his resentment towards Fate (because no matter in what ways Maeve impressed him, he didn't want to live for the girl) and also his annoyance at the stupid way Maeve had provoked Chloe and the fact he'd had to interrupt the lesson she was being taught.
But why was he thinking about such serious things? Perry allowed himself to entertain a fantasy of doing more to Maeve than merely dancing with her. He grinned and almost imperceptibly, Maeve's smile widened.
After a few minutes, Perry stopped swaying. Maeve stopped too.
"You can get back in your normal clothes now," he told her. "Thank you for that."
Maeve nodded and returned to the bathroom to change.
As soon as she got back into her normal clothes it was like she had been awoken from a trance. She stared at her face in the mirror, almost checking to see if Perry had indirectly caused her skin to blemish of her eyes to darken because of her sustained proximity to him: a force of darkness.
But she didn't appear to look any different. Indeed she felt as she had done before she'd worn the dress. If she hadn't been holding it now, she could have doubted whether the last ten minutes or so had been real life.
She walked slowly to her room, hung up her dress in her closet and sat down on her bed.
"You okay?" Perry asked, though there was no concern in his tone and Maeve thought she detected a hint of amusement.
"Yes," she replied firmly, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing her uncomfortable.
He grinned. "Of course you're not. But hey, at least you're you again."
Maeve smiled pleasantly, playing the game. Her true feelings were irritation by Perry and slight annoyance at herself.
"Yes, Perry: we must remain optimistic."
Perry chuckled. "If you say so."
"I do. And you should adopt a positive attitude too, Perry. One day, you won't need me to be mesmerised to like you."
Perry's smile disappeared.
Maeve took on a stern expression.
"Now, now, Perry: positive."
"You're so funny," he said sarcastically.
"I know," she said, smiling.
He raised an eyebrow. "Now who's being cocky?"
Maeve rolled her eyes. "I'm not serious."
"Damn, I was hoping to catch you out there," he muttered.
Maeve sighed. "Why d'you want to justify a bad personality trait? It's not desirable to be arrogant. Even saying it's due to your capabilities and superiority is a bad reason because that's just boastful and sneering. If I were a vampire, I wouldn't be like you."
Perry laughed. "Now you don't know that, Maeve. Complacency comes naturally to those with power."
He stopped. "It's interesting to think what sort of a vampire you would be. It would be so ironic if you were the complete opposite of how you are now."
Maeve folded her arms. "That's not funny. The fewer horrid people in the world, the better."
"Why don't you order me to go on a big killing spree?" Perry asked cheerfully. "I might do that for you." He winked.
Maeve was not at all amused. In fact, she was rather cross.
"That's an awful idea, Perry. I honestly can't believe you've never murdered one of us humans before."
Perry frowned. "Oh yeah, I told you that last night, didn't I? Well, you know, it wouldn't be so fun to kill someone after doing something dastardly to them."
"Oh, you're incorrigible!" Maeve exclaimed, disgusted.
"Yup," Perry said proudly.
"Are all vampires like you?"
"Why do you have to be my destiny?"
Perry shrugged. "Why do you have to be mine?"
"Why does anyone have to be anyone's?"
Perry cocked his head to the side, breaking the style and pace of the questions they were firing at the world.
"Are you serious?"
"Don't know. Just thought you'd like that sort of thing."
Maeve frowned in thought.
"Well, yes,... perhaps. Before I met you. But now I've been forced into a situation...
Maeve blushed. "Maybe I don't hate this so much."
Perry raised an eyebrow. "You don't?"
Maeve slowly shook her head.
"There was that moment when you had left after I had gone for a shower," she explained.
She didn't care to say anymore on the subject but Perry pressed her.
Maeve stared at the floor.
"I almost... missed you."
"Well, if you really want to know..." Maeve waited, hoping he didn't.
"I ... I found myself thinking that I'd rather know my destiny than live without him my whole life. So I guess I'm not totally opposed to the idea."
Perry sighed. "That's sickeningly romantic, Maeve. Couldn't you have said that you thought ‘Wow, having a soul mate will be so much fun'?"
"You know that's not me," Maeve said reproachfully. "And look, you've spent way more than an hour in my company - why haven't you disappeared?"
Perry shrugged. "There's not much else I can do. My shapeshifter friends will be out on the beach, my witch friends will be in some city centre, and spending time with any other human girls will probably cause me to think too much of you."
"What about your vampire friends?"
"I don't have any."
Maeve thought this was slightly odd but didn't say anything.
"So you're stuck with me," Perry teased.
"Gosh, if you were only serious," she exclaimed in mock wonder: "that statement was the total opposite of cocky."
Perry rolled his eyes.
"Hey," Maeve said, an idea suddenly occurring to her. "Can I see your house?"
Perry frowned. "Why d'you want to see my house?"
Maeve shrugged. "I don't know, really. It would give us something more interesting to do than talk and annoy each other."
Perry looked thoughtful. And then a smile began to form on his lips. A slow, mysterious, disturbing smile.
"Sure. I'll introduce you to my brother."