I blinked and remembered what was going on. I turned to Ross and said "Command me to ... lie down and let you show your love for me.
Ross looked confused but compliantly said "Lie down and let me show my love for you."
I lay on my front, arms folded beneath my head to form a pillow.
"Rosa?" Ross sounded astonished.
"Yes, my beguiling kingfisher?"
He paused in his surprise to ask "Beguiling?" He chuckled.
"D'you prefer magical?"
He laughed. "Both are flattering. What happened?"
"You were acting hypnotised. I got worried. I called Jack and asked him for advice. Now I'm ready for you to take the power back."
"The power back? What on earth d'you mean?"
Patiently, I said "You have to let me do what you want me to. Then we'll be equals again."
"Whatever you say, darling - do you mind if I read your mind? See what I've missed?"
Ross put a hand on my back. I felt him enter my mind and play back memories. He also listened to my current thoughts to see what I wanted him to do.
I lay there obediently, waiting for an instruction or something to react to.
‘I never knew Jack knew about the power balance,' Ross thought, as he finished.
‘You know?' I questioned.
‘Yeah. But you assumed I didn't so I had to try to guess what you were on about - you didn't really explain yourself properly. I had an inclination when you said ‘take the power back' but you weren't clear.' Ross chuckled. ‘Funny rose-dove.'
‘Why didn't you tell me about it?'
‘Well, I didn't think you'd want me to tell you. How would I do it, besides? "Oh, er, by the way, darling, I have to retain a little power over you. Just so the relationship works."? And it might have upset you. I like to be protective of you, Rosa, not frighten you.'
‘Sh,' he interrupted, pushing me back down as I started to rise. ‘I need to reset this balance.'
I relaxed, sighing. "Okay, Ross," I said aloud.
‘Now, seeing as I'm in your mind, reading your thoughts may be a good place to start.' He paused. ‘What am I allowed to look at?' he tested.
‘Anything you want.' I replied, smiling.
I grinned as Ross thought ‘Yes! I have her will.'
‘So what's your favourite animal?' he asked casually, while sifting through some of my thoughts. It was a bizarre sensation: like he was tidying my mind.
‘I can tidy it if you want,' Ross thought, and I felt him do this weird thing were mischief sparked, rising like a firework, and faded quickly which symbolised a wink.
‘And how would I think afterwards?' I asked, laughing.
‘You'd think in terms of me ... and everyone else. You'd prioritise me.'
In the physical world, I bit my lip, considering it.
‘Do it,' I thought. ‘Just for a bit, though. I want to see how you feel for me.'
‘Okay,' Ross thought. ‘... Hang on! Cheeky! You can't give me instructions. Cheat.'
I chuckled. ‘Sorry. How much power d'you need to take back anyway?'
‘A lot,' replied Ross mildly. ‘You made my will yours.'
‘Oops,' I thought, smiling.
‘Yes, I'll go "Oops," in a minute. Oops, I've taken over Rosa's mind.'
I laughed in the physical world. ‘Oh, I love you, Ross. And by the way, my favourite animal is a wolf.'
‘Are you flattering yourself' I teased: ‘thinking you're the reason?"
‘Nope, a mental image of Christmas Day appeared.'
‘Aw, that is sweet.'
‘Let's go back. Hm, I'll need your subconscious for that.' He showed me a picture of his eyes glinting wickedly.
‘Go back?' I asked.
His presence in my conscious mind faded. Before disappearing altogether, he sent me a picture of him walking into a hallway calling "Subconscious!" which set me off in giggles again.
A few seconds later I was transported to Christmas Day last year. I was sitting up against Ross in his wolf form. We were under the stars and talking about beautiful things.
When it ended, I was back in my mind and Ross was still nowhere to be sensed.
His voice floated out from somewhere. ‘I'm not going to but I can change memories from here.'
‘Wow!' I called.
‘I think I could hypnotise you too.'
‘Wasted effort with the pendulum,' I thought, laughing.
Quite suddenly, I fell asleep.
I was transported to a beach my parents had often taken me to in my younger days. It was night time and the moon was barely visible behind a bank of cloud. Ross was there, acting like a fool.
"Ooo, this is the ghost of your subconscious," he said, waving his arms about and putting on a silly expression.
Calmly, I said "I've not died."
"How do you know?"
"My soul would have ripped and I'd be in intolerable pain."
"Oh, Rosa..." Ross's expression softened totally and his arms dropped to his sides. He walked forwards and put his hands on my waist. He gazed down into my eyes. I gazed up, solemn but happy, and we shared a sweet, tender kiss.
We broke away and he kissed my head, murmuring "I need to see you, again."
I woke up, opening my eyes, and found that at some point Ross had lain down beside me. He moved his hand off my back.
"Mind, body, soul," he whispered. "We enjoy each other mentally, physically, and in a profound manner." He paused and looked like he had a sudden flash of inspiration. "I have an idea of something to do a bit later but at the moment, we're just going to relax."
His tone was gentle, caressing, ... lulling.
Ross sat up and began to massage my shoulders. It made me feel glorious.
"Ah, your contentment is tangible, my little Rosa. You emanate it like you do love."
"I love calling you my Rosa. It reminds me that you truly belong to me."
"I'm yours, Ross," I mumbled.
"How about you call me Rossy? That was a good idea for a story you had earlier."
"I've a new idea. ‘Rossy and Rosa'."
" ‘Rossy and his Rosa'," Ross corrected.
"What d'you want for your birthday, my darling?"
Ross chuckled softly. "I'm already around, Rosa. Besides, you're my birthday present so I can't be yours."
"Your present - I like the sound of that."
"Well, it's true - soak it up."
"Let's talk about what other special things you represent to me. Firstly, you're like a lifelong friend who I adore and share everything with: a slightly battered teddy bear or a pet. Next, you're like a magical creature my aura has extended outwards to create. You're perfect for me and you understand everything. You're also too amazing to be real."
"Aww. Oh, Ross..."
Suddenly, he was lifting up the base of my top. I knelt up and took it off before lying gown again. And then he produced euphoria in me.
I closed my eyes and pressed my stomach against the bed in pleasure as he kissed every inch of my bare skin and caressed the length of my spine, almost like he was stroking a cat. I wanted to purr though I suppose moaning was hardly an inadequate response.
He made my skin feel incredibly sensitive. When he sat back (as if to admire his handiwork, and what a thrilling thought that was), he lightly touched a random area of skin with his index finger to observe the effect.
"Oh," I said softly, having briefly experienced a mental and emotional collapse.
"Yeah, I reckon I've balanced out the power," Ross murmured to himself.
What a way to do it...
But I wanted more.
"Tip it to you," I begged.
Ross chuckled. "I think you're a bit dazed, Rosa. You don't really want me to control you."
"I do," I insisted. "Really and truly."
Ross lightly fingered the back of my neck. I stiffened slightly. Wasn't there a pressure point there or some vulnerable place that people could exploit to paralyse or kill you?
"Scary, eh?" Ross whispered.
He leant in and gently kissed the spot. I shivered in fear but felt like I was melting. If he wanted to frighten me, let him. If he desired to kiss the most vulnerable parts of my body, fantastic. I had wanted him to control me. He should have access to my every weak point.
I felt myself relaxing totally: surrendering.
I was jelly, I was malleable, I was Ross's.
Ross felt the submission in my thoughts and hated it.
He sat up again. "You don't want that."
I didn't reply.
He rolled me over and kissed my lips.
"You don't want that," he begged.
I gazed up into blue eyes that showed a crying soul which was terribly afraid.
I still said nothing.
"Rosa, I will not do that to you: I will not allow you to surrender your instinct to fight."
When my silence continued, he said "Fight, damn it!"
And I wanted to. I could see the pain I was causing him and I didn't like it but I didn't know how to stop.
‘How do I stop?!'
Ross heard my mental cry and looked stricken.
"I ... I don't know. All I can say is that it's natural to fight: it's natural to attempt to resist your predator. Resist me, Rosa."
He picked up my hand and bit my finger.
"Oh!" There was pain but I neither tried to make him let go of me or hurt him.
Ross was in despair.
"Oh no! Oh Rosa, what have I done: what have I done?"
There was suddenly the flash of an idea in his mind: I felt it since he was holding my limp hand.
"Okay, Rosa, shut your eyes and imagine I'm going to hurt you."
I closed my eyes and felt a little scared.
And suddenly, somehow, I was in a jungle facing a tiger. There was a gun in my hand.
It was the fight or flee situation. The adrenaline that should pump in my blood would either aid me in a fast getaway or fuel my muscles so I could take on this deadly, beautiful beast.
And to my relief, primal instinct kicked in. My genes remembered when they had made up the DNA of cavemen and I was no longer willing to die for Ross's desires.
I didn't only get motivation: real adrenaline started pumping through my veins.
I raised the gun, deactivated the safety mechanism and aimed it at the panting animal, ready to fire.
With a jolt, I came back to the real world, still running high on adrenaline. Ross was breathing hard too.
I smiled as I saw the fear had disappeared from his eyes.
We both sighed in relief and exhaustion before Ross pulled me up into a sitting position and held me like it was the end of the world.