I woke up the next morning feeling horrendously alone in my duvet which only warmed me physically, surrounded by the things I'd woken up amongst for years but which lent little comfort to me and gave no affection now. The house, the world, my life were dark and the distant sound of the television downstairs did more to make me feel isolated because it was so far away. I numbly climbed out of bed and began to get ready for school.
It was only when I started the journey to school that I began to dimly feel positive emotions; for example, I looked forward to seeing Sarah and Beth, and expected to enjoy at least some of my lessons.
Before registration, I encountered Henry. Thankfully, he no longer had that ridiculous effect of something like captivation on me and I was able to ignore him when he greeted me.
"Oh gosh. Arthur meant it, didn't he?" he asked, raking a hand through his hair in distress. "When he said that you were scared of me. Harriet, ... I - I don't know what to say."
Coldly, I suggested "Maybe you should just go away then."
He looked upset. But appearances can be deceiving. I remembered the fury in his eyes when he told Arthur he would steal me in a month if I was still Totally Captivated or, indeed, anything worse.
"Harriet, please," Henry implored me. "I care about you. Don't hate me."
"You don't care," I muttered. "You don't even know what love is."
Henry flinched. My teacher arrived and unlocked the door, and I walked into the classroom, utterly disregarding Henry's sorrowful expression.
She can't really hate me, can she? I mean, I'm not really evil.
But maybe I am...
No! I won't let my convictions slide. If I'm forced to take Harriet right out of Arthur's arms, I'll be doing what's best for her.
And perhaps, someday, when this is all over, she'll like me again.
But who can say what the future holds?
I found myself doing homework during break and lunch so I'd have more time to spend with Arthur that evening - though, strictly speaking, I didn't think an awful lot about him because he'd allowed me to get through a school day without pangs of longing and sadness at the fact he wasn't there. Annoyingly, Sarah and Beth wanted to hang out with Henry, appearing to still be captivated by him. I let them be with him. I couldn't resent them, even if they fancied Henry: they were my best friends.
I did yet more homework coming home on the bus. As soon as I entered the house, I went upstairs and finished it, working very fast out of anticipation of seeing Arthur. Mum told me she was very proud of me as I told her my achievement over the dinner table.
During dinner, Arthur arrived and it was probably a good thing that he waited in the living room. Once finished, I hurried to see him and we nearly started kissing on the sofa. Chuckling softly, he told me "Patience, princess", though, and he first led me up to my room.
I couldn't help beaming as I wandered further into my room as he stayed at the door to close it.
"How were you, today?" he asked, almost regarding me clinically - though the love in his eyes was undeniable.
I smiled. "Okay thanks. Though, I started missing you on the journey back home."
It was true. The pain I hadn't felt all day had started and almost grown unbearable after I'd got off the bus.
Arthur frowned, concerned.
"Hm, perhaps I should extend the time you're okay for to nine hours."
I looked at him, amused.
"You sound ever so much like a hypnotist, Arthur."
Arthur looked startled. "Sorry?"
I blushed. "I know you are but you've always acted so normal. You seem to have become more ... responsible since Saturday."
Arthur relaxed. "Well, yeah, I suppose I have." He smiled. "But I'm still very much interested in melting your heart."
My heart skipped a beat.
Arthur slowly walked up to me and placed his hands upon my waist. He began to massage my sides gently.
I put my arms around his neck and rested my head against one of them.
"Love you, princess," he murmured, his breath tickling my ear.
Giggling, I replied "Love you too."
"Flowers," he said randomly. I heard the smile in his voice as he said "My touch is like flower petals."
And instantly it was. Soft, light, caressing. I imagined myself in a garden where petals were dancing, airborne around me.
"Hmm," he murmured contentedly, almost as if he were sharing my vision. He kissed my hair. "Why must you hide your gorgeous face from me, my darling?"
"Tired," I mumbled.
"Ah. Let us go and collapse on that mound of leaves over there."
He started walking towards my bed. I had to walk backwards so I wasn't pushed. When Arthur stopped, I did too.
"Fall," he whispered in my ear. We had stopped right against the end of my bed. I obediently fell, landing upon my soft bedcovers.
Smiling at me, he collapsed beside me, face buried in my duvet.
"Oh, I love you," he murmured into the covers.
He lifted his head and looked at me.
"I love you too."
I laughed in delight.
He grinned and clambered further up my bed. I rolled over and followed. I lay down, my head on the pillows while Arthur sat beside me. He picked up my palm and started tracing lines and curves on it.
I lapsed into silent happiness.
"I'm drawing your destiny," Arthur told me as his fingers danced across my skin. "You'll be mine forever and we'll have the happiest marriage a couple could hope for."
"Yes," I said with certainty.
"I'm drawing the sun and the moon and the stars," he continued: "pictures for Nature because she was so kind to allow us to meet."
"And love hearts?" I inquired.
"Nah, you've got enough in your mind," he answered.
"True," I said, sighing contentedly. I closed my eyes and saw them. Ruby, amber, topaz, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, pearl - a rainbow of colours, all there to represent my love for Arthur.
"Did you want to sleep?" he asked, suddenly very close to my ear. I noticed that my arm was back by my side.
"No," I replied truthfully. "I don't care how tired I am. I want to be with you."
"'Kay then," Arthur said, calmly. "Anything else?"
"Just one thing," I said shyly.
"Yes?" he said automatically.
"Possession," I whispered.
"Nice one," he murmured. "You're mine."
"I'm yours," I repeated happily.
"Your heart is mine."
"My heart is yours."
"Your soul is mine."
"My soul is yours."
"Your will is mine."
"My will is yours."
A small click resounded within me as if a part of my heart had become unhinged and only just re-hinged itself now.
"You don't have to repeat now, princess," Arthur murmured. "I'll just talk to you."
"Okay," I said, and allowed his voice to fill my entire mind.
"Dolphins," I said. "Roses, lavender, owls, rainbows, kittens." I was listing the prettiest, most serene things I could think of, a little too tired to make everything relate to possession and love.
"Horses. Daffodils, dragonflies, sunshine, moonlight, stars."
"Spirals," Harriet murmured. I thought this was a little random until I realised I had been unintentionally hypnotic. I clicked my fingers quietly so she wouldn't feel the need to stop relaxing.
"A dove can't compare to your beauty," I told her lovingly. "And it feels amazing to own such prettiness. Are the coloured fathoms of your heart truly mine?"
"Of course," Harriet replied calmly.
"And your soul?"
"I'm glad you're heartened," Harriet murmured.
"Was school alright today?" I asked conversationally.
"Yeah," she said, her gorgeous smile lighting up her face. "I got loads of work done so we'd have more time together this evening."
"Aw," I said, flattered. "But I hope you didn't overwork yourself?" I made it a question at the last moment, wanting to verify this.
"No," she said, snuggling closer to me.
"That's good. Though I personally feel it's a crime for your teachers to give you any work at all."
"Me too," Harriet agreed.
"Don't take that literally," I warned.
"Nah, I won't," she replied. "I know the difference between seriousness and jokes. Sometimes it's like I can identify every feeling in your voice. I won't ever misunderstand you, Arthur?"
"Whoa," I murmured. "This proprius phenomenon is full of surprises."
"Of course it is," Harriet said. "I'm not just completely enamoured of you: I'm part of you. It's funny to think that all of the time you told me I belonged to you, you never figured once that I'd be your property."
I chuckled. "No, I didn't. Thanks for telling me."
Harriet's tone suddenly became very serious.
"It's part of being fully yours."
I leant forth and kissed her cheek.
"You enjoy it, don't you?" I asked.
"Of course," she said, her tone light again. "It's the best thing in the world."
"That's what I think too," I said cheerfully.