Waiting was beginning to really grate on me. At school I inevitably saw Harriet. Seeing her made me feel a pang of guilt because a part of me told me I should be taking her somewhere private in the school grounds and ending her proprius state now. It also hurt me that she no longer talked to me. I wondered how she could think that I was a bad person for wanting to rescue her? I sorely resented Arthur for possessing her. It wasn’t right.
In a bout of bitterness towards my brother and all the others who thought that making someone your proprius could be justified, I wrote a note to her, saying ‘You know, Arthur asked Ryan to hypnotise him to be able to be happy without seeing you daily and to not feel pain when you have to say goodbye to each other after spending time together?’ and delivered it to her in the lunch queue. I wasn’t doing it to spite her, thought it might just have looked that way. I was doing it to try to show her that Arthur wasn’t this great person she thought he was. Of course, the chances were, her being his proprius, this wouldn’t work at all. I did, however, notice that she had a certain downcast air about her after for the rest of the afternoon. It made me feel cruel.
This opposing Arthur’s behaviour causes me so much inner conflict because of its inextricability from Harriet’s emotions. If I could just confront my brother and not harm her, there’d be no problem whatsoever. But, of course, Harriet’s his girlfriend and his proprius. So I have to decide for myself whether I want to let her continue to be his love-bound slave or if I want her to release her but cause her pain from bringing her out of the proprius state.
At home, I wanted to go to Ryan and talk to him about the stress. But then I remembered how he’d been shocked by my suggestion the night before and couldn’t see him being forgiving until I apologised for it - which I wouldn’t do, because Arthur’s actions were utterlyunjustifiable. Ifheever apologised, then mine would follow.
I noticed my unattractive stubborn attitude and left the house for a long walk before sitting down to do my homework. I don’t think it did any good. It just gave me a chance to think about all the things that were wrong in my life.
Did I really have the strength to last 19 days?
Henry’s note confused and upset me. I mean, it struck me that he could be lying to drive me and Arthur apart, but the fear that he was telling the complete truth overwhelmed me. It left me cold inside until I saw Arthur that evening.
When he arrived at my front door, I pulled him into the porch and hugged him tightly, burying my head in his chest.
“Harriet?” he asked, concerned. “Is everything okay?”
“No,” I told him, unable to lie to him as his proprius. His proprius. I was bound to him. But he wasn’t to me. What if he should ever stop wanting me?
“Let’s talk upstairs,” he said. He closed the front door behind him and led me to my room. Gently tugging me to my bed where he sat and pulled me onto his lap, he said, “Tell me what’s wrong, my darling.”
Silently I pulled out the note where it had lain crumpled in my pocket since Henry had given it to me. I gave it to Arthur who opened it out and read it quietly.
“The jerk,” he muttered. He turned me so I was sitting sideways on him and leant in to kiss him. Most of me was caught up in the beauty of it - as per usual - but a part of me couldn’t shake the fear of the truth in the note. I tensed slightly, wondering if he was trying to distract me.
Arthur noticed the difference and leant up.
“Oh, darling, it’s not what you think,” he promised me. “Do you remember Thursday?”
I nodded, slightly confused. Thursday was when he had felt distressed.
“Well, I talked to Andrew and Ryan about it. They said that maybe it wasn’t so healthy for me to feel so distraught after saying goodbye to you. Ryan helped me out by suggesting that I didn’t need to see you every single day to be happy - which is a fair point, my love - and you shouldn’t need to see me daily either. He also suggested it wouldn’t hurt so much - you said yourself, Harriet: me being distressed distresses you.” Arthur stroked my cheek. I relaxed a little but his words troubled me a bit.
“Do ... do you still love me?” I asked hesitantly.
“Oh, Harriet,” Arthur said softly. “Of course I still love you. How could I ever stop? I think it would anger Fate if I stopped loving you and I’d be eternally cursed for it.”
I smiled, starting to lose the fear that had taken over so dramatically.
“Lie down,” he ordered gently. I lay on my bed. He sat beside me and took my hand. He kissed it and massaged my palm with his thumb.
“Harriet, I don’t want you to ever doubt my feelings for you again. I may not be your proprius but I love you just as much as you love me and am bound in a different way to your wishes.” His eyes became more intense. They held me where I was. “I love you.”
I nodded. “I understand, Arthur.”
He smiled. “Good. Don’t you ever forget,” he warned.
“I won’t,” I promised.
He stroked my cheek.
“Now, we won’t be able to see each other every day...”
“What?!” I interrupted, despite being the proprius in this relationship.
Arthur laid a finger on my lips.
“It’s going to be okay,” he promised. “It’ll be good for both of us. I know it doesn’t seem that way, but we’ll still make the most of the time that we do spend together.” He stroked my cheek rhythmically. I breathed at the same rate and focused less on implications and more on Arthur’s words. “You’re going to be fine. You can daydream about me and you’ll be able to think of other things than me when we’re not in each other’s company. It won’t hurt.”
I tried to believe him but my great love for him made it difficult. Arthur sensed it and stroked my arm.
“Harriet, listen.” His voice became drenched in hypnotic-ness. “Listen to my voice, gaze into my eyes, focus on the rhythm as I stroke your arm. When we are not together, it will not hurt.”
“Yes, Arthur,” I heard myself whisper.
Arthur’s eyes decreased in intensity and his voice became gentler as he said, “You’ll be okay, my darling.”
“I believe you,” I murmured.
He smiled and leant in to kiss me.
Ugh, I could murder Henry! Part of me is stunned that he could be so heartless and make Harriet scared like this, but most of me is furious. What right has he to intervene? Thanks to him, I had to use my hypnotic powers to calm Harriet down. I think her fear even weakened the proprius binding slightly.
I spent the rest of the time at her house kissing her and assuring her I loved her, holding her close to me snuggling into her warmth.
When the time came for me to leave she was reluctant but she also said, “I’ll be okay. I’ll be okay ‘cause you’ll return.”
“That’s right - I will return,” I promised her. I kissed her hand, like a peasant might kiss a queen’s. “I love you.”
Back at home, the first thing I did was go to Henry’s room and give him a piece of my mind.
“Leave us alone, Henry - your interference isn’t welcome!”
Henry, who had been startled while doing his homework, regarded me coolly and said, “D’you believe me now when I say I will stop her being your proprius?”
Furious, I snarled “This has nothing to do with you. Leave us alone and go and find yourself a girlfriend, you pitiful wretch. You’ll never have Harriet.”
“I will in, oh, let’s see, 19 days.”
Striding up to him, I punched him in the face. He cried out in pain.
I left him there, his nose bleeding.
But an hour later, he appeared at the door to my room and, fixing me with an angry stare, he said, in a tone that hurt me in forcing me into submission, “Tonight, you’ll betorturedby not being with Harriet.” His green eyes blazed both with rage and hypnotic power; the aura he emanated was dark and menacing. And as soon as he left the room, I found myself doubling up in pain, as I longed desperately for my dear, beautiful Harriet and contemplated something happening to her between now and the next visit which would mean that I could never see again. I found myself crying as every kiss from tonight haunted me - could these have been our last? I felt this agony until midnight - unable to sleep from distress.
And I felt something I’d never,everimagined I would. Fear. Fear of Henry.
What came over me?... The anger, the stress, the pain of being punched in the nose... But nothing can justify what I did to Arthur. I used my powers against him. My own brother. And I used them to hurt him.
I didn’t get ready for school on Tuesday morning. I lay in bed, staring at my ceiling uncomprehendingly. Was I a monster?
And then a scarier thought hit me. Could I ever go back to being me?
I’m really worried...