After a pleasant meal, I texted Arthur to ask if he'd finished his lunch. I didn't get an instant reply so I guessed that either his phone was off or he was still eating. I was feeling restless so I went back to the mansion anyway.
Before I reached the grand doors, I noticed a guy about Arthur's age was walking in the same direction. He had blonde hair which was messy, slightly scruffy clothes and walked with his hands in his pockets, so was a very normal sight. Yet he seemed to draw me in... Was it that relaxed air about him which seemed to invite me to go and befriend him? Or his casual smile which seemed to hint he was a fun person to be around? Whatever it was, I found myself walking up to him and saying, "Hi."
"Hey," he said, not in the slightest bewildered by my random greeting.
His green eyes were startlingly intense.
"Oh damn, you're a Captivator," I said, realising I was slowly becoming mesmerised.
The Hypnos Person laughed. "Is there something wrong with that?"
"Terribly so," I replied, trying but failing to look away.
"Is there a reason?" His gaze became a little more intent.
I felt chilled inside as I realised he was using his powers. "I once kissed my boyfriend's brother because he was so captivating," I answered truthfully, helplessly compelled by his stare.
"Who's your boyfriend?"
The boy looked amazed. "No way! He's going out with a normal person? I'd never have guessed. I knew he had a girlfriend but a non-Captivator..."
The boy stuck out a hand. "I'm Eric, Eric Enchan-..."
I fell asleep.
When I awoke, Eric was grinning.
"Please don't do that again," I said, trying to will my legs to move backwards.
"What's your name, funny girl?"
"Harriet," I found myself replying although not particularly wanting Eric to get to know me better.
"And why are you scared?"
I wanted to tell him that I wasn't scared, to avoid looking vulnerable, but instead answered, "Because of what you can do."
"And what can I do?" Eric asked, evidently enjoying himself. "Oh wait, don't answer that - I want to see for myself."
Without warning, he leant in and kissed my cheek. Alarmingly, my heart fluttered. I couldn't push him away as he took my hand and kissed the skin there too.
He was still grinning as he murmured "Twine your fingers in my hair," almost romantically.
I found my hands for his hair. My fingers knotted in the soft blonde locks and I found myself expanding on his suggestion as I freed one of my hands so I could pull him closer to me. He looked down at me, smiling, and I found my expression become serious.
"No," I whispered, horrified as I closed the gap between us. "Arthur!" I cried but the sound came out as a murmur more like a cry of longing than a cry for help.
"Sh," Eric whispered caressingly.
My mouth closed and I was, terrifyingly, closing my eyes. I felt my lips brush against Eric's before firm hands pulled me away from behind.
"Arthur," I sighed, relieved but when I turned, I saw Henry.
"Could you not play with my brother's girlfriend?" he asked, although there was strain in his voice. I noticed he hadn't let go of me yet.
"I'm sure Arty doesn't mind," Eric said. "Can I have her back?"
"He actually cares a lot about her," Henry replied; "so no."
"Since when was Arthur in love with a non-Captivator? They hold so little ... beguile unless they're mesmerised."
"Well, actually he loved her since the day he met her."
I could only imagine how difficult it was for Henry to say these things. I tried to loosen his grip on me in an attempt to help him but his arms tightened around my waist and he pulled me closer to him so my hair was against his cheek.
"It seems like you like her quite a lot too," Eric said. "Shall I spare you the guilt of making your brother's girlfriend cheat on him?"
"No," Henry replied calmly. I was horrified when he rested his chin on my shoulder.
"Henry!" I hissed, not looking away from Eric.
"I'm trying," he said and I felt his jaw clench.
Despite his evident efforts to resist the temptation to show his love for me, his hands moved to the edges of my waist and started massaging me, moving in small circles and he murmured, "Trust me," in a very hypnotic voice.
I was shocked to find myself relaxing. Eric was grinning, finding Henry's failure entertaining.
I could have fainted with relief when Shaun and Simon appeared.
They ran up to Henry and said, "Mate, let go of her."
"I can't," Henry replied, sounding pained. "I love her."
"I know," Simon said as they each grabbed an arm and tried to pull it off me.
"Don't think about it," Shaun said.
"I need her. I'm dead without her."
"I know it's tough but you've got to think about Arthur," Simon said.
"And Harriet herself," Shaun added.
This made Henry let go. I saw his eyes widen in shock.
He turned and ran away as if I was some fearsome monster.
"Thanks," I said weakly as I collapsed to my knees on the gravel.
"No problem," Shaun and Simon replied.
"Shall we all go in?" Eric asked cheerfully.
I glared at him but Shaun and Simon led both of us into the house. Arthur walked into the hallway and I ran up to him and hugged him tightly.
"What happened?" he asked in concern.
"Too many Captivators," I replied before kissing him to chase away my distress.