Chapter 3

Henry

            That was agony. Holding her in my arms, so close I was breathing her in and I don't mean her scent, I mean her. I could almost taste pure Harriet on my tongue and she's so delicious I could swear my mouth was watering. I wanted to turn her in my arms to kiss her, to feel her love for me even though she has none; I wanted to be immersed in that perfect personality, embraced by those wonderful eyes which would melt like her heart as she drowned in me... STOP! What am I saying?!

I think I'm losing my mind...

I can't believe I spoke to her in my hypnotic tone and rubbed her waist with circular, rhythmic motions! She must hate me so much right now.

Her soft hair against my cheek was like the gentle caress I long for as I fall asleep...

            Help. I need help. I was alive when I saw Harriet but I haven't died again yet. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, anticipating the declaration of love which will probably never come yet wanting to be detached from this pain again.

                I find myself walking to Ryan's room but stopping and lingering at Arthur's door to watch Harriet gaze lovingly at him the way she should look at me. What's really stopping me going in and kissing her? The thought worries me and I tear myself away, quickly striding down the corridor, trying desperately to push away the images filling my mind, all including Harriet, either looking soulful, compliant, relaxed or in adoration, or kissing me. I run the last few metres and rush into Ryan's room, not caring about knocking.

Ryan looks up from Sophia who he's been kissing and he frowns.

"Is there something I can do for you?" he asks, clearly annoyed.

Harriet

                Poor old Henry. I couldn't really return to hating him after he showed me what a proprius was. I could see why he'd done all of the things he'd done. That wasn't to say I'd approved of his actions, I could just see where he was coming from a bit better.

Arthur took me to his room and told Eric to come round a bit later (guessing I was uncomfortable around him). I told him what had happened outside and he'd listened, looking sympathetic but unsurprised at the behaviour of his ‘friend'.

"It was awful," I told him. "Especially when Henry started to treat me similarly."

"I'll have a word with him," arthur said, looking disapproving.

"Don't be too hard on him," I murmured. "It's not his fault he's in love with me."

Arthur stroked my cheek. "I know, darling, but I can't bear for anyone to even unwittingly want you as theirs. You're mine after all."

"My heart is yours," I amended, feeling slightly uncomfortable as I remembered that he wanted to make me his proprius.

Arthur sighed. "I didn't even mean it like that this time."

"I'd be less paranoid if you never meant it like that."

Arthur didn't say anything.

"Look, you can't want me to be your slave," I said. "We're in love. Life is perfect."

"It's not, though," he said quietly.

"Why? Because I'm not fully compliant? Because I have some power over my actions to be able to resist you if I want to? Isn't it more romantic if I want to be yours when I'm perfectly capable of rejecting your love for me? I'm willingly giving my heart away: an act which could cause me so much pain yet I do it without hesitation. I love you, Arthur. You don't need anything more than that."

"I just want to be sure you'll never leave me," he replied, not relenting.

I grew angry. "And what if you left me?! Did you ever consider that? If I became your proprius, what would happen if you decided you suddenly no longer loved me? I would be destroyed! I reckon I'd die - if not naturally then by taking my own life."

Arthur looked shocked. "Harriet, I wouldn't let you be devastated! If you died, I would too."

"Not if you left me!"

"I wouldn't leave you! That's the point. I want you for life!"

"How can you know that? You're fifteen for goodness' sake. You're hardly serious."

"You think I'm not serious?! And I guess that means you're not either. You're fourteen."

"Well, maybe I'm not! I don't know what love is. I'd like to but I can accept that this might not be it."

"If I remember rightly, it was you who first brought up marriage!"

"I'm the sort of girl who dreams of white dresses and roses; I love being romantic: of course I brought it up."

"You should really think before you discuss things like that. Some people might actually take you seriously. You could break a boy's heart like that."

"And you could break a girl's heart by saying you wanted her for life and then deciding some time down the line that you didn't love her anymore," I pointed out. "Don't make me your proprius, Arthur. I'm begging you."

"That's not fair! You know I want your happiness."

"Then forget about this."

Arthur leant in and kissed me. "I can't. I love you so much," he murmured before holding me tightly and kissing me again. I felt him rotate the ring he'd given me last month around my finger and I suddenly forgot my negative feelings. All I could think about was my love for Arthur. How could I say I wasn't serious? How could I accuse him of not being serious? I didn't stop to think of the strangeness of the change in my feelings: I was too occupied with trying to fully express myself.

When we broke away, I knew I was staring at Arthur with total love and yearning in my eyes. He stroked my hair and smiled.

"I only want the best relationship in the world," he murmured.

I fell, sighing, into rainbows and spent a long time contentedly staring into the eyes which occasionally changed back to their normal cerulean colour, occasionally kissing Arthur or stroking his hair. There was barely a thought in my mind that didn't involve Arthur somehow.

***

The End

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