Chapter 8

First, Arthur was dealt with. I stayed in the room while Henry walked off to deal with his other brothers. When he saw me, he looked thoroughly confused.

"Um, hi, Harriet," he said. "You okay?"

I nodded. "Henry rescued me from Andrew."

"Really? What was Andrew trying to do?"

"Hurt me," I murmured. "But he didn't so it's okay. And Henry's going to take charge now."

"He's going to what?!"

"Well, he's the strongest hypnotist in the household, apparently."

"Oh really? How'd he figure that one out?"

"Well, I think he said something about people falling asleep when he said his surname when he was younger than thirteen and he was able to wake up from the sleep that Andrew induced."

Arthur frowned. "Well, good luck to him."He then smiled at me. "I'm glad you're okay, princess. There was something I wanted to do today."

"What?" I asked, smiling back.

"Treat you like you're the most important person in the universe."

Arthur pulled me towards him and began to kiss me. I sat down sideways on his lap and kissed him, feeling safe as he held me and content as I felt his love for me.

He broke away to look in my eyes. "Your wish is my command, princess," he murmured.

"I just want us to be together for the rest of our lives," I told him. "There's nothing else which could possibly satisfy me. I want us to be the most serious teenage couple in the world - you see, I'd be heartbroken if I fell out of love with you."

"I would be too. But this relationship should be more than satisfactory. So tell me what I should do for you, darling."

I gazed into those earnest blue eyes and wondered if there was some deeper meaning to his words that I didn't understand.

"I have everything I want," I replied, confused.

"There must be something I can do for you," Arthur insisted. "Can I make you feel like your skin is being brushed by the wings of a dove? Transport you to your favourite place in the world?"

I shook my head. "I'm fine. You know I love just being with you. And my favourite place in the world is here."

Arthur sighed heavily. "And there's nothing I can give you that would greatly please you?"

I shook my head. "Your love is enough. Always has been."

I leant in and kissed him. Maybe he was going through some problem in his life and needed proof of my feelings for him.

He kissed me back but the gesture seemed resigned and half-hearted like he'd failed in trying to do something important.

Arthur

She didn't get it. She didn't see I was telling her that I wanted to be her proprius. I would be frustrated if I didn't love her so much.

***

Harriet

After attempting to convince Arthur of how very much I loved him and how I would always be there for him when he needed me, I decided it was time for me to go. After all, there was only so long a guest could stay when the host felt awkward or uncomfortable.

"I'll see you tomorrow," I told him, lingering at the doorframe.

"Take care," he murmured from his bed.

"You too." I hesitated. "I love you," I said significantly.

Arthur looked up and smiled slightly, nodding. "I love you too."

Arthur

Well, that's something. I shouldn't be so pessimistic. I hoped she didn't feel pushed away when I was being silly.

Harriet

I began to walk away from the bedroom when I suddenly remembered the actual reason for my visit. I hurried towards Ryan's bedroom.

The door was shut. Behind it I could hear the soft murmur of Ryan's voice.

I knocked, and without waiting for an answer walked in. My fury from yesterday resumed at the sight of Sophia in a trance.

Ryan looked surprised to see me. "Oh hey, Harriet. Was there something you wanted to talk about?"

"Yes there was actually," I answered. "You. I believe I told Sophia a few lies yesterday. I wanted to make it up to her."

Ryan looked confused. "What lies did you tell her?"

"I told her that I didn't think you were a terrible guy. But that's changed now. So if you could ... wake her up?"

Ryan looked bewildered. "Why am I a terrible guy?"

"You made your girlfriend feel bad for asking a question she was entitled to ask. You used her feelings against her. I also don't like the way you know a lot about her when she barely knows you."

Ryan gave a short laugh. "You're annoyed about yesterday? Harriet, that's how I always am. With her, with my friends. I like the aura of mystery I shroud myself in."

"You like making her feel bad about wanting to know if you're a decent boyfriend?"

"To be honest, that quite wounds me. I didn't mean to upset her or anything: I just needed her to see how important she is to me."

"And did you enjoy watching her melt before your eyes?"

Ryan shook his head. "Like I said, I didn't want to hurt her. Sometimes our actions backfire on us, Harriet. It happens to everyone."

I nodded, satisfied by his answers. Maybe he wasn't so bad after all. In which case, I could stop feeling bad about what I had told Sophia. "Okay, you're forgiven this time. But if I hear of one incident of Sophia being mistreated, I'll make you wish you were dead. And that's a promise."

Ryan looked amused. "Whatever you say, Harriet."

I glared at the fact he thought this was funny and strode out. I quickly exited the house and stood outside breathing deeply for a few minutes before I felt calm again.

And then I considered the morning I had had. I had quite forgotten, in the sole company of Arthur, what it was like to know so many Captivators. I didn't think I was likely to forget again anytime soon.

The End

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