It was about six o'clock. I had finished reading a library book in the hours between me leaving Mes Mansion and now. I was bored. Bored and frustrated. Didn't Arthur understand that I would be attending school in thirty eight hours and for most of those I would be at home either sleeping or eating or doing chores? Didn't he want to spend as much of this time with me as possible? I would want to spend this much time with him regardless of whether it was the holidays or not. Didn't he feel the same? Is that what this afternoon's hesitation had been about?
And then, a sign, which in retrospect could have been a communication of Fate's indignation at my doubt of Arthur's feelings for me, was given by those wondrous Powers That Be in the form of the sounding of the doorbell. I stood up, unaware of the significance of that shrill noise and out of pure curiosity, wandered over to my bedroom window to see who was outside.
I realised the importance and the joy I should feel the second I laid my eyes upon the visitor. All negative feelings vanished as I hurried down to greet him: the wonderful, captivating, amorous Arthur.
"Harriet," my mother called, but I was already there.
"Arthur," I breathed.
My love smiled warmly.
"Young love," my mother said, smiling to herself and shaking her head as she walked back to the kitchen.
"I was so worried," I murmured as Arthur stepped inside and closed the door behind him.
"Why?" he asked, sounding surprised.
"You were so unresponsive earlier. I ... Never mind."
"Tell me," Arthur said gently.
I looked down, blushing. "I wondered if you'd fallen out of love with me," I admitted sheepishly.
When he didn't say anything, I looked up, anxious.
To my relief, he looked bewildered rather than uncomfortable and about to tell me that my theory had been correct. He stared at me for a moment and then looked amused, shaking his head.
"You are daft, Harriet."
I exhaled heavily. "I know."
"Shall we go to your room? I seem to have developed an attachment to it."
"Sure," I replied, leading him upstairs.
Once we were in the room, Arthur pulled me into his embrace and started kissing me. I held him tightly as I kissed him back, unwilling to ever let go of him. He pulled me further into my room, kicking the door to. I broke away briefly from the joy of the contact of our lips - and the glorious feeling that I was safe, understood and wanted - to say to Arthur "I don't think I'll ever doubt your feelings for me again" before leaning in to kiss him more ardently to convey more of the love my heart was pumping around my body.
The kiss ended, leaving me in a whirl of positive emotions and quite frankly starry-eyed. I found myself believing in an ideal world which was closer to us than we thought. Arthur sat on my bed, leaning against the propped up pillows, and watched me expectantly.
I looked back at him, considering my fortune.
"You going to join me?" he asked, glancing at the space beside him meaningfully.
"Nah, I think I'll stand here and ponder," I teased.
"Ah, it would be interesting to hear what's so intriguing that you would rather dwell on it than come sit down."
I bounced over and sat next to him. "I'm kidding. Nothing's so interesting that I'd prefer it to spending time with you."
"I'm glad," Arthur murmured, leaning in towards me. "I would hate to have any sort of competition."
Our lips brushed and I was fully immersed in pleasurable sensations again.
When we broke away again, I asked "So what d'you want to do this evening?"
Arthur sighed. "I'm not really sure. I just wanted to see you. But I doubt you'll want to kiss me for all the time I'm here, since that gets a little boring."
I nodded. "A little. It's enjoyable - of course - but it's easy to get tired of."
Arthur looked thoughtful. And then, quite unexpectedly, he gazed deep into my eyes. "Where d'you want to go?" he whispered as I began to fall through the open sky of which his irises were a part.
"Er..." My mind stalled.
Arthur chuckled. "Somewhere hot or somewhere cold?"
"Somewhere hot," I replied.
"Beach or desert?"
I grinned, despite the fact it was becoming harder to concentrate on anything other than Arthur's eyes, which occasionally became rainbows. "Not a desert."
Arthur grinned back. "Midday or sunset?"
"Okay. Relax for me then."
With some effort I tore my gaze away, to Arthur's surprise and confusion.
"I can't take us to a beach unless I entrance you first," he said. "You know that."
"Aren't there other ways? I love drowning in your eyes but ... let's explore different ideas."
"Um, okay. Lie down and roll onto your front for me."
I did so. I closed my eyes and relaxed.
"Would you like to change into your swimming costume?" Arthur joked.
"I'm fine, thanks," I said, chuckling.
"Er..." Arthur sounded hesitant.
"What? You were being serious?"
"Oh, no," he said, laughing, though I detected something like nervousness in his tone.
"What's wrong?" I asked curiously, opening my eyes as if that would help me discern the problem.
"Can I take your top off?"
I burst out laughing.
"I'm being serious, Harriet," Arthur said, sounding annoyed. "You're 14 and I'm 15. We need to be responsible."
"Oh, Arthur, we're not going to be stupid. Take it off."
I pushed myself up and knelt on my covers. Arthur closed his eyes and lifted my shirt off my head. I lay back down as he put it down.
"Did you survive that horrific ordeal?" I asked.
"Just about," Arthur muttered, but I could tell he wasn't serious.
I tensed slightly at Arthur's touch, but only because the contact was unexpected. I relaxed as he began to massage my shoulders.
Seconds later I was asleep.
When I woke up, I was still in my room.
"Did something go wrong?" I asked, confused.
"Yeah: you fell asleep. There's a difference between sleep and trances."
"Oh," I mumbled.
"Don't worry - you didn't know. I didn't think it would happen but it was interesting to check."
"So you're going to have to use your eyes?" I asked, slightly disappointed.
"Nah - I'll use my voice."
I smiled. "I like your voice."
I could picture Arthur's grin. "I'm glad you do," he said. He gently caressed my right shoulder. "So if you just relax for me," he murmured, his tone becoming drenched with that relaxing (metaphorical) liquid that always reminded me of babies' milk and lullabies. I felt calmer as my will gently bent to his, unable to resist the caressing sound.
"No harm will come to you. I promise," he said soothingly. The powerful hypnotic substance which had touched my mind was spreading like a drop of warm water rolling down your skin. I felt as if infected by a fast-acting disease while experiencing the effects of a sleeping draught. My sense of calm and peace with the world steadily increased as Arthur stroked my back as if I were a cat and occasionally murmured words like "Relax" and "Deeper", pulling me into a dimension where I knew conscious thoughts would stop and I would comply with his wishes although the ‘awake' me would be aware of neither his suggestions nor my response.
I felt his face drew closer to mine, his breath tickling my ear. My heart would have been pounding if I hadn't felt so relaxed.
"Slip under," he whispered, and my thoughts stopped.