The next day of school was depressingly similar to the first. Any hopes I had had that the captivation would just be a one-off thing and people would start getting used to me vanished when Steve the cool sixth former asked me to hang out with his group at lunchtime. His friends were totally bemused but Steve was even friendly when I declined the offer.
Throughout the day, I got two more merits. Luckily, one was slightly deserved, being for a high score in a test, but the other was just for a ‘fantastic reading' of one of the poems from the GCSE Anthology so wasn't really due at all. Add one more teacher to that list of mesmerised people.
When I got home, I didn't want to see anyone. I went straight to my room and shut the door.
I didn't want this!
But I couldn't give it up.
In the same way I didn't feel it right for people to change as a result of the new power I had, I wouldn't feel it right to let Andrew reign and intimidate us all again. I guessed I would just have to deal with this. For my brothers' sake.
I'm slightly concerned about him. (Not that I like him at all). He slammed the door when he came home this afternoon. I really hope he's not becoming stressed.
Especially when he's only been at school two days...
Anyway, back to my life.
Today I was surprised and gratified when Andrew visited me between two of my lessons and handed me a sheet of lined paper on which were written several bullet points.
"I did some research for you," he explained.
I noticed the wideness of his smile.
"Made some progress with Elizabeth?" I asked, grinning.
"Yeah, she came round last night. Told me she was going to give me another chance."
"Oh, excellent, mate."
He gestured to the paper and said "I wanted you to be able to improve your relationship with Harriet."
"Thanks," I said, truly grateful. "And I'm glad things are working out for you."
Andrew nodded, still smiling. He glanced at his watch.
"Well, I'm going to meet up with her and take her to a nice little restaurant for lunch. I'll see you ‘round."
He walked off, continuing to grin widely.
The bullet points appeared to be tips on how to make someone your proprius. These were:
- Encourage their trust in/ dependence on you
- Combine jewellery and suggestion to make them feel closer to you
- Verbal suggestion can be powerful and effective
- Loosen the bond between them and their friends
- Try to become the only one they can turn to à perhaps use suggestion to make yourself to them ‘the only one who understands'
- Make them your proprius on a day they won't be needed for a few hours à more time can help strengthen the bond and increase their love for you and the servitude they'll show. Ensure the event is undisturbed.
- Regarding actual proprius creation, use words that will emphasise that they are yours and only yours. Practically tell them they couldn't live without you.
I read over them with interest and contemplated them over the course of my remaining lessons. The one thing I was slightly uncomfortable with was the fifth bullet point and the mention of ‘servitude'. Hopefully there was a way to avoid too much of that. At the end of my working day, I spent some time jotting down some of my own ideas, beginning to form an actual plan of things to do which would make Harriet mine. I even started writing a few potential lines for a suggestive poem. Once done, I did some homework and then watched some random shows on TV.
Andrew didn't come home until a good few hours later than he'd set out. Judging by his expression, the date had gone excellently.
He came into the living room and sat down beside me.
Amiably he said "Tonight I'll pick you up from Harriet's at six and we can go and watch a film at the cinema, okay?"
"That would be great!" I said happily.
Andrew grinned. "Yeah, it should be fun. Would it be okay if it was just the two of us?"
"Of course. Harriet probably doesn't like you."
"You sure it's okay then?"
He asked teasingly but I could hear the serious note underlying his tone and see anxiety in his eyes.
"It's fine," I assured him.
Andrew smiled. "Great. I look forward to it." He stood up. "Was that advice helpful, by the way?"
"Very. Thank you."
"No problem." He walked out of the room and I heard his footsteps on the stairs.
A little later, I set out for Harriet's. Henry's door-slamming took place before I left the house.
I can't believe a sixth former asked Henry to hang out with him. Actually, I can. But still, it's a pretty big thing - we're only in year 10, after all.
What I am surprised at is that Henry declined the offer. But I guess he doesn't really want all that attention because he's not that sort of person.
I'm kind of flattered he wants to stick around with our year group, though. He talks more to Graham and Ethan more than me but I get to sit next to him in those classes where my intrigue in him at the start of the year affected the seating plan.
There's something a bit weird going on with me. It's almost unnoticeable but I reckon it's significant. What it is is that if I don't see Henry for an hour, I begin to think of Arthur. I don't ‘wake up' and feel guilty or anything like when I get home, my mind just wanders while still in its ‘captivated by Henry' state. I see his eyes in my mind or imagine him kissing me. Does that mean that Arthur's effect of me is strengthening or that Henry's is weakening?
I decided to ask Arthur that question when he came round my house.
"Arthur...?" I asked, in a silence after the initial routine of hugging, kissing and heading to my room had been completed.
"Yes, my darling?" he asked. His eyes which had been unfocused as if he were in deep thought while he absently stroked my palm turned to my own and rested there, making me feel faintly weak inside.
"Something happened today," I said slowly, unsure of how to phrase it.
"Go on," he pressed gently.
"I could think about you."
He looked puzzled for a minute but then some sort of comprehension dawned on his face and he sat straight up.
"You could?" he asked excitedly.
"Yes," I replied, hesitating to join him in his happiness lest I should be celebrating something like my own downfall.
"Why that's wonderful!" He beamed, dazzling me.
"Oh yes, it's the most perfect news in the world!"
When I didn't respond, he chuckled and said "Aren't you glad you're becoming less affected by Henry?"
Hopeful, I asked "His effect on me is weakening?"
Arthur looked thoughtful. "In a sense, I suppose. Or our love is becoming stronger. But either way, that's fantastic." He smiled again.
I gradually allowed his words to sink in. When I had fully considered them and found no fault in them, I felt myself break out into a broad grin.
"That's so good."
I threw my arms around him and hugged him tightly.
"I love you," I said in my joy.
"I love you too," he replied, and warm arms came around me.
The moment was spoiled when a buzzing noise began, coming from one of Arthur's pockets. We let go of each other and Arthur took his phone out and glanced at the Caller ID before ignoring the call.
He smiled wryly at me and said "I have to go."
This totally bewildered me.
"I'm going to the cinema tonight."
"Well, ... can I come?"
Arthur shook his head. "No. Sorry." He gave me an apologetic smile.
"But ... why not?"
"His request. Sorry."
"So you're just leaving your girlfriend at her house and seeing a film with someone else?"
Arthur winced. "I love you, Harriet, but..." He trailed off, once again looking apologetic.
"But what?" I said, unable to understand.
"It's important." He reached out and stroked my cheek. "Please don't hate me."
I gazed at him sadly. "I love you," I reminded him.
He hugged me. "I know. And I don't do this without feeling guilt or pain at the thought of leaving you."
"You'd better not," I muttered, only half-teasing.
Arthur laughed and pulled back.
"I love you, Harriet."
And then he stood up and went. Just like that. I was left, stunned, almost wondering if I'd done something wrong.
It took me half an hour to realise this wasn't a dream and then I forced myself to get my homework done.
I was utterly bored until I retired later that night. And extremely numb. Part of me still could not comprehend reality - even when I had a dream.
I felt bad for leaving Harriet alone, I really did. But when I climbed into the passenger seat of Andrew's Audi, I was reminded of how much I needed someone who understood me and who I could relate to.
"Did you have a nice time together?" he asked as he began to drive.
"Yeah." I thought about it and grinned. "The bond between us is growing."
Andrew smiled. "I love how that bond seems to be able to increase infinitely."
I nodded. "Me too."
When silence tried to reign, I asked "So what are we going to watch?"
Andrew grinned at me. "Something gory. You're 15, right?"
I grinned back. "Yes I am."