Arthur's poem had been beautiful but chilling. It frightened me that his voice could have such power over me.
But afterwards, when he had just been saying things and I repeating them, I had felt much more relaxed. So relaxed in fact that I must have drifted off because I stopped hearing what Arthur was saying.
Next thing, I found myself dreaming about him. We were kissing each other in a variety of settings: under the full moon on a starry night, upon a beach at sunset, on top of a hill at sunrise and in the park in broad daylight. The dream had been truly wonderful: with me feeling alternately cool breezes and warm air floating around me and always Arthur's gentle touch and the tenderness of the brushing of our lips against each other; so it was very sad when it abruptly stopped.
The next moment, my shoulder was gently being shaken and I woke up to find myself in Arthur's bedroom.
"What on earth am I doing here?" I asked, startled. "Am I still dreaming?"
Arthur chuckled. "No, Harriet. Andrew and I carried you here."
"Andrew?" I shuddered. "But doesn't he hate me?"
Arthur shrugged. "He doesn't hate me, so he helped."
"But I still don't understand. Why am I in your room?"
He smiled. "It's a romantic surprise." I barely had time to be touched and say ‘Aw,' as he moved over, pulled me up so I was in a sitting position, and kissed me.
I smiled back at him as he returned to his chair.
"Thanks, darling," I murmured sincerely.
"D'you want to stay the night?" he asked.
"Oh, Arthur, I'd love to," I exclaimed joyously. I hesitated, frowning. "But... what about your brothers? You've said before that you don't like the idea of letting me stay over in a house full of boys."
"Well, there's only four tonight, including me. Matt and Ryan are round their girlfriends' houses, and Shaun and Simon have gone camping with their friend who lives on a farm. So it should be fine." He smiled again.
"I'm glad," I murmured, reaching forwards to stroke his hand. "So, um, what have you told my parents?"
"Andrew told them you're sleeping over at a friend's house. They won't feel the need to call anybody's parents to check up on you. Will you be okay making something up if they ask you about it tomorrow?"
"Oh yeah, sure. But ... which friend? They might ask them about it if they see them in the near future."
"Oh... Andrew didn't specify. That's a valid point, actually, Harriet."
I rolled my eyes. "I thought a Captivator would be good at this sort of thing."
I thought hard about the problem but couldn't come up with anything amazing. I sighed.
"I'll just have to ask Sarah to help me," I said. "Anyway, my parents might not even see her."
"Well, no, you won't be inviting her to your house."
I looked at Arthur sharply. "And why's that?"
He gave me a strange look. "What, you didn't realise?"
"Realise what?" I asked, baffled.
Very seriously, he said "The only person a proprius can think about is their master."
"What?! But what about my friends?"
"Well, I'm still going to let you go to school, so you'll see them then. And if you want, I'll let you do things occasionally with them but it would be natural for you to spend all your spare time with me. The attraction in making a proprius for an enamoured Captivator is that they can be totally possessive of their lover."
"But ... won't you want to see your friends?" I asked, confused. Surely it was unfair for one of the pair to not want to see anyone else while the other could do so as he or she wished.
Arthur shrugged. "Maybe - and a lot of Captivators are quite self-centred - but you're the most important person in my life. I wouldn't mind making sacrifices for you."
"You really love me enough to be jealous and slightly controlling," I murmured wonderingly.
"Yep," Arthur said, even though I had been making a statement rather than asking a question.
"Wow," I whispered, staring into empty space as if a visual representation of Arthur's love would appear and stun me with its brightness of size. I looked back into sincere cerulean eyes and was intrigued by the way his mind and heart must work, for him to be in love with simple little me.
I took a deep breath and confessed "I think I've misjudged you, Arthur."
Arthur looked surprised.
I continued. "All this time, I've felt that becoming your proprius would be an awful thing, irrespective of your personality and the way you treat me. Also, I've severely underestimated your love for me. Sure, we've had some deep and blissful moments, but now I see that you love me like I'm your soul mate."
"Perhaps you are," he said quietly, looking at the floor.
"I always knew you could be intense," I continued, "but never to this extent. To the extent that you'd risk going against my wishes if it meant you could show me just how much you cared."
Arthur shrugged, glancing back at me. "I guess you're right."
I took another deep breath. "Yesterday, I was willing to let you make me yours because I feel dependent on your love, but today I accept what you're doing to me because I understand you."
Arthur gave me a small smile. "You don't know how much that means to me."
"I ... I think I do," I said. I climbed off the bed and sat on Arthur's lap. Gazing intently into his eyes, I said "I think you love me with your whole heart."
"You're right," he murmured, and he almost sounded choked.
We leant in towards each other and shared a kiss. It wasn't much different from any of the other kisses but this time, I was more aware of Arthur's heartbeat and his hands delicately holding my waist as if I might break any second. As we kissed, I thought about those simple things and how phenomenal the immense emotion pulsating like light in Arthur's soul must be.
When we stopped kissing, I moved to rest my head on Arthur's shoulder. He stroked my back, his hand up around my shoulders while his other arm wrapped around the bottom of my spine.
"Is there much left to do to make me yours?" I asked.
"Only two more things plus actually making you my proprius," Arthur replied.
I lifted my head. "Let's get everything done tonight. Then I can spend a whole weekend as yours without interruption."
"Well, I'll say the proprius words tomorrow morning, but sure we can make you Totally Captivated tonight."
"Oh, it's just a pre-proprius state."
I smiled. "I like the sound of it."
Arthur smiled back.
"So what are we waiting for?"
That earned me a wide grin from Arthur.
"You're so funny."