Chapter 31

Arthur

Life

After telling my precious, darling Harriet that I loved her too, I kissed her.

I don't think she noticed but when we kissed, she kissed me more strongly, held onto me more tightly and was distinctly more relaxed. When we broke away, I wanted to kiss her again. She wanted to kiss me too and so seconds after drawing back, we leant in to brush our lips against each other's again.

The next time we pulled away, I thought it might be a good idea to wait a while before sharing another kiss. I didn't want it to be unbearable for us not to be kissing, no matter how much I loved her. Anyway, kissing wasn't the only way to convey love for someone.

I stroked Harriet's cheek and said "I love you so much that sometimes I think I wouldn't care if there was no physical aspect of our relationship."

She looked amazed. "Wow, you're so soulful!"

I smiled at her. "Yes, I am full of the inspiration I have got from your soul."

She beamed. "You know, your flattery only makes you better in my eyes."

I shrugged. "Then I use this wonderfulness I have gained to stress just how perfect you are."

She looked away, and her expression was serious. "I cannot match your intensity, Arthur. I truly am not worthy of you."

"Of course you are," I said, turning her head to look back at me. "I whole-heartedly believe that you could be the one."

She sighed contentedly. "If we could be destined for each other, I would be the happiest girl alive."

"And I the happiest guy." Unable to resist, I swiftly kissed her again.

She giggled as I pulled back and apologised.

"So what shall we do now, my princess?" I murmured.

"Whatever you wish, my prince."

Footsteps had been moving along the passageway outside my room during our conversation and now Henry stopped at the door and looked in, smiling at Harriet.

"Hiya," he said.

"Hi," she said, looking surprised.

"You okay?" he asked warmly.

I coughed impatiently. Henry, being Henry, ignored me.

Harriet glanced at me and sensed my frustration.

"Yeah. I can't talk right now - Arthur's annoyed at you - but maybe later, okay?"

"Why should it matter that he's annoyed?" Henry asked, frowning. Was he clever enough to detect the subtle response to my mood that Harriet had displayed?

"He's my boyfriend," she replied calmly.

"No, it's more than that," he said, moving further into the room.

"Okay," she said, looking bewildered by his seriousness. "It's because it really matters to me how he feels and what he thinks. He cares about me, Henry, and I don't ever want to break that trust between us."

"Say it," Henry said. "Tell me what he's done to you."

"Well, he's caused something rather than done it outright. But I think he called it ‘Total Captivation'."

Henry turned to me, looking very, very annoyed.

In a barely audible voice, he said "You go any further and you'll regret it."

"Is that a threat?" I asked, amused. Henry wasn't usually the one to ‘punish' and talk of ‘consequences'. He was such a gentle guy.

"What, you think I'm joking?" His seriousness was almost deadly.

I shrugged, undaunted. "It's not like you to threaten people."

"Well, sometimes, people go one step too far." His voice was menacing.

I swallowed slightly. Part of me worried that he could actually do something.

"Well, go on. Don't let me ruin your first taste of hatred."

Harriet looked frightened. I held her close to me, stroking her reassuringly.

"If you don't reverse what you've done to Harriet within a month and free her from your will, I promise you I will take her from you."

And at that, I grew serious. "You wouldn't," I said.

"I would," Henry said, his eyes flashing with a look I had never seen in them before.

"You're too soft."

"Who says I can't change?"

"Harriet wouldn't like you like that."

"Harriet wouldn't care."

I laughed. "You would take her from me only to put your own spell on her? What kind of nobility is that?"

"At least I wouldn't make her my proprius!" Henry shouted, looking furious.

"Have you lost your sanity?! The old you would be indignant, outraged, at the thought of going against someone's will. Henry, if you steal Harriet, you are no better than me."

"I don't care!" he cried. "This is about more than my own morality! I can't bear the thought of Harriet becoming a dull, lifeless puppet."

"She will become your ‘dull, lifeless puppet'. At least she loves me."

Pain shot across Henry's features.

"I would not let that happen to her," he said, in response to my first statement. He didn't say anything to the second.

"You could not help it," I pointed out. "Now go. You've said what you needed to. I won't decide whether you are going to betray yourself or not, but I will say this. If you steal Harriet, I will do everything in my power to get her back. And you do not want me as an enemy, Henry."

Henry remained for a few more seconds. "I'm not scared of you, Arthur," he said.

His statement didn't affect my next words. Instead, I looked at Harriet and then back at him. "She is scared of you."

Pain filled his eyes and he briskly turned and walked out.

I hugged Harriet and whispered "I love you."

She relaxed in my arms but through my shirt, I felt warm wetness creep to my skin near her eyes.

"I love you too," she murmured. "Don't let Henry take me away from you."

"I'll try not to," I promised. But trying was all I could do. Henry was the strongest Captivator in the household. Perhaps I wouldn't be able to defy him at all.

*

Henry

I hate Arthur! I HATE ARTHUR!

How can he?! How can he do this to her? This isn't fair, this isn't right, this shouldn't be happening!

What am I going to do?

He's right. I absolutely hate to admit this but he is right. If I steal Harriet, no matter how good my intentions, I will become a bad person.

But what else can I do to prevent her from becoming his proprius.

I hate to say this but stealing her is my only option.

I will try, my very hardest, to ensure that Harriet understands she must be herself while under my power. I will not control her, I will refuse to kiss her (a side-effect of the captivation might be attraction) and I will constantly tell her that she is her own person and not bound to me in any way at all.

I only hope that this will have the desired effect.

No, I lie. That is not my only hope. My other hope is that I don't give in to temptation.

The End

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