Chapter 32


No! I didn't want Henry to take me away from Arthur. It wouldn't be fair, it wouldn't be right:  I belonged with Arthur.

"Arthur, he can't really steal me, can he?" I asked, frightened.

Arthur's expression was wry.

"I'll try my hardest to get you back," he whispered.

"But he can take me? Actually take me away?! Arthur, you can't let that happen - you can't! I don't want to be away from you."

I started to cry. I knew it was childish and that it wouldn't help matters in any way but I was so distraught at the prospect of not being Arthur's that I couldn't help it.

Arthur hugged me, holding me so tightly that it hurt a little. I didn't care, though, because I wanted to know I was secure.

"Sh, darling," he murmured soothingly. "It's going to be okay."

"I wish I could believe you," I said, crying.

"You can," he whispered hypnotically.

"Okay," I said, instantly reassured. I let go of Arthur and wiped my tears away. I looked at him. His smile was slightly sad. I hugged him this time. He hugged back, hesitantly at first but then relaxing into my embrace.

Pulling back, he said "Would you mind getting up so I can make the bed?"

He stood up and held out a hand. I took it and stood up, too, kissing him on the cheek.

"D'you need any help?" I asked.

"No, it's fine," he said, warmly.

I looked around. I was struck by a sudden thought.

"Arthur, where's my stuff?"

Arthur looked at me questioningly.

"Your...?" Comprehension dawned on his face and he looked mortified. "Oh, Harriet, I forgot your things! Oh, princess, I'm so sorry!"

I laughed. "It's okay, darling. Let's go back and get them."

"Well, you don't have to come. What d'you need?"

"Pyjamas, toothbrush, toothpaste, comb - but let me come, Arthur. I can't make you fetch my stuff."

"You're not making me do anything - I'm offering. I'll borrow a flannel and a towel from the bathroom for you too."

"If you don't find any, there's a cupboard in my room." I blushed. "Oh, Arthur, I really should come - I've got to get a change of clothes."

Arthur's cheeks reddened slightly. "Oh, of course. Well, there go my attempts to be helpful."

"You're helpful anyway, my love," I said, taking his face in my hands and kissing him.


Two hours later, everything was ready for the sleepover.

Arthur and I lay on our backs on his bed, the light off and the curtains open, and we gazed out at the night sky.

In a voice barely above a whisper, I told Arthur "Every aspect of you shines like those stars. And the blackness of the depths of the space around the stars is like how I would feel without your radiant love, and like how the dullness of the other people emphasises your specialness."

"Ah," Arthur said quietly. "That's so beautiful."

I gazed at his face, cast in shadow. "It's true, Arthur."

He turned to me and I could see he was smiling.

"Well, if I'm the stars, you're the moon: the queen of the sky. No starlight could compare to you, and its comparative size emphasises its beauty, thus emphasising yours."

"Stars are further away than the moon," I reminded him. "They could be as big as the sun, bigger than Earth."

Arthur shrugged. "They could be. But to us, they are tiny pinpricks of light."

"But if you apply that principle to us," I countered, "it could suggest we were insignificant. After all, we're no one grand or important: we're not famous. It's the things beyond vision that matter."

Arthur chuckled.


"I thin k I should stop trying to make out you're the better person in the relationship. You're too clever. And I really don't intend to imply that we mean nothing."

"I know," I told him. "I just like winning, that's all."

"I like losing," Arthur said.

I giggled. "Well, no. If I win that means you're the better person because my goal is to always convey that you're the best boyfriend in the world."

"This is all going to get to my head some day," Arthur teased. "And then you'll have the most arrogant boyfriend in the world."

"Not a chance."

"Sure about that, my oh so inferior girlfriend?" Arthur grinned.

"Well, anything that could be perceived as arrogant in your case is the truth, my superior boyfriend," I replied.

Arthur kissed my forehead. "No, it wouldn't," he murmured.

"If you insist," I said, snuggling up to him.

He kissed my cheek.

"I know you were saying that I was going to sleep beneath your duvet," I said to Arthur, "but I'd rather be in your arms."

"So sweet," Arthur said, smiling more widely.

And so, it was in that position, in the comfortable heat that was being emanated by the radiator, that we fell asleep.




                I woke up the next morning to find Harriet lying on top of me, her arms wrapped around my body. Her expression was calm, peaceful.

In her sleep, she murmured my name, sighing contentedly. She rolled over not her back and quietly I climbed off the bed.

I yawned and stretched before going downstairs to make myself and Harriet some breakfast.

I returned with a tray of cereal and toast, and a jug of hot chocolate as well as two empty mugs to pour it into.

Harriet woke up as I placed the tray on my desk. She sat up and smiled sleepily at me as I turned around.

"Morning, princess," I murmured, walking up to her and sitting opposite her.

"Morning," she said. She shivered.

I wrapped my arms around her and said "I made us breakfast, love."

She embraced me and nestled her head against my shoulder.

"You really needn't have done that," she mumbled.

"I know," I replied. "But I wanted to."

So, after a few more minutes of hugging, we brought the tray to the bed and began to eat and drink. We each went to the bathroom to wash and dress, and then we returned to my bedroom.

There, Harriet caused me to laugh as she had done yesterday by saying "Now for the final stage!"

The End

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