In English the following morning, I noticed Henry scribbling something frantically in his homework diary.
"What are you writing?" I asked curiously.
He looked up. He looked slightly flustered. "It doesn't matter," he replied before resuming writing.
All the curly letters made me transfixed and my eyes followed his hand helplessly. I felt ill.
"Stop," I murmured, sure I was going to throw up.
Henry looked at me. He put the pen down.
"Do you want to see?" he asked sadly.
"I thought it didn't matter."
"I reckon you might as well know." He sighed. "To keep you safe."
He pushed his homework diary away from him with a look of disgust on his face.
On the page, written about a dozen times was the sentence ‘Don't hypnotise Harriet.'
Shocked, I looked up to find Henry gazing at me sorrowfully. He quietly murmured an apology, before taking back his homework diary and resuming the task our teacher had set us.
I was speechless and that was a good thing because otherwise I would have been shouting at Henry.
When we got up to go to our next lesson, I still felt detached from the world. I walked to Spanish feeling numb.
I'm going to ask Harriet to hypnotise me or watch me while I hypnotise myself so I'm not tempted to hypnotise her again. I could see it hurt her that I wanted to entrance her and her pain makes mine worse. If she says no, I might leave.
Who's shown their true colours now? How ... horrific. I can't believe that he wants to hypnotise me. After everything that I said to him... Well, I'm never befriending him again.
At lunchtime, he bravely came up to me. I glared at him.
"What do you want? Oh no, you've told me this already. You want to hypnotise me. Well, tough: you can't."
Henry looked extremely apologetic. "Harriet, I'd like you to hypnotise me. I don't want to hypnotise you - well, I do and that's the problem. If it can be suggested that I resist the temptation, life will be so much easier for both of us. I won't have to worry about being tempted to draw spirals and you won't have to watch out in case these awful desires overpower me."
"No. I can't hypnotise someone."
"I'll tell you how."
"I couldn't do that to someone, Henry. That's what sets us apart."
"Then will you make the suggestion if I hypnotise myself?"
"No, what if it's a trap?"
"It's not! I swear!"
"I can't trust you, Henry."
"Harriet, I'm leaving if I can't do this."
That was a shock. "Did you just say what I think you said?"
"Yes. And I'm totally serious. I know you don't like me and my leaving would be welcomed by you, but ... you're finding life difficult, aren't you? You can't ever relax and you're captivated by everything I do. Harriet, I'm like an addictive drug. You'll get withdrawal symptoms if I go."
I slapped him, hard.
"I was actually telling the truth but yeah, I can understand why you might hate me right now."
"Don't you ever talk to me again, you jerk!"
"Fine. I'll miss school tomorrow. Then the next day, you make your choice."
"I've made my choice already, you creep."
"It might have changed by Friday."
He walked away looking as if he hated himself.
Who did he think he was?! Fancy comparing himself to a drug! I'd survived all right over the weekend, hadn't I? I knew he must be lying. He was trying to trap me into being hypnotised by him. I wasn't falling for that.
On Friday, I felt quite differently.
Thursday was hell. I was distracted in lessons, constantly on edge and was short with my friends. Why? Henry wasn't there! I didn't think I liked him but was proved wrong when a whole morning which would have been spent in the seat next to him nearly made me cry. I didn't understand my feelings. I longed for him to be there, even if he never talked to me anymore. Everyone looked plain, though I'd never really taken much notice of people's looks before. Their eyes were dull, their hand movements were boring and their voices were like a collective drone! I wanted to be captivated, to be rendered awed by Henry, to feel content and relaxed as I sat next to him and didn't necessarily take conscious notice of him but absorbed him fully subconsciously. I scared myself when I went to the bathroom and quietly pined for him. I looked in the mirror and saw a mess. My eyes were sad, my frown and furrowed brows were disconcerting and my hair looked tangled and stuck up in every direction, though I'd slept fine and made it look quite presentable in the morning. The two physics lessons were unendurable, having the worse effect on me because I hated the subject. I asked myself sceptically, ‘could Henry really make it interesting?' and the mental reply was a shout of indignation but also a sigh of longing as the word ‘yes' resounded in my brain.
On Friday, I walked quickly up to Henry and startled him (and myself) by throwing my arms around him and saying, "I missed you."
I let go of him, stepped back and looked into his eyes. I didn't even take notice of his wry smile.
"Did you bring a pendulum?" I asked, knowing he'd understand and somehow feeling that he'd always understand me.
He shook his head. "I thought it would be presumptuous. D'you have a mirror on you?"
I pulled one out of my pocket.
"Let's wait until break time," he said, gently taking it and putting it in my pocket.
"Do we have to?" I asked. "I don't want you to go."
"I'm not going anywhere." He smiled at me lovingly.
My heart felt weak inside.
"I'll see you then," he said.
I bounced off in the direction of my form room.
Throughout the morning lessons, I was happy and carefree. Sara and Beth noticed and they came up to me after French (where I felt mildly annoyed that I wasn't sitting next to Henry) and asked, "Are you okay?"
I nodded, smiling.
"We're going to come and find Henry with you at break. Then this will all be sorted out."
"Okay," I said, thinking that they wanted to help him stay here too.