There was no thought in my mind as I lay there underneath Ryan and Arthur. Oddly, there was no pain or discomfort although I suppose that made sense since I was totally relaxed.
Someone walked in and said, "Arthur? Ryan? What are you two doing lying on top of a girl?"
It was a fairly young voice. Younger than the voices of Simon and Shaun.
There was no answer.
"Get off her!"
They continued to lie there.
"I'll go get Andrew," the boy threatened. Then his tone turned imploring. "Please, guys, you know it's unfair on the girl. You two aren't exactly light."
The boy sighed as he said, "I'll go and get Henry."
He walked off.
A few minutes later, there were two sets of footsteps and I heard the first boy saying, "They're just lying on top of her and won't listen to a word I say. I was surprised that Sophia could sleep through it all."
Henry entered and gasped, "Oh no!"
There was a loud click and I found I was finally able to think and move... except movement was limited because Arthur and Ryan were on top of me.
"Oh dear, we have to get off her carefully," Ryan said. "You're on top of me so gently ease yourself off me and then I'll try to get off her."
The weight on me which I could suddenly feel became lighter. I rolled onto my back and gazed up at Ryan.
"Henry induced the most powerful trance. I'll have to talk to him about that. It's really dangerous." he murmured to himself.
I was captivated by those light green eyes.
"I don't think I was hypnotised when I told you I loved you," I murmured, wrapping my arms around his neck.
"Harriet, I have a girlfriend. Please get off me."
I heard the boy who I hadn't met say, "Should we wake up Sophia too?"
"NO!" Ryan yelled. "I'm lying on top of another girl. What do you think she'd think?"
"Well, she should know if you're going to cheat," the unfamiliar boy said.
"I'm not cheating!" he exclaimed at the exact moment that I kissed him.
"You should try and be more subtle about it," the boy said.
Arthur sounded shocked. "Harriet, what are you doing?! You haven't officially dumped me yet!"
I broke away from Ryan who looked relieved and called out, "You're dumped," before resuming kissing Ryan. I somehow managed to roll him onto his back and pin him down while I kissed him.
He pushed me away, saying "Don't do this! Don't do this to Arthur!"
"Arthur's not my boyfriend anymore," I said, leaning in to kiss him again.
He pushed me away saying, "Someone say our surname, for Pete's sake!"
"What, Mesmerising?" the boy asked. Surprisingly, I didn't fall asleep.
"Not you, Jack," Ryan said crossly, holding me away from him while I stroked his hair. He looked into my eyes. "Look, I'm flattered and everything, but I'm in love with Sophia."
"Oh, gosh, you were serious when you said you'd ask me to do that, weren't you?"
"Yup," I said.
"I'm really sorry, Harriet. Mesmer-..."
This time, I did fall asleep.
I woke up, lying on someone's bed. I doubted it was Ryan's because Sophia was nowhere in sight. The room around me was fairly bare. The wall paper was a dark red colour, like dried blood.
"Harriet?" someone asked. I recognised Arthur's voice.
"Arthur? What happened?"
"You kissed Ryan."
"Oh, yeah, I remember that. Did you carry me here?"
"No, I dragged you," he said sarcastically.
"Is Ryan okay? I fell asleep on him."
"He's not too happy with you and he's told me that you're very compliant and very suggestible. It turns out, in fact, that you don't love him."
"I do, though."
"If you loved him, you would care about his love for Sophia, so Ryan says. The kiss was apparently just an effect of being mesmerised."
"Oh... Yeah, I suppose it makes sense. I'm not that inconsiderate, after all."
"You know the crazy thing, Harriet? I still love you."
"I love you too," I murmured. "It's just been a crazy day today. Meeting three hypnotists, two of whom I found charming and irresistible and the other despised."
"Don't let Andrew hear you say that."
"No, that would be very tactless."
"Thank goodness Sophia was asleep and you kissed Ryan rather than Matt. Matt would have driven you insane and Zara would have brought her claws out."
"Oh, she didn't seem violent. Neither of them did."
"They're fiercely protective of each other and they love each other more than anything in the whole universe. I think it's safe to say they can get a bit vicious when their perfect world and bliss-filled life is threatened."
"Sounds like they wouldn't want to lose it." I sighed. "Can I meet Jack? He sounds normal."
"Yeah, just as long as you don't kiss him."
"No, I won't. He's younger than me, isn't he?"
"Yes, he's twelve. You might find him handsome, though."
"Less hypnotic, though. His voice sounded very plain in comparison to yours, Henry's and Ryan's in Ryan's bedroom."
"He's not hypnotic at all, though that won't last for long. Captivators are aged typically between thirteen and nineteen years old, though they still have some effect on other people when they hit 20, while some retain the ability to hypnotise for a lot longer (but only really powerful ones are like that)."
"I bet Elizabeth can't wait for Andrew's twentieth."
"Well, actually, there are several reasons it might not be too exciting. We'd all love to think Andrew's going to turn a new leaf and become more of the person he is around his fiancée because he won't be able to hypnotise people anymore, but we have the feeling that he could potentially be one of the Hypnos People who retains their powers past their twentieth birthday. Also, Elizabeth's slightly worried about ending up in a loveless relationship because Andrew might not have the same effect on her as he does now when they get married and she'd be far too frightened to call it off. It could be a good or bad thing really."
There was silence for a while. I looked around the room but Arthur was nowhere in sight. It was quite disconcerting talking to the air when it replied.
"Where are you?" I asked.
"I'm by the door."
I sat up and looked in the direction of the door. There, slumped in the doorway, looking exhausted was Arthur.
"Was I heavy?"
"No, you broke my heart."
"Oh. I'm really sorry. I'm sure my head will be much clearer when I leave this blasted house."
"Don't insult the house," said Jack who walked in at that moment, stepping over Arthur. His eyes were brown and he was nice-looking in a non-fascinating, non-captivating, normal way.
"Sorry: it's just what with all these hypnotic, super-handsome guys, I can't think straight."
"Every girl says they're hypnotic. It's just an excuse."
"Hm, it will be your girlfriend's ‘excuse', one day."
Jack shot me a dark look. "Mia would never make excuses."
"Oh, you already have one. When's your thirteenth birthday?"
Jack looked puzzled. "Why does everyone ask me that? And why does everyone look as if they feel sorry for me? Even Mum and Dad do... Um, it's the 13th of July."
"Oh, good, a long time away."
"What's wrong with becoming thirteen?"
"Oh, it's just to do with being a teenager," I lied. "You get on everyone's nerves."
"Mia says I could never get on her nerves," Jack said, smiling at his thoughts.
"What's she like?"
Jack frowned at me. "Nothing like you. I'm not usually judgemental but I think it's really horrible what you did to Arthur. I was just coming in to tell you so myself. Mia is wonderful, caring, loyal and I love her."
He strode out, looking annoyed.
I sighed. "I'm so horrible."
"Hopefully, you'll get used to being around Captivators and be able to be yourself more. I assume you don't want to go out with a normal person now."
"No, I don't. They're just so ... uninteresting. And I'm not seeing Eric either."
Arthur smiled. "Really?"
I nodded. "Think of the havoc I'll cause."
Arthur stood up and walked over to me and gave me a hug. "Thank you."
"I'm not doing it for you."
"I know, but I'm still grateful that you see sense."
I nestled my head in his shoulder. "I wish I was more sensible."
"You don't need to be. I love you just the way you are."
"Except for when I kiss Ryan," I pointed out.
"Except when you get hypnotised by my brothers," Arthur corrected, but making an agreement too.
"I'm sorry," I murmured.
"No, I'm sorry. You've been through a lot today and it was unfair for me to think you could resist my brothers. I expect too much of you. All that matters now is ‘Can you take me back?'"
"Can you take me?"
"Then definitely." I kissed him and held him while he held me.