Charlie stood there, looking extremely bemused.
"We're certainly having a crazy morning, aren't we?"
I sat down on my bed and waited for him to join me. He came and sat down. He looked extremely puzzled as he looked around the room. He shrugged, however, murmuring quietly, "It's not as if I haven't been here."
I could have groaned. He wasn't going to turn into Christopher. How frustrating.
I suddenly recalled my plans for tonight. Charlie waited patiently while I called Anna and Clara.
I wasn't really paying attention to what Charlie was doing. Consequently, it was a big shock when I returned to sit down to find him reading my diary.
"Charlie!"I shouted, annoyed.
"When were you going to tell me that Christopher the moron was a hypnotist stalker with an enchanting voice?!" He sounded annoyed too.
He chucked my diary down.
"It's not true," was all I could think to say.
"Really?" His tone was sarcastic. "Oh, and I suppose you're not really Terri Reynolds."
"It's a story I'm writing," I lied. "I was going to use that book as my diary and then the idea came to me that I could write a story in a diary formal and call it Terri's diary."
Charlie's face softened. "Really?" This time, his tone was only questioning.
"Yeah. Do you really think I hang out with a hypnotist stalker?"
Charlie smiled. "No. Sorry for getting mad at nothing."
"That's okay. Sorry for yelling."
I suddenly had an idea. Could a diary entry perceived to be fictional cause too much déjà vu?"
"Do you want me to read you some?" I asked.
I sat beside him and made myself cosy before reading my account of what had happened the first night Christopher had been in my room.
I had gotten to Christopher's second declaration of love for me when I heard a soft chuckle beside me.
My dove, you've been hilarious so far this morning. By the way, I must congratulate you on finding a new way to turn Charlie into me. Was there something you wanted?
"In particular? No. Though I wanted to thank you for last night. The dream went beautifully well."
You don't mind that I watched, do you? After all, I phrased the trance suggestion so you wouldn't reveal any private thoughts or emotions.
"You watched? That's fine. Whenever you influence my dreams, you have my permission to watch them. After all, how else are you going to measure their success?"
Thank you, my dove. What was your favourite part of last night's dream?
"Well, to be quite honest, I loved all of it. I must say I was elated at your ideas for a Christmas present, though. Would you really record me a CD of dream suggestions?"
Of course, my dove.
"That's such a beautiful gesture."
Christopher smiled. ‘Anything else you wanted?'
I thought for a while and then remembered tonight. "I've called Anna and Clara, and they can both come tonight. Can you call Rick?"
Oh yes. Can I borrow your phone? I'm sure you can imagine why Charlie and I aren't allowed phones.
I had sudden images of Charlie receiving strange texts from Christopher's friends or being confused at the discovery of an unfamiliar phone if the two sides of his personality had separate phones.
"Sure," I replied and passed Christopher my mobile.
Thanks, my dove.
A few minutes later, Christopher hung up and told me the good news.
Rick can come.
"Hooray," I exclaimed. "Can I come with you to the station to pick him up?"
My dove, of course you can. I have to call my parents and then one of them can take you and Charlie to the station.
"Oh yeah. It's really sunny outside."
Let me call my parents, then you can tell yours and then we'll go to mine, okay?
"Yup, but before we tell my parents, we can go and sit in the garden where I can explain to Charlie."
Yes. Right, let's get this plan into action!
"Oh, Christopher," I laughed, "you sound like you're in a movie."
Christopher looked serious as he replied, ‘Well; only movie stars get girlfriends like you, my dove'.
Half an hour later, I was knocking on the Parker's door, positively bouncing next to Charlie.
"You're very excitable today, Terri," he observed.
"I had a brilliant night's sleep," I said. "I had a beautiful dream and now I'm in a great mood."
Just then, Harry opened the door.
"Morning, Terri. Come in both of you."
Charlie and I were headed for the side of the hill at the back of the house when Harry called, "Terri, a word, please."
Charlie went to wait in the kitchen while I nervously followed Harry into the living room.
"Could you explain your location this morning, Terri?"
Oh dear, I thought. "Um, I fell asleep on Christopher's couch and woke up on Charlie's floor," I said.
"That's not answering my question." Harry looked stern.
"Christopher and I were playing a practical joke." I decided to take the blame for the both of us and so said, "It was all my idea."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "Let's talk to Christopher."
"He'll just say it was his idea to get me out of trouble," I said quickly. This was probably true.
"Even so, this is something which involves him too."
Harry went to the kitchen. "Charlie, can you come upstairs with me and Terri?"
He sounded puzzled as he replied, "Okay, Dad."
In the study, I sat down on the couch and closed my eyes while Charlie transformed.
‘You can open your eyes now, my dove,' came Christopher's gentle voice in my head.
And then, as I thought about my plan to continue to shoulder the blame, the voice said, ‘No, Terri, that's neither fair nor right. You're very brave to be willing to do that but I'm not going to let you.
Christopher sat down beside me to look at Harry who was standing before us looking expectant.
"Terri, let me tell the truth," Christopher said. No! He'd made it a suggestion. "Harry," he continued. "This was not all Terri's idea. At her house, I decided I wanted to wreak a little havoc. I 'persuaded' Terri to want to be a mischief maker and then I suggested that she was one. Under these instructions, she was about to tie me up in her room so instead I tied her up in Charlie's room."
"Terri?" Harry asked. "Is this true?"
"Yes," I replied, "but I agreed to be tied up in Charlie's room."
"Because I made her believe I was doing it for fun and not with malicious intent." The lie was so convincing I found myself wondering if I hadn't really thought Christopher was well-intentioned last night.
Stay quiet, my dove
I do this for love
Christopher had sung me a suggestion in my mind! That was just unfair.
"So, Dad," he said in his most persuasive tone, "Terri was acting under my instructions and I am the one to blame for this entire incident."
Harry looked dazed. I hadn't realised that Christopher used his powers on his parents.
Harry blinked and said, "Okay then. You get a warning for today but the next time I shall have to ground you, okay?"
"Thanks, Dad," Christopher said gratefully.
‘Can I talk now?' I asked with my thoughts.
"You can talk," Christopher replied. "I can't believe I had to use mental suggestion, though." He absent-mindedly patted my shoulder.
"Don't pat my shoulder! I'm annoyed at you."
Christopher burst into laughter. Do you want to go back into a light trance, then?
"What?" I was annoyed at his light-heartedness and confused by his question.
Christopher stooped laughing but was still grinning. ‘Do you remember the first night we spoke to each other?'
"Vaguely," I replied, still puzzled.
Well you were asking what you were doing and I told you that you were in a light trance.
"I remember ..." I still didn't understand what I'd been doing in a light trance.
Terri, when I sing a mental suggestion, a light trance is induced. If I hadn't patted your shoulder, you'd follow any mental instruction I gave you.
"I don't remember you patting me that first night."
No, but I wasn't sure whether you'd try to get away if you weren't slightly dazed. It wore off, however. I just thought you wouldn't want me to have that much control over you for even a little while longer.
"Oh, thank you then." I was still slightly frustrated at his shouldering of the blame.
My dove, please forgive me. I didn't want you to get into trouble.
"I didn't want you to get into trouble either."
Oh my dove, you're so kind. I'd be honoured to grant you any request before I go to Charlie's room.
"You need to call Sandy!" I suddenly remembered.
Okay. Is there anything you want before that?
"Your promise to influence my dreams tonight."
Of course. Now, do you have your phone on you?
"Oh, here you are." I gave it to him. I wondered why he couldn't use his house phone.
He gave me it back, though, without having rung Sandy.
He picked up a cordless phone from the desk behind him and rang Sandy while I looked at the screen of my phone.
There, in the part of the menu for voice recordings was a single voice clip. Its title was ‘Terri's dream #1.'
He had recorded last night's dream suggestion! A single tear rolled down my cheek.
I replaced my phone in my pocket and looked up to see Christopher smiling at me. I kissed him before we went to Charlie's bedroom.