When I woke up, Rick was having a phone conversation with someone on his mobile. He was shouting a lot.
"I made her faint! Faint, Christopher! I made your girlfriend, your wonderful dove, faint! That is not right. I refuse to be the end of you two."
"A couple of days?!" Rick exploded. "She's infatuated now! I told her she looked like I'd proposed and d'you know what she said? She said she'd say yes if I did! No amount of clever, well-worded suggestion can do that."
There was a long silence.
"So you don't care if she ends up dumping you?" Rick's voice was calm now, but negative emotions underlay his tone. "You care that little about her."
There was a short pause before he spoke again. It sounded like he was interrupting Christopher. His tone was sharp and angry again.
"Don't you try and use façades to get out of this one!"
There was another pause before Rick shut his phone. Christopher had evidently hung up.
Rick shook his head.
"Let her be in love with me?" he murmured sadly.
"Don't you love me?" I whispered, not really understanding anything up until his last statement.
Rick's eyes widened in shock. He turned to look at me and cringed.
"You heard all that?" he asked.
I nodded, tears welling up in my eyes.
"Can I tell you what really happened this afternoon?" He looked sad as he spoke: regretful.
I nodded, even though I was unsure whether I really wanted to hear.
"In the study, Christopher told me he needed some time to himself. He told me to hypnotise you - yes, you were right: I did put you in a trance - and suggest that you allowed your love for me to be more evident than your love for him. It was a clever idea since love can't be induced or destroyed by suggestion. ... I also suggested that you were more open to my suggestions to make both our lives easier." He looked extremely unhappy as he finished.
I lay down and rolled over to face the opposite way to him, disgusted.
"I hadn't realised you'd ignore your love for Christopher so well," Rick said. "It scared me that you'd marry me if I proposed. I had to try and change Christopher's mind.
"He's stubborn, though.
"I've decided I'm going to ignore him, however, and let you think normally. I'll even undo the dream suggestion."
"No," I said. Frustratingly, my heart experienced pain at my willingness to dislike him. "You are not hypnotising me again," I continued. "How can I ever trust you again."
"I have to, Terri. How can I let you ignore your love for Christopher? And tonight's dream will be really uncomfortable for you."
My heart begged me to forgive him but I'd had enough.
"No," I objected.
"Terri, I can't stand this pain!"
"Bear it," I growled.
"Terri, I can't hurt you..."
"You already have," I interrupted.
"I can't hurt you any more!"
"That's right. You've lied to me, hypnotised me without my permission and, also, broken my heart."
"Then let me help you feel less bound to me. You know it's hurting you to say these things right now."
I hated him for being psychic.
"No," I said simply.
"Terri, if you don't let me do this, I'll have to do it the hard way, and that will be extremely unpleasant."
"You don't have to do it at all!" I cried.
"I do, Terri. Please understand," he said imploringly.
"Understanding means forgiving and I'm not forgiving you," I snarled.
"Then, I'm sorry, Terri. I can't let this continue." He took a deep breath. "Terri Reynolds, roll over." The authoritative voice was strained, but still unfairly compelling.
I felt myself roll over. Tears ran down my cheeks. He wasn't letting me have free will after he'd broken my heart!
"Terri Reynolds, sit up."
I felt the traitors which were my hands push me up into a sitting position. I shut my eyes tightly. The tears flowed relentlessly.
"Open your eyes."
I found myself falling into emerald depths. My mind instantly blanked.
Rick had the nerve to apologise with his thoughts as I fell deeper into blackness.
I woke up miserable and angry. Rick was perched on the end of my bed, his back towards me.
"Sorry," he murmured.
"Get out," I said quietly, but with as much menace as I could muster up.
As he stood up to leave, he said "I'm going to stay elsewhere around here - not at the Parkers' - for a week but if you want to shout at me, I'll be at ‘The Black Dove' every night at 4pm."
"Count your lucky stars I don't want to shout now."
He smiled sadly at me as he left. Once he'd gone, I exhaled calmly before breaking down into a flood of tears.
When I'd calmed down, I wanted to talk to Christopher. I suppose it was crazy that I desired to talk to the person who'd asked Rick to hypnotise me but I was feeling low. I needed to hear Christopher's soothing voice, to be reassured. I really wasn't thinking straight.
I picked up my phone and dialled the Parkers' house number. Harry picked up.
"Hello?" he said.
"Um, hi, Harry, it's Terri."
"Oh, hi there, Terri." To my relief he didn't sound cross.
"I'd like to talk to Christopher please."
"Okay. Hang on a moment."
Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long to hear Christopher's voice. It was a wonderful and pleasing sound.
"Terri?" he asked.
"I want you to come over," I told him.
"Terri, not right now." His voice sounded strained over the telephone. "Where's Rick?"
"He's gone. I need you."
Christopher sounded horrified.
"Oh no! What's he done, Terri?"
"He un-hypnotised me. Please come over, Christopher."
"He undid the suggestion?! I told him no to! Oh, Terri, I can't come over. I'm really sorry."
"Christopher!" I started to cry. "I need you. Please!"
"Terri, I can't." He sounded unhappy. "You can't see me like this."
"Please! I don't care what sort of state you're in - just come over and see me!"
"Terri, I'm really sorry," he said quietly, before hanging up.
The tears dried up long before I was calm again. How could Christopher do this to me? Was he finally punishing me for being a monster? I needed emotional support.
I went to bed without dinner. I wasn't hungry. I just felt empty. It seemed that no one loved me. I think I'd started to go insane. My last conscious thought was ‘Fine. If Christopher doesn't love me, I can deal with that.' But I couldn't.