After a moment of silence, Henry asked, “What does this have to do with you and me?” Rose held up and hand that she hoped indicated that she was getting to it, and started talking again.
“We can release these threads, and send them back to their owners. The men will lose any connection they have with us. Our relationship with those men returns to the level it would be if we had never used our powers to influence them. That’s what Helen made me do this morning in the meeting. She’s afraid of me, rightly so, and wanted her team out of my control.”
“I still don’t see how this relates to us.” Henry ran an angry hand through his hair.
Rose let out a desperate little sound. She was never going to get through this if he kept interrupting. “Henry, please.” Henry nodded and made a little go on gesture.
“What my mother didn’t realize, when my father came around, was that the same thread passing can occur with us. When we are attracted to someone, we fray at the edges too, and with a kiss or more, that man gets a hold of us, and they cannot let go, not matter what. If you don’t understand the threads, if you don’t have that power, then you’re stuck holding on to that thread forever.
“My mother and father were together for exactly a month. When my mother learned she was pregnant, Dad was gone. Mom tried to forget all about him, but she never could. We didn’t hear from him again until I was three years old. At the time, Mom was currently taking over a business, getting us a little spending money. Dad called, and just like that, we were on the next flight back to his house. Turns out he was going through a dry spell, and he just wanted to get some. Mom gave him some. A week later, when he was sick of us, we were unceremoniously thrown from his house in the middle of the night. We flew back home, and Mom continued her work on the businessmen. It went on like that until the day Mom died. Even though she had hundreds of men on the line at any given moment, one call from Dad, and she was off. He used her and kicked her to the curb again and again and again. He knew exactly what he was doing to her, and he used that power to his advantage. Mom was powerless to resist him. No matter what, she had to love him, and she had to go back, even though he never once actually loved her. He had her thread, and there was nothing she could do.”
While she talked, Rose sank onto the edge of her bed. She was proud of herself, though. This was the first time she had managed to tell this story without bursting into tears. Henry was still standing, his arms still crossed across his chest, but his face was softer. After a long moment, he crossed the room and sank down on the edge of the bed next to her.
“Are you trying to say…” Henry trailed off.
Rose took a deep breath and closed her eyes. In for a penny, in for a pound. “I couldn’t kiss you, because even though you seem like a really great guy, I didn’t know what your intentions were, and I can’t spend the rest of my life running back to you to have my heart broken again and again. That sent my mother to an early grave, and I will not follow in her footsteps.”
“So, you do like me?” Henry asked, stupidly.
“More than any man I have ever met.” Rose almost laughed with the release of the confession.