I seduced you. There is no doubt that this happened. I was the protagonist and I brought you under my spell. But let us go a little further back. I chose you. I identified you as a prospect and then undertook my investigative work to determine that you had what I was looking for (you did) and then I began to gather the material that would aid my seduction of you. You had no idea that you had walked into my sights. You had no idea that my gaze followed you around the room, that I observed where you worked, where you lived and began the careful assimilation of information about who you are from your friends and your online presence. In fact, your social media contribution was instrumental in allowing me to ascertain that you fitted the profile that I require in those I target. Not only that, your tendency to plaster your life over the internet provided me with a plethora of material to use in my seduction. More than most I felt I really did know you before I even met you. There are enough warnings about remaining safe on-line, plenty of guides about how to be secure in your internet dealings and to chart the waters of cyberspace in an enjoyable yet cautious manner. Not that you paid any regard to this as comments, photographs, location tags and such like were thrown like broadcasted seeds out into cyberspace. You posted photographs which showed inside your home, it was easy enough from your frequent location tags to work out the neighbourhood where you lived and then using the photographs to identify which was your house. You didn’t see me sat in the car outside as I waited one morning for the confirmation that was where you lived. I had a good look through your windows as well seeing as how you opened all the blinds and that hedge meant nobody saw me taking note of what lay within you house. Some might say that such an approach meant you asked for what happened. Would it be uncharitable to suggest that your lax approach to sharing your life on social media caused you to stand out as a ready target?
It was not difficult to engage you. You are after all a bright and vivacious person with many friends. Indeed, those friends enjoy talking about you to people and they offered up more information about you. Perhaps you should re-consider who you trust with information about you. I was always pushing on an open door with you and even the surprising hesitancy you showed when I suggested we sit in a booth together in that bar was soon overcome as I began to mirror you.
Did you not think it strange that I just happened to like jet ski-ing and was apparently a member of the same club as you, that I loved Thai food and enjoyed dance music? Our mutual love of rugby (I had to swot up on that admittedly) provided the opening for a date at a rugby match. Did you not think it was unusual that we clicked on so many levels or were you just swept away by the fact we did and therefore never gave it a second thought? Some might suggest that this was opening yourself up to my charms rather too quickly or are they being unduly critical of you?
We attended the rugby in the afternoon and I had already arranged dinner at a restaurant I knew you often frequented. You expressed such delight at this surprise by planting a huge kiss on my lips. I knew you are an excitable person but did you ever stop to think how, out of the thousands of restaurants in this city, I knew this was your favourite? You actually did ask me, as we dined, how I knew about this place and I explained a client had recommended it to me. When you explained it was your favourite I feigned surprise and added that I just thought you might like it. You did not pick up on how I was able to secure a booking on a Saturday and an excellent table to boot, but then how were you to know about the slipped notes passed to a member of staff. After all, I move with an air of considered confidence so it all fitted together didn’t it that I would command such close attention from the waiting staff through the evening.
You even missed the fact that somewhat inebriated I was able to tell the taxi driver where you lived. I had become somewhat amused at how easy this was proving to be. Your readiness to down glass after glass of wine in the company of someone you had not long ago met. Was that remiss of you or was it understandable given the way I made myself seem so familiar to you through my background work on you. I decided to let slip your address to the taxi driver, even though you had not given it to me, yet you completely missed this. As I helped you into the taxi, ever the gent, you missed the almost reptilian smile I gave. I didn’t. I saw it reflected back at me in the window of the taxi.
I had earlier plied you with plaudits and listened to you offer me up even more information, telling me where you worked, what you did there, information about your colleagues, taking me through your relationships with your family, your favourite musicals and so on. I logged it all as you opened up to me, pouring so much knowledge in my direction. There are those who might consider that to be a natural thing to do, the social lubrication which makes the interpersonal relationship easier and who is to say they are wrong? You accepted my compliments with good grace and returned them which pleased me considerably. I had to stop myself laughing out loud as you declared those phrases which told me that all lights are green.
“I feel like I have known you for years.”
“This is wonderful; we have so much in common.”
“You know me so well, it is fantastic.”
I threw a few of our well-used favourites back at you,
“I think we were fated to meet.”
“I’ve never clicked with anybody the way I have with you.”
“I know it is only the second time we have spent together but I feel a connection with you.”
I may as well have stood on the restaurant table and waved a huge red flag in front of you with klaxons blaring in the background. You did not notice. Was that negligent of you? Ought you, as a self-professed intelligent and independent person, to have seen these warning signs and acted on them? Perhaps you did and decided that the risk was worth taking. If that was the case, I know that there are people who would regard you as consenting to our entanglement with some degree of knowledge that something was not quite right but you were happy to waive this concern, it was too tempting to miss out on someone like me. Was that how it flashed through your mind?
The dates came and went and my tendrils wrapped around you. I stayed over in your house on the second date. You yielded readily to my overtures and we engaged in frenetic, athletic love-making which enabled me to play one of my aces. It was following one such energetic coupling that you held me and with sincerity shining from your eyes whispered that you felt you were falling in love with me. I smiled and nodded because after all, love comes quickly with our type and I was positively delighted that you had given this indication even before I had opportunity to play that particular card. Did you replay that conversation and all the other beautiful ones we had that evening of love-making? Of course you did. You always do because the recall of such scintillating times causes a soaring sensation in your chest. Did you evaluate what this meant? Did you consider it against other relationships in order to benchmark your feelings? Some might suggest that the cautious and sensible would do so and apply some slowing touches and undertake some verification of everything that you were being told, but you did not. Was that slipshod of you? You were given the signs. You were handed the warnings. They were plain enough to see. Many of them were conventional in nature. I only hid them in plain sight, as I always do. Perhaps you are at fault for not paying heed to them? Then again how could you be expected to resist me? I have done this so many times and you (surprisingly) have not been seduced by my kind behaviour. I bet you have said the label attached to my type less than half a dozen times. How could you be expected to put up any resistance when you are being flattered and wooed in such a convincing manner? Why would you stop someone from being so pleasant? Who would? Maybe it is an entirely unfeeling and harsh judge who expected you to know better and remain vigilant?
You let me in. You opened the door and left it open whilst providing me with a key to it and the back door too. You allowed me to permeate every element of your life from your bed to your buddies. Should you have listened to that one friend who cautioned you against moving so quickly? She was just bitter wasn’t she? After all, that is what we told you and why on earth would you have any reason to disagree with us? Your family all felt I was wonderful, even your sister who in the past has been notoriously difficult to please (actually she isn’t, you just need to know what to say but that’s a different story) so you could be forgiven for deeming their reactions as an accurate weather gauge of who I was. How could you have known what was coming? You are no clairvoyant and who would not have taken advantage of being chosen by such a wonderful, charming, magnetic and loving person as I? All my friends spoke highly of me. Did you not pick up on how rehearsed they often sounded when lauding my attributes? No, never mind, it was too much to expect you to do so wasn’t it.
On went our relationship, two entwined lovers, the world at our feet, happiness all around us, a beautiful and enchanting romance. Who would not want such a thing? You have to have an open heart haven’t you otherwise you can never be happy? You have to trust don’t you otherwise you will never find anybody? You have to bare your chest and lift your throat to the world. Nothing ventured, nothing gained and so on. Anybody else would have done the same, surely? Are you to be judged by the universal standard and forgiven for not seeing a predator making his way towards you, snaking his tendrils about you and sinking those sugar-coated fangs into your naïve neck? Or ought you have noticed but became too caught up in your fantasy of perfect love that you blinded yourself. Does that make you culpable? Then again, did you see the signs but actually ignored them, content to brush them to one side because your heart told you this was a once in a lifetime opportunity to be with me.
Were you a victim?
Or did you volunteer?