I curl up in a tiny little ball on my bed and refuse to move. She doesn’t like me. She hates me. That’s not fair.
It takes 2hrs before someone realises I haven’t moved. Butler comes in, laden with hot drinks and warm food.
“Eat,” he commands. It’s meant to make me feel better.
“I’m not hungry,” I whisper.
“Drink, then. Whatever. But I can’t have you sitting here for the rest of the day crying.”
“I don’t want to,” I whisper. My voice can’t seem to get higher than that. “I want Holly.” Like he could do anything about it.
“I’ll come back later,” Butler tells me. “And you will have eaten, and be up. Understood?”
I know there’s no point in complaining, but I don’t plan on following orders. A Prince doesn’t do what his servant tells him.
A few minutes later Holly comes in, no doubt sent by my concerned servant. She does have the decency to look ashamed, and slightly sheepish, almost nervous.
“Hello.” Shoot. Still the whisper.
“Butler said you were ill, and not eating.”
“I’m not ill. Not properly, anyway.”
“I’m sorry I’m an idiot.”
She laughs. That’s good. I like making her laugh. “You’re not. I’m sorry I did whatever I did.”
“You didn’t do anything, not really. You don’t like me. That’s not a bad thing.”
“Stop it.” Can’t she say more than ‘oh’?
“OK.” She doesn’t even know what I mean.
Then she remembers why she was sent here. “You should get up. Or eat.”
“Why?” I’m better, that’s why I’m annoying her.
“Um, cause your a Prince.”
“That’s stupid.” But I scramble up obediently.
With tray in my hands I follow Holly along the hall. I think that she’d kiss me right now if I wanted to. I should. I will.
I wind my arm around her waist, pulling her tight against me. My head ducks forward, fringe brushing her forehead.
“Don’t,” she whispers, pulling away. I won’t let her move.
“Artemis.” No more romantic whispers for her, now it’s her stern teacher-voice.
“Polly,” I whisper, pressing my lips against hers.
I’m barely aware of what’s happening, but I’m sprawled across the floor within seconds.
“Don’t, OK? I don’t love you, or even remotely like you, so don’t push your luck, got it?” And with her hair swaying behind her, and me on the floor nearly sobbing with longing, she storms off.