A very nervous Holly’s P.O.V.
I woke up to my shoulder’s being shaken, and a singing voice.
“Polly! Po-o-lly!! Time to get up! Do you know why? Because it’s time for the wedding! Yes, today is the day you become a princess! And a Fowl!”
Artemis is skipping around the room stark naked. I check that my pants are still there, just in case I’d forgotten some events, but I was still safe.
Artemis yanks the blankets off me, still yelling nonsense. I moan and twist over, only to be roughly heaved up.
“Artemis,” I protest. “Please don’t make me do this. I’m still normal, right? I can’t become a princess.”
He’s beyond listening, prancing around the room, now in flash suit trousers. I grab him by the shoulder, and when he giggles I wonder if he’s drunk.
“You are touching me! With your own free will!”
“Yes. But, listen. We’re not getting married, OK? Not today. Maybe another time, OK?”
His face crumples. “Why not?”
“Because I don’t want to.”
“The whole world is waiting!” he protests, on the verge of tears.
“Yes. I know. But another time, OK? Or maybe,” I amend, seeing what looked like rain pour down his face, “We won’t have it in public. Just me and you, yeah? And some family?” This didn’t seem to comfort him, so I went on. “And a bit of music? A cake?”
“Why can’t cameras watch that? Then we’ll just have the one wedding.”
“I don’t like people watching me,” I half-lied. “Maybe the one camera. That’s all.”
“And family, and friends, and cake, and music, and a bouquet to throw, and-”
“No. Me, you, our families, one camera. That’s it.”
“Because it’s a private wedding, just focused on the after?” His eyes are twinkling, so I know he’s over his little meltdown.
“We’ll see,” I lie.
So Artemis calls up his mother, and tells her that I was sobbing all last night, and wouldn’t get up this morning, I was so scared, watching me with a cheeky smile as he elaborated the tears, and the begging. After much persuasion, and exaggeration, Queen Fowl agrees to our plan. Just her, King Fowl, the Prince twins, my mother, sister, and brother, aunt Barbara-
“No, Mother. No Barbara. Yes, I know she’s your sister. Yes, she did give me my cot. Mother, it’s my wedding, not yours, and I’ve only met her once. I know you haven’t seen your sister in a while, but you have seven, next you’ll want to invite all of them. Of course Polly’s sister gets to come, it’s her wedding. Oh. She’s not invited, is she? Not dirty slave scum? Well. Here’s Polly to speak to you, then.”
I snatched the phone off him. “Hello, Mrs Fowl.” All charm, so she could tell I was furious.
“I overheard what you were saying about my sister.” Still sickly sweet.
‘Well. It’s the truth.”
And I let all hell break loose.
“The truth?! The truth?! My sister is civilized compared to your family! You are a rude, obnoxious, b****! Your son is cold and heartless. And your sisters? From what I’ve heard, if they’re coming to the wedding then I don’t have to dress nicely, because I could wear a rubbish sack and still look better than them! So keep your big, fat, mouth shut about my sister!”
Even though I’d insulted him, Artemis looked proud. ‘I love you’, he mouthed.
“Then I won’t come to your wedding! Tell Artemis that I don’t care about his wedding.”
The phone went dead.
“What? What was her reaction?”
Oh God. I couldn’t tell him his mother didn’t want to go to her son’s wedding.
“She’s not coming.”
“Because she hates me.”
“Does she hate me?” I may have imagined it, but he sounded hopeful.
“How could anyone not hate you, Artemis?”
He hugged me, completely spontaneously. “Good. Do we get the wedding alone now?”
“Yeah. Just us, and a bit of family.”
“Good. Sounds like a plan.”
An hour later we were at the chapel.