When Butler left, Artemis got up and retrieved his laptop from where the manservant had chucked it.
He sat back down in his chair and tried to resume working, but soon found that he couldn’t concentrate. His mind kept drifting back to Holly.
He thought about what his bodyguard has said. It was true; all of it. He had been acting rather odd lately, even he had noticed it. He had been feeling different too, though he knew that was no excuse.
That was entirely true as well. No matter what, there was no excuse for what he had done.
He’d lost complete and total control of his temper, and Holly had paid the price. Of course, he had warned her, and she done exactly what he’d told her not to do anyhow. Perhaps some sort of punishment had been in order, but nothing near as severe as what he’d actually done. But what could he do about it now?
I should apologize, he realized. The more he thought about it, the guiltier he felt, and no matter how hard he tried he couldn’t seem to block the feelings out for once, or push them down.
He sighed and stood up. The longer I wait to deal with this, the worse these feelings will get, he thought. Best get it over with so I can focus again and get back to work.
Artemis left his study and went down the hall to Holly’s room. He stopped abruptly when he saw Juliet. How was he supposed to get past her?
But then Juliet’s phone rang, and she answered it. “Dom-I mean, Butler, what do you want?” She paused, the rolled her eyes. “What kind of lock needs a doors measurement? Well, you should have taken them before you left!”
There was a long pause before Juliet squealed, “oh! A wrestling match! Can we go right after you get the locks on? Okay, let me just get the tape.” She rolled her eyes, “Yes, he’s in his study.” Then she left.
Artemis walked calmly to Holly’s door and went in. He shut the door as quietly as he could before turning around and saw Holly still sleeping.
Well, that’s why she hasn’t screamed yet, he thought. He went and sat down in a chair that was in a corner of the room.
He didn’t know how much time passed, but he did notice how hurt Holly was. Or rather, how hurt he made her. What Butler did to save her was far from enough to heal her completely. There were deep scratches everywhere, and scars where some of the not-so-serious ones had healed.
Finally, Holly stirred. She opened her eyes weakly, and then guess what the first thing she saw was? Artemis.
Holly’s eyes widened. She turned and tried to scramble away from him, but she went too far and fell off the side of the bed. Artemis went to go and help her, but she raised her hand and said, “wait. Stay there.” He stopped for a second, and she grabbed the side of the bed and pulled herself up. Then she looked at him and said, “please leave me alone.”
He took a deep breath. “Look, Holly, I know-”
“I said please, Artemis. I asked nicely once, now leave before I scream for help,” she interrupted.
He looked away from her, trying to find his composure and not lose his temper. When he finally calmed down, he stood up and took a step towards her. She immediately took a step back. He took anther step and Holly went across the bed and sprinted to the door.
She twisted the handle and tried to open it, but the door wouldn’t budge. She screamed for help, but no one came.
“Butler and Juliet are away. Now, Captain Short, please just listen to me.”
“No,” she said stubbornly. “You want me to listen to you after you almost killed me? After you tortured me for over an hour? No way.”
Artemis took a slow step towards her, and she screamed for help again. “I’m not going to hurt you, Holly,” he said softly. He got closer and touched the elf’s shoulder, and she screamed louder. Then she turned around sharply and clutched at her stomach, doubling over. It took Artemis a minute to find out why.
One of Holly’s more serious wounds on her stomach had opened up, and blood was pouring from the wound, through her shirt.
Artemis reached out and laid one hand on her stomach wound, pressing down lightly, and put the other around her and scooped her up. She tried to protest, but the pain distracted her from what was going on around her.
Artemis put her on the bed and disappeared into the adjoining bathroom. When he came back, he had a towel in his hand. He laid it over her stomach and put pressure on the wound, trying to staunch the bleeding.
If the door wasn’t locked, I could go and stitch this up, he thought.
Holly yelped in pain as Artemis put more pressure on the wound. Then she seemed to realize how close he was to her, and tried to get away, but it only caused more pain and blood.
“Stop! You’re just hurting yourself!” Artemis snapped.
“I can handle it, just get away from me!” she yelled.
Artemis ignored her and took the blood soaked towel back, going to the bathroom to retrieve another one. He did the same procedure with this one, and was about to take that one to the dirty clothes too, but was stopped because it was at that exact moment Butler unlocked the door and threw it open.
First he looked at the locks and started to say, “Artemis, how did you-” but then he looked at Holly. His eyes widened as he took in the blood soaked towel Artemis held and his red stained hands. He called for his sister, who was there in a heartbeat.
“Go and stitch Holly up,” he told her, then pointed at Artemis and said, “you. Study. Now.”
Artemis looked into Butler’s eyes and all thoughts of arguing with him disappeared.
Artemis stalked to the study and flopped down in the desk chair as Butler came into the room, anger distorting his face. He started pacing the room rapidly.
“What did she do this time Artemis?! Scream at you through the door in her sleep?” he seethed.
“I merely went in there to apologize. Juliet left the door opened when she left, so I just went in. I waited until she woke up, but when she opened her eyes and saw me she tried to get away from me. She opened a wound in the process, and what I was doing when you walked in was trying to get the blood to stop.”
“Well, didn’t you get the hint to leave her alone when she tried to get away from you?!”
“Its not like I could leave, the door was locked! And I was just trying to apologize! ”
Butler stopped his pacing, and looked Artemis in the eyes. He put his hands on the front of the desk, leaning on it. “Artemis, get this through to your supposed-to-be-genius brain. You have kidnapped, drugged, and even tortured her. She hates you, and she has a right to. There probably is nothing that’s going to change that now. You’ve had chance after chance to earn her trust, I even tried to help you, but I think you’ve went over the limit now. From now on, if you can’t control yourself, just leave Captain Short alone.”
And with that, he went to go help Juliet, leaving Artemis alone again in his study.