Artemis and Holly talked very few times over the next couple of weeks. That was because Artemis had “Business Meetings” (As far as Holly knew) that he had to take care of. However, Holly didn’t really mind, she just looked out of her window. The sunset skies were fascinating, and the grass looked amazing. She longed to go outside, to breath the fresh (or well mud man polluted) air and feel the grass, not just look at it.
She sighed, an impossible dream she knew, but that couldn’t help her from wishing, dreaming, hoping. She was so close to it, that it just made her sad to look at it. That was when she shook her head, Artemis made it very clear that she was not going outside anytime soon.
She was on the verge of crying, something she reprimanded herself for. She was the first female Captain of the LEP, she years working up the “males and females can both be tough” look and this 12 year old boy was messing it up in a matter of a month! But could people blame her? She was kidnapped, drugged, and torture mentally, physically, emotionally, and socially. Holly Short was breaking, something no one would have ever thought of.
Artemis was trying harder and harder to try and be more sociable. He smiled within their talks, and rarely got mad anymore. It was impressive in Holly’s mind, that he could improve that much in that little of time. But then again, he had broken her to the point of crying in less than a month.
She was staring out the window absent mindedly and could feel tears rolling down her cheeks when she heard a knock at the door. She wiped the tears from her eyes and tried her best to stop her shaking and her dry throat before she muttered, “Come in.”
Artemis opened the door and stepped inside the room, closing the door behind him. Butler and Juliet had taken the locks off the doors when Butler saw how Artemis’s behavior had changed dramatically.
Artemis took three steps toward Holly before stopping and raising an eyebrow, “Why were you crying?” He asked before taking the seat next to her.
Holly laughed softly, leave it to Artemis to figure out she had been crying after she tried her hardest to keep it to herself. She had so much practice lately that Butler and Juliet could barely figure out that she had a meltdown the minute before they entered the room. But no, not Artemis.
“I’m fine Artemis.” She said, returning to her staring.
“You wouldn’t be crying for nothing. Are you scared of me again? I thought we had resolved that?” He said, cocking his head and looking at her face, trying to see if he saw any fear hidden in her features.
She smiled, and looked up at him, “Weeell….” She held out.
Artemis raised both of his eyebrows, “Well what? I thought we were over this?”
Holly sighed, looking back to the window once again, “Its just that, I don’t know you. I mean, Ive been here for a month, and I barely know anything about you. How can I not be scared of you if know nothing of you except that you’re a criminal.”
Artemis stood up, and for a minute Holly thought he was going to leave, but turned and faced her, hand held out. “Let me show you then.” He said, smiling. “Or at least let me get you away from that window. I know that’s what is making you upset.”
How the hell does he know that? Holly thought.
She smiled and took one last glance at the sunset before taking his hand. He led her downstairs, and to the dining room. They sat at the table and Butler put soup in front of them. Holly smiled at the bodyguard before he disappeared back into the kitchen. Holly then stared at the silverware in front of her. There were…two spoons (I did research…WHAT?!) one in front of the plate and one next to it. She picked up the one in front hesitantly because it was smaller and ate, until she looked up and saw Artemis staring at her, amused.
“What?” Holly asked.
Artemis shook his head, still grinning, “You go for the spoon farther away and in front of the plate instead of the one right next to it.”
“It’s smaller.” She replied, feeling small.
She took another spoonful of soup, and looked at Artemis, eyebrows raised.
“Are you trying to make me mad?” He said, narrowing his eyes, but still smiling.
“Why would you get mad over a spoon?”
“Its not proper etiquette”
“Oh…..” She put down the spoon and for a moment Artemis actually thought she would actually listen to him. Instead she took the bowl and put it to her lips, taking a mouthful straight from the bowl. She put it down and swallowed, putting her elbows on the table.
“You’re testing me.” Artemis concluded.
“And you’re still smiling, so I guess you’ve meditated?”
“Maybe.” He simply replied.
“Ah.” She picked up the spoon, the right spoon, and they finished silently.
Holly took Artemis’s hand once again and he led her into the next room. The front room, where she had almost died weeks before. She also noticed the stairs leading to the basement in this room. Suddenly she was scared.
Artemis felt her tense up, and looked to where she was staring. He sighed, and led her to the couches in the room. She sat on one and he sat on another across from her. She still stared at the door, which was closer than ever now.
“Artemis, I’m sorry. I was testing you before and I shouldn’t have. I’ve been so-”
“Holly. ” He tried to interrupt.
“Careless lately, and I know you’ve been so considerate now and I guess that-”
“Since this is the first time I’ve seen you since last week, I’ve become-”
“Holly!” He yelled, grabbing her arms. She let out a short scream that Artemis knew would have Butler coming in the room in a matter of seconds. He had to say something to calm her down. Fast.
“Holly, I’m not going to hurt you. You were teasing before, I know that. Now calm down.” He said quickly, looking in her eyes.
Butler came into the room, saw Artemis holding Holly and was about to get him away from her. But he looked into the young boy’s eyes and stopped. He had never seen Artemis look at someone like that other than his mother.
Did Artemis care for Holly?
Butler turned around and left, reassured that Artemis wouldn’t hurt Holly.
Artemis let go of Holly after she nodded. “Now, I said I would teach you how to meditate didn’t I?”
She smiled and nodded again, not trusting herself to speak yet, because she knew that she would say something arrogant.
Artemis moved to sit next to her, talking to her. “Ok, now sit back and try to relax. Close your eyes, draw in deep breaths and let out slowly.”
She followed his commands and tried to relax, taking deep breaths.
“Now, picture the most calming thing you can think of. Keep on breathing deeply.”
She did, and he said, “Don’t open your eyes.” He lifted her and was walking somewhere, but she barely noticed. She was happy, picturing being outside, the clouds rolling over the skies and the grass dancing with the wind. It was peaceful, and she didn’t want to break the spell she had on herself.
Artemis suddenly stop and sat down, placing her next to him. Holly didn’t open her eyes. They just sat there, for who knows how long. She was happy…until her curiosity took her over and she opened her eyes. Faint red stained the walls and floor, and her eyes widened, she started hyperventilating and scrambled back when Artemis laid a hand on her shoulder.
“Stay away from me.” She growled.
“Holly calm down, I told you I’m not going to hurt you.”
She went over to the door, but it was locked, “Open the door Fowl, I hate being down here.”
Artemis crossed his arms, “You were just in here for two hours straight having one of the most peaceful moments in your life.”
“I don’t care, open the door.”
She screamed for Butler, but Artemis shook his head, “I’ve told you before Holly, the walls are thick and with the fact that we are underground no one can hear you.”
He reached in his pocket and pulled out the same pocket knife he had used to torture Holly. Blood stains still on it. Holly slammed her frame against the door for two reasons:
One: She tried to bust the door down….with no avail.
Two: she was trying to get as far away from him as possible.
Holly, facing the door, tried to open it again. Receiving no results, she turned around to face Artemis, fearing the worst. But didn’t get it. Instead she faced Artemis holding out the knife.
“Holly, I hurt you. I hurt you more than I have ever hurt anyone. I’m sorry for that, and it’s been weighing me down.” She noticed his rolled up sleeve then, “Please just…just do it.”
Holly took a cautious step towards him, “Artemis…I’m not hurting you. End of story, now open the door.”
Artemis closed his eyes and shook his head, he opened the knife, he put it to where his sleeve and skin met. Holly’s eyes widened, but she didn’t do anything.
That was until she saw blood.
When she did she rush over to him and snatched the pocket knife away from him, tossing it to the other side of the room. “Darvit! Don’t do that Artemis!” She yelled.
“I hurt you Holly!”
“Artemis you saved me, remember that?! I could have died!”
“It was my fault you would have died.”
“You were mad before, now calm down yourself! Ok? Too much blood has been spilt already.”
“And all of it has been yours!”
“It doesn’t matter. Now please just go unlock the door!”
He did as she requested and they went upstairs. They sat on the couches once again, and when Artemis regained his common sense, he turned to Holly.
“I’m sorry Holly. I don’t know what came over me. I had not planned that to begin with. I had planned to have a game of chess, but I don’t think we will have enough time to do that. I have a business meeting at 7.
Holly looked at the clock, “That’s five hours from now. Does it really take you that long to finish?”
Artemis chuckled, “No. But I would rather we do something else.” He stood up and offered his hand once again, “Come with me.”
Holly hesitated, but took it. They went back to her room, and Artemis closed the door before facing Holly.
“I gave you this room for a specific reason. I suspected that Butler would try to lock the door at first, because my annoyance with you. And well, I’m not going to lie, I gave you this room just in case of revenge. But I can see I don’t need it for that anymore.”
Artemis walked to the closet, and sure enough for Holly, there was a panel there. Artemis opened it and walked a few feet in it, before turning to Holly, “Lets go…” He paused.
“Explore?” She finished, a small grin forming on her face.
He smiled and nodded and that grin transformed into a smile as well. She went in the closet and followed Artemis into the tunnels. It was dim, with some of the lights burnt out. There were many hallways, Holly was amazed all of them could fit under Fowl manor.
They talked the entire time Artemis showed her how to navigate the tunnels. He told her about when he found out he was a genius, but what really caught Holly’s eye was the first business deal he made. It was with a man named Kronski and it included a lemur to sell. When he told her what Kronski wanted with the lemur she stopped in her tracks.
“I needed to sell it Holly, I got diamonds for the lemur which I needed to help someone. Two people actually.”
“Help how?” she asked incredulously.
“I…..I cant tell you Holly, I’m sorry. It’s just too painful, because I didn’t help them. I made it worse.”
Holly turned around and went the other way, back towards her room. Artemis sighed, Holly would never understand anything about his family. That’s why he tried to avoid the topic. He went to the nearest panel and entered through the kitchen again. He would try to make it up to Holly later.