“Minerva.” Artemis grasps his girlfriend by her thin shoulders. “I’m sorry, I simply don’t have the time today. Another time perhaps.”
“But Arty,” Minerva pouts, putting on her best sad face, “you promised.”
“Minerva…please don’t…” But Artemis is powerless under her deep, sky-blue gaze, as is nearly every man under the age of twenty. Let it not be said that Minerva Paradizo is completely emotionless.
“But Minerva…Marmaduke? I could possibly sit through Prince of Persia…but Marmaduke? You should understand. Marmaduke is in no way scientific.”
“But I want to go see it!” Minerva says. “Isn’t that reason enough for you?”
“Minerva, I understand that Tik Tok is your favourite song, but just because it is featured in the commercial doesn’t mean it will be in the film itself.”
“Right! So if classical music plays instead, you’ll be happy. Come on, Arty, Owen Wilson is in it!”
Artemis pretends to think. “So long as we bring along a friend of mine.”
Artemis sits, rivited to the screen, and stares at the large dog directly in front of him, as the warm brown glow paints his features. Beside him on his left sits Minerva, her long hair freshly washed and tied up in a bun, a long, strapless purple dress covering her slim frame and white evening gloves (Minerva refused to buy popcorn in case she stained them) covering her pianist’s fingers. She is an elegant sight.
And beside him on his right sits Holly Short. Her auborn hair is thrown up in a quick, messy ponytail. She wears no makeup, and sill manages to look beautiful. She is wearing an old, threadbare hoodie and Boyfriend jeans, and is stuffing herself with popcorn. Her legs are curled up under her on the seat and her pointy ears are covered with a ball cap. A Neutrino 5000 is grasped in her palm, invisible to the human eye, as the result of a new development created by Foaly. And Artemis can see the gun, because of his fairy eye. It makes her look all the more tomboyish. He likes it.
Minerva looks behind Artemis’s back, which is leaned far over, to peer at Holly. Minerva clasps her gloved hands in her lap as she watches Holly devour the popcorn as if she hasn’t eaten in weeks.
Artemis leans back, cutting off Minerva’s view. “It’s over,” he groans as the credits flash over the screen. “Hellfire.”
“That was hilarious!” Holly gasps. The two–fairy and Mud Boy–get into a deep conversation over Marmaduke. Minerva bites her coral-red lip, resisting the urge to say “I told you so.”
Minerva watches from the Rolls-Royce as Artemis drops Holly off at a strange-looking house just south of Tara. She watches in utter disbelief as Artemis–her Arty–is kissed by the tiny girl. Artemis steps away, a strange smile on his face, and walks toward the car.
“Have a good time, darling?” Minerva asks coyly. “The best,” Artemis answers as he closes the car door.
“Will we be seeing much of Holly again, darling?” Minerva casually queries.
“Oh, I doubt it,” Artemis mutters absently, turning the car on and driving away into the night.