I didn’t talk to Artemis after that. I gave him silent treatment for a whole day. The only exceptions were when we were planning, and even then I talked to him as little as possible.
I was proud of myself. Usually I was terrible at holding grudges. Maybe it just depended on who I was trying to hold a grudge against.
At the end of the night that went without me talking him, he cornered me alone. Butler was out doing his rounds, searching the surrounding areas for Holly and Artemis’s father.
I was walking back up from ordering dinner for us when he came around the corner from behind me, spun me around, and pinned me against the wall. I opened my mouth to scream, not knowing who it was, but he put his hand over my mouth. Him being taller than me, the only thing I could see was his black shirt.
He leaned in, his lips an inch from my ear. “Sam,” he whispered. “Relax. It’s just me. Artemis.”
“You scared the crap out me, you stupid Mud Boy!” I shouted, pushing him back. “Get off me!” I turned and took off down the hallway.
He caught up with me easily, grabbing my arm and spinning me around. “Sam. Why won’t you talk to me? Did I make you mad?”
“Well,” I said, pulling away and crossing my arms across my chest, “Isn’t that a stupid question.”
“Sam,” Artemis groaned. “I never said that you were stupid, I just said that I wasn’t stupid.”
“Not directly, but you implied it. And it doesn’t matter, because I know what you meant.”
“Sam, I didn’t mean it that way, I swear. I was just a little upset. You were too. You cannot hold that against me.” I didn’t say anything, And he stepped forward and put his hand on my shoulder. “Sam. Forgive me. Please.”
I nodded, and he pulled me in hugged me. “Artemis?” I said in a low voice. He looked at me. “Don’t do that again. You really scared me when you came around the corner.”
He nodded. “Sorry.”
Then a voice from behind us said, “Well, well, glad to see you two made up.”
Artemis looked over his shoulder and sighed. “Hello, Butler.” I pulled back and smiled at him slightly, trying not to concentrate on how red me cheeks were. I was blushing, bad.
“Still no sign of them?” Artemis asked.
Butler shook his head. “No. They must still be in there.”
“Then it’s time to put our plan into action!” I said.
Butler nodded. “Tomorrow,” he said. “You’ll want to rest up beforehand.” My stomach growled, and Butler looked at me, a half smile twitching on his lips. “And eat something first, apparently. Didn’t you two eat anything for dinner?”
We both shook our heads, and I said, “I just went down and ordered it. It should be here soon.”
“Okay then, into the room,” Butler said, ushering us inside. “I’ll go down and check on it.”
“I can go,” I said.
Butler shook his head. “I want you two in the room and out of sight. Opal could be after you. And if I lose you, Holly and Artemis will kill me.”
“She’s walking downstairs, Butler,” Artemis said, stepping forward and putting a hand on my shoulder. “Not exactly a dangerous mission, but if it helps, I’ll go with her.”
“Fine,” Butler said. “But you’ve got ten minutes. If you’re not back by then I’m coming after you.”
“That’s should be plenty of time.” He gestured to the stairs. “Ladies first.”
I rolled my eyes and started walking down the steps. But as I came around the corner I decided maybe it wasn’t the best time for ‘ladies first’ , as someone jumped out and tried to grab me.
I yelped and jumped back, knocking Artemis down, as he had come around behind me. I backed up hurriedly and helped him to his feet, just as another one showed up. The newcomer grabbed my arm and twisted, and my knees buckled beneath me as I cried out in pain.
Artemis kicked the person in the ribs, and he dropped me and stumbled back, drawing a gun as he went. A neutrino. “Artemis!” I yelled.
The boy had his back turned, engaged in a fight with the other guy. “Sam, I’m kind of busy,” he said.
“But he’s got a gun! What do we do?”
“I said, wait!” He dodged another strike from the guy, then ducked low and punched him in the stomach. The guy stumbled backwards into the wall, winded. “Now run! Now!” He grabbed my hand and started tugging me along down the hallway.
We ran as fast as our feet could carry us towards the exit.