When they arrived at Fowl Manor, it was the day before New Years Eve. Elena hurried inside to make dinner. It was already 7:30 and they had not eaten yet. She grabbed a big pot from under the counter and boiled some water.
Elena stood back and admired her work.
“Not bad,” she said. Four steaming bowls sat o the table. Wiping her hands on her apron, she went to announce that the food was ready.
Everyone was amazed by dinner.
“This is great, Elena,” Mrs. Fowl said. “What is it?”
“Seafood gumbo.” The phone rang and Elena went to answer it.
“Fowl residence,” Elena said. “Elena speaking. How may I help you?”
“Yes, this is Isabella Roberts. Is Angelina there?”
“Yes, one moment please.” Elena walked over and handed Mrs. Fowl the wireless phone.
“It’s Mrs. Roberts on the phone for you.”
“Isabella!” She said, walking into the kitchen. Elena returned to her seat. They sat in silence until Mrs. Fowl returned.
“Oh, Timmy, guess what?”
“What, dear?” he said, looking up from his dinner.
“We just got invited to the Roberts’ New Years Eve party,” she exclaimed proudly. Her eyes brightened as she had an idea. “I know! Artemis why don’t you bring Elena as your date.” Artemis’s eyes widened and he glanced at Elena. She caught his eye and quickly looked down, blushing into her gumbo.
“Elena, you would be willing to go wouldn’t you?” Mrs. Fowl said, turning to her.
“S-sure,” Elena stammered, still a little flustered.
“Then it’s settled. The party starts at 11 o’clock tomorrow.”
After dinner, Artemis disappeared. He’s probably still embarrassed, Elena thought, gathering up the plates. She deposited them into the sink and raced out of the kitchen.
“Mrs. Fowl,” she said, catching her at the bottom of the stairs.
“Um, I-I was w-wondering.” Elena took a deep breath and started again. “I was wondering, since tomorrow is my day off, would you please help me find a dress for the party?”
“Of course,” Mrs. Fowl said, smiling. “I was planning on going to get a manicure and pedicure tomorrow. You could join me. Meet me here after breakfast.” She turned on her heal and proceeded up the stairs.
The next morning, Elena and Mrs. Fowl were in the limo.
“First, we will find you a dress, then we will get our nails done. The appointment isn’t until one so we have plenty of time. So,” Mrs. Fowl said, leaning forward. “What kind of dress are you looking for?”
“I don’t know,” Elena said, shrugging. “I have never been to a formal event before. That’s why I asked you to help me.”
“I see. Well, we need to figure out what compliments your body the most.” Mrs. Fowl replied, leaning back to study Elena. “Hmm. Let’s see. You have long legs, so long dresses would probably be better and I think a strapless would look very nice.”
Elena nodded. Mrs. Fowl continued talking and Elena tried very hard to remember everything she said. Most of it went in one ear and out the other.
They arrived at the mall and found the nearest dress shop. Mrs. Fowl pulled dress after dress off the rack, piling them in Elena’s arms. Elena stumbled over to the dressing room and tried on the first dress Mrs. Fowl handed to her.
This went on for a couple of hours. They visited five different stores and Elena tried on hundreds of dresses. Finally, they came to the last dress shop.
“Lets hope we find it here,” Mrs. Fowl said, strolling through the doors. They browsed the racks. By now, Elena had an idea of what to look for.
“What about this one?” Mrs. Fowl said, holding out a dress.
“I don’t know. It seems a little skanky. But I’ll try it anyway.” They only found a couple of dresses worth trying on. Elena entered the dressing room. None of the dresses felt right.
“Last dress,” Mrs. Fowl said, handing her the “skanky” dress. Elena sighed and slipped into the silky fabric. She stepped out into the viewing area.
“Oh, Elena,” Mrs. Fowl said. “You look like an angel.” Elena turned and looked in the mirror. Her mouth dropped open, then she smiled.
“This is the one,” she whispered.
“This feels amazing!” Elena exclaimed as the nail specialist put a hot towel across her legs. She sighed and lean back onto her chair. The woman expertly painted her toes. She grabbed a design pencil and skillfully drew a stunning flower on each of Elena’s big toes. The nail designer gently helped Elena down and led her to the manicure table.
Five minutes later, Elena and Mrs. Fowl were headed back to the manor with magnificently manicure nails. They sneaked into the house and quietly headed to Elena’s room.
“Okay,” Mrs. Fowl whispered. “I’m going to get dressed and then we can do your hair and makeup.”
“Okay,” Elena nodded. “One question though. Why are we whispering?”
“I want the boys to be surprised,” Mrs. Fowl smiled slyly. Elena nodded, smiling back. They reached Elena’s room and Mrs. Fowl handed Elena her dress.
“Go take a quick shower and I should be down in about five minutes,” Mrs. Fowl said.
“Okay,” Elena nodded. “And Mrs. Fowl, thank you so much for this afternoon. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.” Just then, the door on the opposite side of the hallway opened. Artemis’s head poked out from his study and Mrs. Fowl pushed Elena into her room, closing the door.
“Hello, Artemis,” she said, smiling innocently.
“Hello, Mother,” he replied looking around. “Did I hear Elena just now?”
“I don’t think so. Why do you ask?”
“I was just wondering.” He disappeared behind the door. Mrs. Fowl sighed and walked to her room. She swiftly changed and walked back to Elena’s room, grabbing her bag of make up as she left. She found Elena searching through all of her drawers, her brow furrowed in frustration. She jumped when she heard the door open.
She sighed. “Oh, Mrs. Fowl. You scared me.” She went back to digging through her things.
“What’s wrong?” Mrs. Fowl asked.
“I can’t find my hair straightener,” Elena said. “I know this really cool trick that I want to do on my hair but I need my straightener.” She flopped on the bed in irritation. Mrs. Fowl walked over to the dresser.
“Don’t bother,” Elena said. “I’ve looked there already.” Mrs. Fowl reached behind the jewelry box.
“Is this what you’re looking for?” she asked, pulling out the straightener. Elena’s mouth dropped open.
“Yes,” she exclaimed in annoyance. She got up and plugged it in.
Elena grabbed her dress and quickly changed. She then proceeded to brush her hair until it was perfectly smooth. She separated a piece of hair and grabbed the straightener.
Elena clamped the straightener down on the hair. She wrapped the hair left one time around the straightener, then rolled the straightener 180˚ right. She pulled the straightener until the hair popped out. It sat in a relaxed twist on Elena’s back.
“That’s amazing,” Mrs. Fowl said, gently picking it up, as if it might break in her hands. Soon, Elena’s hair flowed in loose curls around her shoulders. Mrs. Fowl sprayed on a little hair spray and they moved onto make up.
Mrs. Fowl lifted Elena’s chin to examine her face. “Hm, you have lovely eyes, so we want to bring those out, but we don’t want to bury your natural beauty.” She grabbed foundation and added a thin layer, covering up some blemishes. She applied mascara and silver eye shadow. She lightly brushed some blush on Elena’s cheekbones, then stared at her mouth. Her brow creased as she thought.
Mrs. Fowl picked out a lot of different colors of lipstick before finally deciding on a smoky rose color. She stepped back to admire her work. She smiled and allowed Elena to look in the mirror. Elena gasped.
“Oh, Mrs. Fowl,” she said, turning her head left and right in order to get a full view. “It looks amazing.” She stood up and hugged her.
“Thank you so much,” she said, chocking back tears. She stepped back and took Mrs. Fowl’s hands. “You’re the closest thing I’ve ever had to a mother.” Now it was Mrs. Fowl’s turned not to cry.
“Oh, Elena.” she said. “That is one of the sweetest things anyone has every said to me.”
Artemis stood at the bottom of the grand staircase with his father. He checked his new pocket watch. 11:07.
“They are late,” he commented. His father laughed.
“Women are always late, son. You’ll just have to learn to deal with it.” Artemis straightened his jacket unnecessarily.
“Don’t be nervous,” Mr. Fowl said.
“I am not nervous,” Artemis said, straightening. “I have no reason to be nervous. I am simply going to a party with a friend.”
His father smiled and put his hand on his Artemis’s shoulder. “Son, I know that I was gone a long time and before that I was not the best father. I treated you like a business client and now it is too late for me to fix that mistake. And I am sorry. I am sorry that I raised you like this.” It took all of Artemis’s strength for him not to collapse. His father had just apologized to him!
“But, I want you to listen very carefully,” continued Mr. Fowl, kneeling in front of his son. “You need to try and just be a regular teenager every once and a while. It’s okay to get nervous or scared or to have fun. But most importantly, it is okay to express your emotions. And if you every need anything I am here for you. I want you to know that.”
Artemis nodded. His father smiled. Artemis saw him glance at the top of the stairs. Mr. Fowl stood up. Artemis turned around to see his mother gracefully coming down. Mr. Fowl offered his elbow and she laced her arm through his.
“Elena,” she called up the stairs. Elena appeared at the head of the stairs. Artemis’s eyes widened and he took in a quick breath.
Elena had on a strapless silver silk dress that trailed behind her like a wedding veil. There was a slit on the right side of the dress. It started at the bottom and continued up, stopping around the middle of Elena’s thigh. Her hair fluttered behind her in strawberry blonde coils and her eyes popped behind the thin layer of make up.
Elena’s feet barely touched the floor as she descended the stairway. A nudge from Mr. Fowl broke Artemis out of his daze. He shook his head and walked to the bottom of the staircase. He offered his arm and Elena lightly placed her hand on his.
A shiver issued through Artemis’s spine at the touch. Hold it together, he told himself. Butler pulled up in the limo and the four of them headed to the party.
Elena looked around, her eyes wide in astonishment. She had never been to a party like this before. A band played softly in the corner and refreshments were on a table on the side. People stood in small groups talking and laughing. But, everyone seemed very uptight. Elena followed Mr. and Mrs. Fowl through the crowd. Her right hand gently held onto Artemis’s arm.
“Isabella!” Mrs. Fowl suddenly exclaimed. A woman in a short green dress appeared out of the crowd and wrapped Mrs. Fowl in a tight hug.
“Angelina, how are you?” she didn’t allow Mrs. Fowl to answer. “Who do we have here?” She turned to face Elena and Artemis.
“You remember my son, Artemis.” Artemis nodded. “And his companion is Elena.” Elena curtsied slightly. “Elena this is Isabella Roberts.”
“Well aren’t you just the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen,” Mrs. Roberts said, smiling.
Elena blushed. “Thank you.”
“Well, all of the other teenagers are downstairs if you would like to join them.” She turned and continued her conversation with Mrs. Fowl.
Elena looked at Artemis. “Want to go?”
“Why not,” Artemis said, leading Elena to a flight of stairs.