We sat in silence. He lay back down and looked at the sky. I was getting used to the sudden eruptions and only jumped a little bit. It was true, I was having some fun.
Work had been hard. There were more people than normal outside the shop and Larry had considered shutting it down for the day. I talked him out of it, though, and that's when he suggested suing Carla. I was giving it serious thought and knew Artemis was thinking about doing it, too.
I looked over at him. His silver eyes were staring up at the stars. They reflected the stars and occasionally water would fall on his face from the geysers, making him flinch a little. My eyes slid to his arms. They were extremely well toned and I remembered Mike saying he was Artemis' personal trainer. His wife beater had gotten wet and pulled up when he raced behind me and picked me up. I could see the bottom of his abs and the coveted 'v' just above his slacks.
"Like what you're seeing?"
I jumped and blushed. He was smirking at me. I tried to move but he grabbed my arm and pulled me so that I was next to him.
"I'm sorry," he whispered suddenly.
I sighed and looked up at the sky, too. "Is it going to be like this all the time?"
"No. It'll die down. There will be mass hysteria when it's announced and after the wedding, but they'll find something new to freak out about."
"It's a little scary," I admitted.
He held my hand. "I know."
"How do you get used to it?"
"The same way you got used to living homeless," he shrugged. "Over time, it became part of my life. It got even worse after my dad died. People were freaking out about how my mom was going to run such a big company on her own."
"She's a strong woman."
He nodded. "Yeah, she is. A little too strong. How old do you think she is?"
I thought for a second. "Seventy-two?"
He looked at me. "She's 55." I frowned. "Exactly. That's what this company has done to her."
I turned on my side and put my hand under my head so I was looking down at him.
"Did you try to get her to step down?"
"Every day since I turned 24," he said. "For a while she was reluctant because of the lifestyle I was living. As the years passed and I matured, though, she was running out of excuses."
"Except for you not being married," I finished.
"Yep," he said, popping the 'p'.
Our eyes met and I felt the familiar tug to kiss him. Neither of us moved. Even though I wanted to kiss him, I realized I didn't have to. The looks we shared were intimate enough.
"Can I kiss you?" he whispered.
I looked down. I could sense the disappointment until I nodded.
"You sure?" he asked, propping himself up like I was.
I finally looked back at him. "I'm sure," I breathed.
He put his hand on the back of my neck gently and pulled my face to his. The kiss was gently, something I was grateful for. I put my hand on his chest. It started off as a few kisses. We were trying to get used to each other. Then he deepened it and I felt a tingle run down my spin.
"We should go," I whispered, pulling back. "We don't want to get sick."
He smiled and nodded. "All right."
It was nearly 10:30 when we got back so most of the press was gone. Artemis pulled into the garage instead of the driveway like normal. We got out, shivering from the cold air on our skin when we walked in.
Our moms were at the table, drinking hot chocolate. They smiled tentatively at us.
"We were a little worried," Evelyn said, passing some hot chocolate to the both of us. "You went to the fountain?" she added when she saw our wet clothes."
I nodded. "Your son cheats at bets."
She laughed. "He gets that from his father. What's the situation like out there?"
"Most of them are gone," Artemis said as he put towels on the chairs for us to sit on. "I found a way to get around them in the evenings but not in the mornings."
"We can do what we did the first time," I said but he shook his head.
"They'll be expecting it now."
"I'm tired," I yawned after ten minutes of silent thinking.
"I'll walk you to bed," he said quickly and put his mug down.
I shivered. "We should have worn our coats on the way back," I said as we climbed the stairs.
"Yeah, we probably should've."
We stopped outside my door and I sighed.
"Look, Artemis," I began but he held his hand up.
"No. I've been a bitch today," I said. "I just didn't know how to handle all of this. I still don't."
"You can make it up to me later."
I smiled up at him. "Thanks for taking me to the fountain."
He tucked some hair behind my ear. "That'll probably be the last time we get to do that. Mike's invited us to his Halloween party on Friday night, though. Do you want to go or stay in?"
I rubbed the back of my neck. "I was hoping to stay in, honestly. I've had enough of being around hordes of people for a little while. You can go, though."
"Nah. We'll watch cheesy horror movies with our moms."
I grinned. "Just as long as we watch the Halloween series."
He wrinkled his nose. "Ew. You like those movies?"
I giggled. "They're so corny!"
He chuckled and stepped a little closer. "I'd like to kiss you good night."
I knew I was red. "I'd like for you to kiss me good night."
He grinned and kissed me lightly on the lips. I went into my room and changed into my pajamas. I smiled to myself. Soon the day would come where I wouldn't feel the need to shrink away. Soon the day would come where he wouldn't need to ask.
Even with the media constantly at the door, we managed to get candy out to the little kids. It was mostly Evelyn doing it. Apparently she wasn't big on horror movies. Around 11, though, she was forced to join us in our Halloween marathon. It was fun. We had ordered several pizzas and Evelyn got some ice cream.
"How does this not give you nightmares?" Evelyn asked, staring at the TV with wide eyes as the credits rolled up.
I laughed, eating the last slice of pepperoni pizza. My mom had fallen asleep about halfway through this movie and was snoring quietly.
"It's obviously fake," I pointed out. "Now, the Freddy series: that's the one that freaks me out."
"Let's watch it," Artemis said immediately.
"No," I said. "Absolutely not."
He gave me puppy dog eyes. "Pleeeeeaaase!"
I groaned as he got closer and closer. "Oh all right!'
He laughed in triumph and pulled up the Dish Rental channel. I got comfortable under the covers and scootched closer to him as the first one started. He put his arm around me.
"Don't worry. I'll keep you safe," he whispered and I looked at him.
He nodded with a smile. "I promise."