Artemis Fowl had been alive for almost a year when his mother came to him with an odd favor.
“Arty,” she said, her soft voice almost lost in the swells of his piano playing. He frowned, but stopped the music at once, standing to face her. It was most unusual for her to approach him while he played. Surely, this was serious.
“Yes, Mother?” He asked, searching her face for clues of disaster. She looked worried, apprehensive, but not upset. That was a relief.
“I’ve been thinking, and I can’t help but feel that you’re…lonely,” she’d started off strong, but her last word was a hesitant murmur. Artemis stared at her, unsure what to make of this statement.
Lonely? He thought on it. Yes, he supposed he was lonely. By all means, he shouldn’t be; he had his family and the Butlers, who may as well be family, with him, all safe and happy. He had meaningful work to do each day to help rebuild the world. He had no right to be lonely. But Angeline was right. Artemis Fowl II was lonely.
“Your father and I, we thought on it and arranged…Oh, Arty, promise me you won’t get mad?”
Artemis’s eyebrow rose at that request. Clearly Angeline had done something she rather suspected would upset him. But he couldn’t allow himself to get upset. She was worried for him and trying to help, whatever she’d done. And she’d asked him not to be mad. After losing his family or himself so many times, Artemis could hardly ever say no to them. He nodded his assent, and Angeline gave him a small smile.
“Well, your father and I arranged a meeting for you and a lovely young woman, Daphne. Actually, it’s not so much a meeting, really. You’ve met Daphne before, do you remember? She’s the daughter of a dear friend of mine and they attended many of my events when you were small.” She looked at him so hopefully just then, and Artemis was unclear on what that hope was directed, so he took the obvious route.
“Daphne McCauley, if I remember correctly. With the red hair? She always wore a green ribbon in it.”
Angeline smiled brightly at him, and he felt relieved that he’d answered correctly.
“Say you’ll meet her properly, Arty?” She asked, eyes alight with excitement.
“Mother…Mum,” Artemis said hesitantly, and he saw her smile freeze, as if bracing herself for disappointment. His gut twisted. He hated to disappoint her. “I’m not saying no,” he assured her. “I merely want to know what it is you expect from this meeting.”
“Nothing, of course.” She hastened to reply. “Just meet her and let’s see where it goes. What do you say?”
Artemis knew exactly where it was going but he said, “Alright, Mother. I will meet with Daphne.”