Part One- Chapter One- November

The forest was painted in light russets, tawny yellows, and fiery gingers as the fall leaves desperately clung to their branches, while others blanketed the paths below. A crisp breeze stirred the forest, sending a beautiful star-shaped leaf straight into the flowing auburn hair of a girl traipsing her way across a fallen log. The boy laughed heartily as the amber leaf startled her and caused her to fall right into his waiting arms. She laughed as he showed her the leaf he had pulled out of her thick locks. The two shared another laugh, and she balanced herself as she grabbed his hand and continued down the mossy oak.

"Aria… we have to talk."

The girl stopped walking and tightened her petite grasp around his hand, pulling him to a halt. She turned to meet a somber expression that greatly differed with his messy black curls and flushed cheeks from the November air.

"Is… is this about last night? I mean, I know I shouldn't have-"

"No, no, it's not that." Artemis said, smiling at her anxiety. She was so beautiful, but the worry in her emerald eyes (almost constant since her parents had started fighting) pained him. He gazed a moment longer before remembering why he had brought her on the walk.

"Look, I… I'm sorry." He felt his ears turn red as he stuttered. No matter how confident he was in front of people, he always felt a little unsure around Arianna, as though she could disappear before his eyes. Perhaps it was his insecurity that he ought not to have her- what had he ever done to deserve her?

"What could you possibly have to be sorry about?" She said before leaning into him as he wrapped his arms around her. She could hear his heartbeat, low and soothing, as she fought to get closer to his warmth, his scent, his voice.

"It's not that I don't want… I mean, I want to kiss you… please, please don't think I that I don't." His voice grew softer with worry as he held her tighter. How he didn't want to lose her… he couldn't…

"It's OK. I get it, I shouldn't have…" Arianna drifted off as she hid her face against his chest so that he couldn't see her blush. She remembered trying to kiss him, and missing as he turned his head ever so slightly. She'd meant to kiss his cheek, but he'd thought otherwise. She had, instead, softly kissed his jaw, which had left them both a little surprised. It was, after all, their first kiss. Before she'd gotten the chance to say much more, his youngest sister had run down the hall to knock on the door and tell them that Father was waiting for him at the church. Not wanting to keep Father waiting, they had parted with a rushed smile as he hurried to the church.

"I'm the one who's sorry." She said, glancing up at him quickly to see his pained blue eyes relax and a loving smile that made her heart skip a beat.

"I wasn't really expecting it, to be quite honest. You have nothing to be sorry for." Artemis explained as he lifted her chin up to look her in the eyes. His voice got lower, and she could feel the vibrations of his voice against her chest. That was one of her favorite things, and she smiled as she shyly grabbed his hand and held it between them. Not skipping a beat, he grabbed the other and did the same, leaning his head against hers.

"Artemis…" She paused, willing the sparks between them to settle. Her heart was racing and her breathing was coming in shallow breaths.

He chuckled as he felt her pulse racing between their fingers. Of course, she could feel his, too. He surrendered himself to the sparks.



Author's Note:

Clear things up a bit? Thought I'd start things off with a flash from Arianna's past... and Artemis's. You'll be learning more about his character soon :) If y'all have any questions, comments, concerns, critique, suggestions or predictions, please don't hesitate to review! Thank you to anyone/everyone reading and reviewing!