Chapter 3: Countryside

 Kate blinked twice; she can't believe what she's seeing. Artemis is here? She knew Artemis Allen from way back, he is Josh’s best friend since grade school; their family is pretty close. He could call Josh to inform him about her location. She panicked, immediately grabbed her remaining things and was about to make her escape when she felt Artemis firmly grab her arm, linking her to him.

“Where are you going? Why are you here? And where's Josh?” He bombarded her with questions. She could hear not only curiosity but also worry in his voice. She didn’t want to answer but he didn’t give her much choice. She doubted he would let her go at this state.

Before she could respond, he stopped her. “Actually, don’t answer that just yet. It's raining.” He then dragged her towards his Bugatti Centodieci—one of the most expensive cars in the world—her eyes widened. She was quite shocked to see such a sight. But not nearly as shocked at how roughly Artemis was handling her after they reached his car he opened the passenger seat and roughly ushered her into the seat. He went to the driver’s side and plumed in it before starting the car.

“Where are you taking me? Please, don’t bring me home. Just leave me here. I’ll be fine, please” she begged him. She doesn’t want to see them now. Why is she so unlucky; just when she thought she’ll finally attain the freedom she wants to have, she meets someone who connects her to the city.

“I won’t, don’t worry, I can see how desperate you are.” He said in a soft tone far from the intimidating Artemis she met earlier. “I just can’t leave you here, I’m bringing you in my home. “He said his eyes still on the road but she can see his hands tightening around the steering wheel.

“Thank you, I really appreciate it.” He stopped the car at the side of the road. He reached at the backseat to get a blanket. He placed it on her head and wiped her wet hair himself. She was astonished to how sweet he acted. He then reached on her side to put her seatbelt on. He didn’t even say anything before going back to the road. He even turned on a melodious melody that made her a little sleepy; she didn’t even realize she had fallen asleep. Kate woke up when she felt herself floating. She looked up and she saw Artemis carrying her up the stairs.

“Oh, sorry did I wake you up?” he asked apologetically.

Kate shook her head in disagreement. She was just shy, she let him carry her, and he arrived in front of a white door. He opened the door whilst, her still in his arms. He placed her gently in the bed. He pats her head and tucked her in; he was accommodating which made her comfortable. That was one of her most peaceful sleep she ever had in her life.

She woke up feeling refreshed. She saw an unfamiliar ceiling, she sat up immediately and that’s when she remembered all of the things that happened to her. She remembers the cheating, the running away and meeting Artemis Allen once again. She fixed herself before going down. She was greeted by the smell of bacon as she approaches the kitchen she saw Artemis wearing an apron over his boxers and cooking. He is also bobbing and moving his hips as he sings with the radio. She smiled upon seeing the scene.

“Maybe we're perfect strangers

Maybe it's not forever

Maybe the night will change us

Maybe we'll stay together

Maybe we'll walk away

Maybe we'll realize

We're only human

Maybe we don't need any reason.”

‘He has a beautiful voice.’ Kate said as she leans back at the door frame she didn’t want to disturb Artemis, plus, she likes seeing him move his hips to the beat. He’s eyes widens as he turned around to place the plate by the kitchen counter.

“How long have you have been there?” he said with his flushed cheeks.  He tilted his head to his side briefly as if he is asking her to sit down. “Just long enough to see how good you are in singing and dancing.” She said teasingly. Artemis scoffed and rolled his eyes.

“You have to eat breakfast now; you didn’t eat dinner last night too. I didn’t want to wake you up since you look so peaceful sleeping.” He said before removing his apron and exposing his toned body. He isn’t too muscular or too skinny; it’s just perfect. Kate almost choked on her bacon which made Artemis panic. He handed her a glass of water and rubbed her back with his palm soothing her as if she is a child.

“There’s a lot of bacon on the plate, don’t eat too fast.” He said before going to the coffee pot and starts to make some coffee. “Do you want sugar in it? Cream?” he asked her.

“Two cubes of sugar please and no cream. Thank you.” She said responding to his question. He nodded as response as he continues to make them. Kate’s eyes roamed around the kitchen’ the interior is simple yet elegant. The monochromatic hue is actually says a lot of Artemis’ personality. Masculine and mysterious.

“Don’t you have a helper to do the cooking and chores for you?” she asked nonchalantly. Artemis placed her coffee beside her which she expressed gratefulness as he does that. He sat down in front of her, took a sip of his coffee before replying.

“I’m the only one who lives here in this house so I didn’t want to hire a helper it’ll be a waste of money plus I can do it all  by myself, and for the cleaning I hired someone to clean the house every Friday.”

Kate was surprised; he didn’t think a man like Artemis would know how to be completely independent on his own. Josh is independent since he moved out of his parents’ house but he isn’t completely an independent one since he brought her with him. Josh asked her to quit her job and be a stay-at-home wife since he can support her.

“That’s actually nice, Artemis.” She took a sip of her coffee.

“It’s my turn to ask a question; Why are you here?” he said curiously he even placed his coffee down and crossed his arms on the table, leaning a little bit towards her.

“I just want to, uhm,” she paused trying to think of a good reason. “Take a breather and run away from the city life even for a while.” She said avoiding his gazes. She heard him sigh and shakes his head.

“Fine, I won’t force you.” He paused a little to take a sip of his coffee before continuing. “Does Josh know you’re here?” he asked which made her almost drop her fork; her eyes are still on her plate unable to think out what to answer.

‘Should I tell him the truth?’

She didn’t even realize that she had already doze off from the conversation not until Artemis starts snapping his fingers in front of her face trying to catch her attention.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to” she said before taking another spoonful of bacon and eggs. “These are really good.” She added trying to avoid the question.

“I guess that’s a no. did something happened been the two of you? You guys seem to be really happy on your engagement party.” She almost forgot Artemis attended their party.

“I was just tired because of the planning and the wedding jitters. I have to get away even for a little while.” The lies just rolled off of her mouth. She didn’t like lying to Artemis or to anyone but she just wants this conversation to end and seems like he got the message.

He stood up and fixed the table putting all the dishes in the sink.

“I’ll do the dishes. You already cooked for me.” She offered which he gladly accepted.

“Fine, only because I don’t want you to feel shackled or bored.” He said jokingly. “Anyways, I got to get going in a few minutes. I have to check on the farm.” he has already taken a few steps on the stairs as he informed her.

“May I come?” she asked as she lather the dishes; her back facing him.

“You’re going to get bored. There’s nothing to see there.”

“And you think being stuck in your house makes boredom any less?” she rebutted.

He chuckles before rolling his eyes and sighs in defeat. “Fine, finish that up and get ready in 10.”

She turns to him with her face gleaming in excitement the she remembers almost all of her items are stolen. Artemis saw the change of her expression.

“What’s wrong?” He asked worryingly.

“I forgot, I don’t have my things anymore.” She said before sighing and returning back to her chore.

“You could have asked me.” Artemis said as if it wasn’t a big deal. “There are some clothes in the guestroom where you slept earlier. It’s my sister’s. Borrow them as of now and tomorrow maybe we can go shopping,”

She was so happy! She ran towards him and hugged him tightly forgetting her soapy hands. She realized it almost immediately but when she is about to herself from the hug, she felt his arms around her; he hugged her back.

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