“I hope you’re not expecting me to sing,” he murmurs lowly into Courtney’s ear, snaking an arm around her waist so his fingers splay lightly just above her hipbone.
Artemis feels her catch her breath and smirks just slightly. He already knows the exact shade of the blush he can’t quite see in the dim lighting, the precise angle at which her eyelashes dip when she shyly looks down. Normally he’d feel a quieting sense of satisfaction at yet another box checked, another bit of knowledge gained. But with Courtney, the things he needs to know pile up desperately. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, to be sure–love, his brain supplies unhelpfully, and he grimaces. It’s an idea he’s ruthlessly quashed far too many times since he met her. He will examine it one day. Just not now. For now, she is intriguing, and that is enough.
Courtney tilts her face toward him and one side of her mouth just curves upward. “I think the Dalton boys have it all under control,” she says, returning her gaze to the stage, where the Warblers are singing some upbeat number whose title eludes him. “And anyway, I’m a hopeless singer and a klutz besides, so you’re far from the least qualified person in the room.”
Artemis frowns at that. “You would be a perfectly adequate dancer, given an experienced leader,” he says, the words out of his mouth before he can think of their implication. She jerks her head up sharply, blinking at him. He can only stare back–the myriad ways to resolve the situation running through his head.