Yes! A surprise (for myself most of all) posting! This came to me last night while I was literally ripping pages up trying to write a sequel to Desiderata. Writing on paper is hard! My laptop has spoiled me. It's up for the TBR contest, but mostly I wrote it as a wedding present for Kit. And to prove that Holly can say 'Trouble ... Commander Kelp' until the cows come home and still not be involved with him.
Also: GAH, counting words drove me mad. Because of course it was Trouble's lines that always came out to multiples of five. Jerk.
Posted without beta-ing so all mistakes are mine and ilex-ferox is innocent on all counts (I just read Eats, Shoots and Leaves so I'm feeling overconfident of my punctuational abilities). And yes, the title's a play on 'coming out of the closet' and the In the Closet drabbles.
"Holly, look, I - I need to tell you something."
"I love you."
"I beg your pardon?"
"That really wasn't the answer I was hoping for."
"Er, Trouble ... Commander Kelp, well, you're a really good friend, but -"
"Now, unfortunately," the boy spoke with positive glee, "your Commander Kelp made two fatal errors during his confession of love. First, he paid no attention whatever to the number gods - all those 3's and 4's!" Artemis shuddered delicately. "And, second, he made his feelings known whilst in his LEP office; more or less assuring that it would be captured by the security cameras."
In the callous light of the naked light-bulb hanging listlessly above them, Artemis' pallour seemed sickly and his eyes had a distinctly feverish glint.
"This may come as a surprise, Artemis, but I'm more interested in why you have that recording than Trouble ... Commander Kelp's word count, actually." Holly paused, counting backwards in her head. "Really," she tacked on hurriedly.
"I'm getting to that, Captain; suffice to say that I needed it for comparison."
Holly had a sudden, sinking feeling in her gut that overpowered her exasperation with his blatant snooping. "Comparison. Right. Okay. Just, ah, Artemis," she spoke soothingly, raising her hands in a pacifying gesture, to hide the way her eyes were darting frantically around their cramped quarters, "remind me again exactly why we're in this broom closet?"
"For privacy, of course, Holly."
Holly backed up until she was nearly sitting on a tub of all-purpose cleaner. The distance between them could now be measured in centimeters, instead of millimeters. This was not reassuring.
"Because, you see, I too have a confession of love to make." The feverish glint was more pronounced now. Defying the acknowledged restrictions of relative space and the third dimension, he managed to get down on one knee. "I love you, Holly Short."
D'Arvit, thought Holly. Then: D'Arvit, D'arvit, D'arvit, D'arvit.
Couldn't hurt, right?