So I've found myself incredibly distracted today.
It all started when I woke up this morning and spent those waking hours imagining what Artemus and Olivia were like when they first met at children [she was four years old, he was six]. All I know is that she slaps him--long story.
From then on I've been vaguely recreating their brief history together, despite the fact that this means I'm thinking about that, instead of where the story is actually going.
But I'm letting myself do it, because it is important to how the story works, so in the end it will help. I'll probably work on it a bit more when I'm in the post-writing/pre-editing stages.
So without much adieu...
The Childhood Events of Olivia and Artemus (at least until I revise it):
While Vincent was out on some business he came across Artemus (not sure what his original last name was), who he quickly learned was quite talented and had a mind for inventing. So he made the young man a deal, he would work with him after school--sort of a mentorship. And this is what brought Artemus to the Wells/Orville home.
The day Artemus came to their home, Olivia was in the middle of a piano lesson with her mother. As she had seen but not had any playmates that were "her size" she was immediately excited by his arrival. So she rushed out to meet this strange new young man that her father was talking to. Vincent introduced the two, using Olivia's nickname which brought about this following exchange between the two children:
"Ollie is a strange name for a girl." Artemus said making a face.
"It's just a nick name. It stands for Olivia Madeleine Wells." The girl replied, irritated at his comment.
"Still odd." Artemus said with a shrug.
"Is he a playmate?" This last line Olivia directed at her father. Her father informed her that the young man is here for lessons, but he might be willing to play with Olivia afterwards. Excited by the prospect, she asked the young man:
"Will you play with me afterwards?"
"No." Artemus said this with no hesitation.
"Why not?" She inquired.
"Because I don't want to play with you." He replied.
And Olivia responded by slapping him on the face, much to the surprise of both her parents. When asked why she did it, she said he was being rude--which was hardly a good excuse. So Madeleine took Olivia to be punished for her actions, while Vincent apologizes to a very stunned Artemus. And the boy's lessons begin.
On his second visit, Olivia quickly apologized to him before his lesson and then runs off afterwards. Feeling partly to blame, Artemus decides to stay and keep the girl company--far better than returning to the orphanage. So begins a series of play dates between the two of them [I'm not sure what sort of games a four year old girl would play with a six year old boy, but it's not too important]. It was during this time that Olivia realized that Artemus was very serious for his age. She asks him one day why he won't smile, but he will not say. The little girl then resolves that she will make him smile, if she ever figures out how.
She found her inspiration on how to do that when she witnessed her mother receive flowers from her father. So she decided it would also work for Artemus. One day instead of piano lessons with her mother, Olivia suggested that they go for a walk. As Olivia gathered flowers, her mother asked what they were for and the girl revealed her secret plan: the flowers were for Artemus. Her mother laughed and asked why she would give the boy flowers. Olivia responds that it made her mother happy, so it might make him happy too. That late afternoon after lessons were over, Olivia presented her bouquet of flowers to Artemus. At first the boy was rather confused by the gift, but it did make him smile [a small half-smile]. Pleased with the results, Olivia continues the action--although with less flowers--hoping that it will keep him happy. And slowly the two children become a bit closer.
[There is a photograph of the two children that was taken a bit after this by Thomas. Artemus is looking ahead at the camera, trying his best to be serious without much success--he is half smiling. His failure to look serious is due to the fact that Olivia has her arms wrapped around him and resting her head on his shoulder--he expected her to merely stand next to him. Yes...she was a bit clingy back then, but it got him to smile.]
About a year into their friendship, tragedy strikes. Madeleine Wells has an accident in the lab. Of course the children do not know this yet--they are together in the parlor when Vincent and the Orvilles rush upstairs carrying Maddy. Vincent tells Bertrand to call for a doctor. Although neither of the children know what is wrong, they can both sense it. Olivia tries to go to her mother, but Vincent stops her and asks Artemus to hold her back. And he does. He holds Olivia in his arms, as she fights him, screaming her mother's name until finally she gives gives in and starts to cry.
When they go to the funeral, Artemus is the one who holds Olivia's hand. Although her father and the Orvilles try their best to comfort her, it is the boy's words [about how he lost his own parents] that help her understand. The two children find themselves bonded by loss. However, unlike Artemus, Olivia remains more positive--even claiming that somehow Maddy is still with her. [There is a slight chance that the girl spent her time alone talking to an "invisible" Maddy or herself to cope.]
After the death of her mother, Olivia begins to spend more time with the men in her life [Vincent, Thomas, Theodore and Artemus]. Unable to leave Olivia alone, her father starts bringing her into the lab, which is the start of the masculine clothes that caused all the Ollie=boy confusion. [The famous photo isn't taken until after Artemus is sent away.] So she spends most of her days after school in the factory and lab with her father. And when she isn't following her father around, she is with Artemus. The young man is now living with them [a foster home type situation]. Her father felt it was best that the boy not have to be at the orphanage after all he'd been through--and due to the comfort his presence brought Olivia. Together, this strange family began to cope.
It was like this for the next three years [Olivia is now eight and Artemus is ten]. Olivia and Artemus have become rather close friends. All was going well, until the two were suddenly separated, for reasons the two were not told. [As it turned out, Mr. Cromwell had returned with hopes of finishing the invention that killed Maddy. He also showed some interest in Artemus, when he learned of his talents. Vincent did not want to see Cromwell get his hands on Artemus, for fear of what he would make the young man do.] Artemus was taken away to live with Felix and the theatre troupe. In the rush to save Artemus from a horrible fate, Vincent failed to tell the young man what was happening. So Artemus assumed he was being abandoned again--sold off to Felix Armstrong. Angry to be treated like an object, he became bitter and disobedient [which in part contributed to his debt]. Olivia was also misled and told her friend had finally been adopted. She tried her best to be happy for Artemus and hoped that perhaps she would see him again one day. That day would not come for another nine years...
So yeah...that's it in a nutshell. The past that Olivia and Artemus shared.
It explains why Artemus cares about her so much and why he's so protective. Why he knows more about her than anyone else and why he would recognize her slightly [you do change a lot in nine years]. It also explains why they have such strong feelings for each other--not fond of that R&J love at first sight BS.
Sorry this was such a long post.