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AM 92Those were strong words very strong words. We barely knew each other, we'd only met I couldn't actually remember how long ago it was, but it felt like it was supposed to be a short time. But was it longer? Maybe. I was having trouble thinking.
No one had ever said that to me before, not like that, not meaning it like that. He really really meant it, this was Nat, he wouldn't joke about something like that, or exaggerate, even to himself. He was too abruptly honest. But it was still a lot.
I jerked away from him without meaning to. I was supposed to keep from getting too close with him, wasn't I? He was going to get hurt, I was going to leave, and even if I didn't leave, then I'd do something, I always did "It's kind of hot in here," I said softly, "is there a balcony or something that ?"
He hopped to his feet and offered me
AM 91I was absolutely speechless. Of course. I simply stared down at the beautiful Cordy in my arms as strong thrills of desperation and defeat rolled round idly in my body. What could I possibly say?! "I h-how do you know-?"
"It doesn't really matter, does it?" she looked up at me.
I swallowed so hard it hurt, and looked away. "I-I guess not " I took a deep breath, "I didn't tell you because of two reasons. The first was that I was afraid you'd get the wrong idea and think I was gay and that I didn't want ehrm and- and the second one was that Mai didn't know, and I'm pretty sure you would have told her a-and it was Adam's secret too. That's why I didn't tell you." I finally looked at her, "I'm not gay, though, Cordy, I'm really not I was terrified that I was b-but then I met you and I've never felt this way about any girl in my entire life-"
"Did you love him?" she cut me off.
I felt my cheeks heat up "Yes," my voice broke, "I still do."
AM 90I felt weak and stupid. After Nat had tumbled through his doorway and right onto me, I'd completely forgotten everything that had been wrenching my insides around. All that had stayed in my head had been the good things, how mind-numbingly adorable he could be and too sweet to live. He made it so hard to be mad at him.
Especially now. He was blushing like a matchhead, and sitting a few inches away from me with his knees up in a rather guarded position. He looked so lost and unhappy, and there was a nasty-looking bruise on his forehead.
Before I could remind myself to actually think about what I was doing, I pulled my knees under me, then scooted myself forward, glad that my knees were covered by untorn capris. There was not much space between us to begin with, but now we were too close, but we had to be so that I could check the bruise. It was already purpling, I wondered how long he'd been hitting his head ag
AM 89The rhythmic continuity of sound and pain were the only things keeping me somewhat sane at least for the moment. You would think, on my own turf, in my own home, it would be easier to control what actually happened to me around her ugh. I couldn't help thinking of a story my Mother used to tell me and Aulma when we were little about a young prince who managed to coordinate his entire kingdom to spell out the name of the girl he loved. I remembered thinking it was stupid then, but now I wished I could have just a little bit of that kind of control of my surroundings. At least enough to keep me from transforming into an orange bear around her!
I continued my systematic bludgeoning of my own head, since it at least made me feel a little better though I don't really know why.
This time I kept going, my head no longer connecting with wood but leading the rest of my body into collision with something far more soft and
We hit the
AM 88So. Cute! But more than that, it was freaking hilarious. How old had he been when he'd written that? It was a few moments before I could talk without worrying about a giggle escaping, but when I could, I said, "Someday I'll be yours, huh? Kind of possessive, aren't you?"
"I was fourteen!!"
More than anything, I wanted to 'heehee' and kneel on the floor next to him so I could beep his nose, but I was kind of enjoying his head being closer to the ground than mine was. The fact that he was still kneeling there and holding my hand after kissing it made me feel like a princess, especially considering where we were. It was a funny feeling, since I'd never even really pretended to be a princess as a kid. "You wrote that three years ago and you still remember it? Awww !"
"Shut uuuup Agh! I mean!"
I couldn't help laughing at that. "Calm down and g
AM 87Great. Stuck in a room with the Abbot Boys for a night. Greeeaat. At least Eric was asleep. Jake was pacing and muttering to himself and generally annoying me. I hated it when he acted all 'something's wrong and if I don't do something about it no one will' . Ugh. I needed to get out of there.
I let my gaze mosey over to the window, and grimaced in chagrin when I realized there were bars on it. Makes sense, but no less irritating. Going out into the corridor was not an option because well there was always a chance I'd run into
Oh shit. I just knew it was Mai, my stomach froze into an intestine shaped ice cube and clunked into my sneakers. Jake hurried over to open the door most likely to give himself the feeling he was doing something useful and revealed sure enough, Mai Adams standing on the doorstep and all ready to carve my heart from my chest.
She didn't say anything, just looked at me. I looked away and got slowl
AM 86When Eric had turned Nat into a bear, I'd wanted to kill him. When he'd jumped out of the window, I had been sure that I would. Now I didn't know what to do. He was still sitting on the grass and staring at his knees, or smiling at everyone with a look that anyone outside of our family would have called 'vacant.' He was thinking about something. I hoped for my sake and Nat's that he was not thinking as a matchmaker. Eric wasn't very good at that kind of thing.
I leaned down to loop my arms around him and drag him to his feet, then gently push him ahead of me, over towards our little knot of family. Mom looked like she was going to have a nervous breakdown, and I didn't blame her. She'd just seen her baby jump out of a window, and even though we'd all expected that he'd try to stop himself, it wasn't a sure thing that he could.
While Mom smothered Eric with relieved hugs and kissesand scolded h
AM 85This was a new experience I looked down at my fuzzy orange hands and forcefully held back panic. If Eric couldn't fix whatever it was he'd done, there was always Uncle Kyle to call and endure. Ugh. Maybe I'd just shave it all off a whimper tried to escape me, but the mortified look on Cordy's face made me hold it in. Her family was no weirder or more problematic then mine, things like this were going to be happening to us when around each other I knew for a fact it was worth it, so I might as well get used to it.
I'd calmed down, and was ready to turn to Eric and not immediately kill him, but before I'd even opened my mouth again, or he'd answered my question, the fur suddenly disappeared. So did the orangeness. My loud sigh of relief was one thing I didn't manage to hold back. I slumped, taking the opportunity to give Eric an 'I'll get you later but not too badly since I like your sister' look.
Eric just smiled at me, and above my head with a terri
AM 84"OW!! Mai, cut it out!"
"No! I am going to kill you, Adam Nathaniel!!!" I was too mad to even yell his full name, although I'd tried. After the way we'd all split up after the dinner, it had taken us forever to get everyone back together, and the first thing that Adam's parents had done was deal with him. They didn't lecture or even tell him off, they'd just grabbed him and given off this overwhelming sense of wanting to bawl him out, while just clinging to him. Uncle Van's face had even looked a little damp, which pissed me off even more.
"That's my EAR!"
"Exactly!" I tugged harder, until an adult finally managed to get out of the car and pull me off of him. Even though I'd never been a really violent kid, worrying tended to bring that out of me, and it probably shouldn't have.
Uncle Roman scooped an arm under my knees and hugged me tight enough to pin my arms, just the way he used to when I w
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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