“There is revenge and then there is justice. Sometimes the two are met as one."
“Honor you? he breathed. Sweetest Erienne, how could I not? You are ever in my thoughts, bending me, plucking at the fibers of my mind. The man inside me trembles whenever you're near, and I groan with agony for the touch of your hand laid upon me in a soft caress.”
“His gaze dropped and fell to the floor in thoughtful concentration for a long moment. When he looked up at her again, his gaze was direct and unflinching. "Because I have fallen in love with you." ”
“After all, they were just words, and she had learned long ago that a man's actions displayed his truer nature more than the things he said.”
“She was his; he was hers. The world could fall apart, and they’d still be one.”
“The warm of his voice touched a quickness in her that left her fingers trembling as she raised the candle. “Will you light this please? I need it to find my way back.”
He ignored her request and reached to take the lantern from the wall. “I’ll take you upstairs.”
“It isn’t necessary,” she was quick to insist, afraid for more reasons than one.
“I’d never forgive myself if some harm came to you down here,” he responded lightly. He lifted the lantern, casting its glow before them, and waited on her pleasure with amused patience. Erienne saw the challenge in his eyes and groaned inwardly. How could she refuse to pick up the gauntlet when she knew he would taunt her with his chiding humor if she did not? Adjusting the oversize coat about her shoulders, she rose to the bait against her better judgment and moved with him along the stony corridor. They were well past the bend when a sudden scurrying accompanied by strident squeaking came from the darkness. At the sound, Erienne stumbled back with a gasp, having an intense aversion for the rodents. In the next instant, the heel of her slipper caught on a rock lip, twisting her ankle and nearly sending her sprawling. Almost before the cry of pain was wrenched from her lips, Christopher’s arms were about her, and he used the excuse to bring her snugly against his own hard body. Embarrassed by the contact that brought bosom to chest and thigh to thigh and made her excruciatingly aware of his masculinity, Erienne pushed hurriedly away. She tried to walk again, anxious to be away, but when her weight came down on her ankle, a quick grimace touched her features. Christopher caught her reaction and, without so much as a murmured pardon, took the coat from her shoulders, pressed the lantern in her hand, and lifted her up in his arms.
“You can’t take me upstairs!” she protested. “What if you’re seen?”
The lights danced in his eyes as he met her astonished stare. “I’m beginning to think, madam, that you worry more about propriety than yourself. Most of the servants are in bed asleep.”
“But what if Stuart comes?” she argued. “You said he’s on his way.” Christopher chuckled.
“Meeting him now would be most interesting. He might even challenge me to a duel over your honor.” He raised a brow at her. “Would you be grieved if he wounded me?”
“Don’t you realize a thing like that could happen?” she questioned, angry because he dismissed the possibility with flippant ease.
“Don’t fret, my love,” he cajoled with a smile twitching at the corners of his mouth. “If I hear him coming, I’ll run, and as clumsy as he is, he’ll never be able to catch me.”
He shifted her weight closer against him and smiled into her chiding stare. “I like the way you feel in my arms.”
“Remember yourself, sir,” she admonished crisply, ignoring her leaping pulse.
“I’m trying, madam. I’m really trying.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“A rattle of dishes warned of a servant’s entry into the hall, but Christopher was incensed, and half turning with a growl, he gestured Paine back.
“Get out of here, man!”
“Christopher!” Erienne gasped and took two halting steps to follow the befuddled servant, but Christopher came around to face her with a glare.
“Stay where you are, madam! I am not finished with you.”
“You have no right to give orders here,” she protested, her own ire growing. “This is my husband’s house!”
“I’ll give orders when and where I damn well please, and for once, you will stand and listen until I’m through!”
More than a trifle outraged herself, Erienne hurled back her answer. “You may command the men on your ship to your will, Mister Seton, but you have no such authority here! Good day to you!”
Catching up her skirts, she whirled and stalked toward the tower until she heard the sound of rapid footsteps coming behind her, then a sudden panic seized her that he would make such a scene that she would not be able to face the servants… or her husband. She raced into the entry, stepping over the puddle, and took to the stairs, forcing every bit of strength she could into her limbs. She had barely gained the fourth step when she heard sliding feet, a loud thump, and then a painful grunt followed by an angry curse.
When she whirled, Christopher was just coming to rest in a heap against the wall after sliding across the floor, partway on his back. For a moment she stared aghast at the dignified man sprawled in a most undignified manner, but when he raised his head to look at her with barely contained rage, she was struck by the humor of it all. Bubbling laughter broke forth, winning from him a dark scowl of exasperation.
“Are you hurt, Christopher?” she asked sweetly.
“Aye! My pride has been mightily bruised!”
“Oh, that will mend, sir,” she chuckled, spreading her skirts to perch primly on the step above him. Her eyes danced with a lively light that was simply dazzling to behold. “But you should take care. If such a modest spot of water can bring you down so abruptly, I would not advise sailing beyond these shores.”
“ ’Tis not a spot of water that’s brought me down, but a waspish wench who sets her barbs against me at every turn.”
“You dare accuse me when you come in here huffing and snorting like a raging bull?” She gave a throaty, skeptical laugh. “Really, Christopher, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. You frightened Paine and nearly made me swallow my heart.”
“That’s an impossibility, madam, for that thing is surely made of cold, hard steel.”
“You’re pouting,” she chided flippantly, “because I have not fallen swooning at your feet.”
“I’m angry because you continually deny the fact that you should be my wife!” he stated emphatically.
Footsteps on the stairs behind Erienne made them glance up. Aggie came nonchalantly down the steps, seeming unaware of Christopher’s storm-dark frown. Excusing herself, she stepped past her mistress. Finally, on reaching level footing, she contemplated the man, a twinkle of mischief in her eye.
“Aren’t ye a wee bit old ter be takin’ yer leisure on the floor, sir?”
He raised a brow at Erienne as that one smothered a giggle, and with a snort, got to his feet and brushed off his breeches and coatsleeve.
-Christopher, Erienne, and Aggie”
“She shivered as his mouth left hers and traced a molten path over her cheek, her brow, and then paused to press gently against the fragile eyelids, which flickered downward and waited for his touch. He nuzzled aside the sweet-scented tresses and, finding her ear, touched it lightly with his tongue. A throbbing pressure grew in the man’s loins. He had played out his hand with patience, but now it was waning before the tumult of his passions. His concern for her timidity dwindled apace with his growing need, and his hand came up to cup the fullness of her breast. A shocked gasp caught in Erienne’s throat, and she came upright, pushing at his chest with both hands and striking away the brand that seared her. She held him at arm’s length and confronted him in a breathless whisper, “You press yourself beyond the bounds of propriety, sir! You gave your word!”
“Aye, madam, that I did,” he whispered back. “But listen well, my love, and mark the bounds.” He leaned closer.
“Sweet Erienne, the ball is over.”
His arm cradled her head as she stared at him aghast, and then his lips smothered hers.
-Erienne & Christopher”
“Christopher opened the door and with a crisp nod to the gawking man, drew Erienne out ahead of him. They were in the hall before she dared release her breath. “Lord Talbot will never forgive you for that,” she whispered worriedly. A low chuckle preceded his reply. “I don’t think I’ll miss his affection.” “You should be more careful,” she warned. “He’s a man of much influence.” “He’s a man of much arrogance, and I could not resist deflating him a bit.” Christopher looked down at her, and his eyes danced with green lights as he searched her face. “Do I actually detect some concern for me in your admonition, my sweet?” “When you’re so reckless, someone needs to try to get you to listen to reason,” she said impatiently. “I take heart that you care.” “There’s really no reason for you to feel conceit,” she responded dryly. “Ah, milady pricks me with her thorns and wounds me to the quick.” “Your hide is thicker than an oxen’s,” she scoffed. “And your skull just as dense.” “Don’t be mean, my love,” he coaxed. “Give me a warm smile to soothe this heart that beats only for you.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“She nuzzled against his chest as she slipped her arms about his waist. “Oh, Christopher, you have become all things to me. I love you, my darling.”
He raised her chin, and his eyes drank of the brimming devotion he saw in the amethyst depths. “And I you, milady. Perhaps more than even I was aware of until they took you from me.” He lightly kissed the bruise on her jaw. “I will see that they pay for this.”
“It doesn’t matter, Christopher. As long as I have you and your babe within me, nothing else matters.”
-Eienne & Christopher”
“Oh, my love,” Erienne breathed as he pressed his lips to her brow, “I was afraid you would come, and yet I hoped you would.”
Light kisses rained upon her cheek and brow as he held her close, savoring the nearness of her while he could. “I would have come sooner had I known where they had taken you. I had not expected this of your father, but he will answer. I promise you that.”
Erienne shook her head and replied in the same muted tone. “He is not my real father.”
Christopher held her away, looking down at her wonderingly. “What is this?”
“My mother married an Irish rebel and got with child before he was hanged. Avery married her, knowing the facts, but he never told her that it was he who had given the final orders to hang my father.”
Christopher gently brushed a tumbled curl from off her cheek. “I knew you were too beautiful to be kin to him.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“Existe a vingança e existe a justiça. Às vezes as duas são uma só.”
“Resistir ao inevitável era o mesmo que nadar contra a caudalosa corrente de um rio.”
“O remorso pode ser uma grande inconveniência, especialmente quando o que fizemos ou deixamos de fazer pode ter consequências muito sérias.”
“Tis said that wisdom comes to those who seek it.”
“Christopher observed the passage of the coach from his sight and then turned his gaze to the pair of men who approached them. It was Farrell and Captain Daniels, and while the latter was smiling broadly, the former frowned in sharp disapproval at the couple. Christopher thrust out a hand in greeting to his captain, then looked to his wife’s brother. “Farrell, I don’t think we’ve been properly introduced.” Christopher smiled as he extended his hand. “I am Lord Saxton.”
The young man’s eyes widened, and he searched the softly smiling visage of his sister as he mechanically accepted the hand. “Lord Saxton? The Lord Saxton?”
“Aye, I am the one who wore the mask and walked with a limp,” Christopher confessed. “ ’Twas done partly to fool the thieves into believing the man they had murdered was still alive, and then too, I desired to wed your sister and found no other way. I hope you will value the friendship we began when you knew me as the cripple.”
Farrell tried to grasp all the facts and put them together in their proper places. “You are really married to my sister, and you are the father of her…” Erienne blushed as she glanced hesitantly toward the sea captain, who seemed to be enjoying the whole exchange. His smile broadened as her husband gave a reply. “You needn’t sharpen your skill with firearms to avenge your sister’s honor,” Christopher replied. The teasing gleam in his eyes shone brighter. “ ’Twas quite properly made, I assure you.”
-Christopher & Farrell”
“Were I a man,” she struck a fencing pose and swept her hand before her as if it held a razor-sharp rapier, “I’d fix him thus!” She stabbed once, twice, thrice, then whipped the imaginary tip across her victim’s throat. Delicately she wiped the phantom blade and restored it to an equally airy scabbard. “Were I a man,” she straightened to stare pensively through the window, “I’d assure myself that braggart knew the error of his ways and henceforth would bend to seek his fortune in some other corner of the world.” She caught her reflection in the crystal panes and folding her hands, struck a demure pose. “Alas, a brawling lad I am not, but a mere woman.” She turned her head from side to side to inspect the carefully arranged raven tresses, then smiled wisely at her image. “Thus my weapons must be my wit and tongue.”
“Erienne closed the door and leaned against it as she frowned at Farrell. He had caught his good arm about the balustrade and was trying to steady himself while he tugged feebly at the ties of his cloak.
“Eriennie, give yer li’l Farrell a hand with ’is rebesh… uh… rebelush garment. It willn’t leave me as I bid it.” He grinned apologetically and lifted his crippled arm in helpless appeal.
“Fine time for you to be coming home,” she admonished, helping him out of the recalcitrant cloak. “Have you no shame?”
“None!” he declared, attempting a gallant bow. His efforts caused him to lose his precarious balance, and he began to totter backward.
-Farrell & Erienne”
“His brow raised in wonder. “You’re very understanding, Miss Fleming.”
Erienne laughed to hide her confusion. “My brother is of a different opinion.”
“Brothers generally are.” The grin came back as she lifted her gaze, and his eyes moved leisurely over the fragile features, pausing at length on her soft red lips.
-Christopher & Erienne”
“Around the glade this pair of woodland nymphs danced. He swept her in a waltz to a duet that was sometimes off tune, sometimes rent with giggling and laughter as they made their own music. A breathless Erienne fell to a sun-dappled hummock of deep, soft moss, and laughing for the pure thrill of the day, she spread her arms, creating a comely yellow-hued flower on the dark green sward while seeming every bit as fragile as a blossom to the man who watched her. With bliss-bedazzled eyes, she gazed through the treetops overhead where swaying branches, bedecked in the first bright green of spring, caressed the underbellies of the freshlet zephyrs, and the fleecy white clouds raced like frolicking sheep across an azure lea. Small birds played courting games, and the earlier ones tended nests with single-minded perseverance. A sprightly squirrel leapt across the spaces, and a larger one followed, bemused at the sudden coyness of his mate. Christopher came to Erienne and sank to his knees on the thick, soft carpet, then bracing his hands on either side of her, slowly lowered himself until his chest touched her bosom. For a long moment he kissed those blushing lips that opened to him and welcomed him with an eagerness that belied the once-cool maid. Then he lifted her arm and lay beside her, keeping her hand in his as he shared her viewpoint of the day. They whispered sweet inanities, talked of dreams, hopes, and other things, as lovers are wont to do. Erienne turned on her side and taking care to keep her hand in the warm nest, ran her other fingers through his tousled hair.
“You need a shearing, milord,” she teased. He rolled his head until he could look up into those amethyst eyes. “And does my lady see me as an innocent lamb ready to be clipped?”
At her doubtful gaze, he questioned further. “Or rather a lusting, long-maned beast? A zealous suitor come to seduce you?”
Erienne’s eyes brightened, and she nodded quickly to his inquiry.
“A love-smitten swain? A silver-armored knight upon a white horse charging down to rescue you?”
“Aye, all of that,” she agreed through a giggle. She came to her knees and grasped his shirt front with both hands. “All of that and more.” She bent to place a honeyed kiss upon his lips, then sitting back, spoke huskily. “I see you as my husband, as the father of my child, as my succor against the storm, protector of my home, and lord of yonder manse. But most of all, I see you as the love of my life.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“You make me afraid,” she murmured one morning when he came back to sit beside her on the bed. “The thought plagues me that I will see you slain and, like your mother, will have to flee to find a haven for our babe.” “By the grace of God, madam, I will prove wiser than my enemy.” He lay back across the bed, resting his head in her lap while he reached up a hand to caress softly her smooth, flat belly through the light fabric of her nightgown. “I have a fancy to see our offspring and plant other seeds where this one grows, so you needn’t fret that I’ll be foolhardy, my love.” Erienne ran her fingers through his hair. “I hope the hour quickly approaches when you may give up the mask and guise. I want to tell the world and all the women in it that you’re mine.” She shrugged lightly. “ ’Twould not overburden me to tell my father of our marriage, either.” Christopher chuckled. “He’ll croak.” Erienne giggled and leaned over him. “Aye, that he will. Louder than any wily toad that e’er’s been born. He’ll stamp and snort and claim injustice, but with your babe growing in me, I doubt that anyone will lend an ear to the question of annulment.” Her eyes gleamed with twinkling humor. “Besides, what suitor would look twice at me when I’ve grown fat with child?” Christopher raised up on an elbow and leered at her. “Madam, if you think your father or any suitor could get past me to try to separate us, then let me assure you that the highwaymen have not yet seen such a wrath that I would display should that happen.” His brow raised in question. “Do you doubt what I say?” Erienne gave a flirtatious shrug, then rolled to the edge of the bed and bounced to her feet with light, lilting laughter floating behind her. Before she could catch up her robe, however, Christopher swung around the end of the bed and caught her close against him, slipping his arms around her waist and holding her tightly to him. Their lips met in a long, slow kiss of love, and after he drew away it was a full moment or more before Erienne opened her eyes to find the grayish-green ones smiling into hers, and her arms tightly clasped about his neck. “I believe you,” she breathed unsteadily.
-Erienne & Christopher”
“I can understand why you never kissed me as Lord Saxton. I’d have known you instantly.”
“ ’Twas what I feared, madam, but you don’t know how hard it was to resist the urge.”
His kisses played upon her lips, touching as light as a butterfly’s wings, then he set her away from him and released a long breath.
“As much as I would rather spend the day with you, madam, I suppose I must don my disguise and venture from these chambers.”
“There’s always tonight,” she whispered.
He grinned down at her. “I won’t be bound to darkness again.”
“We could always light a candle,” she suggested sweetly.
“Better yet,” his grin widened, “just come when I beckon.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“Facing Erienne, Christopher favored her with a lopsided grin. “I suppose this means I won’t be welcomed here again?”
“Get out! And don’t ever darken this door again!” she cried, fighting tears of anger and humiliation. Her lips curling with contempt, she gave him a scathing perusal. “Were a twisted, scar-faced, hunchbacked cripple the only other man on earth, I would surely choose him over you!”
Christopher let his gaze glide down her. “As for me, Erienne, were you cast down before me, I would not be wont to cross over you to get to some broad bovine.” He smiled in wry humor as his eyes met hers again. “ ’Twould be pure foolishness to spite myself for the sake of pride.”
“Out!” The word was spat from her lips with vengeance as her arm thrust out in the direction of the door.
-Christopher & Erienne”
“So, my dear…”
She faced him with thudding heart, the crystal piece clutched desperately in her hand, but she was hardly aware that she even held it.
“… You say I have let another man into my bed.”
Erienne opened her mouth to speak. Her first impulse was to chatter some inanity that could magically take the edge from his callous half statement, half question. No great enlightenment dawned, however, and her dry, parched throat issued no sound of its own. She inspected the stopper closely, turning it slowly in her hand rather than meet the accusing stare.
From behind the mask, Lord Saxton observed his wife closely, well aware that the next moments would form the basis for the rest of his life or leave it an empty husk. After this, there could be no turning back.
“I think, my dear,” his words made her start, “that whatever the cost, ’tis time you met the beast of Saxton Hall.”
Erienne swallowed hard and clasped the stopper with whitened knuckles, as if to draw some bit of courage from the crystal piece.
As she watched, Lord Saxton doffed his coat, waistcoat, and stock, and she wondered if it was a trick of her imagination that he seemed somewhat lighter of frame. After their removal, he caught the heel of his right boot over the toe of the left and slowly drew the heavy, misshapen encumbrance from his foot. She frowned in open bemusement, unable to detect a flaw. He flexed the leg a moment before slipping off the other boot. His movements seemed pained as he shed the gloves, and Erienne’s eyes fastened on the long, tan, unscarred hands that rose to the mask and, with deliberate movements, flipped the lacings loose. She half turned, dropping the stopper and colliding with the desk as he reached to the other side of the leather helm and lifted it away with a single motion.
She braved a quick glance and gasped in astonishment when she found translucent eyes calmly smiling at her.
She could not form a question, though her mind raced in a frantic search for logic. He rose from the chair with an effort.
“Christopher Stuart Saxton, lord of Saxton Hall.”
His voice no longer bore a hint of a rasp. “Your servant, my lady.”
“But… but where is…?”
The truth was only just beginning to dawn on her, and the name she spoke sounded small and thin.
“One and the same, madam.”
He stepped near, and those translucent eyes commanded her attention.
“Look at me, Erienne. Look very closely.”
He towered over her, and his lean, hard face bore no hint of humor.
“And tell me again if you think I would ever allow another man in your bed while I yet breathe.”
-Christopher & Erienne”
“He grinned. “Madam, I was not willing to gamble with so precious a prize.”
“Do you think calling me ‘Mr. Seton’ is going to stop me from wanting you?” he asked as his eyes caressed her. “You know very little about me… or men… if you think mere words can quench what I feel for you. ’Tis no simple lust that gnaws at me, Erienne, but an ever-raging desire to have you with me every moment, to feel your softness beneath my searching hand, and to claim you as my own. Nay, no stilted title can cool what burns in me.”
-Christopher to Erienne”
“Roll toward me,” she directed and leaned close to reach around him as he complied. Easing the bandage away from the wound on his back, she pushed it as far beneath him as she could before sponging the dried blood from his back. The basin of tepid water had been placed on the bed beside him, and as he lay flat she reached across to wring the cloth out. In the next moment his left hand rose and pressed lightly between her shoulders, causing her to fall toward him until he could capture her lips with his own. Off balance, she could not immediately withdraw and was held snared by a torrid kiss that torched her cool-minded resolve and cindered it beneath the heat of his demand. His open mouth moved upon hers with a hunger that greedily sought for a like response. The stirring rush of excitement flared through her, and the need was there to answer him, but the sudden intrusion of a black, staring mask into her mind made her push away with a sudden gasp. She came to her feet, her cheeks ablaze with the shame of her own ardor. Christopher challenged her with a mocking grin. “You must have read my mind, madam. ’Twas the very gift I desired.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“I believe, my dear Erienne,” he began solicitously, the humor in his voice disguised by a disapproving frown, “that you either have a penchant for self-destruction… or you are somehow testing me… or my ability to protect you. I think this may bear further investigation.”
“The warmth that went through her could not be laid entirely to a hot blush. “You, sir, have a very evil imagination!” “Nay, madam,” he denied. “Vivid, aye! But nothing about you is evil, and that’s all I think about.”
-Erienne & Christopher”
“Tis obvious that you’re easily…” She paused, searching for a more sarcastic and descriptive word than “encouraged.”
“Aroused?” he queried.
Erienne gasped. “Certainly not!”
“Have you changed your mind? You said at a twitch of a skirt…”
“I know what I said!”
“The subject seems to be on your mind quite a bit, my lady.”
“I wonder why,” she retorted with unmistakable satire. It was impossible to ignore the manly feel of him against her.
“Because you lust after my body?” he asked, feigning innocence.
Erienne caught her breath in outrage. “I am a married woman, sir!”
He heaved a laborious sigh. “Here we go again!”
“Oh, you buffoon! Why don’t you leave me alone?”
“Did I ask you to follow me?” he protested.
She groaned aloud in frustration. “I’m sorry I did!”
“Were you bruised?” He snuggled her closer against his body. “You feel all right to me.”
“Christopher, if I weren’t so afraid of this horse, I’d slap you,” she threatened.
“Why? I only inquired of your health.”
“Because you make free with your hands! Now, stop that!” She threw away the hand that had settled on her thigh. “Don’t you ever get tired of playing the rake?”
“The sport warms and excites me, madam,” he said, chuckling in her ear.
-Erienne & Christopher”
“We are, in the end, a sum of our parts, and when the body fails, all the virtues we hold dear go with it.”
“Мы расслаблялись, развалившись на моей кровати. Виски размазывал края наших тел и мозгов лужицами жидкой грязи.
– Восхитительно, – сказала Вайда.
«Я не знаю, где ваша мать и, честно говоря, могу процитировать Кларка Гейбла из "Унесенных ветром": "мне глубоко плевать"».
«Он назвал мою мать Кларком Гейблом!» – заорала она и собралась дать мне пощечину. Но я уже все понял и перехватил руку в полете, развернул ее всем корпусом и хорошенько подтолкнул к выходу. Она выпорхнула из двери, точно летучий мусорный бак.
«Отпустите мою мать на свободу! – вопила она. – Мою мать! Мою мать!»
Я начал было закрывать дверь. Тут на меня будто дремота навалилась. Я не знал, просыпаться мне или хорошенько дать этой стерве по мозгам.
Она ринулась было к двери, поэтому пришлось выйти наружу и проводить ее вниз по ступенькам. По дороге мы немножко повздорили, но я приподнажал ей на руку, и она малость поостыла, а я одновременно, как истинный джентльмен, предложил сломать ее цыплячью шейку, если она сейчас же не припустит по дороге туда, куда ее только донесут эти вешалки, приспособленные вместо ног.
Напоследок она еще орала: «До чего я дошла? Что я делаю? Что это со мной? Что я мелю?» И при этом выдирала из книжки страницы и подбрасывала их над головой, как невеста на свадебном пиру.
Мы нисколько не отдохнули, но и не нервничали, что было бы естественно в начале такого дня, нас охватило той мягкой волной шока, когда легче делать одну маленькую вещь за другой, один хрупкий шаг за другим, пока большое и трудное дело, чем бы оно ни было, не завершится само собой.
Когда подступают трудности, которые во что бы то ни стало нужно преодолеть, нам обычно достает сил, чтобы наполнить свою жизнь новыми мимолетными ритуалами и просто их исполнять.
Мы превращаемся в театры.
Я переводил взгляд с бурлящего кофейника на Вайду в ванне. День будет очень длинным, но, к счастью, мы пройдем его – одно мгновение за другим.
В море металла статуя выглядела покойно. Стальная штука с тонкой мозаикой и мраморными людьми сверху. Люди пытались нам что-то сказать. К сожалению, у нас не было времени слушать.
Мы путешествовали так быстро, что через несколько мгновений нас не стало.
Поэтому я хорошенько рассмотрел его физиономию в зеркале. Похоже, его избили до смерти винной бутылкой – но не самой бутылкой, а содержимым.
Его улыбка достигла десяти баллов. Наверное, дочь его работает стюардессой.
Он отодвинул жалюзи и показал нам отличный вид на стоянку – впечатляет, если вы никогда раньше не видели стоянок.
Пограничные городки – не самые приятные места. Они высвечивают худшее в обеих странах, и все американское торчит там неоновой болячкой.
Выточенной из серого камня фигуре было явно не по себе. Она возвышалась над самим зданием. Изображала доколумбова бога или какого-то другого парня, который занимался тем, что не доставляло ему никакой радости.
Вайда лежала нежно и неподвижно, словно мраморная пыль на постели.
По ночам все иначе. Дома и городки далеко внизу требуют свою красоту и получают её в виде крошечных огоньков, мерцающих с невероятной страстью. Мы опустились в Лос-Анджелес, словно в кольцо с бриллиантами.
Священнику не хотелось выходить в Лос-Анджелесе, но пришлось, потому что именно сюда он и летел. Возможно, Вайда ему кого-то напоминала. Возможно, красавицей была его мама, он не знал, как к этому относиться, и ушел в духовенство, а теперь красота Вайды будто вихрем унесла его назад сквозь зеркала времени.
Возможно, он думал о чем-то совершенно не похожем на то, о чем в своей жизни мог подумать я, – и мысли его были самые что ни на есть возвышенные, из них следовало отлить статую... возможно. Говоря словами Фостера, «на свете слишком много "возможно", а людей не хватает».
Я снова стал думать о библиотеке и пропустил тот миг, когда священник поднялся и ушел, чтобы влиться в Лос-Анджелес, добавить к его размерам свою долю и забрать воспоминания о Вайде в свое что бы там ни было.”
“Fate would not have the reputation it has, if it simply did what it seemed it would do.”
“The suspect nature of these stories can be seen in the anecdote Jefferson told of Hamilton visiting his lodging in 1792 and inquiring about three portraits on the wall. “They are my trinity of the three greatest men the world has ever produced,” Jefferson replied: “Sir Francis Bacon, Sir Isaac Newton, and John Locke.” Hamilton supposedly replied, “The greatest man that ever lived was Julius Casar.”
“I can't be in your place as I don't have a fat, knocked-up ass to sit on. Yeah, you asked me for a major, and if you want to come through on it, you'll sit down, shut up, and let me work. Bitch.”
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