“I waited for you."
"But it's a race. Why did you wait for me?"
"I always wait for you. I'm always waiting for you.”
“If I lost you... why can’t you see that would be the end of me?”
“You really can't see it, can you?"
"He has a tether too. And it points right at you.”
“You know the Everneath?"
"Uh, yeah, I think I'm familiar with it."
"Good. Because I'm going to destroy it. I'm taking the whole. Damn. Thing. Down. Are you with me?
“However he'd found his way here, it didn't matter. I knew then that the boy under the tree had to be mine. That floppy hair should be mine to touch. That big, knuckly boy hand should be mine to hold. That gruff voice should be mine to hear, and those ears should be mine to tell all my secrets to. Except for the biggest secret. That I loved him. More than the crush I was dealing with for years. More than I should've loved a best friend. More than he would ever love me back. I was gone for him.”
“Tell me, friend," Jack said, his fingertips grazing mind as people shuffled past us in the hallway. "Is there more for us?"
I looked at my feet. "There's everything for us.”
“Cole. Know this now. I will never forget what you've done for me. Never. Do you hear me?
He nodded, but I could see he was crumbling, as if finding Jack would put an end to everything he wanted. Because it would. I placed my hands on either side of his face and brought his lips to mine in a light kiss.”
“I know he is wrapping my name inside of him, folding it in the blanket of his heart. I know this because I used to do the same thing with his name when I was in the Feed.”
“I trusted you,” my voice shaky with anger and exhaustion.
“I know,” Cole said simply. “And now I have all of eternity to earn your forgiveness.”
“I was asking Cole to risk his life, again and again, for the boy I loved. And it wasn't him.”
“I didn't care that we'd caught a few stares from students passing by. I didn't care that the bell to begin class rang. I didn't care that everything between us had changed. All I cared about was the fact that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get any closer to Jack.”
“How did you know to turn back?" I said.
With his head still down, he said, "I waited for you."
"But its a race. Why did you wait for me?"
He lifted his head so that his eyes met mine. "I always wait for you." He took a deep breath, my ankle still in his hands. "I'm always waiting for you."
In an embarrassingly breathless voice that didn't sound like my own, I said, "Because I'm so slow?"
He smiled. "Yes. But not in the way that you think.”
“To get someone to follow them, a Siren would most likely appear as that person's deepest desire. The thing they wanted most. Cole's had become me, only it wasn't me as the queen, which I assumed would've been what Cole wanted most. It wasn't even me as an Everliving.
It was me, simply as me.”
“Thats not what I mean." He seemed flustered. Very un Jack-like. "I just mean...What do I mean?"
"Are you asking me?"
He nodded, now completely at a loss.
I tilted my head, thrilled to see that even Jack could get flustered. "Maybe you mean, 'Hey Becks, you have such natural beauty, even without effort you shine like the stars.'"
He stared at me and nodded slowly. Which was not the reaction I'd been expecting. For the first time since I'd known Jack, he looked...vulnerable. And I was the person who could hurt him. What was going on?”
“What happened?" I asked, squinting at his face.
Cole glanced at Max. "I wanted to jump in after you. Max disagreed with the appropriateness of that reaction. And then his face ran into my fist.”
“Cole: " There's the old Nik. No 'how do you do', no talk of the weather. Just a good swift kick to the balls."
Nikki: "A kick to your balls is an option?”
“I'm taking the whole. Damn. Thing. Down. Are you with me?”
“.."Find something that reminds you of Jack..."
"The two of you were lovey-dovey. Didn't he ever give you.. I don't know... a heart shaped locket necklace?"
"A teddy? With a T-shirt that says I LOVE YOU BEARY MUCH?
I rolled my eyes. "No. He wasn't like that.”
“You're not bringing guitar?" I said. I barely saw him without it.
Max and Cole both looked at me with alarmed expressions.
"No," Cole said. "I don't want to die.”
“I would never kiss you!" The siren's screech brought me back to the Everneath, and I drew away from Cole.
He had a devilish grin on his face, and he turned toward the siren. "I know. But the real Nik would - if it was to save my life." He looked back at me. "Hey, Nik.”
“... " it's the Fiery Furnace."
They just looked at me as if I said "It's a puppy driving a tractor.”
“So why did you come over?" I said to Max.
He turned around and started walking backward. He spread his arms out wide. "For love!" He had to jerk his hands back in when they got too close to the flames.
Cole broke out in spasms of laughter.
"What is it?"
Cole looked at me. "I brought him over. Ages ago.”
“Well, what if he's... old? He's been down here for years. What if he's ninety?" Cole's voice sounded very pleased at the notion.
"I wouldn't care," I said.
"Oh, you wouldn't care if you brought Jack all the way home from the tunnels only to end up sending him off to a rest home? You'd be fine spoon-feeding him mashed peas as long as the two of you were together?"
I grimaced. "Believe it or not, I would. As long as I had him back."
"Kinky." Cole smirked.”
“Good. While you're playing nurse to Cole, tell us another story about Jack. We need to get your tether back."
''What should I talk about?''
Cole looked at me with a suddenly hopeful face.
'' Was there ever a time when he didn't resemble a white knight? That would be great about now ”
“... I'd never look at a pick again without wondering if it was Cole's heart.
He cocked an eyebrow. "But the look in your eyes was murderous. Do you have a thing against guitar picks, or we're you hoping I'd be stupid enough to still carry my heart around with me?”
“How come you" - I gasped - "recovered so quickly?"
"I don't know how I knew. I think I heard lapping water or something right before we hit. So I twisted around and dove. Whereas you went flat as a pancake on your back."
"You could've told me."
"Yeah, because there was plenty of time for that," he said sarcastically.”
“Stop looking at it," Cole commanded. "Focus on walking."
I turned to face him and he raised an eyebrow at my appearance. "What is it?" I said.
He bit his lip. "It's okay. I always thought you should have short hair."
My hand flew up to the side of my head. I felt brittle, curly strands that fell away as I touched them.”
“I faced Cole and Max. "Sorry, guys."
I lightly touched the hot poker to Max's back. he screamed and ran forward. Cole looked at him with an amused smile on his lips, then I did the same thing to Cole's back, angling it under the hem of his jacket. He lurched forward.
We ran this way for several long minutes, and eventually I didn't have to prod them as much.”
“He gave me a look. "Nick, I never wanted to save Jack."
"I know. But you helped me anyway. You were my hero.
He shook his head "I told you. There are no heroes."
How could he believe that now? What loathing ran so deep that would block out anything good?" I stepped closer. "I don't care what you think of yourself. I think you're a hero."
"Then you're blind”
“It's in your eyes. I've done what I thought was impossible. I made you love me, but not in the way I needed. You love me as your friend.”
“...sadness is a powerful foe, maybe harder to keep down than happiness...”
“The author nicely encapsulates Paul's overarching intent in his letter to Corinth, to impress upon those in the church infatuated with the gifts of the Spirit a greater awestruck awareness of His presence in and among them. The author then illustrates thusly: if we have but a few coins, we may carry them lightly with little concern as to whether we lose them. But if we are aware that we carry a great sum, we will carry it with great care. How much more the Treasure of the Holy Spirit within the earthen vessel of our bodies?”
“The President was trapped – and with nearly every president, it had come about from his own words. Presidential promises and statements… The people had this annoying way of remembering them. And even if they didn't, there were journalists and political rivals never passed on a chance to make the necessary reminders.”
“They sat in silence. Feathers, Phoebe thought, searching in vain for some moment of her own that could rival the beauty and mystery of Faith's act. She felt a disappointment so familiar it was almost a comfort.”
“Bran grabbed her sleeve, forcing her to look at him. "What in the hell is goin' on with you?" "What is wrong with me? What is wrong with your goats? They're evil! And they're laughing at me! Look at their smug little goat faces! Go on. Look at them!”
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