“Nobody hopped into a wardrobe to find Narnia; they hopped in, thinking it was just a wardrobe. They didn't climb up the Faraway Tree, knowing it was a Faraway Tree; they thought it was just a really big tree. Harry Potter thought he was a normal boy; Mary Poppins was supposed to be a regular nanny. It's the first and only rule. Magic comes when you're not looking for it.”
“I didn't need to transform after all.
My name is Harriet Manners and I am a geek.
And maybe that's not so bad after all.”
“Nobody really metamorphoses. Cinderella is always Cinderella, just in a nicer dress. The Ugly Duckling was always a swan, just a smaller version. And I bet the tadpole and the caterpillar still feel the same, even when they're jumping and flying, swimming and floating.
Just like I am now.”
“My name," I tell Wilbur in the most dignified voice I can find, "Was inspired by Harriet Quimby, the first female American pilot and the first woman ever to cross the Channel in an aeroplane. My mother chose it to represent freedom and bravery and independence, and she gave it to me just before she died."
There's a short pause while Wilbur looks appropriately moved. Then Dad says, "Who told you that?"
"Well, it's not true at all. You were named after Harriet the tortoise, the second longest living tortoise in the world."
There's a silence while I stare at Dad and Annabel puts her head in her hands so abruptly that the pen starts to leak into her collar. "Richard," she moans quietly.
"A tortoise?" I repeat in dismay. "I'm named after a tortoise? What the hell is a tortoise supposed to represent?"
“You need to stop caring what people who don't matter think of you. Be who you are and let everybody else be who they are. Differences are a good thing.”
“Oh." Dad frowns. "Why hasn't Annabel been teaching you how to walk in heels? I thought we had an agreement: I teach you how to be cool and she trains you how to be a girl."
I stare at him in silence. This explains so much.”
“Your daughter is adorable. I've never seen such an alien duck in my entire life.”
“She's....having an affair with a strawberry jam manufacturer?”
“Tortoises are incredible creatures," Dad says earnestly. "What they lack in elegance and beauty they more than make up for in the ability to curl up and defend themselves from predators."
"What, like me?”
“Have you been sniffing glitter again?”
“...Our stories are drive by who we are and what we do, and not by the events that happens to us.”
“We don't have time for all this adorable Darcy and Lizzie tension, Kitten-cheeks.”
“I came to get you. I knew you'd freak out."
"But..." My head still feels like a helium balloon. "Why?"
Nick looks blank. "Because you always freak out."
I shake my head. My voice feels like I've swallowed it. "I mean, why do you care if I freak out?"
There's a long silence.
"Well," Wilbur finally bursts, "I can take a shot in the dark, if you want."
"Seriously," Nick snaps, making his fingers into a gun shape. "I'm going to take a shot in the dark in a minute and it will make contact."
Wilbur looks charmed. "Isn't he adorable?" he says fondly. "My duty as Fairy Godmother is complete, anyhoo, and I believe it's time to spread my magic dust elsewhere. So many pumpkins after all; so little time.”
“Nick? Any idea?"
Nick coughs too. "Nope. No idea at all."
Wilbur gives him a stern look. "So what was the point in doing all the Jane Austen stuff if she doesn't know about it, Poodle-bottom?”
“Gary nips my finger and starts clawing his way up my shoulder, hissing like an angry kettle. It's just not natural for something so cute and fluffy to be so nasty.
I look at Nick in distress. "Why is he spitting at me?"
"Maybe he thinks he's a llama.”
“Well?" Nat says after a few seconds. "I'm surprised you're here again, Harriet. I thought you'd be busy auditioning for A Midsummer Night's Dream."
I blink a few times in surprise. "No. I'm not."
"You should be. I heard they're looking for an ass."
Oh. Now why can't I think of quips like that when I need them?”
“She's probably so mesmerized by her own beauty she can't move away from the mirror," I hear Wilbur stage-whisper. "It's why I'm always late." Then he knocks on the door as well. "Look away from the reflection, baby," he shouts through the wood. "Just look away and the spell will be broken.”
“The rest of my Thursday can be summarised thus:
- Nat tells me to bite her.
- I don't.
- I am forced to sit next to Toby for the entire two-and-a-half-hour return coach journey.
- He tells me that water is not blue because it reflects the sky, but actually because the molecular structure of the water itself reflects the colour blue and therefore our art teacher is wrong and the authorities should be alerted.
- I pull my jumper over my head.
- I stay under my jumper for the next two hours.”
“My impact on hearts is like an earthquake happening on the other side of the world: if I'm lucky, I can hope for a teacup tinkling in its saucer. And even then it's a bit of a surprise and everybody talks about it afterward.”
“Mr Bott sits down and gestures gracefully to the board. "As you are clearly both fascinated by this text, would you like to explain the significance of Laertes in Hamlet?" He looks at Alexa. "Please go first, Miss Roberts."
"Well..." Alexa says hesitantly. "He's Ophelia's brother, right?"
"I didn't ask for his family tree, Alexa. I want to know his literary significance as a fictional character."
Alexa looks uncomfortable. "Well then, his literary significance is in being Ophelia's brother, isn't it? So she has someone to hang out with."
"How very kind of Shakespeare to give fictional Ophelia a fictional playmate so that she doesn't get fictionally bored. Your analytical skills astound me, Alexa. Perhaps I should send you to Set Seven with Mrs White and you can spend the rest of the lesson studying Thomas the Tank Engine. I believe he has lots of buddies too.”
“Why are you such terrible parents?" I yell.
"I don't know," Dad yells back. "Why are you such a naughty little spider?”
“This might surprise you, but here's a fact: people who plan things thoroughly aren't particularly connected with reality. It seems like they are, but they're not: they're focusing on making things bite-size, instead of having to look at the whole picture. It's procrastination in its purest form because it convinces everyone—including the person who's doing it—that they are very sensible and in touch with reality when they're not. They're obsessed with cutting it up into little pieces so they can pretend it's not there at all.”
“If I tell you, you'll panic."
"You will. You'll panic, and then I'll panic, and then you'll panic again, and she'll be able to tell we're weak and she'll eat both of us.”
“what are you doing here?" "Obviously I'm doing laundry, Harriet." I raise my eyebrow. He looks completely at ease with this terrible excuse, which - considering the fact that he has no laundry with him - is a little worrying.”
“Czar Nicholas the Second was overthrown by Lenin in 1917."
I blink in surprise. "Yes," I say, "he was."
"And do you think I want to know that? IT's not even on your exam syllabus. I never had to know that. So now it's your turn to pick up a few pairs of shoes and make ooh and aah sounds for me becuase Jo ate prawns and she's allergic and she got sick and couldn't come and I'm not sitting on a bus on my own for five hours, OK?"
Nat takes a deep breath and I look at my hands in shame. I am a selfish, selfish person. I am also a very sparkly person; my hands are covered in gold glitter.”
“a) not thinking about Nick and b)”
“I can only conclude that her feelings toward me are very similar to what I've read about love: passionate, random, inexplicable, and totally uncontrollable. She can't help hating me any more than Heathcliff could help loving Cathy. It's simply written in the stars. Which would be quite sweet if she wasn't such a cow all the time.”
“People like their high-fashion models to look as deeply unhappy as physically possible You can't have beauty and contentment: it would just be unfair.”
“I’d mentioned this odd wardrobe choice to Adrian a couple of weeks ago:
“Isn’t Dimitri hot?”
Adrian’s response hadn’t been entirely unexpected:
“Well, yeah, according to most women, at least.”
“You take every opportunity given you in this world, even if you have too many opportunities. One day, the opportunities stop, you know.”
“But what is a dream, Conor O'Malley? the monster said, bending down so it's face was close to Conor's. Who is to say that it is not everything else that is the dream?”
“Time forks perpetually toward innumerable futures. In one of them I am your enemy.”
“The stillness was so profound that he heard a little animal twittering somewhere near by under the snow. It made a small frightened cheep like a field mouse, and he wondered languidly if it were hurt. Then he understood that it must be in pain: pain so excruciating that he seemed, mysteriously, to feel it shooting through his own body. He tried in vain to roll over in the direction of the sound, and stretched his left arm out across the snow. And now it was as though he felt rather than heard the twittering; it seemed to be under his palm, which rested on something soft and springy. The thought of the animal's suffering was intolerable to him and he struggled to raise himself, and could not because a rock, or some huge mass, seemed to be lying on him. But he continued to finger about cautiously with his left hand, thinking he might get hold of the little creature and help it; and all at once he knew that the soft thing he had touched was Mattie's hair and that his hand was on her face.”
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