“Dude, the bush is ready. Why you still beating around it?”
“I’ve lived a long time, kid, and I’ve never heard anyone mutilate the English language quite like you.”
“The more excited I get, the more I vibrate."
"Now there's a thought," Lor says.
"If you mean what I think you mean, you want to shut the fuck up and never think it again," Ryodan says.”
“I like sex for breakfast, kid. I eat early and often.”
“Ryodan doesn’t like Mac. He never has. She got between him and his best boy-bud. I give him a look. “I’ll tell you a secret, Ryodan. You mess with her, Barrons’ll kill you.” I drag a finger across my neck. “Just like that. You aren’t all that. Barrons’ll stomp your ass, hand’s down.”
He smiles faintly. “I’ll be damned. You have a crush on Barrons.”
“I do not have a crush—“
“You do, too. It’s all over your face. Anybody could see it.”
“Sometimes, boss, you’re just wrong.”
“I’m never wrong. You might as well take out a billboard. ‘Dani O’Malley thinks Jericho Barrons is hot.’ My offer to teach you is still open. Save you from future embarrassment. If I can see it on your face, he can, too. ”
“He never figured it out before,” I grumble then realize I just admitted it. Ryodan has a tricky way of wording things that makes you say things you didn’t mean to say. “Maybe I’ll ask Barrons to teach me,” I mutter and turn away from the stairs, heading for his office. I run smack into his chest. “Dude, move. Trying to get somewhere here.”
“No one but me is ever going to teach you, Dani.”
He touches me before I see it coming, has his hand under my chin, turning my face up. My shiver is instant and uncontrollable.
“That’s non-negotiable. You signed a contract with me that grants exclusivity. You won’t like it if you try to break it.”
“You’ll never be just anything. A tsunami can never be ‘just’ a wave.”
“Get off my chin.”
“I like that about you. Waves are banal. Tsunamis reshape the Earth. Under the right circumstances, even entire civilizations.”
“You’re going to be one hell of a woman one day, Dani.”
“One day, kid, you'll be willing to mortage your fucking soul for somebody.”
“Life's a choice: you can live in black and white, or you can live in colour. I'll take every shade of the rainbow and the gazillion in between!”
“There are only two things to worry about in life: either you’re free or you’re not. If you’re free, there’s nothing to worry about. If you’re not, you kick the shit out of everything around you until you are.”
“I lock eyes with my reflection and don’t look away. The day you look away you start to lose yourself. I’m never going to lose myself. You are what you are. Deal with it or change.”
“Who and what we surround ourselves with is who and what we become. In the midst of good people, it is easy to be good. in the midst of bad people, it is easy to be bad.”
“Kid, let me tell you something. Most people spend their short time in this world less than half alive. They wander through their days in a haze of responsibility and resentment. Something happens to them not long after they're born. They get conflicted about what they want and start worshiping the wrong gods. Should. Mercy. Equality. Altruism. There's nothing you should do. Do what you want. Mercy isn't Nature's way. She's an equal opportunity killer. We aren't born the same. Some are stronger, faster. Never apologize for it. Altruism is an impossible concept. There's no action you can make that doesn't spring from how you want to feel about yourself.”
“Procrastinating is number three on my Stupid List. You still end up exactly where you didn't want to be, doing exactly what you didn't want to do, withe the only difference being that you lost all that time in between, during which you could have been doing something fun. Even worse, you probably stayed in a stressed-out, crappy mood the whole time you were avoiding it. If you know something is inevitable, do it and get it over with. Move on. Life is short.”
“Like a horse, honey, somebody's gonna break you.'
'Never. Going. To. Happen.”
“Sloppy, Mega,” I mutter. I still can’t see. I wipe my bloody nose on my sleeve and reach out to feel what I hit.
“That’s my dick,” Ryodan says.
I snatch my hand away. “Gah!” I choke out. I can feel my face again—because, like, it’s going up in flames. What kind of universe makes me reach out at exactly that fecking level to feel what I think is a wall and puts my hand on a penis?
Then I remember this is Ryodan and scowl. “You did that on purpose!” I accuse. “You saw my hand go out and you stepped right into it!”
“I’d do that why, kid?”
“Just one time before I turn into the villain of this piece, just one time before I become the fourth and final Unseelie prince, I want to be her Highlander. And her hero.”
“When I thought I'd killed him, I felt more alone than I've felt in a long time. Like I couldn't stand walking through this city knowing he wasn't in it. Like somehow, as long as he was out there somewhere, if I was ever really in trouble, I knew where I could go and while maybe he wouldn't do exactly what I wanted him to do, he'd keep me alive. He'd get me through whatever it was to live another day.”
“He isn't what he's pretending to be with her. I watch him all the time. I'm going to be there when he stops pretending. I'm going to be her bulletproof vest, her shield, her fallen fucking angel, whether she wants one or not. He's pretending he's almost human. He's no more human than me.”
“Stop. Vibrating." Ryodan plucks a paper out of the air and slaps it back down on his desk.
I wonder if he cleans it. How many tushes have been on that thing? I'm never touching it again. "Can't help it," I say around a mouthful of candy bar. I know what I look like: a smudge of black leather and hair. "It happens when I get really excited. The more excited I get, the more I vibrate."
"Now there's a thought," Lor says.
"If you mean what I think you mean, you want to shut the fuck up and never think it again," Ryodan says.
"Just saying, boss," Lor says. "You can't tell me you didn't think it, too.”
“And Mega has a crush on Chester."
"I do not!"
"Do too, Mega."
"He's like, old!"
"How old, Christian says."
"Like at least thirty or something."
Lor laughs. " Fucking ancient, ain't it, kid?"
"Dude," I agree. I like Lor.”
“It's just another of Robin's sayings. Like, 'Holy strawberries, Batman, we're in a jam! Or, Holy Kleenex, Batman, it was right under our nose and we blew it!”
“One day, kid, you'll be willing to mortgage your fucking soul for somebody.”
“I don't think you should say fucking around me. In case you forgot, I'm only fourteen, And news flash, dude,I've got no soul. There aren't any banks. And there isn't any currency. Ergo. Never. Going. To. Happen.”
“I'm not sure you could be any more full of yourself.”
I cut him a smug look. “I'm willing to try.”
“Kid, when will you learn.”
“You’d be amazed the things I know.”
“You might be able thrash your way out of a spider-web, but thrashing in quicksand doesn’t work. The harder you fight, the more ground you lose. Struggling merely expedites your inevitable defeat.”
“Never been defeated. Never will be.”
“Rowena was a spider web.” He touches my cheek with the hand holding the knife. The silver glints an inch from my eye. “Do you know what I am.”
“A great big pain in my ass.”
“Quicksand. And you’re dancing on it.”
“Dude, what’s with the knife?”
“I’m not interested in ink anymore. You’re going to sign my contract in blood.”
“Thought you said it was an application,” I say pissily.
“It is, Dani. To a very exclusive club. What’s Mine.”
“Ain’t nobody’s. “
“Or Jo dies. Slowly and painfully.”
“Dude, why you still talking? Unchain me and give me the fecking contract already.”
“The wound you refuse to dress is one that will never heal. You gush lifeblood and never even know why. It will make you weak at a critical moment when you need to be strong.”
“Dude. Post-apocalyptic world. Who does job applications anymore?”
I squint at it, then him. “What are you paying me?” I angle.
“Dude. Post-apocalyptic world. Who does money anymore.”
I snicker. First sign of any sense of humor he’s shown. Then I remember where I am and why. I wad it up and throw it at him. It bounces off his chest.”
“I know that when he has sex he laughs like the world is a perfect place. And when he did that, my hands curled into fists because I thought about touching his face like maybe I could catch joy in my hands and hold it.”
“-I'm going to kill the kid. - Barrons says faintly.
Ryodan makes a burbling sound like a bodly laught. -Get in line”
“Dani: Crank it up. Lets get this party started. *I hand Dancer my iPod.*
Lor: What is this crap. Where the hell is Hendrix on this thing?
Jo: Did you get any Muse?
Dani: Muse is something you do
Jo: Distrubed is something you are
Dancer: And Godsmacked is something you get
Lor: Don't you have any Motley Crue or Van Halen?
Christian: How about some Flogging Molly?
Ryodan: Whats the deal with all the Linkin Park, for fuck's sake.
Dancer: Mega has a crush on Chester
Jo: You got any Adele?
Dani: Got some Nicki Minaj.
Ryodan: Somebody kill me now.”
“I figure the folks that are the most interesting get to go to heaven. I mean, if I was God, that’s who I’d want there with me ... I’d rather be a superhero in hell than an angel in heaven. What the feck would I do all day if I wasn’t kicking demon ass?”
“Turn it off," Ryodan says without even looking at me. "You're distressing Dani. No one distresses Dani but me.”
“He closes his hand around mine and I hold on. I like his hand. It's big and holds easy but sure. It's the kind of hold that says, I got you if you want me, but I'll let you go if you feel like running for a while.”
“What use, after all, is man, if not to teach God His lessons?”
“Black seeds spill like clusters of eyes, wet and crying.”
“He pushed her in. And then he pulled her out. All her life, Lydia would remember one thing. All his life, Nath would remember another.”
“What a privilege it was to never feel like you had to take stock of your surroundings, or gauge everyone’s reactions to the color of your skin.”
“A man who works all day, every day and loves each apple he uncrates, who cherishes each can of soup - a man like that surely puts us all to shame.”
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