“Whatever happens, remember that I will love you forever,” he says. “Even if my spirit is dispersed and my consciousness released to the universe... whatever is left of me will never stop loving you.”
“Kate, I’ll say it like this. Vincent is my best friend. There’s not a person in this world I’m closer to. But for the past year, I have betrayed him in my heart every single day because I want for myself what he loves the very most.”
“I understand it, but I don't like it. I wish we could all be together like before: best friends, not heartbroken strangers.”
“Kate, I want you to know that I awoke the first time I saw you.”
“I’m being given my heart’s desire, and I just don’t know what to do with it. I’m almost afraid tobelieve it’s true, in case someone shakes me and tells me I’m dreaming.”“It’s not a dream. I’m here with you,” I say. “For what looks like a really long time.”
“Feelings change with time - or at least pain lessens with time; I know that from experience.”
“If I should die...," I began to say.
Vincent cuts me off. "Stop, Kate!" And then he sighs and his shoulders hunch slightly. He knows it’s dishonest to pretend we’re all going to make it out alive. He shuts his eyes and, when he opens them, he looks resolute. “Whatever happens, remember that I will love you forever,” he says. “Even if my spirit is dispersed and my consciousness released to the universe . . . whatever is left of me will never stop loving you.”
“He interrupts her again. "I will stay without complaining..."
"You have no choice!"
"...if you'll do two things." The teasing has long left his face. He is dead serious.
I should leave but I can't. I know I'm about to witness a historic event, and I lurk next to the door, my eyes glued to Charlotte and Ambrose.
"Okay," Charlotte says, matching his gravity.
"Promise me you'll come back."
Charlotte is silent.
"And give me a kiss good-bye."
"What?" Charlotte blurts.
"You heard me."
She stands stock-still for a good couple of seconds before raising her fingertips to her mouth. Her eyes glitter with tears as she sits back down on the side of his bed. And taking his good hand in hers, she leans forward and kisses him. It is a slow kiss. It is a lingering kiss. It's the kiss she's been waiting for for years.”
“Don’t you see Kate? I can’t be yours in any kind of real way. But what I can promise you is that I will always be here for you, watching out for you, making sure you are safe. And happy.”
“Mon Kate, qui était à moi, qui n'est plus à moi," he whispers as he kisses me. And then he says it in English. "My Kate, who was mine, who is no longer mine" -- he tiredly rubs his bloodshot eyes -- " because now you belong to fate.”
“Ambrose's eyes shoot back to Charlotte and he nods. "She's changed, hasn't she? Charlotte, I mean."
"Um, besides growing her hair long she doesn't seem to have changed much to me," I say, trying not to smile. "Why?"
"It's just that she seems so... in charge. I mean, she's always had her act together, but ever since she's been back she's seemed more confident or something. And now that she's Vincent's second... I guess I've always thought of her as a little sister. You know, the huggable kind you want to take care of. But now that I see her working with him and taking control... I mean... the girl is fierce."
Ambrose's face shines with respect and a sort of curious awe, and I have to restrain myself from jumping up and cheering for the fact that it has finally happened. He has finally noticed what was right under his nose.”
“As I reach the grand foyer, I see Jean-Baptiste and Gaspard step through the front door.
"You're here!" I cry.
"I had planned on taking a couple more hours to rest up," Gaspard explains with a grin, "however, we received this almost indecipherable text message on our mobile telephone..."
Jean-Baptiste holds up his cell phone like it's a piece of alien machinery. "And I quote, 'Dudes, it's going down now. Get your sorry asses over here stat.' With such an eloquent request, how could we resist?" he remarks drily. But there is a ghost of a smile at the edge of his lips, and I know that he and Gaspard wouldn't miss this for anything in the world.”
“Life changes so quickly. Not long ago I was mourning the death of my parents and wondering if I could make it through another day. Now I have been handed eternity. And not on a silver platter, either, but down a path lined with pain and bloodshed.
But I will walk it with my kindred. With this boy I love. Together we will do something worthy and good. We will give our lives for others. Over and over again.
I don't have answers to all the questions that lie before me. But Vincent and I have time to figure them out. All the time in the world.”
“As he spoke, the edges of the clay man began shimmering, like air does in intense heat, and the lumpen form gradually became more manlike. "Something's happening!" I cried. I was paralyzed by shock and hope. "Please let it work. Come back, Vincent. You have to come back, I whispered, pleading.
Red clay became olive-toned skin, and the bald head became waves of raven black hair. The face that Jules had carefully sculpted became a real nose and mouth and eyes, closed as if in sleep. But it lay there, still unmoving, until, focusing on the air just above, Bran yelled, "Come, bardia spirit, inhabit this body!" He made one final sweeping gesture, as if pulling the aura downward, and touching his fingers to the body's side.
The eyes flew open and Vincent took a great gulping gasp, as if trying to swallow all of the oxygen in the room.
"Vincent," I said, my heart in my throat.
His eyes flew to mine. He reached toward me, and I took his hand and pressed it to my cheek. His skin was burning hot, like with a fever. I kissed his fingers, and his skin smelled like fire and rain-soaked earth. Like the boy I thought I would never touch again.”
“Vincent gestures toward Gaspard, who steps forward to face us. "We say good-bye to our longtime leader, Jean-Baptiste Alexandre Balthazar Grimod de la Reynière," Gaspard says in a wavering voice. "He died sacrificing his life for another on the battlefield in Borodino, September 7, 1812. Jean-Baptiste was dedicated to the preservation of his kindred, willing to do anything to ensure their survival." Gaspard's face twists with emotion when he says this, but he forces his shoulders back and raises his chin.
He pulls something from his belt, and I recognize Jean-Baptiste's beloved sword-cane topped with its carved wooden falcon's head. Facing the fire, Gaspard says, "My dear Jean-Baptiste. My love. I will mourn your loss until we are reunited in the next life." And he throws the cane onto the fire.”
“Watching the way he treats you made me realize that maybe I had set my sights too low. After chasing someone who didn’t give me the time of day… I just see how Vincent anticipates your every desire and tries to make it come true for you. How, when he sees you walk into a room, it’s like he’s transformed into this person who is bigger and better than the one he was just minutes before. I want to be that for someone. I think I deserve it. And I’m not going to pine away for a guy who feels that for someone else. So until my own chivalrous knight shows up, I’ve decided to live a full life and be happy with my lot.”
“She begins walking toward the door. "Violette?" I call, craning my head so I can see her.
"Yes, Kate?" she asks, looking curious.
"I hope I'm not the Champion," I say, my voice dead calm now, "because I would hate to give you any additional satisfaction. But if I am, I hope you have to chop off an entire hand this time and eat a raw cat in order to absorb me. And I hope you choke on it."
Her creepily calm demeanor finally shatters. Making a noise between a growl and a scream, she stomps over to the bed and slaps my face as hard as she can. Then, spinning on her heels, she races out of the room, slamming the door behind her.
I lay my head back down and taste blood in my mouth. And smile.”
“The owner of the boom box marches over and turns the music down. He shrugs when he sees me staring. "Hey, noise pollution elicits fewer phone calls to the police than screaming and battle sounds. At least, that's the case in Berlin," he says.”
“Among Paris's kindred," he continues, "we lost our beloved Geneviève Emmanuelle Lorieux. She died in 1943, executed by firing squad for having smuggled food and medicine to the detainees at the Drancy detention camp. Geneviève was a loving and dedicated wife to Philippe Lorieux, who died barely four months ago. We will miss you, Geneviève.”
“Mon Kate, qui était à moi, qui n'est plus a moi," he whispers as he kisses me. And then he says it in English. "My Kate, who was mine, who is no longer mind" -- he tiredly rubs his bloodshot eyes -- "because now you belong to fate.”
“When we were together, it had been like one of nature's true and rare beauties; like an impossible beam of sunlight piercing through black clouds, bathing the patch of earth before you in gold.”
“Arthur is very obviously checking Louis out. “What?” Louis asks finally. “So you’re Violette’s new consort,” the older revenant says, amused. “You’re with her for six months and you want to run away? Try five hundred years.” Louis’s jaw drops.”
“She became whoever she needed to be to survive,but she never let anyone else define her.”
“Nevertheless, it bothered Vimes, even though he'd got really good at the noises and would go up against any man in his rendition of the HRUUUGH! But is this a book for a city kid? When would he ever hear these noises? In the city, the only sound those animals would make was "sizzle." But the nursery was full of the conspiracy with bah-lambs and teddy bears and fluffy ducklings everywhere he looked.
One evening, after a trying day, he'd tried the Vimes street version:
Where's my daddy?
Is that my daddy?
He goes "Bugrit! Millennium hand and shrimp!"
He is Foul Ol' Ron!
No, that's not my daddy!
It had been going really well when Vimes heard a meaningful little cough from the doorway, wherein stood Sybil. Next day, Young Sam, with a child's unerring instinct for this sort of thing, said "Buglit!" to Purity. And that, although Sybil never raised the subject even when they were alone, was that. From then on Sam stuck rigidly to the authorized version.”
“Whenever my environment had failed to support or nourish me, I had clutched at books...”
“What if I don't want to be friends with you?" he challenged, grinning again, staring directly into my eyes. Obviously taking me seriously was an impossibility for Evan.
Despite not being able to breathe, I connected with his taunting gaze and refused to look away. "Then we won't be friends," I said flatly.
"What if I want to be more than friends?”
“If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.”
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