“Growing up is hard, love. Otherwise everyone would do it.”
“Face it, you stupid little cookie maker,” Jenks said, almost sounding fond, “in the last couple of days you’ve seen what it’s like to be in a family, with all the touchy tempers and irritation that goes on. Now you get to see the other side, where we do stupid stuff for each other just because we like you. Rache is the little sister. Ivy’s the big sister. I’m the uncle from out of state, and you’re the rich nephew no one likes but we put up with you anyway because we feel sorry for you. Just let me help, huh? It won’t kill you.”
“You need a new hobby, Rachel. Something other than nasty little men with visions of world domination.”
“Just so you know, I’ve trusted you since camp.”
“You think Ivy's a planner? She has nothing on a motivated elf with too much money.”
“We were innocent once. How could it have gone so bad?”
“I am not going to be the person who completes you,” he said, glancing at me and turning away. “You are one messed-up bitch.”
“Numb, I took the perfectly browned puff. Okay. Let me see if I have this right. Al provokes me into defending myself. I nearly kill him. Then Newt tries to kill me, thinking I'm Ku'Sox. Al stops her, saving my life. And now we're all going to have s'mores together?”
“The car was full of unhappy people heading west. It was the Great American Family Road Trip, all right. Whaaa-hoo!”
“Now you’re going to get it,” I said, guessing Al was coming when the ones in the back scattered. “You should have been nice.”
With a weird cry, the closest surface demon fell back, but it was too late. A flash of red light exploded overhead, smashing the buildings away as if I were at the center of an atomic explosion. The surface demons scattered like brown leaves, the remnants of their clothes and auras fluttering. It was Al, and he burst into existence in a grand mood, an old-fashioned lantern in his hand and a walking cane at his side.
“Rachel Mariana Morgan!” he shouted enthusiastically, raising the lantern high, and I painfully rose from my crouch, breaking my bubble with a small thought. “I’ve come to save you, love!”
“I meant I’m not afraid of love being difficult. If it was easy, then everyone would find it.”
“You need to be clever to best him. Are you clever, Rachel?”
Oh God. She wants to know if I’m clever. I glanced at Al, and he stared at me, then shrugged. Licking my lips, I said, “It’s the shiny pot that puts a hole in the sky.”
Al’s mouth dropped open, but Newt thought about it, her expression thoughtful and her fingers finally leaving her knife. “Very true,” she said as she eased back into the cushions.
With a soft click of his teeth, Al’s mouth shut. His eyes were cross, and he seemed peeved that I’d found a way to satisfy her without compromising myself at all.”
“The rag he'd used to clean the table went into the fire behind him. "I saw what you are," he said, "and I was ashamed. I saw what you expect from a person, and I'd call you a bitch except you demand it from yourself as well. I saw how you see me," he explained. "It wasn't anything I didn't already know, but it made me wonder at what I lack, what isn't there.”
“Rachel, Rachel, Rachel,” he said, very still and unmoving. “Always jumping to the wrong conclusion. You’re like a frog, you know.”
“I do so like all-encompassing words. Verb, adjective, noun. Yes, you are shitted.”
“Trent and Ellasbeth did the nasty? Ewwww!”
“Just let me sleep," she grumbled. "Let me sleep, and I'll sign a paper that you're a fucking angel.”
“Welcome home, Rachel mariana Morgan, he said, his goat-slitted eyes holding a new, dangerous light. It's a pleasure to finally meet you.”
“That’s my girl,” she said, her eyes holding a shared pain as she saw my confusion. “Al, where are you going to put her? Not in your room. She’d pull a line through you and kill you when you hog the blankets. I’ll take the waif in. I promise I’ll bring this one up properly.”
“Come on, Rachel!" Jenks shrilled. "You're a badass, not a bad witch!”
“You just click your heels and think there's no place like being pwned.”
“Life was going on, and no one but a handful of people cared if I lived or died.”
“They tried to kill me,” he said, his brow furrowed as he glared at them. “You saw them!”
“Yeah?” I spouted off. “They weren’t very good at it!”
(Trent and Rachel)”
“(Al to Pierce) “You will make sure that nasty demon Ku’Sox doesn’t kill her,” Al said conversational y. “Understand? You’re angry, but you still like her, yes? Want to have wild demon sex with her even if she ruined your attempt to kill me? Keep her alive, and you might get some. Eh? Eh? You’d like that, mmmm?”
“Okay, you drive," she said. "I'll sit with m head hanging out of the window like a golden retriever.”
“And if he is lying and he double-crosses you, I’ll kill him for you.”
From anyone else, it would have been an idle threat, and I smiled, feeling loved.
(Ivy and Rachel)”
“I have a name,” I grumped, my stomach pinching me harder.
“Yes, but it has no pizzazz. Ra-a-a-a-chel. Rach-e-e-e-eel,” he said, trying it out in different ways. “No one will tremble in terror at that. Oh my God!” he said in a high falsetto. “It’s Rachel! Run! Hide!”
“Wait until the sun sets tonight, and if we are both here to see it, then my heart will break knowing you are safe and yet not to be mine. If you are gone, then my heart will break knowing that God has taken you home...”
“Her tiny hand gripped mine with a surprising warmth, and in a shocking wash of emotion, I felt everything I knew shift. The scent of cinnamon and baby powder hit me, and as my eyes widened, my heart melted, making room for her.”
“Josiah said he did not believe in daydreams, although it seemed to her that was all she had to keep hope alive, for reality was proving far more desolate than she could ever have imagined.”
“Nonsense. Islam is unable to live at peace with anyone. We Arabs are the worst. We can’t live with the world, and even more terrible, we can’t live with each other. In the end it will not be Arab against Jews but Arab against Arab. One day our oil will be gone, along with our ability to blackmail. We have contributed nothing to human betterment in centuries, unless you consider the assassin and the terrorist as human gifts. The world will tell us to go to hell. We, who tried to humiliate the Jews, will find ourselves humiliated as the scum of the earth. Oh, put down that silly potsherd and let us have some coffee.”
“When someone from Faerie ever tells you something, you can see it - you can feel it - you believe it. For the true value of enchantment and its glamour, is in the imparting of a truth - by truth's own persuasion it makes itself real.”
“You have this thing called a life. Its only you that gets to live it and you only get to do it one time”
“Life isn't just about darkness or light, rather it's about finding light within the darkness.”
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