“You become the monster you fear the worst, so the monster won't overtake you.”
“It'll be okay." She didn't know if it would be okay or not. She somehow doubted it, but what else was there to say?”
“You have to know where you were going in order to get there.”
“Even thought she saw tattoos everywhere, they continued to fascinate her. How bizarre to be branded like a box of cereal. Didn't people mind being counted as just one more product on a shelf? There had to be more to a person than that.”
“Mrs. Reed grabbed Kayla's wrist. "Good. You haven't gotten that damned tattoo. Whatever you do, don't let them make you get it.”
“Then we’re kissing right there in front of everyone. And nothing else seems to matter. Certainly not etiquette, or what anyone else thinks. It’s only his lips on mine, the pressure gentle. It’s only us. And I can’t stop—
Which is when Derrick arrives out of thin air and careens into my shoulder in a mess of wings and limbs. “Hellooooo! Don’t mind me, I’m just interrupting your brazen cuddle to steal the lady for a few minutes.”
Oh, damnation, not now. I’m really regretting not giving Derrick that extra five minutes. “Derrick,” I say through clenched teeth. I step back from Kiaran and try to control the pixie’s wriggling body in my hair. “Not—”
“My god.” Derrick collapses on my shoulder. “I am full of pie. I can barely even move my wings. I—” He squints over at Kiaran and smiles in delight. “Oh, hulloooooo, villainous wastrel!”
Kiaran is clearly not impressed. “You’ve a bit of pastry on your jacket.”
Derrick swipes at the morsel, snatches it, and eats it. “Was just saving a wee snack for later.” He giggles.
For god’s sake.
I look pleadingly at Kiaran. “Just . . . save that thought. Don’t go anywhere.” I’d like to resume the kissing. “I’ll be right back—”
“Kiaraaaaaaaaaan.” Derrick giggles. “Or would you prefer I keep villainous wastrel? I never asked.”
Kiaran arches an eyebrow. “I suppose that depends. Would you prefer pain in my arse?”
Derrick bursts into laughter. “Arse! Aileana. He said arse.”
“Hell,” I mutter. “Will you excuse me for a moment?”
I don’t wait for Kiaran’s response. I take Derrick with me to the lift and don’t say anything until I reach the fourth floor. “Let me just say, if someone gave you honey, I’ll—”
“No, no, no,” Derrick says, gliding off my shoulder. He now looks suspiciously lucid. “You said to save you after twenty-five minutes. So I did.”
“I said to save me if I was around Daniel and in obvious distress.” Not when I’m kissing someone in obvious delight.
“Firstly, I was the one in distress watching you kiss Kiaran because ughhhh.” Derrick wags a finger at me. “And secondly, you never said anything about distress, you said—”
“Forget what I said.” I narrow my eyes. “Are you telling me that down there was all an act?”
He grins. “I would have been perfect in the theater, wouldn’t you say?”
“Good heavens,” I murmur. At least I don’t have to deal with a drunk pixie. “Let’s just check the wards, all right”
“Bernard Bastable!” Miss Thistle shouted, finally. “I love you too! I want to make you my frog prince! Never in all my years have I seen a man with such magnificent, froglike charisma! You are a treasure! Kiss me now!”
“My life is not this steeply sloping hour,
in which you see me hurrying.
Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree;
I am only one of my many mouths,
and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.
I am the rest between two notes,
which are somehow always in discord
because Death’s note wants to climb over—
but in the dark interval, reconciled,
they stay there trembling.
And the song goes on, beautiful.”
“Shandy looked ahead. Blackbeard, apparently willing to get the explanation later, had picked up his oars and was rowing again.
'May I presume to suggest,' yelled Shandy giddily to Davies,
'that we preoceed the hell out of here with all due haste.'
Davies pushed a stray lock of hair back from his forehead and sat down on the rower's thwart. 'My dear fellow consider it done.”
“Going back to school is like going back in time. Immediately, for better or for worse, you must give up a little piece of your autonomy in order to become part of the group. And every group, of course, has its hierarchies and rules- spoken and unspoken. It is like learning to live once again in a family- which, of course, is the setting where all learning begins.”
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