Did you like question ten, Moony?" asked Sirius as they emerged into the entrance hall.
"Loved it," said Lupin briskly. "Give five signs that identify the werewolf. Excellent question."
"D'you think you managed to get all the signs?" said James in tones of mock concern.
"Think I did," said Lupin seriously, as they joined the crowd thronging around the front doors eager to get out into the sunlit grounds. "One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.
Henry David Thoreau (Walden)
Let us embrace each other like we have the arms of two chairs. Let us dance like our legs are those of a table. We should do dinner sometime.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
You could offer her a seat,” Arin said.
“Ah, but I have only two chairs in my tent, little Herrani, and we are three. I suppose she could always sit on your lap.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3))
I turned in my seat. Will’s face was in shadow and I couldn’t quite make it out.
‘Just hold on. Just for a minute.’
‘Are you all right?’ I found my gaze dropping towards his chair, afraid some part of him was pinched, or trapped, that I had got something wrong.
‘I’m fine. I just . . . ’
I could see his pale collar, his dark suit jacket a contrast against it.
‘I don’t want to go in just yet. I just want to sit and not have to think about . . . ’ He swallowed.
Even in the half-dark it seemed effortful.
‘I just . . . want to be a man who has been to a concert with a girl in a red dress. Just for a few minutes more.’
I released the door handle.
I closed my eyes and lay my head against the headrest, and we sat there together for a while longer, two people lost in remembered music, half hidden in the shadow of a castle on a moonlit hill.
Jojo Moyes (Me Before You (Me Before You, #1))
Hang on . . .” Harry muttered to Ron. “There’s an empty chair at the staff table. . . . Where’s Snape?”
"Maybe he's ill!" said Ron hopefully.
“Maybe he’s left,” said Harry, “because he missed out on the Defense Against the Dark Arts job again!”
“Or he might have been sacked!” said Ron enthusiastically. “I mean, everyone hates him —”
“Or maybe,” said a very cold voice right behind them, “he’s waiting to hear why you two didn’t arrive on the school train.”
Harry spun around. There, his black robes rippling in a cold breeze, stood Severus Snape.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
One word, Ma'am," he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. "One word. All you've been saying is quite right, I shouldn't wonder. I'm a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won't deny any of what you said. But there's one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we're leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that's a small loss if the world's as dull a place as you say.
C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia, #4))
Her and I, we have a two chairs and a table kind of love. You should pull up a feeling and have a seat.
Jarod Kintz (This Book is Not for Sale)
Anthony Bridgerton leaned back in his leather chair,and then announced,
"I'm thinking about getting married."
Benedict Bridgerton, who had been indulging in a habit his mother detested—tipping his chair drunkenly on the back two legs—fell over.
Colin Bridgerton started to choke.
Luckily for Colin, Benedict regained his seat with enough time to smack him soundly on the back, sending a green olive sailing across the table.
It narrowly missed Anthony's ear.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
I rarely drink, but last night, after several hours and several beers at the bar, I found myself face to face with two huge boobs. They weren’t the breasts of a young woman, but those of an old man. Still, the taste of a nipple is genderless.
Jarod Kintz (So many chairs, and no time to sit)
You know when you're sitting on a chair and you lean back so you're just on two legs and you lean too far so you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time...
I'm coming to believe that there are two kinds of people... those who choose to be masters of their own fate and those who wait in chairs while other dance. I would rather be one of the former than the latter.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
At forty-two, I had never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem--my chronic inability to astonish myself. I promise you, no one judges me more harshly than I do myself; I caused a brilliant wreckage. Some say I fell from grace; they're being kind. I didn't fall. I dove.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Mermaid Chair)
Barabas placed a stack on the table and held the chair out for me. “For you.”
“I’m hungry and I don’t have time for this.”
Barabas’s eyes held no mercy. “Make time, Alpha. You have two hands. You can eat and sign simultaneously.”
“Enjoying my suffering?” I asked.
“I find it hilarious that you’ll run into a gunfight with nothing but your sword, but paperwork makes you panic.”
Barabas put a thicker stack in front of him.
“This is yours, m’lord.”
Ilona Andrews (Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6))
Of all the delectable islands the Neverland is the snuggest and most compact, not large and sprawly, you know, with tedious distances between one adventure and another, but nicely crammed. When you play at it by day with the chairs and table-cloth, it is not in the least alarming, but in the two minutes before you go to sleep it becomes very nearly real. That is why there are night-lights.
J.M. Barrie (Peter Pan)
With another shock of excitement, Harry saw Sirius give James the thumbs-up.
Sirius was lounging in his chair at his ease, tilting it back on two legs. He was very good-looking, his dark hair fell into his eyes with a sort of casual elegance neither James's nor Harry's could ever have achieved, and a girl sitting behind him was eyeing him hopefully, though he didn't seem to have noticed.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5))
Thank you, Simon, I appreciate that." Luke opened the pizza box and, finding it empty, shut it with a sigh. "Though you did eat all the pizza."
"I only had five slices," Simon protested, leaning his chair backward so it balanced precariously on its two back legs.
"How many slices did you think were in a pizza, dork?" Clary wanted to know.
"Less than five slices isn't a meal. It's a snack." Simon looked apprehensively at Luke. "Does this mean you're going to wolf out and eat me?"
"Certainly not." Luke rose to toss the pizza box into the trash. "You would be stringy and hard to digest."
"But kosher," Simon pointed out cheerfully.
"I'll be sure to point any Jewish lycanthropes your way." Luke leaned his back against the sink.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
Though my stomach is only the size of a pea, I could eat two politicians’ brains.
Jarod Kintz (So many chairs, and no time to sit)
I think the most romantic letter you ever gave me was “W,” because it’s a couple of soul mate “V”s. Or maybe they were a couple of letters of the same sex engaging in a homosexual relationship. A “W” is two “V”s in a civil union, but the world is not ready to flip that on its head and let them go for the big “M.
Jarod Kintz (So many chairs, and no time to sit)
Cost to clean deeply soiled rugs: $200.
Cost to replace shiny, black, stack-heeled, pilgrim-toed boots: $185.
Cost to fix every single delicious table and chair leg in the house: $490.
Life with two shelter dogs: fucking priceless.
Jen Lancaster (Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office)
I make a show of lifting him and putting
him into the chair, grunting and staggering as though he’s terribly heavy. I want the watchers to think the angel is as heavy as he looks, because maybe then they’ll conclude that I’m stronger and tougher than I look in my underfed five-foot-two frame.
Is that the beginning of an amused grin
forming on the angel’s face?
Whatever it is, it turns into a grimace of pain as I dump him into the chair.
Susan Ee (Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days, #1))
People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two loves, but this, too, was great; sitting between his sister and his brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinions and foreign travel -- before all of these things there had been only one person, Zora, and only one place: a tent in the living room made from chairs and bed-sheets. After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he had always been. Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
There was a loud scraping noise as five chairs slid backward. The men rose as a unit. And started coming for her. She looked to the faces of the two she knew, but their grave expressions weren't encouraging. And then the knives came out. With a metallic whoosh, five black daggers were unsheathed. She backed up frantically, hands in front of herself. She slammed into a wall and was about to scream for Wrath when the men dropped down on bended knees in a circle around her. In a single movement, as if they'd been choreographed, they buried the daggers into the floor at her feet and bowed their heads. The great whoomp of sound as steel met wood seemed both a pledge and a battle cry. The handles of the knives vibrated. The rap music continued to pound. They seemed to be waiting for some kind of response from her.
"Umm. Thank you," she said.
The men's heads lifted. Etched into the harsh planes of their faces was total reverence. Even the scarred one had a respectful expression. And then Wrath came in with a squeeze bottle of Hershey's syrup.
"Bacon's on the way." He smiled. "Hey, they like you."
"And thank God for that," she murmured, looking down at the daggers.
J.R. Ward (Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1))
Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee.
Take a shower. Wash away every trace of yesterday. Of smells. Of weary skin. Get dressed. Make coffee, windows open, the sun shining through. Hold the cup with two hands and notice that you feel the feeling of warmth.
You still feel warmth.
Now sit down and get to work. Keep your mind sharp, head on, eyes on the page and if small thoughts of worries fight their ways into your consciousness: threw them off like fires in the night and keep your eyes on the track. Nothing but the task in front of you.
Get off your chair in the middle of the day. Put on your shoes and take a long walk on open streets around people. Notice how they’re all walking, in a hurry, or slowly. Smiling, laughing, or eyes straight forward, hurried to get to wherever they’re going. And notice how you’re just one of them. Not more, not less. Find comfort in the way you’re just one in the crowd. Your worries: no more, no less.
Go back home. Take the long way just to not pass the liquor store. Don’t buy the cigarettes. Go straight home. Take off your shoes. Wash your hands. Your face. Notice the silence. Notice your heart. It’s still beating. Still fighting. Now get back to work.
Work with your mind sharp and eyes focused and if any thoughts of worries or hate or sadness creep their ways around, shake them off like a runner in the night for you own your mind, and you need to tame it. Focus. Keep it sharp on track, nothing but the task in front of you.
Work until your eyes are tired and head is heavy, and keep working even after that.
Then take a shower, wash off the day. Drink a glass of water. Make the room dark. Lie down and close your eyes.
Notice the silence. Notice your heart. Still beating. Still fighting. You made it, after all. You made it, another day. And you can make it one more.
You’re doing just fine.
You’re doing fine.
I’m doing just fine.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
Being alone is not the most awful thing in the world. You visit your museums and cultivate your interests and remind yourself how lucky you are not to be one of those spindly Sudanese children with flies beading their mouths. You make out To Do lists - reorganise linen cupboard, learn two sonnets. You dole out little treats to yourself - slices of ice-cream cake, concerts at Wigmore Hall. And then, every once in a while, you wake up and gaze out of the window at another bloody daybreak, and think, I cannot do this anymore. I cannot pull myself together again and spend the next fifteen hours of wakefulness fending off the fact of my own misery.
People like Sheba think that they know what it's like to be lonely. They cast their minds back to the time they broke up with a boyfriend in 1975 and endured a whole month before meeting someone new. Or the week they spent in a Bavarian steel town when they were fifteen years old, visiting their greasy-haired German pen pal and discovering that her hand-writing was the best thing about her. But about the drip drip of long-haul, no-end-in-sight solitude, they know nothing. They don't know what it is to construct an entire weekend around a visit to the laundrette. Or to sit in a darkened flat on Halloween night, because you can't bear to expose your bleak evening to a crowd of jeering trick-or-treaters. Or to have the librarian smile pityingly and say, ‘Goodness, you're a quick reader!’ when you bring back seven books, read from cover to cover, a week after taking them out. They don't know what it is to be so chronically untouched that the accidental brush of a bus conductor's hand on your shoulder sends a jolt of longing straight to your groin. I have sat on park benches and trains and schoolroom chairs, feeling the great store of unused, objectless love sitting in my belly like a stone until I was sure I would cry out and fall, flailing, to the ground. About all of this, Sheba and her like have no clue.
Zoë Heller (What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])
He'd followed Dasha once before and remembered which door was hers. He knocked, peered inside, then jumped in and shut the door, quiet as brushing two feathers together. He smiled at his own stealth, then swaggered right into a chair, banging it against the wall.
You oaf. He cut short his swagger and begin to move with exaggerated sneakiness. There was a certain pleasure in that, too.
Shannon Hale (River Secrets (The Books of Bayern, #3))
So it was, my dear Watson, that at two o'clock today I found myself in my old armchair in my own old room, and only wishing that I could have seen my old friend Watson in the other chair which he has so often adorned.
- Sherlock Holmes.
Arthur Conan Doyle
As she left the room, Po went to Katsa, pulled her up, sat himself in her chair, and drew her into his lap. Shushing her, he rocked her, the two of them holding on to each other as if it were the only thing keeping the world from bursting apart.
Kristin Cashore (Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3))
The last time Assistant Principal Parker called, a girl in the school's locker room had accused Julie of being a whore during the two years she'd spent on the street. My kid took exception to that and decided to communicate that by applying a chair to the offending party's head. I'd told her to go for the gut next time- it left less evidence.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5))
Well, sir, do you mean to remain there, commending my father’s taste in wine, or do you mean to accompany me to Ashtead?”
“Set off for Ashtead at this hour, when I have been traveling for two days?” said Sir Horace. “Now, do, my boy, have a little common sense! Why should I?”
“I imagine that your parental feeling, sir, must provide you with the answer! If it does not, so be it! I am leaving immediately!”
“What do you mean to do when you reach Lacy Manor?” asked Sir Horace, regarding him in some amusement.
“Wring Sophy’s neck!” said Mr. Rivenhall savagely.
“Well, you don’t need my help for that, my dear boy!” said Sir Horace, settling himself more comfortably in his chair.
Georgette Heyer (The Grand Sophy)
You could offer her a seat,' Arin said.
'Ah, but I only have two chairs in my tent, little Herrani, and we are three. I suppose she could always sit on your lap.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Kiss (The Winner's Trilogy, #3))
Though you did eat all the pizza."
"I only had five slices," Simon protested, leaning his chair backward so it balanced precariously on its two back legs.
"How many slices did you think were in a pizza, dork?" Clary wanted to know.
"Less than five slices isn't a meal. It's a snack." Simon looked apprehensively at Luke. "Does this mean you're going to wolf out and eat me?"
"Certainly not." Luke rose to toss the pizza box into the trash. "You would be stringy and hard to digest.
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
On two chairs beneath the bole of the tree and canopied by a living bough there sat, side by side, Celeborn and Galadriel. Very tall they were, and the Lady no less tall than the Lord; and they were grave and beautiful. They were clad wholly in white; and the hair of the Lady was of deep gold, and the hair of the Lord Celeborn was of silver long and bright; but no sign of age was upon them, unless it were in the depths of their eyes; for these were keen as lances in the starlight, and yet profound, the wells of deep memory.
J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings, #1))
Look, Aerin, preparation is only half the challenge of winning a debate.”
“And the other half?”
He had her now. “You have to choose the right side.”
“Your side, you mean.” She bristled.
“No, the losing side.”
“Always choose the weaker side.”
“Why would I do that?” Doubt edged her voice, but now she was sitting erect, her feet flat on the floor.
“Because then you have further to go to prove your case.” He eased the feet of his chair down. “In a debate, there are two sides. If both make a good argument, then the less popular side wins because that side had further to go to prove its point. Simple logistics.”
“If you don’t care which side wins.” She frowned.
“It’s a debate. It doesn’t matter which side wins.”
“You mean it doesn’t matter to you.” The tone in her voice unsettled him. Or maybe it was the fact that that her criticism disturbed him at all.
“It’s a class,” he said. “The point is to flesh out the different sides of an argument.”
“And you don’t care if the truth gets lost in the shuffle. Don’t you believe in anything?!
Anne Osterlund (Academy 7)
We gather here today,” said Robert, reaching out his arms expansively, “to honor my son, Alexander Gideon Lightwood, who has single-handedly destroyed the forces of the Endarkened and who defeated in battle the son of Valentine Morgenstern. Alec saved the life of our third son, Max. Along with his parabatai, Jace Herondale, I am proud to say that my son is one of the greatest warriors I have ever known.” He turned and smiled at Alec and Magnus. “It takes more than a strong arm to make a great warrior,” he went on. “It takes a great mind and a great heart. My son has both. He is strong in courage, and strong in love. Which is why I also wanted to share our other good news with you. As of yesterday, my son became engaged to be married to his partner, Magnus Bane—”
A chorus of cheers broke out. Magnus accepted them with a modest wave of his fork. Alec slid down in his chair, his cheeks burning. Jace looked at him meditatively.
“Congratulations,” he said. “I kind of feel like I missed an opportunity.”
“W-what?” Alec stammered.
Jace shrugged. “I always knew you had a crush on me, and I kind of had a crush on you, too. I thought you should know.”
“What?” Alec said again.
Clary sat up straight. “You know,” she said, “do you think there’s any chance that you two could ...” She gestured between Jace and Alec. “It would be kind of hot.”
“No,” Magnus said. “I am a very jealous warlock.”
“We’re parabatai,” Alec said, regaining his voice. “The Clave would—I mean—it’s illegal.”
“Oh, come on,” said Jace. “The Clave would let you do anything you wanted. Look, everyone loves you.” He gestured out at the room full of Shadowhunters. They were all cheering as Robert spoke, some of them wiping away tears. A girl at one of the smaller tables held up a sign that said, ALEC LIGHTWOOD, WE LOVE YOU.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
The seven of us slipped onto the porch and down the deck stairs, finding lawn chairs to sit in under a giant oak tree. Kaidan leaned back in his chair, balancing it on the back two legs.
“How about a game of Truth or Dare?” Marna offered.
I was immediately apprehensive. Just as I was about to suggest something else, Kaidan spoke and my heart faltered.
“I'll go first,” he said. “I dare Kope to kiss Anna.”
Everything inside me flooded with fury and embarrassment. Kaidan leaned far back with his arms crossed, cocky. I stood up without thinking and hooked my foot under his chair, swiftly kicking upward and causing him to topple backward. He looked up at me from the ground with a stunned expression that morphed into a grin.
The twins and Blake were in hysterics. Blake laughed so hard he fell sideways out of his own chair, which made Jay join in the laughter. I couldn't sit there with them anymore. This whole night was a disaster. I turned and walked through the yard, toward the side of the house. I heard Ginger talk between gasps of mirth.
“Maybe she's not so bad after all!
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
I have a superior reaction time. That was why although I shot out of my chair, jumped onto my desk, and attempted to stab the intruder into my office in the throat, I stopped the blade two inches before it touched Andrea’s neck. Because she was my best friend, and sticking knives into your best friend’s windpipe was generally considered to be a social faux pas.
Andrea stared at the black blade of the throwing dagger. “That was great,” she said. “What will you do for a dollar?
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
Young people, Lord. Do they still call it infatuation? That magic ax that chops away the world in one blow, leaving only the couple standing there trembling? Whatever they call it, it leaps over anything, takes the biggest chair, the largest slice, rules the ground wherever it walks, from a mansion to a swamp, and its selfishness is its beauty. Before I was reduced to singsong, I saw all kinds of mating. Most are two-night stands trying to last a season. Some, the riptide ones, claim exclusive right to the real name, even though everybody drowns in its wake. People with no imagination feed it with sex—the clown of love. They don’t know the real kinds, the better kinds, where losses are cut and everybody benefits. It takes a certain intelligence to love like that—softly, without props. But the world is such a showpiece, maybe that’s why folks try to outdo it, put everything they feel onstage just to prove they can think up things too: handsome scary things like fights to the death, adultery, setting sheets afire. They fail, of course. The world outdoes them every time. While they are busy showing off, digging other people’s graves, hanging themselves on a cross, running wild in the streets, cherries are quietly turning from greed to red, oysters are suffering pearls, and children are catching rain in their mouths expecting the drops to be cold but they’re not; they are warm and smell like pineapple before they get heavier and heavier, so heavy and fast they can’t be caught one at a time. Poor swimmers head for shore while strong ones wait for lightning’s silver veins. Bottle-green clouds sweep in, pushing the rain inland where palm trees pretend to be shocked by the wind. Women scatter shielding their hair and men bend low holding the women’s shoulders against their chests. I run too, finally. I say finally because I do like a good storm. I would be one of those people in the weather channel leaning into the wind while lawmen shout in megaphones: ‘Get moving!
Toni Morrison (Love)
They say that people who live next to waterfalls don't hear the water. It was terrible at first. We couldn't stand to be in the house for more than a few hours at a time. The first two weeks were filled with nights of intermittent sleep and quarreling for the sake of being heard over the water. We fought so much just to remind ourselves that we were in love, and not in hate. But the next weeks were a little better. It was possible to sleep a few good hours each night and eat in only mild discomfort. [We] still cursed the water, but less frequently, and with less fury. Her attacks on me also quieted. It's your fault, she would say. You wanted to live here. Life continued, as life continues, and time passed, as time passes, and after a little more than two months: Do you hear that? I asked her one of the rare mornings we sat at the table together. Hear it? I put down my coffee and rose from my chair. You hear that thing? What thing? she asked. Exactly! I said, running outside to pump my fist at the waterfall. Exactly! We danced, throwing handfuls of water in the air, hearing nothing at all. We alternated hugs of forgiveness and shouts of human triumph at the water. Who wins the day? Who wins the day, waterfall? We do! We do! And this is what living next to a waterfall is like. Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night's sleep and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn't hear her husband's ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren's will be. But we learn to live in that love.
Jonathan Safran Foer (Everything Is Illuminated)
then things got even stranger.
Mr. Brunner, who'd been out in front of the museum a minute before, wheeled his chair into the doorway of the gallery, holding a pen in his hand.
"What ho, Percy!" he shouted, and tossed the pen through the air.
Mrs. Dodds lunged at me.
With a yelp, I dodged and felt talons slash the air next to my ear. I snatched the ballpoint pen out of the air, but when it hit my hand, it wasn't a pen anymore. It was a sword-Mr. Brunner's bronze sword, which he always used on tourement day.
Mrs. Dodds spun toward me with a murderous look in her eyes.
My knees were jelly. My hands were shaking so bad I almost dropped the sword.
She snarled, "Die, honey!"
And she flew straight at me.
Absolute terror ran through my body. I did the only thing that came naturally:I swung the sword.
The metal blade hit her shoulder and passed through her body as if she were made made of water. Hisss!
Mrs. Dodds was a sand castle in a power fan. She exploded into yellow powder, vaporized on the spot, leaving nothing but the smell of sulfur and a dying screech and a chill of evil in the air, as if those two glowing red eyes were still watching me.
You need to come with us right now," one of the queen's guards said. "If you resist, we'll take you by force."
"Leave him alone!" I yelled, looking from face to face. That angry darkness exploded within me. How could they still not believe? Why were they still coming after him? "He hasn't done anything! Why can't you guys accept that he's really a dhampir now?"
The man who'd spoken arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't talking to him."
"You're...you're here for me?" I asked. I tried to think of any new spectacles I might have caused recently. I considered the crazy idea that the queen had found out I'd spent the night with Adrian and was pissed off about it. That was hardly enough to send the palace guard for me, though...or was it? Had I really gone too far with my antics?
"What for?" demanded Dimitri. That tall, wonderful bod of his—the one that could be so sensual sometimes—was filled with tension and menace now.
The man kept his gaze on me, ignoring Dimitri. "Don't make me repeat myself: Come with us quietly, or we will make you." The glimmer of handcuffs showed in his hands.
My eyes went wide. "That's crazy! I'm not going anywhere until you tel me how the hell this—"
That was the point at which they apparently decided I wasn't coming quietly. Two of the royal guardians lunged for me, and even though we technically worked for the same side, my instincts kicked in. I didn't understand anything here except that I would not be dragged away like some kind of master criminal. I shoved the chair I'd been sitting in earlier at the one of the guardians and aimed a punch at the other. It was a sloppy throw, made worse because he was taller than me. That height difference allowed me to dodge his next grab, and when I kicked hard at his legs, a grunt told me I'd hit home.
Meanwhile, other guardians were joining the fray. Although I got a couple of good punches in, I knew the numbers were too overwhelming. One guardian caught hold of my arm and began trying to put the cuffs on me. He stopped when another set of hands grabbed me from the other side and jerked me away.
"Don't touch her," he growled.
There was a note in his voice that would have scared me if it had been directed toward me. He shoved me behind him, putting his body protectively in front of mine with my back to the table. Guardians came at us from all directions, and Dimitri began dispatching them with the same deadly grace that had once made people call him a god. [...] The queen's guards might have been the best of the best, but Dimitri...well, my former lover and instructor was in a category all his own. His fighting skills were beyond anyone else's, and he was using them all in defense me.
"Stay back," he ordered me. "They aren't laying a hand on you.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
I marvel at how good I was before I met him, how I lived molded to the smallest space possible, my days the size of little beads that passed without passion through my fingers. So few people know what they're capable of. At forty-two I'd never done anything that took my own breath away, and I suppose now that was part of the problem - my chronic inability to astonish myself.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Mermaid Chair)
We did it," he muttered to Ekaterin, now perching on the chair arm. "Why didn't anybody stop us? Why aren't there more regulations about this sort of thing? What fool in their right mind would put me in charge of a baby? Two babies?
Lois McMaster Bujold (Diplomatic Immunity (Vorkosigan Saga, #13))
Luke opened the pizza box and, finding it empty, shut it with a sigh.
"Though you did eat all
"I only had five slices," Simon protested, leaning his chair backward so it
balanced precariously on
its two back legs.
"How many slices did you think were in a pizza, dork?" Clary wanted to
"Less than five slices isn't a meal. It's a snack." Simon looked apprehensively at Luke. "Does this
mean you're going to
wolf out and eat me?
Cassandra Clare (City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments, #2))
We go on in her room, where we like to set. I get up in the big chair and she get up on me and smile, bounce a little. "Tell me bout the brown wrapping. And the present." She so excited, she squirming. She has to jump off my lap, squirm a little to get it out. Then she crawl back up.
That's her favorite story cause when I tell it, she get two presents. I take the brown wrapping from my Piggly Wiggly grocery bag and wrap up a little something, like piece a candy, inside. Then I use the white paper from my Cole's Drug Store bag and wrap another one just like it. She take it real serious, the unwrapping, letting me tell the story bout how it ain't the color a the wrapping that count, it's what we is inside.
Kathryn Stockett (The Help)
He found Podrick Payne asleep in a chair outside the door of the solar, and shook him by the shoulder. "Summon Bronn, and then tun down to the stables and have two horses saddled." (Tyrion).
The squire's eyes were cloudy with sleep. "Horses". (squire)
"Those big brown animals that love apples, I'm sure you've seen them. Four legs and a tail. But Bronn first." (Tyrion)
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
Voting for the lesser of two evils is still voting for evil. Next time, why don’t you go all out and write in Lucifer on the ballot?
Jarod Kintz (So many chairs, and no time to sit)
My father knows the proper way
The nation should be run;
He tells us children every day
Just what should now be done.
He knows the way to fix the trusts,
He has a simple plan;
But if the furnace needs repairs,
We have to hire a man.
My father, in a day or two
Could land big thieves in jail;
There's nothing that he cannot do,
He knows no word like "fail."
"Our confidence" he would restore,
Of that there is no doubt;
But if there is a chair to mend,
We have to send it out.
All public questions that arise,
He settles on the spot;
He waits not till the tumult dies,
But grabs it while it's hot.
In matters of finance he can
Tell Congress what to do;
But, O, he finds it hard to meet
His bills as they fall due.
It almost makes him sick to read
The things law-makers say;
Why, father's just the man they need,
He never goes astray.
All wars he'd very quickly end,
As fast as I can write it;
But when a neighbor starts a fuss,
'Tis mother has to fight it.
In conversation father can
Do many wondrous things;
He's built upon a wiser plan
Than presidents or kings.
He knows the ins and outs of each
And every deep transaction;
We look to him for theories,
But look to ma for action
Edgar A. Guest
I inhaled the musty, leathery, old-papery scent and a shiver passed over me. If I had any idea of heaven, it was this: shelves and shelves of books, ten times as many as were upstairs, each with stories or pictures more exciting and beautiful than the next, and two overstuffed chairs big enough for me to sleep in.
Clay Carmichael (Wild Things)
Satin occupied a couple of rooms which a chemist had furnished for her in order to rescue her from the clutches of the police; but in little over a year she had broken the furniture, knocked in the chairs and dirtied the curtains in such a frenzy of filth and disorder that the two rooms looked as if they were inhabited by a pack of mad cats.
Émile Zola (Nana)
Our house is old, and noisy, and full. when we moved into it we had two children and about five thousand books; I expect that when we finally overflow and move out again we will have perhaps twenty children and easily half a million books; we also own assorted beds and tables and chairs and rocking horses and lamps and doll dresses and ship models and paint brushes and literally thousands of socks.
Shirley Jackson (Life Among the Savages)
Here you sit on your high-backed chair
Wonder how the view is from there
I wouldn't know 'cause I like to sit
Upon the floor, yeah upon the floor
If you like we could play a game
Let's pretend that we are the same
But you will have to look much closer
Than you do, closer than you do
And I'm far too tired to stay here anymore
And I don't care what you think anyway
'Cause I think you were wrong about me
Yeah what if you were, what if you were
And what if I'm a snowstorm burning
What if I'm a world unturning
What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep
What if I'm the kindest demon
Something you may not believe in
What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep
I know you've got it figured out
Tell me what I am all about
And I just might learn a thing or two
Hundred about you, maybe about you
I'm the end of your telescope
I don't change just to suit your vision
'Cause I am bound by a fraying rope
Around my hands, tied around my hands
And you close your eyes when I say I'm breaking free
And put your hands over both your ears
Because you cannot stand to believe I'm not
The perfect girl you thought
Well what have I got to lose
And what if I'm a weeping willow
Laughing tears upon my pillow
What if I'm a socialite who wants to be alone
What if I'm a toothless leopard
What if I'm a sheepless shepherd
What if I'm an angel without wings to take me home
You don't know me
Never will, never will
I'm outside your picture frame
And the glass is breaking now
You can't see me
Never will, never will
If you're never gonna see
What if I'm a crowded desert
Too much pain with little pleasure
What if I'm the nicest place you never want to go
What if I don't know who I am
Will that keep us both from trying
To find out and when you have
Be sure to let me know
What if I'm a snowstorm burning
What if I'm a world unturning
What if I'm an ocean, far too shallow, much too deep
What if I'm the kindest demon
Something you may not believe in
What if I'm a siren singing gentlemen to sleep
Towards that small and ghostly hour, [Mr. Cruncher] rose up from his chair, took a key out of his pocket, opened a locked cupboard, and brought forth a sack, a crowbar of convenient size, a rope and chain, and other fishing tackle of that nature.
Charles Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities)
At the 150-minute point of sitting in a standard theater chair, the human buttocks die; once dead, they cannot be revived. They cease to function, whatever that function may have been, and must be carried around like a sack, or two, of flour.
Michael J. Nelson (Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters)
Love isn’t stackable and interlocking, like boxes or Legos. Love is like a one-legged man standing on a three-legged chair that is placed on top of a two-legged piano. I should know, because I’m the guy trying to tune that piano, fix that chair, and affix a prosthetic leg to that guy—who happens to be my piano teacher. Mr. Balloonky, you get down from there now!
Jarod Kintz (This Book Title is Invisible)
I smiled, leaning over the desk and used the sweetest tone I could muster. "In my spare time I flay open bodies of the deceased. Two of whom were victims of Leather Apron. The scent that hung in the room would drop a man to his knees, and I aided my uncle during the postmortems while standing in gelled blood." I sat back in my chair, the leather squeaking its own disapproval. "Whatever you have to show us won't be too much for my stomach to handle, I assure you.
Kerri Maniscalco (Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #1))
Oh, once you’ve been initiated into the Elderly, the world doesn’t want you back.” Veronica settled herself in a rattan chair and adjusted her hat just so. “We—by whom I mean anyone over sixty—commit two offenses just by existing. One is Lack of Velocity. We drive too slowly, walk too slowly, talk too slowly. The world will do business with dictators, perverts, and drug barons of all stripes, but being slowed down it cannot abide. Our second offence is being Everyman’s memento mori. The world can only get comfy in shiny-eyed denial if we are out of sight.
David Mitchell (Cloud Atlas)
I want to grow old with you,” he whispers. “I want to let you win at bingo, I want you to help me find my dentures, and I want to spend the evening watching the sunset with you every night from our two rocking chairs.”
-Jackson 'Blame It on the Pain
Ashley Jade (Blame It on the Pain)
After a while Mary said, “Zsadist?”
“What are those markings?”
His frowned and flicked his eyes over to her, thinking, as if she didn’t know? But then . . . well, she had been a human. Maybe she didn’t. “They’re slave bands. I was . . . a slave.”
“Did it hurt when they were put on you?”
“Did the same person who cut your face give them to you?”
“No, my owner’s hellren did that. My owner . . . she put the bands on me. He was the one who cut my face.”
“How long were you a slave?”
“A hundred years.”
“How did you get free?”
“Phury. Phury got me out. That’s how he lost his leg.”
“Were you hurt while you were a slave?”
Z swallowed hard. “Yes.”
“Do you still think about it?”
“Yes.” He looked down at his hands, which suddenly were in pain for some reason. Oh, right. He’d made two
fists and was squeezing them so tightly his fingers were about to snap off at the knuckles.
“Does slavery still happen?”
“No. Wrath outlawed it. As a mating gift to me and Bella.”
“What kind of slave were you?”
Zsadist shut his eyes. Ah, yes, the question he didn’t want to answer. For a while it was all he could do to force himself to stay in the chair. But then, in a falsely level voice, he said,
“I was a blood slave. I was used by a female for blood.”
The quiet after he spoke bore down on him, a tangible weight.
“Zsadist? Can I put my hand on your back?”
His head did something that was evidently a nod, because Mary’s gentle palm came down lightly on his
shoulder blade. She moved it in a slow, easy circle.
“Those are the right answers,” she said. “All of them.”
He had to blink fast as the fire in the furnace’s window became blurry. “You think?” he said hoarsely.
“No. I know.
J.R. Ward (Father Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6.5))
Your friend Mr. Tulip would perhaps like part of your payment to be the harpsichord?" said the chair.
"It's not a --ing harpsichord, it's a --ing virginal," growled Mr. Tulip. "One --ing string to a note instead of two! So called because it was an instrument for --ing young ladies!"
"My word, was it?" said one of the chairs. "I thought it was just of sort of early piano!
Terry Pratchett (The Truth)
There were maybe eighty chairs set up in the room, and it was two-thirds full but felt one-third empty.
John Green (The Fault in Our Stars)
There’s only room for one in your heart for one. That’s just who you are. It’s not possible for you to love two people at the same time. You’ve got a big heart, kiddo, but there’s only on chair inside, and we both know who’s sitting there. She’s been there all along.
Vince O. Teves (Vince's Life: The Wedding)
Two of us in this room, Ace, two keycards," he said and my eyes went to him. When they did, he jerked his hand, finger extended to the door. "Know what this is?"
"A door?" I asked stupidly.
"A peephole," he bit back then moved his hand to flick the security latch closed. "Know what that is?"
He advanced and the aggressive way he did it made me retreat. It was dawning on me he was pissed and he wasn't pissed at Brad (that's her ex). He was pissed at me.
I stopped when my legs hit the chair to the desk. He stopped when he was in my space. I tilted my head way back to look at him.
"You got great hair, babe."
"Tate," I whispered.
"Shame it gets hacked off with a knife after some guy rapes you with that knife!" He finished on a roar.
My body jolted.
"There's bad guys out there, Ace. Bad. Do things to you that'll make you glad you end up dead. You don't open a goddamned door not knowin' who's behind it."
"I thought it was you."
"Well it wasn't."
Kristen Ashley (Sweet Dreams (Colorado Mountain, #2))
Mma Ramotswe had a detective agency in Africa, at the foot of Kgale Hill. These were its assets: a tiny white van, two desks, two chairs, a telephone, and an old typewriter. Then there was a teapot, in which Mma Ramotswe – the only lady private detective in Botswana – brewed redbush tea. And three mugs – one for herself, one for her secretary, and one for the client. What else does a detective agency really need? Detective agencies rely on human intuition and intelligence, both of which Mma Ramotswe had in abundance. No inventory would ever include those, of course.
Alexander McCall Smith (The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #1))
We're freaks, the two of us, Franny and I. I'm a twenty-five-year-old freak and she's a twenty-one-year-old freak, and both those bastards are responsible. I swear to you, I could murder them both without batting an eyelash. The great teachers. The great emancipators. My God. I can't even sit down to lunch with a man any more and hold up my end of a decent conversation. I either get so bored or so goddamn preachy that if the son of a bitch had any sense, he'd break his chair over my head
J.D. Salinger (Franny and Zooey)
we all make vows, Jimmy. And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said. "Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone. And we truly mean it, at the time. But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement."
"You and George didn't go back on your promises."
She laughed. "Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men." She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, "They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt. Oh, there are continuities. He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business."
"But people change," he said quietly.
"Precisely. People change. Cultures change. Empires rise and fall. Shit. Geology changes! Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people." She flopped back against her chair. "Which is why vows are such a tricky business. Because nothing stays the same forever. Okay. Okay! I'm figuring something out now." She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging. "Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever." She shivered and slumped suddenly, "But, Jimmy! What unnatural words. Always and forever! Those aren't human words, Jim. Not even stones are always and forever.
Mary Doria Russell (The Sparrow (The Sparrow, #1))
I didn't want to be left alone with Timothy, not because I was afraid of him but because I was afraid that somebody would come into the office and see us sitting there, two matching rejects in matching orange chairs.
Michael Chabon (Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories)
Guy welcomed my breasts warmly. He hugged them like long-lost friends and stared at them with the protectiveness of a mother lion, as if to make sure they didn't decide to get up on their own and leave the two of us alone together in his office. He waved them into a chair and asked if they would like anything to drink. On their behalf, I ordered Perrier.
Ally O'Brien (The Agency (Tess Drake, #1))
Sounding throaty like a dog before it barfed, he said, “Put her in the chair.
Judy Byington (Twenty-Two Faces)
Catherine- "How I hate the sight of an umbrella!"
Mrs. Allen- "They are disagreeable things to carry. I would much rather take a chair at any time.
Jane Austen (Northanger Abbey: a play in two acts, based upon the novel)
Ginger, truth or dare?”
“Forgive me for taking the idea from Kai, but I dare you to snog Blake—” She modified the request at the insistent stare from her sister. “Oh, come on! Just the teeniest peck on the lips.”
I thought she would still refuse, but apparently she wasn't one to outright turn down a dare. She turned to Blake and pointed a finger at him.
“Try to cop a feel and I'll make Anna's chair flip look angelic,” she warned.
He grinned and she leaned in, both closing their eyes as she pressed her lips against his for one, two, three seconds. It appeared innocent, but they were shy when they pulled away and sat back.
“Right,” Ginger said, clearing her throat. “My turn. Jay, truth or dare?”
“Do you fancy Marna?”
“I'm not sure what that means, but if you're asking if I like her and think she's the most beautiful girl I've ever met and I wish she would move here, then yes.”
Marna and I giggled at his brazen, smitten openness.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
You will work... in teams of... two. This will count... for thirty-five percent... of your final grade...'
I raise my hand again. 'Can we choose our partners?'
'I choose Violet Markey.'
'You may work that out... with her after class.'
I shift in my seat so I can see her, elbow on the back of my chair. 'Violet Markey, I'd like to be your partner on this project.
Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places)
He would rock back and forth in his chair, making sure it squeaked ominously. He always found a chair that squeaked ominously. He was so good at squeaking ominously that he managed to make year-six teacher number two burst into tears.
Adrienne Kress (Timothy and the Dragon's Gate (Alex and the Ironic Gentleman, #2))
In her kitchen, she saw many things she would like to eat. On the counter, there was a bunch of new bananas, yellow as a Van Gogh chair, and two apples, pristine. The cabinet was open and she saw a box of crackers, a new box of cereal, a tube of curved chips. She felt overwhelmed, seeing all of the food there, that it was all hers. And there was more in the refrigerator! There were juices, half a melon, a dozen bagels, salmon, a steak, yogurt in a dozen colors. It would take her a week to eat all of this food. She does not deserve this, she thought. It really isn't fair, she thought. You're correct, God said, and then struck dead 65,000 Malaysians.
Dave Eggers (How We Are Hungry)
Lu must have picked up on my sadness. She gestured back to the rocking chair. “Well, I’ll let you two get on with the tour. Assembling this IKEA furniture is the toughest quest I’ve had in years.
Rick Riordan (The Tower of Nero (The Trials of Apollo, #5))
A year later we were in a coffee shop, the kind taking a last stand against Starbucks with its thrift-store chairs, vegan cookies, and over-promising teas with names like Serenity and Inner Peace. I was curled up with a stack of causes, trying to get in a few extra hours of work over the weekend, and Andrew sat with one hand gripping his mug, his nose in The New York Times; the two of us a parody of the yuppie couple of the new millennium. We sat silently that way, though there wasn't silence at all. On top of the typical coffee-shop sounds - the whir of an expresso machine, the click of the cash register, the bell above the door - Andrew was making his noises, an occasional snort at something he read in the paper, the jangle of his keys in his pocket, a sniffle since he was getting over a cold, a clearing of his throat. And as we sat there, all I could do was listen to those Andrew-specific noises, the rhythm of his breath, the in-out in-out, its low whistle. Snort. Jangle. Sniffle. Clear.
Hypnotized. I wanted to buy his soundtrack.
This must be what love is, I thought. Not wanting his noises to ever stop.
Julie Buxbaum (The Opposite of Love)
My wife has made up Ty’s old bedroom for you,” he told him in a low voice as Ty and Mara argued over the merits of the couch cushions versus the rocks out back.
“Oh Christ.” Zane laughed, falling back in his chair. “He won’t let me forget this. Losing his bed to me.”
“Well,” Earl said with a sigh, “it’s either that or fight his mama over it.” He sat and watched Ty and Mara for a moment, sipping at his coffee contentedly. “Ain’t none of us ever won that fight,” he told Zane flatly.
“Me and Zane’ll just bunk together,” Ty was arguing.
Mara laughed at him. “You two boys won’t fit in a double bed any more than I’ll still fit in my wedding dress,” she scoffed.
“Good morning, Zane dear, how did you sleep?” Mara asked as she came up to him and pressed a glass of orange juice into his hands.
“Ah, okay,” Zane hedged, taking the glass out of self-defense. “I don’t do too well sleeping in strange places lately, but….”
“Well, Ty’s bed is about as strange a place as you can get,” Deuce offered under his breath. He followed it with a muffled grunt as Ty kicked him under the table.
Abigail Roux (Sticks & Stones (Cut & Run, #2))
Hey,” he said, leaning back in his chair and spreading his legs wide.
“I’m more than willing to change my last name and give up my citizenship for you. I’ll even walk two steps behind you in public after we’re married, like a proper prince consort. But the birth control thing is going to have to be up to you, because obviously nothing can contain what these bad boys are packing.”
“Did you seriously just refer to your testicles as ‘bad boys’?”
“I did. It’s not as if you didn’t have warning, Mia. As has been previously stated—by that bastion of fine reporting, InTouch, no less—I am the world’s greatest lover.”
“More like the world’s greatest idiot.
Meg Cabot (Royal Wedding (The Princess Diaries, #11))
She leaned forward, her gaze so intense that Helen wanted to look away. “And I love him more for it. Do you hear me? He was a good man when he went away to the Colonies. He came back an extraordinary man. So many think that bravery is a single act of valor in a field of battle—no forethought, no contemplation of the consequences. An act over in a second or a minute or two at most. What my brother has done, is doing now, is to live with his burden for years. He knows that he will spend the rest of his life with it. And he soldiers on.” She sat back in her chair, her gaze still locked with Helen’s. “That to my mind is what real bravery is.”
-Sophia to Helen about Alistair.
Elizabeth Hoyt (To Beguile a Beast (Legend of the Four Soldiers, #3))
We have expended two-thirds of our rail-gun ammunition,” the weapons tech announced. “Shall I maintain fire?” “Yes,” Drummer said. “Then start putting chairs in the launcher. We hit that thing until we’re down to pillows and beer.
James S.A. Corey (Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7))
Alas, Measured Perfectly"
Saturday, August 25, 1888. 5:20 P.M.
is the name of a photograph of two
old women in a front yard, beside
a white house. One of the women is
sitting in a chair with a dog in her
lap. The other woman is looking at
some flowers. Perhaps the women are
happy, but then it is Saturday, August
25, 1888. 5:21 P.M., and all over.
Seers? You mean there are others aside from Gavin and Catherine’s husband?”
“Two other featherbrained fools. Together, they have all the sense of a chair leg.”
My lips curve into a smile. “Am I really the only human you can stand?”
“You have a certain charm. It’s grown on me.”
I can’t help laughing. “Please, don’t strain yourself with flattery.
Elizabeth May (The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer, #2))
By the following morning, Anthony was drunk. By afternoon, he was hungover.
His head was pounding, his ears were ringing, and his brothers, who had been surprised to discover him
in such a state at
their club, were talking far too loudly.
Anthony put his hands over his ears and groaned.Everyone was talking far too loudly.
“Kate boot you out of the house?” Colin asked, grabbing a walnut from a large pewter dish in the middle
their table and
splitting it open with a viciously loud crack.
Anthony lifted his head just far enough to glare at him.
Benedict watched his brother with raised brows and the vaguest hint of a smirk. “She definitely booted
him out,” he said to Colin. “Hand me one of those walnuts, will you?”
Colin tossed one across the table. “Do you want the crackers as well?”
Benedict shook his head and grinned as he held up a fat, leather-bound book. “Much more satisfying to
“Don’t,” Anthony bit out, his hand shooting out to grab the book, “even think about it.”
“Ears a bit sensitive this afternoon, are they?”
If Anthony had had a pistol, he would have shot them both, hang the noise.
“If I might offer you a piece of advice?” Colin said, munching on his walnut.
“You might not,” Anthony replied. He looked up. Colin was chewing with his mouth open. As this had
been strictly forbidden while growing up in their household, Anthony could only deduce that Colin was
displaying such poor manners only to make more noise. “Close your damned mouth,” he muttered.
Colin swallowed, smacked his lips, and took a sip of his tea to wash it all down. “Whatever you did,
apologize for it. I know you, and I’m getting to know Kate, and knowing what I know—”
“What the hell is he talking about?” Anthony grumbled.
“I think,” Benedict said, leaning back in his chair, “that he’s telling you you’re an ass.”
“Just so!” Colin exclaimed.
Anthony just shook his head wearily. “It’s more complicated than you think.”
“It always is,” Benedict said, with sincerity so false it almost managed to sound sincere.
“When you two idiots find women gullible enough to actually marry you,” Anthony snapped, “then you
may presume to
offer me advice. But until then ...shut up.”
Colin looked at Benedict. “Think he’s angry?”
Benedict quirked a brow. “That or drunk.”
Colin shook his head. “No, not drunk. Not anymore, at least. He’s clearly hungover.”
“Which would explain,” Benedict said with a philosophical nod, “why he’s so angry.”
Anthony spread one hand over his face and pressed hard against his temples with his thumb and middle
finger. “God above,”
he muttered. ‘‘What would it take to get you two to leave me alone?”
“Go home, Anthony,” Benedict said, his voice surprisingly gentle.
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
The morning was hot, and the exercise of reading left her mind contracting and expanding like the main-spring of a clock, and the small noises of midday, which one can ascribe to no definite cause, in a regular rhythm. It was all very real, very big, very impersonal, and after a moment or two she began to raise her first finger and to let it fall on the arm of her chair so as to bring back to herself some consciousness of her own existence. She was next overcome by the unspeakable queerness of the fact that she should be sitting in an arm-chair, in the morning, in the middle of the world. Who were the people moving in the house--moving things from one place to another? And life, what was that? It was only a light passing over the surface and vanishing, as in time she would vanish, though the furniture in the room would remain. Her dissolution became so complete that she could not raise her finger any more, and sat perfectly still, listening and looking always at the same spot. It became stranger and stranger. She was overcome with awe that things should exist at all. . . She forgot that she had any fingers to raise. . . The things that existed were so immense and so desolate. . . She continued to be conscious of these vast masses of substance for a long stretch of time, the clock still ticking in the midst of the universal silence.
Virginia Woolf (The Voyage Out)
The next moment I was chained to my chair again,--the fires were lit, the bells rang out, the litanies were sung;--my feet were scorched to a cinder,--my muscles cracked, my blood and marrow hissed, my flesh consumed like shrinking leather,--the bones of my legs hung two black withering and moveless sticks in the ascending blaze;--it ascended, caught my hair,--I was crowned with fire,--my head was a ball of molten metal, my eyes flashed and melted in their sockets;--I opened my mouth, it drank fire,--I closed it, the fire was within,...and we burned, and burned! I was a cinder body and soul in my dream.
Here was the other option: the tranquilizing chair. It was always waiting for her. It always wanted her back. It always wanted her to quit again, to sit down and never get back up.
In the end, Amy thought, everything always comes down to those two choices: stay down or stand up.
Grady Hendrix (Horrorstör)
But for a little second, I just want to sit in this stupid chair and believe there is this sort of magic between two people and I can be this prized someone to this sexy, raw, primitive man who’s so strong, mysterious, and playful to me, he compels me like nothing in my life ever has.
Katy Evans (Real (Real, #1))
But newspapers have a duty to truth,' Van said.
Lev clucked his tongue. 'They tell the truth only as the exception. Zola wrote that the mendacity of the press could be divided into two groups: the yellow press lies every day without hesitating. But others, like the Times, speak the truth on all inconsequential occasions, so they can deceive the public with the requisite authority when it becomes necessary.'
Van got up from his chair to gather the cast-off newspapers. Lev took off his glasses and rubbed his eyes. 'I don't mean to offend the journalists; they aren't any different from other people. They're merely the megaphones of the other people.
Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna)
What grief is not taken away by time? What passion will survive an unequal battle with it? I knew a man in the bloom of his still youthful powers, filled with true nobility and virtue, I knew him when he was in love, tenderly, passionately, furiously, boldly, modestly, and before me, almost before my eyes, the object of his passion - tender, beautiful as an angel - was struck down by insatiable death. I never saw such terrible fits of inner suffering, such furious scorching anguish, such devouring despair as shook the unfortunate lover. I never thought a man could create such a hell for himself, in which there would be no shadow, no image, nothing in the least resembling hope... They tried to keep an eye on him; they hid all instruments he might have used to take his own life. Two weeks later he suddenly mastered himself: he began to laugh, to joke; freedom was granted him, and the first thing he did was buy a pistol. One day his family was terribly frightened by the sudden sound of a shot. They ran into the room and saw him lying with his brains blown out. A doctor who happened to be there, whose skill was on everyone's lips, saw signs of life in him, found that the wound was not quite mortal, and the man, to everyone's amazement, was healed. The watch on him was increased still more. Even at the table they did not give him a knife to and tried to take away from him anything that he might strike himself with; but a short while later he found a new occasion and threw himself under the wheels of a passing carriage. His arms and legs were crushed; but again they saved him. A year later I saw him in a crowded room; he sat at the card table gaily saying 'Petite ouverte,' keeping one card turned down, and behind him, leaning on the back of his chair, stood his young wife, who was sorting through his chips.
Nikolai Gogol (The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol)
When you can, avoid sitting, or even open up a direct attack. Set your phone or watch timer to go off every hour so that you get up out of your chair, mobilize for a minute or two, and then (if you have to go back to sitting) sit down with your butt and stomach muscles turned on and engaged.
Kelly Starrett (Ready to Run: Unlocking Your Potential to Run Naturally)
Tu-whoo! Ahem! Lord Regent," said the Owl, stooping down a little and holding its beak near the Dwarf's ear.
"Heh? What's that?" said the Dwarf.
"Two strangers, my Lord," said the Owl.
"Rangers! What d'ye mean?" said the Dwarf. "I see two uncommonly grubby man-cubs. What do they want?"
"My name's Jill," said Jill, pressing forward. She was very eager to explain the important business on which they had come.
"The girl's called Jill," said the Owl, as loud as it could.
"What's that?" said the Dwarf. "The girls are all killed! I don't believe a word of it. What girls? Who killed 'em?"
"Only one girl, my Lord," said the Owl. "Her name is Jill."
"Speak up, speak up," said the Dwarf. "Don't stand there buzzing and twittering in my ear. Who's been killed?"
"Nobody's been killed," hooted the Owl.
"All right, all right. You needn't shout. I'm not so deaf as all that. What do you mean by coming here to tell me that nobody's been killed? Why should anyone have been killed?"
"Better tell him I'm Eustace," said Scrubb.
"The boy's Eustace, my Lord," hooted the Owl as loud as it could.
"Useless?" said the Dwarf irritably. "I dare say he is. Is that any reason for bringing him to court? Hey?"
"Not useless," said the Owl. "EUSTACE."
"Used to it, is he? I don't know what you're talking about, I'm sure. I'll tell you what it is, Master Glimfeather; when I was a young Dwarf there used to be talking beasts and birds in this country who really could talk. There wasn't all this mumbling and muttering and whispering. It wouldn't have been tolerated for a moment, Sir. Urnus, my trumpet please-
C.S. Lewis (The Silver Chair (Chronicles of Narnia, #4))
The inkstand is full of ink, and the paper lies white and unspotted, in the round of light thrown by a candle. Puffs of darkness sweep into the corners, and keep rolling through the room behind his chair. The air is silver and pearl, for the night is liquid with moonlight.
See how the roof glitters, like ice!
Over there, a slice of yellow cuts into the silver-blue, and beside it stand two geraniums, purple because the light is silver-blue, to-night.
Amy Lowell (Selected Poems)
Catharine’s office had two plants, three chairs, two desks, one hutch, six personal photos in standing frames, one of those clichéd motivational posters on the wall that had two crows tearing out the insides of a reasonably sized forest cat with the cheesy inspirational caption, “Unremittingly, you must stare into the sun,” and a clay paperweight most likely made by Catharine’s daughter (it was signed by your seed in adorable small-child handwriting).
Joseph Fink (Welcome to Night Vale (Welcome to Night Vale, #1))
The first two rooms were in the same state as the corridor. Dirty, and piled with junk. Dead typewriters, telephones, three-legged chairs. I was reflecting on the fact that there is nothing in any of the world’s great museums that looks quite as ancient as a ten-year-old photocopier, when I heard a noise.
Hugh Laurie (The Gun Seller)
The ballroom was empty of people but filled with round tables and chairs. It was set for a wedding party. White tablecloths with huge pink bows and pink and white artificial flower centerpieces, a two-foot riser with a long decorated table for the bridal party, a smaller round table next to the riser. The smaller table supported a massive wedding cake that was being cooled by a standing fan. “This is so romantic,” I said to Ranger. “Does it give you ideas?” He wrapped an arm around me, dragged me close against him, and kissed me on the forehead. “Yes, it gives me ideas, but not about marriage. Mostly about setting fire to this atrocity.
Janet Evanovich (Top Secret Twenty-one (Stephanie Plum, #21))
When two people live in one place, their individual habits get amplified.
For example: I'm not lazy. But I don't like to move a whole lot. I mean, if I am doing something, I'll do it. I'm as active as the next guy. But if I'm sitting, I don't like to get up. Even if I'm facing the wrong way.
If I'm talking to someone whose chair isn't quite facing me, I'll talk to the side of their head. If I sit down and realize the TV is angled wrong, I won't get up to adjust. I'll watch it like that. I'll sit there and wait til someone walks by and ask them to move the TV.
Paul Reiser (Couplehood)
An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths.
As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be.
It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting.
One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower.
And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on.
So it goes.
And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment.
Rome passed into the past, and became New York.
Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love.
("For The Rest Of Her Life")
Cornell Woolrich (Angels of Darkness)
Braith opened her eyes and screamed at what hovered above her, “Gods! Death comes for me!”
The horrifying face of death curled its lip at her and growled, “Well, that’s charmin’.” Death sat back in its chair, hands resting on its knees. “This face is not me fault, ya know?” Death looked off, thought a moment. Its finger traced one of the deep gouges across its jaw. “This one actually is kind of me fault.” She pointed at the other side of her face, where part of her chin was missing. “And this one. A bit of barney at the pub.”
“That was not death,” he whispered. “That was our Great-Aunt Brigida.”
“Brigida? Brigida the Foul?” He nodded. “I thought she was dead.”
Addolgar shook his head and whispered, “She just won’t die.
G.A. Aiken (A Tale of Two Dragons (Dragon Kin, #0.2))
Hello, Celaena,” he said as calmly as he could, well aware that two Fae males behind him could hear his thundering heart. Rolfe whipped his head toward him. Because it was Celaena who sat here—for whatever purpose, it was Celaena Sardothien in this room. She jerked her chin at Rolfe. “You’ve seen better days, but considering half your fleet has abandoned you, I’d say you look decent enough.” “Get out of my chair,” Rolfe said too quietly. Aelin did no such thing. She just gave Rowan a sultry sweep from foot to face. Rowan’s expression remained unreadable, eyes intent—near-glowing. And then Aelin said to Rowan with a secret smile, “You, I don’t know. But I’d like to.” Rowan’s lips tugged upward. “I’m not on the market, unfortunately.” “Pity,” Aelin said, cocking her head as she noticed a bowl of small emeralds on Rolfe’s desk. Don’t do it, don’t— Aelin swiped up the emeralds in a hand, picking them over as she glanced at Rowan beneath her lashes. “She must be a rare, staggering beauty to make you so faithful.” Gods save them all. He could have sworn Fenrys coughed behind him. Aelin chucked the emeralds into the metal dish as if they were bits of copper, their plunking the only sound. “She must be clever”—plunk—“and fascinating”—plunk—“and very, very talented.” Plunk, plunk, plunk went the emeralds. She examined the four gems remaining in her hand. “She must be the most wonderful person who ever existed.” Another cough from behind him—from Gavriel this time. But Aelin only had eyes for Rowan as the warrior said to her, “She is indeed that. And more.
Sarah J. Maas (Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5))
... General Petraeus recognized the sacrifice made by two soldiers who had planned to become naturalized citizens at the ceremony, and were now represented by two pairs of boots on two chairs, having been killed in action two days before. "They died serving a country that was not yet theirs," Petraeus observed... I wish every American who out of ignorance or worse curses immigrants as criminals or a drain on the country's resources or a threat to our "culture" could have been there. I would like them to know that immigrants, many of them having entered the country illegally, are making sacrifices for Americans that many Americans would not make for them.
John McCain (The Restless Wave: Good Times, Just Causes, Great Fights and Other Appreciations)
Suddenly the door opened and in stomped a giant reeking of the river, and before anyone knew what was happening, he had grabbed a chair, smashed it in two, and chased the terrified customers into a corner. The three youngsters pressed against the wall like periwinkles in the rain, but at the very last moment, when the man had picked up half a chair in each hand and seemed ready for the kill, he burst into song, and after conducting himself in "Gray Dove Where Have You Been?" he flung aside the halves of the chair, paid the waiter for the damage, and, turning to the still-shaking customers, said, "Gentlemen I am the hangman's assistant," whereupon he left, pensive and miserable. Perhaps he was the one who, last year at the Holesovice slaughterhouse, put a knife to my neck, shoved me into a corner, took out a slip of paper, and read me a poem celebrating the beauties of the countryside at Ricany, then apologized saying he hadn't found any other way of getting people to listen to his verse.
Bohumil Hrabal (Too Loud a Solitude)
For pomp is a tenacious force. And a wily one too. How humbly it bows its head as the emperor is dragged down the steps and tossed in the street. But then, having quietly bided its time, while helping the newly appointed leader on with his jacket, it compliments his appearance and suggests the wearing of a medal or two. Or, having served him at a formal dinner, it wonders aloud if a taller chair might not have been more fitting for a man with such responsibilities. The soldiers of the common man may toss the banners of the old regime on the victory pyre, but soon enough trumpets will blare and pomp will take its place at the side of the throne, having once again secured its dominion over history and kings. Nina
Amor Towles (A Gentleman in Moscow)
«She sat at the bow of a pleasure craft a stone's throw away, under the shade of a white parasol, a diligent tourist out to reap all the beauty and charm Copenhagen had to offer. She studied him with a distressed concentration, as if she couldn't quite remember who he was. As if she didn't want to. He looked different. His hair reached down to his nape, and he'd sported a full beard for the past two years. Their eyes met. She bolted upright from the chair. The parasol fell from her hand, clanking against the deck. She stared at him, her face pale, her gaze haunted. He'd never seen her like this, not even on the day he left her. She was stunned, her composure flayed, her vulnerability visible for miles. As her boat glided past him, she picked up her skirts and ran along the port rail, her eyes never leaving his. She stumbled over a line in her path and fell hard. His heart clenched in alarm, but she barely noticed, scrambling to her feet. She kept running until she was at the stern and could not move another inch closer to him (…) Gigi didn't move from her rigid pose at the rail, but she suddenly looked worn down, as if she'd been standing there, in that same spot, for all the eighteen hundred and some days since she'd last seen him. She still loved him. The thought echoed wildly in his head, making him hot and dizzy. She still loved him.»
Sherry Thomas (Private Arrangements (The London Trilogy #2))
Ten minutes," Butch whispered into Marissa's ear. "Can I have ten minutes with you before you go? Please, baby…"
V rolled his eyes and was relieved to be annoyed at the lovey-dovey routine. At least all the testosterone in him hadn't dried up.
V took a pull on his mug. "Marissa, throw the sap bastard a bone, would you? The simpering wears on my nerves."
"Well, we can't have that, can we?" Marissa packed up her papers with a laugh and shot Butch a look. "Ten minutes. And you'd better make them count."
Butch was up out of that chair like the thing was on fire. "Don't I always?"
As the two locked lips, V snorted. "Have fun, kiddies. Somewhere else.
J.R. Ward (Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #5))
Coddly slammed a fist on the table. “No one will take you seriously if you do not act decisively.”
There was a beat of silence after his voice stopped echoing around the room, and the entire table sat motionless.
“Fine,” I responded calmly. “You’re fired.”
Coddly laughed, looking at the other gentlemen at the table. “You can’t fire me, Your Highness.”
I tilted my head, staring at him. “I assure you, I can. There’s no one here who outranks me at the moment, and you are easily replaceable.”
Though she tried to be discreet, I saw Lady Brice purse her lips together, clearly determined not to laugh. Yes, I definitely had an ally in her.
“You need to fight!” he insisted.
“No,” I answered firmly. “A war would add unnecessary strain to an already stressful moment and would cause an upheaval between us and the country we are now bound to by marriage. We will not fight.”
Coddly lowered his chin and squinted. “Don’t you think you’re being too emotional about this?”
I stood, my chair screeching behind me as I moved. “I’m going to assume that you aren’t implying by that statement that I’m actually being too female about this. Because, yes, I am emotional.”
I strode around the opposite side of the table, my eyes trained on Coddly. “My mother is in a bed with tubes down her throat, my twin is now on a different continent, and my father is holding himself together by a thread.”
Stopping across from him, I continued. “I have two younger brothers to keep calm in the wake of all this, a country to run, and six boys downstairs waiting for me to offer one of them my hand.” Coddly swallowed, and I felt only the tiniest bit of guilt for the satisfaction it brought me. “So, yes, I am emotional right now. Anyone in my position with a soul would be. And you, sir, are an idiot. How dare you try to force my hand on something so monumental on the grounds of something so small? For all intents and purposes, I am queen, and you will not coerce me into anything.”
I walked back to the head of the table. “Officer Leger?”
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“Is there anything on this agenda that can’t wait until tomorrow?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“Good. You’re all dismissed. And I suggest you all remember who’s in charge here before we meet again.
Kiera Cass (The Crown (The Selection, #5))
Well, she kinda sorta has a few dozen plans on getting out of the city.” Quiet descended. The Protectors had something similar. Only they limited escape routes to five. Apparently little Victoria was hugely paranoid. “Fine,” Wren huffed. “She has fifty-two and a half.”
Liam had to bust in then. This was getting too good not to participate. “Fifty-two and a half?” He pushed away from the wall and flopped into a chair across from the irate woman.
“Well, fifty-two complete routes and the half is more of a ‘run around in a circle and scream because she’s totally fucked in a bad way’ plan. Somehow it involves the Goodyear blimp and Jolly Ranchers.” The woman grimaced, and he couldn’t restrain his wide smile.
Celia Kyle (Big Bad Vamp (Knight Protectors, #2))
I watched him as he lined up the ships in bottles on his deck, bringing them over from the shelves where they usually sat. He used an old shirt of my mother's that had been ripped into rags and began dusting the shelves. Under his desk there were empty bottles- rows and rows of them we had collected for our future shipbuilding. In the closet were more ships- the ships he had built with his own father, ships he had built alone, and then those we had made together. Some were perfect, but their sails browned; some had sagged or toppled over the years. Then there was the one that had burst into flames in the week before my death.
He smashed that one first.
My heart seized up. He turned and saw all the others, all the years they marked and the hands that had held them. His dead father's, his dead child's. I watched his as he smashed the rest. He christened the walls and wooden chair with the news of my death, and afterward he stood in the guest room/den surrounded by green glass. The bottle, all of them, lay broken on the floor, the sails and boat bodies strewn among them. He stood in the wreckage. It was then that, without knowing how, I revealed myself. In every piece of glass, in every shard and sliver, I cast my face. My father glanced down and around him, his eyes roving across the room. Wild. It was just for a second, and then I was gone. He was quiet for a moment, and then he laughed- a howl coming up from the bottom of his stomach. He laughed so loud and deep, I shook with it in my heaven.
He left the room and went down two doors to my beadroom. The hallway was tiny, my door like all the others, hollow enough to easily punch a fist through. He was about to smash the mirror over my dresser, rip the wallpaper down with his nails, but instead he fell against my bed, sobbing, and balled the lavender sheets up in his hands.
'Daddy?' Buckley said. My brother held the doorknob with his hand.
My father turned but was unable to stop his tears. He slid to the floor with his fists, and then he opened up his arms. He had to ask my brother twice, which he had never to do do before, but Buckley came to him.
My father wrapped my brother inside the sheets that smelled of me. He remembered the day I'd begged him to paint and paper my room purple. Remembered moving in the old National Geographics to the bottom shelves of my bookcases. (I had wanted to steep myself in wildlife photography.) Remembered when there was just one child in the house for the briefest of time until Lindsey arrived.
'You are so special to me, little man,' my father said, clinging to him.
Buckley drew back and stared at my father's creased face, the fine bright spots of tears at the corners of his eyes. He nodded seriously and kissed my father's cheek. Something so divine that no one up in heaven could have made it up; the care a child took with an adult.
'Hold still,' my father would say, while I held the ship in the bottle and he burned away the strings he'd raised the mast with and set the clipper ship free on its blue putty sea. And I would wait for him, recognizing the tension of that moment when the world in the bottle depended, solely, on me.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
This is where the pivotal events of my childhood unfolded, while I ate banana and root beer Popsicles, two by two, tucking the sticks neatly under the skirt of the chair. It's where Sunnybank Lad met Lady, Ken met his friend Flicka, Atlanta burned, Manderley burned, Lassie came home, Jim ran away, Alice got small, Wilbur got big, David Copperfield was born, Beth died, and, on an endless gloomy winter afternoon, Jody shot his yearling.
Jo Ann Beard (In Zanesville)
People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two lovers, but this too was great; sitting between his sister and his brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinion and foreign travel--before all of these things there had been only one person, Zora, and only one place: a tent in the living room made from chairs and bed-sheets. After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he had always been.
Zadie Smith (On Beauty)
Words do not come easily for so many men. We are taught to be strong, to provide, to put away our emotions. A father can work his way through his days and never see that his years are going by. If I could go back in time, I would say some things to that young father as he holds, somewhat uncertainly, his daughter for the very first time. These are the things I would say:
When you hear the first whimper in the night, go to the nursery leaving your wife sleeping. Rock in a chair, walk the floor, sing a lullaby so that she will know a man can be gentle.
When Mother is away for the evening, come home from work, do the babysitting. Learn to cook a hotdog or a pot of spaghetti, so that your daughter will know a man can serve another's needs.
When she performs in school plays or dances in recitals, arrive early, sit in the front seat, devote your full attention. Clap the loudest, so that she will know a man can have eyes only for her.
When she asks for a tree house, don't just build it, but build it with her. Sit high among the branches and talk about clouds, and caterpillars, and leaves. Ask her about her dreams and wait for her answers, so that she will know a man can listen.
When you pass by her door as she dresses for a date, tell her she is beautiful. Take her on a date yourself. Open doors, buy flowers, look her in the eye, so that she will know a man can respect her.
When she moves away from home, send a card, write a note, call on the phone. If something reminds you of her, take a minute to tell her, so that she will know a man can think of her even when she is away.
Tell her you love her, so that she will know a man can say the words.
If you hurt her, apologize, so that she will know a man can admit that he's wrong.
These seem like such small things, such a fraction of time in the course of two lives. But a thread does not require much space. It can be too fine for the eye to see, yet, it is the very thing that binds, that takes pieces and laces them into a whole.
Without it, there are tatters.
It is never too late for a man to learn to stitch, to begin mending.
These are the things I would tell that young father, if I could.
A daughter grown up quickly. There isn't time to waste.
I love you,
Lisa Wingate (Dandelion Summer (Blue Sky Hill #4))
Well, yes, there were quite a lot of books throughout, tumbling out of haphazardly placed bookshelves, stacked beneath chairs, beside beds, even in the bottoms of a closet or two. But I was never a "collector." My love of books is a love of what they contain; they hold knowledge as a pitcher holds water, as a dress contains the mystery of a woman's exquisite body. Their physicality matters--do not speak to me of storing books as bytes!--but they should not inspire fetishistic devotion.
Julia Glass (The Widower's Tale)
On the fifth day I knew Kaidan would have made it home. I held my breath and called him. I listened to every charming word of his voice mail, then hung up. That evening I sat on my bed and called again. This time I left a message.
“Hi, Kai, um, Kaidan. It's me. Anna. I'm just trying to see if you made it home safely. I'm sure you probably did. Just checking. You can call me anytime. If you want. Anyway. Okay, bye.”
I hung up and buried my shamed face into a pillow. Now I was leaving messages after he'd made it clear he wanted zero to do with me? Next thing I knew I'd be frequenting his shows to give him psycho stares from the back, and then doing late-night drive-bys to see what girl he was bringing home. The thought of him with another girl made me writhe in discomfort and curl up in the fetal position.
Day six was our first day of back-to-school shopping. We still had a month before school began, but the state issued a tax-free day, so stores were having big sales. I eyed all the teensy skirts and fashionable shirts dangling on mannequins. I tried to imagine Kaidan's reaction if I came dressed like that to one of his shows, some guy other than Jay on my arm. Ugly stalker thoughts. I was full of them.
Two weeks passed, and I was still tripping over chairs to grab the phone every time it rang, like now.
This time it was Jay.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
He came to repeatedly and began again. No one knows how many times. A bloody trail revealed his convoluted path. He started less than two table lengths from the windows, but he headed off in the wrong direction. Then he hit obstacles: bodies, table legs, and chairs. Some he pushed away, others had to be maneuvered around. He kept heading for the light. If he could just make it to the windows maybe someone would see him. If he had to, maybe he would jump. It took three hours to get there.
Dave Cullen (Columbine)
Five Rules for Leaving a Room in Anger": One: Do not pick up your books or papers. Leave them there. They will serve as a perfect reminder that you are gone. Two: Do no shove your chair back for the table while you are still sitting in it. Push it back as you are standing up. Three: Do not try to put your jacket on as you leave. Don't even fling it over your shoulder. You'll never be Jack Kennedy. Leave it on the chair back. Four: Do not announce that you are departing. Say nothing. Just go. Five: Never...ever look back.
Charles Rosenberg (Death on a High Floor)
One of the many horrible things about dying the way we died was the way it robbed us of the outdoor world and trapped us in the indoor world. For every one of us who was able to die peacefully on a deck chair, blanket pulled high, as the wind stirred his hair and the sun warmed his face, there were hundreds of us whose last glimpse of the world was white walls and metal machinery, the tease of a window, the inadequate flowers in a vase, elected representatives from the wilds we had lost. Our last breaths were of climate-controlled air. We died under ceilings. Either the wallpaper goes, or I do. It makes us more grateful now for rivers, more grateful for sky.
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)
She looked now at the drawing-room step. She saw, through William’s eyes, the shape of a woman, peaceful and silent, with downcast eyes. She sat musing, pondering (she was in grey that day, Lily thought). Her eyes were bent. She would never lift them. . . . [N]o, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low. Then one gave it up; then the idea sunk back again; then one became like most middle-aged people, cautious, furtive, with wrinkles between the eyes and a look of perpetual apprehension. For how could one express in words these emotions of the body? Express that emptiness there? (She was looking at the drawing-room steps; they looked extraordinarily empty.) It was one’s body feeling, not one’s mind. The physical sensations that went with the bare look of the steps had become suddenly extremely unpleasant. To want and not to have, sent all up her body a hardness, a hollowness, a strain. And then to want and not to have – to want and want – how that wrung the heart, and wrung again and again! Oh, Mrs. Ramsay! she called out silently, to that essence which sat by the boat, that abstract one made of her, that woman in grey, as if to abuse her for having gone, and then having gone, come back again. It had seemed so safe, thinking of her. Ghost, air, nothingness, a thing you could play with easily and safely at any time of day or night, she had been that, and then suddenly she put her hand out and wrung the heart thus. Suddenly, the empty drawing-room steps, the frill of the chair inside, the puppy tumbling on the terrace, the whole wave and whisper of the garden became like curves and arabesques flourishing round a centre of complete emptiness. . . . A curious notion came to her that he did after all hear the things she could not say. . . . She looked at her picture. That would have been his answer, presumably – how “you” and “I” and “she” pass and vanish; nothing stays; all changes; but not words, not paint. Yet it would be hung in the attics, she thought; it would be rolled up and flung under a sofa; yet even so, even of a picture like that, it was true. One might say, even of this scrawl, not of that actual picture, perhaps, but of what it attempted, that it “remained for ever,” she was going to say, or, for the words spoken sounded even to herself, too boastful, to hint, wordlessly; when, looking at the picture, she was surprised to find that she could not see it. Her eyes were full of a hot liquid (she did not think of tears at first) which, without disturbing the firmness of her lips, made the air thick, rolled down her cheeks. She had perfect control of herself – Oh, yes! – in every other way. Was she crying then for Mrs. Ramsay, without being aware of any unhappiness? She addressed old Mr. Carmichael again. What was it then? What did it mean? Could things thrust their hands up and grip one; could the blade cut; the fist grasp? Was there no safety? No learning by heart of the ways of the world? No guide, no shelter, but all was miracle, and leaping from the pinnacle of a tower into the air? Could it be, even for elderly people, that this was life? – startling, unexpected, unknown? For one moment she felt that if they both got up, here, now on the lawn, and demanded an explanation, why was it so short, why was it so inexplicable, said it with violence, as two fully equipped human beings from whom nothing should be hid might speak, then, beauty would roll itself up; the space would fill; those empty flourishes would form into shape; if they shouted loud enough Mrs. Ramsay would return. “Mrs. Ramsay!” she said aloud, “Mrs. Ramsay!” The tears ran down her face.
My mother said the bizarre name Raccoona had surely been inspired, at least on a subliminal level, by the masks raccoons don't wear but simply have - the ones given them by nature..... [S]he pointed out that Le Guin had suspected all along that Raccoona and Tiptree were two authors that came from the same source, but in a letter to Alice she wrote that she preferred Tiptree to Raccoona: 'Raccoona, I think, has less control, thus less wit and power.'
Le Guin, Mother said, had understood something deep. 'When you take on a male persona, something happens.'
When I asked her what that was, she sat back in her chair, waved her arm, and smiled. 'You get to be the father.
Siri Hustvedt (The Blazing World)
His office was a spider’s lair of silver thread and tempting promises, a page out of Power Architecture Magazine. The dean copied the design from President Lyndon Johnson’s old senate office. The room narrowed toward his desk, an architectural device that channeled all eyes toward the dean, and his chair was slightly elevated, forcing visitors to look up. The two visitors’ chairs were both lowered and oversized, making each guest feel like a child, swimming in too much chair. His architect had assured him it was a subliminal masterpiece.
Michael Ben Zehabe
When did you guys even start speaking again?”
Ernie shrugged and popped a peanut into his mouth. “He’s probably just sniffing around here so I leave him my property when I kick it.” He drank his beer and leaned back into his easy chair. “Eh, he’s a good kid. My sister’s only son. He’s family. Family’s family. Never forget that, Conrad.”
“Ernie, two commercial breaks ago, you told me that if I didn’t try and break up my brother’s wedding, I was a punk!”
Picking at his teeth, Ernie said, “If a girl’s the one, all bets are off, family or no family.
Jenny Han (We'll Always Have Summer (Summer, #3))
Women don't always want the right things in a man. And men don't have even an idea of what they want," she said. "Why, one minute their bodies tell them they want a wild woman that makes their blood rush. The next minute their good sense reminds them that they need a hard worker who is sturdy enough to help plow the field and birth the babies. They want a woman who'll mind their word and not be giving no jawing. But they also want a gal they can complain to when they are scared and unsure and who's smart enough to talk clear about the things goin' on."
"So the wife has to be all those things?"
"No, the wife is none of them," the old woman answered. "The wife is a wife and no further definition is necessary." Granny leaned forward in her chair to look more closely at Meggie. "Roe Farley married you and you were his wife. Nothing further even need to be said."
Her face flushing with embarrassment, she glanced away. "But he doesn't... he didn't love me."
"And did you think he would?"
Momentarily Meggie was taken aback. "Well, yes."
"Lord Almighty, child," Granny said. "Love ain't something that heaven hands out like good teeth or keen eyesight. Love is something two people make together."
Shaking her head, the old woman leaned back in her chair once more and tapped on her pipe. "Love, oh, my, it starts out simple and scary with all that heavy breathing and in the bed sharing," she said. "You a-trembling when he runs his hands acrost your skin, him screaming out your name when he gets in the short rows. That's the easy part, Meggie. Every day thereafter it gets harder. The more you know him, the more he knows you, the longer you are a part of each other, the stronger the love is and the tougher it is to have it.
Pamela Morsi (Marrying Stone (Tales from Marrying Stone, #1))
Sometimes... Come on, how often exactly, Bert? Can you recall four, five, more such occasions? Or would no human heart have survived two or three? Sometimes (I have nothing to say in reply to your question), while Lolita would be haphazardly preparing her homework, sucking a pencil, lolling sideways in an easy chair with both legs over its arm, I would shed all my pedagogic restraint, dismiss all our quarrels, forget all my masculine pride - and literally crawl on my knees to your chair, my Lolita! You would give me one look - a gray furry question mark of a look: "Oh no, not again" (incredulity, exasperation); for you never deigned to believe that I could, without any specific designs, ever crave to bury my face in your plaid skirt, my darling! The fragility of those bare arms of yours - how I longed to enfold them, all your four limpid lovely limbs, a folded colt, and take your head between my unworthy hands, and pull the temple-skin back on both sides, and kiss your chinesed eyes, and - "Please, leave me alone, will you," you would say, "for Christ's sake leave me alone." And I would get up from the floor while you looked on, your face deliberately twitching in imitation of my tic nerveux. But never mind, never mind, I am only a brute, never mind, let us go on with my miserable story.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
Imagine a morning in late November. A coming of winter morning more than twenty years ago. Consider the kitchen of a spreading old house in a country town. A great black stove is its main feature; but there is also a big round table and a fireplace with two rocking chairs placed in front of it. Just today the fireplace commenced its seasonal roar. A woman with shorn white hair is standing at the kitchen window. She is wearing tennis shoes and a shapeless gray sweater over a summery calico dress. She is small and sprightly, like a bantam hen; but, due to a long youthful illness, her shoulders are pitifully hunched. Her face is remarkable—not unlike Lincoln’s, craggy like that, and tinted by sun and wind; but it is delicate, too, finely boned, and her eyes are sherry-colored and timid. “Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!
Truman Capote (A Christmas Memory)
My head springs up with a deep breath of panic. Alex's face appears in my blurry vision. I guess I managed to fall asleep in this old chair after all. Now I feel worse than when I sat down.
"Come." She takes my hand and tugs me until I get out of the chair, leading me to the bed. It's still dark out, but the fire casts enough glow.
"Wait, let me get the-"
"No, this is perfect. Really." She's still whispering. the girl who drives a BMW Z8, and she wears probably two years' worth my salary on her finger, curls up on an unmade bed with an old wool blanket and says it's perfect.
K.A. Tucker (Burying Water (Burying Water, #1))
Alexander moved her off him, laid her down, was over her, was pressed into her, crushing her. Anthony was right there, he didn't care, he was trying to inhale her, trying to absorb her into himself. "All this time you were stepping out in front of me, Tatiana," he said. "Now I finally understand. You hid me on Bethel Island for eight months. For two years you hid me and deceived me - to save me. I am such an idiot," he whispered. "Wretch or not, ravaged or not, in a carapace or not, there you still were, stepping out for me, showing the mute mangled stranger your brave and indifferent face."
Her eyes closed, her arms tightened around his neck. "That stranger is my life," she whispered. They crawled away from Anthony, from their only bed, onto a blanket on the floor, barricading themselves behind the table and chairs. "You left our boy to go find me, and this is what you found..." Alexander whispered, on top of her, pushing inside her, searching for peace.
Crying out underneath him, Tatiana clutched his shoulders.
"This is what you brought back from Sachsenhausen." his movement was tense, deep, needful. Oh God. Now there was comfort. "You thought you were bringing back him, but Tania, you brought back me."
"Shura...you'll have to do..." Her fingers were clamped into his scars.
"In you," said Alexander, lowering his lips to her parted mouth and cleaving their flesh, "are the answers to all things."
All the rivers flowed into the sea and still the sea was not full.
Paullina Simons (The Summer Garden (The Bronze Horseman, #3))
It had been easy to decide in favor of love on Bethune Street, in favor of walking proud and naked on the grass rug of an apartment that caught the morning sun among its makeshift chairs, its French travel posters and its bookcase made of packing-crate slats—an apartment where half the fun of having an affair was that it was just like being married, and where later, after a trip to City Hall and back, after a ceremonial collecting of the other two keys from the other two men, half the fun of being married was that it was just like having an affair. She’d decided in favor of that, all right.
Richard Yates (Revolutionary Road)
Todd:I had him!
His throat was there beneath my hand.
No, I had him!
His throat was there and now he'll never come again.
Mrs. Lovett: Easy now, hush love hush
I keep telling you, Whats your rush?
Todd: When? Why did I wait?
You told me to wait -
Now he'll never come again.
There's a hole in the world like a great black pit
And it's filled with people who are filled with shit
And the vermin of the world inhabit it.
But not for long...
They all deserve to die.
Tell you why, Mrs. Lovett, tell you why.
Because in all of the whole human race
Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men and only two
There's the one staying put in his proper place
And the one with his foot in the other one's face
Look at me, Mrs Lovett, look at you.
No, we all deserve to die
Even you, Mrs Lovett, even I!
Because the lives of the wicked should be made brief
For the rest of us death will be a relief
We all deserve to die.
And I'll never see Johanna
No I'll never hug my girl to me - finished!
Alright! You sir, how about a shave?
Come and visit your good friend Sweeney.
You sir, too sir? Welcome to the grave.
I will have vengenance.
I will have salvation.
Who sir, you sir?
No ones in the chair, Come on! Come on!
Sweeney's. waiting. I want you bleeders.
You sir! Anybody!
Gentlemen now don't be shy!
Not one man, no, nor ten men.
Nor a hundred can assuage me.
I will have you!
And I will get him back even as he gloats
In the meantime I'll practice on less honorable throats.
And my Lucy lies in ashes
And I'll never see my girl again.
But the work waits!
I'm alive at last!
And I'm full of joy!
ps. love the movie the performance that Johnny Depp did was amazing and he sang amazing.
Stephen Sondheim (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street)
Aunt Jayne asks if we'd like to stop somewhere for dessert, and since nodding and smiling is easier than shaking our heads and inventing a reason for not wanting dessert, we okay it without thinking.
And since the universe has worked in its own mysterious way all vacation, tonight shouldn't be any different, which is why neither of us is particularly surprised to discover that Jayne is craving a smoothie.
Once Sam returns to his post behind the counter, Frankie stops kicking me and we slurp down our drinks in about two minutes, anxious to get out of here before anyone recognizes us. Uncle Red and Aunt Jayne, on the other hand, act like this is the last smoothie shop they'll ever see, like smoothies are an endangered species to be appreciated and savored and drawn out as long as possible. With each passing minute, Frankie and I sink lower in our chairs, praying to the God of Annoying Coincidences that Jake doesn't show up and blow our cover.
Sarah Ockler (Twenty Boy Summer)
When Earth's last picture is painted And the tubes are twisted and dried When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an aeon or two
'Till the Master of all good workmen Shall put us to work anew
And those that were good shall be happy They'll sit in a golden chair
They'll splash at a ten league canvas With brushes of comet's hair
They'll find real saints to draw from Magdalene, Peter, and Paul
They'll work for an age at a sitting And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us. And only the Master shall blame.
And no one will work for the money.
No one will work for the fame.
But each for the joy of the working, And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it.
For the God of things as they are!
How did you find out?” he asked.
I dropped the coat I’d been holding. “How do you think? She told me. She couldn’t wait to tell me.”
He sighed and sat on the arm of my couch and stared into space.
“That’s it? You have nothing else to say?” I asked.
“I’m sorry. God, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean for you to find out like this.”
“Were you ever going to tell me?”
His voice was so sweet and so gentle that it momentarily defused the anger that wanted to explode out of me. I stared at him, looking hard into those amber brown eyes. “She said...she said you didn’t drink, but you did, right? That’s what happened?” I sounded like I was Kendall’s age and suspected I wore the pleading expression Yasmine had given Jerome.
Seth’s face stayed expressionless. “No, Thetis. I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t drink at all.”
I sank down into the arm chair opposite him. “Then…then…what happened?”
It took a while for him to get the story out. I could see the two warring halves within him: the one that wanted to be open and the one that hated to tell me things I wouldn’t like. “I was so upset after what happened with us. I was actually on the verge of calling that guy…what’s his name? Niphon. I couldn’t stand it—I wanted to fix things between us. But just before I did, I ran into Maddie. I was so…I don’t know. Just confused. Distraught. She asked me to get food, and before I knew it, I’d accepted.” He raked a hand through his hair, neutral expression turning confused and frustrated. “And being with her…she was just so nice. Sweet. Easy to talk to. And after leaving things off physically with you, I’d been kind of…um…”
“Aroused? Horny? Lust-filled?”
He grimaced. “Something like that. But, I don’t know. There was more to it than just that.”
The tape in my mind rewound. “Did you say you were going to call Niphon?”
“Yeah. We’d talked at poker…and then he called me once. Said if I ever wanted…he could make me a deal. I thought it was crazy at the time, but after I left you that night…I don’t know. It just made me wonder if maybe it was worth it to live the life I wanted and make it so you wouldn’t have to worry so much.”
“Maddie coming along was a blessing then,” I muttered. Christ. Seth had seriously considered selling his soul. I really needed to deal with Niphon. He hadn’t listened to me when I’d told him to leave Seth alone. I wanted to rip the imp’s throat out, but my revenge would have to wait. I took a deep breath.
“Well,” I told Seth. “That’s that. I can’t say I like it…but, well…it’s over.”
He tilted his head curiously. “What do you mean?”
“This. This Maddie thing. You finally had a fling. We’ve always agreed you could, right? I mean, it’s not fair for me to be the only one who gets some. Now we can move on.”
A long silence fell. Aubrey jumped up beside me and rubbed her head against my arm. I ran a hand over her soft fur while I waited for Seth’s response.
“Georgina,” he said at last. “You know…I’ve told you…well. I don’t really have flings.”
My hand froze on Aubrey’s back. “What are you saying?”
“I…don’t have flings.”
“Are you saying you want to start something with her?”
He looked miserable. “I don’t know.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, #3))
With fingers weary and worn,
And eyelids heavy and red,
Long after the house sleeps,
Still in her chair she sits.
Her needle flickering, in-out,
Daylight nears and the fire burns low,
Alone with her shirt, still she sews.
She, held prisoner by her thread,
Her heads nods, but sleep forbids,
Just one more seam or button two.
Listen brothers, sons and husbands all,
Call it not just cotton, linen or only wool,
Count each stitch and say a prayer,
For heart and soul that put them there.
Nancy B. Brewer
They're kicking us out saying it's time to close
We're leaning on each other try'na beat the cold
Carry your shoes and I give you my coat Walking these streets like they're paved gold
Anymore excuses is not to go
Neither one of us want to take that taxi home
Singing our hearts, standing on chairs
Spending the time like we were millionaires
Laughing our heads off, the two of us stared
Spending the time like we were millionaires
Lost my heart and I hope to die
Seeing that sunlight hit your eyes
Been up all night but you still look amazing to me
Half the time of the night you only dream
About if God came down he could take me now
Cause in my mind, yeah we will always be
As soon as the period of mourning for Dona Ester was over and the big house on the corner was finished, Esteban Trueba and Clara del Valle were married in a modest ceremony. Esteban gave his wife a set of diamond jewelry, which she thought beautiful. She packed it away in a shoe box and quickly forgot where she had put it. They spent their honeymoon in Italy and two days after they were on the boat. Esteban was as madly in love as an adolescent, despite the fact that the movement of the ship made Clara uncontrollably ill and the tight quarters gave her asthma. Seated by her side in the narrow cabin, pressing cold compress to her forehead and holding her while she vomited, he felt profoundly happy and desired her with unjust intensity considering the wretched state to which she was reduced. On the fourth day at sea, she woke up feeling better and they went out on deck to look at the sea. Seeing her with her wind-reddened nose, and laughing at the slightest provocation, Esteban swore that sooner or later she would come to love him as he needed to be loved, even if it meant he had to resort to extreme measures. He realized that Clara did not belong to him and that if she continued living in her world of apparitions, three-legged chairs that moved of their own volition, and cards that spelled out the future, she probably never would. Clara's impudent and nonchalant sensuality was also not enough for him. He wanted far more than her body; he wanted control over that undefined and luminous material that lay within her and that escaped him even in those moments when she appeared to be dying of pleasure. His hands felt very heavy, his feet very big, his voice very hard, his beard very scratchy, and his habits of rape and whoring very deeply ingrained, but even if he had to turn himself inside out like a glove, he was prepared to do everything in his power to seduce her.
Isabel Allende (The House of the Spirits)
Hang on . . .” Harry muttered to Ron. “There’s an empty chair at the staff table. . . . Where’s Snape?” Professor Severus Snape was Harry’s least favorite teacher. Harry also happened to be Snape’s least favorite student. Cruel, sarcastic, and disliked by everybody except the students from his own House (Slytherin), Snape taught Potions. “Maybe he’s ill!” said Ron hopefully. “Maybe he’s left,” said Harry, “because he missed out on the Defense Against the Dark Arts job again!” “Or he might have been sacked!” said Ron enthusiastically. “I mean, everyone hates him —” “Or maybe,” said a very cold voice right behind them, “he’s waiting to hear why you two didn’t arrive on the school train.” Harry
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2))
I was dozing, and the clock woke me. I didn’t hear the first few chimes distinctly, that is to say, I didn’t count them. But as soon as I decided to count I realized that there had already been three, so I was able to count four, five, and so on. I understood that I could say four and then wait for the fifth, because one, two, and three had passed, and I somehow knew that. If the fourth chime had been the first I was conscious of, I would have thought it was six o’clock. I think our lives are like that—you can only anticipate the future if you can call the past to mind. I can’t count the chimes of my life because I don’t know how many came before. On the other hand, I dozed off because the chair had been rocking for a while. And I dozed off in a certain moment because that moment had been preceded by other moments, and because I was relaxing while awaiting the subsequent moment. But if the first moments hadn’t put me in the right frame of mind, if I had begun rocking in any old moment, I wouldn’t have expected what had to come. I would have remained awake. You need memory even to fall asleep. Or no?
Umberto Eco (The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana)
I sent a clear warning to you, Aidan." There was a hint of censure in his words, although his voice was soft.
There was a hard edge to Aidan's mouth. "I received your warning. But this is my city, Gregori, and my family. I take care of my own."
Savannah rolled her eyes. "You could just beat on your chests,you know. It probably works just as well."
You will show some respect, Gregori ordered.
Savannah burst out laughing, then reached up to caress his shadowed jaw. "Keep hoping,my love, and perhaps someday someone will obey you."
Aidan's mouth twitched, the golden eyes sliding over Gregori in amusement. "She inherited something besides her mother's good looks,did she not?"
Gregori sighed heavily. "She is impossible."
Aidan laughed,ignoring the warning flash from Gregori's pale eyes. "I believe they all are."
Savannah ducked out from under Gregori's arm and found an overstuffed chair to curl up on. "Of course we're impossible.It's the only way to stay sane."
"I would have brought Alexandria to meet you,but Gregori's warning dictated prudence." Aidan sounded smug, as if he had been able to lay down the law to his woman when Gregori was unable to do so.
Savannah flashed an impish grin up at the man. "What did you do,leave her sleeping while you ran off to play hero? I'll just bet she has a thing or two to say to you when you wake her."
Aidan had the grace to look sheepish. Then he turned to Gregori. "Your lifemate is a mean little thing, healer. I do not envy you."
Savannah laughed, unrepentant. "He's crazy about me. Don't let him fool you."
"I believe you," Aidan agreed.
"Do not encourage her in her rebellion," Gregori tried to sound severe,but she was turning him inside out.She was everything to him, even with her silliness.Where did she get her outrageous sense of humor? How could she ever be happy with someone who hadn't laughed in centuries? She melted his insides. Melted him. He was careful to keep his face expressionless. It was bad enough that Savannah knew he was practically wrapped around her little finger. Aidan didn't need to know,too.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
Now we see it, lying in the middle of the road. A swan, a mute swan. It looks like an offcut of organza, crumpled around the edges, twitching. As we pass we see its long neck has buckled into its body like a folding chair. We see its wings are tucked back as if the tar is liquid and the swan is swimming.
There are two men and a woman in the road. One man is standing on the tar, the other is directing the traffic. The woman is kneeling down beside the swan. I think she is crying, she seems to be crying, and this makes me suddenly angry. I think of all the other creatures we’ve seen since we set out. I think of the rat, the fox, the kitten, the badger. I think of the jackdaw, did you see the jackdaw? We passed it in the queue to pass the swan. Its beak was cracked open, its brains squeeged out. Why didn’t anybody stop for the jackdaw? Because the swan looks like a wedding dress, that’s why. Whereas the jackdaw looks like a bin bag. Because this is how people measure life.
Sara Baume (Spill Simmer Falter Wither)
I have five flashlights and each performs its own trick. I have a raincoat with zippers and net material so I never get too hot in a downpour. I have a shelf crammed with books and a shortwave that speaks Arabic, Japanese, Dutch and Russian. They have mud huts with maybe a few chairs and faded pages of old magazines fastened to the wall. I ride my twenty-one speed Peace Corps-issue bike to Ferke not to save a dollar on transport but for the luxury of exercise. They ride in from their settlements on cranky old mopeds or bikes with a single cog because it's the only option. And they give me charity. I just stare at it - near tears. To refuse their offer would be pure insult. So I do the rounds again shaking hands with all the men in boubous saying over and over "An y che " Thank you.
Sarah Erdman (Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village)
I coax my palm into his lapel in search of my wish, returning his feverish kiss. "Checkmate, you son of a bug," I say against his mouth two seconds before my fingers find an empty pocket.
"Sleight of hand, blossom," he says right back. "'Tis in fact in my pants pocket, if you'd like to search there."
I shove him off and drop to the floor, wiping my mouth. "It's mine!"
"And you'll receive it when the time is right." His lips, all I can look at, tilt into that smug smile that I've come to detest. He motions toward the chair. "Sit. You've just been soundly kissed. No doubt you're short of breath."
"Don't flatter yourself." I huff in an effort to hide the gulp of air and hold the teddy bear against my chest. "That kiss meant nothing. It had underlying motivation."
"Oh, to be sure. That kiss was nothing if not motivational.
A.G. Howard (Splintered (Splintered, #1))
The doors burst open, startling me awake. I nearly jumped out of bed. Tove groaned next to me, since I did this weird mind-slap thing whenever I woke up scared, and it always hit him the worst. I'd forgotten about it because it had been a few months since the last time it happened.
"Good morning, good morning, good morning," Loki chirped, wheeling in a table covered with silver domes.
"What are you doing?" I asked, squinting at him. He'd pulled up the shades. I was tired as hell, and I was not happy.
"I thought you two lovebirds would like breakfast," Loki said. "So I had the chef whip you up something fantastic." As he set up the table in the sitting area, he looked over at us. "Although you two are sleeping awfully far apart for newlyweds."
"Oh, my god." I groaned and pulled the covers over my head.
"You know, I think you're being a dick," Tove told him as he got out of bed. "But I'm starving. So I'm willing to overlook it. This time."
"A dick?" Loki pretended to be offended. "I'm merely worried about your health. If your bodies aren't used to strenuous activities, like a long night of lovemaking, you could waste away if you don't get plenty of protein and rehydrate. I'm concerned for you."
"Yes, we both believe that's why you're here," Tove said sarcastically and took a glass of orange juice that Loki had poured for him.
"What about you, Princess?" Loki's gaze cut to me as he filled another glass.
"I'm not hungry." I sighed and sat up.
"Oh, really?" Loki arched an eyebrow. "Does that mean that last night-"
"It means that last night is none of your business," I snapped.
I got up and hobbled over to Elora's satin robe, which had been left on a nearby chair. My feet and ankles ached from all the dancing I'd done the night before.
"Don't cover up on my account," Loki said as I put on the robe. "You don't have anything I haven't seen."
"Oh, I have plenty you haven't seen," I said and pulled the robe around me.
"You should get married more often," Loki teased. "It makes you feisty."
I rolled my eyes and went over to the table. Loki had set it all up, complete with a flower in a vase in the center, and he'd pulled off the domed lids to reveal a plentiful breakfast. I took a seat across from Tove, only to realize that Loki had pulled up a third chair for himself.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"Well, I went to all the trouble of having someone prepare it, so I might as well eat it." Loki sat down and handed me a flute filled with orange liquid. "I made mimosas."
"Thanks," I said, and I exchanged a look with Tove to see if it was okay if Loki stayed.
"He's a dick," Tove said over a mouthful of food, and shrugged. "But I don't care."
In all honesty, I think we both preferred having Loki there. He was a buffer between the two of us so we didn't have to deal with any awkward morning-after conversations. And though I'd never admit it aloud, Loki made me laugh, and right now I needed a little levity in my life.
"So, how did everyone sleep last night?" Loki asked.
There was a quick knock at the bedroom doors, but they opened before I could answer. Finn strode inside, and my stomach dropped. He was the last person I'd expected to see. I didn't even think he would be here anymore. After the other night I assumed he'd left, especially when I didn't see him at the wedding.
"Princess, I'm sorry-" Finn started to say as he hurried in, but then he saw Loki and stopped abruptly.
"Finn?" I asked, stunned.
Finn looked appalled and pointed at Loki. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm drinking a mimosa." Loki leaned back in his chair. "What are you doing here?"
"What is he doing here?" Finn asked, turning his attention to me.
"Never mind him." I waved it off. "What's going on?"
"See, Finn, you should've told me when I asked," Loki said between sips of his drink.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
I’m so fucking tired of this,” I whisper. Ruby’s crouching on the floor in front of me, her hands on my shoulders, the first time she’s ever touched me. “What are you tired of?” she asks. “Hearing him, seeing him, everything I do being laced with him.” We’re quiet. My breathing steadies and she stands, her hands dropping away from me. Gently, she says, “If you think back to the first incident—” “No, I can’t.” I throw my head against the back of the chair, press myself into the cushion. “I can’t go back there.” “You don’t have to go back,” she says. “You can stay in the room. Just think of one moment, the first one between the two of you that could be considered intimate. When you look back on that first memory, who was the initiator, you or him?” She waits, but I can’t say it. Him. He called me up to his desk and touched me while the rest of the class did their homework. I sat beside him, stared out the window, and let him do what he wanted. And I didn’t understand it, didn’t ask for it. I exhale, hang my head. “I can’t.” “That’s fine,” she says. “Take it slow.” “I just feel . . .” I press the heels of my hands into my thighs. “I can’t lose the thing I’ve held on to for so long. You know?” My face twists up from the pain of pushing it out. “I just really need it to be a love story. You know? I really, really need it to be that.” “I know,” she says. “Because if it isn’t a love story, then what is it?” I look to her glassy eyes, her face of wide-open empathy. “It’s my life,” I say. “This has been my whole life.” She stands over me as I say I’m sad, I’m so sad, small, simple words, the only ones that make sense as I clutch my chest like a child and point to where it hurts.
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
Call me Ozzie, doll,” he called back. He hunched over the keyboard like a starving man hunches over a plate of food. “And there’s no need to conceal my weapons. I figure everyone should see what’s in store for them should they attempt to fuck with me.”“
Oh man.” Dan groaned and rolled his eyes. “Next thing you know he’ll be coming to work shirtless with bandoliers strapped across his chest and a red bandana tied around his head.”
“Ah, so you have seen a movie or two.” Ozzie swiveled in his chair, his eyes sparkling with devilish glee. “Rambo, huh? I can give you Rambo.” He lowered his voice. “‘They drew first blood. Not me…’”
“What a crock of bullsh—uh, crap.” Dan scoffed.
“Are you sitting there dissing Stallone?” Ozzie demanded, making like he was about to stand in defense of the Italian Stallion.
“No. I’m sitting here dissing you, you stu—
Julie Ann Walker (Hell on Wheels (Black Knights Inc., #1))
It’s decided, then,” he murmured. “I accept your proposition. There’s much more to discuss, of course, but we’ll have two days until we reach Gretna Green.” He rose from the chair and stretched, his smile lingering as he noticed the way her gaze slid quickly over his body. “I’ll have the carriage readied and have the valet pack my clothes. We’ll leave within the hour. Incidentally, if you decide to back out of our agreement at any time during our journey, I will strangle you.”
She shot him a sardonic glance. “You w-wouldn’t be so nervous about that if you hadn’t tried this with an unwilling victim l-last week.”
“Touché. Then we may describe you as a willing victim?”
“An eager one,” Evangeline said shortly, looking as though she wanted to be off at once.
“My favorite kind,” he remarked, and bowed politely before he strode from the library.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
On the hearth, in front of a back-brand to give substance, blazed a fire of thorns, that crackled 'like the laughter of the fool.'
Nineteen persons were gathered here. Of these, five women, wearing gowns of various bright hues, sat in chairs along the wall; girls shy and not shy filled the window-bench; four men, including Charley Jake the hedge-carpenter, Elijah New the parish-clerk, and John Pitcher, a neighboring dairyman, the shepherd's father-in-law, lolled in the settle; a young man and maid, who were blushing over tentative pourparlers on a life companionship, sat beneath the corner-cupboard; and an elderly engaged man of fifty or upward moved restlessly about from spots where his betrothed was not to the spot where she was. Enjoyment was pretty general, and so much the more prevailed in being unhampered by conventional restrictions. Absolute confidence in each other's good opinion begat perfect ease, while the finishing stroke of manner, amounting to a truly princely serenity, was lent to the majority by the absence of any expression or trait denoting that they wished to get on in the world, enlarge their minds, or do any eclipsing thing whatever - which nowadays so generally nips the bloom and bonhomie of all except the two extremes of the social scale.
("The Three Strangers")
Thomas Hardy (Great Tales of Terror and the Supernatural)
Why were you so happy to see me? You know, besides my general awesomeness."
Marz pushed out of his chair, big grin on his face, and held out his hands. "I'm getting married!"
Shane sighed. The expressions on the other two said they'd already been down this road. "All right. I'll bite."
"I think the appropriate sentiment is 'congratulations'," Marz said, crossing his arms and feigning insult.
"Just spill the brilliance of whatever this is about," Shane said.
"Only because you acknowledged its brilliance." Marz sat excitement rolling off the guy. "I figured out how to solve the problem of getting us eyes and ears in the back of Confessions."
"By getting married?"
"By pretending to get married. And what does every pretend groom need?" Marz's grin was full of anticipation.
"A bride?" Shane said.
Marz rolled his eyes and waved his hands. "Okay, but what else?"
Shane looked between the three of them. And then the lightbulb went on. "A bachelor party," Shane said.
Marz clapped his hands. "Ding ding ding. Give the man a cigar."
Yup. The idea was, in fact, brilliant. Really brilliant.
Laura Kaye (Hard as You Can (Hard Ink, #2))
You know what writing is? Writing is sitting on a chair staring into space. Writing is two hours surfing the internet and five minutes typing. Writing is skim-reading ‘writing advice’ on websites and muttering ‘fuck off’ under your breath. Writing is looking at your friends’ success and muttering ‘fuck off’ under your breath. Writing is reading over what you’ve written and thinking you’re a genius. Writing is reading over what you’ve written and shouting ‘fuck you’ at the screen. Writing is £3500 college courses after which you pursue a career in telemarketing. Writing is something you either fucking do or you fucking don’t. Writing is listening to Tom Waits and wanting to be the literary equivalent. Writing is ending up as the literary equivalent of Bananarama. Writing is forty publishers saying you do not meet our needs at this time. Writing is meeting no one’s needs at any time. Writing is completing 2000 words one morning and weeping about never being able to write again the next. Writing is losing a whole day’s work to a decrepit Dell laptop. Writing is never having the time to write and never writing when you have the time. Writing is having one idea and coasting on that for months until another one comes along. Writing is never having any ideas. Writing is sitting at a bus stop and having four million ideas and not having a notebook to hand. Writing is laughing at the sort of people who keep notebooks on them at all times as if they are proper writers. Writing is reading. Writing is reading. Writing is reading. Writin’ is fightin’. Writing is writing.
M.J. Nicholls (The 1002nd Book to Read Before You Die)
Things I Used to Get Hit For: Talking back. Being smart. Acting stupid. Not listening. Not answering the first time. Not doing what I’m told. Not doing it the second time I’m told. Running, jumping, yelling, laughing, falling down, skipping stairs, lying in the snow, rolling in the grass, playing in the dirt, walking in mud, not wiping my feet, not taking my shoes off. Sliding down the banister, acting like a wild Indian in the hallway. Making a mess and leaving it. Pissing my pants, just a little. Peeing the bed, hardly at all. Sleeping with a butter knife under my pillow.
Shitting the bed because I was sick and it just ran out of me, but still my fault because I’m old enough to know better. Saying shit instead of crap or poop or number two. Not knowing better. Knowing something and doing it wrong anyway. Lying. Not confessing the truth even when I don’t know it. Telling white lies, even little ones, because fibbing isn’t fooling and not the least bit funny. Laughing at anything that’s not funny, especially cripples and retards. Covering up my white lies with more lies, black lies. Not coming the exact second I’m called. Getting out of bed too early, sometimes before the birds, and turning on the TV, which is one reason the picture tube died. Wearing out the cheap plastic hole on the channel selector by turning it so fast it sounds like a machine gun. Playing flip-and-catch with the TV’s volume button then losing it down the hole next to the radiator pipe. Vomiting. Gagging like I’m going to vomit. Saying puke instead of vomit. Throwing up anyplace but in the toilet or in a designated throw-up bucket. Using scissors on my hair. Cutting Kelly’s doll’s hair really short. Pinching Kelly. Punching Kelly even though she kicked me first. Tickling her too hard. Taking food without asking. Eating sugar from the sugar bowl. Not sharing. Not remembering to say please and thank you. Mumbling like an idiot. Using the emergency flashlight to read a comic book in bed because batteries don’t grow on trees. Splashing in puddles, even the puddles I don’t see until it’s too late. Giving my mother’s good rhinestone earrings to the teacher for Valentine’s Day. Splashing in the bathtub and getting the floor wet. Using the good towels. Leaving the good towels on the floor, though sometimes they fall all by themselves. Eating crackers in bed. Staining my shirt, tearing the knee in my pants, ruining my good clothes. Not changing into old clothes that don’t fit the minute I get home. Wasting food. Not eating everything on my plate. Hiding lumpy mashed potatoes and butternut squash and rubbery string beans or any food I don’t like under the vinyl seat cushions Mom bought for the wooden kitchen chairs. Leaving the butter dish out in summer and ruining the tablecloth. Making bubbles in my milk. Using a straw like a pee shooter. Throwing tooth picks at my sister. Wasting toothpicks and glue making junky little things that no one wants. School papers. Notes from the teacher. Report cards. Whispering in church. Sleeping in church. Notes from the assistant principal. Being late for anything. Walking out of Woolworth’s eating a candy bar I didn’t pay for. Riding my bike in the street. Leaving my bike out in the rain. Getting my bike stolen while visiting Grandpa Rudy at the hospital because I didn’t put a lock on it. Not washing my feet. Spitting. Getting a nosebleed in church. Embarrassing my mother in any way, anywhere, anytime, especially in public. Being a jerk. Acting shy. Being impolite. Forgetting what good manners are for. Being alive in all the wrong places with all the wrong people at all the wrong times.
Bob Thurber (Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel)
This was not going the way I wanted it to. I felt a desperate need to escape before I said something that would screw up my plans. Ren was the dark side, the forbidden fruit, my personal Delilah-the ultimate temptation. The question was…could I resist?
I gave his knee a friendly pat and played my trump card…”I’m leaving.”
“I’m going home to Oregon. Mr. Kadam thinks it will be safer for me anyway, with Lokesh out there looking to kill us and all. Besides, you need time to figure out…stuff.”
“If you’re leaving, then I’m going with you!”
I smiled at him wryly. “That kind of defeats the purpose of me leaving. Don’t you think?”
He slicked back his hair, let out a deep breath, then took my hand and looked intently into my eyes. “Kells, when are you going to accept the fact that we belong together?”
I felt sick, like I was kicking a faithful puppy who only wanted to be loved. I looked out at the pool.
After a moment, he sat back scowling and said menacingly, “I won’t let you leave.”
Inside, I desperately wanted to take his hand and beg him to forgive me, to love me, but I steeled myself, dropped my hands in my lap, then implored, “Ren, please. You have to let me go. I need…I’m afraid…look, I just can’t be here, near you, when you change your mind.”
“It’s not going to happen.”
“it might. There’s a good chance.”
He growled angrily. “There’s no chance!”
“Well, my heart can’t take that risk, and I don’t want to put you in what can only be an awkward position. I’m sorry, Ren. I really am. I do want to be your friend, but I understand if you don’t want that. Of course, I’ll return when you need me, if you need me, to help you find the other three gifts. I wouldn’t abandon you or Kishan in that way. I just can’t stay here with you feeling obligated to pity-date me because you need me. But I’d never abandon your cause. I’ll always be there for you both, no matter what.”
He spat out, “Pity-date! You? Kelsey, you can’t be serious!”
“I am. Very, very serious. I’ll ask Mr. Kadam to make arrangements to send me back in the next few days.”
He didn’t say another word. He just sat back in his chair. I could tell he was fuming mad, but I felt that, after a week or two, when he started getting back out in the world, he would come to appreciate my gesture.
I looked away from him. “I’m very tired now. I’d like to go to bed.” I got up and headed to my room. Before I closed the sliding door, I asked, “Can I make one last request?”
He sat there tight-lipped, his arms folded over his chest, with a tense, angry face.
I sighed. Even infuriated he was beautiful.
He said nothing so I went on, “It would be a lot easier on me if I didn’t see you, I mean as a man. I’ll try to avoid most of the house. It is yours after all, so I’ll stay in my room. If you see Mr. Kadam, please tell him I’d like to speak with him.”
He didn’t respond.
“Well, good-bye, Ren. Take care of yourself.” I tore my eyes away from him, shut the door, and drew the curtains.
Take care of yourself? That was a lame goodbye. Tears welled in my eyes and blurred my vision. I was proud that I’d gotten through it without showing emotion. But, now, I felt like a steamroller had come along and flattened me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
He saw a chair, and a ship that was not a ship; he saw a man with two shadows, and he saw that which cannot be seen — a concept; the adaptive, self-seeking urge to survive, to bend everything that can be reached to that end, and to remove and to add and to smash and to create so that one particular collection of cells can go on, can move onward and decide, and keeping moving and keeping deciding, knowing that — if nothing else — at least it lives. And it had two shadows, it was two things: it was the need and it was the method. The need was obvious: to defeat what opposed its life. The method was that taking and bending of materials and people to one purpose, the outlook that everything could be used in the fight; that nothing could be excluded, that everything was a weapon, and the ability to handle those weapons, to find them and choose which one to aim and fire; that talent, that ability, that use of weapons.
Iain M. Banks
He sighs and wiggles around in his chair to get comfortable-it's going to be a long night. Watching humans play pretend for two hours doesn't exactly flip his fin. But he can tell Emma's getting restless. And so is he.
Just as he nods off, a loud noise pops from the screen. Emma latches onto his arm as if he's dangling her over a cliff. She presses her face into his biceps and moans. "Is it over yet?" she whispers.
"No. The thing that jumped out at her. Is it gone?"
Galen chuckles and pries his arm from her grasp, then wraps it around her. "No. You should definitely stay there until I tell you it's clear."
She whips her head up, but there's an almost-smile in her eyes. "I might take you up on that, pretend date or no. I hate scary movies."
"Why didn't you tell me that? Everyone at school was practically salivating over this movie."
The lady next to her leans over. "Shhh!" she whisper-yells.
Emma nestles into the crook of his arm and buries her face in his chest, where she returns frequently as the movie goes on. Galen admits to himself that humans can make everything look pretty real. Still, he can't understand how Emma can be afraid when she knows they're only actors on the screen getting paid to scream like boiling lobsters. But who is he to complain? Their convincing performance keeps Emma in his arms for almost two solid hours.
When the movie is over, he pulls the car to the curb and opens the door for her just as Rachel instructed. Emma accepts his hand as he helps her in.
"What should we call our new little game?" he says on the way home.
"You know, 'Have some Lemonheads, sweet lips!'"
"Oh, right." She laughs. "How about...Upchuck?"
"Sounds appropriate. You realize it's your turn, right? I was thinking of making you eat a live crab."
She leans over him. He almost swerves off the road when her lips brush his ear. "Where will you get a live crab? All I have to do is poke my head in the water and tell them to scatter."
He grins. She's been getting more comfortable with her Gift. Yesterday, she sent some dolphins chasing after him.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Gunner shook his head; he wasn't in the mood. He stared down at his bottle as he spoke. "Yeah, and what if I do go after it and what if I find no one, and I'm alone for the next sixty years? What then? Huh? Friends and family will get married. I'll be stuck buying gifts. Years pass: children, birthday parties. At dinner parties, I'll be odd man out, forcing people to arrange five chairs around a table instead of four or six. Or, okay, let's say maybe twenty years down the line I meet someone nice and I've already given up on ever finding true love. Let's say the girl is a few pounds overweight, has fizzy hair and an annoying laugh, but at this point, I'm also a few pounds overweight and my hair is thinning and my laughter is annoying. Maybe then the two of us get married, and both our groups of friends will say, 'See I told you that you'd find true love. It just took a while.' And we'll smile, but we'll both know it's a lie--
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. 'Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; 'only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.' The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: 'No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. 'There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table. 'Have some wine,' the March Hare said in an encouraging tone. Alice looked all round the table, but there was nothing on it but tea. 'I don't see any wine,' she remarked. 'There isn't any,' said the March Hare. 'Then it wasn't very civil of you to offer it,' said Alice angrily. 'It wasn't very civil of you to sit down without being invited,' said the March Hare. 'I didn't know it was your table,' said Alice; 'it's laid for a great many more than three.' 'Your hair wants cutting,' said the Hatter. He had been looking at Alice for some time with great curiosity, and this was his first speech. 'You should learn not to make personal remarks,' Alice said with some severity; 'it's very rude.' The Hatter opened his eyes very wide on hearing this; but all he said was, 'Why is a raven like a writing-desk?' 'Come, we shall have some fun now!' thought Alice. 'I'm glad they've begun asking riddles.--I believe I can guess that,' she added aloud. 'Do you mean that you think you can find out the answer to it?' said the March Hare. 'Exactly so,' said Alice. 'Then you should say what you mean,' the March Hare went on. 'I do,' Alice hastily replied; 'at least--at least I mean what I say--that's the same thing, you know.' 'Not the same thing a bit!' said
Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #1))
After that, Lily was recuperating and then
dealing with significant financial hardships. The
birth was described to me by Lily and also by
her obstetrician, who I spoke to myself yesterday.
The doctor, in his own words, remembers what
he describes as that ‘hideous day’ like it was yesterday.
The labour, intense and excruciating, lasted
for days. In the end, in extreme distress at
the length of the labour, the baby nearly died.
Lily did die. She was flatline for two minutes and
Alistair didn’t get the opportunity to finish his
grand statement because Nate surged out of his
chair so fast, it flew on its wheels and shot across
the room, slamming into the wall.
“Mr. McAllister…” Alistair said warningly
but Nate was coming swiftly around the table,
coming at her.
At this sight, Lily, too, jumped out of her chair
in a panic, her numbness not that complete, and
backed away in self-defence as Nate came at her,
came at her with purposeful, long strides. She
backed up jerkily, one hand behind her, one hand
in front, retreating until she hit the wall. Before
she knew what he was about, his hard chest came
up against her hand, pushing it back and his body
pressed against hers.
Terrified and confused at this sudden change,
she looked to the right and to the left, anywhere
for escape, anywhere but at Nate.
And to her shock, his hands caught her face,
resting one on either side, gently trying to force
her to look into his impossibly dark eyes.
“I didn’t know,” he whispered and the absolute
ache dripping from his first words said to her
since she found out he was alive cut through her
thin shield of numbness like a razor.
She attempted to pull her face free but his
“Lily, I didn’t know,” he repeated, and she
caught his eyes and they were glittering dark with
something that she couldn’t read, something
hideously painful and she had to get away from
it. Was desperate to get away from it. She needed
She tried to look over his shoulder but he was
too tall, too close. Things were happening in the
room, there was urgent talk, maybe even a tussle.
But all she could see was Nate.
Kristen Ashley (Three Wishes)
Get the hell out of—” Aelin let out a low whistle. “Allow me to introduce to you, Captain Rolfe, the incomparable, the beautiful, and the absolutely and all-around flawless Queen of Terrasen.” Dorian’s brows creased. But footsteps sounded, and then—The males shifted as Aelin Galathynius indeed strode into the room, clad in a dark green tunic of equal wear and dirt, her golden hair unbound, her turquoise-and-gold eyes laughing as she strode past a slack-jawed Rolfe and perched on the arm of Aelin’s chair. Dorian couldn’t tell—without a Fae’s sense of smell, he couldn’t tell. “What—what devilry is this,” Rolfe hissed, yielding a single step. Aelin and Aelin looked at each other. The one in black grinned up at the newcomer. “Oh, you are gorgeous, aren’t you?” The one in green smiled, but for all its delight, all its wicked mischief … It was a softer smile, made with a mouth that was perhaps less used to snarling and teeth-baring and getting away with saying hideous, swaggering things. Lysandra, then. The two queens faced Rolfe. “Aelin Galathynius had no twin,” he growled, a hand on his sword. Aelin in black—the true Aelin, who had been among them all along—rolled her eyes. “Ugh, Rolfe. You ruin my fun. Of course I don’t have a twin.” She jerked her chin at Lysandra, and the shifter’s flesh glowed and melted, hair becoming a heavy, straight fall of dark tresses, her skin sun-kissed, her uptilted eyes a striking green.
Sarah J. Maas (Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5))
The answer to that question is…I won’t. You belong with me. Which leads me to the discussion I wanted to have with you.”
“Where I belong is for me to decide, and though I may listen to what you have to say, that doesn’t mean I will agree with you.”
“Fair enough.” Ren pushed his empty plate to the side. “We have some unfinished business to take care of.”
“If you mean the other tasks we have to do, I’m already aware of that.”
“I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about us.”
“What about us?” I put my hands under the table and wiped my clammy palms on my napkin.
“I think there are a few things we’ve left unsaid, and I think it’s time we said them.”
“I’m not withholding anything from you, if that’s what you mean.”
“No. I’m not.”
“Are you refusing to acknowledge what has happened between us?”
“I’m not refusing anything. Don’t try to put words in my mouth.”
“I’m not. I’m simply trying to convince a stubborn woman to admit that she has feelings for me.”
“If I did have feelings for you, you’d be the first one to know.”
“Are you saying that you don’t feel anything for me?”
“That’s not what I’m saying.”
“Then what are you saying?”
“I’m saying…nothing!” I spluttered.
Ren smiled and narrowed his eyes at me.
If he kept up this line of questioning, he was bound to catch me in a lie. I’m not a very good liar.
He sat back in his chair. “Fine. I’ll let you off the hook for now, but we will talk about this later. Tigers are relentless once they set their minds to something. You don’t be able to evade me forever.”
Casually, I replied, “Don’t get your hopes up, Mr. Wonderful. Every hero has his Kryptonite, and you don’t intimidate me.” I twisted my napkin in my lap while he tracked my every move with his probing eyes. I felt stripped down, as if he could see into the very heart of me.
When the waitress came back, Ren smiled at her as she offered a smaller menu, probably featuring desserts. She leaned over him while I tapped my strappy shoe in frustration. He listened attentively to her. Then, the two of them laughed again.
He spoke quietly, gesturing to me, and she looked my way, giggled, and then cleared all the plates quickly. He pulled out a wallet and handed her a credit card. She put her hand on his arm to ask him another question, and I couldn’t help myself. I kicked him under the table. He didn’t even blink or look at me. He just reached his arm across the table, took my hand in his, and rubbed the back of it absentmindedly with his thumb as he answered her question. It was like my kick was a love tap to him. It only made him happier.
When she left, I narrowed my eyes at him and asked, “How did you get that card, and what were you saying to her about me?”
“Mr. Kadam gave me the card, and I told her that we would be having our dessert…later.”
I laughed facetiously. “You mean you will be having dessert later by yourself this evening because I am done eating with you.”
He leaned across the candlelit table and said, “Who said anything about eating, Kelsey?”
He must be joking! But he looked completely serious. Great! There go the nervous butterflies again.
“Stop looking at me like that.”
“Like you’re hunting me. I’m not an antelope.”
He laughed. “Ah, but the chase would be exquisite, and you would be a most succulent catch.”
“Am I making you nervous?”
“You could say that.”
I stood up abruptly as he was signing the receipt and made my way toward the door. He was next to me in an instant. He leaned over.
“I’m not letting you escape, remember? Now, behave like a good date and let me walk you home. It’s the least you could do since you wouldn’t talk with me.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
There was no way that these guys were going to let a bleeding, barefoot woman simply wander off alone into the streets. Two of them were already running toward her with hands reaching out in a manner that, in normal circumstances, would have seemed just plain ungentlemanly. What would have been designated, in a Western office, as a hostile environment was soon in full swing as numerous rough strong hands were all over her, easing her to a comfortable perch on a chair that was produced as if by magic, feeling through her hair to find bumps and lacerations. Three different first aid kits were broken open at her feet; older and wiser men began to lodge objections at the profligate use of supplies, darkly suggesting that it was all because she was a pretty girl. A particularly dashing young man skidded up to her on his knees (he was wearing hard-shell knee pads) and, in an attitude recalling the prince on the final page of Cinderella, fit a pair of used flip-flops onto her feet.
Neal Stephenson (Reamde)
Harry paused with his fork held in midair, mesmerized by the sight of her slim fingers twirling the honey stick, meticulously filling each hole with thick umber liquid. Realizing that he was staring, Harry took a bite of his breakfast. Poppy replaced the honey stick in a small silver pot. Discovering a stray drop of sweetness on the tip of her thumb, she lifted it to her lips and sucked it clean.
Harry choked a little, reached for his tea, and took a swallow. The beverage scalded his tongue, causing him to flinch and curse.
Poppy gave him an odd look. "Is there anything the matter?"
Nothing. Except that watching his wife eating breakfast was the most erotic act he had ever seen. "Nothing at all," Harry said scratchily. "Tea's hot."
When he dared to look at Poppy again, she was consuming a fresh strawberry, holding it by the green stem. Her lips rounded in a luscious pucker as she bit neatly into the ripe flesh of the fruit. Christ. He moved uncomfortably in his chair, while all the unsatisfied desire of the previous night reawakened with a vengeance. Poppy ate two more strawberries, nibbling slowly, while Harry tried to ignore her. Heat collected beneath his clothing, and he used a napkin to blot his forehead.
Poppy lifted a bite of honey-soaked crumpet to her mouth, and gave him a perplexed glance. "Are you feeling well?"
"It's too warm in here," Harry said irritably, while lurid thoughts went through his mind. Thoughts involving honey, and soft feminine skin, and moist pink-
Lisa Kleypas (Tempt Me at Twilight (The Hathaways, #3))
I stood in the doorway, taking that image in: a Brannick, cooking breakfast for two demons. Who could have imagined that?
Nick saw me and grinned. Well, tried to. Like me-heck, like all of us-he still had that haunted look in his eyes that made friendly expressions seem sad. “’Morning, Sophia. I saved you a slice of bacon. You too, Jenna,” he said, glancing over my shoulder. His eyes flicked to my other side. “Sorry, cuz, you’re out of luck.”
Archer gave a little snort of amusement, but there was still something wary in the set of his shoulders as he moved into the kitchen. He also took the chair farthest away from Nick when he sat down. I wasn’t sure Archer and Nick could ever have anything approaching a normal relationship, but that was probably to be expected. After all, Nick’s parents had murdered Archer’s, and Nick had tried to kill Archer not once, but twice.
That would definitely make for awkward family reunions in the future.
It also didn’t help that the people who Archer considered family were now determined to kill him, too.
Rachel Hawkins (Spell Bound (Hex Hall, #3))
Ren took his time perusing the menu and seemed to be thoroughly enjoying himself. I didn’t even pick my menu up. He shot me meaningful glances while I sat silently, trying to avoid making eye contact. When she came back, she spoke to him briefly and gestured to me.
I smiled, and in a syrupy sweet voice, said, “I’ll have whatever will get me out of here the fastest. Like a salad, maybe.”
Ren smiled benignly back at me and rattled off what sounded like a banquet of choices, which the waitress was more than happy to take her time writing down. She kept touching him and laughing with him too. Which I found very, very annoying.
When she left, he leaned back in his chair and sipped his water.
I broke the silence first and hissed at him quietly, “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but you only have about two minutes left, so I hope you ordered the steak tartar, Tiger.”
He grinned mischievously. “We’ll see, Kells. We’ll see.”
“Fine. No skin off my nose. I can’t wait to see what happens when a white tiger runs through this nice establishment creating mayhem and havoc. Perhaps they will lose one of their stars because they put their patrons in danger. Maybe your new waitress girlfriend will run away screaming.” I smiled at the thought.
Ren affected shock, “Why, Kelsey! Are you jealous?”
I snorted in a very unladylike way. “No! Of course not.”
He grinned. Nervously, I played with my cloth napkin. “I can’t believe you convinced Mr. Kadam to play along with you like this. It’s shocking, really.”
He opened his napkin and winked at the waitress when she came to bring us a basket of rolls.
When she left, I challenged, “Are you winking at her? Unbelievable!”
He laughed quietly and pulled out a steaming roll, buttered it, and put it on my plate. “Eat, Kelsey,” he commanded. Then he sat forward. “Unless you are reconsidering seeing the view from my lap.”
Angrily, I tore apart my roll and swallowed a few pieces before I even noticed how delicious they were-light and flaky with little flecks of orange rind mixed into the dough. I would have eaten another one, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Meanwhile, Mme Mao and her cohorts were renewing their efforts to prevent the country from working. In industry, their slogan was: "To stop production is revolution itself." In agriculture, in which they now began to meddle seriously: "We would rather have socialist weeds than capitalist crops." Acquiring foreign technology became "sniffing after foreigners' farts and calling them sweet." In education: "We want illiterate working people, not educated spiritual aristocrats." They called for schoolchildren to rebel against their teachers again; in January 1974, classroom windows, tables, and chairs in schools in Peking were smashed, as in 1966. Mme Mao claimed this was like "the revolutionary action of English workers destroying machines in the eighteenth century." All this demagoguery' had one purpose: to create trouble for Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiao-ping and generate chaos. It was only in persecuting people and in destruction that Mme Mao and the other luminaries of the Cultural Revolution had a chance to "shine." In construction they had no place.
Zhou and Deng had been making tentative efforts to open the country up, so Mme Mao launched a fresh attack on foreign culture. In early 1974 there was a big media campaign denouncing the Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni for a film he had made about China, although no one in China had seen the film, and few had even heard of it or of Antonioni. This xenophobia was extended to Beethoven after a visit by the Philadelphia Orchestra.
In the two years since the fall of Lin Biao, my mood had changed from hope to despair and fury. The only source of comfort was that there was a fight going on at all, and that the lunacy was not reigning supreme, as it had in the earlier years of the Cultural Revolution. During this period, Mao was not giving his full backing to either side.
He hated the efforts of Zhou and Deng to reverse the Cultural Revolution, but he knew that his wife and her acolytes could not make the country work.
Mao let Zhou carry on with the administration of the country, but set his wife upon Zhou, particularly in a new campaign to 'criticize Confucius." The slogans ostensibly denounced Lin Biao, but were really aimed at Zhou, who, it was widely held, epitomized the virtues advocated by the ancient sage. Even though Zhou had been unwaveringly loyal, Mao still could not leave him alone. Not even now, when Zhou was fatally ill with advanced cancer of the bladder.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
I'm sorry, I don't understand. Could you tell me more about this 'profanity'?"
Mrs. Miller nodded at my dictionary. "I'll assume you don't need a definition. Perhaps you'd prefer an example?"
"That would be so helpful, thank you very much."
Without missing a beat, Mrs. Miller rattled off a stream of obscenities so fully and completely unexpected that I fell off my chair. Mothers were defiled, their male and female children, as well as any and all offspring who just happened to be born out of wedlock. AS for the sacred union that produced these innocent babes, the pertinent bodily appendages were catalogued by a list of names so profoundly scurrilous that a grizzled marine, conceived in a brothel and dying of a disease he contracted in one, would've wished he'd been born as smooth as a Ken doll. The act itself was invoked with such a verity of incestuous, scatological, bestial, and just plain bizarre variations that that same marine would've given up on the Ken doll fantasy, and wished instead that all life had been confined to a single-cell stage, forever free of taint of mitosis, let alone procreation.
Somewhere during the course of all this I noticed I'd snapped my pencil in half, and now I used the two ends to gouge out my brain.
"Guhhhhhh guhhhhh guhhhhhh guhhhhh guhhhhh," I said, by which I meant: "You have shattered whatever tattered remnants of pedagogical propriety I still possessed, and my tender young mind has broken beneath the strain." Nervously, I climbed back into my chair, the two halves of my pencil sticking out of ears like an arrow that had shot clean through my head.
Mrs. Miller allowed herself a small self-congratulatory smile.
Dale Peck (Sprout)
The summer our marriage failed
we picked sage to sweeten our hot dark car.
We sat in the yard with heavy glasses of iced tea,
talking about which seeds to sow
when the soil was cool. Praising our large, smooth spinach
leaves, free this year of Fusarium wilt,
downy mildew, blue mold. And then we spoke of flowers,
and there was a joke, you said, about old florists
who were forced to make other arrangements.
Delphiniums flared along the back fence.
All summer it hurt to look at you.
I heard a woman on the bus say, “He and I were going
in different directions.” As if it had something to do
with a latitude or a pole. Trying to write down
how love empties itself from a house, how a view
changes, how the sign for infinity turns into a noose
for a couple. Trying to say that weather weighed
down all the streets we traveled on, that if gravel sinks,
it keeps sinking. How can I blame you who kneeled day
after day in wet soil, pulling slugs from the seedlings?
You who built a ten-foot arch for the beans, who hated
a bird feeder left unfilled. You who gave
carrots to a gang of girls on bicycles.
On our last trip we drove through rain
to a town lit with vacancies.
We’d come to watch whales. At the dock we met
five other couples—all of us fluorescent,
waterproof, ready for the pitch and frequency
of the motor that would lure these great mammals
near. The boat chugged forward—trailing a long,
creamy wake. The captain spoke from a loudspeaker:
In winter gray whales love Laguna Guerrero; it’s warm
and calm, no killer whales gulp down their calves.
Today we’ll see them on their way to Alaska. If we
get close enough, observe their eyes—they’re bigger
than baseballs, but can only look down. Whales can
communicate at a distance of 300 miles—but it’s
my guess they’re all saying, Can you hear me?
His laughter crackled. When he told us Pink Floyd is slang
for a whale’s two-foot penis, I stopped listening.
The boat rocked, and for two hours our eyes
were lost in the waves—but no whales surfaced, blowing
or breaching or expelling water through baleen plates.
Again and again you patiently wiped the spray
from your glasses. We smiled to each other, good
troopers used to disappointment. On the way back
you pointed at cormorants riding the waves—
you knew them by name: the Brants, the Pelagic,
the double-breasted. I only said, I’m sure
whales were swimming under us by the dozens.
Trying to write that I loved the work of an argument,
the exhaustion of forgiving, the next morning,
washing our handprints off the wineglasses. How I loved
sitting with our friends under the plum trees,
in the white wire chairs, at the glass table. How you
stood by the grill, delicately broiling the fish. How
the dill grew tall by the window. Trying to explain
how camellias spoil and bloom at the same time,
how their perfume makes lovers ache. Trying
to describe the ways sex darkens
and dies, how two bodies can lie
together, entwined, out of habit.
Finding themselves later, tired, by a fire,
on an old couch that no longer reassures.
The night we eloped we drove to the rainforest
and found ourselves in fog so thick
our lights were useless. There’s no choice,
you said, we must have faith in our blindness.
How I believed you. Trying to imagine
the road beneath us, we inched forward,
honking, gently, again and again.
Charley looked over at him. "About how much you and Jesse have in common."
Jesse said, "Why don't you tell it, Bob; if you remember."
Bob inched forward in his chair. "Well, if you'll pardon my saying so, it is interesting, the many ways you and I overlap and whatnot. You begin with my daddy, J.T. Ford. J stands for James! And T is Thomas, meaning 'twin.' Your daddy was a pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church; my daddy was part-time pastor of a church at Excelsior Springs. You're the youngest of the three James boys; I'm the youngest of the five Ford boys. You had twins as sons, I had twins as sisters. Frank is four and a half years older than you, which incidentally is the difference between Charley and me, the two outlaws in the Ford clan. Between us is another brother, Wilbur here (with six letters in his name); between Frank and you was a brother, Robert, also with six letters. Robert died in infancy, as most everyone knows, and he was named after your father, Robert, who was remembered by your brother's first-born, another Robert. Robert, of course, is my Christian name. My uncle, Robert Austin Ford, has a son named Jesse James Ford. You have blue eyes; I have blue eyes. You're five feet eight inches tall; I'm five feet eight inches tall. We're both hot-tempered and impulsive and devil-may-care. Smith and Wesson is our preferred make of revolver. There's the same number of letters and syllables in our names; I mean, Jesse James and Robert Ford. Oh me, I must've had a list as long as your nightshirt when I was twelve, but I lost some curiosities over the years.
Ron Hansen (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford)
You’d better marry her before she reaches eighteen and the spell wears off,” I said.
“Yes. The one that’s hiding her fangs and pincers from plain sight.”
“I don’t find them especially hidden,” he said mildly.
“Then perhaps you’re a pair.”
His brows lifted. “Now, that’s the cruelest thing you’ve said so far.”
Mrs. Fredericks cleared off, and Chloe took her place before the piano. A beam of sunlight was just beginning its slide into the chamber, capturing her in light. She was a glowing girl with a glowing face, and Joplin at her fingertips.
“Give me time,” I muttered, dropping my gaze to my plate. “I’ll come up with something worse.”
“No doubt.” Armand pulled a flask from his jacket and shook it in front of my nose. “Whiskey. Conveniently the same color as tea. Are you game, waif?” I glanced around, but no one was looking. I lifted my cup, drained it to the dregs, and set it before him.
He was right. It did look like tea. But it tasted like vile burning fire, all the way down my throat.
“Sip it,” he hissed, as I began to cough. His voice lifted over my sputtering. “Dear me, Miss Jones, I do beg your pardon. The tea’s rather hot; I should have mentioned it.”
“Quite all right,” I gasped, as the whiskey swirled an evil amber in my teacup.
Chloe’s song grew bouncier, with lyrics about a girl with strawberries in a wagon. Several of the men had begun to cluster near, drawn to her soprano or perchance her bosom. Two were vying to turn the pages of her music. She had to crane her head to keep Armand in view.
He sent her another smile from his chair, lifting his cup in salute.
“I’m going to kiss you, Eleanore,” he said quietly, still looking at her. “Not now. Later.” His eyes cut back to mine. “I thought it fair to tell you first.”
I stilled. “If you think you can do so without me biting your lip, feel free to try.”
His gaze shone wicked blue. “I don’t mind if you bite.”
“Biting your lip off, I should have said.”
“Ah. Let’s see how it goes, shall we?
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
Oh," he said again and picked up two petals of cherry blossom which he folded together like a sandwich and ate slowly. "Supposing," he said, staring past her at the wall of the house, "you saw a little man, about as tall as a pencil, with a blue patch in his trousers, halfway up a window curtain, carrying a doll's tea cup-would you say it was a fairy?"
"No," said Arrietty, "I'd say it was my father."
"Oh," said the boy, thinking this out, "does your father have a blue patch on his trousers?"
"Not on his best trousers. He does on his borrowing ones."
'Oh," said the boy again. He seemed to find it a safe sound, as lawyers do. "Are there many people like you?"
"No," said Arrietty. "None. We're all different."
"I mean as small as you?"
Arrietty laughed. "Oh, don't be silly!" she said. "Surely you don't think there are many people in the world your size?"
"There are more my size than yours," he retorted.
"Honestly-" began Arrietty helplessly and laughed again. "Do you really think-I mean, whatever sort of a world would it be? Those great chairs . . . I've seen them. Fancy if you had to make chairs that size for everyone? And the stuff for their clothes . . . miles and miles of it . . . tents of it ... and the sewing! And their great houses, reaching up so you can hardly see the ceilings . . . their great beds ... the food they eat ... great, smoking mountains of it, huge bogs of stew and soup and stuff."
"Don't you eat soup?" asked the boy.
"Of course we do," laughed Arrietty. "My father had an uncle who had a little boat which he rowed round in the stock-pot picking up flotsam and jetsam. He did bottom-fishing too for bits of marrow until the cook got suspicious through finding bent pins in the soup. Once he was nearly shipwrecked on a chunk of submerged shinbone. He lost his oars and the boat sprang a leak but he flung a line over the pot handle and pulled himself alongside the rim. But all that stock-fathoms of it! And the size of the stockpot! I mean, there wouldn't be enough stuff in the world to go round after a bit! That's why my father says it's a good thing they're dying out . . . just a few, my father says, that's all we need-to keep us. Otherwise, he says, the whole thing gets"-Arrietty hesitated, trying to remember the word-"exaggerated, he says-"
"What do you mean," asked the boy, " 'to keep us'?
Mary Norton (The Borrowers (The Borrowers, #1))
Smiling, Simon stared into the depths of his brandy.
“What a difficult evening you’ve had,” he heard Westcliff remark sardonically. “First you were compelled to carry Miss Peyton’s nubile young body all the way to her bedroom …then you had to examine her injured leg. How terribly inconvenient for you.”
Simon’s smile faded. “I didn’t say that I had examined her leg.”
The earl regarded him shrewdly. “You didn’t have to. I know you too well to presume that you would overlook such an opportunity.”
“I’ll admit that I looked at her ankle. And I also cut her corset strings when it became apparent that she couldn’t breathe.” Simon’s gaze dared the earl to object.
“Helpful lad,” Westcliff murmured.
Simon scowled. “Difficult as it may be for you to believe, I receive no lascivious pleasure from the sight of a woman in pain.”
Leaning back in his chair, Westcliff regarded him with a cool speculation that raised Simon’s hackles. “I hope you’re not fool enough to fall in love with such a creature. You know my opinion of Miss Peyton—”
“Yes, you’ve aired it repeatedly.”
“And furthermore,” the earl continued, “I would hate to see one of the few men of good sense I know to turn into one of those prattling fools who run about pollenating the atmosphere with maudlin sentiment—”
“I’m not in love.”
“You’re in something,” Westcliff insisted. “In all the years I’ve known you, I’ve never seen you look so mawkish as you did outside her bedroom door.”
“I was displaying simple compassion for a fellow human being.”
The earl snorted. “Whose drawers you’re itching to get into.”
The blunt accuracy of the observation caused Simon to smile reluctantly. “It was an itch two years ago,” he admitted. “Now it’s a full-scale pandemic.
Lisa Kleypas (Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1))
Expanding further on his own observations of Prince’s writing style(s) during the course of the album’s recording, fellow Paisley Park engineer Eddie Miller, who engineered the recording of ‘Electric Chair’ among other Prince recordings during the Batman era, recalled that “he would write all sorts of ways. I have to admit that I listened to some of his cassette demos that he would sometimes bring into the studio to reference (as I remember, he would hold the cassette player up to his ear, so you couldn’t really hear it.). They were fascinating. His cassette demo technique was extremely crude but ingenious—it’s like something you’d do if you had no access to any equipment. He’d use two cheap cassette recorders. If he wanted to hear drums, he’d record a human beat box rhythm for the length of the song—and most likely, he’d have the form of the song in his head while he was recording this. By the way, it was the same in the studio when he’d do his one man band approach to recording a song. He’d know the song in his head, and start out recording the drums for the song (it would essentially become the ‘click track’—the way a click track should be). Back to the cassette demo—he’d then play his beat box groove over the speaker on the cassette recorder and sing the bass line while recording all this onto the second cassette machine. He’d build up a rhythm track this way, and then add vocals. And there’s your demo.
Jake Brown (Prince 'in the Studio' 1975 - 1995)
Working simultaneously, though seemingly without a conscience, was Dr. Ewen Cameron, whose base was a laboratory in Canada's McGill University, in Montreal. Since his death in 1967, the history of his work for both himself and the CIA has become known. He was interested in 'terminal' experiments and regularly received relatively small stipends (never more than $20,000) from the American CIA order to conduct his work. He explored electroshock in ways that offered such high risk of permanent brain damage that other researchers would not try them. He immersed subjects in sensory deprivation tanks for weeks at a time, though often claiming that they were immersed for only a matter of hours. He seemed to fancy himself a pure scientist, a man who would do anything to learn the outcome. The fact that some people died as a result of his research, while others went insane and still others, including the wife of a member of Canada's Parliament, had psychological problems for many years afterwards, was not a concern to the doctor or those who employed him. What mattered was that by the time Cheryl and Lynn Hersha were placed in the programme, the intelligence community had learned how to use electroshock techniques to control the mind. And so, like her sister, Lynn was strapped to a chair and wired for electric shock. The experience was different for Lynn, though the sexual component remained present to lesser degree...
Cheryl Hersha (Secret Weapons: How Two Sisters Were Brainwashed To Kill For Their Country)
Do I get to choose
what she commands you to do? Come on, let me, it’ll be fun.”
Jai laughed humorlessly. “I said I don’t want her commanding me to do something asinine, kid.”
Charlie’s grin disappeared as quickly as it had surfaced. “I told you not to call me, kid, Jinn boy. I’m what… two years younger than you,
“Try five. And that’s only in physical years.”
“What, you trying to say I’m not mature?”
“Oh those socks you’re wearing definitely are. Have you heard of detergent? A shower? Hygiene?”
“I shower, you militant, glorified fucking babysitter.”
“Watch it, kid.”
“Kid? I am this close to taking a swing at you, you overblown piece of-”
“Oh for the love of God!” Ari cried, throwing her hands up, her head pounding. So much for their strained peace treaty. “Shut up. Shut up. Shut
up!”Despite their matching glowers, both of them slammed their lips closed and glared at one another. Ari heaved a sigh of relief as she pulled a
chilled can of soda out of the refrigerator. At least the soda still felt nice sliding down her throat. Not the same as an ice cold Coke on a blazing
summer day but still nice. She took a refreshing swig and turned towards her male companions once again. Blasts of frost shot out from Jai’s eyes
only to be met by the simmering black heat of Charlie’s angry gaze. Rolling her eyes and biting back the guilt that she was somehow responsible
for the animosity between the only two people she could count on right now, Ari spilled into the chair between them and Jai slowly sunk back down
“So what will I command you?” she asked quietly, ignoring the way her fingers trembled as she played with the tab on her soda can.
When she got no answer, she glanced up to see Jai’s face going red, the veins in his head throbbing.
“Dude, what’s wrong?” Charlie asked quietly, looking at Ari in alarm. “Is he choking?”
Ari’s heart flipped in her chest at the thought and she reached across the table to grab his arm. “Jai?”
His eyes widened and he waved a large hand at his throat and mouth and then pointed at her.
What the hell?!
“Jesus Christ, he can’t talk?” Charlie asked incredulously. “Is this a joke?
Samantha Young (Smokeless Fire (Fire Spirits, #1))
Of course, I don’t remember any of this time. It is absolutely impossible to identify with the infant my parents photographed, indeed so impossible that it seems wrong to use the word “me” to describe what is lying on the changing table, for example, with unusually red skin, arms and legs spread, and a face distorted into a scream, the cause of which no one can remember, or on a sheepskin rug on the floor, wearing white pajamas, still red-faced, with large, dark eyes squinting slightly. Is this creature the same person as the one sitting here in Malmö writing? And will the forty-year-old creature who is sitting in Malmö writing this one overcast September day in a room filled with the drone of the traffic outside and the autumn wind howling through the old-fashioned ventilation system be the same as the gray, hunched geriatric who in forty years from now might be sitting dribbling and trembling in an old people’s home somewhere in the Swedish woods? Not to mention the corpse that at some point will be laid out on a bench in a morgue? Still known as Karl Ove. And isn’t it actually unbelievable that one simple name encompasses all of this? The fetus in the belly, the infant on the changing table, the forty-year-old in front of the computer, the old man in the chair, the corpse on the bench? Wouldn’t it be more natural to operate with several names since their identities and self-perceptions are so very different? Such that the fetus might be called Jens Ove, for example, and the infant Nils Ove, and the five- to ten-year-old Per Ove, the ten- to twelve-year-old Geir Ove, the twelve- to seventeen-year-old Kurt Ove, the seventeen- to twenty-three-year-old John Ove, the twenty-three- to thirty-two-year-old Tor Ove, the thirty-two- to forty-six-year-old Karl Ove — and so on and so forth? Then the first name would represent the distinctiveness of the age range, the middle name would represent continuity, and the last, family affiliation.
Karl Ove Knausgård (Min kamp 3 (Min kamp #3))
Honey’s Cottage Miss Honey joined Matilda outside the school gates and the two of them walked in silence through the village High Street. They passed the greengrocer with his window full of apples and oranges, and the butcher with bloody lumps of meat on display and naked chickens hanging up, and the small bank, and the grocery store and the electrical shop, and then they came out at the other side of the village on to the narrow country road where there were no people any more and very few motor-cars. And now that they were alone, Matilda all of a sudden became wildly animated. It seemed as though a valve had burst inside her and a great gush of energy was being released. She trotted beside Miss Honey with wild little hops and her fingers flew as if she would scatter them to the four winds and her words went off like fireworks, with terrific speed. It was Miss Honey this and Miss Honey that and Miss Honey I do honestly feel I could move almost anything in the world, not just tipping over glasses and little things like that . . . I feel I could topple tables and chairs, Miss Honey . . . Even when people are sitting in the chairs I think I could push them over, and bigger things too, much bigger things than chairs and tables . . . I only have to take a moment to get my eyes strong and then I can push it out, this strongness, at anything at all so long as I am staring at it hard enough . . . I have to stare at it very hard, Miss Honey, very very hard, and then I can feel it all happening behind my eyes, and my eyes get hot just as though they were burning but I don’t mind that in the least, and Miss Honey . . .
Roald Dahl (Matilda)
You took it with good grace when you could have sliced him to ribbons with a few words."
"I was tempted," she admitted. "But I couldn't help remembering something Mother once said."
It had been on a long-ago morning in her childhood, when she and Gabriel had still needed books stacked on their chairs whenever they sat at the breakfast table. Their father had been reading a freshly ironed newspaper, while their mother, Evangeline, or Evie, as family and friends called her, fed spoonfuls of sweetened porridge to baby Raphael in his high chair.
After Phoebe had recounted some injustice done to her by a playmate, saying she wouldn't accept the girl's apology, her mother had persuaded her to reconsider for the sake of kindness.
"But she's a bad, selfish girl," Phoebe had said indignantly.
Evie's reply was gentle but matter-of-fact. "Kindness counts the most when it's given to people who don't deserve it."
"Does Gabriel have to be kind to everyone too?" Phoebe had demanded.
"No, Redbird," her father had replied, his mouth twitching at the corners. "That's why I married your mother- she's kind enough for two people."
"Mother," Gabriel had asked hopefully, "could you be kind enough for three people?"
At that, their father had taken a sudden intense interest in his newspaper, lifting it in front of his face. A quiet wheeze emerged from behind it.
"I'm afraid not, dear," Evie had said gently, her eyes sparkling. "But I'm sure you and your sister can find a great deal of kindness in your own hearts."
Returning her thoughts to the present, Phoebe said, "Mother told us to be kind even to people who don't deserve it.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil's Daughter (The Ravenels, #5))
When Elizabeth finally descended the stairs on her way to the dining room she was two hours late. Deliberately.
“Good heavens, you’re tardy, my dear!” Sir Francis said, shoving back his chair and rushing to the doorway where Elizabeth had been standing, trying to gather her courage to do what needed to be done. “Come and meet my guests,” he said, drawing her forward after a swift, disappointed look at her drab attire and severe coiffure. “We did as you suggested in your note and went ahead with supper. What kept you abovestairs so long?”
“I was at prayer,” Elizabeth said, managing to look him straight in the eye.
Sir Francis recovered from his surprise in time to introduce her to the three other people at the table-two men who resembled him in age and features and two women of perhaps five and thirty who were both attired in the most shockingly revealing gowns Elizabeth had ever seen.
Elizabeth accepted a helping of cold meat to silence her protesting stomach while both women studied her with unhidden scorn. “That is a most unusual ensemble you’re wearing, I must say,” remarked the woman named Eloise. “Is it the custom where you come from to dress so…simply?”
Elizabeth took a dainty bite of meat. “Not really. I disapprove of too much personal adornment.” She turned to Sir Francis with an innocent stare. “Gowns are expensive. I consider them a great waste of money.”
Sir Francis was suddenly inclined to agree, particularly since he intended to keep her naked as much as possible. “Quite right!” he beamed, eyeing the other ladies with pointed disapproval. “No sense in spending all that money on gowns. No point in spending money at all.”
“My sentiments exactly,” Elizabeth said, nodding. “I prefer to give every shilling I can find to charity instead.”
“Give it away?” he said in a muted roar, half rising out of his chair. Then he forced himself to sit back down and reconsider the wisdom of wedding her. She was lovely-her face more mature then he remembered it, but not even the black veil and scraped-back hair could detract from the beauty of her emerald-green eyes with their long, sooty lashes. Her eyes had dark circles beneath them-shadows he didn’t recall seeing there earlier in the day. He put the shadows down to her far-too-serious nature. Her dowry was creditable, and her body beneath that shapeless black gown…he wished he could see her shape. Perhaps it, too, had changed, and not for the better, in the past few years.
“I had hoped, my dear,” Sir Francis said, covering her hand with his and squeezing it affectionately, “that you might wear something else down to supper, as I suggested you should.”
Elizabeth gave him an innocent stare. “This is all I brought.”
“All you brought?” he uttered. “B-But I definitely saw my footmen carrying several trunks upstairs.”
“They belong to my aunt-only one of them is mine,” she fabricated hastily, already anticipating his next question and thinking madly for some satisfactory answer.
“Really?” He continued to eye her gown with great dissatisfaction, and then he asked exactly the question she’d expected: “What, may I ask, does your one truck contain if not gowns?”
Inspiration struck, and Elizabeth smiled radiantly. “Something of great value. Priceless value,” she confided.
All faces at the table watched her with alert fascination-particularly the greedy Sir Francis. “Well, don’t keep us in suspense, love. What’s in it?”
“The mortal remains of Saint Jacob.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
I believe I will sit,but not on this chair. The settee is the most welcoming piece in the room,especially with you sitting on it."
He sat,his hip brushing hers.
She scrambled to move to one side, but he'd deliberately sat on the edge of her skirt.
Her gaze narrowed, and she said stiffly, "I beg your pardon,but you are sitting on my skirt."
Dougal smiled and leaned back, resting his arms along the back of the settee so that she was closed in by him. He found himself charmed by the thought.
"Lord MacLean, I have asked you kindly to remove yourself from my skirt. Please do so, or I will be forced to take more drastic measures."
"Calling for Angus," she said flatly. "In case you didn't notice, my butler is larger than the average servant. He could easily pick you up and break you in two."
Dougal quirked a brow. "While that behemoth you call a butler could easily pick me up, he'd have to get close to me first."
She smiled smugly, setting Dougal's pride on edge. "I wouldn't try him; he's faster than he looks." She cast a glancedown at Dougal's boot. "Plus, you'd have to race through the barnyard, which could prove fatal to your shine."
Damn this woman! She taunted with every phrase, teased with every look. He shifted so that his hip was even more firmly pressed to hers.
Karen Hawkins (To Catch a Highlander (MacLean Curse, #3))
Sile looked momentarily stymied, then shook his head sharply. "You won't go alone."
"I can't ask anyone--"
"You aren't asking," Sile said firmly. "I'm insisting--"
"Grandfather, nay," Runach said, stunned. "I couldn't allow it."
"Allow it?" Sile repeated, looking as if the gale were readying for another good blow. "Who do you think you are, whelp, to tell me what to do?"
"I believe, your Majesty," Aisling said quietly, "he's someone who loves you..."
Runach didn't dare smile, because his grandfather would have made the effort to get up out of his chair so he could deliver a brisk blow to the back of a grandson's head, of that he was certain.
"Besides, I'm going to go along to keep him safe."
Sile closed his eyes briefly before he leaned forward and looked at Aisling seriously. "You, my gel?"
"Me, Your Majesty."
Runach watched his grandfather look at his wife in consternation.
"Are you listening to this?" he asked in disbelief. "She isn't even spawn of mine, and yet she exhibits this unsettling 'independence'."
"I find it quite admirable, husband."
Runach pushed away from the wall and walked over to squat down by Aisling's chair. He looked up at her.
"I want you to stay here."
She looked at him for a moment or two, then reached out and touched his scarred cheek. "This is my quest, and I must see it through to the end, wherever that end might lie."
"I'll think about it," he said, and by that he meant not a chance in hell. He rose and glanced at his grandfather.
"I appreciate your concern, but I'm going alone."
Sile rubbed his hands over his face. "Breagha?"
"Aye, my love?"
"When did I lose control over my progeny?"
"Several centuries ago, I believe, dear."
"It seems more recent than that."
"I don't think so, darling.
Lynn Kurland (River of Dreams (Nine Kingdoms, #8))
Rig looked over at Dick for a long minute and then shook his head and sighed, pushing the cake away. "I can't do this. Dick was right. I'm tearing us all apart and I hoped that... I wanted you two to be happy enough together that I wouldn't. All I could think in that ambulance was that I was losing you and it happened anyway. I'm sorry."
"No!" Dick shook his head and took Rigger's hand. "You only lose us if you keep pushing us away."
Rock didn't know what to say, he just knew he was more scared now than he had been when Julie had first called that night so many months ago now. He took Rigger's other hand and squeezed. "I'm a stubborn son of a bitch, Rig. I'm not going anywhere."
"I don't know if I can stay, Blue." Grey eyes landed on him, filled with tears. "I'm lost and can't seem to figure my way home." Rig's hand was trembling, holding him tight.
Rock thought it probably would have hurt less if Rigger had picked up the knife and stabbed him with it.
He slid from his chair and pulled Rig's so he could kneel between his lover's legs. His hands found their way into Rigger's shorn hair. "I will do anything, Rabbit. Anything. But I can't let you go. P-please don't ask me to let you go." His voice broke and he laid his head down against Rigger's belly, arms wrapping around the too-thin waist.
Sean Michael (Tempering (Jarheads, #4))
Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing attaches a form to a file. Ann Williams turns a page. Anand Singh turns two pages at once by mistake and turns one back which makes a slightly different sound. David Cusk turns a page. Sandra Pounder turns a page. Robert Atkins turns two separate pages of two separate files at the same time. Ken Wax turns a page. Lane Dean Jr. turns a page. Olive Borden turns a page. Chris Acquistipace turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Rosellen Brown turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. R. Jarvis Brown turns a page. Ann Williams sniffs slightly and turns a page. Meredith Rand does something to a cuticle. ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Howard Cardwell turns a page. Kenneth ‘Type of Thing’ Hindle detaches a Memo 402-C(1) from a file. ‘Second-Knuckle’ Bob McKenzie looks up briefly while turning a page. David Cusk turns a page. A yawn proceeds across one Chalk’s row by unconscious influence. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Rotes Group Room 2 hushed and brightly lit, half a football field in length. Howard Cardwell shifts slightly in his chair and turns a page. Lane Dean Jr. traces his jaw’s outline with his ring finger. Ed Shackleford turns a page. Elpidia Carter turns a page. Ken Wax attaches a Memo 20 to a file. Anand Singh turns a page. Jay Landauer and Ann Williams turn a page almost precisely in sync although they are in different rows and cannot see each other. Boris Kratz bobs with a slight Hassidic motion as he crosschecks a page with a column of figures. Ken Wax turns a page. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page. Ambient room temperature 80° F. Sandra Pounder makes a minute adjustment to a file so that the page she is looking at is at a slightly different angle to her. ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Each Tingle’s two-tiered hemisphere of boxes. ‘Groovy’ Bruce Channing turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Six wigglers per Chalk, four Chalks per Team, six Teams per group. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Olive Borden turns a page. Plus administration and support. Bob McKenzie turns a page. Anand Singh turns a page and then almost instantly turns another page. Ken Wax turns a page. Chris ‘The Maestro’ Acquistipace turns a page. David Cusk turns a page. Harriet Candelaria turns a page. Boris Kratz turns a page. Robert Atkins turns two separate pages. Anand Singh turns a page. R. Jarvis Brown uncrosses his legs and turns a page. Latrice Theakston turns a page. The slow squeak of the cart boy’s cart at the back of the room. Ken Wax places a file on top of the stack in the Cart-Out box to his upper right. Jay Landauer turns a page. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page and then folds over the page of a computer printout that’s lined up next to the original file he just turned a page of. Ken Wax turns a page. Bob Mc-Kenzie turns a page. Ellis Ross turns a page. Joe ‘The Bastard’ Biron-Maint turns a page. Ed Shackleford opens a drawer and takes a moment to select just the right paperclip. Olive Borden turns a page. Sandra Pounder turns a page. Matt Redgate turns a page and then almost instantly turns another page. Latrice Theakston turns a page. Paul Howe turns a page and then sniffs circumspectly at the green rubber sock on his pinkie’s tip. Olive Borden turns a page. Rosellen Brown turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page. Devils are actually angels. Elpidia Carter and Harriet Candelaria reach up to their Cart-In boxes at exactly the same time. R. Jarvis Brown turns a page. Ryne Hobratschk turns a page. ‘Type of Thing’ Ken Hindle looks up a routing code. Some with their chin in their hand. Robert Atkins turns a page even as he’s crosschecking something on that page. Ann Williams turns a page. Ed Shackleford searches a file for a supporting document. Joe Biron-Maint turns a page. Ken Wax turns a page.
David Foster Wallace (The Pale King)
Everyone's here except for St. Clair." Meredith cranes her neck around the cafeteria. "He's usually running late."
"Always," Josh corrects. "Always running late."
I clear my throat. "I think I met him last night. In the hallway."
"Good hair and an English accent?" Meredith asks.
"Um.Yeah.I guess." I try to keep my voice casual.
Josh smirks. "Everyone's in luuurve with St. Clair."
"Oh,shut up," Meredith says.
"I'm not." Rashmi looks at me for the first time, calculating whether or not I might fall in love with her own boyfriend.
He lets go of her hand and gives an exaggerated sigh. "Well,I am. I'm asking him to prom. This is our year, I just know it."
"This school has a prom?" I ask.
"God no," Rashmi says. "Yeah,Josh. You and St. Clair would look really cute in matching tuxes."
"Tails." The English accent makes Meredith and me jump in our seats. Hallway boy. Beautiful boy. His hair is damp from the rain. "I insist the tuxes have tails, or I'm giving your corsage to Steve Carver instead."
"St. Clair!" Josh springs from his seat, and they give each other the classic two-thumps-on-the-back guy hug.
"No kiss? I'm crushed,mate."
"Thought it might miff the ol' ball and chain. She doesn't know about us yet."
"Whatever," Rashi says,but she's smiling now. It's a good look for her. She should utilize the corners of her mouth more often.
Beautiful Hallway Boy (Am I supposed to call him Etienne or St. Clair?) drops his bag and slides into the remaining seat between Rashmi and me. "Anna." He's surprised to see me,and I'm startled,too. He remembers me.
"Nice umbrella.Could've used that this morning." He shakes a hand through his hair, and a drop lands on my bare arm. Words fail me. Unfortunately, my stomach speaks for itself. His eyes pop at the rumble,and I'm alarmed by how big and brown they are. As if he needed any further weapons against the female race.
Josh must be right. Every girl in school must be in love with him.
"Sounds terrible.You ought to feed that thing. Unless..." He pretends to examine me, then comes in close with a whisper. "Unless you're one of those girls who never eats. Can't tolerate that, I'm afraid. Have to give you a lifetime table ban."
I'm determined to speak rationally in his presence. "I'm not sure how to order."
"Easy," Josh says. "Stand in line. Tell them what you want.Accept delicious goodies. And then give them your meal card and two pints of blood."
"I heard they raised it to three pints this year," Rashmi says.
"Bone marrow," Beautiful Hallway Boy says. "Or your left earlobe."
"I meant the menu,thank you very much." I gesture to the chalkboard above one of the chefs. An exquisite cursive hand has written out the morning's menu in pink and yellow and white.In French. "Not exactly my first language."
"You don't speak French?" Meredith asks.
"I've taken Spanish for three years. It's not like I ever thought I'd be moving to Paris."
"It's okay," Meredith says quickly. "A lot of people here don't speak French."
"But most of them do," Josh adds.
"But most of them not very well." Rashmi looks pointedly at him.
"You'll learn the lanaguage of food first. The language of love." Josh rubs his belly like a shiny Buddha. "Oeuf. Egg. Pomme. Apple. Lapin. Rabbit."
"Not funny." Rashmi punches him in the arm. "No wonder Isis bites you. Jerk."
I glance at the chalkboard again. It's still in French. "And, um, until then?"
"Right." Beautiful Hallway Boy pushes back his chair. "Come along, then. I haven't eaten either." I can't help but notice several girls gaping at him as we wind our way through the crowd.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Who’s teasing? I’m telling him the truth. He ain’t going to have it. Neither one of ‘em going to have it. And I’ll tell you something else you not going to have. You not going to have no private coach with four red velvet chairs that swivel around in one place whenever you want ‘em to. No. and you not going to have your own special toilet and your own special-made eight-foot bed either. And a valet and a cook and a secretary to travel with you and do everything you say. Everything: get the right temperature in your hot-water bottle and make sure the smoking tobacco in the silver humidor is fresh each and every day. There’s something else you not going to have. You ever have five thousand dollars of cold cash money in your pocket and walk into a bank and tell the bank man you want such and such a house on such and such a street and he sell it to you right then? Well, you won’t ever have it. And you not going to have a governor’s mansion, or eight thousand acres of timber to sell. And you not going to have no ship under your command to sail on, no train to run, and you can join the 332nd if you want to and shoot down a thousand German planes all by yourself and land in Hitler’s backyard and whip him with your own hands, but you never going to have four stars on your shirt front, or even three. And you not going to have no breakfast tray brought in to you early in the morning with a red rose on it and two warm croissants and a cup of hot chocolate. Nope. Never. And no pheasant buried in coconut leaves for twenty days and stuffed with wild rice and cooked over a wood fire so tender and delicate it make you cry. And no Rothschild ’29 or even Beaujolais to go with it.”
A few men passing by stopped to listen to Tommy’s lecture. “What’s going on?” they asked Hospital Tommy.
“Feather refused them a beer,” said. The men laughed.
“And no baked Alaska!” Railroad Tommy went on. “None! You never going to have that.”
“No baked Alaska?” Guitar opened his eyes wide with horror and grabbed his throat.” You breaking my heart!”
“Well, now. That’s something you will have—a broken heart.” Railroad Tommy’s eyes softened, but the merriment in them died suddenly. “And folly. A whole lot of folly. You can count on it.”
“Mr. Tommy, suh,” Guitar sang in mock humility, “we just wanted a bottle of beer is all.”
“Yeah,” said Tommy. “Yeah, well, welcome aboard.
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
Under the seeming disorder of the old city, wherever the old city is working successfully, is a marvelous order for maintaining the safety of the streets and the freedom of the city. It is a complex order. Its essence is intricacy of sidewalk use, bringing with it a constant succession of eyes. This order is all composed of movement and change, and although it is life, not art, we may fancifully call it the art form of the city and liken it to the dance — not to a simple-minded precision dance with everyone kicking up at the same time, twirling in unison and bowing off en masse, but to an intricate ballet in which the individual dancers and ensembles all have distinctive parts which miraculously reinforce each other and compose an orderly whole. The ballet of the good city sidewalk never repeats itself from place to place, and in any once place is always replete with new improvisations.
The stretch of Hudson Street where I live is each day the scene of an intricate sidewalk ballet. I make my own first entrance into it a little after eight when I put out my garbage gcan, surely a prosaic occupation, but I enjoy my part, my little clang, as the junior droves of junior high school students walk by the center of the stage dropping candy wrapper. (How do they eat so much candy so early in the morning?)
While I sweep up the wrappers I watch the other rituals of the morning: Mr Halpert unlocking the laundry's handcart from its mooring to a cellar door, Joe Cornacchia's son-in-law stacking out the empty crates from the delicatessen, the barber bringing out his sidewalk folding chair, Mr. Goldstein arranging the coils of wire which proclaim the hardware store is open, the wife of the tenement's super intendent depositing her chunky three-year-old with a toy mandolin on the stoop, the vantage point from which he is learning English his mother cannot speak. Now the primary childrren, heading for St. Luke's, dribble through the south; the children from St. Veronica\s cross, heading to the west, and the children from P.S 41, heading toward the east. Two new entrances are made from the wings: well-dressed and even elegant women and men with brief cases emerge from doorways and side streets. Most of these are heading for the bus and subways, but some hover on the curbs, stopping taxis which have miraculously appeared at the right moment, for the taxis are part of a wider morning ritual: having dropped passengers from midtown in the downtown financial district, they are now bringing downtowners up tow midtown. Simultaneously, numbers of women in housedresses have emerged and as they crisscross with one another they pause for quick conversations that sound with laughter or joint indignation, never, it seems, anything in between. It is time for me to hurry to work too, and I exchange my ritual farewell with Mr. Lofaro, the short, thick bodied, white-aproned fruit man who stands outside his doorway a little up the street, his arms folded, his feet planted, looking solid as the earth itself. We nod; we each glance quickly up and down the street, then look back at eachother and smile. We have done this many a morning for more than ten years, and we both know what it means: all is well.
The heart of the day ballet I seldom see, because part off the nature of it is that working people who live there, like me, are mostly gone, filling the roles of strangers on other sidewalks. But from days off, I know enough to know that it becomes more and more intricate. Longshoremen who are not working that day gather at the White Horse or the Ideal or the International for beer and conversation. The executives and business lunchers from the industries just to the west throng the Dorgene restaurant and the Lion's Head coffee house; meat market workers and communication scientists fill the bakery lunchroom.
Jane Jacobs (The Death and Life of Great American Cities)
the six of us are supposed to drive to the diner in Hastings for lunch. But the moment we enter the cavernous auditorium where the girls told us to meet them, my jaw drops and our plans change.
“Holy shit—is that a red velvet chaise lounge?”
The guys exchange a WTF look. “Um…sure?” Justin says. “Why—”
I’m already sprinting toward the stage. The girls aren’t here yet, which means I have to act fast. “For fuck’s sake, get over here,” I call over my shoulder.
Their footsteps echo behind me, and by the time they climb on the stage, I’ve already whipped my shirt off and am reaching for my belt buckle. I stop to fish my phone from my back pocket and toss it at Garrett, who catches it without missing a beat.
“What is happening right now?” Justin bursts out.
I drop trou, kick my jeans away, and dive onto the plush chair wearing nothing but my black boxer-briefs. “Quick. Take a picture.”
Justin doesn’t stop shaking his head. Over and over again, and he’s blinking like an owl, as if he can’t fathom what he’s seeing.
Garrett, on the other hand, knows better than to ask questions. Hell, he and Hannah spent two hours constructing origami hearts with me the other day. His lips twitch uncontrollably as he gets the phone in position.
“Wait.” I pause in thought. “What do you think? Double guns, or double thumbs up?”
“What is happening?”
We both ignore Justin’s baffled exclamation.
“Show me the thumbs up,” Garrett says.
I give the camera a wolfish grin and stick up my thumbs.
My best friend’s snort bounces off the auditorium walls. “Veto. Do the guns. Definitely the guns.”
He takes two shots—one with flash, one without—and just like that, another romantic gesture is in the bag.
As I hastily put my clothes back on, Justin rubs his temples with so much vigor it’s as if his brain has imploded. He gapes as I tug my jeans up to my hips. Gapes harder when I walk over to Garrett so I can study the pictures.
I nod in approval. “Damn. I should go into modeling.”
“You photograph really well,” Garrett agrees in a serious voice. “And dude, your package looks huge.”
Fuck, it totally does.
Justin drags both hands through his dark hair. “I swear on all that is holy—if one of you doesn’t tell me what the hell just went down here, I’m going to lose my shit.”
I chuckle. “My girl wanted me to send her a boudoir shot of me on a red velvet chaise lounge, but you have no idea how hard it is to find a goddamn red velvet chaise lounge.”
“You say this as if it’s an explanation. It is not.” Justin sighs like the weight of the world rests on his shoulders. “You hockey players are fucked up.”
“Naah, we’re just not pussies like you and your football crowd,” Garrett says sweetly. “We own our sex appeal, dude.”
“Sex appeal? That was the cheesiest thing I’ve ever—no, you know what? I’m not gonna engage,” Justin grumbles. “Let’s find the girls and grab some lunch
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
The old woman sat in her leather recliner, the footrest extended, a dinner tray on her lap. By candlelight, she turned the cards over, halfway through a game of Solitaire. Next door, her neighbors were being killed. She hummed quietly to herself. There was a jack of spades. She placed it under the queen of hearts in the middle column. Next a six of diamonds. It went under the seven of spades. Something crashed into her front door. She kept turning the cards over. Putting them in their right places. Two more blows. The door burst open. She looked up. The monster crawled inside, and when it saw her sitting in the chair, it growled. “I knew you were coming,” she said. “Didn’t think it’d take you quite so long.” Ten of clubs. Hmm. No home for this one yet. Back to the pile. The monster moved toward her. She stared into its small, black eyes. “Don’t you know it’s not polite to just walk into someone’s house without an invitation?” she asked. Her voice stopped it in its tracks. It tilted its head. Blood—from one of her neighbor’s no doubt—dripped off its chest onto the floor. Belinda put down the next card. “I’m afraid this is a one-player game,” she said, “and I don’t have any tea to offer you.” The monster opened its mouth and screeched a noise out of its throat like the squawk of a terrible bird. “That is not your inside voice,” Belinda snapped. The abby shrunk back a few steps. Belinda laid down the last card. “Ha!” She clapped. “I just won the game.” She gathered up the cards into a single deck, split it, then shuffled. “I could play Solitaire all day every day,” she said. “I’ve found in my life that sometimes the best company is your own.” A growl idled again in the monster’s throat. “You cut that right out!” she yelled. “I will not be spoken to that way in my own home.” The growl changed into something almost like a purr. “That’s better,” Belinda said as she dealt a new game. “I apologize for yelling. My temper sometimes gets the best of me.
Blake Crouch (The Last Town (Wayward Pines, #3))
Galen slides into his desk, unsettled by the way the sturdy blond boy talking to Emma casually rests his arm on the back of her seat.
"Good morning," Galen says, leaning over to wrap his arms around her, nearly pulling her from the chair. He even rests his cheek against hers for good measure. "Good morning...er, Mark, isn't it?" he says, careful to keep his voice pleasant. Still, he glances meaningfully at the masculine arm still lining the back of Emma's seat, almost touching her.
To his credit-and safety-Mark eases the offending limb back to his own desk, offering Emma a lazy smile full of strikingly white teeth. "You and Forza, huh? Did you clear that with his groupies?"
She laughs and gently pries Galen's arms off her. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the eruption of pink spreading like spilled paint over her face. She's not used to dating him yet. Until about ten minutes ago, he wasn't used to it either. Now though, with the way Mark eyes her like a tasty shellfish, playing the role of Emma's boyfriend feels all too natural.
The bell rings, saving Emma from a reply and saving Mark thousands of dollars in hospital bills. Emma shoots Galen a withering look, which he deflects with that he hopes is an enchanting grin. He measures his success by the way her blush deepens but stops short when he notices the dark circles under her eyes.
She didn't sleep last night. Not that he thought she would. She'd been quiet on the flight home from Destin two nights ago. He didn't pressure her to talk about it with him, mostly because he didn't know what to say once the conversation got started. So many times, he's started to assure her that he doesn't see her as an abomination, but it seems wrong to say it out loud. Like he's willfully disagreeing with the law. But how could those delicious-looking lips and those huge violet eyes be considered an abomination?
What's even crazier is that not only does he not consider her an abomination, the fact that she could be a Half-Breed ignited a hope in him he's got no right to feel: Grom would never mate with a half human. At least, Galen doesn't think he would.
He glances at Emma, whose silky eyelids don't even flutter in her state of light sleep. When he clears his throat, she startles. "Thank you," she mouths to him as she picks her pencil back up, using the eraser to trace the lines in her textbook as she reads. He acknowledges with a nod. He doesn't want to leave her like this, anxious and tense and out of place in her own beautiful skin.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
I had to keep my hands clenched at my sides to avoid wiping my sweaty palms on the skirts of my gown as I reached the dining room, and immediately contemplated bolting upstairs and changing into a tunic and pants. But I knew they’d already heard me, or smelled me, or used whatever heightened senses they had to detect my presence, and since fleeing would only make it worse, I found it in myself to push open the double doors.
Whatever discussion Tamlin and Lucien had been having stopped, and I tried not to look at their wide eyes as I strode to my usual place at the end of the table.
“Well, I’m late for something incredibly important,” Lucien said, and before I could call him on his outright lie or beg him to stay, the fox-masked faerie vanished.
I could feel the full weight of Tamlin’s undivided attention on me—on every breath and movement I took. I studied the candelabras atop the mantel beside the table. I had nothing to say that didn’t sound absurd—yet for some reason, my mouth decided to start moving.
“You’re so far away.” I gestured to the expanse of table between us. “It’s like you’re in another room.”
The quarters of the table vanished, leaving Tamlin not two feet away, sitting at an infinitely more intimate table. I yelped and almost tipped over in my chair. He laughed as I gaped at the small table that now stood between us. “Better?” he asked.
I ignored the metallic tang of magic as I said, “How … how did you do that? Where did it go?”
He cocked his head. “Between. Think of it as … a broom closet tucked between pockets of the world.” He flexed his hands and rolled his neck, as if shaking off some pain.
“Does it tax you?” Sweat seemed to gleam on the strong column of his neck.
He stopped flexing his hands and set them flat on the table. “Once, it was as easy as breathing. But now … it requires concentration.”
Because of the blight on Prythian and the toll it had taken on him. “You could have just taken a closer seat,” I said.
Tamlin gave me a lazy grin. “And miss a chance to show off to a beautiful woman? Never.
Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1))
Don't misunderstand, but how dare you risk your life? What the devil did you think, to leap over like that? You could have stayed safe on this side and just helped me over." Even to her ears, her tone bordered on the hysterical.
Beneath her fingers, the white lawn started to redden.
She sucked in a shaky breath. "How could you risk your life-your life, you idiot!" She leaned harder on the pad, dragged in another breath.
He coughed weakly, shifted his head.
"Don't you dare die on me!"
His lips twisted, but his eyes remained closed. "But if I die"-his words were a whisper-"you won't have to marry, me or anyone else. Even the most censorious in the ton will consider my death to be the end of the matter. You'll be free."
"Free?" Then his earlier words registered. "If you die? I told you-don't you dare! I won't let you-I forbid you to. How can I marry you if you die? And how the hell will I live if you aren't alive, too?" As the words left her mouth, half hysterical, all emotion, she realized they were the literal truth. Her life wouldn't be worth living if he wasn't there to share it. "What will I do with my life if you die?"
He softly snorted, apparently unimpressed by-or was it not registering?-her panic. "Marry some other poor sod, like you were planning to."
The words cut. "You are the only poor sod I'm planning to marry." Her waspish response came on a rush of rising fear. She glanced around, but there was no one in sight. Help had yet to come running.
She looked back at him, readjusted the pressure on the slowly reddening pad. "I intend not only to marry you but to lead you by the nose for the rest of your days. It's the least I can do to repay you for this-for the shock to my nerves. I'll have you know I'd decided even before this little incident to reverse my decision and become your viscountess, and lead you such a merry dance through the ballrooms and drawing rooms that you'll be gray within two years."
He humphed softly, dismissively, but he was listening. Studying his face, she realized her nonsense was distracting him from the pain. She engaged her imagination and let her tongue run free. "I've decided I'll redecorate Baraclough in the French Imperial style-all that white and gilt and spindly legs, with all the chairs so delicate you won't dare sit down. And while we're on the subject of your-our-country home, I've had an idea about my carriage, the one you'll buy me as a wedding gift..."
She rambled on, paying scant attention to her words, simply let them and all the images she'd dreamed of come tumbling out, painting a vibrant, fanciful, yet in many ways-all the ways that counted-accurate word pictures of her hopes, her aspirations. Her vision of their life together.
When the well started to run dry, when her voice started to thicken with tears at the fear that they might no longer have a chance to enjoy all she'd described, she concluded with, "So you absolutely can't die now." Fear prodded; almost incensed, she blurted, "Not when I was about to back down and agree to return to London with you."
He moistened his lips. Whispered, "You were?"
"Yes! I was!" His fading voice tipped her toward panic. Her voice rose in reaction. "I can't believe you were so foolish as to risk your life like this! You didn't need to put yourself in danger to save me."
"Yes, I did." The words were firmer, bitten off through clenched teeth.
She caught his anger. Was anger good. Would temper hold him to the world?
A frown drew down his black brows. "You can't be so damned foolish as to think I wouldn't-after protecting you through all this, seeing you safely all this way, watching over you all this time, what else was I going to do?
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
It seemed as if nothing were to break that tie — as if the years were merely to compact and cement it; and as if those years were to be all the years of their natural lives. Eighteen-forty-two turned into eighteen-forty-three; eighteen-forty-three into eighteen- forty-four; eighteen-forty-four into eighteen-forty-five. Flush was no longer a puppy; he was a dog of four or five; he was a dog in the full prime of life — and still Miss Barrett lay on her sofa in Wimpole Street and still Flush lay on the sofa at her feet. Miss Barrett’s life was the life of “a bird in its cage.” She sometimes kept the house for weeks at a time, and when she left it, it was only for an hour or two, to drive to a shop in a carriage, or to be wheeled to Regent’s Park in a bath-chair. The Barretts never left London. Mr. Barrett, the seven brothers, the two sisters, the butler, Wilson and the maids, Catiline, Folly, Miss Barrett and Flush all went on living at 50 Wimpole Street, eating in the dining-room, sleeping in the bedrooms, smoking in the study, cooking in the kitchen, carrying hot-water cans and emptying the slops from January to December. The chair-covers became slightly soiled; the carpets slightly worn; coal dust, mud, soot, fog, vapours of cigar smoke and wine and meat accumulated in crevices, in cracks, in fabrics, on the tops of picture-frames, in the scrolls of carvings. And the ivy that hung over Miss Barrett’s bedroom window flourished; its green curtain became thicker and thicker, and in summer the nasturtiums and the scarlet runners rioted together in the window-box.
But one night early in January 1845 the postman knocked. Letters fell into the box as usual. Wilson went downstairs to fetch the letters as usual. Everything was as usual — every night the postman knocked, every night Wilson fetched the letters, every night there was a letter for Miss Barrett. But tonight the letter was not the same letter; it was a different letter. Flush saw that, even before the envelope was broken. He knew it from the way that Miss Barrett took it; turned it; looked at the vigorous, jagged writing of her name.
Virginia Woolf (Flush)
Colby’s resourceful, I’ll give him that.”
“You used to be good friends.”
“We were, until he started hanging around Cecily,” came the short reply. “I’m not as angry at him as I was. But it seems that he has to have a woman to prop him up.”
“Not necessarily,” Matt replied. “Sometimes a good woman can save a bad man. It’s an old saying, but fairly true from time to time. Colby was headed straight to hell until Cecily put him on the right track. It’s gratitude, but I don’t think he can see that just yet. He’s in between mourning his ex-wife and finding someone to replace her.” He leaned back again. “I feel sorry for him. He’s basically a one-woman man, but he lost the woman.”
Tate packed back to the wing chair and sat down on the edge. “He’s not getting Cecily. She’s mine, even if she doesn’t want to admit it.”
Matt stared at him. “Don’t you know anything about women in love?”
“Not a lot,” the younger man confessed. “I’ve spent the better part of my life avoiding them.”
“Especially Cecily,” Matt agreed. “She’s been like a shadow. You didn’t miss her until you couldn’t see her behind you anymore.”
“She’s grown away from me,” Tate said. “I don’t know how to close the gap. I know she still feels something for me, but she wouldn’t stay and fight for me.” He lifted his gaze to Matt’s hard face. “She’s carrying my child. I want both of them, regardless of the adjustments I have to make. Cecily’s the only woman I’ve ever truly wanted.”
Matt spread his hands helplessly. “This is one mess I can’t help you sort out,” he said at last. “If Cecily loves you, she’ll give in sooner or later. If it were me, I’d go find her and tell her how I really felt. I imagine she’ll listen.”
Tate stared at his shoes. He couldn’t find the right words to express what he felt.
“Tate,” his father said gently, “you’ve had a lot to get used to lately. Give it time. Don’t rush things. I’ve found that life sorts itself out, given the opportunity.”
Tate’s dark eyes lifted. “Maybe it does.” He searched the other man’s quiet gaze. “It’s not as bad as I thought it was, having a foot in two worlds. I’m getting used to it.”
“You still have a unique heritage,” Matt pointed out. “Not many men can claim Berber revolutionaries and Lakota warriors as relatives.
Diana Palmer (Paper Rose (Hutton & Co. #2))
Rachel came carefully downstairs one morning, in a dressing gown that wasn't quite clean, and stood at the brink of the living room as though preparing to make an announcement. She looked around at each member of the double household - at Evan, who was soberly opening the morning paper, at Phil, who'd been home from Costello's for hours but hadn't felt like sleeping yet, and at her mother, who was setting the table for breakfast - and then she came out with it.
"I love everybody," she said, stepping into the room with an uncertain smile. And her declaration might have had the generally soothing effect she'd intended if her mother hadn't picked it up and exploited it for all the sentimental weight it would bear.
"Oh Rachel," she cried, "What a sweet, lovely thing to say!" and she turned to address Evan and Phil as if both of them might be too crass or numbskulled to appreciate it by themselves. "Isn't that a wonderful thing for this girl to say, on a perfectly ordinary Friday morning? Rachel, I think you've put us all to shame for our petty bickering and our selfish little silences, and it's something I'll never forget. You really do have a marvelous wife, Evan, and I have a marvelous daughter. Oh, and Rachel, you can be sure that everybody in this house loves you, too, and we're all tremendously glad to have you feeling so well."
Rachel's embarrassment was now so intense that it seemed almost to prevent her from taking her place at the table; she tried two quick, apologetic looks at her husband and her brother, but they both missed the message in her eyes.
And Gloria wasn't yet quite finished. "I honestly believe that was a moment we'll remember all our lives," she said. "Little Rachel coming downstairs - or little big Rachel, rather - and saying 'I love everybody.' You know what I wish though Evan? I only wish your father could've been here this morning to share it with us."
But by then even Gloria seemed to sense that the thing had been carried far enough. As soon as she'd stopped talking the four of them took their breakfast in a hunched and businesslike silence, until Phil mumbled "Excuse me" and shoved back his chair.
"Where do you think you're going, young man?" Gloria inquired. "I don't think you'd better go anywhere until you finish up all of that egg.
Richard Yates (Cold Spring Harbor)
What the hell is all this I read in the papers?"
"Narrow it down for me," Alan suggested.
"I suppose it might have been a misprint," Daniel considered, frowning at the tip of his cigar before he tapped it in the ashtray he kept secreted in the bottom drawer of his desk. "I think I know my own flesh and blood well enough."
"Narrow it just a bit further," Alan requested, though he'd already gotten the drift.It was simply too good to end it too soon.
"When I read that my own son-my heir, as things are-is spending time fraternizing with a Campbell, I know it's a simple matter of misspelling. What's the girl's name?"
Along with a surge of affection, Alan felt a tug of pure and simple mischief. "Which girl is that?"
"Dammit,boy! The girl you're seeing who looks like a pixie.Fetching young thing from the picture I saw.Good bones; holds herself well."
"Shelby," Alan said, then waited a beat. "Shelby Campbell."
Dead silence.Leaning back in his chair, Alan wondered how long it would be before his father remembered to take a breath. It was a pity, he mused, a real pity that he couldn't see the old pirate's face.
"Campbell!" The word erupted. "A thieving, murdering Campbell!"
"Yes,she's fond of MacGregor's as well."
"No son of mine gives the time of day to one of the clan Campbell!" Daniel bellowed. "I'll take a strap to you, Alan Duncan MacGregor!" The threat was as empty now as it had been when Alan had been eight, but delivered in the same full-pitched roar. "I'll wear the hide off you."
"You'll have the chance to try this weekend when you meet Shelby."
"A Campbell in my house! Hah!"
"A Campbell in your house," Alan repeated mildly. "And a Campbell in your family before the end of the year if I have my way."
"You-" Emotions warred in him. A Campbell versus his firmest aspiration: to see each of his children married and settled, and himself laden with grandchildren. "You're thinking of marriage to a Campbell?"
"I've already asked her.She won't have me...yet," he added.
"Won't have you!" Paternal pride dominated all else. "What kind of a nitwit is she? Typical Campbell," he muttered. "Mindless pagans." Daniel suspected they'd had some sorcerers sprinkled among them. "Probably bewitched the boy," he mumbled, scowling into space. "Always had good sense before this.Aye, you bring your Campbell to me," he ordered roundly. "I'll get to the bottom of it."
Alan smothered a laugh, forgetting the poor mood that had plagued him only minutes earlier. "I'll ask her."
"Ask? Hah! You bring the girl, that daughter of a Campbell, here."
Picturing Shelby, Alan decided he wouldn't iss the meeting for two-thirds the popular vote. "I'll see you Friday, Dad.Give Mom my love."
"Friday," Daniel muttered, puffing avidly on his cigar. "Aye,aye, Friday."
As he hung up Alan could all but see his father rubbing his huge hands togther in anticipation. It should be an interesting weekened.
Nora Roberts (The MacGregors: Alan & Grant (The MacGregors, #3-4))
At her feet, a luminous path lit the way through the grassy field. It was made entirely from glow sticks; each of the radiant lights had been painstakingly set into the ground at perfect intervals, tracing a curved trail that shone through the darkness.
Apparently, Jay had been busy.
Near the water’s edge, at the end of the iridescent pathway and beneath a stand of trees, Jay had set up more than just a picnic. He had created a retreat, an oasis for the two of them.
Violet shook her head, unable to find the words to speak.
He led her closer, and Violet followed, amazed.
Jay had hung more of the luminous glow sticks from the low-hanging branches, so they dangled overhead. They drifted and swayed in the breeze that blew up from the lake.
Beneath the natural canopy of limbs, he had set up two folding lounge chairs and covered them with pillows and blankets.
“I’d planned to use candles, but the wind would’ve blown ‘em out, so I had to improvise.”
“Seriously, Jay? This is amazing.” Violet felt awed. She couldn’t imagine how long it must have taken him.
“I’m glad you like it.”
He led her to one of the chairs and drew her down until she was sitting before he started unpacking the cooler.
She half-expected him to pull out a jar of Beluga caviar, some fancy French cheeses, and Dom Perignon champagne. Maybe even a cluster of grapes to feed to her…one at a time. So when he started laying out their picnic, Violet laughed.
Instead of expensive fish eggs and stinky cheeses, Jay had packed Daritos and chicken soft tacos-Violet’s favorites. And instead of grapes, he brought Oreos.
He knew her way too well.
Violet grinned as he pulled out two clear plastic cups and a bottle of sparkling cider. She giggled. “What? No champagne?”
He shrugged, pouring a little of the bubbling apple juice into each of the flimsy cups. “I sorta thought that a DUI might ruin the mood.” He lifted his cup and clinked-or rather, tapped-it against hers. “Cheers.” He watched her closely as she took a sip.
For several moments, they were silent. The lights swayed above them, creating shadows that danced over them. The park was peaceful, asleep, as the lake’s waters lapped the shore. Across from them, lights from the houses along the water’s edge cast rippling reflections on the shuddering surface. All of these things transformed the ordinary park into a romantic winter rendezvous.
Kimberly Derting (Desires of the Dead (The Body Finder, #2))
Ostap Bender lay in the dvornik's room, which was warm to the point of reeking, and mentally put the finishing touches on two possible career plans.
He could become a polygamist and move peacefully from town to town, dragging behind him a new suitcase full of valuable items he'd picked up from the latest wife. Or he could go the very next day to the Stargorod Children's Commission and offer them the chance to distribute the as-yet unpainted but brilliantly conceived canvas The Bolsheviks Writing a Letter to Chamberlain, based on the artist Repin's popular painting The Zaporozhian Cossacks Writing a Letter to the Turkish Sultan. If it worked out, this option could bring in something along the line of four hundred rubles.
Ostap had thought up both options during his last stay in Moscow. The polygamy option had been born under the influence of the court report from the evening papers, where it was clearly indicated that some polygamist had only gotten two years without strict isolation. Option number two had taken shape in Bender's mind when he was going through the AARR exhibit on a free ticket.
However, both options had their downsides. It was impossible to begin a career as a polygamist without a wondrous, dapple-gray suit. In addition, he needed at least ten rubles for hospitality expenses and seduction. Of course, he could get married in his green campaign uniform as well, because Bender's masculine power and attraction were absolutely irresistible to provincial, marriage-ready Margaritas; but that would be, as Bender liked to say, "Poor-quality goods. Not clean work." It wasn't all smooth sailing for the painting, either. Purely technical difficulties could arise. Would it be proper to paint Comrade Kalinin in a papakha and a white burka, or Comrade Chicherin naked to the waist?
Ilya Ilf (The Twelve Chairs)
And what about your brother, Agus? Will he be entertaining us with his pipes?”
“Agg,” Shanks rasped, wrinkling his nose. “I didn’t tell you? He ain’t with us no more.” A heavy fist slammed on the arm of the Viidun’s chair as he growled, “The idiot went off and got himself killed!”
“What?” Derian and Eena replied in unison, both horrified by the news.
“You heard me!” Shanks bellowed. “The crazy fool should’ve known when to duck. He died in a bloody challenge with some brainless Deramptium! A downright disgraceful way to die! I’m ashamed to say he was my brother!”
“That’s a little harsh, isn’t it?” Eena muttered, mostly speaking to Derian.
“What was that?” the Viidun demanded.
Derian whispered a hush to Eena. Addressing Shanks, he expressed their condolences. “We are truly sorry for your loss. Your brother will be sorely missed. On the other hand, we look forward to welcoming you and your crew aboard the Kemeniroc.” Derian held up his right hand, extending his thumb and two adjoining fingers. “Strength, truth, and honor, friend,” he said, ending their conversation.
“Strength, truth, and honor,” Shanks repeated.
The screen went black. The captain turned to Eena who was still in shock.
“You have to understand,” he explained, “the Viiduns are a fiercely competitive people with proud, warring ways. Their culture doesn’t call for much sympathy, especially when it appears one of their own has failed to live up to expectations.”
Eena was still disturbed by the lack of compassion. “But that was his brother.”
“I know. I can hardly believe it myself. Shanks and Agus were very close. They traveled everywhere together. All I can figure is it’s easier for Shanks to express his anger than his anguish.”
“After all that, I’m not sure I want to meet him in person. He scares me,” she admitted.
Derian laughed. “He scares everyone. That’s why you want to keep him as an ally and not make him an enemy.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Eena, The Return of a Queen (The Harrowbethian Saga #2))
some older people who need to sit down, Barb. We can’t put chairs out. I don’t want them to get too comfy or we’ll never get rid of them.’ ‘Oh, you’re being ridiculous.’ Henry is thinking that this is a fine time to call him ridiculous. He never wanted the stupid vigil. In bed last night they had another spit-whispered row about it. We could have it at the front of the house, Barbara had said when the vicar called by. Henry had quite explicitly said he would not support anything churchy – anything that would feel like a memorial service. But the vicar had said the idea of a vigil was exactly the opposite. That the community would like to show that they have not given up. That they continue to support the family. To pray for Anna’s safe return. Barbara was delighted and it was all agreed. A small event at the house. People would walk from the village, or park on the industrial estate and walk up the drive. ‘This was your idea, Barbara.’ ‘The vicar’s, actually. People just want to show support. That is what this is about.’ ‘This is ghoulish, Barb. That’s what this is.’ He moves the tractor across the yard again, depositing two more bales of straw alongside the others. ‘There. That should be enough.’ Henry looks across at his wife and is struck by the familiar contradiction. Wondering how on earth they got here. Not just since Anna disappeared, but across the twenty-two years of their marriage. He wonders if all marriages end up like this. Or if he is simply a bad man. For as Barbara sweeps her hair behind her ear and tilts up her chin, Henry can still see the full lips, perfect teeth and high cheekbones that once made him feel so very differently. It’s a pendulum that still confuses him, makes him wish he could rewind. To go back to the Young Farmers’ ball, when she smelled so divine and everything seemed so easy and hopeful. And he is wishing, yes, that he could go back and have another run. Make a better job of it. All of it. Then he closes his eyes. The echo again of Anna’s voice next to him in the car. You disgust me, Dad. He wants the voice to stop. To be quiet. Wants to rewind yet again. To when Anna was little and loved him, collected posies on Primrose Lane. To when he was her hero and she wanted to race him back to the house for tea. Barbara is now looking across the yard to the brazier. ‘You’re going to light a fire, Henry?’ ‘It will be cold. Yes.’ ‘Thank you. I’m doing soup in mugs, too.’ A pause then. ‘You really think this is a mistake, Henry? I didn’t realise it would upset you quite so much. I’m sorry.’ ‘It’s OK, Barbara. Let’s just make the best of it now.’ He slams the tractor into reverse and moves it out of the yard and back into its position inside the barn. There, in the semi-darkness, his heartbeat finally begins to settle and he sits very still on the tractor, needing the quiet, the stillness. It was their reserve position, to have the vigil under cover in this barn, if the weather was bad. But it has been a fine day. Cold but with a clear, bright sky, so they will stay out of doors. Yes. Henry rather hopes the cold will drive everyone home sooner, soup or no soup. And now he thinks he will sit here for a while longer, actually. Yes. It’s nice here alone in the barn. He finds
Teresa Driscoll (I Am Watching You)
Entering the office, Evie found Sebastian and Cam on opposite sides of the desk. They both mulled over account ledgers, scratching out some entries with freshly inked pens, and making notations beside the long columns. Both men looked up as she crossed the threshold. Evie met Sebastian’s gaze only briefly; she found it hard to maintain her composure around him after the intimacy of the previous night. He paused in mid-sentence as he stared at her, seeming to forget what he had been saying to Cam. It seemed that neither of them was yet comfortable with feelings that were still too new and powerful. Murmuring good morning to them both, she bid them to remain seated, and she went to stand beside Sebastian’s chair.
“Have you breakfasted yet, my lord?” she asked.
Sebastian shook his head, a smile glinting in his eyes. “Not yet.”
“I’ll go to the kitchen and see what is to be had.”
“Stay a moment,” he urged. “We’re almost finished.”
As the two men discussed a few last points of business, which pertained to a potential investment in a proposed shopping bazaar to be constructed on St. James Street, Sebastian picked up Evie’s hand, which was resting on the desk. Absently he drew the backs of her fingers against the edge of his jaw and his ear while contemplating the written proposal on the desk before him. Although Sebastian was not aware of what the casual familiarity of the gesture revealed, Evie felt her color rise as she met Cam’s gaze over her husband’s downbent head. The boy sent her a glance of mock reproof, like that of a nursemaid who had caught two children playing a kissing game, and he grinned as her blush heightened further.
Oblivious to the byplay, Sebastian handed the proposal to Cam, who sobered instantly. “I don’t like the looks of this,” Sebastian commented. “It’s doubtful there will be enough business in the area to sustain an entire bazaar, especially at those rents. I suspect within a year it will turn into a white elephant.”
“White elephant?” Evie asked.
A new voice came from the doorway, belonging to Lord Westcliff. “A white elephant is a rare animal,” the earl replied, smiling, “that is not only expensive but difficult to maintain. Historically, when an ancient king wished to ruin someone he would gift him with a white elephant.” Stepping into the office, Westcliff bowed over Evie’s hand and spoke to Sebastian. “Your assessment of the proposed bazaar is correct, in my opinion. I was approached with the same investment opportunity not long ago, and I rejected it on the same grounds.”
“No doubt we’ll both be proven wrong,” Sebastian said wryly. “One should never try to predict anything regarding women and their shopping.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
Is there a bird among them, dear boy?” Charity asked innocently, peering not at the things on the desk, but at his face, noting the muscle beginning to twitch at Ian’s tense jaw.
“Then they must be in the schoolroom! Of course,” she said cheerfully, “that’s it. How like me, Hortense would say, to have made such a silly mistake.”
Ian dragged his eyes from the proof that his grandfather had been keeping track of him almost from the day of his birth-certainly from the day when he was able to leave the cottage on his own two legs-to her face and said mockingly, “Hortense isn’t very perceptive. I would say you are as wily as a fox.”
She gave him a little knowing smile and pressed her finger to her lips. “Don’t tell her, will you? She does so enjoy thinking she is the clever one.”
“How did he manage to have these drawn?” Ian asked, stopping her as she turned away.
“A woman in the village near your home drew many of them. Later he hired an artist when he knew you were going to be somewhere at a specific time. I’ll just leave you here where it’s nice and quiet.” She was leaving him, Ian knew, to look through the items on the desk. For a long moment he hesitated, and then he slowly sat down in the chair, looking over the confidential reports on himself. They were all written by one Mr. Edgard Norwich, and as Ian began scanning the thick stack of pages, his anger at his grandfather for this outrageous invasion of his privacy slowly became amusement. For one thing, nearly every letter from the investigator began with phrases that made it clear the duke had chastised him for not reporting in enough detail. The top letter began,
I apologize, Your Grace, for my unintentional laxness in failing to mention that indeed Mr. Thornton enjoys an occasional cheroot…
The next one opened with,
I did not realize, Your Grace, that you would wish to know how fast his horse ran in the race-in addition to knowing that he won.
From the creases and holds in the hundreds of reports it was obvious to Ian that they’d been handled and read repeatedly, and it was equally obvious from some of the investigator’s casual comments that his grandfather had apparently expressed his personal pride to him:
You will be pleased to know, Your Grace, that young Ian is a fine whip, just as you expected…
I quite agree with you, as do many others, that Mr. Thornton is undoubtedly a genius…
I assure you, Your Grace, that your concern over that duel is unfounded. It was a flesh wound in the arm, nothing more.
Ian flipped through them at random, unaware that the barricade he’d erected against his grandfather was beginning to crack very slightly.
“Your Grace,” the investigator had written in a rare fit of exasperation when Ian was eleven,
“the suggestion that I should be able to find a physician who might secretly look at young Ian’s sore throat is beyond all bounds of reason. Even if I could find one who was willing to pretend to be a lost traveler, I really cannot see how he could contrive to have a peek at the boy’s throat without causing suspicion!”
The minutes became an hour, and Ian’s disbelief increased as he scanned the entire history of his life, from his achievements to his peccadilloes. His gambling gains and losses appeared regularly; each ship he added to his fleet had been described, and sketches forwarded separately; his financial progress had been reported in minute and glowing detail.
Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))
How long have you known about him?” I asked Jesse, using my free hand to gesture toward his guest.
“Forever. Nearly as long as I did about you.”
“God, Jesse. Why didn’t you say anything?”
“He was a shadow of you.” Jesse shrugged. “His background is diluted, his dragon blood les strong. Even with you in his proximity, I wasn’t certain any of his drakon traits would emerge. He hasn’t anywhere near your potential.”
“Pardon me,” Armand said, freezingly polite, “but he is still right here with you in this room.”
“Do you mean…I did it?” I asked. “I made him figure it out? What he is?”
Jesse gave me an assessing look. “Like is drawn to like. We’re all three of us thick with magic now, even if it’s different kinds. It’s inevitable that we’ll feed off one another. The only way to prevent that would be to separate. And even then it might not be enough. Too much has already begun.”
“I don’t want to separate from you,” I said.
“No.” Jesse lifted our hands and gave mine a kiss. “Don’t worry about that.”
Armand practically rolled his eyes. “If you two are quite done, might we talk some sense tonight? It’s late, I’m tired, and your ruddy chair, Holms, is about as comfortable as sitting on a tack. I want to…”
But his voice only faded into silence. He closed his eyes and raised a hand to his face and squeezed the bridge of his nose. I noted again those shining nails. The elegance of his bones beneath his flawless skin.
Skin that was marble-pale, I realized. Just like mine.
“Yes?” I said, more gently than I’d intended.
“Excuse me. I’m finding this all a bit…impossible to process. I’m beginning to believe that this is the most profoundly unpleasant dream I’ve ever been caught in.”
“Allow me to assure you that you’re awake, Lord Armand,” I retorted, all gentleness gone. “To wit: You hear music no one else does. Distinctive music from gemstones and all sorts of metals. That day I played the piano at Tranquility, I was playing your father’s ruby song, one you must have heard exactly as I did. Exactly as your mother would have. You also have, perhaps, something like a voice inside you. Something specific and base, stronger than instinct, hopeless to ignore. Animals distrust you. You might even dream of smoke or flying.”
He dropped his arm. “You got that from the diary.”
“No, I got that from my own life. And damned lucky you are to have been brought into this world as a pampered little prince instead of spending your childhood being like this and still having to fend for yourself, as I did.”
“Right. Lucky me.” Armand looked at Jesse, his eyes glittering. “And what are you? Another dragon? A gargoyle, perchance, or a werecat?”
“Jesse is a star.”
The hand went up to conceal his face again. “Of course he is. The. Most. Unpleasant. Dream. Ever.”
I separated my hand from Jesse’s, angling for more bread. “I think you’re going to have to show him.”
A single blue eye blinked open between Armand’s fingers. “Show me what?
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
Warren,still staring at the splendid black eye and several cuts on his face, remarked, "Hate to see what the other fellow looks like," which James supposed was a compliment of sorts, since Warren had personal experience of his fists from numerous occasions himself.
"Like to congratulate the other fellow myself," Nicholas said with a smirk, which got him a kick under the table from his wife.
James nodded to Reggie. "Appreciate it, m'dear. My feet wouldn't reach."
To which she blushed that her kick had been noticed. And Nicholas, still wincing, managed a scowl,which turned out rather comical looking, considering the two expressions didn't mix all that well.
"Is Uncle Toony still among the living?" Amy asked, probably because neither James nor his brother had returned back downstairs last night.
"Give me a few more days to figure that out,puss, 'cause I bloody well ain't sure just now," Anthony said as he came slowly into the room,an arm tucked to his side as if he were protecting some broken ribs.
A melodramatic groan escaped as he took the seat across from his brother. James rolled his eyes hearing it.
"Give over,you ass," he sneered. "Your ife ain't here to witness your theatrics."
"She's not?" Anthony glanced down the table, then made a moue and sat back in his chair-minus groaning this time. However, he did complain to James, "You did break my ribs,you know."
"Devil I did, though I'll admit I considered it. And by the by, the option is still open."
Anthony glared at him. "We're too bloody old to be beating on each other."
"Speak for yourself, old man. One is never too old for a spot of exercise."
"Ah,so that's what we were doing?" Anthony shot back dryly, as he gently fingered his own black eye. "Exercising, was it?"
James raised a brow. "And that's not what you do weekly at Knighton's Hall? But I understand your confusion in the matter, since you're used to doling out the damage, rather than receiving any. Tends to give one a skewed perspective. Glad to have cleared that up for you."
It was at that point that Jason walked in, took one look at his two younger brothers' battered faces, and remarked, "Good God, and at this time of the year,no less? I'll see you both in my study.
Johanna Lindsey (The Holiday Present)
She sorted through the clothes. “Do you mind wearing Emilio’s underwear?” She turned back to him with the two different styles that she’d found. “You’re about the same size. And they’re clean. They were wrapped in a paper package, like from a laundry service.”
Max gave her a look, because along with the very nice, very expensive pair of black silk boxers she’d pilfered from Emilio, she’d also borrowed one of his thongs.
“What?” Gina said. It was definitely a man-thong. It had all that extra room for various non-female body parts.
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
“I’m not,” she said, trying to play it as serious. “One, it’s been a while, maybe your tastes have changed. And two, these might actually be more comfortable, considering the placement of your bandage and—”
He took the boxers from her.
“Apparently I was wrong.” She turned away and started sorting through the pairs of pants and Bermuda shorts she’d grabbed, trying not to be too obvious about the fact that she was watching him out of the corner of her eye. To make sure he didn’t fall over.
After he got the boxers on, he took off the bathrobe and . . .
Okay, he definitely wasn’t as skinny as he’d been after his lengthy stint in the hospital. Emilio’s pants probably weren’t going to fit him, after all. Although, there was one pair that looked like they’d be nice and loose . . . There they were. The Kelly green Bermuda shorts.
Max gave her another one of those you’ve-got-to-be-kidding glances as he put the bathrobe over the back of another chair. “Do I really look as if I’ve ever worn shorts that color in my entire life?”
She tried not to smile. “I honestly don’t think you have much choice.” She let herself look at him. “You know, you could just go with the boxers. At least until your pants dry. You know what would really work with that, though? A bowtie.” She turned, as if to go back to the closet. “I’m sure Emilio has a tux. Judging from his other clothes, it’s probably polyester and chartreuse, but maybe the bowtie is—”
“Gina.” Max stopped her before she reached the door. He motioned for her to come back.
She held out the green shorts, but instead of taking them, he took her arm, pulled her close.
“I love you,” Max said, as if he were dispatching some terrible, dire news that somehow still managed to amuse him at least a little.
Gina had been hoping that he’d say it, praying even, but the fact that he’d managed to smile, even just a bit while he did, was a miracle.
And then, before her heart even had a chance to start beating again, he kissed her.
And oh, she was also beyond ready for that particular marvel, for the sweet softness of his mouth, for the solidness of his arms around her. There was more of him to hold her since he’d regained his fighting weight—and that was amazing, too. She skimmed her hands across the muscular smoothness of his back, his shoulders, as his kiss changed from tender to heated.
And, God. That was a miracle, too.
Except she couldn’t help but wonder about those words, wrenched from him, as if it cost him his soul to speak them aloud. Why tell her this right now?
Yes, she’d been waiting for years for him to say that he loved her, but . . .
Max laughed his surprise. “No. Why do you . . .?” He figured it out himself. “No, no, Gina, just . . . I should’ve said it before. I should have said it years ago, but I really should have said it, you know, instead of hi.” He laughed again, clearly disgusted with himself. “God, I’m an idiot. I mean, hi? I should have walked in and said, ‘Gina, I need you. I love you, don’t ever leave me again.’”
She stared at him. It was probably a good thing that he hadn’t said that at the time, because she might’ve fainted.
It was obvious that he wanted her to say something, but she was completely speechless.
Suzanne Brockmann (Breaking Point (Troubleshooters, #9))
Hypothetically, then, you may be picking up in someone a certain very strange type of sadness that appears as a kind of disassociation from itself, maybe, Love-o.’
‘I don’t know disassociation.’
‘Well, love, but you know the idiom “not yourself” — “He’s not himself today,” for example,’ crooking and uncrooking fingers to form quotes on either side of what she says, which Mario adores. ‘There are, apparently, persons who are deeply afraid of their own emotions, particularly the painful ones. Grief, regret, sadness. Sadness especially, perhaps. Dolores describes these persons as afraid of obliteration, emotional engulfment. As if something truly and thoroughly felt would have no end or bottom. Would become infinite and engulf them.’
‘Engulf means obliterate.’
‘I am saying that such persons usually have a very fragile sense of themselves as persons. As existing at all. This interpretation is “existential,” Mario, which means vague and slightly flaky. But I think it may hold true in certain cases. My own father told stories of his own father, whose potato farm had been in St. Pamphile and very much larger than my father’s. My grandfather had had a marvelous harvest one season, and he wanted to invest money. This was in the early 1920s, when there was a great deal of money to be made on upstart companies and new American products. He apparently narrowed the field to two choices — Delaware-brand Punch, or an obscure sweet fizzy coffee substitute that sold out of pharmacy soda fountains and was rumored to contain smidgeons of cocaine, which was the subject of much controversy in those days. My father’s father chose Delaware Punch, which apparently tasted like rancid cranberry juice, and the manufacturer of which folded. And then his next two potato harvests were decimated by blight, resulting in the forced sale of his farm. Coca-Cola is now Coca-Cola. My father said his father showed very little emotion or anger or sadness about this, though. That he somehow couldn’t. My father said his father was frozen, and could feel emotion only when he was drunk. He would apparently get drunk four times a year, weep about his life, throw my father through the living room window, and disappear for several days, roaming the countryside of L’Islet Province, drunk and enraged.’
She’s not been looking at Mario this whole time, though Mario’s been looking at her.
She smiled. ‘My father, of course, could himself tell this story only when he was drunk. He never threw anyone through any windows. He simply sat in his chair, drinking ale and reading the newspaper, for hours, until he fell out of the chair. And then one day he fell out of the chair and didn’t get up again, and that was how your maternal grandfather passed away. I’d never have gotten to go to University had he not died when I was a girl. He believed education was a waste for girls. It was a function of his era; it wasn’t his fault. His inheritance to Charles and me paid for university.’
She’s been smiling pleasantly this whole time, emptying the butt from the ashtray into the wastebasket, wiping the bowl’s inside with a Kleenex, straightening straight piles of folders on her desk.
David Foster Wallace (Infinite Jest)
As the third evening approached, Gabriel looked up blearily as two people entered the room.
The sight of them infused him with relief. At the same time, their presence unlatched all the wretched emotion he'd kept battened down until this moment. Disciplining his breathing, he stood awkwardly, his limbs stiff from spending hours on the hard chair. His father came to him first, pulling him close for a crushing hug and ruffling his hair before going to the bedside.
His mother was next, embracing him with her familiar tenderness and strength. She was the one he'd always gone to first whenever he'd done something wrong, knowing she would never condemn or criticize, even when he deserved it. She was a source of endless kindness, the one to whom he could entrust his worst thoughts and fears.
"I promised nothing would ever harm her," Gabriel said against her hair, his voice cracking.
Evie's gentle hands patted his back.
"I took my eyes off her when I shouldn't have," he went on. "Mrs. Black approached her after the play- I pulled the bitch aside, and I was too distracted to notice-" He stopped talking and cleared his throat harshly, trying not to choke on emotion.
Evie waited until he calmed himself before saying quietly, "You remember when I told you about the time your f-father was badly injured because of me?"
"That wasn't because of you," Sebastian said irritably from the bedside. "Evie, have you harbored that absurd idea for all these years?"
"It's the most terrible feeling in the world," Evie murmured to Gabriel. "But it's not your fault, and trying not to make it so won't help either of you. Dearest boy, are you listening to me?"
Keeping his face pressed against her hair, Gabriel shook his head.
"Pandora won't blame you for what happened," Evie told him, "any more than your father blamed me."
"Neither of you are to blame for anything," his father said, "except for annoying me with this nonsense. Obviously the only person to blame for this poor girl's injury is the woman who attempted to skewer her like a pinioned duck." He straightened the covers over Pandora, bent to kiss her forehead gently, and sat in the bedside chair. "My son... guilt, in proper measure, can be a useful emotion. However, when indulged to excess it becomes self-defeating, and even worse, tedious." Stretching out his long legs, he crossed them negligently. "There's no reason to tear yourself to pieces worrying about Pandora. She's going to make a full recovery."
"You're a doctor now?" Gabriel asked sardonically, although some of the weight of grief and worry lifted at his father's confident pronouncement.
"I daresay I've seen enough illness and injuries in my time, stabbings included, to predict the outcome accurately. Besides, I know the spirit of this girl. She'll recover."
"I agree," Evie said firmly.
Letting out a shuddering sigh, Gabriel tightened his arms around her.
After a long moment, he heard his mother say ruefully, "Sometimes I miss the days when I could solve any of my children's problems with a nap and a biscuit."
"A nap and a biscuit wouldn't hurt this one at the moment," Sebastian commented dryly. "Gabriel, go find a proper bed and rest for a few hours. We'll watch over your little fox cub.
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Spring (The Ravenels, #3))