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Vesi Vanhin Voitehista 11Curls brushed his ear, he could feel the tickling curve to his captor's hair. "Who"
"Oh, come on, ducks. I expected you to be clever." The arm loosened slightly and the voice dropped in pitch. "Don't disappoint me now."
The arms dropped away from him, leaving him free to jump to his feet and generally give in to alarm. There, lounging on the fitting room bench, was Benjamin Barrett, just as casually wicked as he had initially appeared, presenting a happily enigmatic image. "Well done. There is hope for you after all."
Taivuttaa reached for the lock switch, but a gust of warm air knocked his hand back. "What do you want?" he asked, keeping a wary peripheral eye on Benjamin, an easy task in the intimately enclosed space. "You keep talking like you've known about me for ages, but I have no idea who you are. All I know is that you make Novi nervous and you have a
Contra-Bandy ch20It wasn't the same anymore. Nothing ever was, that was just how time worked, but it felt unfair just then. I stared out at the duck pond and pretended I couldn't hear the crunch and squeak of grass submitting to rubber-soled shoes. It was always colder near water, even when it shouldn't have been. I remembered my first trip to California with my mother, one of the things that she had kept out of writing. She'd told me she had, when I was older, and I remembered the actual moment when I had asked her why not.
"Some things are so important that you need to hold them close," she'd said. For some reason, she'd been holding a rubber duck. This was odd because my memory was quite firmly certain that we had been washing dishes together. "You should only share them with your voice, sweetie."
I shivered and rubbed my arms. "They didn't tell me until she went to the hospital," I said. Sh
If the Poetry is SufficientIt was amazing how fast Giovanni fell asleep after saying something like that. I was sure I would never sleep again, and it certainly didn't help that he was clinging to me like ink on a letter. After he'd gone still, and his breathing was well beyond the realm of faking sleep, I lifted his arms off of me and wriggled out of the bed. He actually grumbled in his sleep, which didn't improve the tremors skating on my nerves, but I managed to stand up.
My hands felt like they were vibrating, and my legs were worse. A thick chill wrapped itself around my bones and freckled into my skin like shrapnel, wrestling a sneeze from me immediately after I'd taken a step away from the bed. I made a face, trying not to look at my hand. Tissue.
There was a box of them on the nightstand. They were a little dusty, but in my current state, I only cared that they were dry. Ugh, there was no way to avoid looking at it.
Vesi Vanhin Voitehista 10The rest of the day was quiet. Taivuttaa felt this could be safely attributed to the long nap he had collapsed into soon after returning to the office, but he didn't want to trust any assumptions just yet. Harsh light from the streetlamp outside his window cut through the blinds and striated a square section of the carpet. He sat on the edge of the bed and tapped his foot, watching the grains of the carpet brush against the vibrant white and grey of the sock. It wasn't very late, in spite of the streetlamp. He looked up at the door and half-expected to hear a knock.
Novi had mentioned back-logging paperwork and the door to his own room being open, but Taivuttaa wasn't sure if he should take it as an invitation or leave the man alone until morning. He'd never spent so much time out of the sphere of Algorithm's annoyed guardianship. On the one hand, he didn't want to worry about it, but on the other, he worried
Buckley's Chance_Level 8The old bag was sipping a tea and something surreptitious stirred in, creaking as she continued to age in the comfy chair my father usually camped in. He was standing at her side like a triumphant soldier at the end of a particularly bloody war, just smiling at everyone. He was happy, because he could play make-believe as long as Gran was around.
As for my mother, she and Gran had never got on wellofficially they had a relationship based on approval and acceptance from Gran, and respect and a bit of obedience from my mother, but they really were not what anyone would call 'friends'.
When my father took trips by himself, my mom would stay home with me for a little while and complain about him and his mother. Those were the companionable times she and I both loved openly, but they were shorter than I liked.
I poured her a cup of the coffee that she and I were passing off as Earl Grey. It helped that we were on the opposite side of the roo
Buckley's Chance_Level 7Three days. No matter what I did, at the back and sometimes forefront of my mind, I was still standing on the porch watching that stupid Carebear sticker on the rear window of the car as Squid crawled back to his damn parents. What good was it being lucky enough to be attracted to a nice decent person if he was just going to ditch me in the name of being decent?
I could even see myself standing there pathetically upright and not punching anything at all. I hated feeling like such a total milksop, and it was even worse when I started acting like one. It was three damn days and I still slept on the living room couch, with the phone near my soft, squishy, damp head.
The knock on the door had gone unanswered for those three days, which meant it was four days since I'd even seen Jussi. That was how screwed up I'd gotten, and it was stupid. If he didn't call to ask what the hell was wrong with me, then I would have to c
Buckley's Chance_Level 6Okay. Right. Let's just find our footing here, Self. For a few seconds, I just ran on automatic. Somebody I had begun to like rather a lot was kissing me. And even more surprising, he was more than a little good at it. I backed up until I found the wall, then slumped against it to equalize the difference in our heights. He didn't seem to think it was a problem. He just held on to me a little desperately and asserted himself. He was even smiling as much as this kind of activity allowed.
Automatic accounted for a lot of activity. I grabbed the first bits of his clothing that I could reach in a hurry and yanked him as close to me as I could get him without breaking any physical laws. He let out a squeaky gasp, which opened the way for a new level of automatic advantage on my part.
He obviously knew more about what he was doing than I would have given him credit, but dr
Buckley's Chance_Level 5Waking up without a hangover was becoming routine for me, which was creepy. Especially since we'd had a little celebratory lunch after I'd gotten the stitches out. Too bad Squid couldn't gohe'd had to sneak out just to meet us at the hospital, and I didn't know what he'd gone home to deal with. I doubted it was CNN's style of scary, but for a timid kid, just getting yelled at was probably hell.
Still, he'd called Riley in the evening, said he'd be over in the afternoon. She hadn't told me any more than that, but the kid had my cell number. If he wanted me to personally know something, he'd tell me.
I dragged myself out of the bed, running my hand along the wall until I found the light switch. My alarm clock claimed it was 6:30, and it was backed up by the fact that the window was not helping the light bulb. I pulled a shirt on, debated the question of pants, then found a pair and allowed
A Turning Point in the Clockwork WarA war of attrition
depends on supply and drawdown,
how much you have and how much you use up.
With personnel, the balance concerns
the influx of recruitment versus
the outflow of casualties, deserters, invalids.
There is only so much loss
that a fighting force can sustain
and still fight.
Pilot Claude Archer was the first
to challenge his invalid discharge.
"I don't need legs to fly," he said,
patting the healed stumps of his thighs.
"My Osprey runs on elbow grease."
The members of the discharge board
paused and looked at each other.
What he said was true.
The Osprey-class fighter jets
relied on hand controls,
and a sharp eye and iron nerve.
Fingers flicked through the stack
of discharge papers -- so many, many pages.
So many soldiers lost, never to fight again.
They could not afford to let slip even one
who might be retained, somehow,
to face the front line once more.
Far less could the war effort spare
one of its best pilots.
So they put Pilot Archer back on the roster,
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