WelcomeThe DiBenedettos' home was a pleasant chaos of finery and cheap toys for children. Apparently-homemade blocks were quite literally everywherescattered about the floor, on some of the lower shelves, nestled in corners of picture frames. Taking up even more space were books and dolls, as well as the odd child's drawing, framed just as elaborately as the paintings.
Family photographs hung happily alongside both of those varieties, a juxtaposition that made my forehead tingle. The whole interior as I could see it so far struck me as a magazine advert that had had been scribbled on with crayon, but not in a disagreeable way. "You have a lovely home," I said, quite too aware of how small I sounded.
Giovanni didn't seem to notice my discomfort. There was no room for it in his personal pink-skyed world. He grinned and ruffled his own hair. "Thanks. I'll show you my room after you meet everyone."
Vesi Vanhin Voitehista 5Taivuttaa held his breath, not quite willing to believe his latest change of situation. He'd begun to think it was only a dream, but there was something disturbingly real about Novi. The garish colors of the office made him seem sharper in the contrast, and the serious even keel to his expressions were oddly comforting. He let go of Taivuttaa's collar and stepped back a few paces.
"There's something monumentally unfair about leaving this to me," Novi muttered, fingering his whiskery chin. "I'm nearly as new as you."
"Oh good heavens, don't apologize." Novi seemed slightly startled. He sat back in the chair, craning his neck to continue watching Taivuttaa carefully. "Please sit down before you make me nervous."
Smiling a little, Taivuttaa sat on the bench and folded his hands in his lap, although the plaster cast impeded this gesture. "Haven't I already made you nervous?"
Clear OffGriselda tugged her beard and searched her pockets for something. "If you're really bothered about it," she said, not quite meeting PDQ's eye, "then you might say you're one of Siegmund. That's the problem, in a way."
PDQ blinked several times. He couldn't wrap his head around anything but the name. It sounded familiar, like something he knew well enough, but had never actually heard. Pretty Damn Quick Edric was his name by birth, one of the few things that had ever made his father laugh hard enough to drop something, and he liked it for that if nothing else. "One of Siegmund?"
The dwarf woman nodded, inclining her head to him, and then Mychael. "You won't know of it, growing up and living in the wrong places. Guarded secrets don't stay secrets otherwise."
"What secrets?" Mychael held a hand to the side of her head, as though bothered by an ache.
At first Griselda just grunted, but then s
Contra-Bandy ch15As shameful as it was to admit, my first instinct was to pull the blanket over my head and try to be invisible. Even worse, I almost did it. However, it was easier to quell such a humiliating urge when Shawn was around in any capacity, as he took up all of the Ridiculousness in the room. It was like a reflex or something.
He handed me a steaming mug of tea that smelled strong and bitter, forcing me to sit up. "You kept falling out of your bed."
"This explains nothing."
"I had a lot of homework to do."
"Equally uninformative." I pinched bridge of my nose between my knuckles, holding the mug in one shaky hand and balancing it against the bed. "Why am I in your bed instead of anywhere else in the dorm?"
Shawn indicated his messy vortex of a desk, which actually did more to explain than his previous half-answers. "I wanted to keep an eye on you, but I've got all this work to do You may be on break