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Contra-Bandy ch16"Is it okay that I've called?" Caroline Beckhurdst's timid voice quivered through the receiver.
I had completely forgotten about her. So much for matchmaking and the constancy of American cinema affecting real life Lately my life had been like an Uwe Bohl film. "Of course, it's perfectly alright." It was only half a lieI'd go to hell for something else.
"Well um, good!" Her voice was entirely too chirpy, but I forgave her on the grounds that I had a headache and was already annoyed. "Are you feeling at all better?"
A very short vision of her in a hospital visit setting made me jerk my head up towards the window. She'd been there, hadn't she? The first time I'd blacked out, when everything had started to go pants. "I'm Yes, actually." A simple answer seemed best.
Her relieved sigh traveled over the landline and perched on my shoulder
The Devil's in the DetailsLight rose through the slats in the floor, illuminating my thoughts as it reached into each crease in my skin with tapering tentacled fingers. It was too early to be awake and hungover. I reached over to the empty pie tin I'd been using as an ash tray for the past three days, cringing at the metallic kbang that popped the air as my questing fingers nudged a dent into an opposing direction.
The party had been a bad idea. Charlie's parties were always a bad idea, and I always went. The cycle was as vicious as it was unavoidable. He hired DJs that should have gone back to high school and made something of themselves, the way none of the party-goers ever would. Malita was already in the middle of her downward spiral, enough DUIs under her belt to make it a lethal figurative weapon, Ivo still chased the wrong skirts while denying he'd rather be in one, and Charlie himself was on the fast-track to his father's nowhere.
You're Not AloneAs he lead me up the stairs, I found myself thinking of Giovanni in a less harsh, stylized light. I'd been too hard on him before, it was clear now. He wasn't crazy, I was just hard to deal with "Which one is your room?" I asked, keeping my free hand behind my back. After the baby's mother had whisked him off, I'd gone back to feeling small and doll-like. It didn't help that Gio was holding my hand, but I understood why he was doing it now, so I let it go without complaint.
He pointed, then sped up and suddenly stopped in front of a door with a biohazard stick at his eye level. "This one. I have a lot of books."
After a few moments of silence, I realized he was waiting for me to respond to that. "Oh, er. That's lovely. W-what sort of books?"
"All sorts." He opened the door and walked in, pulling me with him. The first thing I noticed was the size of
Vesi Vanhin Voitehista 6For what could have been anywhere between twenty minutes and five hours, Taivuttaa lay on the bed, staring up at the ceiling and trying to breath. It was much more difficult than he would have expected it to be, but at least it stopped him from thinking about anything else. He didn't have asthma, or allergies, and he was fairly certain it wasn't a panic attack. No, the problem was quite without a definite cause, and so should not have existed, logically. He crossed his eyes trying to glare at his chest, then eventually gave it up as impossible when his head started to hurt.
Sleep refused to come. Whenever he felt his eyelids droop, his mind would recall something Shoe had said, a flash of concern or annoyance on Novi's face, or the scowl that had never seemed to leave Salugi Eszme's face. He sat up and stared at the wall, daring it to start talking to him and cap off the night with definite inarguable insanity.
The Coffee GodThe Coffee God behind the counter shuffles foot to foot, a dance of steam and espresso. Black painted fingernails, inch gauged ears and a gray striped sweatshirt, hood crooked on his back. There's a cigarette tucked behind one ear; it bobs and twitches with each step.
“Non-fat caramel latte,” he calls, just as he always does, part of a spell, part of a mantra, toneless (just a tuck at the end). I reach. He looks up.
The espresso maker hisses.
There's something like a grin, something like a spark, something like a shared secret linked eye to eye. When he passes over the drink (rough cardboard sleeve hot to the touch), he lingers. Our fingers brush, a shiver, a jolt, a ten-watt shock.
The Coffee God tilts his chin, shouts, “Hey, mind if I take my break now?”
and ducks around the counter without waiting for a reply.
He slips his cigarette between his lips without taking his eyes from mine. I follow him out the door.
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