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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.
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?"
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