So it hadn’t been wrong or dishonest of her to say no this morning, when he asked if she hated him, any more than it had been wrong or dishonest to serve him the elaborate breakfast and to show the elaborate interest in his work and to kiss him goodbye. The kiss, for that matter, had been exactly right—a perfectly fair, friendly kiss, a kiss for a boy you’d just met at a party, a boy who’d danced with you and made you laugh and walked you home afterwards, talking about himself all the way.The only real mistake, the only wrong and dishonest thing, was ever to have seen him as anything more than that. Oh, for a month or two, just for fun, it might be all right to play a game like that with a boy; but all these years! And all because, in a sentimentally lonely time long ago, she had found it easy and agreeable to believe whatever this one particular boy felt like saying and to repay him for that pleasure by telling easy, agreeable lies of her own, until each was saying what the other most wanted to hear—until he was saying I love you and she was saying Really, I mean it; you’re the most interesting person I’ve ever met. What a subtle, treacherous thing it was to let yourself go that way! Because once you’d started it was terribly difficult to stop; soon you were saying I’m sorry, of course you’re right and Whatever you think is best and You’re the most wonderful and valuable thing in the world and the next thing you knew all honesty, all truth, was as far away and glimmering, as hopelessly unattainable as the world of the golden people. Then you discovered you were working at life the way the Laurel Players worked at The Petrified Forest, or the way Steve Kovick worked at his drums—earnest and sloppy and full of pretension and all wrong; you found you were saying yes when you meant no and We’ve got to be together on this thing when you meant the very opposite; then you were breathing gasoline as if it were flowers and abandoning yourself to a delirium of love under the weight of a clumsy, grunting, red-faced man you didn’t even like—Shep Campbell!—and then you were face to face, in total darkness, with the knowledge that you didn’t know who you were. (p.416-7)
Richard Yates
Approaching the trail, he broke through the thicket a short distance ahead of the Empath. Causing the Empaths horse to startle as the surprised rider jerked on the reins. Cap was equally surprised to find a young girl before him instead of an older, experienced male Empath. Cap brought his horse to a quick halt. The young girl pulled a small knife from her boot and cautioned him. I don't know where you came from, but I am not easy prey. Her voice shook slightly with fear as she raised the knife.Not sure how to proceed, they stared silently at each other. Cap had always believed that Empaths didn't carry weapons. This pretty, chestnut haired girl couldn't be more than 18 years old. Her long straight tresses covered the spot on her jacket where the Empathic Emblem was usually worn, causing Cap to doubt she was the one he sought. Not wanting to frighten her any more than he already had, Cap tried to explain. I am Commander Caplin Taylor. I’m looking for an Empath that is headed for the Western Hunting Lodge.My name is Kendra; I am the Empath you seek. She answered cautiously, still holding the blade. A noise from the brush drew her attention as a small rodent pounced out, trying to evade an unseen predator. Cap was just close enough to lurch forward and snatch the dirk from her hand. Her head jerked back in alarm.Bosen May has been mauled by a Sraeb, his shoulder is a mass of pulp. Cap spoke quickly not wanting to hesitate any longer.That was all Kendra needed to hear. She pushed her horse past him and headed quickly down the trail.Wait! Cap called after her, turning his horse around. Reining in the horse, she turned back to face him annoyed by the delay. Are you a good horseman? Cap asked, as he stuffed her dirk in his jacket.I've been in the saddle since I was a child. She answered, abruptly.Okay so just a few years then? Cap's rebuke angered her. Jerking the horse back toward the trail, she ignored him.Wait, I am sorry! Cap called after her. It's just that I know a quicker way, if you can handle some rough terrain.Let’s go then. Kendra replied, gruffly, turning back to face him. Without another word, Cap dove back into the brush and the girl followed.
Alaina Stanford
Syn pulled his boxers on and quietly left the bedroom, walking angrily to the kitchen. He turned the corner and wanted to throw a shit-fit at the sight before him. Day was standing at his stove loading some type of egg dish onto a plate before turning and setting it in front of God. God folded down one side of his newspaper, peering at Syn from behind it.Well good morning, sunshine, Day said way too cheerily for five-fucking-a.m. We brought breakfast.Syn clenched his jaw, trying not to yell at his superior officers. Have you two lost your fuckin’ minds? Come on. It’s, it’s ... early. Syn turned his wrist, forgetting he didn’t have his watch on yet. Damn, you guys are always at the office, or at a crime scene, or over fucking here at god-awful hours.Oh, it’s early? Day said disbelievingly. God shrugged like he hadn’t realized either.Seriously. When the fuck do you guys sleep?Never, God said nonchalantly.When do you fuck? Syn snapped.Always, Day quipped. Just did thirty minutes ago. Nice couch by the way, real comfy, sorry for the stain. Syn tiredly flipped Day off.Don’t be pissed, Day sing-songed. A dab of Shout will get that right out.Syn rubbed angrily at his tired eyes, growling, Day.He’s not in a joking mood, sweetheart, God said from behind his paper. You know we didn’t fuck on your couch so calm the hell down. Damn you’re moody in the morning. Unless ... We weren’t interrupting anything, were we? So, how’s porn boy? God’s gruff voice filled the kitchen, making Syn cringe.First of all. Don’t fucking call him that, ever and damnit God. Lower your voice. Shit. He’s still asleep, Syn berated his Lieutenant, who didn’t look the slightest bit fazed by Syn’s irritation. You guys could let him sleep, he’s had a rough night, ya know.Day leaned his chest against God’s large back, draping his arms over his shoulders. Oh damn, what kind of friends are we? It was rough, huh? Day looked apologetic.Yes, it was, Day. He just–Try water-based lube next time, Day interrupted, causing God to choke on his eggs.Day, fuck. Syn tried not to grin, but when he thought about it, it really was funny.I knew I’d get you to smile. Have some breakfast Sarge, we gotta go question the crazy chicks. You know how much people feel like sharing when they’ve spent a night in jail.Damn. Alright, just let me–Wow. Something smells great. Furi’s deep voice reached them from down the hall as he made his way to the kitchen. You cook babe? Who knew? I’ll have the Gladiator portion. Furi used his best Roman accent as he sauntered into the kitchen with his hands on hips and his head high.Syn turned just as Furi noticed God and Day.Oh, fuck, shit, Jesus Christ! Furi stumbled, his eyes darting wildly between all of them. Damn, I’m so sorry. Furi looked at Syn trying to gauge exactly how much he’d fucked up just now.Syn smiled at him and Furi immediately lost the horrified expression. Syn held his hand out and mouthed to him 'it's okay.
A. E. Via