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The Provost pulled a number of papers from his pocket and savagely flapped them open.
‘I must have been wrong,’ he writes, ‘in saying that one of the padlocks of my Counts sarcophagus was unfastened; I see tonight that two are loose. I picked both up, and laid them carefully on the window-ledge, after trying unsuccessfully to close them. The remaining one is still firm, and, though I take it to be a spring lock, I cannot guess how it is opened. Had I succeeded in undoing it, I am almost afraid I should have taken the liberty of opening the sarcophagus. It is strange, the interest I feel in the personality of this, I fear, somewhat ferocious and grim old noble.’
"Do you suppose I'd desert a friend in a time of need like this?" returned Scott. "I'm going to take this officer's number now while I think of it."
D avoids the obvious with e ?Ican't believe you're got your hands in there,? Jenny cried, scrunching up her nose as Leo mashed raw eggs, butter, sugar, flour, and cocoa powder together with his bare hands. It had been his idea to make brownies, but of course they had to make them at her house, not his. Jenny didn't know when she'd ever get to see his house. ?My mom taught me this. It's the only way to get it really well mixed without using a beater.? Leo's red-and-white-checked shirt sleeves were rolled up to the elbows, and he was biting his lower lip in concentration?the utter picture of adorable?as his hands worked the contents of the large ceramic bowl. ?Oh,? Jenny replied, sifting in another cup of flour. ?Does your mom like to cook?? Anyone who lived in that fancy apartment building on Park Avenue must have a full-time chef. ?Kind of. Mostly she just likes making brownies.? Aha. See? Cooking was just another hobby, like dressing her dog in designer clothes and getting her face Botoxed. Leo removed his finger from the sweet batter and held it out to Jenny. ?Taste?? Jenny was so preoccupied with the thought of his mother baking brownies on the cook's night off that she opened her mouth and gave his finger a good long suck. Oh! ?Oops. I guess I'm interrupting something,? Elise observed from the kitchen doorway. ?You guys are so cute,? she added hollowly. The downstairs buzzer had rung only a few minutes ago, but after buzzing Elise in, Jenny had become so preoccupied with Leo's brownie-making skills, she'd completely forgotten about her friend. She picked up the wooden spoon she'd gotten out to mix the brownie dough with in the first place. ?Want to taste it?? Elise wrinkled up her nose. ?Nah. I'll wait till they're cooked. Is Dan home?? Jenny shrugged. She hadn't noticed him leave. ?I'm pretty sure he is, because I think I smell smoke.? Elise headed down the hall to Dan's bedroom. ?Call me when the brownies are done!? Dan was lying on his bed, trying to think of a synonym fordesire that rhymed withclock. Sock, mock, jock, rock . He hadn't gotten very far. ?Can I come in?? Elise asked from outside his bedroom door. ?Sure.? Dan sat up and closed the little black notebook he was writing in. Elise was wearing a black turtleneck sweater that made her look serious and older somehow. ?What's up?? ?Nothing.? She sat down on the end of the bed. ?What are you writing?? Dan hopped off the bed and chucked his notebook on his desk. He reached for his pack of Camels and lit one, inhaling deeply as he shook out the match. ?Quick, a word that rhymes withclock.? ?Tock,? Elise shot back. Dan stared at her. ?But that's not a real word. It doesn't mean anything without the ?tick-tock? part.? ?No, I guess you're right.? She stood up and went over to his desk, towering four inches over Dan. Her height definitely made her seem older. So did the careful way she dressed, with her T-shirt tucked neatly into her belted jeans and her cardigan all buttoned up. Instead of being prissy, it conveyed a sort of confidence, as if, ?I am a woman and this is how it's done.? She flipped open one of his notebooks. ?So this is where you write everything?? Dan's first impulse was to snatch the book away from her, but Elise wasn't Vanessa. She wasn't going to make fun of one of his lesser poems or push him to send one of his better ones off to a famous magazine. ?Yeah. I don't like working on the computer because I wind up deleting stuff I might use.? Elise nodded and rifled through the pages. ?Hey, I got you something.? Dan opened the black messenger bag he always carried and pulled out the book of writing exercises he'd bought for Elise earlier that day. ?To thank you for the cookies.? Elise took the book and examined it. ?Wow, this is like homework. As if I don't have enough already.? ?But it's really not,? Dan said, taking the book back and turning to one of the exercises. ??Avoid the obvious. Make a list of all the clich?s you've ever heard of and never use them in your writing.?? He looked up. ?See? It's fun!? Elise looked at him like he was insane. ?I guess it's probably more fun than watching your best friend suck brownie batter off her boyfriend's fingers.? She picked up a pen and turned to a free page in one of Dan's black notebooks. ?What exactlyis a clich?, anyway?? Dan liked how unembarrassed she was about her ignorance. ?You know, like ?love at first sight? or ?hard as a rock? or ?blind as a bat.? All those things you've heard a thousand times.? ?Uh-huh.? She sat down on the bed and wrote something. Then she passed the notebook to Dan. ?Okay, your turn.? He was going to write,What goes around comes around , until he saw what Elise had written:Why did you kiss me on the street today? He stubbed out his cigarette in an ashtray and gripped the pen hard to steady his fingers.Because of the cookies , he wrote.And because of the bread . Actually, he didn't know exactly why he'd kissed her. It had been a spur-of-the-moment thing. He handed the notebook back, and Elise read what he'd written without looking up. Then she wrote something underneath it and passed die notebook back. Kiss me again? Dan walked over to the door and pushed it closed. He tossed the notebook on the bed and turned to Elise, kissing her hard on the mouth as he yanked her T-shirt out of her jeans. Elise let out a little cry and took a step backward. Dan let go of her. All of a sudden Elise didn't seem so old anymore. Her blue eyes were wide, and her smile was less a smile than a terrified grimace. ?I'm sorry.? ?It's okay,? she said, more to herself than to him. ?I'm okay.? Dan noticed a roll of pale baby fat hanging over the waistband of her jeans. She saw him looking at it and quickly tucked her T-shirt back in. Loser, Dan scolded himself. Elise was only fourteen, and he was nearly eighteen. He was worse than slimy. He was a total asshole. Elise was still standing there waiting for him to kiss her again, and all of a sudden he felt sort of pissed at her, too, for even thinking this might be a good idea. He turned his back and sat down in front of the computer, jiggling the mouse. ?I think the brownies are probably done,? he told her hoarsely. Elise stayed put, so Dan started checking his e-mail. He kept his back turned until finally he heard her walking toward the door. ?I thought you wanted to be my boyfriend,? she mumbled, her throat choked with tears. A moment later, Dan heard the front door of the apartment slam shut. He picked up his notebook and turned to a fresh page.Because of the cookies and because of the bread , he wrote, and then stopped. It was a little difficult to feel inspired. V doth protest too much ?I know you're working on a paper right now and we just saw each other last night, but do you want to go get dinner?? Vanessa practically shouted into the phone. ?What, like right now?? Jordy asked. ?Yes.Now .? Tantric chanting emanated from the living room, where Vanessa's parents were hosting a gathering of artist friends for an evening of ?sparking the creative flint.? Whatever the hellthat meant. ?I can meet you somewhere in your neighborhood,? she offered. ?Anywhere is fine.? ?Wow,? Vanessa said when she arrived. Despite its name, Bubba's?an Italian place near Columbia?was actually nice. She'd expected tables covered with red-and-white-checked plastic tablecloths and sides of fries served with every dish. Instead, the tablecloths were white, and there were candles and old jazz playing. It was only five-thirty, and the restaurant was empty. But even that was that romantic, in a very traditional way. Jordy was already seated at a table and had ordered a bottle of red wine. The waiter took Vanessa's black wool jacket and helped her into her chair. ?I feel so mature.? Jordy shrugged like he was used to this. After all, he was in college. ?I like your lipstick.? Vanessa couldn't tell if he was joking or not. Jordy wore a constant pleasantly arrogant expression, making it extremely difficult to gauge his emotions. If only his nose acted as some sort of barometer, getting longer or shorter depending on his mood. Not that she really wanted his nose to get any longer. ?My parents are having some sort of freak-fest chanting session with a bunch of other so-called artists in our apartment.? Vanessa told him, scowling as she opened her napkin and put it on her lap. ?I can't wait for them to leave.? Jordy took a sip of wine, pressing his thin lips together as if he really enjoyed the taste of it. His expensive glasses were on the table, and Vanessa saw for the first time that his eyes were light golden brown, like a lion's. Way to notice a boy's eye colorafter you've already kissed him! ?I think your parents are amazing,? he said. ?I mean, it takes a lot of effort and courage to be that ?out there .? Vanessa's thick brown eyebrows shot up. ?I'll say.? She scraped her chair forward and put her elbows on the table. ?You know, when I was little I was a scab-picker. Any little nick or insect bite I'd pick away at until it bled and bled. And you know what my mom said? She said I ought to save the scabs so my dad could make a piece of artwork out of them. Isn't that just the most insanely twisted thing you've ever heard? I mean, most moms would be worried about scarring, or they'd take their kid to a shrink. My parents, all they care about is themselves and their ?work.?? Jordy shrugged. ?Maybe she was joking.? Vanessa frowned and opened her menu. Antipasti, primi, secondi, dolci.Joking? She'd never heard her mother be remotely jocular. ?I don't think so.? Jordy watched her as she scrutinized the menu. ?Still, I really admire them. I mean, the way they're letting you and your sister live on your own. Not many parents would do that.? ?No. Not many would,? Vanessa agreed with a scowl. ?I'd kind of like to go up to Vermont and see how they live,? Jordy added eagerly. Vanessa looked up from her menu in alarm. ?Why?? ?I don't know. I haven't met that many people who are ? you know ?different . I'm just curious, I guess.? He took a sip of wine and did that thing with his lips again. ?So, my mom kind of mentioned that you had a pretty serious boyfriend. Is that, like, all over, or what?? Vanessa flipped her menu closed without deciding on anything. She wasn't really hungry, anyway?she'd just wanted to get out of the house. ?Yeah, it's over. We're not even friends anymore.? Normally her voice had a bitter fuck-you bite to it, but just now it had quavered with emotion. ?Not that I mind,? she added tartly. The waiter came and Vanessa ordered a salad. She felt like one of those skinny blond girls in her class at Constance who only ate dry lettuce and Jell-o. Jordy ripped a piece of bread off the hunk in the basket on the table. ?So did you break up with him, or the other way around?? With long, delicate fingers he dunked the bread in the little bowl of olive oil. She'd never really thought about who'd broken up with whom. In fact, there'd never been an official breakup. After she'd caught Dan fooling around with that Mystery Craze person on stage in a poetry club, she'd refused to return his phone calls. If anyone had broken up with anyone, she'd broken up with him. But did that mean that maybe he hadn't meant to break up with her at all? It was almost too confusing to think about. ?I-I guess I sort of inadvertently broke up with him,? she stammered. ?I mean, hewas cheating on me.? It felt weird talking to another guy about her relationship with Dan. It felt weird talking to someone else period, since the only person she'd ever really talked to was Dan himself. But Jordy's arrogant sincerity was just that: sincere. And it was kind of hard to cop an attitude in the face of all that sincerity. Vanessa felt her lower lip begin to tremble as tears welled up in her big brown eyes. Oh God. She hated it when she cried, especially in public. What was wrong with her? There, there. It's happened to the best of us. Jordy put his glasses back on. ?I'm sorry. We don't have to talk about this if you don't want to.? His wan cheeks flushed. ?I was kind of only asking for selfish reasons, anyway.? He took off his glasses again and set them carefully on the table next to the olive oil. Then he lifted his gaze, his golden eyes gazing straight into hers. ?I really like you, Vanessa.? Miles Davis was playing and the candles flickered. All of a sudden Vanessa felt like she was starring in one of those badly made romantic films that most girls cried over and she couldn't stand. ?I like you, too,? she sobbed, mortified. If she were with Dan, she would have suddenly burst out laughing and told him to go fuck himself for making her cry. But Jordy wasn't Dan. If she told him to go fuck himself, he'd probably do it. Well, not literally. But we know what she means. She wiped her damp face on her white linen napkin, smearing Ruby's lipstick all over it. ?Sorry. I guess my parents are really stressing me out.? She put down her napkin and took a gulp of water. ?So tell me something about Columbia. Like, what's your favorite course?? As if she genuinely cared. It was pretty obvious now that Jordy was only interested in her because her parents werealternative , and she was only interested in him because he was so completelyun alternative. Besides, her mind was too occupied with its most recent download to pay attention to a word of Jordy's reply. And the information her mind was so busy processing was that she was still in love with Dan. She just wants somebody to love After a full day of skiing, followed by an hour of watching the Dutch Olympic snowboarding team tear up the half-pipe, the group retired to the lodge at the base of the mountain for some well-deserved happy-hour pitchers of beer. The lodge had a roaring fire, a piano player, and cocktail waitresses wearing denim vests with nothing underneath. Serena sat down next to Jan, one of the seven snowboarders. The whole team was blond and athletic and handsome, but she'd chosen Jan because when he boarded he stuck his thumbs out in a very peculiar cute way, like he was giving the entire mountain the thumbs-up. ?Are all the girls in New York as beautiful as you and your friends?? he asked with his charming Dutch accent. Serena giggled. She was a sucker for charm. ?You guys are so lucky?getting to do this every day.? Jan laughed and took a swig of dark amber beer. ?We are not always snowboarding. I go to university in Minsk. I'm studying to be a dentist.? ?Oh.? Serena had imagined that the whole team lived together in a cabin on top of a mountain in the Alps somewhere, snowboarding all day and getting drunk together every night. She'd thought it would be cozy, being the only girl in the group. She could cut their hair for them and make French toast for breakfast. At night they'd curl up by the fire and tell ghost stories. ?What about the others?? she asked, wondering if she'd just chosen the wrong guy. ?Conrad is married to an Italian girl?they live in Bologna. Franz is my roommate at university. Josef, Sven, Ulrich, and Gan all live in Amsterdam.? Amsterdam was supposed to be a really cool city. Serena looked across the table at the four boys. They were all equally hot, blond, and athletic. ?In the gay student housing,? Jan added. ?Oh,? Serena replied, forcing herself to smile. Better luck next time. ?Would y'all like anything else?? ?I'll just have another Coke, please,? Nate told the cute, Ugg-wearing cocktail waitress after Chuck had ordered another three pitchers of Sun Valley ale for the table. Georgie had already drunk an entire pitcher on her own. He would probably have to carry her home. ?I can't believe I made it all the way down a double black diamond without falling,? Blair gushed for the forty-fifth time. She sipped her beer delicately and grinned at Erik. ?You're a much better teacher than any of those ski instructor guys.? The truth was, she'd slid sideways down almost the entire run, screaming the whole way, but at least she'd managed to keep her bare cleavage free of snow. That was the important part. ?You just kept getting better and better,? Erik replied. She had buttoned her cashmere cardigan over her bikini top but her jeans were low slung, and with the way she was sitting up straight and sort of leaning into the table, he could see the top of her ass. It was nice. ?I'll bet you a hundred bucks I can chug my beer faster than you can chug yours,? Georgie dared Serena. Now that there was no one to flirt with, Serena was happy to have something to do. She pulled her long, ski-wild blond hair back behind her and tied it in a knot. Then she picked up her glass. The rest of the table watched in gleeful anticipation. Well,most of the rest of the table. Nate crunched an ice cube between his teeth. He could just imagine where this was going. Both girls were going to get completely wasted, throwing up all over everybody, and then they'd be out of commission with hangovers for the next couple of days. His sexy lips drooped forlornly over the rim of his Coke glass. No more skiing. No more fun. ?Show her how it's done, Georgie!? Chuck goaded them on. ?Oh yeah?? Serena lifted her glass to her lips. Then she noticed Nate shaking his head, and she moved it away again. ?What am I doing? You're, like, bred for this. Your whole family is full of famous alcoholics.? ?Thanks a lot!? Georgie cried. She nudged Serena with a bony elbow. ?Go on, drink!? Serena set the glass down. ?It's not worth it. If I chugged this I'd puke all over the table. And you'd totally beat me, anyway.? Georgie shrugged, then threw her head back and downed the whole pint of beer in one go. ?Fuck you, I won,? she burped when she was done. ?Good for you,? Nate breathed. Everyone turned to look at him. ?Natie's just mad because we haven't had a chance to do it yet,? Georgie crowed. ?I'm always too fucked up!? There was an awkward silence. It was hard to know how to respond to that. Blair looked at her watch. ?Maybe we should get back to the lodge so we can have a sauna before dinner.? She wasn't sure if the sauna in the lodge was coed or not, but the idea of being in a hot, steamy room with Erik, dressed only in towels, was very appealing. He could rub her back with lavender-scented oil and? ?Yeah, my quads are in pretty rough shape,? Nate agreed, rubbing his thighs. He glanced miserably at Georgie. ?I could really use a soak in the tub.? Georgie clapped her hands together, her eyes shining giddily. ?Let'sall go back to my place and get in the tub!? She was so hyper all the time, Nate wondered if the rehab clinic had her on some kind of antidepressant or something he didn't know about. All he knew was that the beer didn't seem to slow her down. Chuck was already zipping up his coat in preparation to leave. ?I'll make everyone my famous peach schnapps cocktail!? He lifted up his shirt and batted his eyelashes. ?Chucky's Fuzzy Navel.?
This was touching Harry on a tender spot. No boy of fourteen likes to be considered very young. By that time he generally begins to feel a degree of self-confidence and self-reliance, and fancies he is almost on the threshold of manhood. I know boys of fourteen who look in the glass daily for signs of a coming mustache, and fancy they can see plainly what is not yet visible. Harry had not got as far as that, but he no longer looked upon himself as a young boy. He was stout and strong, and of very good height for his age, and began to feel manly. So he drew himself up, upon this remark of his mother's, and said proudly: "I am going on fifteen"--that sounds older than fourteen--"and I don't call that very young."
"Yes!" yells the lovely Wilkinson, jumpin' around like some of Alex's pep has entered his system. "If you put this over for me, I'll give you half of anything I get!"
“Nothing,” returned Mrs. Pontellier, with a start, adding at once: “How stupid! But it seems to me it is the reply we make instinctively to such a question. Let me see,” she went on, throwing back her head and narrowing her fine eyes till they shone like two vivid points of light. “Let me see. I was really not conscious of thinking of anything; but perhaps I can retrace my thoughts.”
“I never saw a storm come up so rapidly,” said Jim.
If a man brings a good mind to what he reads he may become, as it were, the spiritual descendant to some extent of great men, and this link, this spiritual hereditary tie, may help to just kick the beam in the right direction at a vital crisis; or may keep him from drifting through the long slack times when, so to speak, we are only fielding and no balls are coming our way.
These people were well disposed and willing to treat with them. Theyhad some cotton, they had some gold. They wore very little clothing, andthey painted their bodies, as most of the natives of the islands had done.
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