CHAPTER TENOf Murder and FlowersThe very day that: 1) Chad threw a stuffed fish at her, and 2) Eddie ran away, Bryony landed a delightful little job assembling bouquets of flowers at the market.“Excuse me,” said a small round-faced girl with beautiful, dark almond eyes, “you seem very nice, and you also seem lost. May I help you somehow?”Bryony was quite taken with this child. “Why, yes. I am looking for a job. Do you know anybody who is hiring?”Suddenly every shop and station and table had a desperate need for more employees, sometimes kicking present employees out in order to make more space. Who didn’t want a tragically sorrowful girl who chose to wear a happy smile around? Human nature dictates that we want what we want, and we want what is scarce. We want to enjoy things before they are taken from us. And this girl was defying fate by standing there this very minute. She should be dead by now, she was already lost. They grasped onto her life like a string of pearls.The
CHAPTER ELEVENBroken Glass and Jonquils“I hate you, Bryony,” Eddie said.It absolutely wasn’t true, and Bryony wasn’t there to hear it, but it was good practice.Eddie stormed up the street away from Pike Place. He was looking for a bar, or a club, or somewhere he could duck out of sight and brood on exactly how much he desired to dislike Bryony. She with her wide eyes and sorrowful ambiance. He would find her one day in pieces, or not find her at all, and which would be worse? It was like the time—“Eddie Warshouski, I brought you some flowers. Now why don’t you like me?”Bryony offered the flowers to him as if they were a sword. He had never felt so threatened by jonquils before. He took a step back, nearly falling off the curb, and this made him angry.“Why are you following me?” he demanded.“I told you, I brought you some beautiful flowers.” Bryony shoved the flowers into his face. They smelled divine, or at least they would have if Eddie sniffed at them, but he didn’t.
CHAPTER TWELVEA Splendid Way to Go“Daddy? Are you there?”“My sweet girl! How is everything going?”“Daddy, I met him. I met him, and his name is Eddie.”“Congratulations! And he’s strong enough to handle you?”“I think he is, although he doesn’t know it yet. He’ll learn, though.”“Are you going to bring him by sometime?”“I will, Daddy. I want you to meet him.”“The desert has been howling for you at night, my dear. It’s pacing back and forth in front of the house, leaving footprints in the sand. You need to be very careful.”“I will. And Daddy? He’s going to love me. He’s going to love me until both of our hearts burst from it all. Wouldn’t that be wonderful? Wouldn’t that be an absolutely splendid way to go?”
CHAPTER THIRTEENA Dangerous PathNow you might think that Bryony lives alone because there was never mention of a roommate. It would be a wise thing, true. If those close to her tend to end up as casualties of the cosmos, it would stand to reason that she would choose not to inflict her delightful presence upon anybody else. However, this is Seattle, and as we all know, space is a precious commodity in any big city. Prices are high, and Bryony works arranging flowers at the market, not as the CEO of some prestigious and eyebrow raising company. Not that this is a path that she couldn’t take, because she certainly could if she had the time and the inclination for it, but quite simply, the desire isn’t there. She is happy to be a flower girl and spend her days watching cheerful people (and a few irritated ones) prancing through the market. She likes listening to Eddie as he plays his clever songs, and even sings once in a while. Above all, Bryony likes to be free. She always needs the
CHAPTER FOURTEENHer Fragile HandEddie woke up one morning and realized that he had fallen for Star Girl. He knew that it would come to pass, and although grudgingly displeased with it at first, he soon came to accept the idea. He watched her as she laughed with her friends at the market. He watched as she talked wildly with her hands, explaining something to Chad the Fish Guy. He fantasized about beating up Chad the Fish Guy, out in the parking lot, preferably. When the sun was down and the cops were all looking the other way. What he would really like to do would be to tie him up and throw him off the pier and into the sea, but Eddie realized that was going a little far. A man could dream, however.Speaking of dreams: A man walked by, eating a fresh miniature doughnut from the vender, and stopped abruptly when he heard Eddie play.“I like that song, boy. Did you write it?”“Yes, sir,” Eddie said politely. He could be extremely polite if he wanted to, and something about this ma
CHAPTER FIFTEENI See YouThe girl caught his eye immediately.She was new to running, new to the trail, and her cheeks were rosy in the misty light. There was something about her, something special, a wobbling beacon shining up to the sky, only she wasn’t calling down the stars.She was calling him.And being a man of great appetites he obsessed to satiate, he knew he would answer her. Because, you see, that is the way it works, and has always worked, and this man somehow knew the girl’s whole life had been leading up to this moment.Wonderful. Simply wonderful.
CHAPTER SIXTEENLive A Thousand YearsRikki-Tikki and Syrina were watching a movie. They had reached that lazy part in their relationship where he was allowed to gain a few pounds and she was allowed to wear sweats, and occasionally go without makeup, and throw her hair back in a ponytail. All of this was perfectly acceptable and downright cozy.Although the term used was ‘watching a movie’, it would be more accurate to say a movie was on and they weren’t exactly watching it. They were dishing up bowls of ice cream and kissing in between strawberry spoonfuls, and Rikki-Tikki was telling Syrina about Samoa. He was also asking if she’d like come home with him sometime to meet his family, and Syrina was equally parts excited and nervous. What if they didn’t like her? What if she didn’t like Samoa? What if it all agreed with her so much that she never wanted to return home? How delightful! During this conversation, Rikki-Tikki brought up the subject of Bryony.“Syrina, she is going to
CHAPTER SEVENTEENA Delicate GuillotineBryony sobbed all of the way to the hospital, the note crumpled in her hand. Not Syrina. Not her dear, brave and true friend. It would be too cruel. It would be too much.She ran through the hospital doors and up to the front desk.“I am looking for my friend Syrina. Rikki-Tikki said she was here, and I’m so afraid! Is she alive? Is she hurt? Oh, won’t you help me find her?”The receptionist stared at this otherworldly woman whose soul was mixing with tears and spilling out of her ephemeral eyes. She wanted to grab the girl’s mitten-covered hands and tell her stories about faeries and trolls and great green monsters born from gardens. She wanted to ask her if she thought it would hurt terribly when death came to take her, as it most certainly would. Why, perhaps even this very minute! Time is of the essence! The receptionist opened her mouth to speak.“Bryony!”Bryony spun around at the sound of Rikki-Tikki’s voice and grabbed onto his sle