And I'd noticed her eyes, the lightest blue, and alive, moving here and there and then staring straight on. And now there's darkness under her eyes like she hasn't slept well for too many days, almost like someone punched her just hard enough to leave a little black, a quarter-moon smudge under each eye.
Thank you, Morrigan. This is very helpful," I said, already feeling myself warming up. "And delivered to me entirely without pain." The Morrigan sucker-punched me hard in the face, sending me sprawling in the snow and breaking my nose. "You spoke too soon and with entirely too much sarcasm," she said. "We could have parted with a kiss. Remember that....
Look at all the misery in the Middle East, for example. All these countries have Islam in common, and far too few dare to criticize Islam as an ideology, and what it's doing to these countries. I know I might get punched in the face for saying these things, but my conviction is that less religion in the world would be better.
at first I thought you were just using me" she said "I definitely am." I just wasn't sure for what. "Asshole!" she said, and punched me in the side. And she laughed as my kidney began to hemorrhage. That's the beauty of honesty. Everyones so unused to hearing it they just assume you're kidding, and you get to feel very good and forthcoming without suffering any consequences except for traces of blood in your urine for the next day or two.
You just punched a prince, Alina. I guess we can add one more act of treason to our list.' I shook out my sore hand. My knuckles smarted. 'First of all, are we so sure he really is a prince? And second, you're just jealous.' 'Of course I'm jealous. I thought I was going to get to punch him. That isn't the point.
I was onstage one night and was singing. I hit one note, and I just doubled over. It was like being punched hard in the back. I couldn't put my back up on the plane seat because of the pain. I got massages, thinking it was muscle spasms. The doctor told me at the time that it was my pancreas. I didn't even know.
Once he entered the city, unnoticed by its people. He found in it two men fighting-one of his own sect, and one from his enemies. The one of his sect solicited his assistance against the one from his enemies; so Moses punched him, and put an end to him. He said, "This is of Satan's doing; he is an enemy that openly misleads."
I do know that I can take a punch. I've been punched in the face three times. That's, I think, a really important thing to know about yourself. It helps you in life. It helps you be brave when you know you can take a punch. I'm a lover, not a fighter. But, God bless me, I can take a punch.
The first time I tried to put a new diaper on my baby, I yanked the little Velcro strap too jerkily and actually punched the little guy in the jaw. A real solid shot, too. I knew instinctively that this could not be correct. Unless you're specifically trying to raise a welterweight, continual deliverance of powerful uppercuts is not advised when handling newborns.
I walk around - people know who I am. I've got friends. I can make ends meet. I grew up around people who have been hustling from the start, so I think I've got a bright little future ahead of me - especially if I don't fight. Why would I want to go out there and fight with somebody, get my face punched and kicked. It's not my idea of a good time.
So I get to be the bitch now? Fine. Then you, my friend, are the scary girl. 'He doesn't hit me. He doesn't abuse me. He doesn't cheat on me.' Can you hear yourself? If those are the standards you have-hey, he hasn't punched me, so everything must be okay!-that scares me. That makes me think that at some point you've used these justifications. 'Oh, it's really bad right now, and he's being awful... but at least he's not hitting me. Have a little more respect for yourself than that, okay?
It's not my dreams that get me in trouble, it's what my wife dreams I did. My wife punched me in the middle of the night; I woke up and went Oww! What was that for?, and she goes I dreamt you were making out with Faith Hill. I said I wasn't dreaming anything! Send her over to my dreams, and we'll both be happy.
But my personal favorite words of wisdom came from Gulley during the last thirty minutes of the trip, when she broke up a backseat scuffle by declaring, 'When you lick the person sitting next to you, there's a good chance you're going to get punched.' I believe the only reason that gem is missing from the book of Proverbs is because Solomon must never have traveled with three kids in the back of his chariot.
I remember an incident overseas about five years ago where a player punched a referee and knocked him cold. I don't think anything like that will ever happen in the NBA. Emotions run rampant. The games are so intense, and the stakes are so high. (But) At the end of the day, players and coaches really respect officials and really appreciate that they try to do a good job.
I have a deep, scratchy voice. Boys would call me Froggy, and my father would often tell me to shut my 'big bazoo.' I remember standing in line for confession. After I walked out, the other kids were like, 'You punched your sister in the face?' Because of my voice, my confession was like speaking into a loudspeaker.
Siobhan Fallon Hogan
The violence you witness is Denzel doing it and we're taking some visual effects and doing some things and you see something happen it's happening in front of you as opposed to cutting away and doing a bunch of tricks. It's in front of you. So it's hard not to make it a hard "R" if you see a guy get punched and teeth wind up in someone's knuckles.
The glove suddenly feels much heavier, now, more dense. The rush of power didn't come through me, but wrapped around me; invisible and strangely empty, like a purely mechanical force. It wasn't like I just got stronger; it was separate from me, like something stepped in and punched him instead of me. I pull the glove off gingerly, half afraid I'll punch my own fingers off.
If you're a cartoon character or most TV characters, sure, you'll fight, because the punches are juicy-sounding and they don't leave marks. But in real life, if somebody punches you in the eye, it doesn't make any noise and your eye is swollen for, like, six months. It's a nightmare to get punched in the eye.
Louis C. K.
Love the quick profit, the annual raise, vacation with pay. Want more of everything ready-made. Be afraid to know your neighbors and to die. And you will have a window in your head. Not even your future will be a mystery any more. Your mind will be punched in a card and shut away in a little drawer. When they want you to buy something they will call you. When they want you to die for profit they will let you know.
I got in my car and followed [Marlon Brando] down to Chinatown, and got about twelve shots. Brando called me over and said, What else do you want that you don't have already? And I said, I'd like a picture without the sunglasses. He said no and punched me right in the jaw, It was so fast I didn't see it coming. Blood was gushing out of my mouth. I drove to Bellevue. The jawbone and five teeth were broken... To this day he has scars on his knuckles from my teeth.
Sexcastle is a perfect mix of homage and comedy, action and irony, loving tribute and hilarious send-up of the great, good, and ungodly-bad action movies of the '80s. I don't remember the last time a debut book hit me this hard. Literally, this book punched me in the face. It's THAT mean.
Curran let our a ragged snarl and punched the other wall. It burst and the entire wreck of the house came down in a fountain of dust. He shook his hand, his knuckles bloody. "Bricks are hard, " I told him patiently, as if to a child. "Don't hit bricks. No, no." Curran picked up a brick and snapped it in half. Idiot
I was going straight for Mantis, but then that bloody gas got in my eyes and, I don't know, some massive bloke reared up in front of me. I hit him, but I swear, it was like hiting a wall." Gracious nodded. "You hit a wall." Maybury blinked at him. "I what?" "I saw it. You ran into a cloud of gas and stumbled around for a second until you reached a wall, and then you shrieked and punched it. It was very heroic.
In an effort to civilize combat sports, authorities mandated padded gloves and instantly made the sports far more savage. Granted, putting gloves on the hands seems like a nice thing to do. If you were being punched in the brain by a powerful man, wouldn't you rather he strap a pillow around his fist? But the glove doesn't do anything to diminish your brain damage.
Seth threw me a mischievous grin. 'I can't have Marcus just walking in on us. What if I want to snuggle on these cold New York nights?' My frown increased. 'We don't snuggle.' He dropped his arm over my shoulder, and the scent of mint and something wild tickled my nose. 'How about we cuddle?' 'We don't do that either.' 'But you're my cuddle bunny. My little Apollyon cuddle-' I punched him in the side.
Jennifer L. Armentrout
You've one mark on your record, ' Tamas said. 'You once punched a na-baron in the face. Broke his jaw. Tell me about that.' Olem grimaced. 'Officially, sir, I was pushing him out of the way of a runaway carriage. Saved his life. Half my company saw it.' 'With your fist?' 'Aye.' 'And unofficially?' 'The man was a git. He shot my dog because it startled his horse.' 'And if I ever have cause to shoot your dog?' 'I'll punch you in the face.' 'Fair enough. You have the job.
Hey, Melissa-is there anything I should know about having this kid that isn't in the books I've been reading?" Sunlight streamed through the window, making the golden, hormone-induced mutton chops glisten upon my cheeks. As I waited for her answer, I thumbed through the glossy parenting magazines on her kitchen table. A candle flickered by the sink, adding sweetness to the spit-up scented air that was gutting punched in the face by a diaper change...
Wraith shoved his hands in his jeans' pockets. "How long before we consider you overdue and mount a rescue party?" "Never." Reaver shrugged into his shirt. "If I don't come back, it is because I'm either dead or in a situation that's too dangerous to get me out of." "Oh," Sin said brightly-and sarcastically. "You mean like the situation Harvester is in." Seminus demons were annoying no matter what gender. "Yes. Like that." She punched him lightly in the shoulder. "Good. Glad we're clear. Try to come back soon or we'll come after you.
Impossible. I merely brought the essentials. Clothes, my favorite boots, face cream, makeup, a few books to read, a couple cans of caviar, lingerie, and my coffeepot. Plus a few other things a girl like me just can't live without but can't mention in mixed company because it would be indelicate. You know, because they're sexual." - at "lingerie," Hector and Dallas had stood a little straighter. At "sexual," they'd moaned. Jaxon punched them both in the back of the head.
Patch was dressed in the usual: black shirt, black jeans and a thin silver necklace that flashed against his dark complexion. His sleeves were pushed up his forearms, and I could see his muscles working as he punched buttons. He was tall and lean and hard, and I wouldn't have been surprised if under his clothes he bore several scars, souvenirs from street fights and other reckless behavior. Not that I wanted a look under his clothes.
And there's no synthetic owners manual?' His lips twitched, smile threatening to break into a grin. A joke. He wasn't funny. 'Do you come with an owners' manual, Captain? Because I'd like to study your troubleshooting section.' 'Would you like to strip me down to my nuts and bolts, and figure out what makes me tick?' 'I knew what made you tick from the moment we first met. That's why I punched you between the legs.' ~ #1001 & Caleb
Wyatt Earp had been born, and born again, and now there would be a third life, for the iron fist that had seized his soul in childhood had lost its grip at last. The long struggle for control was over, and in its place, he found a wordless acceptance of a truth he'd always known. He was bred to this anger. It had been in him since the cradle. He'd never bullied neighbors or beaten a horse. He'd never punched the front teeth out of a six-year-old's mouth or hit a woman until she begged. But he was no better than his father, and never had been. He was far, far worse.
Mary Doria Russell
I didn't get fired." "You didn't punch your boss and get fired from the Tribune? That's what I heard." "I punched what could loosely be called a colleague for cribbing my notes on a story and since the editor""who happened to be the asshole's uncle""took his word over mine, I quit." "To write books. Is it fun?" "I guess it is." "I bet you killed the asshole in the first one you wrote." "You'd be right. Beat him to death with a shovel. Very satisfying.
Steve's head dropped and stared at his feet. After a weighty, uncomfortable pause, he issued a challenge that would haunt me for days. " Do you want to spend the rest of your life selling sugared water, or do you want a chance to change the world?" Sculley felt as if he had been punched in the stomach. There was no response possible other than to acquiesce. " He had a uncanny ability to always get what he wanted, to size up a person and know exactly what to say to reach a person, " Sculley recalled.
Pete offered tobacco and paper, but Claude brought out his cigarettes and they both decided to try those. Pete provided the match. When he had their cigarettes burning strongly he turned to look back at the road, then straight up ahead. "We'll get there for supper if we get there, " he said, and Claude laughed. Pete was a young man, but had a wild old grin stretched all out of shape in the corners and punched full of holes.
I'm pretty well. So's the family, and so's the boys, except for a sort of rash as is a running through the school, and rather puts 'em off their feed. But it's a ill wind as blows no good to nobody; that's what I always say when them lads has a wisitation. A wisitation, sir, is the lot of mortality. Mortality itself, sir, is a wisitation. The world is chock full of wisitations; and if a boy repines at a wisitation and makes you uncomfortable with his noise, he must have his head punched. That's going according to the Scripter, that is.
I don't remember you being this reasonable before, " Lissa said. "It's because everyone has different definitions of 'reasonable. ' Mine's just misunderstood, that's all. " Christian's voice was lofty. "I think you must be misunderstood a lot, " she laughed. His eyes held hers, and the smile on his face transformed into something warmer and softer. "Well, I hope this isn't misunderstood. Otherwise, I might get punched. " Leaning over, he brought his lips to hers. Lissa responded with no hesitation or thought whatsoever, losing herself in the sweetness of the kiss.
What are you doing in there, waxing your mustache?" Iggy yelled, pounding on the bathroom door. I yanked the door open and pushed him backward hard, making him stagger. "I don't have a mustache, you idiot!" Iggy giggled and put his arms up to protect himself in case I punched him. "And you know what?" I added. "You don't have one either. Well, maybe in a couple years. You can always hope." I left him in the hallway, anxiously fingering his upper lip.
She stood up and took the book from him, and as he smiled over his shoulder at some other kids, she threw it away and kicked him as hard as she could in the vicinity of the groin. Well, as you might imagine, Ludwig Schmeikl certainly buckled, and on the way down, he was punched in the ear. When he landed, he was set upon. When he was set upon, he was slapped and clawed and obliterated by a girl who was utterly consumed with rage. His skin was so warm and soft. Her knuckles and fingernails were so frighteningly tough, despite their smallness. You Saukerl." Her voice, too, was able to scratch him. "You Arschloch. Can you spell Arschloch for me?
Pearl rolled a tiny pink speck in her fingers, possibly part of Rose's new leg that I'd tried so hard to make a good match. Pearl laughed and flicked it away as if it was snot out of her nose. I suddenly couldn't stand it. I rushed at her.She saw I wasn't playing around. She ran for it but I caught up with her along the landing. I punched her hard in the chest and she staggered back wards - back and back, and then she wobbled and went right over, down the stairs.
Naw, Jem. I think that there is just one kind of folks. Folks." Jen turned and punched his pillow. WHen he settle back his face was cloudy. He was going in to one of his declines, and I grew wary. His brows came together; his mouth became a thin line. He was silent for a while. That is what I thought, too, " he said at last, "when I was your age. If there is just one kind of folks, why can't they get along with each other? If they're all alike, why do they go ut of their way to despise each other? Scout, I think I am beginning to understand something. I think I'm beginning to understand why Boo Radley stayed shut up in the house all this time... it's because he wants to stay inside
I was stunned. I pulled the phone away and looked quizzically at the hole-punched speaker. Aside from the blood obligation to be my sister's maid of honor, it had never occured to me that I would get asked to be in anyone's wedding. I thought we had reached an understanding, the institution of marriage and I. Weddings are the like the triathlon of female friendship: the Shower, the Bachelorette Party, and the Main Event. It's the Iron Woman and most people never make it through. They fall off their bikes or choke on ocean water. I figured if I valued my life, I'd stay away from weddings and they'd stay away from me.
She studied me with concern. She touched the new streak of gray in my hair that matched hers exactly-our painful souvenir from holding Atlas's burden. There was a lot I'd wanted to say to Annabeth, but Athena had taken the confidence out of me. I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I do not approve of your friendship with my daughter. "So, " Annabeth said. "What did you want to tell me earlier?" The music was playing. People were dancing in the streets. I said, "I, uh, was thinking we got interrupted at Westover Hall. And... I think I owe you a dance." She smiled slowly. "All right, Seaweed Brain." So I took her hand, and I don't know what everybody else heard, but to me it sounded like a slow dance: a little sad, but maybe a little hopeful, too.
I'm Draco Malfoy, I'm Draco, I'm on your side!" Draco was on the upper landing, pleading with another masked Death Eater. Harry Stunned the Death Eater as they passed: Malfoy looked around, beaming, for his savior, and Ron punched him from under the cloak. Malfoy fell backward on top of the Death Eater, his mouth bleeding, utterly bemused. "And that's the second time we've saved your life tonight, you two-faced bastard!" Ron yelled.
It wasn't until Hope fluttered over and landed at Alex's feet, peering questioningly up at him, that he finally tore his hands away from his eyes.Oh, my God, he said, sounding disgusted. Why is there a bird looking at me?That's Miss Oliviera's bird, Henry volunteered cheerfully. The captain gave it to her as a present.Kayla punched me in the arm. John's got his captain's license? she whispered. You are so lucky. Frank says he just loads cargo.I glanced at Frank. I wondered if Kayla would like him as much if she knew the cargo he loaded was human souls.
Yes, well'-he pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose delicately-'the burner phone we had accidentally fell out of the car, and someone accidentally backed over it. Because someone was in a rush after she accidentally alerted some skip tracers we were nearby when she accidentally used her abilities to move a light pole out of the road after she had accidentally backed into it.' 'Someone better shut their mouth before I accidentally slam my fist into their teeth.' She punched his shoulder, and it was almost... playful. 'Shut his mouth, fist into his teeth.' 'Really? A grammar lesson?
I love analogies! Let's have one. Imagine that you dearly love, absolutely crave, a particular kind of food. There are some places in town that do this particular cuisine just amazingly. Lots of people who are into this kind of food hold these restaurants in high regard. But let's say, at every single one of these places, every now and then throughout the meal, at random moments, the waiter comes over and punches any women at the table right in the face. And people of color and/or LGBT folks as well! Now, most of the white straight cis guys who eat there, they have no problem-after all, the waiter isn't punching them in the face, and the non-white, non-cis, non-straight, non-guys who love this cuisine keep coming back so it can't be that bad, can it? Hell, half the time the white straight cis guys don't even see it, because it's always been like that and it just seems like part of the dining experience. Granted, some white straight cis guys have noticed and will talk about how they don't like it and they wish it would stop. Every now and then, you go through a meal without the waiter punching you in the face-they just give you a small slap, or come over and sort of make a feint and then tell you they could have messed you up bad. Which, you know, that's better, right? Kind of? Now. Somebody gets the idea to open a restaurant where everything is exactly as delicious as the other places-but the waiters won't punch you in the face. Not even once, not even a little bit. Women and POC and LGBT and various combinations thereof flock to this place, and praise it to the skies. And then some white, straight, cis dude-one of the ones who's on record as publicly disapproving of punching diners in the face, who has expressed the wish that it would stop (maybe even been very indignant on this topic in a blog post or two) says, 'Sure, but it's not anything really important or significant. It's getting all blown out of proportion. The food is exactly the same! In fact, some of it is awfully retro. You're just all relieved cause you're not getting punched in the face, but it's not really a significant development in this city's culinary scene. Why couldn't they have actually advanced the state of food preparation? Huh? Now that would have been worth getting excited about.' Think about that. Seriously, think. Let me tell you, being able to enjoy my delicious supper without being punched in the face is a pretty serious advancement. And only the folks who don't get routinely assaulted when they try to eat could think otherwise.
Eve turned away as a whispered 'yes, ma'am' reached her ears. She closed her eyes and breathed deeply. Why was she saving this asshole? Eve opened her eyes and unlocked the heavy steel bolt securing the five-by-two slab of oak. She looked back, ready to give him the signal to haul ass, when all the air punched from her lungs. Naked. It was the only word her stunned mind could form. Eve spun in place, and her rear bumped against the door. Guerin stood there, completely nude, with his briefs and coat in his grip. 'W-wh-what are you doing?' Dear God, she was stuttering like a young girl who'd never seen 'boy parts' before.
That bar also delineated the realm of sweat and hourly wage, the working world that college was educating me to leave. Rewards in that realm were few. No one congratulated you for clocking out. Your salary was spare. The Legion served as recompense. So the physical comforts you bouth there-hot boudain sausage and cold beer-had value. You attended the place, by which I mean you not only went there but gave it attention your job didn't deserve. Pool got shot not as metaphor for some corporate battle, but as itself alone. And the spiritual comforts-friendship, for instance-couldn't be confused with payback for something you'd accomplished, for in the Legion everybody punched the same clock, drew the same wage, won the same prize.
I stopped right in front of him, personal space be damned, and asked, 'Can we do this again?' He flashed me his gorgeous smile, dimples and all. 'Yeah... I'd like that.' I smiled right back. I turned and pulled open the door, holding it for him. We stepped outside, stopping on the sidewalk. I pulled out my cell and handed it to him. Darren took it, punched in his number and when his cell rang, he pulled his phone out. 'Now I've got your number, too, ' he said. 'You'll have to save mine to your contacts.' He handed my phone back, and I gave him one of the bags. 'Will do. Can I call you tomorrow?' 'Tomorrow's Opening Day, ' Darren said. 'Wanna catch the game together?' I think my heart skipped a beat. 'Yeah... I'd like that.
Women in the online gaming community have been harassed, threatened, and driven out. Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist media critic who documented such incidents, received support for her work, but also, in the words of a journalist, 'another wave of really aggressive, you know, violent personal threats, her accounts attempted to be hacked. And one man in Ontario took the step of making an online video game where you could punch Anita's image on the screen. And if you punched it multiple times, bruises and cuts would appear on her image.' The difference between these online gamers and the Taliban men who, last October, tried to murder fourteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai for speaking out about the right of Pakistani women to education is one of degree. Both are trying to silence and punish women for claiming voice, power, and the right to participate. Welcome to Manistan.
The things of your life arrived in their own time, like a train you had to catch. Sometimes this was easy, all you had to do was step onto it, the train was plush and comfortable and full of people smiling at you in a hush, and a conductor who punched your ticket and tousled your head with his big hand, saying, Ain't you pretty, ain't you the prettiest girl now, lucky lady taking a big train trip with your daddy, while you sank into the dreamy softness of your seat and sipped ginger ale from a can and watched the world float in magical silence past your window, the tall buildings of the city in the crisp autumn light and then the backs of the houses with laundry flapping and a crossing with gates where a boy was waving from his bicycle, and then the woods and fields and a single cow eating grass... Because sometimes it was one way, easy, and sometimes it was the other, not easy; the things of your life roared down to you and it was all you could do to grab hold and hang on. Your old life ended, and the train took you away to another...
Dale, a Plutonian Dreg Bug, the kind with seventeen eyes and a bad temper, got nailed in one of his eyes by a wild dart. Fight broke out when he punched Earl in the nose. Earl's nose is very sensitive, hell it's how he sees, sort of. Earl plopped down on the floor crying when a Flying Mugwhap flew over and ate Dale's eye. Dale grabbed the Mugwhap and squeezed a good deal of the life out of it before the bouncer stopped him. Karen, the bouncer, is a reticulated Hive Mother, and a mean mother when she's pissed off. She walked over and flicked Dale upside his head. That flick knocked Dale out cold, and cost him two more eyes when he hit the wall. She helped Earl up and bought him a drink. A nasty drink by all the comments I've heard. Something between varnish and the stuff people get in the corners of their mouths with a nice aftertaste of silver polish. Earl seemed to like it though.
This is a world where things move at their own pace, including a tiny lift Fortey and I shared with a scholarly looking elderly man with whom Fortey chatted genially and familiarly as we proceeded upwards at about the rate that sediments are laid down. When the man departed, Fortey said to me: "That was a very nice chap named Norman who's spent forty-two years studying one species of plant, St. John's wort. He retired in 1989, but he still comes in every week." "How do you spend forty-two years on one species of plant?" I asked. "It's remarkable, isn't it?" Fortey agreed. He thought for a moment. "He's very thorough apparently." The lift door opened to reveal a bricked over opening. Fortey looked confounded. "That's very strange," he said. "That used to be Botany back there." He punched a button for another floor, and we found our way at length to Botany by means of back staircases and discreet trespass through yet more departments where investigators toiled lovingly over once-living objects.
You're Nash's brother. And a grim reaper?" She blinked again, and I readied myself for hysterics, or fear, or laughter. But knowing emma, I should have known better. "So you, what? Kill people? Did you kill me that day in the gym?" She clenched the headrest, her expression an odd mix of anger, awe, and confusion. But there was no disbelief. She'd seen and heard enough of the bizarre following her own temporary death that Tod's admission obviously didn't come as that much of a surprise. Or maybe Nash's Influence was still affecting her a little. "No, " Tod shook his head firmly, but the corners of his mouth turned up in amusement. "I had nothing to do with that. I do kill people, then I reap their souls and take them to be recycled. But only people who are on my list." "So, you're not... dangerous?" His pouty grin deepened into something almost predatory, like the Tod I'd first met two months earlier. "Oh, I'm dangerous... " "Tod... " I warned, as Nash punched his brother in the arm, hard enough to actually hurt. "Just not to you, " the reaper finished, shrugging at Emma. "I see you all the time, but you've never seen me, because Kaylee said if I got too close to you, I'd suffer eternity without my balls." "Jeez, Tod!" I shouted, my anger threatening to boil over and scald us all. The reaper leaned closer to Emma and spoke in a stage whisper. "She's not as scary as she thinks she is, but I respect her intent.
Galen punched his brother hard. "You bastard! You married and din't tell me?" Bathymaas moved to blast him. Aricle stopped her. "I'ts alright my lady. That's his normal reaction." "He needs to find another." Bathymaas "How could you have not told me? I'm your brother! Your twin! When did you marry?" Galen "While you were all gone." Aricles "Have you any idea the shit storm you are about to unleash?" Caleb "It's why I backed down from the fighting. I didn't want anyone hurt. Least of all Bathymaas." Aricles Malphas growled. "Now I want to punch you... But I understand." He rubbed his gold necklace that never left him. "The heart wants what it wants, and nothing will deny it. But damn... " He turned his glare to Bathymaas. "Damn." "So what does this mean?" Monokles "The gods will attack her for this. Openly. Those who hate her will say that she can no longer perform her duties because she's been corrupted by the thouch of a mortal. And they will be after Aricles with everything they have." Caleb "I still don't trust him. He bowed out when we needed him the most." Phelix "To protect his wife." Haides reminded Phelix. "Right or wrong, I doubt there's a one of us who wouldn't do whatever he had to to keep his woman safe." Haides "he's right, there's nothing I wouldn't do to protect my wife and her honor." Monokles Galen hugged Bathymaas and then his brother. "I hate you." galen "I hate you too." Aricles Bathymaas scowled. "We don't mean it, my lady. Rather, it's our way of saying that we're still mad, but are willing to forgive." Aricles "Mortals are so strange." Bathymaas
The door handle turned. Someone knocked, and a man's voice called, "Uh, hello?" Valkyrie looked at Skulduggery, looked back at the others, looked at Skulduggery again. "Hello, " Skulduggery said, speaking loudly to be heard over the alarm. "Hi, " said the man. "The door's locked." "Is it?" "Yes." "That's funny" said Skulduggery. "Hold on a moment." He reached out, jiggled the handle a few times, then stepped back. "Yes, it's locked. You wouldn't happen to have the key, would you?" There was a delay in response from the other side. "I'm sorry, " the man called, "Who am I speaking with?" Skulduggery tilted his head. "Who am I speaking with?" "This is Oscar Nightfall." "Are you sure?" "What?" "Are you sure you are who you say you are? This is the Great Chamber, after all. It's a very important place for very important people. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that someone, and I'm not saying that this applies to you in particular, but someone could conceivably lie about who they are in order to gain access to this room. I have to be vigilant, especially now. There's a war on, you know." Oscar Nightfall sounded puzzled. Who are you?" "Me? I'm nobody. I'm a cleaner. I'm one of the cleaners. I was cleaning the thrones and the door shut behind me. Now I can't get out. Could you try and find a key?" "What's your name? Give me you name." "No. It's mine." "Tell me your name!" "My name is Oscar Nightfall." "What? No it isn't. That's my name." "Is it? Since when?" "Since I took it!" "You didn't ask me if you could take it. I was using it first." "Open this door immediately." "I don't have the key." "I'll fetch the Cleavers." "I found the key. It was in the keyhole. It's always the last place you look isn't it? I'm unlocking the door now. Here we go." Skulduggery relaxed the air pressure, opened the door, and pulled Oscar Nightfall inside. Valkyrie stuck out her foot, and Oscar stumbled over it and Vex shoved him to Ghastly and Ghastly punched him. Oscar fell down and didn't get up again. Skulduggery closed the door once more.
The hit-woman opened the door. No dead body on the floor. Thank God. I heard an unearthly roar and then Jordan charged Liz from where she'd been hiding beside the door. She tackled her to the floor and stabbed her through the wrist with a small switchblade. The hit-woman shrieked and let go of the gun, allowing Jordan precious seconds to bat it across the room. She landed a couple hard punches to the assassin's nose, bloodying it, before the other woman got the upper hand. She grabbed a handful of Jordan's ponytail and slammed her head into the edge of the coffee table. Jordan cried out, but didn't let go of the knife. She withdrew it and held it against the assassin's throat, shouting, 'Move again and I'll kill you, puta!' Liz panted madly, but stayed put. Jordan glanced up at me. 'You okay?' 'Alive, ' I said through a grimace. 'Not okay.' 'Good enough.' She returned her gaze to the woman pinned beneath her and glared. 'The police are on their way. And not the nice, human police. Angels. Get any ideas about trying to kill me again and you won't even get to deal with them.' 'I've been in jail before, ' Liz said, attempting to recapture her former arrogance. 'I'll get over it.' Jordan leaned down a few inches, lowering her voice. 'Really? How'd you like to return without your tongue?' Liz's eyes went wide, as did mine. 'You wouldn't dare.' 'You shot my best friend. Multiple times. Lex talionis.' 'You can't kill me. You're not a policewoman. You're just a girl.' 'No. I'm a Seer. You and the rest of your friends had better learn the difference between a sheep and a wolf in sheep's clothing. Until then... ' She lifted her fist and punched Liz hard in the temple. The assassin went out like a light. 'Vaya con dios, bitch.
I smiled sweetly at his embarressment, beginning to walk again, kicking up golden leaves. I heard him scuffling leaves behind me. "And what was the point of this again?" Forget it!" Sam said. "Do you you like this place or not?" I stoped in my tracks, spinning to face him. "Hey." I pointed at him; he raised his eyebrows and stopped in his tracks. "You didn't think Jack would be here at all, did you?" His thick black eyebrows went up even farther. Did you evan intend to look for him at all?" He held his hands up as if a surrender. "What do you want me to say?" You were trying to see if I would reconize it, wern't you?" I took anouther step, colsing the distance between us. I could feel the heat of his body, even without touching him, in the increasing cold of the day. "YOU told me about this wood somehow. How did you show it to me?" I keep trying to tell you. You wont listen. Because you're stubbon. It's how we speek- it's the only words we have. Just pictures. Just simple little picters. You HAVE changed Grace. Just not your skin. I want you to believe me." His hands were still raise, but he was starting to grin at me in the failing light. So you brought me here to see this." I stepped forward again, and he stepped back. Do you like it?" Under false pretence." Anouther step forward; anouther back. The grine widened So do you like it?" When you knew we wouldn't come across anybody else." His teeth flashed in his grin. "Do you like it?" I punched my hands into his chest. "You know I love it. You knew I would." I went to punch him, and he grabed my wrists. For a moment we stood there like that, him looking down at me with a grin half-caught on his face, and me lookingup at him: Still Life with Boy and Girl. It would've been the perfect moment to kiss me, but he didn't. He just looked at me and looked at me, and by the time I relizeed I could just as easily kiss him, I noticed that his grin was slipping away. Sam slowly lowered my wrists and relesed them. "I'm glad." he said very quietly. My arms still hung by my sides, right where Sam had put them. I frowned at him. "You were supposed to kiss me." I thought about it." I just kept looking at the soft, sad shape of his lips, looking just like his voice sounded. I was probably staring, but I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted him to kiss me and how stupide it was to want it so badly. "Why don't you?" He leaned over and gave mr the lightest of kisses. His lips, cool and dry, ever so polite and incredibly maddening. "I have to get inside soon, " he whispered "It's getting cold
The phone rang. It was a familiar voice. It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do. In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk." O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in. "Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here, " Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about." The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about, " especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real. "We have an extraordinary opportunity, " Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy." Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do. The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government. But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry. Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad. "It's me, " he said, always his opening. He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off. "I think I'm going to have to do this." She was quiet. "You know what I think, " she said. She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him. "Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it." But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed. Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate. And then he realized she was crying.