"You're beautiful and sad," I said finally, not looking at him when I did.

"Just like your eyes. You're like a song that I heard when I was a little kid but forgot I knew until I heard it again." For a long moment there was only the whirring sound of the tires on the road, and then Sam said softly, "Thank you." "It is possible to be in love with you just because of who you are." "What do you eat?" "Baby bunnies." She narrowed her eyes, so I grinned and said, "Adult bunnies, too. I'm an equal-opportunity bunny-eater." "Books are more real when you read them outside." "I fell for her in summer, my lovely summer girl, From summer she is made, my lovely summer girl, I¶d love to spend a winter with my lovely summer girl, But I¶m never warm enough for my lovely summer girl, It¶s summer when she smiles, I¶m laughing like a child, It¶s the summer of our lives; we¶ll contain it for a while She holds the heat, the breeze of summer in the circle of her hand I¶d be happy with this summer if it¶s all we ever had ." "So, Grace, how's school?" I asked myself. Dad nodded, eyes on the baby koala now struggling in the guest's arms. "Oh, it's fine," I continued, and Dad made a mumbling noise of agreement. I added, "Nothing special, aside from the load of pandas they brought in, and the teachers abandoning us to cannibalistic savages-" I paused to see if I'd caught his attention yet, then pressed on. "The whole building caught fire, then I failed drama, and then sex, sex, sex." Dad's eyes abruptly focused, and he turned to me and frowned. "What did you say they were teaching you in school?" "You two are too cute,´ the counter girl said, setting two cups piled with whipped cream on the counter. She had a sort of lopsided, open smile that made me think she laughed a lot. ³Seriously. How long have you been going out?´ Sam let go of my hands to get his wallet and took out some bills. ³Six years.´ I wrinkled my nose to cover a laugh. Of course he would count the time that we¶d been two entirely different species. Whoa.´ Counter girl nodded appreciatively. ³That¶s pretty amazing for a couple your age. Sam handed me my hot chocolate and didn¶t answer. But his yellow eyes gazed at me possessively²I wondered if he realized that the way he looked at me was far more intimate than copping a feel could ever be. I crouched to look at the almond bark on the bottom shelf in the counter. I wasn¶t quite bold enough to look at either of them when I admitted, ³Well, it was love at first sight.´ The girl sighed. ³That is just so romantic. Do me a favor, and don¶t you two ever change. The world needs more love at first sight." "Grace,´ I said, very softly. ³Say something.´ Sam,´ she said, and I crushed her to me."

"I stood on my toes and stole a soft kiss from his lips. "Surprise attack," I said. Sam leaned down and kissed me back, his mouth lingering on mine, teeth grazing my lower lip, making me shiver. "Surprise attack back." "Sneaky," I said, my voice breathier than I intended. "I said uselessly, "Sam, don't go." Sam cupped my face in his hands and looked me in the eyes. His eyes were yellow, sad, wolf, mine. "These stay the same. Remember that when you look at me. Remember it's me. Please." Please don't go." "Sam,' the girl said. 'Sam.' She was the past present and future. I wanted to answer , but I was broken." "This is a love story. I never knew there were so many kinds of love or that love could make people do so many different things. I never knew there were so many ways to say good-bye." "Sam:"Okay, what words would you use then?" i leaned back in the seat, thinking, as sam looked at me doubtfully. he was right to look doubtful. My head didnt work with words very well- at least not in this abstract, descriptive sort of way. Grace:"Sensitive" i tried. sam translated: "Squishy" Grace:"creative" Sam:"Dangerously emo" Grace:"thoughtful" Sam:"feng shui." i laughed so hard i snorted. Grace:"how did you get feng shui out of thoughtful?" Sam:"you know, because in feng shui, you arrange funiture and plants and stuff in thoughtful ways" "How long?" His smile was amazingly sweet. "The longest." For ever?" Sam's lips smiled, but above his grin, his yellow eyes turned sad, as if he knew it was a lie. "Longer." "Sam: ³You²you greatly overestimate my self-control.´ Grace: ³I¶m not looking for self -control." "..and me holding this moment that was as fragile as a bird in my hands" "Hope hurt more than the cold."

" "Some days seem to fit together like a stained glass window. first kiss tasting of oranges. but at the same time I was desperately afraid they would. but all I heard was Sam. "is so not the point of ths conversation. A life made up of promises of what could be: the possibilities contained in a stack of college applications. Too close." "Grace: It tore my heart out. the future that lay in Sam's smile. Sam kept howling. And this one loved her back." And not enough time mostly naked in frount of my bedroom window?" I teased. where I couldn't see you very well. ³I want you to listen to me. solid form in the dre am of the trees. Every bit of me sang with the memory of her closeness. winter. because I heard his voice. very soft and slow. It was a life I didn't want to leave behind. crashing butterflies. a memory of another world. "That. creamy and smooth as human skin." "I would say that by virtue of your not acting parental up to this point. I listened for a long time. the off-key songs she sang in the shower.she made her home in between the pages of books. bittersweet harmony. I couldn't stay away´ "His lips tasted cool and sharp. if you can. I remembered Sam. the half-recalled cadence of her voice. It clung to me. saying good-bye behind a cracked windshield. There was so much more to say." "Crashing into the trembling void Stretching my hand to you Losing myself to frigid regret Is this love A fragile way To say Good-bye´ "She kissed me harder. "You did read a lot." "I doubt it. Hers was a memory made up of snapshots: being dragged through the snow by a pack of wolves. The smell of summer on her skin." ". me punching his chest. breath huffing into my mouth. the soft kiss. but she loved one of them most of all. and I've made my wish. . I remembered Sam standing in the middle of the wood. when combined. It was a life I didn't want to forget. hell that was amazing. the thrill of sleeping under a strange roof.nothing anywhere but Grace and me . the sensation of her fingers on my fur. and then." "Sam: I could still smell her on my fur. how when she kissed him he knew it meant forever. I growled before I could stop myself.. Sam and I are together. Sam turned bright red. his arms stretched out. Long after the other voices had dropped away." "What are you wishing for?' Grace interrupted." "She loved all of the wolves behind her house. He loved her back so hard that even the things that weren't special about her became special: the way she tapped her pencil on her teeth. self-despratecating laugh. His howl trembled. And then I will find Grace. but his hands. fearful and immense and blossoming. create a complete picture. holding this moment that was as fragile as a bird in my hands. I remembered every kiss we¶d ever had. A hundred little pieces of different color and mood that.. I wasn't done with it yet. a funny. fluttered and twisted. Then you'll be racked with guilt. His coming to me. and me. So that. and I remembered every time I¶d curled in his human arms." And leaving you (there arent words to untangle it) Your life.' I said to her. I was drunk with it." I said. fell in anguish.she pressing her lips together as though she were keeping my kiss inside her." "Sam: And then I opened my eyes and it was just Grace and me ." "One thousand ways to say good-bye One thousands ways to cry One thousand ways to hang your hat before you go outside I say good-bye good-bye good-bye I shout it out so loud Cause the next time that I find my voice I might not remember how. I remembered the soft warmth of his breath on the back of my neck while we slept. and bit my lip." "right in this moment." "I settled on the floor and whispered to Sam." he said. 'To kiss you. the color of Sam¶s eyes. sometimes frustrated. with the scent of her. peppermint. I've folded one thousand paper crane memories of me and Grace. I'm going to wither away to absolutely nothing. Oh. a dark. The slender white trunks of the birches. you've relinquished your ability to wield any power now. I'd got too close. It's not an option. promised long days and summer and forever. to leave me alone. soft on the back of my neck. The wolves sang slowly behind him. "Immediately. and sometimes understanding Your life is sometimes a stone in you. on their way to the ground."I won't let this be my good-bye. I prayed for them to stop. And spent to much time just inside the kichen window. I remembered the way the yellow leaves." "Lunch.´ I leaned the side of my face against his ruff and remembered the golden wood he had shown me so long ago. I will find a cure. a star "Sam laughed. rose. I can´ t even remember what unhappy feels like.

because there. it's hard to imagine that it is raining anywhere in the world." she said. cold rain. the night felt dead. kicking up golden leaves. torn between wanting them to stop and wishing they would go on for ever. Shoving my pillow aside. beginning to walk again. shutting them for me. This is my last year. some low and mournful. and then he kissed me again. More voices pitched in. feeling foolish and miserable. earthy perfume.´ He kissed me.heavy pause." "Grace. I am a lie. where I¶m folded. I would be OK. I blinked a tear away. I heard him scuffling leaves behind me. But Grace. ³Oh my God. Grace." ³I²it¶s²I¶m not an animal. ³µI am alone in the world. I want to reflect everything about you. a little ragged. another night of pretending this wasn¶t the end." "Grace: I picked up my sweater from the floor and crawled back into bed. I was dying. I was here and nowhere else. and yet not lowly enough for me to be just a thing to you." "It was the perfect moment to tell her. there was no light." Another pause. I held on to that name." "There was no sun. somehow falte ring times." "If that moment had been a real thing. pressed against my muscles. my body speaking a language my head didn't quite understand. I balled up the sweater to use instead. the pages inside scraping against each other as he turned them." "Close your eyes. Sam. I imagined myself there among them in the golden woods. and then I was reborn into a world of warmth." "Sam came around the side of the car and stopped dead when he saw me. "I think i might like you. I couldn't remember what the sky looked like. we call it a HAT.´ Sam said again. his rich tone sang out above others as if begging me to hear it. I want my will and I want to go with my will as it moves towards action. the only person in the world I wanted to know me. he pressed his hand over my eyelids.´ ³Oh my God. heard the inexplicably loud sound of the cover opening. what is THAT?´ I used my thumb and middle finger to flick the multicolored pom -pom on top of my head. pinched. But I couldn¶t say it." "Sam: For once in my life. to be with someone who knows. flapping and fluttering toward the sun. voice barely audible. long. right within reach. He cupped my face in his hands and studied me. looked at the hat. shaking. Grace. and then: "oh. arent you? The girl who was in my house?" I tried to think of what i might gain by denying it and drew a blank "yes" do you have a name?" do you?" he gave a short laugh that was completely without humor but not unpleasent. before he went on. "And what was the point of this again?" . Without waiting for me." Outside. But I didn't die. I waited. as the wolves began to howl. It keeps my ears warm. Her eyes held me even after I stopped feeling her fingers gripping my arms. Pine needles. another hour. and closed the distance between us.¶´ He paused. coarse bristles on my face. the only sound his breath. and yet not alone enough to make each hour holy. ³It¶s horribly cute. watching them tilt their heads back and howl underneath a sky of endless stars. I fell asleep to the scent of my wolf. I heard a long keening wail. an eerie and beautiful chorus. ³In my language. others high and short. I knew my wolf's howl. I want to unfold.´ he said. Grace. If I kept that in my head. deep in the woods. just ran a wanting finger over the cover of one of the new hardcovers and walked out of the store without ever realising I was there. in those silent. or else alone. I am lowly in this world. my skin peeling away. ³µAnd I want. My bones squeezed. "Youre the girl.When he finally fell silent. I was lost to a sea of cold. it would've been a butterfly. dark and shrewd. "Don't go. I wanted another minute. only because I wanted it to be true so badly it hurt" "This is sams phone" there was a long. My heart ached inside me. Not yet. but I didn't go to sleep until every wolf had fallen silent. Then I felt his breath on my ear as he said. I was shaking. I vowed never to lose the pom-pom hat. I felt the love seat shift as he slid in beside me. Im Beck. It was almost like he was there." "I smiled sweetly at his embarressment." "Grace: The idea was immediately unbearable." "My chest ached." "Flickering lights anonymous doors my heart escaping in drips i'm still waking up but she's still sleeping this ICU is hotel for the dead" "Right now. I don¶t want to be folded anywhere. and then another. and I never want to be too blind or too ancient to keep your profound wavering image with me.

colsing the distance between us. auch am Verstrautesten nicht." I went to punch him." His teeth flashed in his grin. he raised his eyebrows and stopped in his tracks. Of all my pet peeves. Would you like to talk to him?" "Life's pain." I thought about it. right where Sam had put them." I pointed at him. "Why don't you?" He leaned over and gave mr the lightest of kisses. condescending adults were probably at the top of the list. I am very responsible and have never had my tongue in your daughter's mouth. You wont listen. cool and dry. even with what is most intimate. you'd have opened the door for me." he said very quietly. I'd found heaven and grabbed it as tightly as I could. 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. too fine to hold. I shook my head and stared at my white-knuckled grip on the bed. About latent emotions that couldn't be acted out. "What's that?' Beck shoved his back ineffectually against the glass door.' I shot him a dark look and let him shove against the door a moment longer before I ducked under his arms to push it open." "I was suddenly overwhelmed by what an incredible person this boy was. You just have to get over as much of it as you can. spinning to face him. He just looked at me and looked at me. "Do you you like this place or not?" I stoped in my tracks. ist uns gegeben .. even without touching him. but it was unravelling. "YOU told me about this wood somehow. I'm Grace's boyfriend. but he was starting to grin at me in the failing light. did you?" His thick black eyebrows went up even farther." "That night. His lips. . "I'm glad. so involved in the pleasure of nest building that they hadn¶t noticed that it had been empty for years.' If you did. For some reason.it's the only words we have. I wish I had written it for you." . an insubstancial thread sliding between my fingers. like every other night since I¶d met her. I frowned at him." I said. For a moment we stood there like that." he whispered "It's getting cold" "Face flushed.. 'What is it really?' Schoolbooks.Forget it!" Sam said." Verweilung." "Are you alone?" So that's what this call was about. Just simple little picters. perfect shadows that shift and glow. Do you like it?" Under false pretence. Sam's voice was low. "You know I love it. They were like busy little brainless birds. I noticed that his grin was sli pping away. him looking down at me with a grin half -caught on his face. I was probably staring. Just pictures. I could feel the heat of his body. 'Your brian. "Elvis is here.." His hands were still raise. ever so polite and incredibly maddening. We're going to educate you properly. "No. "What do you want me to say?" You were trying to see if I would reconize it." "All these perfect days. Just not your skin." I felt like things were getting away from me. so you don't grow up to be an idiot." I just kept looking at the soft. "-and i am a boy waiting-for the heat and fruitfulness of summer. Did you evan intend to look for him at all?" He held his hands up as if a surrender. It's how we speek." "As I handed her the bag. I curled Grace into my arms. and he grabed my wrists." "One happy day for every falling leaf you catch. and by the fact that he was mine and I was his. "This is Rilke. "Hey. Waiting for my lovely summer girl "I had this feeling that he and I. It would've been the perfect moment to kiss me. suffering under the weight of a huge box. Please notic e the chaste distance between us. The grine widened So do you like it?" When you knew we wouldn't come across anybody else. and by the time I relizeed I could just as easily kiss him. "Hello.. You knew I would. "I have to get inside soon. made of glass Put on the shelf where they can cast perfect shadows that stretch and grow on the imperfect days down below. and instead of putting on the brakes. and me lookingup at him: Still Life with Boy and Girl. standing in front of me. in the increasing cold of the day. listening to her parents¶ muffled movements in the living room. sad shape of his lips.' I already have a brain. You HAVE changed Grace. fluttering in and out of their nest at all hours of the day or night." Anouther step forward. I want you to believe me. the old scars on my wrist throbbed with buried memories. the question made my throat tighten. "You were supposed to kiss me. in this moment." "There was something awful about terror trapped behind silence. but he didn't. looking just like his voice sounded. I was hitting the accelerator. "You didn't think Jack would be here at all. How did you show it to me?" I keep trying to tell you. Sam slowly lowered my wrists and relesed them. Because you're stubbon. anouther back. So you brought me here to see this. wern't you?" I took anouther step." I stepped forward again. My arms still hung by my sides. "Do you like it?" I punched my hands into his chest.We are not allowed to linger. were a car crash.waiting to see who will walk out of those woods for me. Grace's parents. and he stepped back.

even after he opened his fist to show me the quivering leaves crumpled in his palm. I miss you. or when you're shifting."     "This is the story of a boy who used to be a wolf. until the day they decided I needed to die. "I remember being intrigued by the idea of school-in-a-box. a boy stuck between two lives. He spred out his arms. One happy day for every falling leaf you catch.. "I haven't stopped." "My wolf was a cute guy and he was holding my hand. So instead. getting bitten doesn't make you into a monster. but when she said my name. feeling utterly empty. but i didn't have the courage." "I was born with these eyes. I waited for you to change. Telling you I saw you naked while I was another species does not help my case" ." "I remember lying in the snow. and a girl who became one." "My parents had always been so careful with me.his yellow eyes gazed at me possessively -." ". Like I'm jingling my keys and you're jumping by the door waiting for your walk" "Woof. I watched the shy way he was chewing his lip and studying the leaves. yellow eyes catching and holding me. a smal l red spot of warm going cold. "Did you know you get one happy day for everyone you catch?" I didn't know what he meant. letting them fall into his hands. and I've made my wish. You are what you are." "Are you sure you want to go out with someone with that kind of history? ." "I'm trying to make you think I'm a decent person. My life is in that bed." "You look like a puppy. but instead.. surrounded by wolves.I wondered if he realized that the way he looked at me was far more intimate than copping a feel could ever be. so if you're naturally angry or violent." And I should've said something romantic too." Sam's voice was low. I didn¶t know what I was supposed to say to her. And then I will find Grace. "That must've been very borring. every night. you get worse. When you're a wolf. I've folded one thousand paper crane memories of me and Grace. he dropped his eyes to the ground and scuffed his boots in the leaves. you don't have human inhibitions. I watched the egdes of the leaves slowly unfold." "I [Sam] just looked at her [the nurse].. I won't let this be my good-bye. LikeI was born for this life.on the ground. I knew I d do anything to stay with her. either."I didn t think I belonged here in her world. I will find a cure. and said. All the time'.He could have a psychotic break. I read that people get those when they're twenty-eight. fluttering in the breeze." "Avoiding a bathtub because your parents tried to kill you in one isn't the same as avoiding your entire life by becoming a wolf.countless possibilities for happy days. just-add-water-and-Sam. dragging the dangers of the wolves with me. Please let me stay. It just makes you a wolf. I knew what would happen. waiting for me to follow. I could die happy.."How long did you wait?" It would have been romantic if hr'd had the courage to look into my face to say it." "Sam looked at me. 'I miss being me." A chilly gust of wind lifter his hair and sent a shower of golden leaves glimmering down around him. " "After you were bitten. so I could bring you back and keep you from getting hurt. He looked like a dark an gel in an eternal autumn wood." "Look.

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