I shook my head. You have too many variables, and on a trip like this, you can’t afford them.
It doesn’t matter. But it does.And look what I have, I say, opening my bag. All these leaves. All this metal. It has to be good for something. If not for this, you can use it for your fish. I reach for one of the buckets among the work gear on the shelves and dump the leaves inside. There, I say. For you.
True looks shocked. Where did you get those?I flush. Does he think I’m a thief? I suppose I am. From the trees by the temple, I say.For some reason that answer seems to satisfy True. I’ll help you, he says, but you have to promise me that you won’t try this before it’s safe. You can’t do what you did with the eels and jump right in.
I promise. I’ll wait until it’s safe.I can’t tell if you’re lying. He sounds as if this surprises him.
I’m not lying, I say. I’m not, but I don’t know how to get him to believe me. And I have lied to him before.
True smiles. Good, he says. Now, how can we get you a key for the locks without it looking like a trick? His face lights up. Maybe we could rig one of the fish to bring it to you in the water.Running a hand through my long hair, I snapped, Tell me. Right now. If you’re through with me, just say it!
Pippa stopped smashing the octopus, her hands falling silent as her face filled with worry. She hated when we raised our voices.Estelle gasped. What? How could you think that?
Oh, I don’t know? Perhaps it’s because you can’t stand the sight of me anymore. You barely laugh. You’re so bloody closed off I feel as if I’m living in a damn fridge around you!I stabbed myself in the chest. If I’m not worth your affection anymore, Estelle, you damn well better have the balls to say it to my face so I can get on with my useless piece of a life and not constantly wonder what I did wrong.