My mother sat next to me on the carpet and clutched my hands, giving them a squeeze. Tell me, Vicky, she coaxed.
He was an awful man. It might not explain the paper and fires and the funny hat, but it explained this. Right here, right now. He was, quite simply, awful.And quite a bit more, she was sure, except that she was too flustered to think properly. Synonym retrieval required a far clearer head than she could achieve in his presence.
I thought to help you look for her, Sir Harry said. But alas, we have not met.She looks a bit like me, Olivia said distractedly. And then, for no reason that she could identify, she added, Or rather, I look like her.He smiled at that, just a little one, and Olivia had the oddest sense that for once he wasn’t laughing at her. He wasn’t trying to be provoking. He was just…smiling.
It was disconcerting.She couldn’t look away.
I have always valued precision in language, he said softly.
She stared at him. You are a very strange man.He looked her directly in the eye. I’m taking ill on Thursday. Do not contradict.
Olivia mentally flipped through her social calendar. Thursday…Thursday…the Smythe-Smith musicale. Oh, no you don’t! she cried, lurching toward him.He fanned the air near his head. My tender ears, you know…
Olivia tried to think of a suitable retort and was viciously disappointed when all she came up with was: You-you-I wouldn’t make threats, were I you.