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Does anyone have any suggestions for Ahouva’s Changes? Or, for that matter, Jovanna’s?
“So.” Aeowyn and Jovanna sat down to either side of Ahouva in English class. “Kendon looks miserable.” Her snakelike friend was showing way too much tooth for comfort.
“More importantly.” Jovanna closed in Ahouva in a flurry of excess skirt. “You look happy. Smiling, for real. Your color’s back. You’re smiling again.”
“Your shoulders aren’t hunched. You’re wearing better clothes.” Aeowyn plucked at the sleeve of Ahouva’s sweater. “I love this colour on you. What, did Kendon not approve?”
“Guyyyys.” She folded her arms across her chest and tried not to smile at them. “So you’re saying I was dumpy, grumpy, lumpy and dull when Kendon was Keeping me?” She kept her voice down out of habit, not wanting him – or his friends – to overhear her talking about him. Even now.
“We’re saying… well, yes. You were miserable, misdrawn, and misadvised. Possibly misfiled as well.” Jovanna patted her shoulder. “But nobody was blaming you, Who. We’re all happy to see you away from him.”
“And happier to see that Basalt isn’t horrible.” Aeowyn had a skill for bluntness. “You’re not bruised, you’re sleeping, and you’re eating. All good signs.”
“I’m not a prize horse,” she muttered, but the smile wouldn’t stay down. “Guys, he’s pretty awesome.”
“That’s not what you were saying at first.” Jovanna sat back and muttered under her breath – some sort of Working. “Are you sure you’re really happy?”
“Stop it, Jo. Tuapeka Intinn Ahouva oro’Basalt a Jovanna cy’Solomon. You just said I looked happier.”
“So what did he do?” Aeowyn leaned over Ahouva to thwap Jovanna. “Friends do not read friends’ minds.”
Ahouva found her cheeks warming. She bit her lip. “He kissed me,” she whispered.
“Kendon did a lot more than…” It was Jo’s turn to hit Aowyn. “I’m just saying.”
“He asked first.”
“Was it a good one?” Jo looked like she wanted to take notes. “Was it just a kiss, or a kiss-kiss, or…”
“What, we’re categorizing these things scientifically now?”
“It was a kiss-kiss. A really good kiss-kiss-kiss.”
“Three kisses.” Aeowyn’s laugh made Ahouva cringe a little bit. “Oh, relax, I’m happy for you. Do you think you two will move past just kissing, however many kissies you add to it?”
“Welllll…” She really didn’t want to admit she’d been thinking about that almost constantly since the first kiss. “I’d like to. But I’m worried he’s going to, you know…”
From the look on Aeowyn’s face, she did know. From the tch’ Jovanna made, she knew, too. “Who, this is Addergoole. High school rules don’t apply.”
“Exactly. If he’s respecting you enough to make it a choice, I think you’re fine.” Aeowyn didn’t talk about her Keeper. She’d made that abundantly clear – Jovanna still had the bite-mark scars. This was as close as talking about being Kept as she would get, analyzing Ahouva’s relationships. For the first time, Ahouva didn’t really mind.
“He’s really nice, when he relaxes.” She thought about the way he held her, when he wasn’t worrying about her broken windows. “I think he could be a lot of fun… all the way relaxed.”
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