Estelle and William, speaking in Beyond (Book Two of The Estelle Series):
“I hate talking at these things. The low-key ones are bad enough but with all this hoopla, yes, I’m nervous.” I took a deep breath and pulled at the middle of my dress to get more air in. An action that was futile.
“You’re getting better and better at speaking in public, but it hardly matters. You could stand and say turkey, turkey, turkey, and the citizens of New City would applaud and say yours was the best speech ever.”
“Aren’t we trying to win them over to our point of view?”
William sat up straighter and turned his head and stared at me, stared so much that I grew self-conscious and then gulped and giggled. “What? Do I have something in my teeth?”
“You are absolutely beautiful. I know it doesn’t matter to you, you hardly care, but seeing you like this takes my breath away.”
“Oh,” I said, not at all capable of a response.
He took my hand in his. “You always looked like this before, when you were just a New City girl, or if not this exactly, put together, dressed, done up. You were pretty, don’t get me wrong, but you looked just like everyone else. Put together in all the same ways. Normal and the same. Now you wear your farm look, and you’re pretty then too, but this—tonight—wow.”
“Stop William, You’re making me blush.” I batted my eyes because I liked to be complimented. I remembered once, what seemed like forever ago, when I departed the farm in a dress and William hadn’t even noticed me or didn’t mention it if he did. This little speech made up for that. Definitely.
William said, “Sure. I know. I think I’m just trying to prolong some alone time with you, but I was thinking…” He paused, his familiar pause, the one where the gears turned, the one just before he said something that would end up in his writing someday. “All those days of sameness makes this night, you even more spectacular. Because it’s different. You’re different. I feel sorry for the residents out there, with their fancy clothes and their big hair. How can they get excited about all this, when they see a version of it every single day? It made me think that one of the biggest problems with New City is really a problem of sameness.
“Ever the philosopher.”
“Okay, I’m off track. I want to kiss you, but I won’t be held responsible for mussing your display.” He motioned about my face. “Suffice it to say, I want to.”
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