I understood that fate could not be eluded forever; it came on leathery wings, swooping through the darkness like the bats in the orchards.

There he is, in the fading light, certain of what he wants, certain of her. If Gillian were speaking to her sister, or more correctly, if Sally were speaking to her, Gillian would draw her over to the window to get a look. Isn’t he beautiful? That’s what she would have said if she and Sally had been talking. I wish I deserved him, she would have whispered into her sister’s ear.

Mrs. Jones leaned in close. She smelled of wool and peppermint. “There’s a man somewhere who wanted you to believe in something…

Lydia went over and handed him a paper napkin. Conner stared at the napkin as if it were something delivered directly from the moon.

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