Chapter One                 Chapter Two                  Chapter Three             Chapter Four                Chapter Five            Chapter Six
Chapter Seven             Chapter Eight            Chapter Nine


               “Wednesday, wake, you must get up. It is almost time for the New Year’s Eve Festival.” 
               A pair of hands shook Wednesday thoroughly.  She murmured sleepily, her head aching, drowsy and weak from medicine.  Dry tendrils of cough were creeping up her throat. 
               “Wednesday, it’s almost evening.” 
               She cracked one eyelid open.  At least the sun wasn’t bright. Someone must’ve had the kindness to pull the draperies closed.  Surely it wasn’t any of her sisters.  The stiff pillow under her head was mashed into an uncomfortable position, and she tried to raise her arms to fluff it out.  But her limbs were too weak and feeble, and instead she mumbled an unintelligible phrase. 
               “Wednesday!”  Something firm but soft hit her in the head.  A body plopped onto the bed, jolting the old springs effectively.  Wednesday winced as pain shot through her head and neck.  She clumsily batted the pillow off her face, blinking blearily up at her offender.  Willow stared down at her, gorgeous green eyes dancing with mirth.  “Wednesday, you are truly a pig,” she said with glee.  “I have never seen somebody sleep for so long.” 
               “Mmm.”  With great effort, Wednesday raised her arm and brushed strands of coppery auburn off her face.  “Willow, could you please grab the medicine bottle for me, please?” 
               Willow grinned.  “No, I’d really rather not.  Suffering from too much exposure to the elements again, hm?  You’ve been paler than elderflower for a few days now. I’d been imagining you’d have passed out.” 
               “Please, Willow,” Wednesday begged, not liking having to be totally at her sister’s mercy.  “I can’t get up.  My body’s too fragile right after I wake up.” 
               “Oh, yes,” Willow said, cheerful.  “Delicate little Wednesday, hm?  No wonder Father never pays attention to you, you do nothing more than take up space and use his money on medicines in an attempt to cure your horribly weak body.  I wouldn’t be at all surprised if you don’t make it through the festival tonight. Remember last year?  You collapsed over the banister and fell on that poor gentleman with the brown hair.  He was sweet.  Poor thing, he didn’t deserve to have a little moth dropped on top of him—”
               “Willow,” a voice said warningly from the doorway.  Willow looked up, startled.  From her position on the bed, Wednesday couldn’t tell who the intruder was, but she suspected from the tone that it was her other sister, Winter.  Their father had insisted on matching names, but as far as Wednesday could tell, the three girls had nothing in common. After all, she was the weak one, Willow was the proud one, and Winter was possibly the sensible one, though sometimes even her head got lost in the fantasies of gentlemen and courts.  Wednesday mentally sighed. Gentlemen and courts.  She would never feel the thrill of dancing with a man, enjoying the breath of a first kiss. Alas, in a cursed, pale body like hers, no man in his right mind would ever escort her, let alone love her. 
               “Oh, please.”  Willow rose from the bed, smoothing her skirts, the ruffles making shadows the color of a rich plum, matching perfectly with her naturally doll-like face and golden-red tresses.  Her sister’s famous hair, for which she was named for.  Wednesday stared at the flowing tendrils of delicate wispy curls that floated down from Willow’s hairstyle, mimicking the sweep of a willow tree’s branches.  Willow was well-known in several kingdoms, and many men came to beg for her hand.  Jealously panged through Wednesday.  How could her sisters be so beautiful, whereas she was doomed in this fragile shade of a body? 
               Winter strode over, surveying Wednesday coolly.  She picked up the small bottle of medicine and balanced it on Wednesday’s bed sheets,   then pushed Wednesday up on the headboard of the bed and placed the medicine in her palm.  “Here, and hurry,” she said crisply.  “You don’t want to be late for the New Year’s Eve ball; you know how Father is with these things.  Will you need any help dressing? I can send for a servant.” 
               Behind Winter, Willow pretended to gag and make a face, clearly stating that she thought Winter was crazy.  Wednesday ignored her and shook her head gratefully, regarding her more mature sister with a newfound respect.  “No, but thank you,” Wednesday said shyly, unscrewing the medicine bottle’s cap and downing a few swallows.  It burned fire against her throat, and she coughed a few times before subsiding into gasps.  Winter was watching her cautiously.  Wednesday waved a hand.  “I’m alright,” she panted.  “Just a little…wheezy.” 
               Still suspicious, Winter rose from her side.  Apparently she had already fixed herself up for the ball.  Her honey-blonde hair, much lighter than Wednesday or Willow’s, was done up in fanciful weavings with bejeweled ornaments, and she was wearing a tight pearl-white bodice with sweeping snowdrop skirts.  Yet again Wednesday felt bitter. 
               Winter turned to Willow.  “And you mind your tongue,” she said in a low voice, her skin paling.  “You know what father said about being fair—”
               “Fair?” Willow exclaimed, and Winter tried to shush her.  Wednesday listened, wide-eyed.  Father?  No way.  He never paid attention to her, just like Willow had said, and yet he was scolding her sisters about teasing? 
               “No need to be fair!” Willow continued, her fair skin coloring a faint blush pink.  “You and I, you said we had free reign.  We are princesses, after all.”  She cast Wednesday a disdainful look.  “And a proper princess should very well act like it!”  She whirled around and was out the door in a poof of purple skirts and reddish hair. 
               Winter frowned after her, and slowly left, murmuring softly to herself.  Wednesday watched, rapt, for a moment, then she replaced the medicine bottle and forced herself up.  Willow had said it was almost evening; indeed, from the sliver of window uncovered by the draperies in her small room, she could see the golden light of sun-stained skies.  She scrubbed her eyes with the back of her sleeve, and forced herself up. 
               The medicine definitely helped, and the fact that she wasn’t sleepy anymore kept her briskly cleaning up for the festival.  Winter was right; Father wasn’t one to wait patiently for her.  She’d better hurry if she didn’t want to be his object of wrath.  It wasn’t that he was grumpy, just that he liked major things, like the New Year’s Festival, to be on time and orderly so it wasn’t in a jumble.  Quickly, she cleaned her teeth, bathed, and prepared to dress in one of the ball gowns that her father always laid out for her at the foot of her bed.  Wednesday stared at it.  Her gowns were never the same flashy, brilliant shades as her sisters’.  After all, her sisters were both of marrying ages now—over fourteen—and she supposed vivid coloring was one way to woo men. 
               The lime-green skirts of a silk dress lay smoothed on the bedpost.  She slipped it on, fidgeting a little and wondering if her corset was too tight.  She was thirteen, and really didn’t qualify for a ball, but Willow didn’t either.  Theoretically, Winter was the only one old enough.  She was sixteen.  Sixteen!  Wednesday always wondered why Winter had waited until sixteen to even lay eyes on a man.  Her coming-of had been four years ago.  By now, she should have a fiancé.  Perhaps she though any man would not be good enough for her.  Winter had high-esteem that way. 
               Willow was a little over fourteen, almost the same age as Wednesday but not quite.  They were a few weeks apart.  Willow expected to be of age soon.  Wednesday just thought Willow was a late bloomer.  Then again, she herself was as well.  Winter’s coming-of was at twelve.  The rest of them?  Not so. 
               At any rate, she was glad she was allowed to attend the ball. 
               Wednesday was hoping her coming-of would come shortly.  Not only because it would mean she could keep an eye out for gentlemen and formally attend the festival, but also because it was the day you became legal for magic.  Being of age meant that you were susceptible to magic, but it also meant you could use it.  She wasn’t sure what Winter’s magic was.  At least one of her sisters preferred not to show off. 
               Lots of things could happen at your coming-of.  First of all, sometimes, the twelve Goddesses would come and bless you with twelve gifts, each giving one different.  But sometimes the twelve didn’t show up, leaving the spotlight on the thirteenth.  When the thirteenth Goddess gave her gift, it could change your world. 
               Not only that, but each person had a special magic inside them when they came of age.  The magic was so mystical, so hard to find that it was usually ignored by people.  But if you could find the secret to unlock your special magic, which no one knew how to do, legend said you would be marked as a key role player in the constant game of the world, that if you could utilize the magic, you could become one of the Goddesses. 
               As fast as possible without sliding her hair out of place, she styled it carefully and viewed the result with a critical eye.  Perfect.  Wednesday smiled.  If there was anything she was good at, it was perfecting something.  If only her talented hands could perfect her delicate form. 
               She searched for a rose.  Being fond of the flowers, even though she pricked herself on them time after time, she always enjoyed their fresh and faint smell, especially when they were in her plain auburn hair and cast beauty upon it.  She found a rutilant pink one in a vase near the bathtub and tucked it in, checking her appearance in the mirror.  Perfect.  Wednesday smiled again.  Perfecting something, once more.  The faintly glowing, healthy flower would delude people that her skin was like so. 
               She tied on slippers and rushed downstairs.  Judging from the light, it was almost seven.  Definitely time to start the festival.  She almost tripped on the steps and took them more slowly, then reached the ground floor and hurried for the open ballroom. 
               People were flocking inside.  The musicians had unpacked their instruments and were tuning.  Ladies with poofy skirts and gentlemen with suits milled around, talking and generally getting acquainted before the actual ball started.  Wednesday let out a breath of relief.  They had not begun yet. 
               She looked around and caught sight of her father and sisters standing by a half-covered dessert table.  Her father, a stoic, tall man, was talking calmly to another man, telling him the rest of the desserts needed to be put on the table before the festival started, not during the festival.  Willow was sampling a delectable-looking strawberry custard and talking with another young lady.  Winter was practicing dance steps near the corner with a gentleman who was helping to correct her missteps.  Wednesday smiled.  Winter ought to be able to do such a thing by now. 
               “Ah, Wednesday,” her father said as she approached.  He shooed away the dessert man and looked her up and down.  “Lovely, my little rose.  Are you feeling alright?”  He placed a large hand on her pale forehead.  “No more fever?  Did you take your medicine?” 
               “Yes,” said Wednesday, her cheeks burning with embarrassment.  He treated her like a baby dove.  Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Willow and her new friend holding back giggles and smirking at her.  Wednesday ignored them, turning her attention back to Father.  “Where’s Mother?” 
              “She’s tending to business,” he said, her expression turning disappointed.  Wednesday nodded, understanding.  Mother was always tending to business. No time for others.  It was strange; in most stories she read, the father was always busy; the mother was usually absent or dead.  In the Fontana household, things were usually somewhat upside-down.  Father seemed to have noticed Wednesday’s gloomy mood, because he tried for a kind smile.
               “Curtsy for me,” he invited. 
               Willow’s face turned sour behind his back, and Wednesday knew why.  Maybe she herself didn’t have the best curtsy in the world, but Willow was terrible.  It always got to her, especially in dancing, when Willow would curtsy to her partner and the gentleman would start in dismay at her sloppy form.  Wednesday shyly sank into a curtsy, letting herself vanish in the midst of her green skirts, folding her legs beneath her, then pulled back up again. 
               “Mmm.”  Her father nodded in approbation and swept off. 
               Wednesday beamed.  Her father, the king, approved! 
               “Yes, that was lovely, my little rose,” Willow said slyly, mimicking Father.  She and her friend strode over.  “That was lovely.  Wonderful.  For the Queen of Mistakes, that is.”  Laughing high-pitched squeaky giggles, the two of them made sympathetic faces at her. 
               Wednesday glared at them.  It looked like Willow had managed to dress for the ball in time, too.  Her plum skirt had been replaced by an expensive-looking golden-white dress that went extremely well with her red-blonde hair. Wednesday could almost see the men falling over trying to get to her.  Somehow, the beauty, the taunting, the gentlemen, made her upset.  “Yes, well, at least I’m not the Queen of Tripping,” she retorted, surprising herself.  Willow stared at her, dumbfounded.  “Like a certain Willow I could mention,” Wednesday added. 
               “Oh, you did not!” 
               Willow’s face flushed.  She glared right back at Wednesday.  “Funny, you’re talking about me being clumsy, while you’re the one who falls and faints and messes up everything.  You’re the reason Father is so tired, so troubled, because he’s dismayed that he has such a weak princess under him.”  She took a step forward.  Wednesday backed up, tears threatening to make their appearance at Willow’s hurtful words.  “I’m surprised he even thinks you real, because a princess is someday going to run this fine country when she marries, and a pathetic little wench like you has no place in running a country.  You’d probably faint the first day.  Even if you do manage to marry, which I quite doubt, the poor gentleman with you probably did it out of pity, not out of love.”  She rubbed a lock of Wednesday’s unruly brown-red hair, smoothing it out with one finger.  “Look at this.  How boring.  And your face!”  She pinched Wednesday’s cheek.  “Pale.  Like a ghost.  It’s literally lacquer ware.  If I pushed, I wonder, would you shatter?” 
               “Probably,” her friend said snootily.  She briskly looked Wednesday up and down, like Father had, and sank into a sleek, perfectly balanced curtsy, her grey skirts swathing the floor.  Wednesday started in inconcealable admiration as the pretty girl disappeared in a fluff of raven-black cloth and crinolines, and rose back up.  “Hello, Princess.  Though, if I may say so, you don’t look like one at all.”  She turned to Willow.  “If we may depart, I would think it’s about time for the dancing to start…” 
               “Oh, yes.”  Willow smiled. Right on cue, the musicians struck up a waltz.  “You can go first, Lady M, I won’t be long.” 
               The girl, who Willow had called Lady M, gave Wednesday a sickly sweet smile and slipped off, skirts trailing like gossamer, but she hung around nearby, seemingly floating.  Wednesday’s brow wrinkled slightly.  Lady M.  The black yet still beautiful skirts, the grace, all seemed to point to someone she knew, but in her fury Wednesday could not tell a thing.  Willow rubbed a silken thumb over Wednesday’s collarbone.  “Oh, Father would be so disappointed to see you not dancing with a gentleman tonight,” she whispered softly in Wednesday’s ear.  “So, so disappointed…” 
               Wednesday slapped Willow’s hand, making her let go with a sting.  Willow made a face.  “You are a disgrace,” Willow spat.  Then she turned and she and her friend stalked off. 

Wednesday stopped. 
               She wasn’t sure if she had actually done that or not.  It seemed like a dream.  Willow wasn’t used to being stood up against before, especially not by her.  It seemed so questionable that Wednesday was wondering if she was getting sick again. 
               She looked around for Willow, but she and her mean little friend had disappeared.  Probably off giggling and admiring themselves in a bathroom mirror.  She shook her head.  If her sickness was catching up with her, she might as well fetch her medicine.  It was still upstairs.  Picking up her skirts so she wouldn’t step on them, Wednesday hurried toward the upstairs to her room. 
               Willow.  She was so mean today.  Unusually mean, even.  Willow was normally a little teasing, but this was way too far out of her league.  A dreaming part of Wednesday wondered if maybe today was Willow’s coming-of, and none of them had realized it, and Willow’s magic had turned out to be demonic.  The more sensible part of her told her that that idea was preposterous in itself, and perhaps Willow was just a bit too energized on sweets. 
               Wednesday paused by her bed, panting slightly.  The medicine bottle that stood on her small bureau by the bed was not there.  Frowning, and slightly dizzy from running, Wednesday placed her hands on her knees and sat down on the bed.  Had she taken it downstairs with her?  It seemed unlikely.  She lay her head down on the pillow, feeling satin under her tendrils of hair.  Thoroughly wiped out.  Maybe she would just take a few minutes to catch her breath…
               Dooooong!  Wednesday jolted awake, bleary-eyed.  Had she fallen asleep? She hadn’t even realized it!  The light outside was a dark grey-blue.  Doooong!  Another toll shook her awake.  Of course, the clock tower must have been ringing.  Earlier today she must’ve been so deeply asleep that she hadn’t heard it.  Wednesday jumped up, alarmed, took a second to smooth her hair and skirts, and rushed downstairs, counting the bell tolls as she went. So far there were two…then three…four…on and on until it reached eight.  Just eight o’clock.  Wednesday hoped nobody had known she was missing. That would be embarrassing to explain. 
               The ballroom was full of dancers, whirling about in each other’s’ arms, while the musicians piped up a fast, breathless song.  Wednesday wrinkled her nose.  She had no place in such advanced dances, with their intricate steps and quickly-paced twirls.  She turned away, looking around as she headed for the chairs lining the ballroom’s walls—
               And ran straight into Willow. 
               “Goodness, Wednesday, you’re clumsy as a horse.”  Willow laughed spiritedly, grabbing her elbow to steady her.  Wednesday looked with surprise into her sister’s green eyes.  They held no malice.  She glanced around furtively.  Willow’s friend was nowhere to be seen either.  Willow studied Wednesday’s face worriedly.  “Wednesday? Are you alright?  You’re paler than I’ve ever seen you. And that’s saying something, seeing that you’re often whiter than the clotted cream at the tea table.”  She grinned. 
               “Mm,” Wednesday said distractedly.  “Have you seen my medicine, Willow?  It was on my bed stand just earlier and now it’s gone.” 
               “No clue,” said Willow, bright as always.  She cocked her head to one side.  “I like this music.  Like springs on your feet.  I think I’ll grab a gentleman before all the decent ones are taken…oh, but don’t you mind,” she added as Wednesday’s eyebrows rose a fraction of an inch.  “You could never get a gentleman, I don’t think you could dance at this speed.”  She swept off, gold skirts billowing. 
               Well, Willow was certainly back to her old self. 
               Wednesday watched her for a moment as she shyly approached a young and rather rakish-looking gentleman and asked him to dance.  It was the poor guy that Wednesday had fallen on last year when she’d fainted from exhaustion and toppled over the banister.  It was an embarrassing event that the king had had to apologize for profusely again and again, and Willow and Winter would never let her live that down.  Wednesday couldn’t help but look on as the young man accepted Willow’s invitation.  Willow’s face was aglow with delight, and her face split into a smile. 
               As he turned to guide Willow onto the dance floor, the young man caught sight of Wednesday staring, and his eyes, piercingly green, landed on her.  Blushing furiously, Wednesday ducked behind a fountain set on a table, hoping she would disappear from view.  The man turned away, taking Willow’s hand and escorting her onto the floor with a gracious bow. 
               Green eyes.  Wednesday’s cheeks were hot.  Green eyes were unusual around ____________, one of the reasons why Willow and Winter were both so desirable.  Wednesday herself had green eyes, but sadly, like with most other things, hers weren’t of the same attractiveness as her sisters’.  Always the same.  Always that way. 
               She peeked out from behind the fountain, eyes landing on the young man.  He was leading a stumbling Willow through the difficult transition steps of the dance.  Willow, stumbling?  That seemed a bit unlikely.  Wednesday couldn’t help but creep closer.  To stay safely out of view, she hid halfway behind the grand piano in the corner and peered out.  The pianist, who happened to be at that same piano, gave her an odd look, but otherwise didn’t acknowledge her appearance.  Wednesday mentally thanked him.  She knew she must have looked strange—a thirteen-year old pale little princess spying on the dancers—and would really rather not draw any attention to herself. 
               From her new position, Wednesday could see Willow’s dreamy smile as she cluelessly followed the man through the dance.  Though she tripped time after time, and quite obviously so, the young man just brought her back in, so she was almost leaning upon him, leading Willow towards himself to pull her into dance position and bring her back in step.  Wednesday watched, wide-eyed, as Willow stumbled out of position, and the young man, holding her hand, gently pulled her in with a graceful sweep so he had scooped her slightly up by the small of her back, and then resumed the dance.  Wednesday’s mouth almost dropped open right then and there. 
               Alright, so, maybe they weren’t the best dancers in the world, but Wednesday knew this tempo—a trois-temp waltz—and she was sure that Willow was capable of dancing to such a rhythm.  Only Willow’s feet could move in precise moves.  But right now, Willow’s feet were tripping over each other, stepping in and out of position…surely this wasn’t right.  Willow didn’t stumble often.  That paired with the dream-come-true look in her eyes…
               “Oh, great scott!” Wednesday exclaimed under her breath.  Willow! She was in love!  She wasn’t even of age yet, and she was in love!  That meant as soon as Willow had her coming-of, she wouldn’t have to deal with the agonizing choices and the threat that the government would choose for her; she could just pick him up and be done with it!  \(>.<)/ (Yesssss!) 
               But what would happen in the family?  Wednesday pictured them all, sitting quietly at the dinner table, eating fish soup, and Willow casually stating this fact.  Father would be dismayed.  Very dismayed indeed.  Wednesday’s chest prickled with worry.  If Willow was in lov—no, since Willow was in love, it would only be fair that she got the man she fancied.  Wednesday peeked at the two of them again.  He did seem like someone Willow would set her sights on.  The green eyes, for one.  And his hair, the indescribable color between copper and brown….mmmm, gorgeous.  Sort of…cinnamony.
               Oh, Wednesday, what are you thinking? Wednesday thought to herself, pinching her arm underneath her long gloves.  Of course she herself had no interest in anyone yet, no love in her heart. Besides, no one wanted her.  The man was for Willow, and for Willow only.  She had him all to herself. 
               Wednesday watched carefully as they drew a little closer, and she slipped farther behind the bulk of the piano, not wanting to be noticed.  The musician paid her no heed, except to flip a page of his song and crash on some eardrum-burst-worthy chords.  Wednesday tried to filter it out so she could hear Willow and the young man talking.  They were still a good length away, and their conversation was soft and breathless, so Wednesday had to strain to hear a few words.  Against her better nature, she scooted forward again to hear better.  Next to her, the pianist flipped another page, presumably for a new song.  Sure enough, the musicians started up a new dance, with the violins exciting the crowd of dancers with their entrance of catchy glissandos. 
               “Oh, very good,” the man said softly as they smoothly flowed into the next song, spinning into a fast midair mazurka.  Willow flashed a brilliant smile as he caught her in his arms and landed her, her slippers tapping on the polished floor. Ta-tap tap tap. They twirled quickly, movements exact.  Willow was no longer faking mistakes.  She had let her true dancing come over her.  The two of them made great partners.  They even looked about the same age.  Wednesday wondered if the gentleman was also not of age, either.  “You are an excellent dancer, my lady.  Yet you were having trouble in the last quickstep. Are you feeling quite all right?”  Still keeping his other arm in flawless dance position, he raised one hand and faintly brushed Willow’s forehead. 
              Willow blushed a bright red, and the gentleman flinched, perhaps thinking he had gone too far. But Willow just leaned in closer to him, still keeping in the steps of the song.  “I’m fine, sir,” she said.  “Ah, but you!  You are the best dancer I have ever seen.”  She shifted her hand so it was clasped more tightly around his. 
               The young man laughed.  It was a nice laugh. Wednesday smiled, watching him.  “Really, I haven’t done much dancing,” he said conspiratorially, as if divulging a personal secret.  “I’m actually just a thread spinner. I suppose I get a little carried away with the string stretching sometimes.” He smiled wryly.  Willow laughed in surprise. 
               “Well, I don’t have any secretive job,” she murmured as they spun again.  “Just a princess. I must seem like an open book, right?” 
               “No offense, but, yes, you do.”  He breathed out.  “You’re well-known, you have to be an open book.  It’s true for everything, Princess.”
               “Willow,” Willow said. “My name. It’s Willow. Call me by that.  I want to know you. Sir.”  They were close to the wall, and Willow slowed to a stop, causing him to stop also.  She looked up at him almost seductively and put her palms on his shoulders, looking straight into his eyes.  “Sir…” she breathed.  “Your name?  I would very much like to know…”
               “My lady?”  The young man took a step back, back towards the dancers, but he couldn’t tear his eyes from Willow’s gaze. 
               “You know,” Willow said conversationally, “I’m not quite of age yet, but I will be soon, and I cannot resist…I must confess.” She rested her jaw on his collarbone and put her mouth up to his ear, whispering something. 
               He jerked back.  “My lady!  Princess…Willow…”  He pulled away, detaching himself from Willow’s vicious embrace.  “I—I really can’t…please…my…”
               “Willow!” Willow almost snarled, drawing back.  Her emerald-green eyes flashed.  The young man looked staggered, yet transfixed.  “It’s Willow!  No ‘Princess’ or ‘milady’-ing.  It’s just Willow!”
              “W-Willow…”  His gaze would have been incredulous if not for the mesmerized look in his eyes. 
               Willow paused.  “Better,” she said with a slight smirk, tossing her hair over one shoulder.  She gave him a knowing, sly look.  “And sir, your name?  I must address you by something other than ‘sir’.”  She ran her fingers, as delicately as butterflies, up his neck so she was brushing his chin. 
               The young man backed away, towards the dancers, breaking off.  “No,” he said, the captivated look now eclipsed by anxiety.  “Willow, lovely meeting you, but I have to—”
               Willow snatched his sleeve.  “Your name,” she demanded fiercely.  Wednesday’s eyes widened more and more at the scene unfolding in front of her.  No one else had noticed.  The fast dance stole everyone else’s attention. 
               The young man stopped in his tracks, frozen by the ice in Willow’s voice. 
               Willow slowly released his sleeve.  “Please,” she murmured, looking ashamed.  She looked down, one hand wringing the end of her other glove. 
               There was a slight silence.  Then—
               “Cassius,” he replied quickly, after a moment’s hesitation.  “Cassius Wickerworth.” 
               Then he was gone. 


Chapter One                 Chapter Two                  Chapter Three             Chapter Four                Chapter Five            Chapter Six
Chapter Seven             Chapter Eight            Chapter Nine