Youre right. Everythings changed. What am I doing here? she
cried. I wanted it to be my anchor. I wanted to stop moving.
You can. Stay with me, Colin said.
What do you mean? she said.
Marry me, Sprout, he answered.
She pushed away from him.
Look at me, he insisted, Im a changed man. You did that.
Imagine what you could do with me if we were married?
This isnt about you, she said.
Id be a great husband. And I love kids
Kids? Kids? I cant have kids, she said.
We could adopt, he begged breathlessly, Please?
Please? she said, almost laughing.
Youre laughing at me, Colin said.
Sprout walked over to him and put her hand on his face. You
think Im blessed. Well, get that idea out of your head right now. And
please forget that you ever met me.
She touched his cheek gently, picked up her sweater and walked
straight out the low doorway, bending at the waist. The last thing
Colin saw was her backside, and he couldnt help but feel as if this
was a subtle display of contempt. Yet it was a form of contempt he
would welcome tonight and every night for the rest of his life.
It was not long before the spirit of his dear departed mother
called out to him. He drank himself back into the comfort of her
Sprout found herself alone once again, walking the dark streets,
unsure where to go. She already decided that she would leave World
OPartments the following day and look for a new place to live. What
she didnt know was that she would soon be evicted anyway. With
Partment gone the halfway house had lost whatever fraction of a way
it ever had.
A tear ran down her cheek and landed on somebody elses
forearm. It was wrapped around her from behind.
Leona? she said.
Scream, and Ill pluck you, Sprout said the voice behind her,
deep and delirious. She did not even try to struggle.
He forced her to an alleyway where others were waiting.
Fucking bitch. Ive still got sinusitis from that fire extinguisher.