“Smooth and surly.”

“Hide me.”

“Whoa, whoa, calm down… What’s–”

“Shh! Hide me! C’mon!”

“Why are we whispering?”

“For dramatic effect.”

“Right. Cause that’s normal.”

“Hey, hey, keep it down! I don’t want them to find me!”

“Cecelia, you’re being ridiculous.”

“C’mon, Dante! Help a damsel in distress, please?”

“Not until you explain yourself, little miss.”

“There’s no time for explanations! Hide me!!”

“Oh, fine… Can’t very well say no to that pout of yours. In, go on– want me to lock you in?”

“No, no, hide with me. Closets are creepy when you’re alone.”

“Scoot over, then… There, how’s that?”

“Better, thank you.”

“Now, mind telling me why we’re hiding? And does your father know you burst into boy’s rooms with reckless abandon?”

“Father’s not home. And don’t tell him!”

“I promise not to. But why are we hiding?”

“They’re playing hide-and-seek downstairs.”





“Did you give me a heart attack just to get a hiding spot no one would look in?”



“Yes, alright, I did! And do keep your voice down! If they hear even a whisper, they’ll come in here, even if it is your room. That pack of vultures.”

“Aren’t they your friends?”

“Doesn’t change the fact that they’re vultures.”

“Does the Commander know you talk like that?”

“He’s the one who raised me. He only has himself to blame.”

“Yes, I’ll be sure to remember that when he asks me to explain why his daughter is suddenly so surly.”

“Shh! Here they come!”



“…How long do we have to wait, exactly?”

“Until they stop circling.”

“Best get comfy, then… This okay?”

“It’s your arm around my waist, Dante. That’s not exactly the scandal of the century.”

“Your father would think it is.”

“Well, he’ll have to scold us both, then. I put my head on your shoulder.”

“Whoa, now, don’t get carried away. Wild child.”

“Too late. You already swept me off my feet.”



“That was smooth.”

“I learned from the best.”

“That father of yours certainly raised you right.”

“Smooth and surly?”

“Smooth and surly.”


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