Chapter Six

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The rest of First Day muddled on in a haze

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The rest of First Day muddled on in a haze. Like a zombie in her favorite gothic novel, Harlow brooded from class to class. Her focus diminished by the minute. In Flight Class, Master Aviator Ambrose praised her for making captain, a feat that left nothing but bitterness in her mouth. At least they didn't take to the sky on First Day. She couldn't stomach flying after what she'd done. Only Mouse seemed more distracted, staring out the classroom window while holding a rag to his busted lip. Harlow couldn't fathom confronting him about the rumor. Not with him hunched over and miserable.

When school let out, she and Brier made the slow, grueling walk home. Each step reminded Harlow how they'd be flying home if only the day went as planned. As it was, Brier wheeled the mangled hover-cycle beside her, going on and on about who knew what.

". . . and on crutches no less," Brier went on as they neared their house. "You know, there are less dangerous things to do with your time. Needlework, for instance. You could take up needlework. Knit yourself a nice sweater. Or a hat."

Downcast, Harlow allowed the distance between her and Brier to grow. Her sister's voice faded ahead. The crutches made her arms ache, and her head throbbed from the crease in her brow.

"Alright, what happened?" Brier blocked the sidewalk with Harlow's mangled bike. "You had that same look on you the time you broke my favorite pair of working goggles. Does this have to do with the Japanese lot? I went to take them to their next class and couldn't believe they were dismissed for the rest of the day. Come on now, you must know something. You've got guilt oozing from your pores."

Harlow cringed. Brier might as well take a knife to her gut. She moved to the empty street to sidestep her then staggered onward.

"Harlow, answer me."

Eyes burning, Harlow wiped her face with her sleeve.

Brier came up beside her and moved her hair back. "Oh, Har, you've got to tell me what's wrong."

Harlow shook her head and brushed Brier's hand aside.

"Does it have to do with the Japanese blokes?"

Heaving a sigh, Harlow nodded.

"Okay, well it can't be that terrible. I didn't mean you were the sole reason for their dismissal."

With those words, Harlow's heart lurched. She met her sister's gaze then hobbled into their house.

 She met her sister's gaze then hobbled into their house

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