(**A/N: I made a mistake while uploading this. The chapter title used to be "Where Girl and Boy Talk," but I've changed it as of 12/16/12 to "Where They Get a Break." Sorry for any confusion!)
“Finally. What took you so long, Flower Boy? Did Princess outrun you?” Beatrice said with a smirk.
At least she isn’t giving me the stink eye…Wait, no, there it is. Well, at least she isn’t all up in my grill about betraying them or something.
Jacoby opened his mouth, about to retort, but decided not to. “Yes. Yes she did,” he said. “You should’ve seen her, kicking up the dust.”
Beatrice snorted. “Well come on, then. Let’s get in there. I just about froze my ass off waiting for you two and”—she made air quotes—“‘possible Guiders staking out the area.’ Tell me, Flower Boy, were there any?”
I gave a start. Were there? My mind jumped back to my unfinished, uncompleted, worrisome thought. What if Guiders were tailing me all this time? And if that were the case, did I need to leave? If I didn’t, would I lead them straight to the Bolt Hole?
I swallowed. I needed to tell them, and if they wanted me to sleep somewhere else, I would.
As we approached the lemony lights of the hotel, Beatrice kept shooting us glances. I had expected her to be suspicious, maybe, but not to this point.
“What’s that in your hair?” she asked suddenly. She reached out a hand and forced me to stop walking. She started scanning me. “And what’s that thing going up your chest?”
“Vines,” I replied. But my hair? What was in my hair? I looked down at myself first. Jacoby’s hand slid out of mine. I expected there to be cashmere leaves as well, just that I hadn’t been able to find them before. I was surprised when, instead of the soft green foliage, there were tiny white buds. I reached up to my hair and touched two thin vines, twined around each other, encircling my head like a tiara.
My puzzled gaze turned to Jacoby, and he looked back at me with an impassive expression. I started to scowl when I felt a warm feeling all over my chest, and in my hair, above my right ear.
Beatrice gasped and pointed at me. My eyes snapped away from Jacoby and onto her. “They’re blooming!” she yelped.
I looked down at my chainmail. Flowermail. At first they were stark white, but slowly, they started to change colour until they were burning bright pink. After a few seconds they even began to squeak.
The blushing lily beside my ear was the loudest. It squeaked and sighed and even gave a nervous giggle, opening and closing its petals and tickling me.
“Jacoby,” I said, whirling back to him. It was one thing to do this to me when we were in the shade of trees, but it was another to openly show them to Beatrice. I wasn’t quite sure why, but I was irritated, probably because I was embarrassed.
He held my gaze expressionlessly, and even raised an eyebrow at me. “Yes?”
“These…these are your—Imaginer—power…” I stuttered, unable to form a proper sentence. The warmth was gone, and so was the lily’s blush. They started to giggle instead, voices overlapping in a medley of squealing laughter.
I narrowed my eyes and started to pull the vines away. The lilies squawked, and the one next to my ear honked.
“Get these off of me, Jacoby,” I snapped. “I thought flowers only stayed on you.” I looked for pansies, but came out of my search empty-handed.
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Jasslyn Brookside has always harboured a curiosity for her childhood friend. She can't be blamed: Jacoby Harold is constantly trailed by flowers and plants, the occasional balloon or firework. He isn't the only one. From the day Jasslyn could form t...