The three of us, Rowan, Jane, and I were crossing paths in the dining room when Jane, out of seemingly nowhere, addressed Rowan with, “Hey, Rowan! [Arkady] and I were talking and discussing my dreams and we’re both pretty sure that I was part of the Seelie court, and that I was banished–”
I couldn’t hear the rest of Jane’s sentence, for the expression on Rowan’s face had its own goddamned volume.

“Yeah, no. She got down here and started complaining about you being different from who she knew in high school. Pretentious, thinking you were British, pretty much emotionally barren in comparison. She doesn’t know, but I think she figured it out when she moved down here for Neb and kind of got a demented, soulless clockwork bird thing.”

He went on. “It’s manipulative. It’s all just manipulation. It’s like when Rowan told me that you basically planned to fuck off to Europe if I didn’t get back together with you. And what, just find a nice, historic city as an aesthetic backdrop to drink yourself to death in?”
“[Arkady,]” I said in a rough voice. “What the fuck did you think I was in the process of doing when I met you?”

“You don’t get to decide that! You don’t get to decide fuck-all, you controlling prick! In fact, I wouldn’t put it past you to even take over my own body without my permission!”

I laughed harshly. “I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.” Gods, it got so tempting to tell them. That I’ve been the thin barrier between them and ruin for nearly a decade. But then they coughed up an alarming glob of blood, and well, that was quite the effective conversation killer.

“Xanthe, you’re making us all suicidal,” March said, having no issue kicking me while I was down. I mean, granted, I was having an audible breakdown about how I was too late to save us from having him in our lives, which may have been impolite. But damn, it was really like he was enjoying this. “They told me that you’re worse than I was last year.” Yep. Yep. This asshole was definitely fucking enjoying this.

“When I end up being proven right about this, you owe me three crates of champagne!” I called down the stairs. I felt comforted by that. Finally, something coming out of my mouth that was more believably me.
Arkady was not amused. “That’s what I’m fucking talking about!” I heard him snap back from the kitchen.

There was a long pause at the other end of the line. “Why didn’t you tell me?” Asher asked.
Because there are cracks in my psyche so wide that I can’t understand how they can be mended. Because suicide has been used as a weapon on me so often that I feel like I’m being manipulative by even admitting that I have those thoughts. Because I didn’t want to ruin Thanksgiving for you just because it’s always been ruined for me. “The subject never came up,” I finally said, because I am an ass.