Blue Lily, Lily Blue Page 30


Gansey shoved through the students. He saw Henry first, then Ronan, unharmed, but powdered like Pompeii corpses. He made eye contact with Ronan — Is it all right? — and he didn’t recognize Ronan’s expression.

There was Adam.

He was standing, very still, his hands by his sides. His chin was tilted up in a wary, fragile sort of way, and his eyes narrowed at nothing. Unlike Ronan and Henry, he was dustless. Gansey saw the jerk of his chest as it rose and fell.

Around him lay hundreds of shattered slate tiles. The pieces exploded out for a dozen yards, dug into the grass like missiles.

But the ground around Adam was bare in a perfect circle.

It was this circle, this impossible circle, that the other students stared at. Some of them were taking photos on their phones.

No one was talking to Adam. It wasn’t difficult to understand this: Adam didn’t look like someone you could talk to, just then. There was something more frightening about him than there was about the circle. Like the bare ground, there was nothing inherently unusual about his appearance. But in context, surrounded by these brick buildings, he didn’t … belong.

“Parrish,” Gansey said when he got close. “Adam. What happened?”

Adam’s eyes slid over to him but his head didn’t turn. It was the stillness that made him seem so other.

Behind him, he heard Ronan say, “I like the way you losers thought Instagram before first aid. Fuck off.”

“No, don’t f**k off,” Henry corrected. “Notify a teacher that there’s some men on the roof who are about to be sued.”

“Scaffolding failed,” Adam said in a low voice. An expression was now appearing on his face, but it, too, was unfamiliar: wonder. “Everything fell.”

“You are the luckiest man in this school,” Henry said. “How are you not dead, Parrish?”

“It’s your bullshit signs,” Ronan suggested, looking vastly less concerned than Gansey felt. “They created a bullshit force field.”

Gansey leaned and Adam pulled him in even closer, gripping his shoulder tightly. Right into Gansey’s ear, he whispered, voice tinged in disbelief, “I didn’t — I just asked — I just thought —”

“Thought what?” Gansey asked.

Adam released him. His eyes were on the circle around him. “I thought that. And it happened.”

The circle was absolutely perfect: dust without, dustless within.

“You marvelous creature,” Gansey said, because there was nothing else to say. Because he had just thought that these two worlds could not co-exist and yet here was Adam, both at once. Alive because of it.

This thing they were doing. This thing. Gansey’s heart was a gaping chasm of possibilities, fearful and breathless and awed.

Ronan’s smile was sharp. Now Gansey recognized the expression on Ronan’s face: arrogance. He had not been afraid for Adam. He had known Cabeswater would save him. Been certain of it.

Gansey thought of how strange it was to know these two young men so well and yet to not know them at all. Both so much more difficult and so much better than when he’d first met them. Was that what life did to them all? Chiseled them into harder, truer versions of themselves?

“I told you,” Ronan said. “Magician.”


It was finally here.

After all of the continuances, after months of waiting, it was the day of the court case.

Adam got up as he would normally for school, but instead of putting on his uniform, he put on the good suit he’d bought on Gansey’s advice the year before. He had not permitted Gansey to pay for any of it, back then. The tie he tied on now, though — the tie was a Christmas gift from Gansey, permitted because Adam had already had a tie when Gansey bought it, so it couldn’t be charity.

It seemed like a silly bit of principle now, completely divorced from the point of anything. He wondered if he was going to go through each year of his life thinking about how stupid he’d been the year before.

He thought about waiting until after breakfast to get dressed, to keep from spilling anything on his suit, but that was foolish. He wouldn’t be able to eat anything.

His case was at ten A.M., hours after school began, but Adam had asked permission to take the entire day off. He knew it would be impossible to hide the reason for his absence from Gansey and Ronan if he had to leave midmorning, and equally difficult to disguise where he’d been if he returned right after court.

Part of him wished that he wasn’t doing this without the others — a shocking wish in light of the fact that only a few weeks before, the very idea that Gansey might even know about the court case had troubled Adam.

But now — no. He still didn’t want them to remember this part of him. He only wanted them to see the new Adam. Persephone had told him that no one had to know his past if he didn’t want them to.

He didn’t want them to.

So he waited, while Gansey and Ronan and Blue went off to school and had ordinary days. He sat on the edge of his mattress and worked on the plan to blackmail Greenmantle as first period happened. He stared at his biology text and thought about a dustless circle around his feet for second period. Then he drove to the courthouse.

Cabeswater beckoned him, but he couldn’t retreat. He had to be here for this.

Every step before the courthouse was an event forgotten as soon as it had happened. There was parking, a metal detector, a clerk, a back staircase instead of the elevator, another clerk, a glimpsed low-ceilinged room with pews like a church on either side of an aisle, a church for the mundane, a service for those who claimed not guilty.

Adam tried to soothe himself by telling himself that people worked here every day, this was nothing extraordinary to them, there was nothing special about this building. But the old, mold-and-glue smell of it, the feeling of threadbare carpet beneath his feet, the sickly, uneven light of the fluorescents overhead — all of it felt alien. All of it burdened his senses with how this day was like no other. He was going to be sick. Or faint.

Was his father in the building yet?

It was a closed courtroom for juvenile cases, so the only people in the room so far were the staff: clerks, lawyers, bailiffs.

Adam turned over the possible outcomes in his head. If he lost, he knew academically that the court couldn’t make him return home. He was eighteen and free to go and fail or succeed in life apart from his family. But would this linger on his record then: a boy who had spuriously taken his father to court? How ugly that would look. How base. He imagined Gansey’s father interpreting: familial squabbling of the lower classes. This is how the low stayed low, he would say. Infighting and drinking, daytime TV and Walmart everyday low prices.

He couldn’t quite feel invested in winning, either, because he wasn’t sure what it would look like. It was possible that his father would go back to jail. If he did, could his mother pay the bills?

He shouldn’t care. But he couldn’t make himself stop.

Adam felt as if he were playing pretend in his good suit.

But you are just one of them, white trash in diamonds.

There was his father.

He was in a jacket with some local company’s logo on the back and his company polo shirt. Adam prayed for some sort of clarity, to see his father as everyone else saw him, instead of as Dad? It’s Adam —

“There’s still time for you to tell the truth,” Robert Parrish said.

Adam’s mother had not come.

Adam’s fingers were numb.

Even if I lose, he thought weakly, he can’t have me back, so it won’t matter. It will only be this hour of humiliation and then it will be over.

He wished he had never done this.

“All right, then,” said the judge. His face was a memory that vanished the minute Adam blinked.

Cabeswater stole him away for a blissful second, leaves curled against his throat, and then released him. How desperately Adam wanted to cling to Cabeswater. Strange as it was, it was familiar, and on his side.

He had been wrong to come here alone. Why did he care if Gansey and Ronan saw this? They already knew. They knew everything about him. What a lie unknowable was. The only person who didn’t know Adam was himself.

What a proud idiot you have been, Adam Parrish.

“Are there any witnesses for this case?” the judge asked.

There were not.

Adam didn’t look at his father.

“Then I guess we shall begin.”

A hissing sound came from the bailiff beside the judge: a voice through his radio. The bailiff leaned his head to listen, then muttered something back to the speaker. Coming close to the judge, he said, “Your Honor, Bailiff Myley says there are some witnesses for the case outside if it’s not too late for them to come in.”

“The door’s already closed, is it not?”

“It is.”

The judge peered at his watch. “They are certainly for the Parrish case?”

“Bailiff Myley seems to think they are.”

The judge smiled with some private humor; this was some long-running joke the others weren’t privy to. “Far be it from me to doubt him. Send them in, and I’ll decide whether to allow them.”

Adam miserably wondered which of the neighbors were coming to his father’s defense.

In an hour, this will be over. You will never have to do it again. All you have to do is survive.

The door cracked open. Adam didn’t want to look, but he did anyway.

In the hall stood Richard Campbell Gansey III in his school uniform and overcoat and scarf and gloves, looking like someone from another world. Behind him was Ronan Lynch, his damn tie knotted right for once and his shirt tucked in.

Humiliation and joy warred furiously inside Adam.

Gansey strode between the pews as Adam’s father stared at him. He went directly to the bench, straight up to the judge. Now that he stood directly beside Adam, not looking at him, Adam could see that he was a little out of breath. Ronan, behind him, was as well. They had run.

For him.

Removing his right glove, Gansey shook hands with the judge.

“Judge Harris,” he said warmly.

“Mr. Gansey,” said Judge Harris. “Have you found that king of yours yet?”

“Not just yet. Have you finished that terrace yet?”

“Not just yet,” Harris replied. “What’s your business with this case?”

“Ronan Lynch here was at the incident,” Gansey said. “I thought his side of the story might be worthy. And I’ve been friends with Adam since day one here in Henrietta, and I’m glad to see this miserable business over. I’d like to be a character witness, if I could.”

“That sounds reasonable,” Harris said.

“I object,” Robert Parrish exclaimed.

Gansey turned to Adam, finally. He was still wearing his glorious kingly face, Richard Campbell Gansey III, white knight, but his eyes were uncertain. Is this okay?

Was it okay? Adam had turned down so many offers of help from Gansey. Money for school, money for food, money for rent. Pity and charity, Adam had thought. For so long, he’d wanted Gansey to see him as an equal, but it was possible that all this time, the only person who needed to see that was Adam.

Now he could see that it wasn’t charity Gansey was offering. It was just truth.

And something else: friendship of the unshakable kind. Friendship you could swear on. That could be busted nearly to breaking and come back stronger than before.

Adam held out his right hand, and Gansey clasped it in a handshake, like they were men, because they were men.

“All right,” Harris reported. “Let’s get this case under way.”


Adam didn’t normally take anyone with him when he did Cabeswater’s work. He trusted his skills on his own. His emotions he trusted on his own. He could hurt no one in an empty room. No one could hurt him.

He was unknowable.

Except that he wasn’t.

So he asked Blue Sargent to come with him when he finally went to do what Cabeswater had asked him to do weeks before. He didn’t tell her, in case it didn’t work, but he thought that if he brought her with him, Cabeswater might help them find Maura.

Now he waited in the car at a faded gas station outside of Henrietta. He couldn’t tell if the pulse in his palms was his heartbeat or the ley line.

“I know what you mean,” Noah said from the backseat. He was draped over the passenger headrest like a sweater with a body still in it. Adam had nearly forgotten he was there, because he hadn’t been invited. Not because he was unwanted, but because he was dead, and the deceased couldn’t be counted on to show up at specific times.

“Did you just reply to my thoughts?”

“I don’t think so.”

Adam couldn’t remember if he’d spoken out loud. He didn’t think he had.

The car rocked as a farm truck trundled by on the highway. Everything about this area was worn. The gas station was a survivor from decades past, with tin signs in the window and chickens for sale behind it. The farm across the road was faded but charming, like a yellowed newspaper.

He turned Greenmantle’s blackmail over in his mind. It had to be bulletproof. He hadn’t told Gansey; he hadn’t told Blue. He’d convinced Ronan of it and brought the Gray Man into it, but in the end, it was all on him if Greenmantle exploded in their faces.

“I think it’s ready,” Noah said.

“Stop that. Stop. It’s creepy.”

He shot a glance to Noah in the rearview mirror and regretted it; the dead boy was more frightening in reflections. Much less living.

Noah knew it; he ducked out of the mirror’s view.

From outside the car, Blue’s voice rose. “How would you feel if I reduced you to your legs?”

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