"Are you going to take away my ponies now?"
A dark vision of The Littlest Edward curled up weeping in the empty wicker basket (perhaps clutching a fallen strand of nylon mane to his chest) flashed through my brain. "No, because that wouldn't be fair to them," I said sternly, "but keep in mind that I am very, very disappointed in you." Which is, of course, the very worst thing you can say to a goody-two-shoes (trust me, I would know).
Once I got over my initial shock, though, I had a hard time being angry at all because--really, he'd done me a favor, hadn't he? Anna was never going to give in or escape on her own; Elizabeth seemed to be picking up Anna's slack regarding The Largest Sparklepire, which couldn't possibly end well; and I'd been at my wits' end trying to figure out how to reconcile the two girls--and here Little Edward had gone and solved it all for me.
Except for one problem: I had no idea where the fugitives could be, and the Edwards weren't about to tell me.
"I heard them planning to sneak downstairs," Little Edward confessed, "but they're out of my range now."
If Tonner Edward's mind-reading range was any wider, he wasn't letting on. "I have no idea," he said, running a hand through his hair. "As long as they're not bothering me, they can go to hell for all I care."
(Appalled, The Littlest Edward clapped his hands over Sundance's ears.)
"Are they outside, at least? Come on, you've got to tell me--at least if they're doing something stupid or dangerous, you've got to--"
He shrugged. "As far as I can tell, they're still inside the house. Which could be any one of a hundred different places. Now, if you'll excuse me, I hear Those Girls coming."
So I searched the Fancy Living Room, the dining room, the kitchen, the den, all the cabinets and the sideboard--I swear I heard tiny giggles race past me in the rec room, at which point I realized they were probably on the move and not waiting to be discovered in any one place. I announced to the empty house that a general amnesty would be offered to any pirates or gypsies who presented themselves at The Shelf, but no one took me up on it. They didn't seem particularly interested in forgiveness at all, really, judging by the missive tacked to my door the next morning.
I was wondering how they managed it when I found the mess downstairs--the newspaper on the kitchen table, the Elmer's glue from the junk drawer (and spilled glue is a bitch to get off kitchen tables, I tell you what), and White Arwen's tiny scissors from my sewing kit. I thought maybe the Middle-earth Shelfians might be indignant on Arwen's behalf, but the guys just thought DEATH TO SPARKLEPIRES was the funniest thing ever, so I wasn't getting any help from that quarter.
Of course The Littlest Edward's feelings were very hurt; I debated whether I should tell him that I also found the letters L, A, R and E cut out and unused--I suppose the girls couldn't find a G--but decided that it was probably better that the tinypire-fugitive alliance be dissolved for the moment.
Tonner Edward was grimly resigned to the whole incident. "Everyone hates me. Everyone."
"They didn't hate The Littlest Edward, you know. You might want to think about what you're contributing to this--"
He turned and shot a very significant look down, down, dowwwwn at Little Edward (who was outside his stable painting a portrait of Butterscotch).
"Okay, so you're so big and bad and superior, I get it. But even when he messed up and they did hate him for a while, they got over that."
"Yes, because I showed up and provided a better target for their hate."
"Sure. Fine. But he also wants them to like him. I mean, yes, he has the same I'm Such a Monster Omg issues you do, but he also does nice things for people and doesn't go out of his way to freak them the hell out, you know what I'm saying? You could try."
"I don't see the point," he said bitterly, in a tone that indicated that he totally did and just didn't want to admit it, because that might leave him with nothing to bitch about. "People are shallow and petty and boring. They're all the same. And they already hate me. They're afraid of me. They loathe me. Except for the ones that aren't head over heels in love, which is worse--"
"Oh, WOW, not one but two pretty girls want to be your friend. I'll see if The Littlest Edward has a violin to play just for you."
"Do you know what it's like to to know that these girls fantasize about you all the time? I can hear and see their thoughts, remember? It's repellent and insulting. And embarrassing." He ran a hand through his hair. "The one in the gold dress is a freak, I'll tell you that much." Of course, knowing Edward, that could mean she actually wanted to kiss him with tongue, the horror. "Oh, of course, here they come again. Can't you DO SOMETHING about them? I swear--I'm not moving this time. I refuse to move. I was here first and I am TRYING TO READ. Brazen hussies."
"Well, it's Little Edward's property; I leave it up to him."
"They're perfectly welcome to visit," he said, which was a really dirty move because he knew they weren't interested in him at all (and I could tell that stung him), but it was a perfect way to annoy the shit out of the other Edward. He, in turn, decided to just be openly rude to them:
"Stay OVER THERE. I am READING THE CLASSICS, not that you would know anything about--STOP PETTING MY COAT!"
"So... 'I hate people and people hate me.' You just go on and fulfill that prophecy, then. Have a party. Enjoy yourself."
He glared at me. "I’m sorry I can’t bring myself to frolic with the ponies."
"Look, I’m just saying: maybe this is your problem and not other people's. Maybe they wouldn't hate you if you'd be the least bit sociable." Although I kind of didn't blame him with the Ellowynes, who were tossing their hair and swinging their legs and staring at him moonily on the off chance he might look their way. Good God, y'all, those girls are persistent. "You know, you might find that you have a lot in common with the elves if you’d just talk to them. Hell, both the Aragorns are like 87 or something. I think Serafina’s 300--"
"She’d do best to stay covered up and away from me," he said roughly.
"Dude, I’m not gonna make her dress like a nun. I’d’a thought that you'd have gotten some maturity by the age of one hundred and blah. You can’t handle the view, move away from the window."
"Well, I’m out here, aren’t I?"
(I will say that The Littlest Edward gave him a sympathetic look at that point, and Tonner Edward shot him a knowing look back.)
("HEY! No locker-room head-talk around me, thanks!")
He flinched when Ellowyne Two tossed her hair again, and a light bulb went on: "It's the hair, isn't it? You like long hair."
He sighed, but obviously I had his number. "All right. Yes. Long hair. Particularly dark hair. Curls are best. And the witch's hair... well. You've seen it."
"... Yeah." I also made a mental note to keep an eye out for the Arwens--particularly White Arwen, whose hair has a tiny bit of wave to it. Then I realized: "Well. That must have made Anna's attack fairly uncomfortable for you."
He laughed harshly. "Hers? Not up to my standards at all. The witch's, now... Perfect curl, excellent length. It must be so soft... the kind of hair that just begs you to reach out and touch it, take it..."
"God, you sound like such a serial killer."
He gave me that mirthless smile again: "What do you think vampires are?"
(More from the Secret Life of Dolls; fan community)