|Volume||Honeysuckle & Pain|
|Starts||June 13, 2014 (13:08:00)|
|Ends||June 16, 2014 (16:42:50)|
Chapter Quote Edit
"Food is like war. You have to experience it for yourself." - Hiroshi Sakurazaka
The chapter begins on Friday, June 13, 2014 at 13:08:00 in Los Angeles, California. Xanther and Anwar are on their way home for lunch after running errands. As Anwar drives down a hill, a squirrel runs out into the road. Anwar slams his foot on the brake and attempts to swerve around the squirrel but he accidentally runs it over anyway. Xanther exits the car to see if it survived. She is saddened to find that it did not, but at the same time she wonders what it could do if it did survive. She wonders what Dov would do in this situation if the squirrel had survived. She thinks he would have stepped on it. She wonders if she would be able to do the same.
When Xanther and Anwar return home, Astair asks about what happened. She wonders if Xanther is still feeling sick. Xanther has been feeling sick throughout yesterday and today. Her parents were convinced that it was food poisoning, or just an illness, but Xanther does not believe either of these to be true. The cat then walks over to her. She picks it up and places it on her shoulder. Lately, Xanther has been noticing the rising anger from the twins. She does her best to ignore them. Xanther takes the cat to her bedroom so she can clean it. While she rarely finds any dirt on its fur, its ears are unusually filthy. Xanther carefully cleans the black, waxy goop from its ears. Its eyes are still closed, as they have been since the day she rescued it. Dark globs have also been forming beneath its tear ducts. Xanther is disgusted by having to clean its ears and eyes, and for a moment believes that this could be the reason for her sickness. Despite the fact that she cleaned the cat's ears and eyes yesterday, the muck has returned today. None of this, according to Xanther, is the unusual part. What she thought was weird was the "tiny chest caging that little rumble, little storm." She can usually feel and see its ribs when she holds it, but lately they have become less visible.
On Saturday, June 14, Anwar leaves to attend E3. Astair takes Xanther and the twins to swim at Taymor's house. This is when Xanther spots another difference: the burning feeling she has been feeling whenever she goes away from the cat is also different. Instead of the direct, instant burning she used to feel, it is more gradual now. It starts off somewhat bearable and slowly becomes worse, until a certain point when it suddenly becomes much more intense. Overall, Xanther finds it to be a bit more bearable. When the Ibrahims arrive at Taymor's, Xanther spots a few honeysuckles. She goes over to sniff them. She likes the honeysuckles, but she says they are nothing like the honeysuckle that she spotted in the air on that night she nearly got ran over.
Xanther and the twins swim in the pool while Astair and Taymor talk at the far end. Xanther can faintly tell that they are discussing what happened that night. Taymor asks Xanther about her summer plans. Xanther isn't sure so she just says she will be spending time with the cat. The only plan Xanther currently has is that she will be going to Magic Mountain with her friends in a few weeks. She asks Taymor if Roxanne will be able to join them. Taymor says she is unsure if Roxanne will be allowed to go, as she has been grounded for getting her tragus pierced. Xanther asks if Roxanne is home, but Taymor says that she is currently somewhere else with Ted. When Xanther returns to the pool, she can tell that the twins are still annoyed with her. Astair told them to stay in the shallow end of the pool while Xanther could have the deep end to herself. Xanther dives into the pool and stays underwater. While underwater, she can still feel the burning sensation. She attempts to ignore the burning by focusing on the water. She continues to do this until she runs out of breath. She frantically returns to the surface for air. Once she catches her breath, she jumps back into the pool and returns underwater. She repeats this several times, holding her breath slightly longer each time.
While still underwater, Xanther can hear Astair talking with Taymor again. Astair believes that Xanther was in a trance on that night she was nearly run over. She is considering changing Xanther's diet in hopes of preventing this from happening again. One Narcon comments that Xanther is not actually hearing them talk, and can only hear the twins splashing water. Xanther re-surfaces again and everybody else goes quiet. She ignores this and jumps into the pool again. This time, she goes all the way down and lies on her back. She begins thinking of the squirrel that Anwar ran over. She begins thinking of different questions about what the squirrel's life was like. The Narcons provide answers to each of her questions. Xanther feels bad. She wishes she had moved it aside, given it a proper burial, or at least given it a name. Xanther returns to the surface again. This time, Astair and Taymor have worried looks on their faces. They run over to the ladder that Xanther is near. Xanther just laughs it off as she realizes something else: the cat still doesn't have a name.
For the rest of the day, Xanther attempts to think up a name for the cat. She thinks of many different potential names but quickly dismisses them all. On Sunday night, the Ibrahims go to a restaurant in Hillhurst. As they eat, Shasti spots something strange. She notices a girl standing nearby. The girl is dressed like Xanther, and is staring at her as well. The girl runs away before Xanther can turn and see her.
On Monday morning, after Astair leaves to meet with her patients, the cat runs out of Xanther's room. Xanther follows the cat as it runs. The cat is not in the hallway, but is instead halfway down the stairs by the time Xanther exits her room. She figures the cat must have fallen down the stairs. The cat then continues falling down the rest of the stairs. She begins trying to think of more names for the cat but is then interrupted when she hears a shattering sound. When she hears this, she slowly continues down the stairs and looks into the living room. She sees her sisters with their housekeeper Xiomara. Xiomara is crouched down by the fireplace, cleaning up the broken pieces of Astair's glass wolf statue. Xanther knows that today is Xiomara's last day, as she will be moving back to Guadalajara with her husband. The Narcons tell a story about how Xiomara's husband will die on August 9, 2021.
Shasti and Freya help Xiomara clean up the fragments. Xiomara tells them not to help, as they could cut themselves. She tells them to go wake Anwar up from his nap instead. They do not, as they promised Astair they wouldn't wake him up. Xiomara then asks them to go get Xanther. The twins agree that they won't mention the statue to Astair. They want to take the blame for her. This act of compassion touches Xanther. Xiomara promises she will pay Astair back the amount of money that the statue is worth. She hands the money she received for the week to the twins and asks them to give it to Astair as a start. At this point, Xanther becomes suspicious. She wonders what the twins are up to.
Later, the twins accompany Xiomara to her car. Xiomara hugs them and then drives away. When Astair returns home, they hand her Xiomara's money. Astair does not notice the broken statue yet, and is wondering why Xiomara returned her money. The twins do not explain anything. Xanther also remains silent.
The chapter ends on Monday, June 16, 2014 at 16:42:50.