Book Songs of Willow Frost

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He was so close that their toes almost touched. So close she could smell his aftershave. He picked up an empty tobacco tin, brought it to his nose, and then gently set it aside as he regarded the garbage-strewn apartment as though it were a minor inconveniencea misstep, unfortunate but easily overcome. I was at the Wah Mee this afternoon when your stepfather came in and grumbled to all who would listen that he no longer wanted to be your uncle. Liu Song touched her lips, trying not to smirk, remembering what the man had done to her, how he had mistreated her mother. Is that so?more...

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Sometimes. At bedtime shed sing Chinese lullabies that I barely understood, or a British tune that went: Isnt this precious darling of ours / Sweeter than dates and cinnamon flowers. I can hum the rest, but I dont remember the words. It was a long, long time ago Youre lucky. I hardly remember my mother at all. I used to try and remember what her voice sounded like. Like mine, I guess, but wiser. He knew that Charlottes mother had died a few years after shed been born. And like William, she never mentioned her father.more...

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But she knew it was desperation, nothing more. She thought of the strange, gentle man whod appeared at her mothers wake. Colin still favored her parents. He was the only one who could appreciate her many losses. Turn around! she heard a mans voice shout.more...

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The notion of klieg lights and plush velvet curtains only made her ache for her motherfor her family. And when she imagined Colin onstage, she also saw her father, and then her uncle. Drunk with sadness, she felt a strangers breath on her neck and turned her head, sure that she was still dreaming, until she felt the covers pulled back and smelled barley wine, and ginger, and sesame oil. She sensed thick fingers, tugging, rending the fabric of her bedclothes. She felt a calloused hand over her mouth as a mans knees parted hers. M`hgi bng ngóh!more...

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Sorry, Asa dear, I cant go out there tonight, he heard Willow say. I dont care what theyre paying me. Please tell them to take it up with the Screen Actors Guild. I cant play this townthe rain is bad for my voice. But your voice sounds perfectly fine. William stood in the doorway staring.more...

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Ploy or no ploy, it worked. With Charlottes blessing, he watched the movie five more times, each time catching a glimpse of a woman in the background who looked like someone he once knew. But he couldnt be sure. The more he wanted the actresses to be his ah-ma, the more they began to resemble her. Each time his imagination projected memorable features onto the figures that quickly entered and then exited the scene. He gave up before his imagination ran away with him and the women on film began to speak to him directly, waving and calling his name. WILLIAM AND CHARLOTTE still needed a place to spend the night. The man at the penny arcade handed them a card on their way out that read, All You Downtrodden Ones call 354 Rockwell, Sister Marys Mission. Not passing judgment on your character, he said.more...

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William snuck away from lunch and gathered up his knapsack and a few belongingshis hat, scarf, mittens, and an extra pair of socks. What he couldnt take, he hid in Sunnys cubby along with a brief note saying goodbye and that hed write to him when he could. Then he slipped down to the grotto and retrieved the coins hed hidden. There was a single stick of fragrant incense left smoldering in a rusty brazier. He thought about his long-lost mother, about Willow and Charlotte. He even thought about kneeling and offering a halfhearted prayer, but then he waved the smoke away.more...

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As the bookmobile pulled onto the city street and sped up, William felt Charlotte squeeze his hand. She whispered, Sister Briganti once said that all great stories of love and sacrifice have a moralits up to us to find the lesson hidden inside. William didnt know if his story had a moral to it. Honestly, he didnt care. He was going to find Willow Frost. All he wished for was a happy ending. Scars on First Avenue (1934) William climbed out of the dusty bin and sat on the floor near the rear of the bookmobile, struggling not to sneeze. He breathed slowly, trying to relax, inhaling the scent of paper, glue, and printers ink.more...

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None of them had known Liu Song, or her parents. If they seemed unaffected by their duties, the three wailers more than made up for their stoic expressions.

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She brought it to her nose, and for a moment she thought it even smelled like her mothers perfume, or at least the greasy black eye makeup that she wore. The art director took ill, Colin said. So I offered to take it home and replace the straps on the back. I was eager to do anything to impress your father. But then the fireI know your father looked for another venue And then the quarantines. Colin frowned and nodded. I was unable to return it.more...

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