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Who is this sassy lost child
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End them. She made it sound so simple. Jae was momentarily taken aback, both at Nadia's phrasing and how bluntly she got to the point. She hadn't changed either, it turned out.

He had expected her to ask him why. The answer would have been "Does it matter?", and that probably wouldn't have satisfied her. But did it matter? When it was all over, everyone here would be dead except for one, and it wouldn't matter what they died for.

Jae recalled his words to Caedyn from yesterday and felt a hot rush of shame. I got my one. He hadn't meant it, or hadn't thought that he meant it. But he had said it, and then the thought wouldn't leave him alone. All it took was one. How many people were left now?

If he went home, would anyone even want him back?

Would it really be better to fight for the chance to pick up the pieces, when he could just hit the reset button and start over again from the beginning?

Obviously, he was still here, so something was winning out. Whether from cowardice or defiance, he was still alive. And one was all it took, but that wasn't his plan at all, was it?

"Yeah," he said finally. "When I find them... yeah." No questions asked, no reasons why. Jae might not be playing to win, but he could make sure that some of the people who were didn't get there.

"They deserve it."
"Art enriches the community, Steve, no less than a pulsing fire hose, or a fireman beating down a blazing door. So what if we're drawing a nude man? So what if all we ever draw is a nude man, or the same nude man over and over in all sorts of provocative positions? Context, not content! Process, not subject! Don't be so gauche, Steve, it's beneath you."

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How Easy it was to Lie to Strangers · The Connecting Bridge