“I know you know that rage inside,” Garth insisted. “I know that no matter how positive you try to be when someone drops their plate of problems on you that you want nothing more than to rip their heads off and then rip their legs off and stick the legs through the neck hole.”
A flicker behind Lily’s eyes told Garth that he was right. But when she spoke, she did so insistently. “What good would wishing for violence do? It would consume me from within and do nothing to anyone who wronged me. The only weapon that we have against people like that is forgiveness.”
Garth genuinely didn’t mean to be rude, but he guffawed hysterically anyway.
“I mean it!” Lily demanded. “You can’t change what other people do, you can only change how you react to it.”
“I didn’t mean to…” Garth stammered. “I mean, we have a higher standard of respect here. It’s just that, you know, Conan the Barbarian doesn’t carry a plus-three sword of forgiveness. There’s no forgiveness rays, or forgiveness sabers, and Rambo doesn’t invade Vietnam armed with a forgivenessthrower.”
“Not even a light forgiveness shield,” piped in Johnathan, who had apparently been listening to the conversation even though the machete he was sharpening should have consumed all of his attention.
“I’m just saying, anger doesn’t have much of an application.”
“I’m sorry, Lily,” Garth said, finally stumbling upon the phrase recommended by etiquette. “I shouldn’t have laughed. I do have to dispute with you, though.”
Lily already recognized Garth’s social awkwardness. She silently accepted his apology, and invited him to continue.
“I suppose your theory is even right, as far as it goes. But it’s not complete. You have no children—“
“I don’t, but how did you know?”
Johnathan chortled. He had watched Garth fumble through this section before, but it never got old. It was a big part of why he enjoyed this particular task so much.
Garth, cursed at himself silently, but visibly. “I apologize once again. There is no easy way to identify people who belong in our group, so we do spend quite a bit of time observing potential candidates. I assure you, we will not use the information in any way, regardless of whether you join us or not.”
“And what exactly is your group?”
Johnathan clapped slowly and sarcastically at Garth.
“Lily, please,” Garth pleaded. “I—I will explain, but it will be easier if we go with this example first. Okay?”
Garth seemed so much lower than Lily. She was somehow looking down at him, despite him being at least a half a foot taller than her, and he was looking back up, and moreover he was looking back up with such earnestness that Lily had no choice but to accept.
So, this is a bit from Receptacle, which is a bit down the line on my project list, but one that I’m excited by. Without giving too much away, the backstory is that Garth (and Johnathan, in his way) are trying to recruit Lily for… well, they’re trying to recruit her for something. I guess it’s not the most backstory I’ve ever given out, eh?