So, let’s talk about drunkenness and debauchery. I will level with you: the Irish and British experience of being a teenager is pretty different than the American one. In America, you do not get served alcohol if you are not over 21: in Ireland they pretty much throw the stuff at you unless you arrive on a tricycle. Sometimes this Cultural Difference confuses and upsets people. I’ll level with you some more: I once wrote forty pages of one character being drunk because I thought it was hilarious. My editor made me cut that DOWN.
MY EDITORS: Why do you keep putting your teenagers in bars?
SARAH: I’m sorry I don’t understand your question. I’m Irish.
This time, my friends, I have gone one better.
Once outside, the November wind cut through her blouse. She stood on the doorstep and hugged herself, sorry that she had forgotten her jacket. Jared in his thin T-shirt gave no indication that he felt anything but annoyed.
“You should be in school,” he remarked.
“So should you!” said Kami. “You’re the one who’s a year behind! You absolutely cannot afford this kind of academic recklessness.”
“Fred Wright called the school and got me the day off so I could learn the work,” Jared said.
“Which brings me to my first and most important question: What the hell do you think you’re doing?”
“Working,” Jared said. “I asked the Wrights if I could work in the pub for room and board. They agreed.”
“You’re seventeen! This is not only ridiculous, it’s super illegal.”
“It’s possibly not the most super illegal thing a Lynburn has done this week,” Jared pointed out.
It was so strange to Kami, how little she could read him. It was like coming to a door that she had always run through before, to find it locked and barred.
“Why did you leave Aurimere?” Kami asked, her voice small.
“My aunt Lillian made me an offer I had to refuse,” said Jared. He looked forbidding.
Kami knew that expression, and remembered the feeling that used to go with it: he was unhappy. “So you ran away from home,” she said. “To become a tavern wench.”
“I’m not a tavern wench,” said Jared. “That’s not a job.” His voice was slightly less stern than before, as if he was taken aback.
“It sounds like you’re a tavern wench,” Kami told him. “Fleeing persecution, you have to take up a menial occupation to keep body and soul together. But at least it’s honest work, though as you labor, many predatory customers make advances and offer indignities.”
“One can only hope,” Jared responded.
Encouraged, Kami reached out a hand: Jared flinched away. He always did that. Kami didn’t know why she kept forgetting. “Jared. You realize the Wrights only agreed because you’re a Lynburn and they’re frightened of you.”
A muscle in Jared’s jaw twitched. “What do you want me to do?”
“Jared,” she said again, her voice softer. “If you needed help, you could have come to me. Don’t you know that?”
Jared gave her that new look, winter-gray and cold, as if he hated her. “I wouldn’t come to you for anything. Not for any reason.”
It took her aback for a moment, the way he could still hurt her just as much, even though he didn’t care any more. Jared turned away and opened the door to go back inside.
“Wait,” said Kami.