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“Jem,” she said. “Yes?” “I–you must know–how very much your friendship means to me,” she began awkwardly. “And–” A look of pain flashed across his face. “Please don’t.” Thrown off her stride, Tessa could only blink. “What do you mean?” “Every time you say the word, ‘friendship,’ it goes into me like a knife,” he said. “To be friends is a beautiful thing, Tessa, and I do not scorn it, but I have hoped for a long time now that we might be more than friends…”
“Tessa,” said Will. Her name was like knives in his mouth.
Jem’s smile was luminous. lightning his whole face, and any hope that Will had harbored in some secret chamber of his heart that perhaps Jem did not really love her, was gone, blown away like mist before a hard wind.”You have never shirked your duties,” Jem said. “And I know that you would have done what you could to save Tessa in the tea warehouse, whoever she was. But I could not help thinking that perhaps you were so determined to save her was because you knew what she meant to me.” He tipped his head back, his smile incandescent.
“Did I guess correctly, or I am a thickheaded idiot?”
“You’re an idiot,” said Will, and swallowed hard, past his dry throat.
“But-you are correct. I know what she means to you.”