It was a broocha very expensive-looking one, with opals, diamonds, and black onyx stones all set into a very modern star-burst pattern. There was some quality about the brooch that seemed to mirror the very essence of Odalie herself, as though it were in some way a portrait of her in miniature. In a ?ash, I had stooped and quickly returned to my desk with the brooch concealed tightly in my palm, the sharp edges of its setting digging into my ?esh. I sat and held the lovely object under my desktop near my lapout of sight of the othersand simply gazed at it, mesmerized. It glittered softly, even in shadow. Eventually, I was called to do some typing and was forced to shake myself free from the brooch's spell. I opened a desk drawer and tucked it away, far into the back under some papers, telling myself I would return it to Odalie ?rst thing when she came back to start her new job on Monday, and already knowing in the pit of my stomach that this was a lie.
During the rest of the day I carried an odd feeling around with me. I was plagued by a sensation of perpetual distraction; it was as if there were an object in my vision I could perceive but couldn't quite look at directly. Even then, I harbored the suspicion that Odalie had dropped the brooch on purpose, as a test to me. And in retrospect I realize such a tactic certainly bore her signature. With one simple act, Odalie had snared me in a trap that consisted of equal parts temptation and shame. I was bound to her from that moment on, always wondering yet eternally unable to ask if she was privy to my act of covetous theft. All this before we'd ever even shaken hands or been introduced.
Excerpted from The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell. Copyright © 2013 by Suzanne Rindell. Excerpted by permission of Amy Einhorn Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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