Diamond is the hardest substance (or so people say, after they have pared it down to smooth faces and sharp edges without acknowledging those mottled rocks pulled from the mine like teeth.) Still, it is stronger and more inflexible than the human body is meant to be, especially the soft and springy outsides. There are questionable physics in every movement Emma makes, and those physics are being questioned thoroughly, with rotary saws and chisels and x-rays and the hard metal tables her fingertips grab at with a clink-clink-clink.
There are spots on Emma that are more like quartz than diamond; more like crusted sugar. Her knees ground out glitter when she crouched for the bottom bookshelf. The doorknob to her bedroom boasts a glimmer in the rust, coaxed from the hairline fractures of her palm. The shower drain is clogged with slivers of scalp, sharp-edged and broad like arrowheads. The grooves of the hardwood floor all sparkle.
Kayla cleans for days. All the sponges and towels are ripped raggedy. The tea-colored soap-water gleams more than it should and when she pours it out the sludge clings fast, glinting and insouciant, like some Caribbean beach hiding in the bottom of her bucket.
All of her fingers are bleeding. Scabs scatter like a demon's tally over her palms, the narrow backs of her hands, across the wrist bones, up her arms. Most heal in a day but the dead skin on her fingertips lingers, protecting the wary flesh beneath.
Kayla doesn't remember how she explains the wounds to Logan but she remembers how he kisses each one, slow and stumbling, as if he is sounding out words he has never heard.