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"Later like this evening or later like when somebody wants to marry me?"

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Feris interrupts to enthusiastically offer to explain. Mile makes a despairing face and presses the heels of her hands into her forehead.

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"Okay, you explain then," she says to Feris.

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"So what she doesn't want to say is that they'll want to have sex with you, for which marriage is only a prerequisite, and they'll be mad at you for not having sex with them, but only if you grow up to be pretty enough that they really want to."

Mile sighs.

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"Oh. I don't know if I'll be pretty. Let alone pretty enough that people would want to have sex with me without even liking me enough to not want to hurt me!"

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"Actually - "

"Thank you, Feris, for explaining as much of that as is appropriate at her age, and demonstrating restraint and good sense."

Feris rolls his eyes.

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"I don't know my age."

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"You're too smart to be two and too small to be five."

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"Maybe I'm two and the smartest person in the world. Or I'm five and the smallest."

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"Only one person can be the smallest or the smartest and there are lots of people."

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"I suppose if I were the second-smallest you might still think I was too small to be five. But really I don't know."

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"We'll have a better idea in ten years."

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"Why?"

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"Because twelve and fifteen are very different and they'll be very different in the same way even if you're very small."

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"Huh. I don't know what you mean but I don't know a lot of things."

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Feris sighs. "I don't know what it's like for a girl to grow up or I'd tell you."

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"Is it very different?"

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"Very," says Mile, cutting Feris off, "and of course you’ll need to know all about that before you marry, which won’t be for quite a few years."

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"I don't want to get married."

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"And I sincerely hope you don't change your mind this decade," says Mile. Feris laughs.

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"I guess I'll keep that in mind if I am thinking about whether to change my mind, then!"

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