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Unformatted text preview: , another one!”
Worry resumed immediately.
Max was covered up.
Rosa trudged up the basement steps, but when she opened the door this time, it was not the Nazis. It was none
other than Rudy Steiner. He stood there, yellow-haired and good-intentioned. “I just came to see how Liesel is.”
When she heard his voice, Liesel started making her way up the steps. “I can deal with this one.”
“Her boyfriend,” Papa mentioned to the paint cans. He blew another mouthful of smoke.
“He is not my boyfriend,” Liesel countered, but she was not irritated. It was impossible after such a close call.
“I’m only going up because Mama will be yelling out any second.”
She was on the fifth step. “See?”
When she reached the door, Rudy moved from foot to foot. “I just came to see—” He stopped. “What’s that
smell?” He sniffed. “Have you been smoking in there?”
“Oh. I was sitting with Papa.”
“Do you have any cigarettes? Maybe we can sell some.”
Liesel wasn’t in the mood for this. She spoke quietly enough so that Mama wouldn’t hear. “I don’t steal from
“But you steal from certain other places.”
“Talk a bit louder, why don’t you.”
Rudy schmunzeled. “See what stealing does? You’re all worried.”
“Like you’ve never stolen anything.”
“Yes, but you reek of it.” Rudy was really warming up now. “Maybe that’s not cigarette smoke after all.” He
leaned closer and smiled. “It’s a criminal I can smell. You should have a bath.” He shouted back to Tommy
Müller. “Hey, Tommy, you should come and have a smell of this!”
“What did you say?” Trust Tommy. “I can’t hear you!” Rudy shook his head in Liesel’s direction. “Useless.”
She started shutting the door. “Get lost, Saukerl, you’re the last thing I need right now.”
Very pleased with himself, Rudy made his way back to the street. At the mailbox, he seemed to remember what
he’d wanted to verify all along. He came back a few steps. “Alles...
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- Winter '13