As he mused on the vagaries of mortality, amused at his own philosophical turn, Amanda Cleary walked in. She was only a month behind him in Becoming, and she looked nearly as alien as he did. Her remaining tufts of brown hair boasted gold highlights, making them the color of cane syrup. Those bunches of hair were still thick enough to imagine stroking their softness. She’d been a beauty before the changes had ravaged her, and Gordon still admired her strong personality. He became tongue-tied when she was around, as he always had with those he wanted to impress the most.