You want us to love you, is that right? Love, Tabitha Crum, is to be earned, not given away to just anyone like a festering case of fleas. She'd been seven when her mother had made the comparison of love and irritable itching. Tabitha remembered the statement quite well because it was the same year children at school had suddenly gotten it in their heads that she had a case of head lice. That had been a difficult time and nobody had gotten close to Tabitha since. Of course, with the addition of a pet mouse over the last year, her lack of friendship could perhaps be further explained by the misapprehension that she spoke to herself. Pemberley was a most excellent consultant in all matters, but he tended to stay out of sight, so Tabitha could somewhat understand the slanderous comments. Or it might have been the unfortunate, uneven unattractive, blunt-scissored haircut her mother was so fond of giving her. Or it could have been the simple truth that making friends can be an awkward and a difficult thing when it's a one-sided endeavor and you've a pet mouse and you've been painted as odd and quiet and shy, when really you're just a bit misunderstood. In any case, nobody at St. John's seemed lacking for companionship except her. But Tabitha reminded herself that there were far worse things than not having friends. In fact, she often made a game of listing far worse things:• eating the contents of a sneeze• creatures crawling into her ear holes.• losing a body part (Though that one was debatable depending on the part. An ear or small toe might be worth a friend or two.