This life is what you make it. No matter what, you're going to mess up sometimes, it's a universal truth. But the good part is you get to decide how you're going to mess it up. Girls will be your friends - they'll act like it anyway. But just remember, some come, some go. The ones that stay with you through everything - they're your true best friends. Don't let go of them. Also remember, sisters make the best friends in the world. As for lovers, well, they'll come and go too. And baby, I hate to say it, most of them - actually pretty much all of them are going to break your heart, but you can't give up because if you give up, you'll never find your soulmate. You'll never find that half who makes you whole and that goes for everything. Just because you fail once, doesn't mean you're gonna fail at everything. Keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself, because if you don't, then who will, sweetie? So keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling, because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.
This is my depressed stance. When you're depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you'll start to feel better. If you're going to get any joy out of being depressed, you've got to stand like this.
Charles M. Schulz
If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don't work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!
Sarah Dessen (Keeping The Moon (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition))
When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
Laugh, even when you feel too sick or too worn out or tired.
Smile, even when you're trying not to cry and the tears are blurring your vision.
Sing, even when people stare at you and tell you your voice is crappy.
Trust, even when your heart begs you not to.
Twirl, even when your mind makes no sense of what you see.
Frolick, even when you are made fun of. Kiss, even when others are watching. Sleep, even when you're afraid of what the dreams might bring.
Run, even when it feels like you can't run any more.
And, always, remember, even when the memories pinch your heart. Because the pain of all your experience is what makes you the person you are now. And without your experience---you are an empty page, a blank notebook, a missing lyric. What makes you brave is your willingness to live through your terrible life and hold your head up high the next day. So don't live life in fear. Because you are stronger now, after all the crap has happened, than you ever were back before it started.
God knows your value; He sees your potential. You may not understand everything you are going through right now. But hold your head up high, knowing that God is in control and he has a great plan and purpose for your life. Your dreams may not have turned out exactly as you’d hoped, but the bible says that God’s ways are better and higher than our ways, even when everybody else rejects you, remember, God stands before you with His arms open wide. He always accepts you. He always confirms your value. God sees your two good moves! You are His prized possession. No matter what you go through in life, no matter how many disappointments you suffer, your value in God’s eyes always remains the same. You will always be the apple of His eye. He will never give up on you, so don’t give up on yourself.
Joel Osteen (Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential)
You've just gotta hold your head up and act like you don't give a shit
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the will which says to them: 'Hold on!'
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!
Rudyard Kipling (If: A Father's Advice to His Son)
Hold up your head! You were not made for failure, you were made for victory. Go forward with a joyful confidence.
When someone's been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it's like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you're just clutching air and grit. That's why you can't save it all up like that.
Because by the time you finally see each other, you're catching up only on the big things, because it's too much bother to tell about the little things. But the little things are what make up life.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
Get out, explore.
Challenge authority. Challenge yourself.
Become who you say you always will. Keep moving. Don't stop. Start the revolution. Become a freedom fighter. Become a superhero. Just because everyone doesn't know your name doesn't mean you dont matter.
Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive?
Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don't just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. Its impossible to be everything,but you can't stop trying to do it all.
All I know is that I have no idea where I am right now. I feel like I am in training for something, making progress with every step I take. I fear standing still. It is my greatest weakness.
I talk big, but often don't follow through. That's my biggest problem. I don't even know what to think right now. It's about time I start to take a jump. Fuck starting to take. Just jump-over everything. Leap.
It's time to be aggressive. You've started to speak your mind, now keep going with it, but not with the intention of sparking controversy or picking a germane fight. Get your gloves on, it's time for rebirth. There IS no room for the nice guys in the history books.
THIS IS THE START OF A REVOLUTION. THE REVOLUTION IS YOUR LIFE. THE GOAL IS IMMORTALITY. LET'S LIVE, BABY. LET'S FEEL ALIVE AT ALL TIMES. TAKE NO PRISONERS. HOLD NO SOUL UNACCOUNTABLE, ESPECIALLY NOT YOUR OWN. IF SOMETHING DOESN'T HAPPEN, IT'S YOUR FAULT.
Make this moment your reckoning. Your head has been held under water for too long and now it is time to rise up and take your first true breath.
Do everything with exact calculation, nothing without meaning. Do not make careful your words, but make no excuses for what you say. Fuck em' all. Set a goal for everyday and never be tired.
Brian Krans (A Constant Suicide)
Growing up means learning what life is. When you're little, you have a set of ideals, standards, criteria, plans, outlooks, and you think that you have to sit around and wait for them to happen to you and then life will work. But life isn't like that, for anybody; you can't fall in love with a standard, you have to fall in love with a person. You can't live in a criteria, you have to live your life. You can't wait for your plans to materialize, because they may never materialize the way you think they will. You can't wait to watch your ideals and standards walk up to you, because you can't know what's yours until you have it. I always say, always take the first chance in case you never get a second one, but growing up takes that even one step further, growing up means that you have to hold on to what you have, when you have it, because what you have- that's yours- and all the ideals and criteria you have set in your head, those aren't yours, because those haven't happened to you.
C. JoyBell C.
Are you kidding?” I stop in the middle of the kitchen. Spin around. My face is pulled together in disbelief. “You’ve spoken to me maybe once in the two weeks I’ve been here. I hardly even notice you anymore.”
“Okay, hold up,” he says, turning to block my path. “We both know there’s no way you haven’t noticed all of this” — he gestures to himself — “so if you’re trying to play games with me, I should let you know up front that it’s not going to work.”
“What?” I frown. “What are you talking abou—”
“You can’t play hard to get, kid.” He raises an eyebrow. “I can’t even touch you. Takes ‘hard to get’ to a whole new level, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh my God,” I mouth, eyes closed, shaking my head. “You are insane.”
He falls to his knees. “Insane for your sweet, sweet love!
Tahereh Mafi (Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2))
I survived because I remained soft, because I listened, because I wrote. Because I huddled close to my truth, protected it like a tiny flame in a terrible storm. Hold up your head when the tears come, when you are mocked, insulted, questioned, threatened, when they tell you you are nothing, when your body is reduced to openings. The journey will be longer than you imagined, trauma will find you again and again. Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power. Never fight to injure, fight to uplift. Fight because you know that in this life, you deserve safety, joy, and freedom. Fight because it is your life. Not anyone else’s. I did it, I am here. Looking back, all the ones who doubted or hurt or nearly conquered me faded away, and I am the only one standing. So now, the time has come. I dust myself off, and go on.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name: A Memoir)
Casper, she said someone has to hold your leash.”
The dog barked.
Then he dipped his head, picked up the end of the leash in his mouth, and trotted after his master.
Brigid Kemmerer (Storm (Elemental, #1))
Pride is holding your head up when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.
I carried you to the Explorer and you couldn’t even hold your head up. You passed out in my lap after you told me there was no one to care if you woke up. I live to be a hundred, mamita, I’ll never forget it. Not one fuckin’ second of it.
Kristen Ashley (Rock Chick Regret (Rock Chick, #7))
I want you to always hold your head up and follow your dreams wherever they take you. Don’t you ever listen to the people out to hurt you or make you cry. Listen to your heart and be better than them. No one gets ahead by hurting others. The only real peace anyone will ever have is the one that comes from within. Live your life on your own terms and make it a happy life. Always. That’s what’s important, Torimou. (Theo)
Sherrilyn Kenyon (Acheron (Dark-Hunter, #14))
I want to hold you hard to me and kiss you, and never let you go. I want to take you to my bed and use you like a whore, 'til I forget that I exist. And I want to put my head in your lap and weep like a child."
The mouth turned up at one corner, and a blue eye opened slitwise.
"Unfortunately," he said, "I can't do any but the last of those without fainting or being sick again.
Diana Gabaldon (Outlander (Outlander, #1))
She’s kept her love for him as alive as the summer they first met. In order to do this, she’s turned life away. Sometimes she subsists for days on water and air. Being the only known complex life-form to do this, she should have a species named after her. Once Uncle Julian told me how the sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti said that sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you’re limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter-of-an-inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.
My mother did not choose a leaf or a head. She chose my father. And to hold on to a certain feeling, she sacrificed the world.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
To me, all creativity is magic. Ideas start out in the empty void of your head - and they end up as a material thing, like a book you can hold in your hand. That is the magical process. It's an alchemical thing. Yes, we do get the gold out of it but that's not the most important thing. It's the work itself.
just because you fail once, it doesn't mean you're going to fail at everything. keep trying, hold on, and always, always, always believe in yourself because if you don't, then who will? so keep your head high, keep your chin up, and most importantly, keep smiling because life's a beautiful thing and there's so much to smile about.
Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn: Her Life in Her Own Words)
This is the weird aftermath, when it is not exactly over, and yet you have given it up. You go back and forth in your head, often, about giving it up. It’s hard to understand, when you are sitting there in your chair, having breakfast or whatever, that giving it up is stronger than holding on, that “letting yourself go” could mean you have succeeded rather than failed. You eat your goddamn Cheerios and bicker with the bitch in your head that keeps telling you you’re fat and weak: Shut up, you say, I’m busy, leave me alone. When she leaves you alone, there’s a silence and a solitude that will take some getting used to. You will miss her sometimes...There is, in the end, the letting go.
Marya Hornbacher (Wasted: A Memoir of Anorexia and Bulimia)
There are millions of people out there who live this way, and their hearts are breaking just like mine. It’s okay to say, “My kid is a drug addict or alcoholic, and I still love them and I’m still proud of them.” Hold your head up and have a cappuccino. Take a trip. Hang your Christmas lights and hide colored eggs. Cry, laugh, then take a nap. And when we all get to the end of the road, I’m going to write a story that’s so happy it’s going to make your liver explode. It’s going to be a great day.
Dina Kucera (Everything I Never Wanted to Be: A Memoir of Alcoholism and Addiction, Faith and Family, Hope and Humor)
There was a soft chuckle beside me, and my heart stopped.
"So this is Oberon's famous half-blood," Ash mused as I whirled around. His eyes, cold and inhuman, glimmered with amusement. Up close, he was even more beautiful, with high cheekbones and dark tousled hair falling into his eyes. My traitor hands itched, longing to run my fingers through those bangs. Horrified, I clenched them in my lap, trying to concentrate on what Ash was saying. "And to think," the prince continued, smiling, "I lost you that day in the forest and didn't even know what I was chasing."
I shrank back, eyeing Oberon and Queen Mab. They were deep in conversation and did not notice me. I didn't want to interrupt them simply because a prince of the Unseelie Court was talking to me.
Besides, I was a faery princess now. Even if I didn't quite believe it, Ash certainly did. I took a deep breath, raised my chin, and looked him straight in the eye.
"I warn you," I said, pleased that my voice didn't tremble, "that if you try anything, my father will remove your head and stick it to a plaque on his wall."
He shrugged one lean shoulder. "There are worse things." At my horrified look, he offered a faint, self-derogatory smile. "Don't worry, princess, I won't break the rules of Elysium. I have no intention of facing Mab's wrath should I embarrass her. That's not why I'm here."
"Then what do you want?"
He bowed. "A dance."
"What!" I stared at him in disbelief. "You tried to kill me!"
"Technically, I was trying to kill Puck. You just happened to be there. But yes, if I'd had the shot, I would have taken it."
"Then why the hell would you think I'd dance with you?"
"That was then." He regarded me blandly. "This is now. And it's tradition in Elysium that a son and daughter of opposite territories dance with each other, to demonstrate the goodwill between the courts."
"Well, it's a stupid tradition." I crossed my arms and glared. "And you can forget it. I am not going anywhere with you."
He raised an eyebrow. "Would you insult my monarch, Queen Mab, by refusing? She would take it very personally, and blame Oberon for the offense. And Mab can hold a grudge for a very, very long time."
Oh, damn. I was stuck.
Julie Kagawa (The Iron King (The Iron Fey, #1))
Here's how I feel: People take one another for granted. Like, I'd just hang out with Ingrid in all these random places--in her room or at school or just on a sidewalk somewhere. And the whole time we'd tell eachother things, just say our thoughts outloud. Maybe that would have been boring to some people, but it was never boring to us. I never realized what a big deal that was. How amazing it is to find someone who wants to hear about all the things that go on in your head. You just think that things will stay the way they are. You never look up, in a moment that feels like every other moment of your life, and think, "Soon this will be over." But I understand more now. About how life works.
Nina LaCour (Hold Still)
Pride is holding your head up high when everyone around you has theirs bowed. Courage is what makes you do it.
Bryce Courtenay (The Power of One (The Power of One, #1))
Stop focusing on your past mistakes. Don’t be ashamed of the things that you’ve done. We ALL have made mistakes. Don’t you see? All of those things helped shape you into the beautiful person that you are today! Hold your head up high because you didn’t allow your past mistakes to consume you. You learned! You conquered! You became a better YOU. Be proud of who you are TODAY!
There is an emotional promiscuity we’ve noticed among many good young men and women. The young man understands something of the journey of the heart. He wants to talk, to “share the journey.” The woman is grateful to be pursued, she opens up. They share the intimacies of their lives - their wounds, their walks with God. But he never commits. He enjoys her... then leaves. And she wonders, What did I do wrong? She failed to see his passivity. He really did not ever commit or offer assurances that he would. Like Willoughby to Marianne in Sense and Sensibility.
Be careful you do not offer too much of yourself to a man until you have good, solid evidence that he is a strong man willing to commit. Look at his track record with other women. Is there anything to be concerned about there? If so, bring it up. Also, does he have any close male friends - and what are they like as men? Can he hold down a job? Is he walking with God in a real and intimate way? Is he facing the wounds of his own life, and is he also demonstrating a desire to repent of Adam’s passivity and/or violence? Is he headed somewhere with his life? A lot of questions, but your heart is a treasure, and we want you to offer it only to a man who is worthy and ready to handle it well.
Stasi Eldredge (Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman's Soul)
Hold your head up, Grace. Even when you’re dying inside—especially then—hold it up.
Patty Blount (Some Boys)
Always be the best, my boy, the bravest, and hold your head up high above all the others. Never disgrace the generation of your fathers. They were the bravest champions...
This way,” he murmurs and abruptly is inside me once more, but he doesn’t start his usual punishing rhythm straight away. He leans over, releases my hands, and pulls me upright so I am practically sitting on him. His hands move up to my breasts, and he palms them both, tugging gently on my nipples. I groan, tossing my head back against his shoulder. He nuzzles my neck, biting down, as he flexes his hips, deliciously slowly, filling me again and again.
“Do you know how much you mean to me?” he breathes against my ear.
“No,” I gasp.
He smiles against my neck, and his fingers curl around my jaw and throat, holding me fast for a moment. “Yes, you do. I’m not going to let you go.” I groan as he picks up speed. “You are mine, Anastasia.” “Yes, yours,” I pant. “I take care of what’s mine,” he hisses and bites my ear.
E.L. James (Fifty Shades Darker (Fifty Shades, #2))
Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less. As a baby Pearl had clung to her; she’d worn Pearl in a sling because whenever she’d set her down, Pearl would cry. There’d scarcely been a moment in the day when they had not been pressed together. As she got older, Pearl would still cling to her mother’s leg, then her waist, then her hand, as if there was something in her mother she needed to absorb through the skin. Even when she had her own bed, she would often crawl into Mia’s in the middle of the night and burrow under the old patchwork quilt, and in the morning they would wake up tangled, Mia’s arm pinned beneath Pearl’s head, or Pearl’s legs thrown across Mia’s belly. Now, as a teenager, Pearl’s caresses had become rare—a peck on the cheek, a one-armed, half-hearted hug—and all the more precious because of that. It was the way of things, Mia thought to herself, but how hard it was. The occasional embrace, a head leaned for just a moment on your shoulder, when what you really wanted more than anything was to press them to you and hold them so tight you fused together and could never be taken apart. It was like training yourself to live on the smell of an apple alone, when what you really wanted was to devour it, to sink your teeth into it and consume it, seeds, core, and all.
Celeste Ng (Little Fires Everywhere)
The key, though, win or lose, is not to fail. And the only way to fail is not to fight. So you fight until you can’t fight anymore. Hold up you head and enter the arena, and face the enemy. Fight until you can’t fight anymore, never let go, never give up, never run, never surrender. Fight the good fight, you fight even when it seems inevitable that you’re about to go down swinging.
Dr. Amelia Shepherd. Grey's Anatomy
I never realized what a big deal that was. How amazing it is to find someone who wants to hear about all the things that go on in your head. You just think that things will stay the way they are. You never look up, in a moment that feels like every other moment in your life, and think, "Soon this will be over". But I understand more now. About the way life works.
I want you, Hank. I'm much more of an animal than you think. I wanted you from the first moment I saw you - and the only thing I'm ashamed of is that I did not know it. I did not know why, for two years, the brightest moments I found were the ones in your office, where I could lift my head to look up at you. I did not know the nature of what I felt in your presence, nor the reason. I know it now. That is all I want, Hank. I want you in my bed - and you are free of me for all the rest of your time. There's nothing you'll have to pretend - don't think of me, don't feel; don't care - I do not want your mind, your will, your being or your soul, so long as it's to me you will come for that lowest one of your desires. I am an animal who wants nothing but the sensation of pleasure which you despise - but I want it from you. You'd give up amy height of virtue for it , while I - I haven't any to give up. There's none I seek or wish to reach. I am so low that I would exchange the greatest sight of beauty in the world for the sight of your figure in the cab of a railroad engine. Amd seeing it, I would not be able to see it indifferently. You don't have to fear that you're now dependent on me. It's I who will depend on any whim of yours. You'll have me anytime you wish, anywhere, on any terms. Did you call it the obscenity of my talent? It's such that it gives you a safer hold on me than on any other property you own. You may dispose of me as you please - I'm not afraid to admit it - I have nothing to protect from you and nothing to reserve. You think that this is a threat to your achievement, but it is not to mine. I will sit at my desk, and work, and when the things around me get hard to bear, I will think that for my reward I will be in your bed that night. Did you call it depravity? I am much more depraved than you are: you hold it as your guilt, and I - as my pride. I'm more proud of it than anything I've done, more proud than of building the Line. If I'm asked to name my proudest attainment, I will say: I have slept with Hank Rearden. I had earned it.
You hold your head up. You submitting to me doesn't mean you're anything less...the very last thing I want is for you to be some mindless puppet.
Maya Banks (Fever (Breathless, #2))
Hold up your head when the tears come, when you are mocked, insulted, questioned, threatened, when they tell you you are nothing, when your body is reduced to openings. The journey will be longer than you imagined, trauma will find you again and again. Do not become the ones who hurt you. Stay tender with your power. Never fight to injure, fight to uplift. Fight because you know that in this life, you deserve safety, joy, and freedom. Fight because it is your life. Not anyone else's.
Chanel Miller (Know My Name)
Izzy, are you—” he began. His eyes flew wide, and he backed up fast enough to smack his head into the wall behind him. “What is he doing here?”
Isabelle tugged her tank top back down and glared at her brother. “You don’t knock now?”
“It—It’s my bedroom!” Alec spluttered. He seemed to be deliberately trying not to look at Izzy and Simon, who were indeed in a very compromising position. Simon rolled quickly off Isabelle, who sat up, brushing herself off as if for lint. Simon sat up more slowly, trying to hold the torn edges of his shirt together. “Why are all my clothes on the floor?” Alec said.
“I was trying to find something for Simon to wear,” Isabelle explained. “Maureen put him in leather pants and a puffy shirt because he was being her romance-novel slave.”
“He was being her what?”
“Her romance-novel slave,” Isabelle repeated, as if Alec were being particularly dense.
Alec shook his head as if he were having a bad dream. “You know what? Don’t explain. Just—put your clothes on, both of you.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
Derek and I went out for our walk after dinner. Alone.
There was an open field behind the motel and we headed there. Finally, when we were far enough from the motel, Derek led me into a little patch of woods. He hesitated then, unsure, still just holding my hand. When I stepped in front of him, though, his free hand went around my waist.
"So," I said. "Seems you're going to be stuck with me for a while."
He smiled. A real smile that lit up his whole face.
"Good," he said.
He pulled me against him. Then he bent down, breath warming my lips. My pulse was racing so fast I could barely breathe. I was sure he'd stop again and I tensed, waiting for that hesitation, stomach twisting. His lips touched mine, and still I kept waiting for him to pull back.
His lips pressed against mine, then parted. And he kissed me. Really kissed me- arms tightening around me, mouth moving against mine, firm, like he'd made up his mind that this was what he wanted and he wasn't backing down again.
I slid my arms around his neck. His tightened around me and he scooped me up, lifting me off his feet, kissing me like he was never going to stop, and I kissed him back the same way, like I didn't want him to ever stop.
It was a perfect moment, one where nothing else mattered. All I could feel was him. All I could taste was his kiss. All I could hear was the pounding of his heart. All I could think about was him, and how much I wanted this, and how incredibly lucky I was to get it, and how tight I was going to hold onto it.
This was what I wanted. This guy. This life. This me. I was never getting my old life back, and I didn't care. I was happy. I was safe. I was right where I wanted to be.
Kelley Armstrong (The Reckoning (Darkest Powers, #3))
God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else - something it never entered your head to conceive - comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last for ever. We must take it or leave it.
Kenji turns to look at me. He manages a goofy smile. "Aw, you trust me?"
"As long as I have a clear shot." I tighten my hold on the gun in my hand.
His grin is crooked. "I don't know why, but I kind of like it when you threaten me."
"That's because you're an idiot."
"Nah." he shakes his head. "You've got a sexy voice. Makes everything sound naughty."
Adam stands up so suddenly he nearly knocks over the coffee table.
Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1))
After some time, you learn the subtle difference between
holding a hand
and imprisoning a soul;
You learn that love does not equal sex,
and that company does not equal security,
and you start to learn….
That kisses are not contracts and gifts are not promises,
and you start to accept defeat with the head up high
and open eyes,
and you learn to build all roads on today,
because the terrain of tomorrow is too insecure for plans…
and the future has its own way of falling apart in half.
And you learn that if it’s too much
even the warmth of the sun can burn.
So you plant your own garden and embellish your own soul,
instead of waiting for someone to bring flowers to you.
And you learn that you can actually bear hardship,
that you are actually strong,
and you are actually worthy,
and you learn and learn…and so every day.
Over time you learn that being with someone
because they offer you a good future,
means that sooner or later you’ll want to return to your past.
Over time you comprehend that only who is capable
of loving you with your flaws, with no intention of changing you
can bring you all happiness.
Over time you learn that if you are with a person
only to accompany your own solitude,
irremediably you’ll end up wishing not to see them again.
Over time you learn that real friends are few
and whoever doesn’t fight for them, sooner or later,
will find himself surrounded only with false friendships.
Over time you learn that words spoken in moments of anger
continue hurting throughout a lifetime.
Over time you learn that everyone can apologize,
but forgiveness is an attribute solely of great souls.
Over time you comprehend that if you have hurt a friend harshly
it is very likely that your friendship will never be the same.
Over time you realize that despite being happy with your friends,
you cry for those you let go.
Over time you realize that every experience lived,
with each person, is unrepeatable.
Over time you realize that whoever humiliates
or scorns another human being, sooner or later
will suffer the same humiliations or scorn in tenfold.
Over time you learn to build your roads on today,
because the path of tomorrow doesn’t exist.
Over time you comprehend that rushing things or forcing them to happen
causes the finale to be different form expected.
Over time you realize that in fact the best was not the future,
but the moment you were living just that instant.
Over time you will see that even when you are happy with those around you,
you’ll yearn for those who walked away.
Over time you will learn to forgive or ask for forgiveness,
say you love, say you miss, say you need,
say you want to be friends, since before
a grave, it will no longer make sense.
But unfortunately, only over time…
Jorge Luis Borges
So hold your head up high, reserve your smiles for those who really deserve them, and let the world know it’s your bitch.
The Betches (Nice Is Just a Place in France: How to Win at Basically Everything)
never let the streets know when you’re upset. Don’t let any strangers see you cry. Hold your head up and look as if you’re ready to destroy the world if you have to.
Ibi Zoboi (Pride: A Pride & Prejudice Remix)
What did she say?” asked Matthias.
Nina coughed and took his arm, leading him away. “She said you’re a very nice fellow, and a credit to the Fjerdan race. Ooh, look, blini! I haven’t had proper blini in forever.”
“That word she used: babink,” he said. “You’ve called me that before. What does it mean?”
Nina directed her attention to a stack of paper-thin buttered pancakes. “It means sweetie pie.”
“I was just asking, there’s no need to name-call.”
“No, babink means barbarian.” Matthias’ gaze snapped back to the old woman, his glower returning to full force. Nina grabbed his arm. It was like trying to hold on to a boulder. “She wasn’t insulting you! I swear!”
“Barbarian isn’t an insult?” he asked, voice rising.
“No. Well, yes. But not in this context. She wanted to know if you’d like to play Princess and Barbarian.”
“It’s a game?”
“Then what is it?”
Nina couldn’t believe she was actually going to attempt to explain this. As they continued up the street, she said, “In Ravka, there’s a popular series of stories about, um, a brave Fjerdan warrior—”
“Really?” Matthias asked. “He’s the hero?”
“In a manner of speaking. He kidnaps a Ravkan princess—”
“That would never happen.”
“In the story it does, and”—she cleared her throat—“they spend a long time getting to know each other. In his cave.”
“He lives in a cave?”
“It’s a very nice cave. Furs. Jeweled cups. Mead.”
“Ah,” he said approvingly. “A treasure hoard like Ansgar the Mighty. They become allies, then?”
Nina picked up a pair of embroidered gloves from another stand. “Do you like these? Maybe we could get Kaz to wear something with flowers. Liven up his look.”
“How does the story end? Do they fight battles?”
Nina tossed the gloves back on the pile in defeat. “They get to know each other intimately.”
Matthias’ jaw dropped. “In the cave?”
“You see, he’s very brooding, very manly,” Nina hurried on. “But he falls in love with the Ravkan princess and that allows her to civilize him—”
“To civilize him?”
“Yes, but that’s not until the third book.”
“There are three?”
“Matthias, do you need to sit down?”
“This culture is disgusting. The idea that a Ravkan could civilize a Fjerdan—”
“Calm down, Matthias.”
“Perhaps I’ll write a story about insatiable Ravkans who like to get drunk and take their clothes off and make unseemly advances toward hapless Fjerdans.”
“Now that sounds like a party.” Matthias shook his head, but she could see a smile tugging at his lips. She decided to push the advantage. “We could play,” she murmured, quietly enough so that no one around them could hear.
“We most certainly could not.”
“At one point he bathes her.”
Matthias’ steps faltered. “Why would he—”
“She’s tied up, so he has to.”
“Already giving orders. That’s very barbarian of you. Or we could mix it up. I’ll be the barbarian and you can be the princess. But you’ll have to do a lot more sighing and trembling and biting your lip.”
“How about I bite your lip?”
“Now you’re getting the hang of it, Helvar.
Leigh Bardugo (Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows, #2))
Day in, day out, you peel the layers back for me. Smart mouth, funny, sweet, wild in bed. Chattin' with bikers like they were insurance brokers. Holdin' my girl's hand, givin' her strength when her Mom's bein' a bitch. Keepin' your chin up when your people show in the middle of a full blown drama. But so fuckin' vulnerable, you're scared shitless of livin' life."
"You don't know me, Tack."
His head came up and his eyes pierced mine. "I know you, Tyra."
"Life's a roller coaster. Best damn ride in the park. You don't close your eyes, hold on and wait for it to be over, babe. You keep your eyes open, lift your hands straight up in the air and enjoy the ride for as long as it lasts.
Kristen Ashley (Motorcycle Man (Dream Man, #4))
But what of you?” Gabriel said, and they
were very close now, almost touching. “It is
your choice to make now, to stay or return.”
“I will stay,” Cecily said. “I choose the
Gabriel let out the breath he hadn’t realized
he was holding. “You will give up your
“A drafty old house in Yorkshire?” Cecily
said. “This is London.”
“And give up what is familiar?”
“Familiar is dull.”
“And give up seeing your parents? It is
against the Law …”
She smiled, the glimmer of a smile.
“Everyone breaks the Law.”
“Cecy,” he said, and closed the distance
between them, though it was not much, and
then he was kissing her—his hands awkward
around her shoulders at first, slipping on the
stiff taffeta of her gown before his fingers
slid behind her head, tangling in her soft,
warm hair. She stiffened in surprise before
softening against him, the seam of her lips
parting as he tasted the sweetness of her
mouth. When she drew away at last, he felt
light-headed. “Cecy?” he said again, his
“Five,” she said. Her lips and cheeks were
flushed, but her gaze was steady.
“Five?” he echoed blankly.
“My rating,” she said, and smiled at him.
“Your skill and technique may, perhaps, require
work, but the native talent is certainly
there. What you require is practice.”
“And you are willing to be my tutor?”
“I should be very insulted if you chose another,”
she said, and leaned up to kiss him
Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more;
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility:
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger;
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood,
Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage;
Then lend the eye a terrible aspect;
Let pry through the portage of the head
Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it
As fearfully as doth a galled rock
O'erhang and jutty his confounded base,
Swill'd with the wild and wasteful ocean.
Now set the teeth and stretch the nostril wide,
Hold hard the breath and bend up every spirit
To his full height. On, on, you noblest English.
Whose blood is fet from fathers of war-proof!
Fathers that, like so many Alexanders,
Have in these parts from morn till even fought
And sheathed their swords for lack of argument:
Dishonour not your mothers; now attest
That those whom you call'd fathers did beget you.
Be copy now to men of grosser blood,
And teach them how to war. And you, good yeoman,
Whose limbs were made in England, show us here
The mettle of your pasture; let us swear
That you are worth your breeding; which I doubt not;
For there is none of you so mean and base,
That hath not noble lustre in your eyes.
I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Auri hopped down from the chimney and skipped over to where I stood, her hair streaming behind her. "Hello Kvothe." She took a half-step back. "You reek."
I smiled my best smile of the day. "Hello Auri," I said. "You smell like a
pretty young girl."
"I do," she agreed happily.
She stepped sideways a little, then forward again, moving lightly on the balls of her bare feet. "What did you bring me?" she asked.
"What did you bring me?" I countered.
She grinned. "I have an apple that thinks it is a pear," she said, holding it up. "And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce."
"It's a clever lettuce then."
"Hardly," she said with a delicate snort. "Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?"
"Even if it is a lettuce?" I asked.
"Especially then," she said. "Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too." She shook her head sadly, her hair following the motion as if she were underwater.
I unwrapped my bundle. "I brought you some potatoes, half a squash,
and a bottle of beer that thinks it is a loaf of bread."
"What does the squash think it is?" she asked curiously, looking down at it. She held her hands clasped behind her back
"It knows it's a squash," I said. "But it's pretending to be the setting sun."
"And the potatoes?" she asked.
"They're sleeping," I said. "And cold, I'm afraid."
She looked up at me, her eyes gentle. "Don't be afraid," she said, and reached out and rested her fingers on my cheek for the space of a heartbeat, her touch lighter than the stroke of a feather. "I'm here. You're safe.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Wise Man's Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #2))
people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands
told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model”
to which he said no way,
i dont remember the reason he gave me and i wouldve been upset,
but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold
too many homework assignment to write,
too many boys to wave at
too many years to grow,
we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great
big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three.
hands learn more than minds do,
hands learn how to hold other hands,
how to grip pencils and mold poetry,
how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball,
and grip the handles of a bicycle
how to hold old people, and touch babies ,
i love hands like i love people,
they're the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future,
but i read hands to tell your past,
each scar marks the story worth telling,
each calloused palm,
each cracked knuckle is a missed punch
or years in a factory,
now ive seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees theyre fists as warriors and others as enemies.
even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer.
one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom.
kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but dont hold on too tight, but dont let go too soon, but dont hold down for too long,
but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple.
the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.
Not everyone will like you or take the time to understand you. Some people lack the capacity. Don’t worry; it’s okay. Their acceptance or rejection doesn’t change your worth one bit. Hold your head up and live your life regardless, knowing not everyone is worthy of you.
Richelle E. Goodrich (Being Bold: Quotes, Poetry, & Motivations for Every Day of the Year)
The stars are brilliant at this time of night
and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break
for darling, the times are quite glorious.
I left him by the water’s edge,
still waving long after the ship was gone
and if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well.
There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew.
I used to go there to say goodbye.
I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them,
one way or the other,
leaving sin on my body
scrubbing tears off with salt
and I built my rituals in farewells.
Endings I still cling to.
So I go to the ocean to say goodbye.
He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my head
and though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right one
for I have used them myself and there is no coming back.
Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay.
I turned away from the ocean
as not to fall for its plea
for it used to seduce and consume me
and there was this one night
a few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewells
and just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone.
But I was younger then and easily fooled
and the ocean was deep and dark and blue
and I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones.
I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival.
Then days passed by and I spent them with my work
and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send.
But there is this one day every year or so
when the burden gets too heavy
and I collect my belongings I no longer need
and make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anew
and it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written words
and I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone.
Nothing left to hold me back.
You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss
like chains wrapped around my veins,
and if you see a fire from the shore tonight
it’s my chains going up in flames.
The time of moon i quite glorious.
We could have been so glorious.
Charlotte Eriksson (You're Doing Just Fine)
He moves suddenly so that his hand is cupping my sex, and one of his fingers sinks slowly into me. His other arm holds me firmly in place around my waist.
“This is mine,” he whispers aggressively. “All mine. Do you understand?” He eases his finger in and out as he gazes down at me, gauging my reaction, his eyes burning.
Abruptly, he moves, doing several things at once: Withdrawing his fingers, leaving me wanting, unzipping his fly, and pushing me down onto the couch so he’s lying on top of me.
“Hands on your head,” he commands through gritted teeth as he kneels up, forcing my legs wider…
“We don’t have long. This will be quick, and it’s for me, not you. Do you understand?
Don’t come, or I will spank you,” he says through clenched teeth.
E.L. James (Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1))
always hold your head up but be careful to keep your nose at a friendly level.
Max L. Forman
Life is full of challenges, seen and unseen, so to look and feel great, you must hold your head up each day and project your inner confidence.
Cindy Ann Peterson (My Style, My Way: Top Experts Reveal How to Create Yours Today)
each hour is a room of shame, and I am
swimming, swimming, holding my head up,
smiling, joking, ashamed, ashamed,
like being naked with the clothed, or being
a child, having to try to behave
while hating the terms of your life.
Sharon Olds (Stag's Leap: Poems)
As the days piled up into weeks, and the weeks turned into months, and fall slid into winter, I realized one of the great truths about tragedy: You can dream of disappearing. You can wish for oblivion, for endless sleep or the escape of fiction, of walking into a river with your pockets full of stones, of letting the dark water close over your head. But if you've got kids, the web of the world holds you close and wraps you tight and keeps you from falling no matter how badly you think you want to fall.
She's not much taller than Tess and definitely lighter than Kaede. For a second it seems like the crowd's attention has made her umcomfortable and I'm ready to dismiss her as a real contender until I study her again. No, this girl is nothing like the last one. She's hesitating not because she's afraid to fight,or because she fears losing,but because she's thinking. Calculating.She has dark hair tied back in a high ponytail and a lean, athletic build. She stands deliberately, with a hand resting on her hip, as if nothing in the world can catch her off guard. I find myself pausing to admire her face.
For a brief moment,I'm lost to my surroundings.
The girl shakes her head at Kaede. This surprises me too-I've never seen anyone refuse to fight. Everyone knows the rules: if you're chosen,you fight. This girl doesn't seem to fear the crowds wrath. Kaede laughs at her and says something I can't quite make out. Tess hears it,though, and casts me a quick, concerned glance.
This time the girl nods. The crowd lets out another cheer,and Kaede smiles. I lean a little bit out from behind the chimney. Something about this girl...I don't know what it is.But her eyes burn in the light,and although it's hot and might be my imagination, I think I see a small smile on the girl's face.
Tess shoots a questioning look at me.I hesitate for a split second,then hold up one finger again. I'm grateful to this mystery girl for helping Tess out, but with my money on the line,I decide to play it safe. Tess nods,then casts our bet in favor of Kaede.
But the instant the new girl steps into the circle and I see her stance...I know I've made a big mistake.Kaede strikes like a bull, a battering ram.
This girl strikes like a viper.
Marie Lu (Legend (Legend, #1))
How You Doing, Little Lucy?” His bright tone and mild expression indicates we’re playing a game we almost never play. It’s a game called How You Doing? and it basically starts off like we don’t hate each other. We act like normal colleagues who don’t want to swirl their hands in each other’s blood. It’s disturbing.
“Great, thanks, Big Josh. How You Doing?”
“Super. Gonna go get coffee. Can I get you some tea?” He has his heavy black mug in his hand. I hate his mug.
I look down; my hand is already holding my red polka-dot mug. He’d spit in anything he made me. Does he think I’m crazy? “I think I’ll join you.”
We march purposefully toward the kitchen with identical footfalls, left, right, left, right, like prosecutors walking toward the camera in the opening credits of Law & Order. It requires me to almost double my stride. Colleagues break off conversations and look at us with speculative expressions. Joshua and I look at each other and bare our teeth. Time to act civil. Like executives.
“Ah-ha-ha,” we say to each other genially at some pretend joke. “Ah-ha-ha.”
We sweep around a corner. Annabelle turns from the photocopier and almost drops her papers. “What’s happening?”
Joshua and I nod at her and continue striding, unified in our endless game of one-upmanship. My short striped dress flaps from the g-force.
“Mommy and Daddy love you very much, kids,” Joshua says quietly so only I can hear him. To the casual onlooker he is politely chatting. A few meerkat heads have popped up over cubicle walls. It seems we’re the stuff of legend. “Sometimes we get excited and argue. But don’t be scared. Even when we’re arguing, it’s not your fault.”
“It’s just grown-up stuff,” I softly explain to the apprehensive faces we pass. “Sometimes Daddy sleeps on the couch, but it’s okay. We still love you.
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
Knowledge is a funny thing, Auron. The more of it that's in your head, the more your head can hold. It breeds on its own. You never know what the next bit of reading is going to do, what it's going to meet up with in your head and mate.
E.E. Knight (Dragon Champion (Age of Fire, #1))
She cocks her head at me and adds, "I don't need your commentary if you disagree, by the way."
I hold up my hands. "Wasn't going to say a word, Addy."
"When did you even start knowing my name," she deadpans.
I grin at her. "You've gotten kinda feisty since you lost all the hair. And the boyfriend.
Karen M. McManus (One of Us Is Lying (One of Us is Lying, #1))
Don’t be so hard on yourself. Be perfectly okay with being who YOU are. Fully embrace yourself, flaws and all. Love yourself right where you are. Strive to do better, but don’t beat yourself up for every shortcoming that you may have. Be brave in your journey! Hold your head up high, and keep moving forward.
You're a freak. But I really can't accept these-'
Were you raised in a barn? Don't be ruuuuuude, my boy. They're a gift.'
Blay shook his head. 'Take them, John. You're just going to lose this argument, and it will save us from the theatrics.'
Theatrics?' Qhuinn leaped up and assumed a Roman oratory pose. 'Whither thou knowest thy ass from thy elbow, young scribe?'
Blay blushed. 'Come on-'
Qhuinn threw himself at Blay, grasping onto the guy's shoulders and hanging his full weight off him. 'Hold me. Your insult has left me breathless. I'm agasp.'
Blay grunted and scrambled to keep Qhuinn up off the floor. 'That's agape.'
Agasp sounds better.'
Blay was trying not to smile, trying not to be delighted, but his eyes were sparkling like sapphires and his cheeks were getting red. With a silent laugh, John sat on one of the locker room benches, shook out his pair of white socks, and pulled them on under his new old jeans. 'You sure, Qhuinn? 'Cause I have a feeling they're going to fit and you might change your mind.
Qhuinn abruptly lifted himself off Blay and straightened his clothes with a sharp tug. 'And now you offend my honor.' Facing off at John, he flipped into a fencing stance.
Blay laughed. 'That's en garde, you damn fool.'
Qhuinn shot a look over his shoulder. 'ça va, Brutus?'
That would be tutu, I believe, and you can keep the cross-dressing to yourself, ya perv.'
Qhuinn flashed a brilliant smile, all twelve kinds of proud for being such an ass. 'Now, put the fuckers on, John, and let's be done with this. Before we have to put Blay in an iron lung.'
No, thanks, I had a big lunch.
J.R. Ward (Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #6))
Each of you, for himself or herself, by himself or herself, and on his or her own responsibility, must speak. It is a solemn and weighty responsibility and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of pulpit, press, government or politician. Each must decide for himself or herself alone what is right and what is wrong, which course is patriotic and which isn’t. You cannot shirk this and be a man, to decide it against your convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor. It is traitorous both against yourself and your country.
Let men label you as they may, if you alone of all the nation decide one way, and that way be the right way by your convictions of the right, you have done your duty by yourself and by your country, hold up your head for you have nothing to be ashamed of.
Mark Twain (The Bible According to Mark Twain: Irreverent Writings on Eden, Heaven, and the Flood by America's Master Satirist)
The wish of death had been palpably hanging over this otherwise idyllic paradise for a good many years.
All business and politics is personal in the Philippines.
If it wasn't for the cheap beer and lovely girls one of us would spend an hour in this dump.
They [Jehovah's Witnesses] get some kind of frequent flyer points for each person who signs on.
I'm not lazy. I'm just motivationally challenged.
I'm not fat. I just have lots of stored energy.
You don't get it do you? What people think of you matters more than the reality. Marilyn.
Despite standing firm at the final hurdle Marilyn was always ready to run the race.
After answering the question the woman bent down behind the stand out of sight of all, and crossed herself.
It is amazing what you can learn in prison. Merely through casual conversation Rick had acquired the fundamentals of embezzlement, fraud and armed hold up.
He wondered at the price of honesty in a grey world whose half tones changed faster than the weather.
The banality of truth somehow always surprises the news media before they tart it up.
You've ridden jeepneys in peak hour. Where else can you feel up a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl without even trying? [Ralph Winton on the Philippines finer points]
Life has no bottom. No matter how bad things are or how far one has sunk things can always get worse.
You could call the Oval Office an information rain shadow.
In the Philippines, a whole layer of criminals exists who consider that it is their right to rob you unhindered. If you thwart their wicked desires, to their way of thinking you have stolen from them and are evil.
There's honest and dishonest corruption in this country.
Don't enjoy it too much for it's what we love that usually kills us.
The good guys don't always win wars but the winners always make sure that they go down in history as the good guys.
The Philippines is like a woman. You love her and hate her at the same time.
I never believed in all my born days that ideas of truth and justice were only pretty words to brighten a much darker and more ubiquitous reality.
The girl was experiencing the first flushes of love while Rick was at least feeling the methadone equivalent.
Although selfishness and greed are more ephemeral than the real values of life their effects on the world often outlive their origins.
Miriam's a meteor job. Somewhere out there in space there must be a meteor with her name on it.
Tsismis or rumours grow in this land like tropical weeds.
Surprises are so common here that nothing is surprising.
A crooked leader who can lead is better than a crooked one who can't.
Although I always followed the politics of Hitler I emulate the drinking habits of Churchill.
It [Australia] is the country that does the least with the most.
Rereading the brief lines that told the story in the manner of Fox News reporting the death of a leftist Rick's dark imagination took hold.
Didn't your mother ever tell you never to trust a man who doesn't drink?
She must have been around twenty years old, was tall for a Filipina and possessed long black hair framing her smooth olive face. This specter of loveliness walked with the assurance of the knowingly beautiful. Her crisp and starched white uniform dazzled in the late-afternoon light and highlighted the natural tan of her skin. Everything about her was in perfect order. In short, she was dressed up like a pox doctor’s clerk. Suddenly, she stopped, turned her head to one side and spat comprehensively into the street. The tiny putrescent puddle contrasted strongly with the studied aplomb of its all-too-recent owner, suggesting all manner of disease and decay.
John Richard Spencer
Your mother brought a strange man to this house once, Katarina. I had hoped it might be a few years before history repeated itself.”
Kat rolled her eyes at the mention of her father. “Uncle Eddie, I brought Hale home ages ago,” she reminded him; but her uncle just shook his head.
“I've known my great-niece's friend. A boyfriend, on the other hand . . . that is a most different matter.”
“Yes, sir,” Hale said. He stood up a little straighter, spoke a little louder.
“You have a powerful family, boy.”
“Yes, sir,” Hale said. “Please don't hold them against me.”
Then Eddie gave a wry smile. “Who says I was talking about them?
Ally Carter (Perfect Scoundrels (Heist Society, #3))
I think,” Juna says after a pause, “that the thing about losing someone isn’t the loss but the absence of afterwards. D’you know what I mean? The endlessness of that.” She looks sideways at me and sniffs. “My friends were sad, people who knew my sister were sad, but everyone moves on after a month. It’s all they can manage. It doesn’t mean they weren’t sad, just that things keep going or something, I don’t know.” She rolls her shoulder, shakes her head. “It’s hard when you look up and realise that everyone’s moved off and left you in that place by yourself. Like they’ve all gone on and you’re there still, holding on to this person you’re supposed to let go of.
Julia Armfield (Our Wives Under the Sea)
-I'm your girlfriend?
- "No." Alexei shakes his head, then pulls me to him again, holds me closer. "There's not a word in either of our language for what you are to me".
Ally Carter (Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row, #3))
Zhi yin. Jem had told her once that it meant understanding music, and also a bond that went deeper than friendship. Jem played, and he played the years of Will's life as he had seen them. He played two little boys in the training room, one showing the other how to throw knives, and he played the ritual of parabatai: the fire and the vows and burning runes. He played two young men running through the streets of London in the dark, stopping to lean up against a wall and laugh together. He played the day in the library when he and Will had jested with Tessa about ducks, and he played the train to Yorkshire on which Jem had said that parabatai were meant to love each other as they loved their own souls. He played that love, and he played their love for Tessa, and hers for them, and he played Will saying, In your eyes I have always found grace. He played the too few times he had seen them since he had joined the Brotherhood- the brief meetings at the Institute; the time when Will had been bitten by a Shax demon and nearly died, and Jem had come from the Silent City and sat with him all night, risking discovery and punishment. And he played the birth of their first son, and the protection ceremony that had been carried out on the child in the Silent City. Will would have no other Silent Brother but Jem perform it. And Jem played the way he had covered his scarred face with his hands and turned away when he'd found out the child's name was James.
He played of love and loss and years of silence, words unsaid and vows unspoken, and all the spaces between his heart and theirs; and when he was done, and he'd set the violin back in its box, Will's eyes were closed, but Tessa's were full of tears. Jem set down his bow, and came toward the bed, drawing back his hood, so she could see his closed eyes and his scarred face. And he had sat down beside them on the bed, and taken Will's hand, the one that Tessa was not holding, and both Will and Tessa heard Jem's voice in their minds.
I take your hand, brother, so that you may go in peace.
Will had opened the blue eyes that had never lost their color over all the passing years, and looked at Jem and then Tessa, and smiled, and died, with Tessa's head on his shoulder and his hand in Jem's.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
I rolled back onto the lawn and pressed my forehead to the ground again and made the noise that Father calls groaning. I make this noise when there is too much information coming into my head from the outside world. It is like when you are upset and you hold the radio against your ear and you tune it halfway between two stations so that all you get is white noise and then you turn the volume right up so that this is all can hear and then you know you are safe because you cannot hear anything else
Mark Haddon (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time)
Many people experience the travesty of regret in their end days; the realization that nothing held them back, that nothing was in their way, that there is no one to blame, only themselves. Don't just sit by waiting for your life to happen, make it happen! Don’t just hope your dreams will come alive, breathe life into them! Don't let your fear help you birth a well-nourished regret, take action today! At the end of the day, at the end of the year, at the end of your life, live in such a manner that you can hold your head up high, smile, and be proud of a life well lived.
Steve Maraboli (Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience)
I’ll always hold you when you’re scared.” He softly kisses my jaw. “Comfort you when you’re sad.” His lips brush against my cheeks. “Take care of you when you’re sick.” Tilting my head back, he kisses my forehead. He bends down and his hazel eyes narrow into mine. “I’ll make it my life’s mission to make up for every second you were neglected.
J.B. Salsbury (Fighting for Flight (Fighting, #1))
Don’t marry the guy who’s your drinking buddy,” she told Deane. “Marry the guy who holds your head while you’re throwing up, then wipes down the toilet afterward.
Suanne Laqueur (An Exaltation of Larks (Venery #1))
When someone’s been gone a long time, at first you save up all the things you want to tell them. You try to keep track of everything in your head. But it’s like trying to hold on to a fistful of sand: all the little bits slip out of your hands, and then you’re just clutching air and grit.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
I brought you this." Gale holds up a sheath. When I take it, I notice it holds a single, ordinary arrow. "It's
supposed to be symbolic. You firing the last shot of the war."
"What if I miss?" I say. "Does Coin retrieve it and bring it back to me? Or just shoot Snow through the head herself?"
"You won't miss." Gale adjusts the sheath on my shoulder.
We stand there, face-to-face, not meeting each other's eyes. "You didn't come see me in the hospital." He doesn't answer, so finally I just say it. "Was it your bomb?"
"I don't know. Neither does Beetee," he says. "Does it matter? You'll always be thinking about it."
He waits for me to deny it; I want to deny it, but it's true. Even now I can see the flash that ignites her, feel
the heat of the flames. And I will never be able to separate that moment from Gale. My silence is my answer.
"That was the one thing I had going for me. Taking care of your family," he says. "Shoot straight, okay?" He touches my cheek and leaves. I want to call him back and tell him that I was wrong. That I'll figure out a way to
make peace with this. To remember the circumstances under which he created the bomb. Take into account my own inexcusable crimes. Dig up the truth about who dropped the parachutes. Prove it wasn't the rebels. Forgive him. But since I can't, I'll just have to deal with the pain.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
I drop my face to my hands and scrub hard.
"I wish I had your boobs," I hear Sam announce and raise my head to see who she's talking to. Of course, she's talking to Bryn.
"Right," she smirks and takes another bite of brownie.
"Dude, I do!" And just like that, Sam saunters across the room and cups Brynna's tit in her palm. "See? You have the perfect boobs. Stace, have you felt her boobs?"
Just kill me. Put a bullet in my head and end the agony.
"Oh yeah," Stacy waves her off. "She has great tits."
She has amazing tits.
"I wanna feel!" Jules bounces over and joins in.
"Give me more chocolate and you can touch all you want." Brynna laughs and then glances over at me. "This is the most action I've had in months."
"Motherfuckingsonofawhore." I grumble.
"Is Brynna single?" Mark asks Will.
"Keep your fucking hands off her," I growl at him before I know what's coming out of my mouth.
"Hey," he holds his hands up in surrender and laughs. "It was just an innocent question.
Kristen Proby (Safe with Me (With Me in Seattle, #5))
In reply to '@cloppingemo: everyone sees me as a failure and a horrible person and they make sure I know:
'Everyone', doesn't. Trust me on this one; You're being dramatic. You're in a hard place but it's important to go through. Hang in there, buckle down, hold your head up, and do your best. That's all you can do and when people criticize you, listen to them; Either they're right or wrong but they're not always trying to hurt you. Try and really understand where criticism is coming from. "You can do better," is well intentioned. "You're stupid," is not.
The road to healing is a rocky one, and you need to know that. There are times when every fibre in your body will scream out to give up. In these moments, God is right there with you, holding your head up, and carrying you when you cannot walk anymore. Even if you are holding on with your teeth, and your knuckles are red and bleeding, it is crucial that you still hold on. Don’t give up! You have too much to lose!
Corallie Buchanan (Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose)
To everyone battling a difficulty or under attack right now, smile, keep your head up, keep moving and stay positive, you'll get through it.
Instead of lowering your head and copping to it like a man, you pick up the journal as one might hold a bady's beshattered diaper, as one might pinch a recently benutted condom. You glance at the offending passages. Then you look at her and smile a smile your dissembling face will remember until the day you die. Baby, you say, baby, this is part of my novel.
This is how you lose her.
Junot Díaz (This Is How You Lose Her)
Sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you're limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter of an inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.
Nicole Krauss (The History of Love)
Is that all?” he blurted out.
Crowley and Halt exchanged slightly puzzled glances. Then Crowley pursed his lips thoughtfully.
“Um…it seems to be…Listed your trainging, mentioned a few achievements, made sure you know which end of an arrow is the sharp part…decided your new name…I think that’s…” Then it seemed that understanding dawned on him and his eyes opened wide.
“Of course! You have to have you Silver…whatsis, don ‘t you?” He took hold of the chain that held his own Silver Oakleaf around his throat and shook it lightly. It was a badge of a Graduate Ranger. Then he began to search through his pockets, frowning.
“Had it here! Had it here! Where the devil is it…wait. I heard something fall on the boards as I came in! Must have dropped it. Just check outside the front door, will you, Will?”
Too stunned to talk, Will rose and went to the door. As he set his hand on the latch, he looked back at the two Rangers, still seated at the table. Crowley made a small shooing motion with the back of his hand, urging him to go outside. Will was still looking back at them when he opened the door and stepped through on the verandah.
The massive cry went up from at least forty throats. He swung around in shock to find all his friends gathered in the clearing outside around the table laid for a feast, their faces beaming with smiles. Baron Arald, Sir Rodney, Lady Pauline and Master Chubb were all there. So were Jenny and George, his former wardmates. There were a dozen others in the Ranger uniform – men he had met worked with over the past five years. And wonder of wonders, there were Erak and Svengal , bellowing his name and waving their huge axes overhead in his praise. Close by them stood Horace and Gilan, both brandishing their swords overhead as well. It looked like a dangerous section of the crowd to be in, Will thought.
After the first concerted shout, people began cheering and calling his name, laughing and waving to him.
Halt and Crowley joined him on the verandah. The Commandant was doubled over with laughter.
“Oh, if you could have seen yourself!” he wheezed. “Your face! Your face! It was priceless! ‘Is that all?’” He mimicked Will’s plaintive tones and doubled over again.
Will tuned to Halt accusingly. His teacher grinned at him.
“Your face was a study,” he said.
“Do you so that to all apprentices?” Will asked.
Halt nodded vigorously. “Every one. Stops them getting a swelled head at the last minute. You have to swear never to let an apprentice in on the secret.
John Flanagan (Erak's Ransom (Ranger's Apprentice, #7))
They play in the Meadow. The dancing girl with the dark hair and blue eyes. The boy with blond curls and gray eyes, struggling to keep up with her on his chubby toddler legs. It took five, ten, fifteen years for me to agree. But Peeta wanted them so badly. When I first felt her stiring inside of me, I was consumed with a terror that felt as old as life itself. Only the joy of holding her in my arms could tame it. Carrying him was easier, but not much.
The questions are just beginning. The arenas have been completely destroyed, the memorials have been built, there are no more Hunger Games. But they still teach about them at school, and the girl knows we played a role in them. The boy will know in a few years. how can I tell them about that world without frightning them to death? My children, who take the words of the song for granted:
Deep in the meadow, under the willow
A bed of grass, a soft green pillow
Lay down your head, and close your eyes
And when again they open, the sun will rise
Here it's safe, here it's warm
Here the daisies guard you from every harm
Here your dreams are sweet snd tomorrow brings them true
Here is the place where I love you.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
Now for me, you're the irreplaceable one: I've never see you up so close before, and I do not understand you at all. You say sometimes I act like I don't see you? I don't even know where to look! Living with you around is like is like living with a permanent dazzle. The fact that you even like me, or look at me, or brush by me, or hug me, or hold me, is so surprising that after it's over I have to go back through it a dozen times in my head to savor it and try and figure out what it was like because I was too busy being astounded while it was happening.
Samuel R. Delany
Mallory dropped her head to the steering wheel. "Look, I'm mad at you, okay? This isn't about me. I know my painful memories are relative. My life is good. I'm lucky. This isn't about how poor little Mallory has had it so hard. I'm not falling apart or anything."
He stroked a hand down her back. "Of course you're not. You're just holding the steering wheel up with your head for a minute, that's all.
Jill Shalvis (Lucky in Love (Lucky Harbor, #4))
It's cool in the basement, so I pull the blanket up to my chest. Caleb slides in beside me, and I feel his bare legs against mine. "You're shivering," he says, his voice a low whisper.
"I'm a little cold... and a little nervous."
"Don't be nervous, Maggie. It's juste me."
It's the real Caleb, without the tough facade. I'm glad it's completely dark now and he can't see my trembling fingers as they move up to his beautiful face. "I know."
He pulls me closer. I rest my head in the crook of his arm and am more content than ever.
"For what ?"
"For making me feel alive again."
I drape my arm across his chest, the warmth of his skin melting into mine. I want to remember this night forever, because we'll probably never get another chance to hold each other like this again. It makes me want to do more than just sleep in his arms. I try and relax, to slow my own erratic heartbeat as I wrap my right leg, the one that wasn't severely damaged in the accident, around him. It's a definite hint that I'm ready to do more than just lie in his arms.
He moans in response. "Maggie, you're treading into dangerous territory. I'm trying to be a good, honorable guy here."
" I know. But I'm not asking you to be one."
"You sure you know what you're getting into ?"
"Nope. I've got no clue." I start kissing and feeling my way across his broad chest.
"You're killing me", he says, his hands slowly reaching for me and urging me up so we're face to face.
Simone Elkeles (Return to Paradise (Leaving Paradise, #2))
Your daddy is standing in a swimming pool out a little bit from the edge. You are, let’s say, three years old and standing on the edge of the pool. Daddy holds out his arms to you and says, “Jump, I’ll catch you. I promise.” Now, how do you make your daddy look good at that moment? Answer: trust him and jump. Have faith in him and jump. That makes him look strong and wise and loving. But if you won’t jump, if you shake your head and run away from the edge, you make your daddy look bad. It looks like you are saying, “he can’t catch me” or “he won’t catch me” or “it’s not a good idea to do what he tells me to do.” And all three of those make your dad look bad.
But you don’t want to make God look bad. So you trust him. Then you make him look good–which he really is. And that is what we mean when we say, “Faith glorifies God” or “Faith gives God glory.” It makes him look as good as he really is. So trusting God is really important.
And the harder it seems for him to fulfill his promise, the better he looks when you trust him. Suppose that you are at the deep end of a pool by the diving board. You are four years old and can’t swim, and your daddy is at the other end of the pool. Suddenly a big, mean dog crawls under the fence and shows his teeth and growls at you and starts coming toward you to bite you. You crawl up on the diving board and walk toward the end to get away from him. The dog puts his front paws up on the diving board. Just then, your daddy sees what’s happening and calls out, “Johnny, jump in the water. I’ll get you.”
Now, you have never jumped from one meter high and you can’t swim and your daddy is not underneath you and this water is way over your head. How do you make your daddy look good in that moment? You jump. And almost as soon as you hit the water, you feel his hands under your arms and he treads water holding you safely while someone chases the dog away. Then he takes you to the side of the pool.
We give glory to God when we trust him to do what he has promised to do–especially when all human possibilities are exhausted. Faith glorifies God. That is why God planned for faith to be the way we are justified.
How's your foot?” Hadrian asked.
“He had a good hold.”
“Bit right through my boot.”
“Yeah, that looked painful.”
“So why exactly didn't you help?”
Hadrian shrugged. “It was a dog, Royce. A cute, little dog. What did you want me to do, kill
an innocent little animal?”
Royce tilted his head, squinting into the light of the late evening sun to focus on his friend.
“Is that a joke?”
“It was a puppy.”
“It was not a puppy, and it was eating my foot.”
“Yeah, but you were invading his home.”
“You know, you didn't have to throw it out the window,” Hadrian said as they walked.
Royce, who was still preoccupied with his foot, looked up. “What did you want me to do
with it? Scratch behind the little monster’s ears as it gnawed my toes off? What if it started barking?
That would have been a fine mess.”
“It's a good thing there was a moat right under the window.”
Royce stopped. “There was?
Michael J. Sullivan (The Viscount and the Witch (The Riyria Chronicles, #1.5))
So if I asked you about art, you'd probably give me the skinny on every art book ever written. Michelangelo, you know a lot about him. Life's work, political aspirations, him and the pope, sexual orientations, the whole works, right? But I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel. You've never actually stood there and looked up at that beautiful ceiling; seen that. If I ask you about women, you'd probably give me a syllabus about your personal favorites. You may have even been laid a few times. But you can't tell me what it feels like to wake up next to a woman and feel truly happy. You're a tough kid. And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a cocky, scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my fucking life apart. You're an orphan right?
Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some fuckin' book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
Were these boys in their right minds? Here were two boys with good intellect, one eighteen and one nineteen. They had all the prospects that life could hold out for any of the young; one a graduate of Chicago and another of Ann Arbor; one who had passed his examination for the Harvard Law School and was about to take a trip in Europe,--another who had passed at Ann Arbor, the youngest in his class, with three thousand dollars in the bank. Boys who never knew what it was to want a dollar; boys who could reach any position that was to boys of that kind to reach; boys of distinguished and honorable families, families of wealth and position, with all the world before them. And they gave it all up for nothing, for nothing! They took a little companion of one of them, on a crowded street, and killed him, for nothing, and sacrificed everything that could be of value in human life upon the crazy scheme of a couple of immature lads.
Now, your Honor, you have been a boy; I have been a boy. And we have known other boys. The best way to understand somebody else is to put yourself in his place.
Is it within the realm of your imagination that a boy who was right, with all the prospects of life before him, who could choose what he wanted, without the slightest reason in the world would lure a young companion to his death, and take his place in the shadow of the gallows?
...No one who has the process of reasoning could doubt that a boy who would do that is not right.
How insane they are I care not, whether medically or legally. They did not reason; they could not reason; they committed the most foolish, most unprovoked, most purposeless, most causeless act that any two boys ever committed, and they put themselves where the rope is dangling above their heads....
Why did they kill little Bobby Franks?
Not for money, not for spite; not for hate. They killed him as they might kill a spider or a fly, for the experience. They killed him because they were made that way. Because somewhere in the infinite processes that go to the making up of the boy or the man something slipped, and those unfortunate lads sit here hated, despised, outcasts, with the community shouting for their blood.
. . . I know, Your Honor, that every atom of life in all this universe is bound up together. I know that a pebble cannot be thrown into the ocean without disturbing every drop of water in the sea. I know that every life is inextricably mixed and woven with every other life. I know that every influence, conscious and unconscious, acts and reacts on every living organism, and that no one can fix the blame. I know that all life is a series of infinite chances, which sometimes result one way and sometimes another. I have not the infinite wisdom that can fathom it, neither has any other human brain
Clarence Darrow (Attorney for the Damned: Clarence Darrow in the Courtroom)
Michael, this is an order from your mistress. Tell me what you want. Now.” “I want Griffin.” The words came out immediately. She had trained him too well. “I want Griffin so much it hurts. I love him, Nora. I have never felt anything like this before. And it’s absolutely stupid because he’s rich and he’s perfect and amazing and I’m a nobody. I’m a nobody, and I’m in love with someone I can’t be with. He’s so beautiful. I can’t stop looking at him, I can’t stop thinking about him. I dream about him at night. And he’s the first thing I think about when I wake up. And I want to touch him so much. I want to touch his face and that fucking perfect hair of his. And his lips and his chest and his arms— and I think about those arms around me, and it’s humiliating how much I want that. And, God, I want to live in his bed. I want to spend the rest of my life underneath him. I want to feel him on top of me and inside me. And I want submit to him. I want to go down on my knees in front of him. I want to call him sir and wear his collar and kiss his fucking feet if he told me to. And I want to walk down the busiest street in New York with him holding hands so the entire world can see us together and know that I belong to him. I love Griffin, Nora. I’m in love with him. And I can’t be with him. But that’s… that’s it.” Michael turned his head and buried it a little deeper into the cleft of Nora’s neck and shoulder. He wanted to stay there so he wouldn’t have to look her or anyone in the eyes ever again. “You won’t tell him, will you?” “She doesn’t have to.
Tiffany Reisz (The Angel (The Original Sinners, #2))
While I pressed the tissue to my face, Beck said, “Can I tell you something? There are a lot of empty boxes in your head, Sam.”
I looked at him, quizzical. Again, it was a strange enough concept to hold my attention.
“There are a lot of empty boxes in there, and you can put things in them.” Beck handed me another tissue for the other side of my face.
My trust of Beck at that point was not yet complete; I remember thinking that he was making a very bad joke that I wasn’t getting. My voice sounded wary, even to me. “What kinds of things?”
“Sad things,” Beck said. “Do you have a lot of sad things in your head?”
“No,” I said.
Beck sucked in his lower lip and released it slowly. “Well, I do.”
This was shocking. I didn’t ask a question, but I tilted toward him.
“And these things would make me cry,” Beck continued. “They used to make me cry all day long.”
I remembered thinking this was probably a lie. I could not imagine Beck crying. He was a rock. Even then, his fingers braced against the floor, he looked poised, sure, immutable.
“You don’t believe me? Ask Ulrik. He had to deal with it,” Beck said. “And so you know what I did with those sad things? I put them in boxes. I put the sad things in the boxes in my head, and I closed them up and I put tape on them and I stacked them up in the corner and threw a blanket over them.”
“Brain tape?” I suggested, with a little smirk. I was eight, after all.
Beck smiled, a weird private smile that, at the time, I didn’t understand. Now I knew it was relief at eliciting a joke from me, no matter how pitiful the joke was. “Yes, brain tape. And a brain blanket over the top. Now I don’t have to look at those sad things anymore. I could open those boxes sometime, I guess, if I wanted to, but mostly I just leave them sealed up.”
“How did you use the brain tape?”
“You have to imagine it. Imagine putting those sad things in the boxes and imagine taping it up with the brain tape. And imagine pushing them into the side of your brain, where you won’t trip over them when you’re thinking normally, and then toss a blanket over the top. Do you have sad things, Sam?”
I could see the dusty corner of my brain where the boxes sat. They were all wardrobe boxes, because those were the most interesting sort of boxes — tall enough to make houses with — and there were rolls and rolls of brain tape stacked on top. There were razors lying beside them, waiting to cut the boxes and me back open.
“Mom,” I whispered.
I wasn’t looking at Beck, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw him swallow.
“What else?” he asked, barely loud enough for me to hear. “The water,” I said. I closed my eyes. I could see it, right there, and I had to force out the next word. “My …” My fingers were on my scars.
Beck reached out a hand toward my shoulder, hesitant. When I didn’t move away, he put an arm around my back and I leaned against his chest, feeling small and eight and broken.
“Me,” I said.
Maggie Stiefvater (Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls, #3))
Winter’s head snapped around, away from Scarlet. Scarlet’s pace slowed, dread pulsing through her as she, too, heard the footsteps. Pounding footsteps, like someone was running at full speed toward them. She reached for the knife Jacin had given her. A man barrelled around the corner, heading straight for the princess. Winter tensed half a second before he reached her. Grabbing Winter’s elbow, he yanked back the red hood.
Scarlet gasped. Her knees weakened. The man stared at Winter with a mixture of confusion and disappointment and maybe even anger, all locked up in eyes so vividly green that Scarlet could see them glowing from here. She was the one hallucinating now.
She took a stumbling, uncertain step forward. Wanting to run toward him, but terrified it was a trick. Her hand tightened around the knife handle as Wolf, ignoring how Winter was trying to pull away, grabbed her arm and smelled the filthy red sleeve of Scarlet’s hoodie, streaked with dirt and blood. He growled, ready to tear the princess apart. “Where did you get this?” So desperate, so determined, so him. The knife slipped out of Scarlet’s hand. Wolf’s attention snapped to her. “Wolf?” she whispered.
His eyes brightened, wild and hopeful. Releasing Winter, he strode forward. His tumultuous eyes scooped over her. Devoured her.
When he was in arm’s reach, Scarlet almost collapsed into him, but at the last moment she had the presence of mind to step back. She planted a hand on his chest. Wolf froze, hurt flickering across his face.
“I’m sorry,” said Scarlet, her voice teetering with exhaustion. “It’s just…I smell so awful, I can hardly stand to be around myself right now, so I can’t even imagine what it’s like for you with your sense of sm-“
Batting her hand away, Wolf dug his fingers into Scarlet’s hair and crushed his mouth against hers. Her protests died with a muffled gasp. This time, she did collapse, her legs unable to hold her a second longer. Wolf fell with her, dropping his knees to break Scarlet’s fall and cradling her body against his. He was here. He was here.
Marissa Meyer (Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4))
[Stephanie] "This won't be so bad," I said to her, making an effort at convincing myself. "How about your blanket? We could wrap him up in the blanket. Then we could pick him up without actually touching him."
"I suppose that'd be all right," Lula said. "We could give it a try"
I spread the blanket on the ground beside Elliot Harp, took a deep breath, hooked my fingers around his belt and rolled him onto the blanket. I jumped back, squeezed my eyes closed tight and exhaled. No matter how much violent death I saw, I would never get used to it. "I'm gonna definitely have the runs," Lula said. "I can feel it coming on."
"Forget about the runs and help me with this body!" Lula grabbed hold of the head end of the blanket, and I grabbed hold of the foot end. Harp had full rigor and wouldn't bend, so we put him in the trunk headfirst with his legs sticking out. We carefully closed the lid on Harp's knees and secured the lid with a piece of rope Lula had in her trunk.
"Hold on," Lula said, pulling a red flowered scarf from her coat pocket, tying the scarf on Harp's foot like a flag. "Don't want to get a ticket. I hear the police are real picky about having things sticking out of your trunk."
Especially dead guys.
Janet Evanovich (Three to Get Deadly (Stephanie Plum, #3))
In 1965, a psychologist named Martin Seligman started shocking dogs.
He was trying to expand on the research of Pavlov--the guy who could make dogs salivate when they heard a bell ring. Seligman wanted to head in the other direction, and when he rang his bell, instead of providing food, he zapped the dogs with electricity. To keep them still, he restrained them in a harness during the experiment. After they were conditioned, he put these dogs in a big box with a little fence dividing it into two halves. He figured if the dog rang the bell, it would hop over the fence to escape, but it didn't. It just sat there and braced itself. They decided to try shocking the dog after the bell. The dog still just sat there and took it. When they put a dog in the box that had never been shocked before or had previously been allowed to escape and tried to zap it--it jumped the fence.
You are just like these dogs.
If, over the course of your life, you have experienced crushing defeat or pummeling abuse or loss of control, you convince yourself over time that there is no escape, and if escape is offered, you will not act--you become a nihilist who trusts futility above optimism.
Studies of the clinically depressed show that they often give in to defeat and stop trying. . .
Any extended period of negative emotions can lead to you giving in to despair and accepting your fate. If you remain alone for a long time, you will decide loneliness is a fact of life and pass up opportunities to hang out with people. The loss of control in any situation can lead to this state. . .
Choices, even small ones, can hold back the crushing weight of helplessness, but you can't stop there. You must fight back your behavior and learn to fail with pride. Failing often is the only way to ever get the things you want out of life. Besides death, your destiny is not inescapable.
David McRaney (You Are Not So Smart)
It's after school, after my double detentions for gym and chemistry, and I'm at Knead, about to begin working on a new piece. I wedge the clay out against my board, enjoying the therapeutic quality of each smack, prod, and punch.
As the clay oozes between my fingers and pastes against my skin, images of all sorts begin to pop into my head. I try my best to push them away,to focus instead on the cold and clammy sensation of the mound and the way it helps me relax. But after only a few short minutes of solitude, I hear someone storm their way up the back stairwell. At first I think it's Spencer, but then I hear the voice:
"I'm coming up the stairs," Adam bellows. "I'm approaching the studio area, about to pass by the sink."
I turn to look, noticing he's standing only a few feet behind me now.
"I hope I didn't startle you this time," he says.
"Ha-ha." I hold back my smile.
"I would have called your cell to tell you I was coming up, but you never gave me your number."
"I'm fine," I assure him, unable to stifle a giggle.
Laurie Faria Stolarz (Deadly Little Lies (Touch, #2))
Two hundred miles from the surface of the earth there is no gravity. The laws of motion are suspended. You could turn somersaults slowly slowly, weight into weightlessness, nowhere to fall. As you lay on your back paddling in space you might notice your feet had fled your head. You are stretching slowly slowly, getting longer, your joints are slipping away from their usual places. There is no connection between your shoulder and your arm. You will break up bone by bone, fractured from who you are, drifting away now, the centre cannot hold.
Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)
You don’t understand,” getting mad. “You guys, you’re like Puritans are about the Bible. So hung up with words, words. You know where that play exists, not in that file cabinet, not in any paperback you’re looking for, but—” a hand emerged from the veil of shower-steam to indicate his suspended head—“in here. That’s what I’m for. To give the spirit flesh. The words, who cares? They’re rote noises to hold line bashes with, to get past the bone barrier around an actor’s memory, right? But the reality is in this head. Mine. I’m the projector at the planetarium, all the closed little universe visible in the circle of that stage is coming out of my mouth, eyes, sometimes other orifices also.
Thomas Pynchon (The Crying of Lot 49)
The shot doesn't come. He stares at me with the same ferocity but doesn't move. Why doesn't he shoot me? His heart pounds against my palms,and my own heart lifts. He is Divergent. He can fight this simulation.Any simulation.
"Tobias," I say. "It's me."
I step forward and wrap my arms around him. His body is stiff. His heart beats faster. I can feel it against my cheek. A thud against my cheek. A thud as the gun hits the floor.He grabs my shoulders-too hard, his fingers digging into my skin where the bullet was. I cry out as he pulls me back. Maybe he means to kill me in some crueler way.
"Tris," he says,and it's him again. His mouth collides with mine.
His arm wraps around me and he lifts me up, holding me against him, his hands clutching at my back. His face and the back of his neck are slick with sweat, his body is shaking,and my shoulder blazes with pain,but I don't care,I don't care,I don't care.
He sets me down and stares at me, his fingers brushing over my forehead, my eyebrows,my cheeks, my lips.
Something like a sob and a sigh and a moan escapes him,and he kisses me again. His eyes are bright with tears. I never thought I would see Tobias cry. It makes me hurt.
I pull myself to his chest and cry into his shirt. All the throbbing in my head comes back,and the ache in my shoulder,and I feel like my body weight doubles.I lean against him, and he supports me.
"How did you do it?" I say.
"I don't know," he says. "I just hear your voice.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
He pierced her with a look. “I thought we had an agreement. I keep my men away from your ladies, and you keep your distance from me. You’re not holding your end of the bargain.”
“It’s but a momentary interruption. Just this once.”
“Just this once?” He made a dismissive noise, rifling through papers. “What about just now in the church?”
“Very well, twice.”
“Try again.” He stacked his papers and looked up, devouring her with his intent green gaze. “You invaded my dreams at least a half-dozen times last night. When I’m awake, you keep traipsing through my thoughts. Sometimes you’re barely clothed. What excuse can you make for that?”
She stammered to form a response, her tongue tripping against her teeth. “I . . . I would never traipse.” Idiotic reply.
“Hm.” He tilted his head and regarded her thoughtfully. “Would you saunter?
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
John lifted his head and looked down at her. His eyes were worried and he was careful as he brushed at her hair. She smiled.
"Nah, I'm fine. I'm more than fine."
A sly grin bloomed as he mouthed, ain't that the truth.
"Hold up there, big man. You think you can make me blush like I'm some girl ? Pulling that sweet talk?"
As he nodded, she rolled her eyes.
"I'll have you know I'm not the kind of female who goes all dizzy, popping a stiletto off the floor just because some guy kisses her deep."
John was all male as he cocked a brow. And damn it if she didn't feel a tingle in her cheeks.
" Listen, John Matthew." She took his chin in her hand. "You're not turning me into one of these females who goes gaga over her lover. Not happening. I'm not hard-wired for that."
Her voice was stern and she meant every word, except the instant he rolled his hips and that huge arousal pushed into her, she purred.
The sound was utterly foreign and she'd have sucked it back down her throat if she could have. Instead, she just left out another of those decidedly non-tough-guy moans. John bowed his head to her breast and started suckling on her as he somehow manage to keep thrusting in slow, even penetrations. Swept away, her hands found his hair again, spearing through the thick softness.
" Oh, John..."
And then he stopped dead, lifted his lips from her nipple, and smiled so wide it was a wonder he didn't bust off his front teeth. His expression was one of total and complete gotcha.
" You are a bastard, " she said on a laugh.
He nodded. And pressed into her with his full lenght again. It was perfect that he was giving her shit and showing her a little of who was boss. Just perfect. Somehow it made her respect him even more, but then, she'd always loved strength in all its forms. Even the teasing kind.
"I'm not surrendering , you know."
He pursed his lips and shook his head, all oh, no, of course not. And then he started to pull out of her. As she growled low in her throat, she sank her nails into his ass.
"Where do you think you're going ?
J.R. Ward (Lover Mine (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #8))
Footsteps approach the kitchen. Garrett wanders in, wiping sweat off his brow. When he notices Sabrina, he brightens. “Oh good. You’re here. Hold on—gotta grab something.”
She turns to me as if to say, Is he talking to me?
He’s already gone, though, his footsteps thumping up the stairs.
At the table, Hannah runs a hand through her hair and gives me a pleading look. “Just remember he’s your best friend, okay?”
That doesn’t sound ominous.
When Garrett returns, he’s holding a notepad and a ballpoint pen, which he sets on the table as he sits across from Sabrina. “Tuck,” he says. “Sit. This is important.”
I’m so baffled right now. Hannah’s resigned expression doesn’t help in lessening the confusion.
Once I’m seated next to Sabrina, Garrett flips open the notepad, all business. “Okay. So let’s go over the names.”
Sabrina raises an eyebrow at me.
I shrug, because I legitimately don’t know what the fuck he’s talking about.
“I’ve put together a solid list. I really think you’re going to like these.” But when he glances down at the page, his face falls. “Ah crap. We can’t use any of the boy names.”
“Wait.” Sabrina holds up a hand, her brow furrowed. “You’re picking names for our baby?”
He nods, busy flipping the page.
My baby mama gapes at me.
I shrug again.
“Just out of curiosity, what were the boy names?” Grace hedges, clearly fighting a smile.
He cheers up again. “Well, the top contender was Garrett.”
I snicker loud enough to rattle Sabrina’s water glass. “Uh-huh,” I say, playing along. “And what was the runner-up?”
“But it’s okay. I have some kickass girl names too.” He taps his pen on the pad, meets our eyes, and utters two syllables. “Gigi.”
My jaw drops. “Are you kidding me? I’m not naming my daughter Gigi.”
Sabrina is mystified. “Why Gigi?” she asks slowly.
Hannah sighs again.
The name suddenly clicks in my head. Oh for fuck’s sake.
“G.G.,” I mutter to Sabrina. “As in Garrett Graham.”
She’s silent for a beat. Then she bursts out laughing, triggering giggles from Grace and eventually Hannah, who keeps shaking her head at her boyfriend.
“What?” Garrett says defensively. “The godfather should have a say in the name. It’s in the rule book.”
“What rule book?” Hannah bursts out. “You make up the rules as you go along!”
Elle Kennedy (The Goal (Off-Campus, #4))
Never let anyone break you down. You need to be strong enough to stand your ground and not let others crush your spirit or soul.
There are sick people out there who get pleasure out of watching others suffer. You cannot let them make you fail or quit. That's your choice, not thiers. Hold your head high, stand your ground and don't ever let them see that thier evilness is getting to you.
Do not b
elieve thier lies. You know who you are. You are an awesome person. Keep faith. Maintain hope and know you can make it through anything. You've already been through a lot.
If it feels like its getting to be too much, consider praying. And if that doesn't help... just call me up and you know I'll be there. You are never alone.
José N Harris
I have never created anything in my life that did not make me feel, at some point or another, like I was the guy who just walked into a fancy ball wearing a homemade lobster costume. But you must stubbornly walk into that room, regardless, and you must hold your head high. You made it; you get to put it out there. Never apologize for it, never explain it away, never be ashamed of it. You did your best with what you knew, and you worked with what you had, in the time that you were given. You were invited, and you showed up, and you simply cannot do more that that. They might throw you out - but then again, they might not. They probably won't throw you out, actually. The ballroom is often more welcoming and supportive than you could ever imagine. Somebody might even think you're brilliant and marvelous. You might end up dancing with royalty. Or you might just end up having to dance alone in the corner of the castle with your big, ungainly red foam claws waving in the empty air. that's fine, too. Sometimes it's like that. What you absolutely must not do is turn around and walk out. Otherwise, you will miss the party, and that would be a pity, because - please believe me - we did not come all this great distance, and make all this great effort, only to miss the party at the last moment.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
You’re gorgeous,” she said. “Even more gorgeous than I imagined.” I blushed and put my head in my hands, embarrassed by how out of control I felt, how out of my league it all was. She took my hands off my face and looked at me. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” I said. “It’s OK,” she said. “I do.” That night, Celia and I slept nude, holding each other. We no longer pretended to touch by accident. And when I woke up in the morning with her hair in my face, I inhaled, loudly and proudly. Within those four walls, we were unashamed.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
He rolled his eyes and took my hand. His hand was hard and calloused, tough with muscle and old scars.
The night settled around us like a blanket. I could hear the water lapping against the dock. We were totally alone.
“You’re . . . ,” he began, and I waited, heart throbbing in my throat. “Such a pain,” he concluded.
“What?” I asked, just as his head swooped in and his mouth touched mine. I tried to speak, but one of
Fang’s hands held the back of my head, and he kept his lips pressed against me, kissing me softly but with a Fanglike determination.
Oh, jeez, I thought distractedly. Jeez, this is Fang, and me, and . . . Fang tilted his head to kiss me more deeply, and I felt totally lightheaded. Then I remembered to breathe through my nose, and the fog cleared a tiny bit. Somehow we were pressed together, Fang’s arms around me now, sliding under my
wings, his hands flat against my back.
It was incredible. I loved it. I loved him.
It was a total disaster.
Gasping, I pulled back. “I, uh—,” I began oh so coherently, and then I jumped up, almost knocking him
over, and raced down the dock. I took off, flying fast, like a rocket.
James Patterson (The Final Warning (Maximum Ride, #4))
Oh, look, the lights are so pretty,” I said dreamily, having just noticed
I smiled at the way the lights were dancing overhead, pink and yellow and
blue. I felt some pressure on my arm and thought, I should look over and see
what’s going on, but then the thought was gone, sliding away like Jell-O off a
hot car hood.
“Yeah. I’m here.”
I struggled to focus on him. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“Yeah, I got that.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I peered up at him, trying to see
past the too-bright lights.
“You’d be fine,” he muttered.
“No,” I said, suddenly struck by how unfine I would be. “I would be totally
unfine. Totally.” It seemed very urgent that he understand this.
Again I felt some tugging on my arm, and I really wondered what that was
about. Was Ella’s mom going to start this procedure any time soon?
“It’s okay. Just relax.” He sounded stiff and nervous. “Just...relax. Don’t
try to talk.”
“I don’t want my chip anymore,” I explained groggily, then frowned.
“Actually, I never wanted that chip.”
“Okay,” said Fang. “We’re taking it out.”
“I just want you to hold my hand.”
“I am holding your hand.”
“Oh. I knew that.” I drifted off for a few minutes, barely aware of
anything, but feeling Fang’s hand still in mine.
“Do you have a La-Z-Boy somewhere?” I roused myself to ask, every word an
“Um, no,” said Ella’s voice, somewhere behind my head.
“I think I would like a La-Z-Boy,” I mused, letting my eyes drift shut
again. “Fang, don’t go anywhere.”
“I won’t. I’m here.”
“Okay. I need you here. Don’t leave me.”
“Fang, Fang, Fang,” I murmured, overwhelmed with emotion. “I love you. I
love you sooo much.” I tried to hold out my arms to show how much, but I
couldn’t move them.
“Oh, jeez,” Fang said, sounding strangled.
James Patterson (Saving the World and Other Extreme Sports (Maximum Ride, #3))
Take the Cup, Sophia Collins,"she said, and the room was breathlessly silent. The Council chamber was not full, but the row Tessa sat at the end was:Gideon and Gabriel, Cecily and Henry, and her and Will, all leaning forward eagerly, waiting for Sophie to Ascend. At each end of the dais stood a Silent Brother, their heads bent, their parchment robes looking as if they had been carved out of marble. Charlotte lowered the Cup, and held it out to Sophie, who took it carefully. "Do you swear, Sophia Collins, to forsake the mundane world and follow the path of the Shadowhunter? Will you take into yourself the blood of the Angel Raziel and honor that blood? Do you swear to serve the Clave, to follow the Law as set forth by the Covernant, and to obey the word of the Council? Will you defend that which is human and mortal, knowing that for your service there will be no recompense and no thanks but honor?"I swear,"said Sophie, her voice very steady. "Can you be a shield for the weak, a light in the dark, a truth among falsehoods, a tower in the flood, an eye to see when all others are blind?" I can." "And when you are dead, will you give up your body to the Nephilim to be burned, that your ashes may be used to build the City of Bones?" "I will." "The drink,"said Charlotte. Tessa heard Gideon draw in his breath. This was the dangerous part of the ritual. This was the part that would kill the untrained and unworthy. Sophie bent her dark head and set the Cup to her lips. Tessa sat forward, her chest tight with aprehension. She felt Will's hand slide over hers, a warm, comforting weight. Sophie's throat moved as she swallowed. The circle that surrounded her and Charlotte flared up once with a cold, blue-white light, obscuring them both. When it faded, Tessa was left blinking stars from her eyes as the light dwindled. She blinked hastily, and saw Sophie hold up the Cup. there was a glow about the Cup she held as she handed it back to Charlotte, who smiled broadly. "You are Nehilim now,"she said. "I name you Sophia Shadowhunter, of the blood of Jonathan Shadowhunter, child of the Nehilim. Arise, Sophia.
Cassandra Clare (Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices, #3))
Be your best self and do not imitate anyone else. Find your strengths. They are your talents. They will make you smile and cause you to real joy on the inside.
Don’t listen to those who ridicule the choices you make or the dreams you share. Let no one despise your youth. As Og Mandino explained in The Greatest Salesman in the World, “Experience is overrated, usually by old men who nod wisely and speak stupidly.” Create your own experiences. And know that you are creating memories for a lifetime.
Life is not about finding yourself; it is about creating yourself.
You have to take chances to make your dreams reality. Face your fears head-on and move rapidly. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Make lots of them! Your odds for success will increase with the number of decisions you make.
Have patience with your dreams and the expectations you have for others. Be impatient with yourself daily. Live as if this is your last day. Say “I love you” to all those who matter. Know that everyone matters.
You must play full-out right now. Sit up, hold your head high. Breathe deeply. Lift your chest up. Stand up straight and with confidence. Dust yourself off. Stop being a party pooper in your own life. Smile. A bigger noticeable smile. Start acting happy. Yes, you act first. I promise the feeling of happiness will soon follow.
You have a picture of life within you, a faith, a challenge, and you were ready for deeds and sufferings and sacrifices, and then you became aware by degrees that the world asked no deeds and no sacrifices of you whatever, and that life is no poem of heroism with heroic parts to play and so on, but a comfortable room where people are quite content with eating and drinking, coffee and knitting, cards and wireless. And whoever wants more and has got it in him--the heroic and the beautiful, and the reverence for the great poets or for the saints--is a fool and a Don Quixote. Good. And it has been just the same for me, my friend. I was a gifted girl. I was meant to live up to a high standard, to expect much of myself and do great things. I could have played a great part. I could have been the wife of a king, the beloved of a revolutionary, the sister of a genius, the mother of a martyr. And life has allowed me just this, to be a courtesan of fairly good taste, and even that has been hard enough. That is how things have gone with me. For a while I was inconsolable and for a long time I put the blame on myself. Life, thought I, must in the end be in the right, and if life scorned my beautiful dreams, so I argued, it was my dreams that were stupid and wrong headed. But that did not help me at all. And as I had good eyes and ears and was a little inquisitive too, I took a good look at this so-called life and at my neighbors and acquaintances, fifty or so of them and their destinies, and then I saw you. And I knew that my dreams had been right a thousand times over, just as yours had been. It was life and reality that were wrong. It was as little right that a woman like me should have no other choice than to grow old in poverty and in a senseless way at a typewriter in the pay of a money-maker, or to marry such a man for his money's sake, or to become some kind of drudge, as for a man like you to be forced in his loneliness and despair to have recourse to a razor. Perhaps the trouble with me was more material and moral and with you more spiritual--but it was the same road. Do you think I can't understand your horror of the fox trot, your dislike of bars and dancing floors, your loathing of jazz and the rest of it? I understand it only too well, and your dislike of politics as well, your despondence over the chatter and irresponsible antics of the parties and the press, your despair over the war, the one that has been and the one that is to be, over all that people nowadays think, read and build, over the music they play, the celebrations they hold, the education they carry on. You are right, Steppenwolf, right a thousand times over, and yet you must go to the wall. You are much too exacting and hungry for this simple, easygoing and easily contented world of today. You have a dimension too many. Whoever wants to live and enjoy his life today must not be like you and me. Whoever wants music instead of noise, joy instead of pleasure, soul instead of gold, creative work instead of business, passion instead of foolery, finds no home in this trivial world of ours--
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
there is a list of questions
i want to ask but never will
there is a list of questions
i go through in my head
every time i'm alone
and my mind can't stop itself from searching for you
there is a list of questions i want to ask
so if you're listening somewhere
here i am asking them
what do you think happens
to the love that's left behind
when two lovers leave
how blue do you think it gets
before it passes away
does it pass away
or does it still exist somewhere
waiting for us to come back
when we lied to ourselves by
calling this unconditional and left
which one of us hurt more
i shattered into a million little pieces
and those pieces shattered into a million more
crumbled into dust till
there was nothing left of me but the silence
tell me how love
how did the grieving feel for you
how did the mourning hurt
how did you peel your eyes open after every blink
knowing i'd never be there staring back
it must be hard to live with what ifs
there must always be this constant dull aching
in the pit of your stomach
i feel it too
how in the world did we get here
how did we live through it
and how are we still living
how many months did it take
before you stopped thinking of me
or are you still thinking of me
cause if you are
then maybe i am too
thinking of you
thinking of me
you and me and us
do you still touch yourself to the thoughts of me
do you still imagine my naked naked tiny tiny body
pressed into yours
do you still imagine the curve of my spine and
how you wanted to rip it out of me
cause the way it dipped into my
perfectly rounded bottom
drove you crazy
ever since we left
how many times did you pretend
it was my hand stroking you
how many times did you search for me in your fantasies
and end up crying instead of coming
don't you lie to me
i can tell when you're lying
cause there's always that little bit of
arrogance in your response
are you angry with me
are you okay
and would you tell me if you're not
and if we ever see each other again
do you think you'd reach out and hold me
like you said you would
the last time we spoke and
you talked of the next time we would
or do you think we'd just look
shake in our skin as we pine to
absorb as much as we can of each other
cause by this time we've probably got
someone else waiting at home
we were good together weren't we
and is it wrong that i'm asking you these questions
tell me love
that you have been
looking for these answers too
Rupi Kaur (the sun and her flowers)
..there was nothing to do but to dig away at the base of this mountain of ignorance and prejudice. You must keep at the poor fellow; you must hold your temper, and argue with him, and watch for your chance to stick an idea or two into his head. And the rest of the time you must sharpen up your weapons- you must think out new replies to his objections and provide yourself with new facts to prove to him the folly of his ways.
Upton Sinclair (The Jungle)
Then what is true love?” she asked audaciously.
Derian leaned forward, his focus powerfully fixed on her. His voice turned delicate and compelling as he spoke.
“Love is so much more than a feeling. True love, Eena, is something that develops over time. It’s not that initial infatuation nor the shivers and butterflies that take your breath away when you’re first attracted to someone. Those things are nice, but they are barely the beginning of what could become true love. The emotions you speak of are temporary and unreliable, elicited when two people come together. The power I speak of grows ever stronger over time until it is steadfast, even in separation. Then, reunited, it solidifies unshakably.”
She shook her head. “I don’t quite follow.”
The captain inched closer, fixing her with the sincerest of gazes. His hands cupped as if he were holding his very heart within them.
“True love is a developed and intense appreciation for someone. It’s that perfect awareness that you are finally whole when she’s with you, and that hollow incompleteness you suffer when she’s gone. True love takes time, Eena. It’s an earned comfort that tells you she’ll be right there beside you no matter what you do, not necessarily happy with your every action, but faithful to you just the same. Love is knowing someone so deeply, understanding her so completely, that you can finish her thoughts without hesitation, confident in reading her face, her body, even her slightest gesture means something to you. Love is years of devotion, sacrifice, commitment, loyalty, trust, faith, and friendship all wrapped up in one. True love does more than cause your heart to flutter, Eena. It upholds your heart when the infatuation no longer makes it flutter.”
Richelle E. Goodrich (Eena, The Return of a Queen (The Harrowbethian Saga #2))
You okay?" he says, touching my cheek. His hand cradles the side of my head, his long fingers slipping through my hair. He smiles and holds my head in place as he kisses me. Heat spreads through me slowly.And fear, buzzing like an alarm in my chest.
His lips still on mine,he pushes the jacket from my shoulders.I flinch when I hear it drop,and push him back,my eyes burning. I don't know why I feel this way. I didn't feel like this when he kissed me on the train.I press my palms to my face,covering my eyes.
"What? What's wrong?"
I shake my head.
"Don't tell me it's nothing." His voice is cold.He grabs my arm. "Hey. Look at me."
I take my hands from my face and lift my eyes to his.The hurt in his eyes and the anger in his clenched jaw surprise me.
"Sometimes I wonder," I say,as calmly as I can, "what's in it for you. This...whatever it is."
"What's in it for me," he repeats. He steps back,shaking his head. "You're an idiot,Tris."
"I am not an idiot," I say. "Which is why I know that it's a little weird that,of all the girls you could have chosen,you chose me.So if you're just looking for...um,you know...that..."
"What? Sex?" He scowls at me. "You know, if that was all I wanted, you probably wouldn't be the first person I would go to."
I feel like he just punched me in the stomach. Of course I'm not the first person he would go to-not the first, not the prettiest,not desirable. I press my hands to my abdomen and look away, fighting off tears. I am not the crying type.Nor am I the yelling type. I blink a few times, lower my hands, and stare up at him.
"I'm going to leave now," I say quietly. And I turn toward the door.
"No,Tris." He grabs my wrist and wrenches me back. I push him away,hard, but he grabs my other wrist, holding our crossed arms between us.
"I'm sorry I said that," he says. "What I meant was that you aren't like that. Which I knew when I met you."
"You were an obstacle in my fear landscape." My lower lip wobbles. "Did you know that?"
"What?" He releases my wrists, and the hurt look is back. "You're afraid of me?"
"Not you," I say. I bite my lip to keep it still. "Being with you...with anyone. I've never been involved with someone before,and...you're older, and I don't know what your expectations are,and..."
"Tris," he says sternly, "I don't know what delusion you're operating under,but this is all new to me, too."
"Delusion?" I repeat. "You mean you haven't..." I raise my eyebrows. "Oh. Oh.I just assumed..." That because I am so absorbed by him, everyone else must be too. "Um. You know."
"Well,you assumed wrong." He looks away. His cheeks are bright,like he's embarrassed. "You can tell me anything, you know," he says. He takes my face in his hands,his fingertips cold and his palms warm. "I am kinder than I seemed in training. I promise."
I believe him.But this has nothing to do with his kindness.
He kisses me between the eyebrows, and on the tip of my nose,and then carefully fits his mouth to mine. I am on edge.I have electricity coursing through my veins instead of blood. I want him to kiss me,I want him to; I am afraid of where it might go.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
We’re going bowling tomorrow. Can’t you wait until then?”
“I went from being with you every second of the day to seeing you for ten minutes if I’m lucky.”
I smiled and shook my head. “It’s only been two days, Trav.”
“I miss you. Get your ass on the seat and let’s go.”
I couldn’t argue. I missed him, too. More than I would ever admit to him. I zipped up my jacket and climbed on behind him, slipping my fingers through the belt loops of his jeans. He pulled my wrists to his chest and then folded them across one another. Once he was satisfied that I was holding him tightly enough, he took off, racing down the road.
Jamie McGuire (Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1))
This kind of thing is so awkward and horrible, and from your end, you know it must… Okay, I’m just going to come out and tell you: I’m asking you out. That’s what I’m doing. Please don’t answer yet, because I know you might have a “No” queued up in your head already, but will you please let me say a few things?
I know that being a woman in New York must be hard, because it’s basically disappointing that you try to be nice to men as human beings, and then they respond by just torpedoing to your vagina. And I want you to know that I’m aware that you’re young and beautiful - and I’m not… either of those things. And part of me knows that as soon as my lips stop moving, you’re going to say no. But please think of the fact that it’s low risk what I’m asking.
You just come out with me for a drink, and even if you got up in the middle of the one drink, I wouldn’t hold it against you. Just make a judgement based on nothing horrible would happen if you came out with me. I think you’re so attractive. I’m attracted to you because you’re nice, and you’re a decent person, and those are probably the reasons you want people to be attracted to you, right? Also, you’re horribly cute. I mean, you’re cute as hell.
And I grow on people - women. Some times go by, and you get past the bald head and that I sweat a lot and I’m lumpy… I’ve run out of things to say. Can you just tell me now? Did this work?
A beast is just what you want. A big, dark medieval brute to throw you to the ground, tear the clothes from your body, and have his wicked way with you. I know I’m right. I haven’t forgotten how excited you were in the aftermath of that blast."
The nerve of him!
How could he tell?
She lifted her chin. "Well, I haven't forgotten the sound you made when I first touched your brow. It wasn't even a moan, it was more like . . . like a whimper."
He made a dismissive sound. "Oh yes. A plaintive, yearning whimper. Because you want an angel. A sweet, tender virgin to hold you and stroke you and whisper precious promises and make you feel human."
"That's absurd," he scoffed. "You're just begging to be taught a hard, fast lesson in what it means to please a man."
"You're just longing to put your head in my lap and feel my fingers in your hair.
He backed her up against a rock. "You need a good ravaging."
"You," she breathed, "need a hug."
They stared at each other for long, tense moments. At first, looking each other in the eye. Then looking each other in the lips. "You know what I think?" he said, coming closer. So close she could feel his breath wash warm against her cheek. "I think we’re having one of those vexing arguments again."
"The kind where both sides are right?"
And this time, when they kissed, they both made that sound. That deep, moaning, yearning, whimpering sound.
That sound that said yes.
And at last.
And you are exactly what I need.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
when she was 7, a boy pushed her on the playground
she fell headfirst into the dirt and came up with a mouthful of gravel and lines of blood chasing each other down her legs
when she told her teacher what happened, she laughed and said ‘boys will be boys honey don’t let it bother you
he probably just thinks you’re cute’
but the thing is,
when you tell a little girl who has rocks in her teeth and scabs on her knees that hurt and attention are the same
you teach her that boys show their affection through aggression
and she grows into a young woman who constantly mistakes the two
because no one ever taught her the difference
‘boys will be boys’
‘that’s how he shows his love’
and bruises start to feel like the imprint of lips
she goes to school with a busted mouth in high school and says she was hit with a basketball instead of his fist
the one adult she tells scolds her
‘you know he loses his temper easily
why the hell did you have to provoke him?’
so she shrinks
folds into herself, flinches every time a man raises his voice
by the time she’s 16 she’s learned her job well
be quiet, be soft, be easy
don’t give him a reason
but for all her efforts, he still finds one
‘boys will be boys’ rings in her head
‘boys will be boys
he doesn’t mean it
he can’t help it’
she’s 7 years old on the playground again
with a mouth full of rocks and blood that tastes like copper love
because boys will be boys baby don’t you know
that’s just how he shows he cares
she’s 18 now and they’re drunk
in the split second it takes for her words to enter his ears they’re ruined
like a glass heirloom being dropped between the hands of generations
she meant them to open his arms but they curl his fists and suddenly his hands are on her and her head hits the wall and all of the goddamn words in the world couldn’t save them in this moment
she touches the bruise the next day
boys will be boys
aggression, affection, violence, love
how does she separate them when she learned so early that they’re inextricably bound, tangled in a constant tug-of-war
she draws tally marks on her walls ratios of kisses to bruises
one entire side of her bedroom turns purple, one entire side of her body
boys will be boys will be boys will be boys
when she’s 20, a boy touches her hips and she jumps
he asks her who the hell taught her to be scared like that and she wants to laugh
doesn’t he know that boys will be boys?
it took her 13 years to unlearn that lesson from the playground
so I guess what I’m trying to say is
i will talk until my voice is hoarse so that my little sister understands that aggression and affection are two entirely separate things
baby they exist in different universes
my niece can’t even speak yet but I think I’ll start with her now
don’t ever accept the excuse that boys will be boys
don’t ever let him put his hands on you like that
if you see hate blazing in his eyes don’t you ever confuse it with love
baby love won’t hurt when it comes
you won’t have to hide it under long sleeves during the summer
the only reason he should ever reach out his hand
is to hold yours
No,” I hear myself say. “You’re not supposed to be here.”
She’s sitting on my bed. She’s leaning back on her elbows, legs outstretched in front of her, crossed at the ankles. And while some part of me understands I must be dreaming, there’s another, overwhelmingly dominant part of me that refuses to accept this. Part of me wants to believe she’s really here, inches away from me, wearing this short, tight black dress that keeps slipping up her thighs. But everything about her looks different, oddly vibrant; the colors are all wrong. Her lips are a richer, deeper shade of pink; her eyes seem wider, darker. She’s wearing shoes I know she’d never wear. And strangest of all: she’s smiling at me.
“Hi,” she whispers.
It’s just one word, but my heart is already racing. I’m inching away from her, stumbling back and nearly slamming my skull against the headboard, when I realize my shoulder is no longer wounded. I look down at myself. My arms are both fully functional. I’m wearing nothing but a white T-shirt and my underwear.
She shifts positions in an instant, propping herself up on her knees before crawling over to me. She climbs onto my lap. She’s now straddling my waist. I’m suddenly breathing too fast.
Her lips are at my ear. Her words are so soft. “Kiss me,” she says.
“I came all the way here.” She’s still smiling at me. It’s a rare smile, the kind she’s never honored me with. But somehow, right now, she’s mine. She’s mine and she’s perfect and she wants me, and I’m not going to fight it.
I don’t want to.
Her hands are tugging at my shirt, pulling it up over my head. Tossing it to the floor. She leans forward and kisses my neck, just once, so slowly. My eyes fall closed.
There aren’t enough words in this world to describe what I’m feeling.
I feel her hands move down my chest, my stomach; her fingers run along the edge of my underwear. Her hair falls forward, grazing my skin, and I have to clench my fists to keep from pinning her to my bed.
Every nerve ending in my body is awake. I’ve never felt so alive or so desperate in my life, and I’m sure if she could hear what I’m thinking right now, she’d run out the door and never come back.
Because I want her.
I want nothing between us.
I want her clothes off and the lights on and I want to study her. I want to unzip her out of this dress and take my time with every inch of her. I can’t help my need to just stare; to know her and her features: the slope of her nose, the curve of her lips, the line of her jaw. I want to run my fingertips across the soft skin of her neck and trace it all the way down. I want to feel the weight of her pressed against me, wrapped around me.
I can’t remember a reason why this can’t be right or real. I can’t focus on anything but the fact that she’s sitting on my lap, touching my chest, staring into my eyes like she might really love me.
I wonder if I’ve actually died.
But just as I lean in, she leans back, grinning before reaching behind her, never once breaking eye contact with me. “Don’t worry,” she whispers. “It’s almost over now.”
Her words seem so strange, so familiar. “What do you mean?”
“Just a little longer and I’ll leave.”
“No.” I’m blinking fast, reaching for her. “No, don’t go—where are you going—”
“You’ll be all right,” she says. “I promise.”
But now she’s holding a gun.
And pointing it at my heart.
Tahereh Mafi (Destroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5))
I have only one memory of getting here, and even that is just a single image: black ink curling around the side of a neck, the corner of a tattoo, and the gentle sway that could only mean he was carrying me.
He turns off the bathroom light and gets an ice pack from the refrigerator in the corner of the room. As he walks toward me, I consider closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep,but then our eyes meet and it's too late.
"Your hands," I croak.
"My hands are none of your concern," he replies. He rests his knee on the mattress and leans over me,slipping the ice pack under my head. Before he pulls away,I reach out to touch the cut on the side of his lip but stop when I realize what I am about to do, my hand hovering.
What do you have to lose? I ask myself. I touch my fingertips lightly to his mouth.
"Tris," he says, speaking against my fingers. "I'm all right."
"Why were you there?" I ask, letting my hand drop.
"I was coming back from the control room. I heard a scream."
"What did you do to them?" I say.
"I deposited Drew at the infirmary a half hour ago," he says. "Peter and Al ran. Drew claimed they were just trying to scare you.At least,I think that's what he was trying to say."
"He's in bad shape?"
"He'll live," he replies. He adds bitterly, "In what condition, I can't say."
It isn't right to wish pain on other people just because they hurt me first. But white-hot triumph races through me at the thought of Drew at the infirmary, and I squeeze Four's arm.
"Good," I say.My voice sounds tight and fierce.Anger builds inside me, replacing my blood with bitter water and filling me, consuming me.I wantt o break something,or hit something, but I am afraid to move,so I start crying instead.
Four crouches by the side of the bed, and watches me. I see no sympathy in his eyes.I would have been disappointed if I had. He pulls his wrist free and, to my surprise, rests his hand on the side of my face, his thumb skimming my cheekbone.His fingers are careful.
"I could report this," he says.
"No," I reply. "I don't want them to think I'm scared."
He nods.He moves his thumb absently over my cheekbone, back and forth. "I figured you would say that."
"You think it would be a bad idea if I sat up?"
"I'll help you."
Four grips my shoulder with one hand and holds my head steady with the other as I push myself up.Pain rushes through my body in sharp bursts,but I try to ignore it,stifling a groan.
He hands me the ice pack. "You can let yourself be in pain," he says. "It's just me here.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
[Adapted and condensed Valedictorian speech:]
I'm going to ask that you seriously consider modeling your life, not in the manner of the Dalai Lama or Jesus - though I'm sure they're helpful - but something a bit more hands-on, Carassius auratus auratus, commonly known as the domestic goldfish. People make fun of the goldfish. People don't think twice about swallowing it. Jonas Ornata III, Princeton class of '42, appears in the Guinness Book of World Records for swallowing the greatest number of goldfish in a fifteen-minute interval, a cruel total of thirty-nine. In his defense, though, I don't think Jonas understood the glory of the goldfish, that they have magnificent lessons to teach us. If you live like a goldfish, you can survive the harshest, most thwarting of circumstances. You can live through hardships that make your cohorts - the guppy, the neon tetra - go belly-up at the first sign of trouble. There was an infamous incident described in a journal published by the Goldfish Society of America - a sadistic five-year-old girl threw hers to the carpet, stepped on it, not once but twice - luckily she'd done it on a shag carpet and thus her heel didn't quite come down fully on the fish. After thirty harrowing seconds she tossed it back into its tank. It went on to live another forty-seven years. They can live in ice-covered ponds in the dead of winter. Bowls that haven't seen soap in a year. And they don't die from neglect, not immediately. They hold on for three, sometimes four months if they're abandoned. If you live like a goldfish, you adapt, not across hundreds of thousands of years like most species, having to go through the red tape of natural selection, but within mere months, weeks even. You give them a little tank? They give you a little body. Big tank? Big body. Indoor. Outdoor. Fish tanks, bowls. Cloudy water, clear water. Social or alone. The most incredible thing about goldfish, however, is their memory. Everyone pities them for only remembering their last three seconds, but in fact, to be so forcibly tied to the present - it's a gift. They are free. No moping over missteps, slip-ups, faux pas or disturbing childhoods. No inner demons. Their closets are light filled and skeleton free. And what could be more exhilarating than seeing the world for the very first time, in all of its beauty, almost thirty thousand times a day? How glorious to know that your Golden Age wasn't forty years ago when you still had all you hair, but only three seconds ago, and thus, very possibly it's still going on, this very moment." I counted three Mississippis in my head, though I might have rushed it, being nervous. "And this moment, too." Another three seconds. "And this moment, too." Another. "And this moment, too.
Her hand tightened around the handle of the serving spoon.
"Don't do it," he warned.
"Throw the spoon."
"I wouldn't dream of it," she said tightly.
He laughed aloud. "Oh,yes you would. You're dreaming of it right now. You just wouldn't do it."
Sophie's hand was gripping the spoon so hard it shook.
Benedict was chuckling so hard his bed shook.
Sophie stood,still holding the spoon.
Benedict smiled. "Are you planning to take that with you?"
Remember your place, Sophie was screaming at herself. Remember your place.
"Whatever could you be thinking." Benedict mused, "to look so adorably ferocious? No,don't tell me," he added. "I'm sure it involves my untimely and painful demise."
Slowly and carefully, Sophie turned her back to him and put the spoon down on the table. She didn't want to risk any sudden movements. One false move and she knew she'd be hurling it at his head.
Benedict raised his brows approvingly. "That was very mature of you."
Sophie turned around slowly. "Are you this charming with everyone or only me?"
"Oh,only you." He grinned. "I shall have to make sure you take me up on my offer to find you employment with my mother.You do bring out the best in me, Miss Sophie Beckett."
"This is the best?" she asked with obvious disbelief.
"I'm afraid so.
Julia Quinn (An Offer From a Gentleman (Bridgertons, #3))
If I walked too far and wondered loud enough the fields would change. I could look down and see horse corn and I could hear it then- singing- a kind of low humming and moaning warning me back from the edge. My head would throb and the sky would darken and it would be that night again, that perpetual yesterday lived again. My soul solidifying, growing heavy. I came up to the lip of my grave this way many times but had yet to stare in.
I did begin to wonder what the word heaven meant. I thought, if this were heaven, truly heaven, it would be where my grandparents lived. Where my father's father, my favorite of them all, would lift me up and dance with me. I would feel only joy and have no memory, no cornfield and no grave.
You can have that,' Franny said to me. 'Plenty of people do.'
How do you make the switch?' I asked.
It's not as easy as you might think,' she said. 'You have to stop desiring certain answers.'
I don't get it.'
If you stop asking why you were killed instead of someone else, stop investigating the vaccum left by your loss, stop wondering what everyone left on Earth is feeling,' she said, 'you can be free. Simply put, you have to give up on Earth.'
This seemed impossible to me.
She used the bathroom, running the tap noisily and disturbing the towels. She knew immediately that her mother had bought these towels- cream, a ridiculous color for towels- and monogrammed- also ridiculous, my mother thought. But then, just as quickly, she laughed at herself. She was beginning to wonder how useful her scorched-earth policy had been to her all these years. Her mother was loving if she was drunk, solid if she was vain. When was it all right to let go not only of the dead but of the living- to learn to accept?
I was not in the bathroom, in the tub, or in the spigot; I did not hold court in the mirror above her head or stand in miniature at the tip of every bristle on Lindsey's or Buckley's toothbrush. In some way I could not account for- had they reached a state of bliss? were my parents back together forever? had Buckley begun to tell someone his troubles? would my father's heart truly heal?- I was done yearning for them, needing them to yearn for me. Though I still would. Though they still would. Always.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
Hardly had the light been extinguished, when a peculiar trembling began
to affect the netting under which the three children lay.
It consisted of a multitude of dull scratches which produced a metallic
sound, as if claws and teeth were gnawing at the copper wire. This was
accompanied by all sorts of little piercing cries.
The little five-year-old boy, on hearing this hubbub overhead, and
chilled with terror, jogged his brother's elbow; but the elder brother
had already shut his peepers, as Gavroche had ordered. Then the little
one, who could no longer control his terror, questioned Gavroche, but in
a very low tone, and with bated breath:--
"Hey?" said Gavroche, who had just closed his eyes.
"What is that?"
"It's the rats," replied Gavroche.
And he laid his head down on the mat again.
The rats, in fact, who swarmed by thousands in the carcass of the
elephant, and who were the living black spots which we have already
mentioned, had been held in awe by the flame of the candle, so long as
it had been lighted; but as soon as the cavern, which was the same
as their city, had returned to darkness, scenting what the good
story-teller Perrault calls "fresh meat," they had hurled themselves in
throngs on Gavroche's tent, had climbed to the top of it, and had begun
to bite the meshes as though seeking to pierce this new-fangled trap.
Still the little one could not sleep.
"Sir?" he began again.
"Hey?" said Gavroche.
"What are rats?"
"They are mice."
This explanation reassured the child a little. He had seen white mice in
the course of his life, and he was not afraid of them. Nevertheless, he
lifted up his voice once more.
"Hey?" said Gavroche again.
"Why don't you have a cat?"
"I did have one," replied Gavroche, "I brought one here, but they ate
This second explanation undid the work of the first, and the little
fellow began to tremble again.
The dialogue between him and Gavroche began again for the fourth time:--
"Who was it that was eaten?"
"And who ate the cat?"
"Yes, the rats."
The child, in consternation, dismayed at the thought of mice which ate
"Sir, would those mice eat us?"
"Wouldn't they just!" ejaculated Gavroche.
The child's terror had reached its climax. But Gavroche added:--
"Don't be afraid. They can't get in. And besides, I'm here! Here, catch
hold of my hand. Hold your tongue and shut your peepers!
Victor Hugo (Les Misérables)
Her face screws up in disgust and she steps forward. "You're a fool, Miller Hart. He'll never let you walk away."
"I love her!" he roars, knocking every person back in the room. "I fucking love her!" Tears burst from my eyes and I fall into his side. He immediately grabs me and pulls me close. "I love her. I love everything she stands for and I love how much she loves me. It's more than you love me. It's more than any of you claim to love me! It's pure and light. It's made me feel. It's made me want more. If any fucker tries to take her away from me, I'll fucking kill them." Pulling up for a second, he gathers a long breath. "Slowly," he adds, shaking beside me, clinging to me tightly, like he's afraid someone will try right now. "I don't care what he says. I don't care what he thinks he can do to me. It'll be him sleeping with one eye open, Sophia, not me. So tell him. Fucking run to him and confirm what he already knows. I don't want to fuck for living anymore. Tell him I don't want to line his pockets anymore. You're not holding me to ransom. Miller Hart is out of the game. The Special One has quit!" He withdraws and takes a few moments to suck in another calming gulp of air, while everyone looks at him, shocked. Including me. "I love her. Go to him. Tell him I love her. Tell him I'm Olivia's now. And tell him if he even thinks about touching a hair on her precious head, it'll be the last thing he ever does.
Jodi Ellen Malpas (One Night Unveiled (One Night, #3))
My friend once told me
she liked this guy because of his hands
And I found it absurd that anyone
would develop feelings over one feature,
and not care about the rest
It wasn’t until you used your hands
to cup the back of my neck the first time we kissed
and I could feel your firm grasp pull me closer,
and my insides exploded
and my head buzzed with bliss.
And the first night you slept over,
you fell asleep with your hand
laid over my stomach
and your fingers felt like a fire
that I didn’t mind burning my skin.
The first time we got drunk,
was the first time you played with my hair,
and my god I was hooked,
I’d drink forever if it meant you’d never stop.
And in public you’d hold my hand,
and rub your thumb in little circles
that left me wanting you more,
no matter what you would never let me go,
I was glued to you,
and I honestly didn’t mind
When we talked about breaking up,
you saw my lips quiver with fear,
and you brushed over my lips with your fingers
before pulling me into your lap
and you kissed me like never before.
With your hands on my hips
pulling me so close to you,
leaving no space in between us.
It was then I realized I never wanted you to go
Its now that,
I finally understand why hands
were the only feature that mattered.
He wanted you to be the small, quiet girl from Abnegation," Four says softly. "He hurt you because your strength made him feel weak. No other reason."
I nod and try to believe him.
"The others won't be as jealous if you show some vulnerability. Even if it isn't real."
"You think I have to pretend to be vulnerable?" I ask, raising an eyebrow.
"Yes,I do." He takes the ice pack from me, his fingers brushing mine, and holds it against my head himself. I put my hand down, too eager to relax my arm to object. Four stands up. I stare at the hem of his T-shirt.
Sometimes I see him as just another person, and sometimes I feel the sight of him in my gut, like a deep ache.
"You're going to want to march into breakfast tomorrow and show your attackers they had no effect on you," he adds, "but you should let that bruise on your cheek show, and keep your head down."
The idea nauseates me.
"I don't think I can do that," I say hollowly. I lift my eyes to his.
"You have to."
"I don't think you get it." Heat rises into my face. "They touched me."
His entire body tightens at my words, his hand clenching around the ice pack. "Touched you," he repeates, his dark eyes cold.
"Not...in the way you're thinking." I clear my throat. I didn't realize when I said it how awkward it would be to talk about. "But...almost."
I look away.
He is silent and still for so long that eventually,I have to say something.
"What is it?"
"I don't want to say this," he says, "but I feel like I have to.It is more important for you to be safe than right, for the time being. Understand?"
His straight eyebrows are drawn low over his eyes. My stomach writhes, partly because I know he makes a good point but I don't want to admit it, and partly because I want something I don't know how to express; I want to press against te space between us until it disappears.
"But please,when you see an opportunity..." He pesses his hand to my cheek,cold and strong, and tilts my head up so I have to look at him. His eyes glint. They look almost predatory. "Ruin them."
I laugh shakily. "You're a little scary, Four."
"Do me a favor," he says, "and don't call me that."
"What should I call you,then?"
"Nothing." He takes his hand from my face. "Yet.
Veronica Roth (Divergent (Divergent, #1))
Go now, and live.
Experience. Dream. Risk. Close your eyes and jump. Enjoy the freefall. Choose exhilaration over comfort. Choose magic over predictability. Choose potential over safety. Wake up to the magic of everyday life. Make friends with your intuition. Trust your gut. Discover the beauty of uncertainty. Know yourself fully before you make promises to another. Make millions of mistakes so that you will know how to choose what you really need. Know when to hold on and when to let go. Love hard and often and without reservation. Seek knowledge. Open yourself to possibility. Keep your heart open, your head high and your spirit free. Embrace your darkness along with your light. Be wrong everyday once in a while, and don't be afraid to admit it. Awaken to the brilliance in ordinary moments. Tell the truth about yourself no matter what the cost. Own your reality without apology. See goodness in the world. Be Bold. Be Fierce. Be Grateful. Be Wild, Crazy and Gloriously Free. Be You.
Go now, and live.
There’re three ways to get there from here, each one worse than the last. You can either hold your breath through the plague colonies, slip through Slaverville, or take the mountain route.” Something flashed in his expression, something somber, which seemed out of place on his animated face. “That’s where the cannibals really like to hole up.”
“You’ve seen them?” I asked.
“Oh, yeah. And it’s, like, totally worse than you can imagine. Their steady diet of grilled Homo sapiens really screws with their heads. And the miner cannibals in North Carolina? They’re the worst! Dude. They don’t even grill.
Kresley Cole (Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1))
You might not get the apology you deserve. You might not get answers to explain the actions of others. You might not get truth that makes sense to you. You might not get people to understand what you went through because of them. You might not get communication. You might not get maturity. You might not get mercy or even common decency. You might not get respect or the chance to explain your side of the story. However, you do get to choose how people treat you. God loves you enough to bring people into your life who won't hurt you, abuse you, betray you, lie and gossip about you, psycho analyse you, break your heart or make you an option or choice. He will bring people into your life that will love you, respect you, fight for you, show gratitude for your love and want to be a part of your life mission. The best part of this is you don't have to convince them of your worth. They want to be there. They know your value. They know your struggles. They are in touch with their own faults and understand you struggle just like everyone else. They won't hold you to a greater standard then they do themselves. They care about you and don't want to see you cry, feel discouraged or give up on this life. When you know the power of who you are and what you have to accomplish you will scratch your head in disbelief that you allowed other people to dictate who you are based on little knowledge of what God knows about you and your life purpose. Letting go isn't about accepting defeat or acknowledging you were wrong. Sometimes letting go is realizing that God has something better in store for you.
Shannon L. Alder
“Jebediah has given up on you, but I never will. I can offer you the security you desire. If you’ll but be mine, your heart will forever be sheltered in my care. Yes, we will quarrel incessantly and fight for dominance. And yes, there will be ravishes of passion, but there will also be gentle lulls. That is who we are together. You’ll never need fear that your love is not reciprocated. For although you’ve made me feel things I am not equipped for . . . I cannot stop feeling them.” His chin quavers. “You opened Pandora’s box within me. Set loose the imaginings and emotions of a mortal man. And there is no closing it ever again.” The jewels under his eyes twitch between dark purple and blue. “As much as I abhor being anything akin to human, Alyssa, I wouldn’t dare try to close it. Because that would mean losing you.”
The confession is lovely and brutal—laced with honesty that I not only hear in the rasp of his voice, but feel in the quaking of his muscles as he holds my hands over my head.
A.G. Howard (Ensnared (Splintered, #3))
Everything is about to go to hell very quickly, so I want one moment where we don't talk about that. We pretend it doesn't exist. I want one last quiet moment with you."
"No, Loki." I shook my head, but I didn't pull away. "I told you that one night wasn't enough."
Loki leaned down, kissing me deeply and pressing me to him. I didn't even attempt to resist. I wrapped my arms around his neck. It wasn't the way we had kissed before, not as hungry or fevered. This was something different, nicer.
We were holding on to each other, knowing this might be the last time we could. It felt sweet and hopeful and tragic all at once.
When he stopped kissing me he rested his forehead against mine. He breathed as if struggling to catch his breath. I reached up and touched his face, his skin smooth and cool beneath my hand.
Loki lifted his head so he could look me in the eyes, and I saw something in them, something I'd never seen before. Something pure and unadulterated, and my heart seemed to grow with the warmth of my love for him.
I don't know how it happened or when it had, but I knew it with complete certainty. I had fallen in love with Loki, more intensely than anything I had felt for anyone before.
"Wendy!" Finn shouted, pulling me from my moment with Loki. "What are you doing? You're married! And not to him!"
"Nothing slips by you, does it?" Loki asked.
"Finn," I said, and stepped away from Loki. "Calm down."
"No!" Finn yelled. "I will not calm down! What were you thinking? We're about to go to war, and you're cheating on your husband?"
"Everything's not exactly the way it seems," I said, but guilt and regret were gripping my stomach.
My marriage might be over, but I was still technically wed to another man. And I should be worrying about things more important than kissing Loki.
"It seemed like you had your tongue down his throat." Finn glared at us both.
"Well, then, everything is exactly as it seems," Loki said glibly.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
With a deliberate shrug, he stepped free of the hold on his shoulder. “Tell me something, boys,” he drawled. “Do you wear that leather to turn each other on? I mean, is it a dick thing with you all?” Butch got slammed so hard against the door that his back teeth rattled.
The model shoved his perfect face into Butch’s. “I’d watch your mouth, if I were you.”
“Why bother, when you’re keeping an eye on it for me? You gonna kiss me now?”
A growl like none Butch had ever heard came out of the guy.
“Okay, okay.” The one who seemed the most normal came forward. “Back off, Rhage. Hey, come on. Let’s relax.”
It took a minute before the model let go.
“That’s right. We’re cool,” Mr. Normal muttered, clapping his buddy on the back before looking at Butch. “Do yourself a favor and shut the hell up.”
Butch shrugged. “Blondie’s dying to get his hands on me. I can’t help it.”
The guy launched back at Butch, and Mr. Normal rolled his eyes, letting his friend go this time. The fist that came sailing at jaw level snapped Butch’s head to one side. As the pain hit, Butch let his own rage fly. The fear for Beth, the pent-up hatred of these lowlifes, the frustration about his job, all of it came out of him. He tackled the bigger man, taking him down onto the floor. The guy was momentarily surprised, as if he hadn’t expected Butch’s speed or strength, and Butch took advantage of the hesitation. He clocked Blondie in the mouth as payback and then grabbed the guy’s throat. One second later, Butch was flat on his back with the man sitting on his chest like a parked car. The guy took Butch’s face into his hand and squeezed, crunching the features together. It was nearly impossible to breathe, and Butch panted shallowly.
“Maybe I’ll find your wife,” the guy said, “and do her a couple of times. How’s that sound?"
“Don’t have one.”
“Then I’m coming after your girlfriend.”
Butch dragged in some air. “Got no woman.”
“So if the chicks won’t do you, what makes you think I’d want to?”
“Was hoping to piss you off.”
“Now why’d you want to do that?” Blondie asked.
“If I attacked first”—Butch hauled more breath into his lungs—“your boys wouldn’t have let us fight.
Would’ve killed me first. Before I had a chance at you.”
Blondie loosened his grip a little and laughed as he stripped Butch of his wallet, keys, and cell phone.
“You know, I kind of like this big dummy,” the guy drawled.
Someone cleared a throat. Rather officiously.
Blondie leaped to his feet, and Butch rolled over, gasping. When he looked up, he was convinced he was hallucinating. Standing in the hall was a little old man dressed in livery. Holding a silver tray.
“Pardon me, gentlemen. Dinner will be served in about fifteen minutes.”
“Hey, are those the spinach crepes I like so much?” Blondie said, going for the tray.
The other men clustered around the butler, taking what he offered. Along with cocktail napkins. Like they didn’t want to drop anything on the floor. What the hell was this?
“Might I ask a favor?” the butler said.
Mr. Normal nodded with vigor. “Bring out another tray of these and we’ll kill anything you want for you.”
Yeah, guess the guy wasn’t really normal. Just relatively so.
The butler smiled as if touched. “If you’re going to bloody the human, would you be good enough to do it in the backyard?”
“No problem.” Mr. Normal popped another crepe in his mouth. “Damn, Rhage, you’re right. These are awesome.
J.R. Ward (Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #1))
The time you won your town the race
We chaired you through the market-place;
Man and boy stood cheering by,
And home we brought you shoulder-high.
Today, the road all runners come,
Shoulder-high we bring you home,
And set you at your threshold down,
Townsman of a stiller town.
Smart lad, to slip betimes away
From fields where glory does not stay,
And early though the laurel grows
It withers quicker than the rose.
Eyes the shady night has shut
Cannot see the record cut,
And silence sounds no worse than cheers
After earth has stopped the ears.
Now you will not swell the rout
Of lads that wore their honours out,
Runners whom renown outran
And the name died before the man.
So set, before its echoes fade,
The fleet foot on the sill of shade,
And hold to the low lintel up
The still-defended challenge-cup.
And round that early-laurelled head
Will flock to gaze the strengthless dead,
And find unwithered on its curls
The garland briefer than a girl’s.
A.E. Housman (A Shropshire Lad)
Anna held up a small black-bound memorandum book. Cordelia hadn’t even seen her retrieve it. They strode out of the bedroom, Anna waving the book over her head in triumph. “This,” she announced, “will hold the answers to all our questions.”
Matthew looked up, his eyes fever-bright. “Is this your list of conquests?”
“Of course not,” Anna declared. “It’s a memorandum book… about my conquests. That is an important but meaningful distinction.”
Anna flipped through the book. There were many pages, and many names written in a bold, sprawling hand.
“Hmm, let me see. Katherine, Alicia, Virginia—a very promising writer, you should look out for her work, James—Mariane, Virna, Eugenia—”
“Not my sister Eugenia?” Thomas nearly upended his cake.
“Oh, probably not,” Anna said. “Laura, Lily… ah, Hypatia. Well, it was a brief encounter, and I suppose you might say she seduced me.…”
“Well, that hardly seems fair,” said James. “Like someone solving a case before Sherlock Holmes. If I were you I would feel challenged, as if to a duel.”
Matthew chuckled. Anna gave James a dark look. “I know what you’re trying to do,” she said.
“Is it working?” said James.
“Possibly,” said Anna, regarding the book. Cordelia couldn’t help but wonder: Was Ariadne’s name in there? Was she considered a conquest now, or something—someone—else?
Cassandra Clare (Chain of Gold (The Last Hours, #1))
Sean: …………And I'd ask you about war, you'd probably throw Shakespeare at me, right, "once more unto the breach dear friends." But you've never been near one. You've never held your best friend's head in your lap, watch him gasp his last breath looking to you for help. I'd ask you about love, you'd probably quote me a sonnet. But you've never looked at a woman and been totally vulnerable. Known someone that could level you with her eyes, feeling like God put an angel on earth just for you. Who could rescue you from the depths of hell. And you wouldn't know what it's like to be her angel, to have that love for her, be there forever, through anything, through cancer. And you wouldn't know about sleeping sitting up in the hospital room for two months, holding her hand, because the doctors could see in your eyes, that the terms "visiting hours" don't apply to you. You don't know about real loss, 'cause it only occurs when you've loved something more than you love yourself. And I doubt you've ever dared to love anybody that much. And look at you... I don't see an intelligent, confident man... I see a scared shitless kid. But you're a genius Will. No one denies that. No one could possibly understand the depths of you. But you presume to know everything about me because you saw a painting of mine, and you ripped my life apart. You're an orphan right?
Sean: You think I know the first thing about how hard your life has been, how you feel, who you are, because I read Oliver Twist? Does that encapsulate you? Personally... I don't give a shit about all that, because you know what, I can't learn anything from you, I can't read in some book. Unless you want to talk about you, who you are. Then I'm fascinated. I'm in. But you don't want to do that do you sport? You're terrified of what you might say. Your move, chief.
GO BACK TO DALLAS!” the man sitting somewhere behind us yelled again, and the hold Aiden still had on the back of my neck tightened imperceptibly.
“Don’t bother, Van,” he demanded, pokerfaced.
“I’m not going to say anything,” I said, even as I reached up with the hand furthest away from him and put it behind my head, extending my middle finger in hopes that the idiot yelling would see it.
Those brown eyes blinked. “You just flipped him off, didn’t you?”
Yeah, my mouth dropped open. “How do you know when I do that?” My tone was just as astonished as it should be.
“I know everything.” He said it like he really believed it.
I groaned and cast him a long look. “You really want to play this game?”
“I play games for a living, Van.”
I couldn’t stand him sometimes. My eyes crossed in annoyance. “When is my birthday?”
He stared at me.
“March third, Muffin.”
What in the hell?
“See?” he mocked me.
Who was this man and where was the Aiden I knew?
“How old am I?” I kept going hesitantly.
“How do you know this?” I asked him slowly.
“I pay attention,” The Wall of Winnipeg stated.
I was starting to think he was right.
Then, as if to really seal the deal I didn’t know was resting between us, he said, “You like waffles, root beer, and Dr. Pepper. You only drink light beer. You put cinnamon in your coffee. You eat too much cheese. Your left knee always aches. You have three sisters I hope I never meet and one brother. You were born in El Paso. You’re obsessed with your work. You start picking at the corner of your eye when you feel uncomfortable or fool around with your glasses. You can’t see things up close, and you’re terrified of the dark.” He raised those thick eyebrows. “Anything else?”
Yeah, I only managed to say one word. “No.” How did he know all this stuff? How? Unsure of how I was feeling, I coughed and started to reach up to mess with my glasses before I realized what I was doing and snuck my hand under my thigh, ignoring the knowing look on Aiden’s dumb face. “I know a lot about you too. Don’t think you’re cool or special.”
“I know, Van.” His thumb massaged me again for all of about three seconds. “You know more about me than anyone else does.”
A sudden memory of the night in my bed where he’d admitted his fear as a kid pecked at my brain, relaxing me, making me smile. “I really do, don’t I?”
The expression on his face was like he was torn between being okay with the idea and being completely against it.
Leaning in close to him again, I winked. “I’m taking your love of MILF porn to the grave with me, don’t worry.”
He stared at me, unblinking, unflinching. And then: “I’ll cut the power at the house when you’re in the shower,” he said so evenly, so crisply, it took me a second to realize he was threatening me…
And when it finally did hit me, I burst out laughing, smacking his inner thigh without thinking twice about it. “Who does that?”
Aiden Graves, husband of mine, said it, “Me.”
Then the words were out of my mouth before I could control them. “And you know what I’ll do? I’ll go sneak into bed with you, so ha.”
What the hell had I just said? What in the ever-loving hell had I just said?
“If you think I’m supposed to be scared…” He leaned forward so our faces were only a couple of inches away. The hand on my neck and the finger pads lining the back of my ear stayed where they were. “I’m not
Mariana Zapata (The Wall of Winnipeg and Me)
I'm sorry I started all this by trying to fly and I'd take it back if I could but I can't, so please think of it from my point of view: if you die I will have a dead brother and it will be me instead of you who suffers.
Justin thought of his brother on that warm summer day, standing up on the windowsill holding both their futures, light and changeable as air, in his outstretched arms.
Of course, Justin thought, I'm part of his fate just as he's part of mine. I hadn't considered it from his point of view. Or from the point of view of the universe, either. It's just a playing field crammed full of cause and effect, billions of dominoes, each knocking over billions more, setting off trillions of actions every second. A butterfly flaps its wings in Africa and my brother in Luton thinks he can fly.
The child nodded. A piano might fall on your head, he said, but it also might not. And in the meantime you never know. Something nice might happen.
Meg Rosoff (Just in Case)
You won’t stop until you have all of me, will you? My body, my blood, my trust…and still you want more.” He knew of what I spoke and his reply was immediate. “I want your heart the most. Above all else. You’re exactly right, I won’t stop until I have it.” Tears began to slide down my cheeks, because I couldn’t hold the truth back anymore. I didn’t know how I’d managed to hold it back this long. “You have it already. So now you can stop.” His whole body stilled. “You mean that?” Uncertainty but also growing emotion filled his eyes as they bore into mine. I nodded, mouth too dry to speak. “Say it. I need to hear the words. Tell me.” I licked my lips and cleared my throat. It took three times, but finally my voice returned. “I love you, Bones.” A weight seemed to lift from me I hadn’t known was there. Funny how much I’d feared something that shouldn’t have frightened me at all. “Again.” He started to smile, and a beautiful, pure joy filled up the emptiness I’d carried my entire life. “I love you.” He kissed my forehead, cheeks, eyelids, and chin, feather-soft brushes that had the impact of a locomotive. “Once more.” The request was muffled by his mouth on mine and I breathed the words into him. “I love you.” Bones kissed me until my head reeled and everything tilted even though I was lying flat. He only paused long enough to whisper onto my lips, “It was well worth the wait.
Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, #1))
Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough? Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have though much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side. God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realise what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else -something it never entered your head to conceive- comes crasing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left? For this time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realised it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
C.S. Lewis (The Case for Christianity)
Friendship is a difficult thing to define. Oscar here is my oldest friend. How would you define friendship, Oscar?"
Oscar grunts slightly, as though the answer is obvious.
"Friendship is about choice and chemistry. It cannot be defined."
"But surely there's something more to it than that."
"It is a willingness to overlook faults and to accept them. I would let a friend hurt me without striking back," he says, smiling. "But only once."
De Souza laughs. "Bravo, Oscar, I can always rely on you to distill an argument down to its purest form. What do you think, Dayel?"
The Indian rocks his head from side to side, proud that he has been asked to speak next.
"Friendship is different for each person and it changes throughout our lives. At age six it is about holding hands with your best friend. At sixteen it is about the adventure ahead. At sixty it is about reminiscing." He holds up a finger. "You cannot define it with any one word, although honesty is perhaps the closest word-"
"No, not honesty," Farhad interrupts. "On the contrary, we often have to protect our friends from what we truly think. It is like an unspoken agreement. We ignore each other's faults and keep our confidences. Friendship isn't about being honest. The truth is too sharp a weapon to wield around someone we trust and respect. Friendship is about self-awareness. We see ourselves through the eyes of our friends. They are like a mirror that allows us to judge how we are traveling."
De Souza clears his throat now. I wonder if he is aware of the awe that he inspires in others. I suspect he is too intelligent and too human to do otherwise.
"Friendship cannot be defined," he says sternly. "The moment we begin to give reasons for being friends with someone we begin to undermine the magic of the relationship. Nobody wants to know that they are loved for their money or their generosity or their beauty or their wit. Choose one motive and it allows a person to say, 'is that the only reason?'"
The others laugh. De Souza joins in with them. This is a performance.
He continues: "Trying to explain why we form particular friendships is like trying to tell someone why we like a certain kind of music or a particular food. We just do.
Michael Robotham (The Night Ferry)
Well," he said with equanimity, "you see, in my opinion there is no point at all in talking about music. I never talk about music. What reply, then, was I to make to your very able and just remarks? You were perfectly right in all you said. But, you see, I am a musician, not a professor, and I don't believe that, as regards music, there is the least point in being right. Music does not depend on being right, on having good taste and education and all that."
"Indeed. Then what does it depend on?"
"On making music, Herr Haller, on making music as well and as much as possible and with all the intensity of which one is capable. That is the point, Monsieur. Though I carried the complete works of Bach and Haydn in my head and could say the cleverest things about them, not a soul would be the better for it. But when I take hold of my mouthpiece and play a lively shimmy, whether the shimmy be good or bad, it will give people pleasure. It gets into their legs and into their blood. That's the point and that alone. Look at the faces in a dance hall at the moment when the music strikes up after a longish pause, how eyes sparkle, legs twitch and faces begin to laugh. That is why one makes music.
Hermann Hesse (Steppenwolf)
I remember going to the British Museum one day to read up the treatment for some slight ailment of which I had a touch – hay fever, I fancy it was. I got down the book, and read all I came to read; and then, in an unthinking moment, I idly turned the leaves, and began to indolently study diseases, generally. I forget which was the first distemper I plunged into – some fearful, devastating scourge, I know – and, before I had glanced half down the list of “premonitory symptoms,” it was borne in upon me that I had fairly got it.
I sat for awhile, frozen with horror; and then, in the listlessness of despair, I again turned over the pages. I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms – discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it – wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus’s Dance – found, as I expected, that I had that too, – began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically – read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright’s disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid’s knee.
I had walked into that reading-room a happy, healthy man. I crawled out a decrepit wreck.
I went to my medical man. He is an old chum of mine, and feels my pulse, and looks at my tongue, and talks about the weather, all for nothing, when I fancy I’m ill; so I thought I would do him a good turn by going to him now. “What a doctor wants,” I said, “is practice. He shall have me. He will get more practice out of me than out of seventeen hundred of your ordinary, commonplace patients, with only one or two diseases each.” So I went straight up and saw him, and he said:
“Well, what’s the matter with you?”
“I will not take up your time, dear boy, with telling you what is the matter with me. Life is brief, and you might pass away before I had finished. But I will tell you what is NOT the matter with me. I have not got housemaid’s knee. Why I have not got housemaid’s knee, I cannot tell you; but the fact remains that I have not got it. Everything else, however, I HAVE got.”
And I told him how I came to discover it all.
Then he opened me and looked down me, and clutched hold of my wrist, and then he hit me over the chest when I wasn’t expecting it – a cowardly thing to do, I call it – and immediately afterwards butted me with the side of his head. After that, he sat down and wrote out a prescription, and folded it up and gave it me, and I put it in my pocket and went out.
I did not open it. I took it to the nearest chemist’s, and handed it in. The man read it, and then handed it back.
He said he didn’t keep it.
“You are a chemist?”
“I am a chemist. If I was a co-operative stores and family hotel combined, I might be able to oblige you. Being only a chemist hampers me.”
I read the prescription. It ran:
“1 lb. beefsteak, with
1 pt. bitter beer
every 6 hours.
1 ten-mile walk every morning.
1 bed at 11 sharp every night.
And don’t stuff up your head with things you don’t understand.”
I followed the directions, with the happy result – speaking for myself – that my life was preserved, and is still going on.
Jerome K. Jerome (Three Men in a Boat (Three Men, #1))
Little Fox, when I saw you, I thought-'
He broke off as he set her atop all the twisted sheets. Then he fisted her hair in his hand and tugged until she was looking up at him. His face had all the agony of a fallen star, broken and beautiful, with eyes so blue, the colour of everything else looked dull.
Deliberately, his gaze fell to her lips.
Her breathing turned ragged, and she wished just once that he could kiss her.
He leaned closer and gently twisted her hair, angling her head as he brought their mouths incredibly close.
'You're still bleeding.' He licked the centre of her lips, soft and agonisingly slow. His tongue felt like heaven and hell. Like everything she wanted and all she couldn't have. She had to stop herself from leaning closer, though she doubted Jacks would let her. She could feel his fingers against her scalp, holding her in place, keeping her lips just shy of his.
But maybe it was close enough. Maybe they didn't have to touch. She could live like this as long as she could live with him.
Stephanie Garber (The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2))
Impulsively, I threw up a new wall in my head. And suddenly I saw the situation for what it really was. Dante had me backed up against a tree, all right, but I did not want to make out with him.
“Demonstration finished,” Dante said, his smile a bit too cocky for my liking.
“Next time choose a more appropriate demonstration,” I said tensely. “Patch would kill you if he found out about this.”
His smile didn’t fade. “That’s a figure of speech that doesn’t work very well with Nephilim.”
I wasn’t in the mood for humor. “I know what you’re doing. You’re trying to set him off. This petty feud between the two of you will blow up to a whole new level if you mess with me. Patch is the last person you want to antagonize. He doesn’t hold grudges, because the people who cross him tend to disappear quickly. And what you just did? That was crossing him.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Finale (Hush, Hush, #4))
She angled her chin proudly. “Very well. If you insist.
I’ve come to invite you to my wedding.”
He shook his head sadly. “That I cannot do, my
“But it shall be the talk of London. I want you there.
He gazed out to the sea. “I never thought you to be
cruel, Tess. I can deny you nothing. But please don’t
ask this of me.”
“But if you’re not there, my dear, dear Leo, then
however shall I marry you?
She watched as the shock of her words rippled
over his beloved features.
“Me? But you always said no when I asked for your
“I was a foolish woman. Lynnford was the love of my
youth. And as we have talked these many weeks as
we’ve not been able to talk in years, so we
discovered that neither of us is the person that each
of us fell in love with. We were holding onto someone
who no longer exists.” She took a tentative step
toward him. “You love me as I am now. And I shall love
you always. Marry me, Leo. For God’s sake, marry
Lorraine Heath (Waking Up With the Duke (London's Greatest Lovers, #3))
I love you," he repeated, quieter this time, as if he only wanted me to hear. "I love your smutty books, and your weird documentaries, and your obsession with orange, processed snacks." I choked on something between a laugh and a sob. "I love the way you dress, and the way you light up when you talk about the universe, and the way you saw through every wall I tried to put between me and the rest of the world and knew who I was even when I didn't." He shook his head, licking his lips before he continued. "I love how you believe in me, and how you burn to prove everyone wrong when they size you up too quickly. I love that you challenge me." I leaned into his palm, bottom lip quivering before I bit down to hold it still. "I love everything about you- big and small, silly and serious. And I'm sorry I was an idiot and tried to end our story before it even had the chance to begin.
Kandi Steiner (Blind Side (Red Zone Rivals, #2))
Sorry about the question thing," Butch said to the black robes. "But I just... I'm glad I know what's in my veins. And honestly, if I die today, I'm grateful I finally know what I am." He took Marissa's hand. "And who I love. If this is where my life took me after all those years of being lost, I'd say my time here wasn't wasted."
There was a long silence. Then the Scribe Virgin said, "Do you regret that you leave behind your human family?"
"Nope. This is my family. Here with me now and elsewhere in the compound. Why would I need anything else?" The cursing in the room told him he'd thrown another question out there. "Yeah.. ah, sorry-"
A soft feminine laugh came from under the robes. "You are rather fearless,human."
"Or you could call it stupid." As Wrath's mouth fell open, Butch rubbed his face. "You know, I'm trying here. I really am. You know, to be respectful."
"Your hand, human."
He offered his left, the one that was free.
"Palm up," Wrath barked.
He flipped his hand over.
"Tell me, human," the Scribe Virgin said, "if I asked for the one you hold this female with, would you offer it to me?"
"Yeah. I'd just reach over to her with the other guy." As that little laugh came again, he said, "You know, you sound like birds when you do that chuckle thing. It's nice."
Over to the left, Vishous put his head in his hands.
There was a long silence.
Butch took a deep breath. "Guess I'm not allowed to say that.
J.R. Ward (Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #4))
Zaphod left the controls for Ford to figure out, and lurched over to Arthur.
"Look, Earthman," he said angrily, "you've got a job to do, right? The Question to the Ultimate Answer, right?"
"What, that thing?" said Arthur, "I thought we'd forgotten about that."
"Not me, baby. Like the mice said, it's worth a lot of money in the right quarters. And it's all locked up in that head thing of yours."
"Yes but ..."
"But nothing! Think about it. The Meaning of Life! We get our fingers on that we can hold every shrink in the Galaxy up to ransom, and that's worth a bundle. I owe mine a mint."
Arthur took a deep breath without much enthusiasm.
"Alright," he said, "but where do we start? How should I know? They say the Ultimate Answer or whatever is Forty-two, how am I supposed to know what the question is? It could be anything. I mean, what's six times seven?"
Zaphod looked at him hard for a moment. Then his eyes blazed with excitement.
"Forty-two!" he cried.
Arthur wiped his palm across his forehead.
"Yes," he said patiently, "I know that."
Zaphod's faces fell.
"I'm just saying that the question could be anything at all," said Arthur, "and I don't see how I am meant to know.
Douglas Adams (The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, #2))
Instead of turning our heads from pain, we merge with it, neither holding on to it nor pushing it away, becoming instead an instrument of transformation. Recently, on my early morning drive to a health club, I saw a deer in the middle lane, trying to get up, but obviously crippled. Her eyes looked confused and frightened. As I drove by, I breathed in her pain and breathed out a blessing. I could feel a dark cloud swirling inside of me, but I also had an image of a deer running freely in the woods. I can never know if it helped her, but something loosened inside of me. Instead of turning away from her pain, I joined her. It was then I realized more deeply the power of Tonglin...
When you feel hurt, confused, lonely, or sad, breathe into your pain, feel it, be with it, then breathe out an image of clarity, light, and a blessing. This alone will start to change your life.
Charlotte Kasl (If the Buddha Dated: A Handbook for Finding Love on a Spiritual Path)
what is the expression which the age demands? the age demands no expression whatever. we have seen photographs of bereaved asian mothers. we are not interested in the agony of your fumbled organs. there is nothing you can show on your face that can match the horror of this time. do not even try. you will only hold yourself up to the scorn of those who have felt things deeply. we have seen newsreels of humans in the extremities of pain and dislocation.
you are playing to people who have experienced a catastrophe. this should make you very quiet. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. everyone knows you are in pain. you cannot tell the audience everything you know about love in every line of love you speak. step aside and they will know what you know because you know it already. you have nothing to teach them. you are not more beautiful than they are. you are not wiser.
do not shout at them. do not force a dry entry. that is bad sex. if you show the lines of your genitals, then deliver what you promise. and remember that people do not really want an acrobat in bed. what is our need? to be close to the natural man, to be close to the natural woman. do not pretend that you are a beloved singer with a vast loyal audience which has followed the ups and downs of your life to this very moment. the bombs, flame-throwers, and all the shit have destroyed more than just the trees and villages. they have also destroyed the stage. did you think that your profession would escape the general destruction? there is no more stage. there are no more footlights. you are among the people. then be modest. speak the words, convey the data, step aside. be by yourself. be in your own room. do not put yourself on.
do not act out words. never act out words. never try to leave the floor when you talk about flying. never close your eyes and jerk your head to one side when you talk about death. do not fix your burning eyes on me when you speak about love. if you want to impress me when you speak about love put your hand in your pocket or under your dress and play with yourself. if ambition and the hunger for applause have driven you to speak about love you should learn how to do it without disgracing yourself or the material.
this is an interior landscape. it is inside. it is private. respect the privacy of the material. these pieces were written in silence. the courage of the play is to speak them. the discipline of the play is not to violate them. let the audience feel your love of privacy even though there is no privacy. be good whores. the poem is not a slogan. it cannot advertise you. it cannot promote your reputation for sensitivity. you are students of discipline. do not act out the words. the words die when you act them out, they wither, and we are left with nothing but your ambition.
the poem is nothing but information. it is the constitution of the inner country. if you declaim it and blow it up with noble intentions then you are no better than the politicians whom you despise. you are just someone waving a flag and making the cheapest kind of appeal to a kind of emotional patriotism. think of the words as science, not as art. they are a report. you are speaking before a meeting of the explorers' club of the national geographic society. these people know all the risks of mountain climbing. they honour you by taking this for granted. if you rub their faces in it that is an insult to their hospitality. do not work the audience for gasps ans sighs. if you are worthy of gasps and sighs it will not be from your appreciation of the event but from theirs. it will be in the statistics and not the trembling of the voice or the cutting of the air with your hands. it will be in the data and the quiet organization of your presence.
avoid the flourish. do not be afraid to be weak. do not be ashamed to be tired. you look good when you're tired. you look like you could go on forever. now come into my arms. you are the image of my beauty.
Leonard Cohen (Death of a Lady's Man)
So here we are, in the family planning aisle with a cart full of sports drinks and our hands full of . . . “Trojans, Ramses, Magnum . . . Jeez, these are worse than names for muscle cars,” Jase observes, sliding his finger along the display.
“They do sound sorta, well, forceful.” I flip over the box I’m holding to read the instructions.
Jase glances up to smile at me. “Don’t worry, Sam. It’s just us.”
“I don’t get what half these descriptions mean . . . What’s a vibrating ring?”
“Sounds like the part that breaks on the washing machine. What’s extra-sensitive? That sounds like how we describe George.”
I’m giggling. “Okay, would that be better or worse than ‘ultimate feeling’—and look—there’s ‘shared pleasure’ condoms and ‘her pleasure’ condoms. But there’s no ‘his pleasure.’”
“I’m pretty sure that comes with the territory,” Jase says dryly. “Put down those Technicolor ones. No freaking way.”
“But blue’s my favorite color,” I say, batting my eyelashes at him.
“Put them down. The glow-in-the-dark ones too. Jesus. Why do they even make those?”
“For the visually impaired?” I ask, reshelving the boxes.
We move to the checkout line. “Enjoy the rest of your evening,” the clerk calls as we leave.
“Do you think he knew?” I ask.
“You’re blushing again,” Jase mutters absently. “Did who know what?”
“The sales guy. Why we were buying these?”
A smile pulls at the corners of his mouth. “Of course not. I’m sure it never occurred to him that we were actually buying birth control for ourselves. I bet he thought it was a . . . a . . . housewarming gift.”
Okay, I’m ridiculous.
“Or party favors,” I laugh.
“Or”—he scrutinized the receipt—“supplies for a really expensive water balloon fight.”
“Visual aids for health class?” I slip my hand into the back pocket of Jase’s jeans.
“Or little raincoats for . . .” He pauses, stumped.
“Barbie dolls,” I suggest.
“G.I. Joes,” he corrects, and slips his free hand into the back pocket of my jeans, bumping his hip against mine as we head back to the car.
Huntley Fitzpatrick (My Life Next Door)
One second he was kissing me as if I was as essential to him as oxygen, and the next it was over. He stepped away, looking haunted.
"Did I do something wrong?"
I touched my mouth, missing the heat of him.
"No." He shook his head and shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his jeans. I didn't want his hands in his pockets. I wanted them on me.
"Why did you--?"
"Not because I wanted to stop kissing you."
He looked at my lips. My pulse sped up, but my blood felt like lava moving through my veins.
"Timing. My timing sucks."
Circumstances. Not because of me. I couldn't keep myself from grinning.
"Why would you like to try this again then, another time?"
"I'd very much like to try this again, another time."
He grinned, but it carried a touch of sadness. "I'll give you a second to...fix your hair."
"I'll give you a second to fix my hair. I mean, I'll give you a second while I go fix my hair." He let out a sigh. "I mean, I'll see you downstairs."
He turned to walk out of the room, but unfortunately, he forgot to open the door first. I managed to hold in my laughter until he got it right.
Myra McEntire (Hourglass (Hourglass, #1))
You’re with Hunter.” It was more of a question than a statement.
Tears welled up in my eyes. “But it hasn’t been right. It hasn’t been you. I can’t . . . I haven’t been able to—” I sucked in a deep breath. “I can’t be a real girlfriend to him when all I can do is think about you.”
“Ah, shit, Pepper.” Still holding my face, he lowered his forehead to mine. “I’m not going through this again with you just so you can run when you get scared that I’m not like some ideal you built up in your head. I love you. I’m fucking in love with you, but it’s all or nothing. I won’t do this again unless it’s going to be like that.”
Now I was crying, choking on my sobs. “I know. I want that. It took me so long to figure that out, but I know now. You are the safest thing I’ll ever find.” I deliberately repeated his words, holding his gaze and letting them sink in. “Because you love me. Because I love you.
Sophie Jordan (Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles, #1))
The little group before her finally moved on and Sarah took its place, standing before Tom like he was a painting in a museum.
And then his vacant eyes dropped from that point somewhere above her head and he looked at her—looked into her eyes and registered her presence. His eyes widened and his mouth opened wordlessly.
For the space of six heartbeats they stared at one another and then Sarah simply said, “Come home.” She held her hand out to him.
He gazed at it for a moment.
“Come with me,” she said softly.
Slowly he rose from his chair and walked toward her. He slipped his hand into hers and his palm was warm and callused.
She stepped back and pulled him along with her. Suddenly his arms went around her, hugging her tight, his head dropped to her shoulder and his mouth pressed into her hair as he whispered, “I can’t believe you’re here.”
Her hands slipped up the smooth, supple skin of his back to hook over his shoulders. She buried her face against his chest, breathing him in, forgetting time and place and circumstance and just holding him.
Bonnie Dee (Bone Deep)
I paid the taxi driver, got out with my suitcase, surveyed my surroundings, and just as I was turning to ask the driver something or get back into the taxi and return forthwith to Chillán and then to Santiago, it sped off without warning, as if the somewhat ominous solitude of the place had unleashed atavistic fears in the driver's mind. For a moment I too was afraid. I must have been a sorry sight standing there helplessly with my suitcase from the seminary, holding a copy of Farewell's Anthology in one hand. Some birds flew out from behind a clump of trees. They seemed to be screaming the name of that forsaken village, Querquén, but they also seemed to be enquiring who: quién, quién, quién. I said a hasty prayer and headed for a wooden bench, there to recover a composure more in keeping with what I was, or what at the time I considered myself to be. Our Lady, do not abandon your servant, I murmured, while the black birds, about twenty-five centimetres in length, cried quién, quién, quién. Our Lady of Lourdes, do not abandon your poor priest, I murmured, while other birds, about ten centimetres long, brown in colour, or brownish, rather, with white breasts, called out, but not as loudly, quién, quién, quién, Our Lady of Suffering, Our Lady of Insight, Our Lady of Poetry, do not leave your devoted subject at the mercy of the elements, I murmured, while several tiny birds, magenta, black, fuchsia, yellow and blue in colour, wailed quién, quién, quién, at which point a cold wind sprang up suddenly, chilling me to the bone.
Roberto Bolaño (By Night in Chile)
How yet resolves the governor of the town?
This is the latest parle we will admit;
Therefore to our best mercy give yourselves;
Or like to men proud of destruction
Defy us to our worst: for, as I am a soldier,
A name that in my thoughts becomes me best,
If I begin the battery once again,
I will not leave the half-achieved Harfleur
Till in her ashes she lie buried.
The gates of mercy shall be all shut up,
And the flesh'd soldier, rough and hard of heart,
In liberty of bloody hand shall range
With conscience wide as hell, mowing like grass
Your fresh-fair virgins and your flowering infants.
What is it then to me, if impious war,
Array'd in flames like to the prince of fiends,
Do, with his smirch'd complexion, all fell feats
Enlink'd to waste and desolation?
What is't to me, when you yourselves are cause,
If your pure maidens fall into the hand
Of hot and forcing violation?
What rein can hold licentious wickedness
When down the hill he holds his fierce career?
We may as bootless spend our vain command
Upon the enraged soldiers in their spoil
As send precepts to the leviathan
To come ashore. Therefore, you men of Harfleur,
Take pity of your town and of your people,
Whiles yet my soldiers are in my command;
Whiles yet the cool and temperate wind of grace
O'erblows the filthy and contagious clouds
Of heady murder, spoil and villany.
If not, why, in a moment look to see
The blind and bloody soldier with foul hand
Defile the locks of your shrill-shrieking daughters;
Your fathers taken by the silver beards,
And their most reverend heads dash'd to the walls,
Your naked infants spitted upon pikes,
Whiles the mad mothers with their howls confused
Do break the clouds, as did the wives of Jewry
At Herod's bloody-hunting slaughtermen.
What say you? will you yield, and this avoid,
Or, guilty in defence, be thus destroy'd?
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
I came to another passageway and paused to examine the scene. I saw myself dead and lying on the ground with Ren kneeling beside me. He leaned over my inert body investigating. I heard him whisper, “Kelsey? Is it you? Kelsey, please. Talk to me. I need to know if it’s really you.”
He picked my body up and cradled it lovingly in his arms. I checked to make sure he had the gada and the backpack, which he did, but I’d been fooled before. Then he said, “Don’t leave me, Kells.”
I closed my eyes and listened to his voice begging me to live. My heart started thumping wildly, a different reaction than I’d had in the past visions. I took a step closer and hit a barrier again.
I spoke to him softly, “Ren? I’m here. Don’t give up.”
He raised his head as if he’d heard me.
“Kelsey? I can hear you, but I can’t see you. Where are you?” He lowered me, or the body that looked like me, to the ground, and it disappeared.
I told him, “Close your eyes and feel your way to me.” He stood slowly and closed his eyes.
I closed my eyes too, and tried to focus not on his voice but on his heart. I imagined my hand on his chest, feeling the strong thump of his heart beneath my fingers. My body seemed to move of its own volition, and I took several steps forward. I concentrated on Ren, his laugh, his smile, how I felt being near him, then, suddenly, my hand touched his chest, and I could feel his heart beating. He was there. I opened my eyes slowly and looked at him.
He reached out a hand to touch my hair, but then he pulled it back. “Is it really you this time, Kells?”
“Well, I’m no maggoty corpse, if that’s what you mean.”
He grinned. “That’s a relief. No maggoty corpse would be that sarcastic.”
I countered, “Well, how do I know it’s really you?”
He considered my question for a moment and then ducked his head to kiss me. He tugged me flush up against his chest, pulling me closer than I even thought possible, and then his lips touched mine. His kiss started out warm and soft, but quickly turned hungry and demanding. His hands ran up my arms, to my shoulders, and then cupped my neck. I wrapped my arms around his waist and luxuriated in the kiss. When he finally pulled back, my heart was pounding in response.
When the power of speech returned, I quipped, “Well, even if it isn’t really you, I’ll take this version.”
He laughed and relief flooded both of us. “Kells, I think you’d better hold my hand the rest of the way.”
I smiled gaily back at him. “No problem.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Much. so there is free dessert involved here." I put my hand to my forehead. "oh, that i had discovered the job first!"
Ryan laughs. "tragic."
want to hear something tragic? my dad is going to a Christian singles' retreat."
Ryan nearly spits out his coffee. "your dad?" he is shacking.
Brandon wallops him on the back a few times. Ryan holds his hands up at him, coughing. "Stop," he croaks, standing. he inhales a few times and gets his voice back. "You would have to tell me this when my mouth was full, wouldn't you?" he sits again.
I smile broadly.
a Christian singles' retreat?" he repeats
Yep," Brandon says. "Get the name: Marley's Michigan Marriage Makers."
I cover my face
Ryan's expression twists. " thats.... interesting," he says slowly
Hallie frowns. "If its a Christian retreat, why is it called Marley's?"
Its a denomination in Michigan," Brandon says. "Marlotist. I just call them Marley for fun."
I double over until my head hits the table.
There is not a denomination called Marlotist," Hallie says.
Is too. I visited one of their churches when I went to Michigan to ski one time," Brandon says.
My eyes blur with tears from laughing so hard and holding it all in. My shoulders start shaking.
Brandon levels a good kick to my shin.
Ow!" I reach for my leg.
What is the name of it, Laurie?" Ryan asks.
Meet Your Match in Michigan"
Brandon scowls at me. " Spoilsport.
Erynn Mangum (Rematch (Lauren Holbrook, #2))
I smack into him as if shoved from behind. He doesn't budge, not an inch. Just holds my shoulders and waits. Maybe he's waiting for me to find my balance. Maybe he's waiting for me to gather my pride. I hope he's got all day.
I hear people passing on the boardwalk and imagine them staring. Best-case scenario, they think I know this guy, that we're hugging. Worst-case scenario, they saw me totter like an intoxicated walrus into this complete stranger because I was looking down for a place to park our beach stuff. Either way, he knows what happened. He knows why my cheek is plastered to his bare chest. And there is definite humiliation waiting when I get around to looking up at him.
Options skim through my head like a flip book.
Option One: Run away as fast as my dollar-store flip flops can take me. Thing is, tripping over them is partly responsible for my current dilemma. In fact, one of them is missing, probably caught in a crack of the boardwalk. I'm getting Cinderella didn't feel this foolish, but then again, Cinderella wasn't as clumsy as an intoxicated walrus.
Option two: Pretend I've fainted. Go limp and everything. Drool, even. But I know this won't work because my eyes flutter too much to fake it, and besides, people don't blush while unconscious.
Option Three: Pray for a lightning bolt. A deadly one that you feel in advance because the air gets all atingle and your skin crawls-or so the science books say. It might kill us both, but really, he should have been paying more attention to me when he saw that I wasn't paying attention at all.
For a shaved second, I think my prayers are answered because I go get tingly all over; goose bumps sprout everywhere, and my pulse feels like electricity. Then I realize, it's coming from my shoulders. From his hands.
Option Last: For the love of God, peel my cheek off his chest and apologize for the casual assault. Then hobble away on my one flip-flop before I faint. With my luck, the lightning would only maim me, and he would feel obligated to carry me somewhere anyway. Also, do it now.
I ease away from him and peer up. The fire on my cheeks has nothing to do with the fact that it's sweaty-eight degrees in the Florida sun and everything to do with the fact that I just tripped into the most attractive guy on the planet. Fan-flipping-tastic.
"Are-are you all right?" he says, incredulous. I think I can see the shape of my cheek indented on his chest.
I nod. "I'm fine. I'm used to it. Sorry." I shrug off his hands when he doesn't let go. The tingling stays behind, as if he left some of himself on me.
"Jeez, Emma, are you okay?" Chloe calls from behind. The calm fwopping of my best friend's sandals suggests she's not as concerned as she sounds. Track star that she is, she would already be at my side if she thought I was hurt. I groan and face her, not surprised that she's grinning wide as the equator. She holds out my flip-flop, which I try not to snatch from her hand.
"I'm fine. Everybody's fine," I say. I turn back to the guy, who seems to get more gorgeous by the second. "You're fine, right? No broken bones or anything?"
He blinks, gives a slight nod.
Chloe setts her surfboard against the rail of the boardwalk and extends her hand to him. He accepts it without taking his eyes off me. "I'm Chloe and this is Emma," she says. "We usually bring her helmet with us, but we left it back in the hotel room this time.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
"Fuck," Matty whispered.
He'd heard her.
It was me who couldn't breathe now. I had thought it was an accident. But she'd fucking done it on purpose. To protect me. Holy hell.
"I'm gonna go . . . ," Matty trailed off. I listened to his footsteps until he was gone before pulling back and looking down at Blythe.
"You got in front of a six-foot-three one hundred and eighty pounds of muscle because he was going to hit me?"
She nodded. "It was my fault he was going to hit you. I was just going to stop him."
She was going to stop him. This girl. Never in all my life did I imagine there was anyone like her. Never.
"Sweetheart, how did you intend to stop him? I could handle him. I've kicked his ass many, many times." I cupped her chin in my hand. "I had rather had him kick my ass than to have anything happen to you. That was fucking unbearable. You can't do that to me. If you get hurt, I won't be able to handle it."
She signed, and her eyes locked back toward the stage. " I made this worse. I'm sorry. Can you go fix things with the two of you so you can get back onstage?"
The distressed look on her face meant I wasn't going to be able to leave. I wanted nothing more than to take her back home and hold her all night. But she was really upset about this. I had overreacted. She had been sitting over here staring at the floor with the saddest lost expression, and I couldn't think straight. I had to get to her.
"I'll get Green, and we'll go back onstage. But you have to promise me that you won't try and save me again. I take care of you. Not the other way around," I told her.
She reached up and touched my face.
"Then who will take care of you?"
No one had ever cared about that before. That wasn't something I was going to tell her, though. "You safe in my arms is all I need. Okay?"
She frowned and glanced away from me. "I'm not agreeing to that," she said.
God, she was adorable. I pressed a kiss to her head. "Come with me to get the guys," I told her as I stood up and brought her with me.
"You won't do anything to Green then?" she said, sounding hopeful.
"No." Until you're asleep tonight. And then I'm beating his ass.
Abbi Glines (Bad for You (Sea Breeze, #7))
Neel cuts in: "Where'd you grow up?"
"Palo Alto," she says. From there to Stanford to Google: for a girl obsessed with the outer limits of human potential, Kat has stayed pretty close to home.
Neel nods knowingly. "The suburban mind cannot comprehend the emergent complexity of a New York sidewalk."
"I don't know about that," Kat says, narrowing her eyes. "I'm pretty good with complexity."
"See, I know what you're thinking," Neel says, shaking his head.
"You're thinking it's just an agent-based simulation, and everybody out here follows a pretty simple set of rules"-- Kat is nodding--"and if you can figure out those rules, you can model it. You can simulate the street, then the neighborhood, then the whole city. Right?"
"Exactly. I mean, sure, I don't know what the rules are yet, but I could experiment and figure them out, and then it would be trivial--"
"Wrong," Neel says, honking like a game-show buzzer. "You can't do it. Even if you know the rules-- and by the way, there are no rules--but even if there were, you can't model it. You know why?"
My best friend and my girlfriend are sparring over simulations. I can only sit back and listen.
Kat frowns. "Why?"
"You don't have enough memory."
"Oh, come on--"
"Nope. You could never hold it all in memory. No computer's big enough. Not even your what's-it-called--"
"The Big Box."
"That's the one. It's not big enough. This box--" Neel stretches out his hands, encompasses the sidewalk, the park, the streets beyond--"is bigger."
The snaking crowd surges forward.
Robin Sloan (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, #1))
I've been thinking about this mouth all day" he said before covering my lips with his. I licked at his bottom lip and he opened for me, letting me leisurely taste him. The gentle pressure of his mouth was perfect and made me a little dizzy. His fingers slip up my thigh until both hands were gripping my butt. One of his fingers traced the edge of my panties. "I really like this skirt," he murmured against my lips. I really liked it too at the moment. My breath was coming in short gasps as he slid one hand inside the edge of my panties. He gripped my bare butt with one hand while he slid his other slowly back down my thigh and shifted closer to my inner thigh. I liked what his next move would be. What I didn't know was if I was going to let it go that far. Then he moaned into my mouth as his fingers touched the inside of my thigh and my leg fell open of its own accord. The slow, easy kiss became frenzied as we both fought to calm our breathing. His hand inched higher and higher up my exposed thigh. The second his finger grazed the outside of my panties, I jerked in his hold, and something very close to pleading squeaked in my throat. Sawyer pulled back, and his accelerated breathing made me tingle with pleasure. I loved knowing I did that to him. He kissed down my neck until he met the curve of my shoulder. He went very still. His warm breath bathed my chest and neck. His hand slowly moved again. One lone finger slipped inside the edge of my panties and made direct contact. He murmured something against my neck, but I couldn't focus enough to understand. My brain was in a foggy haze, and my heart was about to pound out of my chest. The urge to move against the hand, which now cupped the crotch of my panties, was strong. But I waited while he eased his finger farther inside and gently ran it along the folds. "oh, oh, oh my god," I managed to get out in a breathless chant. "God, you're so warm," he whispered in a strained voice as he began kissing the spot where he had buried his head in my neck. When he slipped his other hand over my leg and pulled it farther open then reached down and pulled my panties to the side as he gently stroked me, I started to come apart in his arms. "That's it, baby," he encouraged me as I clung to him, calling his name and wanting it to never end.
Abbi Glines (The Vincent Brothers (The Vincent Boys, #2))
Let me make a clean breast of it here, and frankly admit that I kept but sorry guard. With the problem of the universe revolving in me, how could I- being left completely to myself at such a thought-engendering altitude- how could I but lightly hold my obligations to observe all whaleships' standing orders, "Keep your weather eye open, and sing out every time."
And let me in this place movingly admonish you, ye ship-owners of Nantucket! Beware of enlisting in your vigilant fisheries any lad with lean brow and hollow eye; given to unseasonable meditativeness...: your whales must be seen before they can be killed; and this sunken-eyed young Platonist will tow you ten wakes round the world, and never make you one pint of sperm the richer.
Nor are these monitions at all unneeded. For nowadays, the whale-fishery furnishes an asylum for many romantic, melancholy, and absent-minded young men, disgusted with the corking care of earth, and seeking sentiment in tar and blubber. Childe Harold not unfrequently perches himself upon the mast-head of some luckless disappointed whale-ship, and in moody phrase ejaculates:- "Roll on, thou deep and dark blue ocean, roll! Ten thousand blubber-hunters sweep over thee in vain. "
... "Why, thou monkey," said a harpooneer to one of these lads, "we've been cruising now hard upon three years, and thou hast not raised a whale yet. Whales are scarce as hen's teeth whenever thou art up here." Perhaps they were; or perhaps there might have been shoals of them in the far horizon; but lulled into such an opium-like listlessness of vacant, unconscious reverie is this absent-minded youth by the blending cadence of waves with thoughts, that at last he loses his identity; takes the mystic ocean at his feet for the visible image of that deep, blue, bottomless soul, pervading mankind and nature; and every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it. In this enchanted mood, thy spirit ebbs away to whence it came; becomes diffused through time and space; like Crammer's sprinkled Pantheistic ashes, forming at last a part of every shore the round globe over.
There is no life in thee, now, except that rocking life imparted by a gentle rolling ship; by her, borrowed from the sea; by the sea, from the inscrutable tides of God. But while this sleep, this dream is on ye, move your foot or hand an inch; slip your hold at all; and your identity comes back in horror. Over Descartian vortices you hover. And perhaps, at midday, in the fairest weather, with one half-throttled shriek you drop through that transparent air into the summer sea, no more to rise for ever. Heed it well, ye Pantheists!
Herman Melville (Moby Dick)
The sun was shining on the sea,
Shining with all his might:
He did his very best to make
The billows smooth and bright--
And this was odd, because it was
The middle of the night.
The moon was shining sulkily,
Because she thought the sun
Had got no business to be there
After the day was done--
"It's very rude of him," she said,
"To come and spoil the fun!"
The sea was wet as wet could be,
The sands were dry as dry.
You could not see a cloud, because
No cloud was in the sky:
No birds were flying over head--
There were no birds to fly.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Were walking close at hand;
They wept like anything to see
Such quantities of sand:
"If this were only cleared away,"
They said, "it WOULD be grand!"
"If seven maids with seven mops
Swept it for half a year,
Do you suppose," the Walrus said,
"That they could get it clear?"
"I doubt it," said the Carpenter,
And shed a bitter tear.
"O Oysters, come and walk with us!"
The Walrus did beseech.
"A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk,
Along the briny beach:
We cannot do with more than four,
To give a hand to each."
The eldest Oyster looked at him.
But never a word he said:
The eldest Oyster winked his eye,
And shook his heavy head--
Meaning to say he did not choose
To leave the oyster-bed.
But four young oysters hurried up,
All eager for the treat:
Their coats were brushed, their faces washed,
Their shoes were clean and neat--
And this was odd, because, you know,
They hadn't any feet.
Four other Oysters followed them,
And yet another four;
And thick and fast they came at last,
And more, and more, and more--
All hopping through the frothy waves,
And scrambling to the shore.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
"But wait a bit," the Oysters cried,
"Before we have our chat;
For some of us are out of breath,
And all of us are fat!"
"No hurry!" said the Carpenter.
They thanked him much for that.
"A loaf of bread," the Walrus said,
"Is what we chiefly need:
Pepper and vinegar besides
Are very good indeed--
Now if you're ready Oysters dear,
We can begin to feed."
"But not on us!" the Oysters cried,
Turning a little blue,
"After such kindness, that would be
A dismal thing to do!"
"The night is fine," the Walrus said
"Do you admire the view?
"It was so kind of you to come!
And you are very nice!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"Cut us another slice:
I wish you were not quite so deaf--
I've had to ask you twice!"
"It seems a shame," the Walrus said,
"To play them such a trick,
After we've brought them out so far,
And made them trot so quick!"
The Carpenter said nothing but
"The butter's spread too thick!"
"I weep for you," the Walrus said.
"I deeply sympathize."
With sobs and tears he sorted out
Those of the largest size.
Holding his pocket handkerchief
Before his streaming eyes.
"O Oysters," said the Carpenter.
"You've had a pleasant run!
Shall we be trotting home again?"
But answer came there none--
And that was scarcely odd, because
They'd eaten every one.
Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, #2))
It seems like I've only shut my eyes for a few minutes, but when I open them, I flinch at the sight of Haymitch sitting a couple of feet from my bed. Waiting. Possibly for several hours if the clck is right. I think about hollering for a witness, but I'm going to have to face him sooner or later.
Haymitch leans forward and dangles something on a thin white wire in front of my nose. It's hard to focus on, but I'm pretty sur what it is. He drops it in to the sheets. "That is your earpiece. I will give you exactly one more chance to wear it. If you remove it from your ear again, I'll have you fitted with this." He holds up some sort of metal headgear that I instantly name the head shackle. "It's alternative audio unit that locks around your skull and under your chin until it's opened with a key. And I'll have the only key. If for some reason you're clever enough to disable it" ---- Haymitch dumps the head shackle on the bed and whips out a tiny silver chip--- "I'll authorize them to surgically implant this transmitter into your ear so that I may speak to you twenty-four hours a day."
Haymitch in my head full-time. Horrifying. "I'll keep the earpiece in," I mutter
"Excuse me?" He says
"I'll keep the earpiece in!" I say loud enough to wake half the hospital.
"You sure? Because I'm equally happy with any of the three options," he tells me
"I'm sure," I say. I scrunch up the earpiece protectivley in my fist and fling the head shakle back in his face with my free hand, but he catches it easily. Probably was expecting me to throw it. "Anything else?"
Haymitch rises to go. "While I was waiting. . . I ate your lunch."
My eyes take in the empty stew bowl and tray on my bed table. "I'm going to report you," I mumble into my pillow.
"You do that sweetheart." He goes out, safe in the knowledge that I'm not the reporting kind.
Suzanne Collins (Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3))
You have me.” His serious eyes penetrate mine. “For the rest of your days, I will be here for you—someone to trust, to lean on—to have and to hold from this day on.” Marshall is a thing of beauty both inside and out. I reach up and touch my fingers to his lips. Somebody is going to be very lucky to love him fully one day. “Those sounded an awful lot like wedding vows,” I whisper. “You will be everything to me, Skyla. A lover…” He kisses a finger. “A friend…” He kisses the tip of another. “A spouse…” He pushes my finger into his hot mouth and I pluck it out. “Where shall we spend our honeymoon?” He goes right there without provocation. “No honeymoon—but, well…” I fold my arms across my chest. “I’m sort of not really seeing Gage, since I can’t trust him. Logan wants to wait until the end of the faction war before we see where our feelings lie, so I suppose I’m open.” “Open?” His head twitches to the side just so. “You know, for wooing—no kissing though. You’ll have to woo without lingual contact.” “No kissing.” His chest broadens under the guise of this new turn of events. “Fantastic.” He says it sharp as if this were a war and he just gained ground on the enemy. “What shall we do to commemorate our first day of coupledom?
Addison Moore (Toxic Part Two (Celestra, #7.5))
(Jen gets completely sloshed and it's not her wedding)
I was supposed to meet Carol and her family at the aquarium the next morning, and somehow had the presence of mind to leave a voicemail apologizing in advance for not being able to make it. I was please at myself for being so responsible and considerate. After I left the message, I blissfully headed off to bed, wearing a face full of makeup, all my grown up jewelry, and a relatively restrictive girdle.
Suffice it to say, yesterday was rough, what with my apartment spinning and all.
But today I felt better. That is, until Carol played me the voice mail I left for her at 1:03 AM. Somehow I thought I had been able to hold it together on the phone. Following is a transcript of the message I left:
30 seconds of heavy breathing, giggling, and intermittent hiccups (At first Carol thought it was a 911 call.)
Oh, heeheehee, I waassshh wayyyting for a beep. But noooooo beeeeeeep. Why don't you hash a beep on your, your, ummmmmm...celery phone? Noooooo beeeeeeep, hic, heeheeeheee.
Um, hiiiiii, itsch JEENNNNNNNN!! It's thirteen o'clock in the peeeeeee eeeemmmmmmm. Heeeeeeeellllllllllloooooooo! I went to my wedding tonight and it wash sooooo niiiiiiiiiice. Hic."
More giggling and the sound of a phone being dropped and retrieved
Nannyway, I am calling to telllll you noooooooooo fishies tomorry...no fishies for meeee! I hic, heeeee, can't smake it to the quariyummm. Maybeeee you can call me so I can say HIIIIIIIIIIIIIII later hich in the day hee hee hee. Call me at, um, 312, ummmmmmm, 312, uummmmm, hee hee hee I can't member my phone, Hic. Do you know my number? Can you call me and tell me what it isssch? I LIKESH TURKEY SAMMICHES!
10 seconds of chewing, giggling, and what may be gobbling sounds
Okay, GGGGGGGGooooooodniiiiiiiiiggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhttttt! No fish! Um, how do I turn this tthing off? Shhhhh, callllls' over. Beeee quiiiiiiietttt, hee hee hee."
15 more seconds of giggles, hiccups, shushing, and a great deal of banging
Perhaps this is why most people only have one wedding?
Jen Lancaster (Bitter Is the New Black: Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office)
I can do anything I believe I can do! I’ve got it, and every day I get more of it. I have talent, skills, and ability. I set goals and I reach them. I know what I want out of life. I go after it and I get it. People like me, and I feel good about myself. I have a sense of pride in who I am, and I believe in myself. Nothing seems to stop me. I have a lot of determination. I turn problems into advantages. I find possibilities in things that other people never give a chance. I have a lot of energy—I am very alive! I enjoy life and I can tell it and so can others. I keep myself up, looking ahead, and liking it. I know that I can accomplish anything I choose, and I refuse to let anything negative hold me back or stand in my way. I am not afraid of anything or anyone. I have strength, power, conviction, and confidence! I like challenges and I meet them head on, face to face—today especially! I am on top of the world and I’m going for it. I have a clear picture in my mind of what I want. I can see it in front of me. I know what I want and I know how to get it. I know that it’s all up to me and I know I can do it. Roadblocks don’t bother me. They just mean that I am alive and running, and I’m not going to stand still for anything. I trust myself I’ve got what it takes—plenty of it—and I know how to use it. Today, more than ever. Today I am unstoppable! I’ve got myself together and I’m getting more together every day. And today—look out world, here I come! Limitations? I don’t even recognize them as limitations. There is no challenge I can’t conquer; there is no wall I can’t climb over. There is no problem I can’t defeat, or turn around and make it work for me. I stand tall! I am honest and sincere. I like to deal with people and they like me. I think well; I think clearly. I am organized; I am in control of myself, and everything about me. I call my shots, and no one has to call them for me. I never blame anyone else for the circumstances of my life. I accept my failings and move past them as easily as I accept the rewards for my victories. I never demand perfection of myself, but I expect the very best of what I have to give—and that’s what I get! I never give myself excuses. I get things done on time and in the right way. Today I have the inner strength to do more than ever. I am an exceptional human being. My goals and my incredible belief in myself turn my goals into reality. I have the power to live my dreams. I believe in them like I believe in myself. And that belief is so strong that there is nothing that diminishes my undefeatable spirit.
Shad Helmstetter (What To Say When You Talk To Your Self)
If he wasn't angry, he certainly did a good imitation. His voice was clipped and as hard as stone. She wrung her hands together. "I love you. Clay."
"No, you don't."
Meg felt as though he'd just slapped her. "Yes, I do. When you leave this town, I'll go with you."
Narrowing his eyes, he studied her. "Will you marry me?"
"Will you give me children?"
"If I can. Kirk and I were never able to conceive, but if I can have children, I want to have yours."
"In this town that we move to, wherever it is, will you walk down the street with me?"
"Holding my hand?"
"And the hands of my children?"
He unfolded his arms and took a step toward her. She wanted to fling herself into his embrace, but something hard in his eyes stopped her.
"And what happens, Mrs. Warner, when someone you know rides through town and points at me and calls me a yellow-bellied coward? What will you do then? Will you let go of my hand and take my children to the other side of the street? Will you pretend that you haven't kissed me, that you haven't lain with me beneath the stars?" With disgust marring his features, he turned away. "You think I'm a coward. Go home."
"I don't think that. I love you."
He spun around. "You don't believe in that love, you don't believe in me."
"Yes, I do."
He stalked toward her. She backed into the corner and bent her head to meet his infuriated gaze.
"How strongly do you believe in our love?" he asked, his voice ominously low. "If they threatened to strip off your clothes unless you denied our love, would you deny our love?"
He gave her no chance to respond, but continued on, his voice growing deeper and more ragged, as though he were dredging up events from the past.
"If they wouldn't let you sleep until you denied our love, would you deny our love so you could lay your head on a pillow?
"If they stabbed a bayonet into your backside every time your eyes drifted closed, would you deny our love so your flesh wouldn't be pierced?
"If they applied a hot brand to your flesh until you screamed in agony, would you deny our love so they'd take away the iron?
"If they placed you before a firing squad, would you say you didn't love me so they wouldn't shoot you?"
He stepped back and plowed his hands through his hair. "You think I'm a coward. You don't think I have the courage to stand beside you and risk the anger of your father. I'd die before I turned away from anyone or anything I believed in. You won't even walk by my side."
He looked the way she imagined soldiers who had lost a battle probably looked: weary, tired of the fight, disillusioned.
"You don't believe in me," he said quietly. "How can you believe in our love?
Lorraine Heath (Always to Remember)
When he can't take anymore, Galen plucks his phone from his pocket and dials, then hangs up. When the call is returned, he says, "Hey, sweet lips." The females at the table hush each other to get a better listen. A few of them whip their heads toward Emma to see if she's on the other end of the conversation. Satisfied she's not, they lean closer.
Rachel snorts. "If only you liked sweets."
"I can't wait to see you tonight. Wear that pink shirt I like."
Rachel laughs. "Sounds like you're in what we humans like to call a pickle. My poor, drop-dead-gorgeous sweet pea. Emma still not talking to you, leaving you alone with all those hormonal girls?"
"Eight-thirty? That's so far away. Can't I meet you sooner?"
One of the females actually gets up and takes her tray and her attitude to another table. Galen tries not to get too excited.
"Do you need to be checked out of school, son? Are you feeling ill?"
Galen tosses a glance at Emma, who's picking a pepperoni off her pizza and eyeing it as if it were dolphin dung. "I can't skip school to meet you again, boo. But I'll be thinking about you. No one but you."
A few more females get up and stalk their trays to the trash. The cheerleader in front of him rolls her eyes and starts a conversation with the chubby brunette beside her-the same chubby brunette she pushed into a locker to get to him two hours ago.
"Be still my heart," Rachel drawls. "But seriously, I can't read your signals. I don't know what you're asking me to do."
"Right now, nothing. But I might change my mind about skipping. I really miss you."
Rachel clears her throat. "All right, sweet pea. You just let your mama know, and she'll come get her wittle boy from school, okay?"
Galen hangs up. Why is Emma laughing again? Mark can't be that funny.
The girl beside him clues him in: "Mark Baker. All the girls love him. But not as much as they love you. Except maybe Emma, I guess."
"Speaking of all these girls, how did they get my phone number?"
She giggles. "It's written on the wall in the girls' bathroom. One hundred hall." She holds her cell phone up to his face. An image of his number scrawled onto a stall door lights up the screen. In Emma's handwriting.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
When he was finished, he set his plate down, looked at me, and raised an eyebrow.
I leaned forward and whispered angrily, “I am not going to sit on your lap, so don’t get your hopes up, Mister.”
He still waited until I picked up a fork and took a few bites. I speared a bite of macadamia nut crusted ruby snapper and said, “Whew. Time’s up. Isn’t it? The clock is ticking. You must be sweating it, huh? I mean, you could turn any second.”
He just took a bite of curried lamb and then some saffron rice and sat there chewing as cool as a cucumber.
I watched him closely for a full two minutes and then folded up my napkin.
“Okay, I give. Why are you acting so smug and confident? When are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
He wiped his mouth carefully and took a sip of water. “What’s going on, my prema, is that the curse has been lifted.”
My mouth dropped open. “What? If it was lifted, why were you a tiger for the last two days?”
“Well, to be clear, the curse is not completely gone. I seem to have been granted a partial removal of the curse.”
“Partial? Partial meaning what, exactly?”
“Partial, meaning a certain number of hours per day. Six hours to be exact.”
I recited the prophecy in my mind and remembered that there were four sides to the monolith, and four times six was…”Twenty-four.”
He paused. “Twenty-four what?”
“Well, six hours makes sense because there are four gifts to obtain for Durga and four sides of the monolith. We’ve only completed one of the tasks, so you only get six hours.”
He smiled. “I guess I get to keep you around then, at least until the other tasks are finished.”
I snorted. “Don’t hold your breath, Tarzan. I might not need to be present for the other tasks. Now that you’re a man part of the time, you and Kishan can resolve this problem yourselves, I’m sure.”
He cocked his head and narrowed his eyes at me. “Don’t underestimate your level of…involvement, Kelsey. Even if you weren’t needed anymore to break the curse, do you think I’d simply let you go? Let you walk out of my life without a backward glance?”
I nervously began toying with my food and decided to say nothing. That was exactly what I’d been planning to do.
Something had changed. The hurt and confused Ren that made me feel guilty for rejecting him in Kishkindha was gone. He was now supremely confident, almost arrogant, and very sure of himself.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Well. Um. The thing is…” I inhale, then continue with rapid-fire speed. “Imnotahockeyfan.”
A wrinkle appears in his forehead. “What?”
I repeat myself, slowly this time, with actual pauses between each word. “I’m not a hockey fan.”
Then I hold my breath and await his reaction.
He blinks. Blinks again. And again. His expression is a mixture of shock and horror. “You don’t like hockey?”
I regretfully shake my head.
“Not even a little bit?”
Now I shrug. “I don’t mind it as background noise—”
“—but I won’t pay attention to it if it’s on.” I bite my lip. I’m already in this deep—might as well deliver the final blow. “I come from a football family.”
“Football,” he says dully.
“Yeah, my dad and I are huge Pats fans. And my grandfather was an offensive lineman for the Bears back in the day.”
“Football.” He grabs his water and takes a deep swig, as if he needs to rehydrate after that bombshell.
I smother a laugh. “I think it’s awesome that you’re so good at it, though. And congrats on the Frozen Four win.”
Logan stares at me. “You couldn’t have told me this before I asked you out? What are we even doing here, Grace? I can never marry you now—it would be blasphemous.”
His twitching lips make it clear that he’s joking, and the laughter I’ve been fighting spills over. “Hey, don’t go canceling the wedding just yet. The success rate for inter-sport marriages is a lot higher than you think. We could be a Pats-Bruins family.” I pause. “But no Celtics. I hate basketball.”
“Well, at least we have that in common.” He shuffles closer and presses a kiss to my cheek. “It’s all right. We’ll work through this, gorgeous. Might need couples counseling at some point, but once I teach you to love hockey, it’ll be smooth sailing for us.”
“You won’t succeed,” I warn him. “Ramona spent years trying to force me to like it. Didn’t work.”
“She gave up too easily then. I, on the other hand, never give up
Elle Kennedy (The Mistake (Off-Campus, #2))
As I went to stand up, I felt a tiny point of pressure on my back.
"Don't move," Kasey whispered.
I stayed bent over.
"Drop the knife," she said.
"Excuse me, I'm using it," I said.
She swallowed hard. "For what?"
"Mom and Dad. You."
The pressure on my back increased. "Drop it, Alexis."
Drop it? Like I was a bad dog running around with a sock in my mouth.
"How long will this take?" I asked, setting the knife on the floor. "I'm in the middle of something."
Get in the bathroom," she said.
The faster I indulged her, the faster it would be over with. So I walked into the bathroom. She followed, kicking the knife toward the end of the hallway and flipping on the bathroom light.
"What's this all about, Kasey?" I asked, turning around. At the sight of my face, she gasped, and the point of the fireplace poker she was holding wavered in her hands. I realized a second too late that I'd missed my chance to grab it and smash it into the side of her head.
"What's happening to you?" she whispered.
I glanced in the mirror. The darkness had begun to spread from my mouth and eyes. It leached out in inky puddles with thin tendrils of black snaking out in delicate feathery patterns.
What's happening to me? What was she talking about?
"So you have a pointy stick," I said. "Big deal. get out of my way."
"What are you going to do?" I sneered.
'I'll hit you, Lexi." Her face was stony. "As hard as I have to."
Whatever. I'm really not in the mood.
"Can we talk about this in the morning?" I asked. After I kill you?
"No," her eyes hardened. "Get your toothbrush."
"Pick up your toothbrush, and stick it down your throat."
"Do it," she said.
"Ugh, fine. You're sick, you know that?"
"Get in the tub."
I stuck the toothbrush into my throat. Instantly, I gagged and doubled over.
"Do it again," she said.
"God Kasey," I cried. Stabbing people was one thing. But making them barf- that was just disturbing.
Katie Alender (From Bad to Cursed (Bad Girls Don't Die, #2))
The month is dumb.
It is fraudulent.
It does not cleanse itself.
The hens lay blood-stained eggs.
Do not lend your bread to anyone
lest it nevermore rise.
Do not eat lentils or your hair will fall out.
Do not rely on February
except when your cat has kittens,
throbbing into the snow.
Do not use knives and forks
unless there is a thaw,
like the yawn of a baby.
The sun in this month
begets a headache
like an angel slapping you in the face.
Earthquakes mean March.
The dragon will move,
and the earth will open like a wound.
There will be great rain or snow
so save some coal for your uncle.
The sun of this month cures all.
Therefore, old women say:
Let the sun of March shine on my daughter,
but let the sun of February shine on my daughter-in-law.
However, if you go to a party
dressed as the anti-Christ
you will be frozen to death by morning.
During the rainstorms of April
the oyster rises from the sea
and opens its shell —
rain enters it —
when it sinks the raindrops
become the pearl.
So take a picnic,
open your body,
and give birth to pearls.
June and July?
These are the months
we call Boiling Water.
There is sweat on the cat but the grape
marries herself to the sun.
Hesitate in August.
Let your toes tremble in their sandals.
However, pick the grape
and eat with confidence.
The grape is the blood of God.
Watch out when holding a knife
or you will behead St. John the Baptist.
Touch the Cross in September,
knock on it three times
and say aloud the name of the Lord.
Put seven bowls of salt on the roof overnight and the next morning the damp one will foretell the month of rain.
Do not faint in September
or you will wake up in a dead city.
If someone dies in October
do not sweep the house for three days
or the rest of you will go.
Also do not step on a boy's head
for the devil will enter your ears
whether you have hair or not.
Hair is not good,
nothing is allowed to grow,
all is allowed to die.
Because nothing grows
you may be tempted to count the stars
in November counting the stars
gives you boils.
Beware of tall people,
they will go mad.
Don't harm the turtle dove
because he is a great shoe
that has swallowed Christ's blood.
On December fourth
water spurts out of the mouse.
Put herbs in its eyes and boil corn
and put the corn away for the night
so that the Lord may trample on it
and bring you luck.
For many days the Lord has been
shut up in the oven.
After that He is boiled,
but He never dies, never dies.
I miss you, my darling, as I always do, but today is especially hard because the ocean has been singing to me, and the song is that of our life together. I can almost feel you beside me as I write this letter, and I can smell the scent of wildflowers that always reminds me of you. But at this moment, these things give me no pleasure. Your visits have been coming less often, and I feel sometimes as if the greatest part of who I am is slowly slipping away.
I am trying, though. At night when I am alone, I call for you, and whenever my ache seems to be the greatest, you still seem to find a way to return to me. Last night, in my dreams, I saw you on the pier near Wrightsville Beach. The wind was blowing through your hair, and your eyes held the fading sunlight. I am struck as I see you leaning against the rail. You are beautiful, I think as I see you, a vision that I can never find in anyone else. I slowly begin to walk toward you, and when you finally turn to me, I notice that others have been watching you as well. “Do you know her?” they ask me in jealous whispers, and as you smile at me, I simply answer with the truth. “Better than my own heart.”
I stop when I reach you and take you in my arms. I long for this moment more than any other. It is what I live for, and when you return my embrace, I give myself over to this moment, at peace once again.
I raise my hand and gently touch your cheek and you tilt your head and close your eyes. My hands are hard and your skin is soft, and I wonder for a moment if you’ll pull back, but of course you don’t. You never have, and it is at times like this that I know what my purpose is in life.
I am here to love you, to hold you in my arms, to protect you. I am here to learn from you and to receive your love in return. I am here because there is no other place to be.
But then, as always, the mist starts to form as we stand close to one another. It is a distant fog that rises from the horizon, and I find that I grow fearful as it approaches. It slowly creeps in, enveloping the world around us, fencing us in as if to prevent escape. Like a rolling cloud, it blankets everything, closing, until there is nothing left but the two of us.
I feel my throat begin to close and my eyes well up with tears because I know it is time for you to go. The look you give me at that moment haunts me. I feel your sadness and my own loneliness, and the ache in my heart that had been silent for only a short time grows stronger as you release me. And then you spread your arms and step back into the fog because it is your place and not mine. I long to go with you, but your only response is to shake your head because we both know that is impossible.
And I watch with breaking heart as you slowly fade away. I find myself straining to remember everything about this moment, everything about you. But soon, always too soon, your image vanishes and the fog rolls back to its faraway place and I am alone on the pier and I do not care what others think as I bow my head and cry and cry and cry.
Nicholas Sparks (Message in a Bottle)
Next question.” He swipes the screen of his phone, but he’s not looking at it; he’s staring at me. Trying to intimidate me. Trying to see who’ll blink first. “Did you leave DC because (A) you couldn’t find any hotties to make out with? Or (B) your East Coast boyfriend is an ankle buster and you’d heard about legendary West Coast D, so you had to find out for yourself if the rumors were true?” he says with a smirk.
“Idiot,” Grace mumbles, shaking her head.
I may not understand some of his phrasing, but I get the gist. I feel myself blushing. But I manage to recover quickly and get a jab in. “Why are you so interested in my love life?”
“I’m not. Why are you evading the question? You do that a lot, by the way.”
“What business is that of yours?” I say, secretly irritated that he’s figured me out...
Porter scoffs. “Seeing how this is your first day on the job, and may very well be your last, considering the turnover rate for this position? And seeing how I have seniority over you? I’d say, yeah, it’s pretty much my business.”
“Are you threatening me?” I ask.
He clicks off his phone and raises a brow. “Huh?”
“That sounded like a threat,” I say.
“Whoa, you need to chill. That was not . . .” He can’t even say it. He’s flustered now, tucking his hair behind his ear. “Grace . . .”
Grace holds up a hand. “Leave me out of this mess. I have no idea what I’m even witnessing here. Both of you have lost the plot.
Jenn Bennett (Alex, Approximately)
I'll be right here. Good luck, or break a leg, or something.”
As Jay and Gregory turned and headed into the crowd, my traitorous eyes returned to the corner and found another pair or eyes staring darkly back.
I dropped my gaze for three full seconds, and then lifted my eyes again, hesitant. The drummer was still staring at me, oblivious to the three girls trying to win back his attention. He put up one finger at the girls and said something that looked like, “Excuse me.”
Oh, my goodness. Was he...? Oh, no. Yes, he was walking this way.
My nerves shot into high alert. I looked around, but nobody else was near. When I looked back up, there he was, standing right in front of me. Good gracious, he was sexy-a word that had not existed in my personal vocabulary until that moment. This guy was sexy like it was his job or something.
He looked straight into my eyes, which threw me off guard, because nobody ever looked me in the eye like that. Maybe Patti and Jay, but they didn't hold my stare like he was doing now. He didn't look away, and I found that I couldn't take my gaze off those blue eyes.
“Who are you?” he asked in a blunt, almost confrontational way.
I blinked. It was the strangest greeting I'd ever received.
“Right. Anna. How very nice.” I tried to focus on his words and not his luxuriously accented voice, which made everything sound lovely. He leaned in closer. “But who are you?”
What did that mean? Did I need to have some sort of title or social standing to enter his presence?
“I just came with my friend Jay?” Oh, I hated when I got nervous and started talking in questions. I pointed in the general direction of the guys, but he didn't take his eyes off me. I began rambling. “They just wrote some songs. Jay and Gregory. That they wanted you to hear. Your band, I mean. They're really...good?”
His eyes roamed all around my body, stopping to evaluate my sad, meager chest. I crossed my arms. When his gaze landed on that stupid freckle above my lip, I was hit by the scent of oranges and limes and something earthy, like the forest floor. It was pleasant in a masculine way.
“Uh-huh.” He was closer to my face now, growling in that deep voice, but looking into my eyes again. “Very cute. And where is your angel?”
My what? Was that some kind of British slang for boyfriend? I didn't know how to answer without continuing to sound pitiful. He lifted his dark eyebrows, waiting.
“If you mean Jay, he's over there talking to some man in a suit. But he's not my boyfriend or my angel or whatever.”
My face flushed with heat and I tightened my arms over my chest. I'd never met anyone with an accent like his, and I was ashamed of the effect it had on me. He was obviously rude, and yet I wanted him to keep talking to me. It didn't make any sense.
His stance softened and he took a step back, seeming confused, although I still couldn't read his emotions. Why didn't he show any colors? He didn't seem drunk or high. And that red thing...what was that? It was hard not to stare at it.
He finally looked over at Jay, who was deep in conversation with the manager-type man.
“Not your boyfriend, eh?” He was smirking at me now. I looked away, refusing to answer.
“Are you certain he doesn't fancy you?” Kaidan asked. I looked at him again. His smirk was now a naughty smile.
“Yes,” I assured him with confidence. “I am.”
“How do you know?”
I couldn't very well tell him that the only time Jay's color had shown mild attraction to me was when I accidentally flashed him one day as I was taking off my sweatshirt, and my undershirt got pulled up too high. And even then it lasted only a few seconds before our embarrassment set in.
Wendy Higgins (Sweet Evil (Sweet, #1))
Who is he?”
Eleanor lowered her voice, the name rolling off her tongue like a dark secret. “Dante Berlin.”
I laughed. “Dante? Like the Dante who wrote the Inferno? Did he pick that name just to cultivate his ‘dark and mysterious’ persona?”
Eleanor shook her head in disapproval. “Just wait till you see him. You won’t be laughing then.”
I rolled my eyes. “I bet his real name is something boring like Eugene or Dwayne.”
I expected Eleanor to laugh or say something in return, but instead she gave me a concerned look. I ignored it.
“He sounds like a snob to me. I bet he’s one of those guys who know they’re good-looking. He probably hasn’t even read the Inferno. It’s easy to pretend you’re smart when you don’t to anyone.”
Eleanor still didn’t respond. “Shh . . .” she muttered under her breath.
But before I could say “What?” I heard a cough behind me. Oh God, I thought to myself, and slowly turned around.
“Hi,” he said with a half grin that seemed to be mocking me.
And that’s how I met Dante Berlin.
So how do you describe someone who leaves you speechless?
He was beautiful. Not Monet beautiful or white sandy beach beautiful or even Grand Canyon beautiful. It was both more overwhelming and more delicate. Like gazing into the night sky and feeling incredibly small in comparison. Like holding a shell in your hand and wondering how nature was able to make something so complex yet to perfect: his eyes, dark and pensive; his messy brown hair tucked behind one ear; his arms, strong and lean beneath the cuffs of his collared shirt.
I wanted to say something witty or charming, but all I could muster up was a timid “Hi.”
He studied me with what looked like a mix of disgust and curiosity.
“You must be Eugene,” I said.
“I am.” He smiled, then leaned in and added, “I hope I can trust you to keep my true identity a secret. A name like Eugene could do real damage to my mysterious persona.”
I blushed at the sound of my words coming from his lips. He didn’t seem anything like the person Eleanor had described.
“And you are—”
“Renee,” I interjected.
“I was going to say, ‘in my seat,’ but Renee will do.”
My face went red. “Oh, right. Sorry.”
“Renee like the philosopher Rene Descartes? How esoteric of you. No wonder you think you know everything. You probably picked that name just to cultivate your overly analytical persona.”
I glared at him. I knew he was just dishing back my own insults, but it still stung. “Well, it was nice meeting you,” I said curtly, and pushed past him before he could respond, waving a quick good-bye to Eleanor, who looked too stunned to move.
I turned and walked to the last row, using all of my self-control to resist looking back.
Yvonne Woon (Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1))
He looks up.
Our eyes lock,and he breaks into a slow smile. My heart beats faster and faster. Almost there.He sets down his book and stands.And then this-the moment he calls my name-is the real moment everything changes.
He is no longer St. Clair, everyone's pal, everyone's friend.
He is Etienne. Etienne,like the night we met. He is Etienne,he is my friend.
He is so much more.
Etienne.My feet trip in three syllables. E-ti-enne. E-ti-enne, E-ti-enne. His name coats my tongue like melting chocolate. He is so beautiful, so perfect.
My throat catches as he opens his arms and wraps me in a hug.My heart pounds furiously,and I'm embarrassed,because I know he feels it. We break apart, and I stagger backward. He catches me before I fall down the stairs.
"Whoa," he says. But I don't think he means me falling.
I blush and blame it on clumsiness. "Yeesh,that could've been bad."
Phew.A steady voice.
He looks dazed. "Are you all right?"
I realize his hands are still on my shoulders,and my entire body stiffens underneath his touch. "Yeah.Great. Super!"
"Hey,Anna. How was your break?"
John.I forget he was here.Etienne lets go of me carefully as I acknowledge Josh,but the whole time we're chatting, I wish he'd return to drawing and leave us alone. After a minute, he glances behind me-to where Etienne is standing-and gets a funny expression on hs face. His speech trails off,and he buries his nose in his sketchbook. I look back, but Etienne's own face has been wiped blank.
We sit on the steps together. I haven't been this nervous around him since the first week of school. My mind is tangled, my tongue tied,my stomach in knots. "Well," he says, after an excruciating minute. "Did we use up all our conversation over the holiday?"
The pressure inside me eases enough to speak. "Guess I'll go back to the dorm." I pretend to stand, and he laughs.
"I have something for you." He pulls me back down by my sleeve. "A late Christmas present."
"For me? But I didn't get you anything!"
He reaches into a coat pocket and brings out his hand in a fist, closed around something very small. "It's not much,so don't get excited."
"Ooo,what is it?"
"I saw it when I was out with Mum, and it made me think of you-"
"Etienne! Come on!"
He blinks at hearing his first name. My face turns red, and I'm filled with the overwhelming sensation that he knows exactly what I'm thinking. His expression turns to amazement as he says, "Close your eyes and hold out your hand."
Still blushing,I hold one out. His fingers brush against my palm, and my hand jerks back as if he were electrified. Something goes flying and lands with a faith dink behind us. I open my eyes. He's staring at me, equally stunned.
"Whoops," I say.
He tilts his head at me.
"I think...I think it landed back here." I scramble to my feet, but I don't even know what I'm looking for. I never felt what he placed in my hands. I only felt him. "I don't see anything! Just pebbles and pigeon droppings," I add,trying to act normal.
Where is it? What is it?
"Here." He plucks something tiny and yellow from the steps above him. I fumble back and hold out my hand again, bracing myself for the contact. Etienne pauses and then drops it from a few inches above my hand.As if he's avoiding me,too.
It's a glass bead.A banana.
He clears his throat. "I know you said Bridgette was the only one who could call you "Banana," but Mum was feeling better last weekend,so I took her to her favorite bead shop. I saw that and thought of you.I hope you don't mind someone else adding to your collection. Especially since you and Bridgette...you know..."
I close my hand around the bead. "Thank you."
"Mum wondered why I wanted it."
"What did you tell her?"
"That it was for you,of course." He says this like, duh.
I beam.The bead is so lightweight I hardly feel it, except for the teeny cold patch it leaves in my palm.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
Was this how you were going to awaken the creatures?"
Machiavelli,clutching the bars of his cell,smiled but said nothing.
Virginia stood in front of Dee and stared into his eyes,using herwill to calm him down. "So you tried to use the pages to awaken the cratures.Tell me what happened."
Dee jabbed a finger into the nearest cell. It was empty. Virginia stepped closer and discovered the pile of white dust in the corner.
"I don't even know what was in the cell-some winged monstrosity.Giant vampire bat,I think.I said the words,and the creature opened its eyes and immediately crumbled to dust."
"Maybe you said a word wrong?" Virginia suggested. She plucked a scrap of paper from Josh's hands. "I mean,it looks difficult."
"I am fluent," Dee snapped.
"He is," Machiavelli said, "I will give him that.And his accent is very good too, though not quite as good as mine."
Dee spun back to the cell holding Machiavelli. "Tell me what went wrong."
Machiavelli seemed to be considering it; then he shook his head. "I don't think so."
Dee jerked his thumb at the sphinx. "Right now she's absorbing your aura,ensuring that you cannot use any spells against me. But she'll be just as happy eating your flesh.Isn't that true?"he said, looking up into the crature's female face.
"Oh,I love Italian," she rumbled. She stepped away from Dee and dipped her head to look into the opposite cell. "Give me this one," she said,nodding at Billy the Kid. "He'll make a tasty snack." Her long black forked tongue flickered in the air before the outlaw, who immediately grabbed it,jerked it forward and allowed it to snap back like an elastic band. She screamed,coughed, and squawked all at the same time.
Billy grinned."I'll make sure I'll choke you on the way down."
"It might be difficult to do that if you have no arms," the sphinx said thickly,working her tongue back and forth.
"I'll still give you indigestion."
Dee looked at Machiavelli. "Tell me," he said again, "or I will feed your young American friend to the beast."
"Tell him nothing," Billy yelled.
"This is one of those occasions when I am in agreement with Billy.I am going to tell you nothing."
The Magician looked from one side of the cell to the other. Then he looked at Machiavelli."What happened to you? You were one of the Dark Elders' finest agents in this Shadowrealm. There were times you even made me look like an amateur."
"John,you were always an amateur." Machiavelli smiled."Why, look at the mess you're in now.
Michael Scott (The Warlock (The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, #5))
They say that February is the shortest month, but you know they could be wrong.
Compared, calendar page against calendar page, it looks to be the shortest, all right. Spread between January and March like lard on bread, it fails to reach the crust on either slice. In its galoshes it's a full head shorter than December, although in leap years, when it has growth spurts, it comes up to April's nose.
However more abbreviated than it's cousins it may look, February feels longer than any of them. It is the meanest moon of winter, all the more cruel because it will masquerade as spring, occasionally for hours at a time, only to rip off its mask with a sadistic laugh and spit icicles into every gullible face, behavior that grows quickly old.
February is pitiless, and it's boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine's Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine's day on February's shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed.
Except to the extent that it "tints the buds and swells the leaves within" February is as useless as the extra r in its name. It behaves like an obstacle, a wedge of slush and mud and ennui holding both progress and contentment at bay.
If February is the color of lard on rye, its aroma is that of wet wool trousers. As for sound, it is an abstract melody played on a squeaky violin, the petty whine of a shrew with cabin fever. O February, you may be little but you're small! Where you twice your tiresome length, few of us would survive to greet the merry month of May.
The Peacemaker Colt has now been in production, without change in design, for a century. Buy one to-day and it would be indistinguishable from the one Wyatt Earp wore when he was the Marshal of Dodge City. It is the oldest hand-gun in the world, without question the most famous and, if efficiency in its designated task of maiming and killing be taken as criterion of its worth, then it is also probably the best hand-gun ever made. It is no light thing, it is true, to be wounded by some of the Peacemaker’s more highly esteemed competitors, such as the Luger or Mauser: but the high-velocity, narrow-calibre, steel-cased shell from either of those just goes straight through you, leaving a small neat hole in its wake and spending the bulk of its energy on the distant landscape whereas the large and unjacketed soft-nosed lead bullet from the Colt mushrooms on impact, tearing and smashing bone and muscle and tissue as it goes and expending all its energy on you.
In short when a Peacemaker’s bullet hits you in, say, the leg, you don’t curse, step into shelter, roll and light a cigarette one-handed then smartly shoot your assailant between the eyes. When a Peacemaker bullet hits your leg you fall to the ground unconscious, and if it hits the thigh-bone and you are lucky enough to survive the torn arteries and shock, then you will never walk again without crutches because a totally disintegrated femur leaves the surgeon with no option but to cut your leg off. And so I stood absolutely motionless, not breathing, for the Peacemaker Colt that had prompted this unpleasant train of thought was pointed directly at my right thigh.
Another thing about the Peacemaker: because of the very heavy and varying trigger pressure required to operate the semi-automatic mechanism, it can be wildly inaccurate unless held in a strong and steady hand. There was no such hope here. The hand that held the Colt, the hand that lay so lightly yet purposefully on the radio-operator’s table, was the steadiest hand I’ve ever seen. It was literally motionless. I could see the hand very clearly. The light in the radio cabin was very dim, the rheostat of the angled table lamp had been turned down until only a faint pool of yellow fell on the scratched metal of the table, cutting the arm off at the cuff, but the hand was very clear. Rock-steady, the gun could have lain no quieter in the marbled hand of a statue. Beyond the pool of light I could half sense, half see the dark outline of a figure leaning back against the bulkhead, head slightly tilted to one side, the white gleam of unwinking eyes under the peak of a hat. My eyes went back to the hand. The angle of the Colt hadn’t varied by a fraction of a degree. Unconsciously, almost, I braced my right leg to meet the impending shock. Defensively, this was a very good move, about as useful as holding up a sheet of newspaper in front of me. I wished to God that Colonel Sam Colt had gone in for inventing something else, something useful, like safety-pins.
Alistair MacLean (When Eight Bells Toll)
The back of my neck breaks out in a sweat, and I’m getting nervous. Why is he just standing there, staring at me? “What do you want?” I press, my tone curt.
He opens his mouth but then closes it swallowing.
“The day you left,” he blurts out, and I stop.
I wait, listening as a look of fear crosses his eyes.
“The house was so empty,” he continues. “Like a quiet that was never there before. I couldn’t hear your footsteps upstairs or your hairdryer or anticipate you walking into a room. You were gone. Everything was…” he drops his eyes, “gone.”
A ball lodges in my throat, and I feel tears threaten, but I tense my jaw, refusing to let it out.
“But I could still feel you,” he whispers. “You were still everywhere. The container of cookies in the fridge, the backsplash you picked out, the way you put all my pictures back in the wrong spot after you dusted my bookshelves.” He smiles to himself. “But I couldn’t rearrange them, because you were the last to touch them, and I wanted everything the way you had it.”
My chin trembles, and I fold my arms over my chest, hiding my balled fists under my arms.
He pauses and then goes on. “Nothing would ever go back to the way it was before you came into my house. I didn’t want it to.” He shakes his head. “I went to work, and I came home, and I stayed there every night and all weekend, every weekend, because that’s where we were together. That’s where I could still feel you.” He steps closer, dropping his voice. “That’s where I could wrap myself up in you and hang on to every last thread in that house that proved you were mine for just a little while.”
His tone grows thick, and I see his eyes water.
“I really thought I was doing what was best,” he says, knitting his brow. “I thought I was taking advantage of you, because you’re young and beautiful and so happy and hopeful despite everything you’d been through. You made me feel like the world was a big place again.”
My breathing shakes, and I don’t know what to do. I hate that he’s here. I hate that I love that he’s here. I hate him.
“I couldn’t steal your life from you and keep you to myself, you know?” he explains. “But then I realized that you’re not happy or hopeful or making me feel good because you’re young. You are those things and you’re capable of those things, because you’re a good person. It’s who you are.”
A tear spills over, gliding down my cheek.
“Baby,” he whispers, his hands shaking. “I hope you love me, because I love you like crazy, and I’m going to want you the rest of my life. I tried to stay away, because I thought it was the right thing, but I fucking can’t. I need you, and I love you. This doesn’t happen twice, and I’m not going to be stupid again. I promise.”
My chin trembles, and something lodges in my throat, and I try to hold it in, but I can’t. My face cracks, and I break down, turning away from him. The tears come like a goddamn waterfall, and I hate him. I fucking hate him.
His arms are around me in a second, and he hugs me from behind, burying his face in my neck.
“I’m sorry I took so long,” he whispers in my ear.
Penelope Douglas (Birthday Girl)
The end of this short story could be a rather disturbing thing, if it came true. I hope you like it, and if you do, be sure to COMMENT and SHARE.
Paradoxes of Destiny?
Dani! My boy! Are you all right? Where are you? Have you hurt yourself? Are you all right? Daniiii! Why won’t you answer? It’s so cold and dark here. I can’t see a thing… It’s so silent. Dani? Can you hear me? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving… I shouldn’t have done it! I'm so stupid sometimes! Son, are you all right?... We really wrecked the car when we rolled it! I can’t see or hear a thing… Am I in hospital? Am I dead…? Dani? Your silence is killing me… Are you all right?! I can see a glimmer of light. I feel trapped. Dani, are you there? I can’t move. It’s like I’m wrapped in this mossy green translucent plastic. I have to get out of here. The light is getting more and more intense. I think I can tear the wrapping that’s holding me in. I'm almost out. The light is blinding me. What a strange place. I've never seen anything like it. It doesn’t look like Earth. Am I dead? On another planet? Oh God, look at those hideous monsters! They’re so creepy and disgusting! They look like extraterrestrials. They’re aliens! I'm on another planet! I can’t believe it. I need to get the hell out here. Those monsters are going to devour me. I have to get away. I’m so scared. Am I floating? Am I flying? I’m going to go higher to try to escape. I can’t see the aliens anymore and the landscape looks less terrifying. I think I've made it. It’s very windy. Is that a highway? I think I can see some vehicles down there. Could they be the extraterrestrials’ transport? I’m going to go down a bit. I see people! Am I on Earth? Could this be a parallel universe? Where could Dani be? I shouldn’t have looked at that text message while I was driving. I shouldn’t…
That tower down there looks a lot like the water tank in my town… It’s identical. But the water tank in my town doesn’t have that huge tower block next to it. It all looks very similar to my neighborhood, but it isn’t exactly the same: there are a lot of tower blocks here. There’s the river… and the factory. It’s definitely my neighborhood, but it looks kind of different. I must be in a parallel universe…
It’s amazing that I can float. People don’t seem to notice my presence. Am I a ghost?
I have to get back home and see if Dani’s there. God, I hope he’s safe and sound. Gabriela must be out of her mind with the crash.
There’s my house! Home sweet home. And whose are those cars? The front of the house has been painted a different color… This is all so strange! There’s someone in the garden… Those trees I planted in the spring have really grown.
Is… is that… Dani? Yes, yes! It’s Dani. But he looks so different… He looks older, he looks… like a big boy! What’s important is that he’s OK. I need to hug him tight and tell him how much I love him. Can he see me if I’m a ghost? I'll go up to him slowly so I don’t scare him. I need to hold him tight.
He can’t see me, I won’t get any closer. He moved his head, I think he’s started to realize I’m here…
Wow I’m so hungry all of a sudden! I can’t stop! How are you doing, son?! It’s me! Your dad! My dear boy? I can’t stop! I'm too hungry! Ahhhh, so delicious! What a pleasure! Nooo Daniii! Nooooo!.... I’m your daaaad!...
“Mum, bring the insect repellent, the garden’s full of mosquitoes,” grunted Daniel as he wiped the blood from the palm of his hand on his trousers. Gabriela was just coming out. She did an about turn and went back into her house, and shouted “Darling, bring the insect repellent, it’s on the fireplace…”
Absolute cold and silence…
(1) This note is for those who have read EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY. This story is a spin-off of the novel EQUINOX—WHISPERS OF DESTINY and revolves around Letus’s curious theories about the possibility of animal reincarnation.
Gonzalo Guma (Equinoccio. Susurros del destino)
And so I make my way across the room steadily, carefully. Hands shaking, I pull the string, lifting my blinds. They rise slowly, drawing more moonlight into the room with every inch
And there he is, crouched low on the roof. Same leather jacket. The hair is his, the cheekbones, the perfect nose . . . the eyes: dark and mysterious . . . full of secrets. . . . My heart flutters, body light. I reach out to touch him, thinking he might disappear, my fingers disrupted by the windowpane.
On the other side, Parker lifts his hand and mouths:
I mouth “Hi” back.
He holds up a single finger, signalling me to hold on. He picks up a spiral-bound notebook and flips open the cover, turning the first page to me. I recognize his neat, block print instantly: bold, black Sharpie. I know this is unexpected . . . , I read. He flips the page.
. . . and strange . . .
I lift an eyebrow.
. . . but please hear read me out.
He flips to the next page.
I know I told you I never lied . . .
. . . but that was (obviously) the biggest lie of all. The truth is: I’m a liar.
I lied to myself . . .
. . . and to you.
Parker watches as I read. Our eyes meet, and he flips the page.
But only because I had to.
I wasn’t supposed to fall in love with you, Jaden . . .
. . . but it happened anyway.
I clear my throat, and swallow hard, but it’s squeezed shut again, tight.
And it gets worse.
Not only am I a liar . . .
Selfish enough to want it all.
And I know if I don’t have you . . .
I hold my breath, waiting.
. . . I don’t have anything.
He turns another page, and I read:
I’m not Parker . . .
. . . and I’m not going to give up . . .
. . . until I can prove to you . . .
. . . that you are the only thing that matters. He flips to the next page.
So keep sending me away . . .
. . . but I’ll just keep coming back to you. Again . . .
He flips to the next page.
. . . and again . . .
And the next:
. . . and again.
Goose bumps rise to the surface of my skin. I shiver, hugging myself tightly.
And if you can ever find it in your (heart) to forgive me . . .
There’s a big, black “heart” symbol where the word should be.
I will do everything it takes to make it up to you. He closes the notebook and tosses it beside him. It lands on the roof with a dull thwack. Then, lifting his index finger, he draws an X across his chest. Cross my heart.
I stifle the happy laugh welling inside, hiding the smile as I reach for the metal latch to unlock my window. I slowly, carefully, raise the sash. A burst of fresh honeysuckles saturates the balmy, midnight air, sickeningly sweet, filling the room. I close my eyes, breathing it in, as a thousand sleepless nights melt, slipping away. I gather the lavender satin of my dress in my hand, climb through the open window, and stand tall on the roof, feeling the height, the warmth of the shingles beneath my bare feet, facing Parker. He touches the length of the scar on my forehead with his cool finger, tucks my hair behind my ear, traces the edge of my face with the back of his hand. My eyes close.
“You know you’re beautiful? Even when you cry?”
He smiles, holding my face in his hands, smearing the tears away with his thumbs.
I breathe in, lungs shuddering.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, black eyes sincere. I swallow. “I know why you had to.”
“Doesn’t make it right.”
“Doesn’t matter anymore,” I say, shaking my head. The moon hangs suspended in the sky, stars twinkling overhead, as he leans down and kisses me softly, lips meeting mine, familiar—lips I imagined, dreamed about, memorized a mil ion hours ago. Then he wraps his arms around me, pulling me into him, quelling every doubt and fear and uncertainty in this one, perfect moment.
Katie Klein (Cross My Heart (Cross My Heart, #1))
Evie stayed, however, the silence spinning out until it seemed that the pounding of his heart must be audible. “Do you want to know what I think, Sebastian?” she finally asked.
It took every particle of his will to keep his voice controlled. “Not particularly.”
“I think that if I leave this room, you’re going to ring that bell again. But no matter how many times you ring, or how often I come running, you’ll never bring yourself to tell me what you really want.”
Sebastian slitted his eyes open…a mistake. Her face was very close, her soft mouth only inches from his. “At the moment, all I want is some peace,” he grumbled. “So if you don’t mind—”
Her lips touched his, warm silk and sweetness, and he felt the dizzying brush of her tongue. A floodgate of desire opened, and he was drowning in undiluted pleasure, more powerful than anything he had known before. He lifted his hands as if to push her head away, but instead his trembling fingers curved around her skull, holding her to him. The fiery curls of her hair were compressed beneath his palms as he kissed her with ravenous urgency, his tongue searching the winsome delight of her mouth.
Sebastian was mortified to discover that he was gasping like an untried boy when Evie ended the kiss. Her lips were rosy and damp, her freckles gleaming like gold dust against the deep pink of her cheeks. “I also think,” she said unevenly, “that you’re going to lose our bet.”
Recalled to sanity by a flash of indignation, Sebastian scowled. “Do you think I’m in any condition to pursue other women? Unless you intend to bring someone to my bed, I’m hardly going to—”
“You’re not going to lose the bet by sleeping with another woman,” Evie said. There was a glitter of deviltry in her eyes as she reached up to the neckline of her gown and deliberately began to unfasten the row of buttons. Her hands trembled just a little. “You’re going to lose it with me.”
Sebastian watched incredulously as she stood and shed the dressing gown. She was naked, the tips of her breasts pointed and rosy in the cool air. She had lost weight, but her breasts were still round and lovely, and her hips still flared generously from the neat inward curves of her waist. As his gaze swept to the triangle of red hair between her thighs, a swell of acute lust rolled through him.
He sounded shaken, even to his own ears. “You can’t make me lose the bet. That’s cheating.”
“I never promised not to cheat,” Evie said cheerfully, shivering as she slipped beneath the covers with him.
“Damn it, I’m not going to cooperate. I—” His breath hissed between his teeth as he felt the tender length of her body press against his side, the springy brush of her private curls on his hip as she slid one of her legs between his. He jerked his head away as she tried to kiss him. “I can’t…Evie…” His mind searched cagily for a way to dissuade her. “I’m too weak.”
Ardent and determined, Evie grasped his head and turned his face to hers. “Poor darling,” she murmured, smiling. “Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle with you.”
“Evie,” he said hoarsely, aroused and infuriated and pleading, “I have to prove that I can last three months without—no, don’t do that. Damn you, Evie—
Lisa Kleypas (Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3))
When I close my eyes to see, to hear, to smell, to touch a country I have known, I feel my body shake and fill with joy as if a beloved person had come near me.
A rabbi was once asked the following question: ‘When you say that the Jews should return to Palestine, you mean, surely, the heavenly, the immaterial, the spiritual Palestine, our true homeland?’ The rabbi jabbed his staff into the ground in wrath and shouted, ‘No! I want the Palestine down here, the one you can touch with your hands, with its stones, its thorns and its mud!’
Neither am I nourished by fleshless, abstract memories. If I expected my mind to distill from a turbid host of bodily joys and bitternesses an immaterial, crystal-clear thought, I would die of hunger. When I close my eyes in order to enjoy a country again, my five senses, the five mouth-filled tentacles of my body, pounce upon it and bring it to me. Colors, fruits, women. The smells of orchards, of filthy narrow alleys, of armpits. Endless snows with blue, glittering reflections. Scorching, wavy deserts of sand shimmering under the hot sun. Tears, cries, songs, distant bells of mules, camels or troikas. The acrid, nauseating stench of some Mongolian cities will never leave my nostrils. And I will eternally hold in my hands – eternally, that is, until my hands rot – the melons of Bukhara, the watermelons of the Volga, the cool, dainty hand of a Japanese girl…
For a time, in my early youth, I struggled to nourish my famished soul by feeding it with abstract concepts. I said that my body was a slave and that its duty was to gather raw material and bring it to the orchard of the mind to flower and bear fruit and become ideas. The more fleshless, odorless, soundless the world was that filtered into me, the more I felt I was ascending the highest peak of human endeavor. And I rejoiced. And Buddha came to be my greatest god, whom I loved and revered as an example. Deny your five senses. Empty your guts. Love nothing, hate nothing, desire nothing, hope for nothing. Breathe out and the world will be extinguished.
But one night I had a dream. A hunger, a thirst, the influence of a barbarous race that had not yet become tired of the world had been secretly working within me. My mind pretended to be tired. You felt it had known everything, had become satiated, and was now smiling ironically at the cries of my peasant heart. But my guts – praised be God! – were full of blood and mud and craving. And one night I had a dream. I saw two lips without a face – large, scimitar-shaped woman’s lips. They moved. I heard a voice ask, ‘Who if your God?’ Unhesitatingly I answered, ‘Buddha!’ But the lips moved again and said: ‘No, Epaphus.’
I sprang up out of my sleep. Suddenly a great sense of joy and certainty flooded my heart. What I had been unable to find in the noisy, temptation-filled, confused world of wakefulness I had found now in the primeval, motherly embrace of the night. Since that night I have not strayed. I follow my own path and try to make up for the years of my youth that were lost in the worship of fleshless gods, alien to me and my race. Now I transubstantiate the abstract concepts into flesh and am nourished. I have learned that Epaphus, the god of touch, is my god.
All the countries I have known since then I have known with my sense of touch. I feel my memories tingling, not in my head but in my fingertips and my whole skin. And as I bring back Japan to my mind, my hands tremble as if they were touching the breast of a beloved woman.
Nikos Kazantzakis (Travels in China & Japan)
I felt a warm hand touch mine.
“Are you okay?”
“If you mean am I injured, then the answer is no. If you mean am I ‘okay’ as in am-I-confident-I’m-still-sane, the answer is still no.”
Ren frowned. “We have to find a way to get across the chasm.”
“You’re certainly welcome to give it a try.” I waved him off and went back to drinking my water.
He moved to the edge and peered across, looking speculatively at the distance. Changing back to a tiger, he trotted a few paces back in the direction we had come from, turned, and ran at full speed toward the hole.
“Ren, no!” I screamed.
He leapt, clearing the hole easily, and landed lightly on his front paws. Then he trotted a short distance away and did the same thing to come back. He landed at my feet and changed back to human form.
“Kells, I have an idea.”
“Oh, this I’ve got to hear. I just hope you don’t plan on including me in this scheme of yours. Ah. Let me guess. I know. You want to tie a rope to your tail, leap across, tie it off, and then have me pull my body across the rope, right?”
He cocked his head as if considering it, and then shook his head. “No, you don’t have the strength to do something like that. Plus, we have no rope and nothing to tie a rope to.”
“Right. So what’s the plan?”
He held my hands and explained. “What I’m proposing will be much easier. Do you trust me?”
I was going to be sick. “I trust you. It’s just-“ I looked into his concerned blue eyes and sighed. “Okay, what do I have to do?”
“You saw that I was able to clear the gap pretty well as a tiger, right? So what I need you to do is to stand right at the edge and wait for me. I’ll run to the end of the tunnel, build up speed, and leap as a tiger. At the same time, I want you to jump up and grab me around my neck. I’ll change to a man in midair so that I can hold onto you, and we’ll fall together to the other side.”
I snorted noisily and laughed. “You’re kidding, right?”
He ignored my skepticism. “We’ll have to time it precisely, and you’ll have to jump too, in the same direction, because if you don’t, I’ll just hit you full power and drive us both over the edge.”
“You’re serious? You seriously want me to do this?”
“Yes, I’m serious. Now stand here while I make a few practice runs.”
“Can’t we just find another corridor or something?”
“There aren’t any. This is the right way.”
Reluctantly, I stood near the edge and watched him leap back and forth a few times. Observing the rhythm of his running and jumping, I began to grasp the idea of what he wanted me to do. All too quickly Ren was back in front of me again.
“I can’t believe you’ve talked me into doing this. Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes, I’m sure. Are you ready?”
“No! Give me a minute to mentally write a last will and testament.”
“Kells, it’ll be fine.”
“Sure it will. Alright, let me take in my surroundings. I want to make sure I can record every minute of this experience in my journal. Of course, that’s probably a moot point because I’m assuming that I’m going to die in the jump anyway.”
Ren put his hand on my cheek, looked in my eyes, and said fiercely, “Kelsey, trust me. I will not let you fall.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
Bill.' If you don't, I'll do this," and with that he gave me a twitch that I thought would have made me faint. Between this and that, I was so utterly terrified of the blind beggar that I forgot my terror of the captain, and as I opened the parlour door, cried out the words he had ordered in a trembling voice. The poor captain raised his eyes, and at one look the rum went out of him and left him staring sober. The expression of his face was not so much of terror as of mortal sickness. He made a movement to rise, but I do not believe he had enough force left in his body. "Now, Bill, sit where you are," said the beggar. "If I can't see, I can hear a finger stirring. Business is business. Hold out your left hand. Boy, take his left hand by the wrist and bring it near to my right." We both obeyed him to the letter, and I saw him pass something from the hollow of the hand that held his stick into the palm of the captain's, which closed upon it instantly. "And now that's done," said the blind man; and at the words he suddenly left hold of me, and with incredible accuracy and nimbleness, skipped out of the parlour and into the road, where, as I still stood motionless, I could hear his stick go tap-tap-tapping into the distance. It was some time before either I or the captain seemed to gather our senses, but at length, and about at the same moment, I released his wrist, which I was still holding, and he drew in his hand and looked sharply into the palm. "Ten o'clock!" he cried. "Six hours. We'll do them yet," and he sprang to his feet. Even as he did so, he reeled, put his hand to his throat, stood swaying for a moment, and then, with a peculiar sound, fell from his whole height face foremost to the floor. I ran to him at once, calling to my mother. But haste was all in vain. The captain had been struck dead by thundering apoplexy. It is a curious thing to understand, for I had certainly never liked the man, though of late I had begun to pity him, but as soon as I saw that he was dead, I burst into a flood of tears. It was the second death I had known, and the sorrow of the first was still fresh in my heart. 4 The Sea-chest I LOST no time, of course, in telling my mother all that I knew, and perhaps should have told her long before, and we saw ourselves at once in a difficult and dangerous position. Some of the man's money—if he had any—was certainly due to us, but it was not likely that our captain's shipmates, above all the two specimens seen by me, Black Dog and the blind beggar, would be inclined to give up their booty in payment of the dead man's debts. The captain's order to mount at once and ride for Doctor Livesey would have left my mother alone and unprotected, which was not to be thought of. Indeed, it seemed impossible for either of us to remain much longer in the house; the fall of coals in the kitchen grate, the very ticking of the clock, filled us with alarms. The neighbourhood, to our ears, seemed haunted by approaching footsteps; and what between the dead body of the captain on the parlour floor and the thought of that detestable blind beggar hovering near at hand and ready to return, there were moments when, as the saying goes, I jumped in my skin for terror. Something must speedily be resolved upon, and it occurred to us at last to go forth together and seek help in the neighbouring hamlet. No sooner said than done. Bare-headed as we were, we ran out at once in the gathering evening and the frosty fog. The hamlet lay not many hundred yards away, though out of view, on the other side of the next cove; and what greatly encouraged me, it was in an opposite direction from that whence the blind man had made his appearance and whither he had presumably returned. We were not many minutes on the road, though we sometimes stopped to lay hold of each other and hearken. But there was no unusual sound—nothing but the low wash of the ripple and the croaking of the inmates of the wood.
Robert Louis Stevenson (Treasure Island)
The heartwood," Rob murmured, looking at me. "You wanted to marry me in the heart of Major Oak." I beamed at him grateful that he understood. "And Scar," he whispered. I leaned in close. "Are you wearing knives to our wedding?" Nodding, I laughed, telling him, "I was going to get you here one way or another, Hood."
He laughed, a bright, merry sound. Standing in the heart of the tree, he reached again for my hand, fingers sliding over mine. Touching his hand, a rope of lightening lashed round my fingers, like it seared us together. Now, and for always. His fingers moved on mine, rubbing over my hand before capturing it tight and turning me to the priest.
The priest looked over his shoulder, watching as the sun began to dip. He led us in prayer, he asked me to speak the same words I'd spoken not long past to Gisbourne, but that whole thing felt like a bad dream, like I were waking and it were fading and gone for good. "Lady Scarlet." he asked me with a smile, "known to some as Lady Marian of Huntingdon, will thou have this lord to thy wedded husband, will thou love him and honour him, keep him and obey him, in health and in sickness, as a wife should a husband, forsaking all others on account of him, so long as ye both shall live?"
I looked at Robin, tears burning in my eyes. "I will," I promised. "I will, always."
Rob's face were beaming back at me, his ocean eyes shimmering bright. The priest smiled.
"Robin of Locksley, will thou have this lady to thy wedded wife, will thou love her and honor her, keep her and guard her, in health and in sickness, as a husband should a wife, forsaking all others on account of her, so long as ye both shall live?" the priest asked.
"Yes," Rob said. "I will."
"You have the rings?" the priest asked Rob.
"I do," I told the priest, taking two rings from where Bess had tied them to my dress. I'd sent Godfrey out to buy them at market without Rob knowing. "I knew you weren't planning on this," I told him.
Rob just grinned like a fool at me, taking the ring I handed him to put on my finger. Laughs bubbled up inside of me, and I felt like I were smiling so wide something were stuck in my cheeks and holding me open. More shy and proud than I thought I'd be, I said. "I take you as me wedded husband, Robin. And thereto I plight my troth." I pushed the ring onto his finger.
He took my half hand in one of his, but the other- holding the ring- went into his pocket. "I may not have known I would marry you today Scar," he said. "But I did know I would marry you." He showed me a ring, a large ruby set in delicate gold. "This," he said to me, "was my mother's. It's the last thing I have of hers, and when I met you and loved you and realized your name was the exact colour of the stone- " He swallowed, and cleared his throat, looking at me with the blue eyes that shot right through me. "This was meant to be Scarlet. I was always meant to love you. To marry you."
The priest coughed. "Say the words, my son, and you will marry her."
Rob grinned and I laughed, and Rob stepped closer, cradling my hand. "I take you as my wedded wife, Scarlet. And thereto I plight my troth." He slipped the ring on my finger and it fit. "Receive the Holy Spirit," the priest said, and kissed Robin on the cheek. Rob's happy grin turned a touch wolflike as he turned back to me, hauling me against him and angling his mouth over mine. I wrapped my arms around him and my head spun- I couldn't tell if we were spinning, if I were dizzy, if my feet were on the ground anymore at all, but all I knew, all I cared for, were him, his mouth against mine, and letting the moment we became man and wife spin into eternity.
A.C. Gaughen (Lion Heart (Scarlet, #3))
She needs to think you're still a couple. And you'll need to be convincing about it, too. Lots of kissing and stuff in case your mother tries to spy on you."
Emma stops chewing. Galen drops his fork.
"Uh, I don't think we need to take it that far-" Emma starts.
"Oh, no? Teenagers don't kiss their sweethearts anymore?" Rachel crosses her arms, wagging the spatula to the beat of her tapping foot.
"They do, but-"
"No buts. Come on, sweetie. You think your mom's going to believe you keep your hands off Galen?"
"Probably not, but-"
"I said no buts. Look at you two. You're not even sitting next to each other! You need some practice, I'd say. Galen, go sit beside her. Hold her hand."
"Rachel," he says, shaking his head, "this can wait-"
"Fine," Emma grinds out. They both turn to her. Still frowning, she nods. "We'll make it a point to kiss and hold hands when she's around."
Galen almost drops his fork again. No way. Kissing Emma is the last thing I need to do. Especially when her lips turn that red. "Emma, we don't have to kiss. She already knows I want to sleep with you." He cringes as soon as he says it. He doesn't have to look up to know the sizzling sound in the kitchen is from Rachel spitting her pineapple juice into the hot skillet. "What I mean is, I already told her I want to sleep with you. I mean, I told her I wanted to sleep with you because she already thinks I do. Want to, I mean-" If a Syrena could drown, this is what it would feel like.
Emma holds up her hand. "I get it, Galen. It's fine. I told her the same thing."
Rachel plops down beside Emma, wiping the juice spittle from her face with a napkin. "So you're telling me your mom thinks you two want to sleep with each other, but you don't think she'll be expecting you to kiss."
Emma shakes her head and shovels a forkful of omelet into her mouth, then chases it with some juice. She says, "You're right, Rachel. We'll let her catch us making out or something."
Rachel nods. "That should work."
"What does that mean? Making out?" Galen says between bites.
Emma puts her fork down. "It means, Galen, that you'll need to force yourself to kiss me. Like you mean it. For a long time. Think you can do that? Do Syrena kiss?"
He tries to swallow the bite he forgot to chew. Force myself? I'll be lucky if I can stop myself. It had never occurred to him to kiss anyone-before he met Emma. These days, it's all he can think about, her lips on his. He decides it was better for both of them when Emma kept rejecting him. Now she's ordering him to kiss her-for a long time. Great. "Yes, they kiss. I mean, we kiss. I mean, I can force myself, if I have to." He doesn't meet Rachel's eyes as she plunks more fish onto his plate, but he can almost feel her smirking down at him.
"We'll just have to plan it, that's all. Give you time to prepare," Emma tells him.
"Prepare for what?" Rachel scoffs. "Kissing isn't supposed to be planned. That's why it's so fun."
"Yeah, but this isn't for fun, remember?" Emma says. "This is just for show."
"You don't think kissing Galen would be fun?"
Emma sighs, putting her hands on her cheeks. "You know, I appreciate that you're trying to help us, Rachel. But I can't talk about this anymore. Seriously, I'm going to break out into hives. We'll make it work when the time comes."
Rachel laughs and removes Emma's plate after she declines a second helping. "If you say so. But I still think you should practice.
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment.
Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units.
There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses.
Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention.
Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing.
The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure.
Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well.
If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship.
Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability.
Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship.
Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships.
The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance.
You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work.
Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus?
When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.
Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)
At first Alexander could not believe it was his Tania. He blinked and tried to refocus his eyes. She was walking around the table, gesturing, showing, leaning forward, bending over. At one point she straightened out and wiped her forehead. She was wearing a short-sleeved yellow peasant dress. She was barefoot, and her slender legs were exposed above her knee. Her bare arms were lightly tanned. Her blonde hair looked bleached by the sun and was parted into two shoulder-length braids tucked behind her ears. Even from a distance he could see the summer freckles on her nose. She was achingly beautiful. And alive. Alexander closed his eyes, then opened them again. She was still there, bending over the boy’s work. She said something, everyone laughed loudly, and Alexander watched as the boy’s arm touched Tatiana’s back. Tatiana smiled. Her white teeth sparkled like the rest of her. Alexander didn’t know what to do. She was alive, that was obvious. Then why hadn’t she written him? And where was Dasha? Alexander couldn’t very well continue to stand under a lilac tree. He went back out onto the main road, took a deep breath, stubbed out his cigarette, and walked toward the square, never taking his eyes off her braids. His heart was thundering in his chest, as if he were going into battle. Tatiana looked up, saw him, and covered her face with her hands. Alexander watched everyone get up and rush to her, the old ladies showing unexpected agility and speed. She pushed them all away, pushed the table away, pushed the bench away, and ran to him. Alexander was paralyzed by his emotion. He wanted to smile, but he thought any second he was going to fall to his knees and cry. He dropped all his gear, including his rifle. God, he thought, in a second I’m going to feel her. And that’s when he smiled. Tatiana sprang into his open arms, and Alexander, lifting her off her feet with the force of his embrace, couldn’t hug her tight enough, couldn’t breathe in enough of her. She flung her arms around his neck, burying her face in his bearded cheek. Dry sobs racked her entire body. She was heavier than the last time he felt her in all her clothes as he lifted her into the Lake Ladoga truck. She, with her boots, her clothes, coats, and coverings, had not weighed what she weighed now. She smelled incredible. She smelled of soap and sunshine and caramelized sugar. She felt incredible. Holding her to him, Alexander rubbed his face into her braids, murmuring a few pointless words. “Shh, shh…come on, now, shh, Tatia. Please…” His voice broke. “Oh, Alexander,” Tatiana said softly into his neck. She was clutching the back of his head. “You’re alive. Thank God.” “Oh, Tatiana,” Alexander said, hugging her tighter, if that were possible, his arms swaddling her summer body. “You’re alive. Thank God.” His hands ran up to her neck and down to the small of her back. Her dress was made of very thin cotton. He could almost feel her skin through it. She felt very soft. Finally he let her feet touch the ground. Tatiana looked up at him. His hands remained around her little waist. He wasn’t letting go of her. Was she always this tiny, standing barefoot in front of him? “I like your beard,” Tatiana said, smiling shyly and touching his face. “I love your hair,” Alexander said, pulling on a braid and smiling back. “You’re messy…” He looked her over. “And you’re stunning.” He could not take his eyes off her glorious, eager, vivid lips. They were the color of July tomatoes— He bent to her—
I ask him if he tried to rape Nyla.
“Laws are silent in times of war,” Tactus drawls.
“Don’t quote Cicero to me,” I say. “You are held to a higher standard than a marauding centurion.”
“In that, you’re hitting the mark at least. I am a superior creature descended from proud stock and glorious heritage. Might makes right, Darrow. If I can take, I may take. If I do take, I deserve to have. This is what Peerless believe.”
“The measure of a man is what he does when he has power,” I say loudly.
“Just come off it, Reaper,” Tactus drawls, confident in himself as all like him are. “She’s a spoil of war. My power took her. And before the strong, bend the weak.”
“I’m stronger than you, Tactus,” I say. “So I can do with you as I wish. No?”
He’s silent, realizing he’s fallen into a trap.
“You are from a superior family to mine, Tactus. My parents are dead. I am the sole member of my family. But I am a superior creature to you.”
He smirks at that.
“Do you disagree?” I toss a knife at his feet and pull my own out. “I beg you to voice your concerns.” He does not pick his blade up. “So, by right of power, I can do with you as I like.”
I announce that rape will never be permitted, and then I ask Nyla the punishment she would give. As she told me before, she says she wants no punishment. I make sure they know this, so there are no recriminations against her. Tactus and his armed supporters stare at her in surprise. They don’t understand why she would not take vengeance, but that doesn’t stop them from smiling wolfishly at one another, thinking their chief has dodged punishment. Then I speak.
“But I say you get twenty lashes from a leather switch, Tactus. You tried to take something beyond the bounds of the game. You gave in to your pathetic animal instincts. Here that is less forgivable than murder; I hope you feel shame when you look back at this moment fifty years from now and realize your weakness. I hope you fear your sons and daughters knowing what you did to a fellow Gold. Until then, twenty lashes will serve.”
Some of the Diana soldiers step forward in anger, but Pax hefts his axe on his shoulder and they shrink back, glaring at me. They gave me a fortress and I’m going to whip their favorite warrior. I see my army dying as Mustang pulls off Tactus’s shirt. He stares at me like a snake. I know what evil thoughts he’s thinking. I thought them of my floggers too.
I whip him twenty brutal times, holding nothing back. Blood runs down his back. Pax nearly has to hack down one of the Diana soldiers to keep them from charging to stop the punishment.
Tactus barely manages to stagger to his feet, wrath burning in his eyes.
“A mistake,” he whispers to me. “Such a mistake.”
Then I surprise him. I shove the switch into his hand and bring him close by cupping my hand around the back of his head.
“You deserve to have your balls off, you selfish bastard,” I whisper to him. “This is my army,” I say more loudly. “This is my army. Its evils are mine as much as yours, as much as they are Tactus’s. Every time any of you commit a crime like this, something gratuitous and perverse, you will own it and I will own it with you, because when you do something wicked, it hurts all of us.”
Tactus stands there like a fool. He’s confused.
I shove him hard in the chest. He stumbles back. I follow him, shoving.
“What were you going to do?” I push his hand holding the leather switch back toward his chest.
“I don’t know what you mean …” he murmurs as I shove him.
“Come on, man! You were going to shove your prick inside someone in my army. Why not whip me while you’re at it? Why not hurt me too? It’ll be easier. Milia won’t even try to stab you. I promise.”
I shove him again. He looks around. No one speaks. I strip off my shirt and go to my knees. The air is cold. Knees on stone and snow. My eyes lock with Mustang’s. She winks at me and I feel like I can do anything.
Pierce Brown (Red Rising (Red Rising Saga, #1))
FATHER FORGETS W. Livingston Larned Listen, son: I am saying this as you lie asleep, one little paw crumpled under your cheek and the blond curls stickily wet on your damp forehead. I have stolen into your room alone. Just a few minutes ago, as I sat reading my paper in the library, a stifling wave of remorse swept over me. Guiltily I came to your bedside. There are the things I was thinking, son: I had been cross to you. I scolded you as you were dressing for school because you gave your face merely a dab with a towel. I took you to task for not cleaning your shoes. I called out angrily when you threw some of your things on the floor. At breakfast I found fault, too. You spilled things. You gulped down your food. You put your elbows on the table. You spread butter too thick on your bread. And as you started off to play and I made for my train, you turned and waved a hand and called, “Goodbye, Daddy!” and I frowned, and said in reply, “Hold your shoulders back!” Then it began all over again in the late afternoon. As I came up the road I spied you, down on your knees, playing marbles. There were holes in your stockings. I humiliated you before your boyfriends by marching you ahead of me to the house. Stockings were expensive—and if you had to buy them you would be more careful! Imagine that, son, from a father! Do you remember, later, when I was reading in the library, how you came in timidly, with a sort of hurt look in your eyes? When I glanced up over my paper, impatient at the interruption, you hesitated at the door. “What is it you want?” I snapped. You said nothing, but ran across in one tempestuous plunge, and threw your arms around my neck and kissed me, and your small arms tightened with an affection that God had set blooming in your heart and which even neglect could not wither. And then you were gone, pattering up the stairs. Well, son, it was shortly afterwards that my paper slipped from my hands and a terrible sickening fear came over me. What has habit been doing to me? The habit of finding fault, of reprimanding—this was my reward to you for being a boy. It was not that I did not love you; it was that I expected too much of youth. I was measuring you by the yardstick of my own years. And there was so much that was good and fine and true in your character. The little heart of you was as big as the dawn itself over the wide hills. This was shown by your spontaneous impulse to rush in and kiss me good night. Nothing else matters tonight, son. I have come to your bedside in the darkness, and I have knelt there, ashamed! It is a feeble atonement; I know you would not understand these things if I told them to you during your waking hours. But tomorrow I will be a real daddy! I will chum with you, and suffer when you suffer, and laugh when you laugh. I will bite my tongue when impatient words come. I will keep saying as if it were a ritual: “He is nothing but a boy—a little boy!” I am afraid I have visualized you as a man. Yet as I see you now, son, crumpled and weary in your cot, I see that you are still a baby. Yesterday you were in your mother’s arms, your head on her shoulder. I have asked too much, too much.
Dale Carnegie (How To Win Friends and Influence People)
Well,” I said, trying to keep my tone light as I walked over to put my arms around his neck, though I had to stand on my toes to do so. “That wasn’t so bad, was it? You told me something about yourself that I didn’t know before-that you didn’t, er, care for your family, except for your mother. But that didn’t make me hate you…it made me love you a bit more, because now I know we have even more in common.”
He stared down at him, a wary look in his eyes. “If you knew the truth,” he said, “you wouldn’t be saying that. You’d be running.”
“Where would I go?” I asked, with a laugh I hoped didn’t sound as nervous to him as it did to me. “You bolted all the doors, remember? Now, since you shared something I didn’t know about you, may I share something you don’t know about me?”
Those dark eyebrows rose as he pulled me close. “I can’t even begin to imagine what this could be.”
“It’s just,” I said, “that I’m a little worried about rushing into this consort thing…especially the cohabitation part.”
“Cohabitation?” he echoed. He was clearly unfamiliar with the word.
“Cohabitation means living together,” I explained, feeling my cheeks heat up. “Like married people.”
“You said last night that these days no one your age thinks of getting married,” he said, holding me even closer and suddenly looking much more eager to stick around for the conversation, even though I heard the marina horn blow again. “And that your father would never approve it. But if you’ve changed your mind, I’m sure I could convince Mr. Smith to perform the ceremony-“
“No,” I said hastily. Of course Mr. Smith was somehow authorized to marry people in the state of Florida. Why not? I decided not to think about that right now, or how John had come across this piece of information. “That isn’t what I meant. My mom would kill me if I got married before I graduated from high school.”
Not, of course, that my mom was going to know about any of this. Which was probably just as well, since her head would explode at the idea of my moving in with a guy before I’d even applied to college, let alone at the fact that I most likely wasn’t going to college. Not that there was any school that would have accepted me with my grades, not to mention my disciplinary record.
“What I meant was that maybe we should take it more slowly,” I explained. “The past couple years, while all my friends were going out with boys, I was home, trying to figure out how this necklace you gave me worked. I wasn’t exactly dating.”
“Pierce,” he said. He wore a slightly quizzical expression on his face. “Is this the thing you think I didn’t know about you? Because for one thing, I do know it, and for another, I don’t understand why you think I’d have a problem with it.”
I’d forgotten he’d been born in the eighteen hundreds, when the only time proper ladies and gentlemen ever spent together before they were married was at heavily chaperoned balls…and that for most of the past two centuries, he’d been hanging out in a cemetery.
Did he even know that these days, a lot of people hooked up on first dates, or that the average age at which girls-and boys as well-lost their virginity in the United States was seventeen…my age?
“What I’m trying to say,” I said, my cheeks burning brighter, “is that I’m not very experienced with men. So this morning when I woke up and found you in bed beside me, while it was really, super nice-don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it very much-it kind of freaked me out. Because I don’t know if I’m ready for that kind of thing yet.” Or maybe the problem was that I wasn’t prepared for how ready I was…
Meg Cabot (Underworld (Abandon, #2))
Then it was horn time. Time for the big solo.
Sonny lifted the trumpet - One! Two! - He got it into sight - Three!
We all stopped dead. I mean we stopped.
That wasn't Sonny's horn. This one was dented-in and beat-up and the tip-end was nicked. It didn't shine, not a bit.
Lux leaned over-you could have fit a coffee cup into his mouth. "Jesus God," he said. "Am I seeing right?"
I looked close and said: "Man, I hope not."
But why kid? We'd seen that trumpet a million times.
It was Spoof's.
Rose-Ann was trembling. Just like me, she remembered how we'd buried the horn with Spoof. And she remembered how quiet it had been in Sonny's room last night...
I started to think real hophead thoughts, like - where did Sonny get hold of a shovel that late? and how could he expect a horn to play that's been under the ground for two years? and -
That blast got into our ears like long knives.
Spoof's own trademark!
Sonny looked caught, like he didn't know what to do at first, like he was hypnotized, scared, almighty scared. But as the sound came out, rolling out, sharp and clean and clear - new-trumpet sound - his expression changed. His eyes changed: they danced a little and opened wide.
Then he closed them, and blew that horn. Lord God of the Fishes, how he blew it! How he loved it and caressed it and pushed it up, higher and higher and higher. High C? Bottom of the barrel. He took off, and he walked all over the rules and stamped them flat.
The melody got lost, first off. Everything got lost, then, while that horn flew. It wasn't only jazz; it was the heart of jazz, and the insides, pulled out with the roots and held up for everybody to see; it was blues that told the story of all the lonely cats and all the ugly whores who ever lived, blues that spoke up for the loser lamping sunshine out of iron-gray bars and every hop head hooked and gone, for the bindlestiffs and the city slicers, for the country boys in Georgia shacks and the High Yellow hipsters in Chicago slums and the bootblacks on the corners and the fruits in New Orleans, a blues that spoke for all the lonely, sad and anxious downers who could never speak themselves...
And then, when it had said all this, it stopped and there was a quiet so quiet that Sonny could have shouted:
'It's okay, Spoof. It's all right now. You get it said, all of it - I'll help you. God, Spoof, you showed me how, you planned it - I'll do my best!'
And he laid back his head and fastened the horn and pulled in air and blew some more. Not sad, now, not blues - but not anything else you could call by a name. Except... jazz. It was Jazz.
Hate blew out of that horn, then. Hate and fury and mad and fight, like screams and snarls, like little razors shooting at you, millions of them, cutting, cutting deep...
And Sonny only stopping to wipe his lip and whisper in the silent room full of people: 'You're saying it, Spoof! You are!'
God Almighty Himself must have heard that trumpet, then; slapping and hitting and hurting with notes that don't exist and never existed. Man! Life took a real beating! Life got groined and sliced and belly-punched and the horn, it didn't stop until everything had all spilled out, every bit of the hate and mad that's built up in a man's heart. ("Black Country")
Charles Beaumont (American Fantastic Tales: Terror and the Uncanny from the 1940s to Now)
I would choose you." The words were out before he thought better of them, and there was no way to pull them back.
Silence stretched between them. Perhaps the floor will open and I'll plummet to my death, he thought hopefully.
"As your general?" Her voice careful. She was offering him a chance to right the ship, to take them back to familiar waters.
And a fine general you are.
There could be no better leader.
You may be prickly, but that what Ravka needs.
So many easy replies.
Instead he said, "As my queen."
He couldn't read her expression. Was she pleased? Embarrassed? Angry? Every cell in his body screamed for him to crack a joke, to free both of them from the peril of the moment. But he wouldn't. He was still a privateer, and he'd come too far.
"Because I'm a dependable soldier," she said, but she didn't sound sure. It was the same cautious, tentative voice, the voice of someone waiting for a punch line, or maybe a blow. "Because I know all of your secrets."
"I do trust you more than myself sometimes- and I think very highly of myself."
Hadn't she said there was no one else she'd choose to have her back in a fight?
But that isn't the whole truth, is it, you great cowardly lump. To hell with it. They might all die soon enough. They were safe here in the dark, surrounded by the hum of engines.
"I would make you my queen because I want you. I want you all the time."
She rolled on to her side, resting her head on her folded arm. A small movement, but he could feel her breath now. His heart was racing. "As your general, I should tell you that would be a terrible decision."
He turned on to his side. They were facing each other now. "As your king, I should tell you that no one could dissuade me. No prince and no power could make me stop wanting you."
Nikolai felt drunk. Maybe unleashing the demon had loosed something in his brain. She was going to laugh at him. She would knock him senseless and tell him he had no right. But he couldn't seem to stop.
"I would give you a crown if I could," he said. "I would show you the world from the prow of a ship. I would choose you, Zoya. As my general, as my friend, as my bride. I would give you a sapphire the size of an acorn." He reached in to his pocket. "And all I would ask in return is that you wear this damnable ribbon in your hair on our wedding day."
She reached out, her fingers hovering over the coil of blue velvet ribbon resting in his palm.
Then she pulled back her hand, cradling her fingers as if they'd been singed.
"You will wed a Taban sister who craves a crown," she said. "Or a wealthy Kerch girl, or maybe a Fjerdan royal. You will have heirs and a future. I'm not the queen Ravka needs."
"And if you're the queen I want?"
She sat up, drew her knees in, wrapped her arms around them as if she would make a shelter of her own body. He wanted to pull her back down beside him and press his mouth to hers. He wanted her to look at him again with possibility in her eyes. "But that's not who I am. Whatever is inside me is sharp and gray as the thorn wood." She rose and dusted off her kefta. "I wasn't born to be a bride. I was made to be a weapon."
Nikolai forced himself to smile. It wasn't as if he'd offered her a real proposal. They both knew such a thing was impossible. And yet her refusal smarted just as badly as if he'd gotten on his knee and offered her his hand like some kind of besotted fool. It stung. All saints, it stung.
"Well," he said cheerfully, pushing up on his elbows and looking up at her with all the wry humour he could muster. "Weapons are good to have around too. Far more useful than brides and less likely to mope about the palace. But if you won't rule Ravka by my side, what does the future hold, General?"
Zoya opened the door to the Cargo hold. Light flooded in gilding her features when she looked back at him. "I'll fight on beside you. As your general. As your friend. Because whatever my failings, I know this. You are the king Ravka needs.
Leigh Bardugo (Rule of Wolves (King of Scars, #2))