I believe in the power of the imagination to remake the world, to release the truth within us, to hold back the night, to transcend death, to charm motorways, to ingratiate ourselves with birds, to enlist the confidences of madmen.
Adversity is like a strong wind. I don't mean just that it holds us back from places we might otherwise go. It also tears away from us all but the things that cannot be torn, so that afterward we see ourselves as we really are, and not merely as we might like to be.
Arthur Golden (Memoirs of a Geisha)
It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we'd understood that back then-who knows?-maybe we'd have kept a tighter hold of one another.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
Many times in life, we are held back from achieving our goals because we do not commit ourselves wholeheartedly. With an escape route in mind, we hold ourselves back from giving our all.
Idowu Koyenikan (All You Need Is a Ball: What Soccer Teaches Us about Success in Life and Business)
…feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back. They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away. They’re like messengers that show us, with terrifying clarity, exactly where we’re stuck. This very moment is the perfect teacher, and, lucky for us, it’s with us wherever we are.
He holds my face in both hands and kisses me back. I press into the distance between us until it is gone, crushing the secrets we have kept and the suspicions we have harbored-for good, I hope.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
Jace set what he was holding down on the windowsill and reached out to her. She came to lean against him, and his hand slid up under her t-shirt and rested caressingly, possessively, on the small of her back. He bent to kiss her, gently at first, but the gentleness went quickly and soon she was pressed up against the glass of the window, his hands at the hem of her shirt — his shirt —
“Jace.” She moved a little bit away. “I’m pretty sure people down there in the street can see us.”
“We could …” He gestured toward the bed. “Move…over there.”
She grinned. “You said that like it took you a while to come up with the idea.”
When he spoke, his voice was muffled against her neck. “What can I say, you make my thought processes slow down. Now I know what it’s like to be a normal person.”
“How … is it?” The things he was doing with his hands under the t-shirt were distracting.
“Terrible. I’m already way behind on my quota of witty comments for the day.
Cassandra Clare (City of Lost Souls (The Mortal Instruments, #5))
We all have tremendous potential, and we all are blessed with gifts. Yet, the one thing that holds all of us back is some degree of self-doubt. It is not so much the lack of technical information that holds us back, but more the lack of self-confidence.
Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad)
And I just couldn't take it anymore. I closed the distance between us, slammed him back against the chair and kissed him, holding his head still with both my hands buried in that stupid, stupid hair. I half expected more resistance, because Pritkin had never met an argument he didn't like. So it was a shock when he ran his hands down my sides, cupped my hips and slid us both to the floor.
"I'm going straight to hell for this," he muttered.
"At least you'll know a lot of people," I said breathlessly.
Karen Chance (Curse the Dawn (Cassandra Palmer, #4))
There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well . And the world must be easy.
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of our lives is that freedom is possible, yet we can pass our years trapped in the same old patterns...We may want to love other people without holding back, to feel authentic, to breathe in the beauty around us, to dance and sing. Yet each day we listen to inner voices that keep our life small.
Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha)
Now is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It won't last forever. We must take it or leave it.
C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)
We live in time - it holds us and molds us - but I never felt I understood it very well. And I'm not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time's malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing - until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.
Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending)
What a beautiful word
What a delicate creature.
Delicate like the cruel words that flow right out of your mouths and the food that flies right out of your hands…
Does it make you feel better?
Does it make you feel good ?
Does picking on a girl make you more of a man?
Well, I’m standing up for myself
Like I should have done before
I’m not putting up with your Butterfly anymore."
(Kiersten slides the sack off her wrist and opens it, pulling out a handful of hand-made butterflies. She takes the microphone out of the stand and begins walking down the stairs as she continues speaking.)
“I’d like to extend to others what others have extended to me.”
(She walks up to Mrs. Brill first and holds out a butterfly)
“Butterfly you, Mrs. Brill.”
(Mrs. Brill smiles at her and takes the butterfly out of her hands. Lake laughs out loud and I have to nudge her to get her to be quiet. Kiersten walks around the room, passing out butterflies to several of the students, including the three from the lunchroom.)
“Butterfly you, Mark.
Butterfly you, Brendan.
Butterfly you, Colby.”
(When she finishes passing out the butterflies, she walks back onto the stage and places the microphone back into the stand.)
“I have one thing to say to you
And I’m not referring to the bullies
Or the ones they pursue.
I’m referring to those of you that just stand by
The ones who don’t take up for those of us that cry
Those of you who just…turn a blind eye.
After all it’s not you it’s happening to
You aren’t the one being bullied
And you aren’t the one being rude
It isn’t your hand that’s throwing the food
But…it is your mouth not speaking up
It is your feet not taking a stand
It is your arm not lending a hand
It is your heart
Not giving a damn.
So take up for yourself
Take up for your friends
I challenge you to be someone
Who doesn’t give in.
Don’t give in.
Don’t let them win.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
If we hold tightly to anything given to us unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used we stunt the growth of the soul. What God gives us is not necessarily "ours" but only ours to offer back to him, ours to relinguish, ours to lose, ours to let go of, if we want to be our true selves. Many deaths must go into reaching our maturity in Christ, many letting goes.
Elisabeth Elliot (Passion and Purity: Learning to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control)
In Blackwater Woods
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
Synchronize each breath with the present moment and become intertwined with happiness. Breathing in, we are grateful for the opportunities that are given to us; breathing out, we let go of the depression and anxiety that hold us back.
Forrest Curran (Purple Buddha Project: Purple Book of Self-Love)
Most of us have more potential than we will ever develop. What holds us back is often a lack of courage.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate)
...I've made it my business to observe fathers and daughters. And I've seen some incredible, beautiful things. Like the little girl who's not very cute - her teeth are funny, and her hair doesn't grow right, and she's got on thick glasses - but her father holds her hand and walks with her like she's a tiny angel that no one can touch. He gives her the best gift a woman can get in this world: protection. And the little girl learns to trust the man in her life. And all the things that the world expects from women - to be beautiful, to soothe the troubled spirit, heal the sick, care for the dying, send the greeting card, bake the cake - allof those things become the way we pay the father back for protecting us...
Adriana Trigiani (Big Stone Gap (Big Stone Gap, #1))
The skeletons of the past must not hold back the dream of a new life, even though fear and regret, guilt and remorse may unsettle us during the effort to give our future a new home. (“Into a new life”)
Life has a way of going in circles. Ideally, it would be a straight path forward––we'd always know where we were going, we'd always be able to move on and leave everything else behind. There would be nothing but the present and the future. Instead, we always find ourselves where we started. When we try to move ahead, we end up taking a step back. We carry everything with us, the weight exhausting us until we want to collapse and give up.
We forget things we try to remember. We remember things we'd rather forget. The most frightening thing about memory is that it leaves no choice. It has mastered an incomprehensible art of forgetting. It erases, it smudges, it fills in blank spaces with details that don't exist.
But however we remember it––or choose to remember it––the past is the foundation that holds our lives in place. Without its support, we'd have nothing for guidance. We spend so much time focused on what lies ahead, when what has fallen behind is just as important. What defines us isn't where we're going, but where we've been. Although there are places and people we will never see again, and although we move on and let them go, they remain a part of who we are.
There are things that will never change, things we will carry along with us always. But as we venture into the murky future, we must find our strength by learning to leave things behind.
Ten feet from the car, a man stepped directly into our path. We came to a screeching halt, and I jerked Lissa back by her arm. It was him, the guy I’d seen across the street watching me. He was older than us, maybe mid-twenties, and as tall as I’d figured, probably six-six or six-seven. And under different circumstances–say, when he wasn’t holding up our desperate escape–I would have thought he was hot. Shoulder-length brown hair, tied back in a short ponytail. Dark brown eyes. A long brown coat–a duster, I thought it was called.
But his hotness was irrelevant now. He was only an obstacle keeping Lissa and me away from the car and our freedom. The footsteps behind us slowed, and I knew our pursuers had caught up. Off to the sides, I detected more movement, more people closing in. God. They’d almost sent a dozen guardians to retrieve us. I couldn’t believe it. The queen herself didn’t travel with that many.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
...as I watched all the problems you were struggling with, I realized how much you meant to me. It changed everything. I was worried about you—so, so worried. You have no idea. And it became useless to try to act like I could ever put any Moroi life above yours. It's not going to happen, no matter how wrong others say it is. And so I decided that's something I have to deal with. Once I made that decision...there was nothing to hold us back." He hesitated, seeming to replay his words as he brushed my hair from my face. "Well, to hold me back. I'm speaking for myself. I don't mean to act like I know exactly why you did it."
"I did it because I love you," I said, like it was the most obvious thing in the world. And really, it was.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
I went over and over everything that had ever happened between us. I couldn’t keep doing it, going back and fourth, holding her close and then pushing her away. It wasn’t right
No hemming or hawing, no hinting or manipulation, no sledgehammer–subtlety may hold us back from claiming a climate of transparency and capturing an untainted and luminescent skyline, when the boldness of the truth is coming defiantly to the fore. ("Did not expect it would ever happen there" )
See the TURTLE of enormous girth! On his shell he holds the earth. His thought is slow but always kind; He holds us all within his mind. On his back all vows are made; He sees the truth but may not said. He loves the land and loves the sea, And even loves a child like me
I know there's no way I can convince you this is not one of their tricks, but I don't care, I am me. My name is Valerie, I don't think I'll live much longer and I wanted to tell someone about my life. This is the only autobiography ill ever write, and god, I'm writing it on toilet paper. I was born in Nottingham in 1985, I don't remember much of those early years, but I do remember the rain. My grandmother owned a farm in Tuttlebrook, and she use to tell me that god was in the rain. I passed my 11th lesson into girl's grammar; it was at school that I met my first girlfriend, her name was Sara. It was her wrists. They were beautiful. I thought we would love each other forever. I remember our teacher telling us that is was an adolescent phase people outgrew. Sara did, I didn't. In 2002 I fell in love with a girl named Christina. That year I came out to my parents. I couldn't have done it without Chris holding my hand. My father wouldn't look at me, he told me to go and never come back. My mother said nothing. But I had only told them the truth, was that so selfish? Our integrity sells for so little, but it is all we really have. It is the very last inch of us, but within that inch, we are free. I'd always known what I wanted to do with my life, and in 2015 I starred in my first film, "The Salt Flats". It was the most important role of my life, not because of my career, but because that was how I met Ruth. The first time we kissed, I knew I never wanted to kiss any other lips but hers again. We moved to a small flat in London together. She grew Scarlet Carsons for me in our window box, and our place always smelled of roses. Those were there best years of my life. But America's war grew worse, and worse. And eventually came to London. After that there were no roses anymore. Not for anyone. I remember how the meaning of words began to change. How unfamiliar words like collateral and rendition became frightening. While things like Norse Fire and The Articles of Allegiance became powerful, I remember how different became dangerous. I still don't understand it, why they hate us so much. They took Ruth while she was out buying food. I've never cried so hard in my life. It wasn't long till they came for me.It seems strange that my life should end in such a terrible place, but for three years, I had roses, and apologized to no one. I shall die here. Every inch of me shall perish. Every inch, but one. An Inch, it is small and it is fragile, but it is the only thing the world worth having. We must never lose it or give it away. We must never let them take it from us. I hope that whoever you are, you escape this place. I hope that the world turns and that things get better. But what I hope most of all is that you understand what I mean when I tell you that even though I do not know you, and even though I may never meet you, laugh with you, cry with you, or kiss you. I love you. With all my heart, I love you. -Valerie
Alan Moore (V for Vendetta)
There is no ongoing spiritual life without this process of letting go. At the precise point where we refuse, growth stops. If we hold tightly to anything given to us, unwilling to let it go when the time comes to let it go or unwilling to allow it to be used as the Giver means it to be used, we stunt the growth of the soul. It is easy to make a mistake here, “If God gave it to me,” we say, “its mine. I can do what I want with it.” No. The truth is that it is ours to thank Him for and ours to offer back to Him, ours to relinquish, ours to lose, ours to let go of – if we want to find our true selves, if we want real life, if our hearts are set on glory.
Don't forget,' he says, and Abu Sayeed looks up while he translates, holding the words back a little, 'stories ease the pain of living, not dying. People always think dying is going to hurt. But it does not. It's living that hurts us.
Zeyn Joukhadar (The Map of Salt and Stars)
Look back, hold a torch to light the recesses of the dark. Listen to the footsteps that echo behind, when you walk alone.
All the time the ghosts flit past and through us, hiding in the future. We look in the mirror and see the shades of other faces looking back through the years; we see the shape of memory, standing solid in an empty doorway. By blood and by choice, we make our ghosts; we haunt ourselves.
Each ghost comes unbidden from the misty grounds of dream and silence.
Our rational minds say, "No, it isn't."
But another part, an older part, echoes always softly in the dark, "Yes, but it could be.
Diana Gabaldon (Drums of Autumn (Outlander, #4))
Clearly recognizing what is happening inside us, and regarding what we see with an open, kind and loving heart, is what I call Radical Acceptance. If we are holding back from any part of our experience, if our heart shuts out any part of who we are and what we feel, we are fueling the fears and feelings of separation that sustain the trance of unworthiness. Radical Acceptance directly dismantles the very foundations of this trance.
Tara Brach (Radical Acceptance: Embracing Your Life With the Heart of a Buddha)
That will not be the time for choosing: it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is out chance to chose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.
Another round," she goads, and holds out a hand for the cards. "I bet a week of laundry."
Across from us, Cal stops his preparatory stretching to snort. "You think Mare does laundry?"
"Do you, Your Highness?" I snap back, grinning. He just pretends not to hear me.
Victoria Aveyard (King's Cage (Red Queen, #3))
It slowly began to dawn on me that I had been staring at her for an impossible amount of time. Lost in my thoughts, lost in the sight of her. But her face didn't look offended or amused. It almost looked as if she were studying the lines of my face, almost as if she were waiting.
I wanted to take her hand. I wanted to brush her cheek with my fingertips. I wanted to tell her that she was the first beautiful thing that I had seen in three years. The sight of her yawning to the back of her hand was enough to drive the breath from me. How I sometimes lost the sense of her words in the sweet fluting of her voice. I wanted to say that if she were with me then somehow nothing could ever be wrong for me again.
In that breathless second I almost asked her. I felt the question boiling up from my chest. I remember drawing a breath then hesitating--what could I say? Come away with me? Stay with me? Come to the University? No. Sudden certainty tightened in my chest like a cold fist. What could I ask her? What could I offer? Nothing. Anything I said would sound foolish, a child's fantasy.
I closed my mouth and looked across the water. Inches away, Denna did the same. I could feel the heat of her. She smelled like road dust, and honey, and the smell the air holds seconds before a heavy summer rain.
Neither of us spoke. I closed my eyes. The closeness of her was the sweetest, sharpest thing I had ever known.
Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))
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.
As soon as he had her safe again in his arms he broke down and kissed her. Helen was so stunned she stopped crying before she had a chance to start and nearly fell out of the sky. Still the
better flyer, Lucas caught her and supported her as they tumbled on the wind, holding and kissing each other as he tumbled on the wind, holding and kissing each other as he guided them safely back down to the catwalk. As their feet touched down, the light inside the lighthouse switched on
and projected the shadows of their embracing figures out onto the choppy waves of the ocean.
“I can’t lose you,” Lucas said, pulling his mouth away from hers. “That’s why I didn’t tell you the whole truth. I thought if you knew how bad it was you’d send me away. I didn’t want you to give up hope. I can’t do this if you give up on us.”
Since childhood, I’d believed it was important to speak out against bullies while also not stooping to their level. And to be clear, we were now up against a bully, a man who among other things demeaned minorities and expressed contempt for prisoners of war, challenging the dignity of our country with practically his every utterance. I wanted Americans to understand that words matter—that the hateful language they heard coming from their TVs did not reflect the true spirit of our country and that we could vote against it. It was dignity I wanted to make an appeal for—the idea that as a nation we might hold on to the core thing that had sustained my family, going back generations. Dignity had always gotten us through. It was a choice, and not always the easy one, but the people I respected most in life made it again and again, every single day. There was a motto Barack and I tried to live by, and I offered it that night from the stage: When they go low, we go high.
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
Just don’t give up on us. Please, don’t give up. I’m a shell without you, Alayna. I can barely breathe when you aren’t near me, when I’m not touching you. Right now, it’s all I can do to hold myself back from taking you in my arms.
Laurelin Paige (Found in You (Fixed, #2))
Time is a river, I've learned. Always moving forward. But for people like me, people who have loved and lost, the river is something we fight. We swim against the current, trying to get back to the way we once were, trying to hold onto anything to keep us from getting swept away. It's exhausting and eventually we tire. Still we push on.
T.J. Klune (Into This River I Drown)
I wake sometimes in the dark terrified by my life's precariousness, its thready breath. Beside me, my husband's pulse beats at his throat; in their beds, my children's skin shows every faintest scratch. A breeze would blow them over, and the world is filled with more than breezes: diseases and disasters, monsters and pain in a thousand variations. I do not forget either my father and his kind hanging over us, bright and sharp as swords, aimed at our tearing flesh. If they do not fall on us in spite and malice, then they will fall by accident or whim. My breath fights in my throat. How can I live on beneath such a burden of doom? I rise then and go to my herbs. I create something, I transform something. My witchcraft is as strong as ever, stronger. This too is good fortune. How many have such power and leisure and defense as I do? Telemachus comes from our bed to find me. He sits with me in the greensmelling darkness, holding my hand. Our faces are both lined now, marked with our years. Circe, he says, it will be all right. It is not the saying of an oracle or a prophet. They are words you might speak to a child. I have heard him say them to our daughters, when he rocked them back to sleep from a nightmare, when he dressed their small cuts, soothed whatever stung. His skin is familiar as my own beneath my fingers. I listen to his breath, warm upon the night air, and somehow I am comforted. He does not mean it does not hurt. He does not mean we are not frightened. Only that: we are here. This is what it means to swim in the tide, to walk the earth and feel it touch your feet. This is what it means to be alive.
Madeline Miller (Circe)
Modern reality has got such a hold on us that... when we attempt to reconstruct the ancient days in our thoughts...the minor events of our lives tear us away from our meditations, and... thrust us back into our personal [problems]
Vincent van Gogh
How often do we stand convinced of the truth of our early memories, forgetting that they are assessments made by a child? We can replace the narratives that hold us back by inventing wiser stories, free from childish fears, and, in doing so, disperse long-held psychological stumbling blocks.
Benjamin Zander (The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life)
As long as we live, our self-absorption and our insecurity will walk together, holding hands and swinging them back and forth like two little girls on their way to a pretend playground they can never find. Human nature dictates that most often we will be as insecure as we are self-absorbed. The best possible way to keep from getting sucked into the superficial narcissistic mentality that money, possessions, and sensuality can satisfy and secure us is to deliberately give ourselves to something much greater...[Christ] showed us that giving, rather than getting, is the means to receiving...to find yourself, your true self, you must lose yourself in something larger.
Beth Moore (So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us)
I sprang toward him with the stake, hoping to catch him by surprise. But Dimitri was hard to catch by surprise. And he was fast. Oh, so fast. It was like he knew what I was going to do before I did it. He halted my attack with a glancing blow to the side of my head. I knew it would hurt later, but my adrenaline was running too strong for me to pay attention to it now.
Distantly, I realized some other people had come to watch us. Dimitri and I were celebrities in different ways around here, and our mentoring relationship added to the drama. This was prime-time entertainment.
My eyes were only on Dimitri, though. As we tested each other, attacking and blocking, I tried to remember everything he'd taught me. I also tried to remember everything I knew about him. I'd practiced with him for months. I knew him, knew his moves, just as he knew mine. I could anticipate him the same way. Once I started using that knowledge, the fight grew tricky. We were too well matched, both of us too fast. My heart thumped in my chest, and sweat coated my skin.
Then Dimitri finally got through. He moved in for an attack, coming at me with the full force of his body. I blocked the worst of it, but he was so strong that I was the one who stumbled from the impact. He didn't waste the opportunity and dragged me to the ground, trying to pin me. Being trapped like that by a Strigoi would likely result in the neck being bitten or broken. I couldn't let that happen.
So, although he held most of me to the ground, I managed to shove my elbow up and nail him in the face. He flinched and that was all I needed. I rolled him over and held him down. He fought to push me off, and I pushed right back while also trying to maneuver my stake. He was so strong, though. I was certain I wouldn't be able to hold him. Then, just as I thought I'd lose my hold, I got a good grip on the stake. And like that, the stake came down over his heart. It was done.
Behind me, people were clapping but all I noticed was Dimitri. Our gazes were locked. I was still straddling him, my hands pressed against his chest. Both of us were sweaty and breathing heavily. His eyes looked at me with pride—and hell of a lot more. He was so close and my body yearned for him, again thinking he was a piece of me I needed in order to be complete. The air between us seemed warm and heady, and I would have given anything in that moment to lie down with him and have his arms wrap around me. His expression showed that he was thinking the same thing. The fight was finished, but remnants of the adrenaline and animal intensity remained.
Richelle Mead (Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3))
It didn't last, it wasn't clear for much longer, and that's why we broke up, but when I close this book and give it to you, I don't think about that, just us holding the book it our hands to buy it and take it here with us, because damn it Ed, that's not why we broke up. I love it, I miss it, I hate to give it back to you, this complicated thing, it's why we stayed together.
Daniel Handler (Why We Broke Up)
Be as pissed off as you want to be. Don’t hold back because you think it’s unladylike or some such nonsense. We shouldn’t be shamed out of our anger. We should be using it. Using it to make change in our own lives, and using it to make change in the lives around us. (I know, I’m cheesy.) So the next time someone calls you emotional, or asks if you’re PMSing, call them on their bullshit.
Jessica Valenti (He's a Stud, She's a Slut, and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know)
At times it may seem as though you and your past are one. Sometimes we fail to differentiate between what has happened to us and who we are today. If you have a hard time getting beyond that damaging mind-set let me encourage you right now. You are not your past Although you are changed and shaped by past experiences who you were yesterday does not control the person you have the potential to become tomorrow.
Sue Augustine (When Your Past Is Hurting Your Present: Getting Beyond Fears That Hold You Back)
Andrea turned her back to Desandra and rolled her eyes. Raphael grimaced. They both looked scandalized. Dear God, what could she have said to scandalize a bouda...
“No, really!” Desandra nodded. “Okay, so most guys don’t have a nice ball sack, right? It looks all hairy and wrinkled like some small animal died between their legs, but Gerardo’s is like two plums in a velvet bag...”
Derek, who’d been lingering in the doorway, took a careful step to the left behind the wall and disappeared from my view.
Kill me, somebody. I raised my hand. “Hold that thought. I need to borrow Andrea for a minute.”
I grabbed her arm and pulled her into the hallway. Behind us Raphael growled, “Don’t leave me!”
Andrea leaned towards me. “Plums.”
Andrea raised her hands, imitating holding plums the size of small coconuts, and moved them up and down.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6))
The dark is generous.
Its first gift is concealment: our true faces lie in the dark beneath our skins, our true hearts remain shadowed deeper still. But the greatest concealment lies not in protecting our secret truths, but in hiding from the truths of others.
The dark protects us from what we dare not know.
Its second gift is comforting illusion: the ease of gentle dreams in night’s embrace, the beauty that imagination brings to what would repel in the day’s harsh light. But the greatest of its comforts is the illusion that dark is temporary: that every night brings a new day. Because it’s the day that is temporary.
Day is the illusion.
Its third gift is the light itself: as days are defined by the nights that divide them, as stars are defined by the infinite black through which they wheel, the dark embraces the light, and brings it forth from the center of its own self.
With each victory of the light, it is the dark that wins.
The dark is generous, and it is patient.
It is the dark that seeds cruelty into justice, that drips contempt into compassion, that poisons love with grains of doubt.
The dark can be patient, because the slightest drop of rain will cause those seeds to sprout.
The rain will come, and the seeds will sprout, for the dark is the soil in which they grow, and it is the clouds above them, and it waits behind the star that gives them light.
The dark’s patience is infinite.
Eventually, even stars burn out.
The dark is generous, and it is patient, and it always wins.
It always wins because it is everywhere.
It is in the wood that burns in your hearth, and in the kettle on the fire; it is under your chair and under your table and under the sheets on your bed. Walk in the midday sun, and the dark is with you, attached to the soles of your feet.
The brightest light casts the darkest shadow.
The dark is generous and it is patient and it always wins – but in the heart of its strength lies its weakness: one lone candle is enough to hold it back.
Love is more than a candle.
Love can ignite the stars.
Matthew Woodring Stover
People think edges are bad, but they are really there to keep up from falling to pieces. They don't hold us back, they hold us in. They hold us together.
Lisa Mangum (The Forgotten Locket (Hourglass Door, #3))
Whatever happened to our dreams? The infinite possibilities each day holds should stagger the mind. The sheer number of experiences I could have is uncountable, breathtaking, and I'm sitting here refreshing my inbox. We live trapped in loops, reliving a few days over and over, and we envision only a handful of paths laid out ahead of us. We see the same things each day, we respond the same way, we think the same thoughts, each day a slight variation on the last, every moment smoothly following the gentle curves of societal norms. We act like if we just get through today, tomorrow our dreams will come back to us. And no, I don't have all the answers. I don't know how to jolt myself into seeing what each moment could become. But I do know one thing: the solution doesn't involve watering down my every little idea and creative impulse for the sake of someday easing my fit into a mold. It doesn't involve tempering my life to better fit someone's expectations. It doesn't involve constantly holding back for fear of shaking things up. This is very important, so I want to say it as clearly as I can: FUCK. THAT. SHIT.
You scared the shit out of me last night, so forgive me if I don't want to hear fine as an answer."
I rubbed my eyes, hoping it would keep the burning tears away. The warm water of the shower had finally calmed the tears, but the thought of Noah walking away brought them back.
"What do you want to hear? That I'm exhausted? Terrified? Confused? That all I want to do is rest my head on your chest and sleep for hours, but that's not going to happen because you're leaving me?"
"Yes," he said quickly, then just as quick said, "No. Everything but the last part." He paused. "Echo, how could you think I would leave you? How can you doubt how I feel?"
"Because," I said as I felt the familiar twisting in my stomach.
"You saw me lose it. You saw me almost go insane."
The muscles in his shoulders visibly tensed.
"I watched you battle against the worst memory of your life and I watched you win. Make no mistake, Echo. I battled right beside you. You need to find some trust in me ... in us."
Noah inhaled and slowly let the air out. His stance softened and so did his voice.
"If you're scared, tell me. If you need to cry and scream, then do it. And you sure as hell don't walk away from us because you think it would be better for me. Here's the reality, Echo: I want to be by your side. If you want to go to the mall stark naked so you can show the world your scars, then let me hold your hand. If you want to see your mom, then tell me that, too. I may not always understand, but damn, baby, I'll try.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
I will tell you what's left, three profound blessings. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: faith, hope, and love,. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he's given us complete control over them. Even in the darkest night it's still within our power to hold faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may feel ourselves unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who chooses to discard them.
William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace)
We had been out in the woods near campus one evening, having skipped out on our last class. I’d traded a pair of cute, rhinestone-studded sandals to Abby Badica for a bottle of peach schnapps—desperate, yes, but you did what you had to in Montana—which she’d somehow gotten hold of. Lissa had shaken her head in disapproval when I suggested cutting class to go put the bottle out of it’s misery, but she’d come along anyway. Like always.
We found a log to sit on near a scummy green marsh. A half-moon cast a tiny light on us, but it was more than enough for vampires and half-vampires to see by. Passing the bottle back and forth I’d grilled her on Aaron.
I held up that bottle and glared at it. “I don’t think this stuff it working.
Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1))
Look, the trees
their own bodies
are giving off the rich
fragrance of cinnamon
the long tapers
are bursting and floating away over
the blue shoulders
of the ponds,
and every pond,
no matter what its
name is, is
I have ever learned
in my lifetime
leads back to this: the fires
and the black river of loss
whose other side
none of us will ever know.
To live in this world
you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it
against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
Mary Oliver (New and Selected Poems, Volume One)
So crosses don't do anything against your kind?" Sean asked.
"No," Arland said. "There is no mystical force repelling us."
"We're forbidden to kill a creature in a moment of prayer or invocation of their deity. Well, we can, technically, but you have to do penance and purify yourself and nobody wants to spend weeks praying and bathing themselves in the sacred cave springs. The water's only a fraction warmer than ice. When one of you holds up a cross, it's difficult to determine whether you're praying, invoking, or just waving it around. So the sane strategy is to back away.
Ilona Andrews (Clean Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles, #1))
Sometimes the simplest and best use of our will is to drop it all and just walk out from under everything that is covering us, even if only for an hour or so—just walk out from under the webs we've spun, the tasks we've assumed, the problems we have to solve. They'll be there when we get back, and maybe some of them will fall apart without our worry to hold them up.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
In a nervous and slender-leaved mimosa grove at the back of their villa we found a perch on the ruins of a low stone wall. She trembled and twitched as I kissed the corner of her parted lips and the hot lobe of her ear. A cluster of stars palely glowed above us between the silhouettes of long thin leaves; that vibrant sky seemed as naked as she was under her light frock. I saw her face in the sky, strangely distinct, as if it emitted a faint radiance of its own. Her legs, her lovely live legs, were not too close together, and when my hand located what it sought, a dreamy and eerie expression, half-pleasure, half-pain, came over those childish features. She sat a little higher than I, and whenever in her solitary ecstasy she was led to kiss me, her head would bend with a sleepy, soft, drooping movement that was almost woeful, and her bare knees caught and compressed my wrist, and slackened again; and her quivering mouth, distorted by the acridity of some mysterious potion, with a sibilant intake of breath came near to my face. She would try to relieve the pain of love by first roughly rubbing her dry lips against mine; then my darling would draw away with a nervous toss of her hair, and then again come darkly near and let me feed on her open mouth, while with a generosity that was ready to offer her everything, my heart, my throat, my entrails, I gave her to hold in her awkward fist the scepter of my passion.
Vladimir Nabokov (Lolita)
I always want us to be like this, connected, sharing everything with each other. Not holding anything back, no matter how the other person may feel.”
“You have my word from this point forward. No matter what.
Nicole Gulla (The Lure of the Moon (The Scripter Trilogy, #1))
I promised, “I will not leave you. I will not hold back anymore. I will not allow anyone to get in between us. They don’t have to deal with just you anymore. They’ll have to deal with me too.
Tijan (Fallen Fourth Down (Fallen Crest High, #4))
Then we’re just sitting there, staring at each other. Which has been happening a lot lately. It’s like
whatever wall there was between us, however she was holding herself back from me . . . all of that
pretense is gone.
“And when you find a soul mate,” Sara says, “it’s undeniable. You have to be together.”
“That’s my philosophy.” I look back at her. “You have to go with the flow.”
“Exactly. I think the universe guides you to make the right choices.”
“Do you believe in fate?”
“I guess, but . . . it’s more about creating the life you want so you can make that fate a reality. You
A Ritual to Read to Each Other
If you don’t know the kind of person I am
and I don’t know the kind of person you are
a pattern that others made may prevail in the world
and following the wrong god home we may miss our star.
For there is many a small betrayal in the mind,
a shrug that lets the fragile sequence break
sending with shouts the horrible errors of childhood
storming out to play through the broken dyke.
And as elephants parade holding each elephant’s tail,
but if one wanders the circus won’t find the park,
I call it cruel and maybe the root of all cruelty
to know what occurs but not recognize the fact.
And so I appeal to a voice, to something shadowy,
a remote important region in all who talk:
though we could fool each other, we should consider---
lest the parade of our mutual life get lost in the dark.
For it is important that awake people be awake,
or a breaking line may discourage them back to sleep;
the signals we give---yes or no, or maybe---
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
I love you," she says. "But that doesn't mean I'm ready to give up my life for you. I don't want to pull over and park right now. I want to see places, Gray. I want to live my life. You're asking me to give up who I am. If I move with you, I'll just be living your life. Your dream. I'll regret the things you're going to hold me back from doing, and then I'll probably blame you. And that's not fair to either of us.
Katie Kacvinsky (First Comes Love (First Comes Love, #1))
We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.
John F. Kennedy
Our regrets, our fears, they hold us back. We have to let them go so we can become what we're supposed to be. We have to burn them all away.
At 12 years old I started bleeding with the moon
and beating up boys who dreamed of becoming astronauts.
I fought with my knuckles white as stars,
and left bruises the shape of Salem.
There are things we know by heart,
and things we don't.
At 13 my friend Jen tried to teach me how to blow rings of smoke.
I'd watch the nicotine rising from her lips like halos,
but I could never make dying beautiful.
The sky didn't fill with colors the night I convinced myself
veins are kite strings you can only cut free.
I suppose I love this life,
in spite of my clenched fist.
I open my palm and my lifelines look like branches from an Aspen tree,
and there are songbirds perched on the tips of my fingers,
and I wonder if Beethoven held his breath
the first time his fingers touched the keys
the same way a soldier holds his breath
the first time his finger clicks the trigger.
We all have different reasons for forgetting to breathe.
But my lungs remember
the day my mother took my hand and placed it on her belly
and told me the symphony beneath was my baby sister's heartbeat.
And I knew life would tremble
like the first tear on a prison guard's hardened cheek,
like a prayer on a dying man's lips,
like a vet holding a full bottle of whisky like an empty gun in a war zone…
just take me just take me
Sometimes the scales themselves weigh far too much,
the heaviness of forever balancing blue sky with red blood.
We were all born on days when too many people died in terrible ways,
but you still have to call it a birthday.
You still have to fall for the prettiest girl on the playground at recess
and hope she knows you can hit a baseball
further than any boy in the whole third grade
and I've been running for home
through the windpipe of a man who sings
while his hands playing washboard with a spoon
on a street corner in New Orleans
where every boarded up window is still painted with the words
We're Coming Back
like a promise to the ocean
that we will always keep moving towards the music,
the way Basquait slept in a cardboard box to be closer to the rain.
Beauty, catch me on your tongue.
Thunder, clap us open.
The pupils in our eyes were not born to hide beneath their desks.
Tonight lay us down to rest in the Arizona desert,
then wake us washing the feet of pregnant women
who climbed across the border with their bellies aimed towards the sun.
I know a thousand things louder than a soldier's gun.
I know the heartbeat of his mother.
Don't cover your ears, Love.
Don't cover your ears, Life.
There is a boy writing poems in Central Park
and as he writes he moves
and his bones become the bars of Mandela's jail cell stretching apart,
and there are men playing chess in the December cold
who can't tell if the breath rising from the board
is their opponents or their own,
and there's a woman on the stairwell of the subway
swearing she can hear Niagara Falls from her rooftop in Brooklyn,
and I'm remembering how Niagara Falls is a city overrun
with strip malls and traffic and vendors
and one incredibly brave river that makes it all worth it.
Ya'll, I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that brave river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.
A moment later, Helen had returned; she was walking slowly now, and carefully, her hand on the back of a thin boy with a mop of wavy brown hair. He couldn’t have been older than twelve, and Clary recognized him immediately. Helen, her hand firmly clamped around the wrist of a younger boy whose hands were covered with blue wax. He must have been playing with the tapers in the huge candelabras that decorated the sides of the nave. He looked about twelve, with an impish grin and the same wavy, bitter-chocolate hair as his sister.
Jules, Helen had called him. Her little brother.
The impish grin was gone now. He looked tired and dirty and frightened. Skinny wrists stuck out of the cuffs of a white mourning jacket whose sleeves were too long for him. In his arms he was carrying a little boy, probably not more than two years old, with the same wavy brown hair that he had; it seemed to be a family trait. The rest of his family wore the same borrowed mourning clothes: following Julian was a brunette girl about ten, her hand firmly clasped in the hold of a boy the same age: the boy had a sheet of tangled black hair that nearly obscured his face. Fraternal twins, Clary guessed. After them came a girl who might have been eight or nine, her face round and very pale between brown braids.
The misery on their faces cut at Clary’s heart. She thought of her power with runes, wishing that she could create one that would soften the blow of loss. Mourning runes existed, but only to honor the dead, in the same way that love runes existed, like wedding rings, to symbolize the bond of love. You couldn’t make someone love you with a rune, and you couldn’t assuage grief with it, either. So much magic, Clary thought, and nothing to mend a broken heart.
“Julian Blackthorn,” said Jia Penhallow, and her voice was gentle. “Step forward, please.”
Julian swallowed and handed the little boy he was holding over to his sister. He stepped forward, his eyes darting around the room. He was clearly scouring the crowd for someone. His shoulders had just begun to slump when another figure darted out onto the stage. A girl, also about twelve, with a tangle of blond hair that hung down around her shoulders: she wore jeans and a t-shirt that didn’t quite fit, and her head was down, as if she couldn’t bear so many people looking at her. It was clear that she didn’t want to be there — on the stage or perhaps even in Idris — but the moment he saw her, Julian seemed to relax. The terrified look vanished from his expression as she moved to stand next to him, her face ducked down and away from the crowd.
“Julian,” said Jia, in the same gentle voice, “would you do something for us? Would you take up the Mortal Sword?
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
The greatest remedy in the world is change; and change implies the passing from the old to the new. It is also the only path that leads from the lesser to the greater, from the dream to the reality, from the wish to the heart’s desire fulfilled. It is change that brings us everything we want. It is the opposite of change that holds us back from that which we want. But change is not always external. Real change, or rather the cause of all change, is always internal. It is the change in the within that first produces the change in the without. To go from place to place is not a change unless it produces a change of mind—a renewal of mind. It is the change of mind that is the change desired. It is the renewal of mind that produces better health, more happiness, greater power, the increase of life, and the consequent increase of all that is good in life. And the constant renewal of mind—the daily change of mind—is possible regardless of times, circumstances or places. He who can change his mind every day and think the new about everything every day, will always be well; he will always have happiness; he will always be free; his life will always be interesting; he will constantly move forward into the larger, the richer and the better; and whatever is needed for his welfare today, of that he shall surely have abundance.
Christian D. Larson
A do-over,” he softly replied, rocking them back and forth. He nibbled on her lip, his free hand gripping her waist. “This is where we argued yesterday. I want a do-over so when you think of this road, this is what you’ll remember. Me holding you… you staring into my eyes… and us kissing.
Gail McHugh (Pulse (Collide, #2))
Time expands and contracts. When it expands, it’s like pitch: it folds people in its arms and holds them forever in its embrace. It doesn’t let us go so easily. Sometimes you go back again to the place you’ve just come from, stop and close your eyes, and realize that not a second has passed, and time just leaves you there, stranded, in the darkness
Banana Yoshimoto (Hardboiled & Hard Luck)
Patch's eyes grazed me with silent heat. My reflection swirled in them, red hair and lips aflame. I was connected to him by a force I couldn't control, a tiny thread that tethered my soul to his. With the moon at his back, shadows painted the faint hollows beneath his eyes and cheekbones, making him look breathtakingly handsome and equally diabolical. His hands steadied my face, holding me still before him. The wind tangled my hair around his wrists, twining us together. His thumbs moved across my cheekbones in a slow, intimate caress. Despite the cold, a steady burn coiled up inside me, vulnerable to his touch. His fingers traced lower, lower, leaving behind a hot, delicious ache. I closed my eyes, my joints melting. He lit me up like a flame, light and heat burning at a depth I'd never fathomed. His thumb stroked my lip, a soft, seductive tease. I gave a sharp sigh of pleasure.
"Kiss you now?" he asked.
I couldn't speak; a wilted no was my reply.
His mouth, hot and daring, met mine. All play had left him, and he kissed me with his own black fire, deep and possessive, consuming my body, my soul, and laying waste to all past notions of what it meant to be kissed.
Becca Fitzpatrick (Finale (Hush, Hush, #4))
Are you sad?”
“Not yet.” He closes his eyes.
“I’ll drive for a bit.” I hold out my hand.
He shakes his head. “You’re my guest. I’ll drive. You’re tired.”
“Oh, I’m your guest now?” I put as much menace as I can into my walk and he puts both hands behind his back. I smile at him and he smiles back. I’m surprised the pinprick stars above us don’t explode into silver powder. The sadness I caught in his eyes is burned away by a spark of amusement.
“My hostage. My blackmailed, unwilling captive. Stockholm Shortcake.
Sally Thorne (The Hating Game)
I am a strong Christian. Not a perfect one—not close. But I strongly believe in God, Jesus, and the Bible. When I die, God is going to hold me accountable for everything I’ve done on earth. He may hold me back until last and run everybody else through the line, because it will take so long to go over all my sins. “Mr. Kyle, let’s go into the backroom. . . .” Honestly, I don’t know what will really happen on Judgment Day. But what I lean toward is that you know all of your sins, and God knows them all, and shame comes over you at the reality that He knows. I believe the fact that I’ve accepted Jesus as my savior will be my salvation. But in that backroom or whatever it is when God confronts me with my sins, I do not believe any of the kills I had during the war will be among them. Everyone I shot was evil. I had good cause on every shot. They all deserved to die.
Chris Kyle (American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History)
If you think it means I'm asking you to move in with me, you'd be right." Her expression turned more serious. "If you also think it means that I wake up every morning wondering what I did to deserve having you back in my life, well, you'd be right about that, too."
Jack just sat there for a moment, just... stunned. No one had ever said anything like that to him.
"Come here," he said huskily. He grabbed her chair and pulled it toward his. He kissed her, softly at first, then his hand moved to her back and pushed her close as his emotions got the better of him. He pulled back to hold her gaze. "I love you, Cameron. You know that, right?"
She kissed him back, whispering the words in his ear. "I love you, too.
Julie James (Something About You (FBI/US Attorney, #1))
Much as we wish, not one of us can bring back yesterday or shape tomorrow. Only today is ours, and it will not be ours for long, and once it is gone it will never in all time be ours again. Thou only knowest what it holds in store for us, yet even we know something of what it will hold. The chance to speak the truth, to show mercy, to ease another’s burden. The chance to resist evil, to remember all the good times and good people of our past, to be brave, to be strong, to be glad.
Frederick Buechner (The Hungering Dark)
Julian,” said Jia, in the same gentle voice, “would you do something for us? Would you take up the Mortal Sword?”
Clary sat up straight. She had held the Mortal Sword: she had felt the weight of it. The cold, like hooks in your skin, dragging the truth out of you. You couldn’t lie holding the Mortal Sword, but the truth, even a truth you wanted to tell, was agony. “They can’t,” she whispered. “He’s just a kid —”
“He’s the oldest of the kids who escaped the Institute,” Jace said under his breath. “They don’t have a choice.”
Julian nodded, his thin shoulders straight. “I’ll take it.”
Robert Lightwood passed behind the podium then and went to the table. He took up the sword and returned to stand in front of Julian. The contrast between them was almost funny: the big, barrel-chested man and the lanky, wild-haired boy.
Julian reached a hand up and took the sword. As his hand closed around the hilt, he shuddered, a ripple of pain that was quickly forced down. Emma, behind him, started forward, and Clary caught a glimpse of the look on her face — pure fury — before Helen caught at her and pulled her back.
Cassandra Clare (City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6))
You don't notice the dead leaving when they really choose to leave you. You're not meant to. At most you feel them as a whisper or the wave of a whisper undulating down. I would compare it to a woman in the back of a lecture hall or theater whom no one notices until she slips out.Then only those near the door themselves, like Grandma Lynn, notice; to the rest it is like an unexplained breeze in a closed room.
Grandma Lynn died several years later, but I have yet to see her here. I imagine her tying it on in her heaven, drinking mint juleps with Tennessee Williams and Dean Martin. She'll be here in her own sweet time, I'm sure.
If I'm to be honest with you, I still sneak away to watch my family sometimes. I can't help it, and sometimes they still think of me. They can't help it....
It was a suprise to everyone when Lindsey found out she was pregnant...My father dreamed that one day he might teach another child to love ships in bottles. He knew there would be both sadness and joy in it; that it would always hold an echo of me.
I would like to tell you that it is beautiful here, that I am, and you will one day be, forever safe. But this heaven is not about safety just as, in its graciousness, it isn't about gritty reality. We have fun.
We do things that leave humans stumped and grateful, like Buckley's garden coming up one year, all of its crazy jumble of plants blooming all at once. I did that for my mother who, having stayed, found herself facing the yard again. Marvel was what she did at all the flowers and herbs and budding weeds. Marveling was what she mostly did after she came back- at the twists life took.
And my parents gave my leftover possessions to the Goodwill, along with Grandma Lynn's things.
They kept sharing when they felt me. Being together, thinking and talking about the dead, became a perfectly normal part of their life. And I listened to my brother, Buckley, as he beat the drums.
Ray became Dr. Singh... And he had more and more moments that he chose not to disbelieve. Even if surrounding him were the serious surgeons and scientists who ruled over a world of black and white, he maintained this possibility: that the ushering strangers that sometimes appeared to the dying were not the results of strokes, that he had called Ruth by my name, and that he had, indeed, made love to me.
If he ever doubted, he called Ruth. Ruth, who graduated from a closet to a closet-sized studio on the Lower East Side. Ruth, who was still trying to find a way to write down whom she saw and what she had experienced. Ruth, who wanted everyone to believe what she knew: that the dead truly talk to us, that in the air between the living, spirits bob and weave and laugh with us. They are the oxygen we breathe.
Now I am in the place I call this wide wide Heaven because it includes all my simplest desires but also the most humble and grand. The word my grandfather uses is comfort.
So there are cakes and pillows and colors galore, but underneath this more obvious patchwork quilt are places like a quiet room where you can go and hold someone's hand and not have to say anything. Give no story. Make no claim. Where you can live at the edge of your skin for as long as you wish. This wide wide Heaven is about flathead nails and the soft down of new leaves, wide roller coaster rides and escaped marbles that fall then hang then take you somewhere you could never have imagined in your small-heaven dreams.
Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)
My love for you will be a constant in a sea of unknown variables. We may fight or be cross with each other, but our love will never fade or wilt. Trust in that. Trust in us. Forget the future. Forget worry. The only thing that terrifies me is the possibility of living with regret. I don't ever want to wake and wonder what life could have been like with you in it. I don't ever want to regret holding myself back from loving you as fully and openly as possible.
Kerri Maniscalco (Capturing the Devil (Stalking Jack the Ripper, #4))
We get stuck in old thought and behavior patterns that may have been effective when we were twelve months or twelve years old, but now only serve to hold us back. And, while those around us may have no problem correcting our minor flaws, they let the big ones slide, because it would mean attacking who we are.
Neil Strauss (The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists)
You need to come with us right now," one of the queen's guards said. "If you resist, we'll take you by force."
"Leave him alone!" I yelled, looking from face to face. That angry darkness exploded within me. How could they still not believe? Why were they still coming after him? "He hasn't done anything! Why can't you guys accept that he's really a dhampir now?"
The man who'd spoken arched an eyebrow. "I wasn't talking to him."
"You're...you're here for me?" I asked. I tried to think of any new spectacles I might have caused recently. I considered the crazy idea that the queen had found out I'd spent the night with Adrian and was pissed off about it. That was hardly enough to send the palace guard for me, though...or was it? Had I really gone too far with my antics?
"What for?" demanded Dimitri. That tall, wonderful bod of his—the one that could be so sensual sometimes—was filled with tension and menace now.
The man kept his gaze on me, ignoring Dimitri. "Don't make me repeat myself: Come with us quietly, or we will make you." The glimmer of handcuffs showed in his hands.
My eyes went wide. "That's crazy! I'm not going anywhere until you tel me how the hell this—"
That was the point at which they apparently decided I wasn't coming quietly. Two of the royal guardians lunged for me, and even though we technically worked for the same side, my instincts kicked in. I didn't understand anything here except that I would not be dragged away like some kind of master criminal. I shoved the chair I'd been sitting in earlier at the one of the guardians and aimed a punch at the other. It was a sloppy throw, made worse because he was taller than me. That height difference allowed me to dodge his next grab, and when I kicked hard at his legs, a grunt told me I'd hit home.
Meanwhile, other guardians were joining the fray. Although I got a couple of good punches in, I knew the numbers were too overwhelming. One guardian caught hold of my arm and began trying to put the cuffs on me. He stopped when another set of hands grabbed me from the other side and jerked me away.
"Don't touch her," he growled.
There was a note in his voice that would have scared me if it had been directed toward me. He shoved me behind him, putting his body protectively in front of mine with my back to the table. Guardians came at us from all directions, and Dimitri began dispatching them with the same deadly grace that had once made people call him a god. [...] The queen's guards might have been the best of the best, but Dimitri...well, my former lover and instructor was in a category all his own. His fighting skills were beyond anyone else's, and he was using them all in defense me.
"Stay back," he ordered me. "They aren't laying a hand on you.
Richelle Mead (Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, #5))
Your sweetheart isn't too happy about this," Shay said, still smiling. I looked toward the back of the room. Ren watched us, holding a pair of scissors. I'd never seen a classroom tool look so dangerous.
Andrea Cremer (Nightshade (Nightshade, #1; Nightshade World, #4))
When were were cast out of Paradise, we lost part of our soul forever. As part of our punishment, we were cursed never to learn to love again. Instead, we were bound to a destiny that was set from the beginning. Azrael and I never chose each other; the choice was made for us. We never knew anything else.
The ring you hold is part of my soul that your mother helped me recover. It was she who saved us from the Dark and led us back to the Light. As her daughter, you too are an Angel of Light. The fire does not harm you. I lost the ring during the crisis in Rome. But now it has been returned to me.
This ring has been blessed by Gabrielle herself.
I have never given this ring, my soul, to anyone. Azrael has never had any part in this.
This is the only part of myself that is truly mine, and now it is yours.
Melissa de la Cruz (Bloody Valentine (Blue Bloods, #5.5))
I almost collapsed in relief. "Yeah," I whispered, forcing a pained smile as he stared at me as if I were a ghost. "It's me. Damn you, Kanin. You were a pain in the ass to find, you know that?"
Kanin didn't answer. Without warning, his hands rose, pressing to either side of my face as I went rigid. His stare was awed, hopeful, as if he couldn't quite believe I was real and had to touch me to make sure I wasn't a phantom.
"You're here." I barely caught the whisper, and Kanin's eyes closed again as he bowed his head. It was a broken sound, a man desperately grasping at the last thread of hope, when he had been in the darkness for so long. "You came."
And, as I stood, shocked, against the wall of the cell, Kanin sank to his knees in front of me, holding the backs of my legs. The top of his bowed head pressed against my thighs. "You came," he repeated, a chant holding him to sanity. I swallowed the lump in my throat and touched his broad shoulders, biting my lips to keep the tears in check, as the cell door opened with a creak, and the Prince beckoned us both to freedom.
Julie Kagawa (The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden, #2))
All problems with writing and performing come from fear. Fear of exposure, fear of weakness, fear of lack of talent, fear of looking like a fool for trying, for even thinking you could write in the first place. It's all fear. If we didn't have fear, imagine the creativity in the world. Fear holds us back every step of the way. A lot of studies say that despite all our fears in this country - death, war, guns, illness - our biggest fear is public speaking. What I am doing right now. And when people are asked to identify which kind of public speaking they are most afraid of, they check the improvisation box. So improvisation is the number-one fear in America. Forget a nuclear winter or an eight-point nine earthquake or another Hitler. It's improv. Which is funny, because aren't we just improvising all day long? Isn't our whole life just one long improvisation? What are we so scared of?
Lily King (Writers & Lovers)
The important element is the way in which all things are connected. Every thought and action sends shivers of energy into the world around us, which affects all creation. Perceiving the world as a web of connectedness helps us to overcome the feelings of separation that hold us back and cloud our vision. This connection with all life increases our sense of responsability for every move, every attitude, allowing us to see clearly that each soul does indeed make a difference to the whole.
Emma Restall Orr (Druidry)
The human mind is an amazing thing. It protects us when we can't protect ourselves. Sometimes when we're holding pain and it gets to be too heavy or goes too deep, we have to give in to it, let it knock us over and pull us all the way down. Once we hit bottom, we rest in a quiet place for a while. Then, when the pain eases and we're ready to face the world again, we come right back up.
Beth Hoffman (Saving CeeCee Honeycutt)
Stay back,"I warned. "Stay away from him." They kept coming. "Stay back!" I yelled. They stopped. Except for one. "Rose," came a soft voice. "Drop the sword." My hands shook. I swallowed. "Get away from us." "Rose." The voice spoke again, a voice that my soul would have known anywhere. Hesitantly, I let myself finally become aware of my surroundings, let the details sink in. I let my eyes focus on the features of the man standing there. Dimitri's brown eyes, gentle and firm, looking down on me. "It's okay," he said. "Everything's going to be okay. You can let go of the sword." My hands shook even harder as I fought to hold on to the hilt. "I can't." The words hurt coming out. "I can't leave him alone. I have to protect him." " you have," said Dimitri. The sword fell out of my hands, landing with a clatter on the wooden floor. I followed, collapsing on all fours, anything to cry but unable to. Dimitri's arms wrapped around me as he helped me up. Voices swarmed around us, and one by one, I recognised people I knew and trusted.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
Did you have one of those days today, like a nail in the foot? Did the pterodactyl corpse dropped by the ghost of your mother from the spectral Hindenburg forever circling the Earth come smashing through the lid of your glass coffin? Did the New York strip steak you attacked at dinner suddenly show a mouth filled with needle-sharp teeth, and did it snap off the end of your fork, the last solid-gold fork from the set Anastasia pressed into your hands as they took her away to be shot? Is the slab under your apartment building moaning that it cannot stand the weight on its back a moment longer, and is the building stretching and creaking? Did a good friend betray you today, or did that good friend merely keep silent and fail to come to your aid? Are you holding the razor at your throat this very instant? Take heart, comfort is at hand. This is the hour that stretches. Djan karet. We are the cavalry. We're here. Put away the pills. We'll get you through this bloody night. Next time, it'll be your turn to help us.
This is an ode to all of those that have never asked for one.
A thank you in words to all of those that do not do
what they do so well for the thanking.
This is to the mothers.
This is to the ones who match our first scream
with their loudest scream; who harmonize in our shared pain
and joy and terrified wonder when life begins.
This is to the mothers.
To the ones who stay up late and wake up early and always know
the distance between their soft humming song and our tired ears.
To the lips that find their way to our foreheads and know,
somehow always know, if too much heat is living in our skin.
To the hands that spread the jam on the bread and the mesmerizing
patient removal of the crust we just cannot stomach.
This is to the mothers.
To the ones who shout the loudest and fight the hardest and sacrifice
the most to keep the smiles glued to our faces and the magic
spinning through our days. To the pride they have for us
that cannot fit inside after all they have endured.
To the leaking of it out their eyes and onto the backs of their
hands, to the trails of makeup left behind as they smile
through those tears and somehow always manage a laugh.
This is to the patience and perseverance and unyielding promise
that at any moment they would give up their lives to protect ours.
This is to the mothers.
To the single mom’s working four jobs to put the cheese in the mac
and the apple back into the juice so their children, like birds in
a nest, can find food in their mouths and pillows under their heads.
To the dreams put on hold and the complete and total rearrangement
of all priority. This is to the stay-at-home moms and those that
find the energy to go to work every day; to the widows and the
To the young mothers and those that deal with the unexpected
announcement of a new arrival far later than they ever anticipated.
This is to the mothers.
This is to the sack lunches and sleepover parties, to the soccer games
and oranges slices at halftime. This is to the hot chocolate
after snowy walks and the arguing with the umpire
at the little league game. To the frosting ofbirthday cakes
and the candles that are always lit on time; to the Easter egg hunts,
the slip-n-slides and the iced tea on summer days.
This is to the ones that show us the way to finding our own way.
To the cutting of the cord, quite literally the first time
and even more painfully and metaphorically the second time around.
To the mothers who become grandmothers and great-grandmothers
and if time is gentle enough, live to see the children of their children
have children of their own. To the love.
My goodness to the love that never stops and comes from somewhere
only mothers have seen and know the secret location of.
To the love that grows stronger as their hands grow weaker
and the spread of jam becomes slower and the Easter eggs get easier
to find and sack lunches no longer need making.
This is to the way the tears look falling from the smile lines
around their eyes and the mascara that just might always be
smeared with the remains of their pride for all they have created.
This is to the mothers.
Tyler Knott Gregson
It's not all gone. She loved someone before and so did I. The Society and the Rising and the world are all still out there, pressing against us. But Lei holds them away. She's made enough space for two people to stand up together, whether or not any Society or Rising says that they can. She's done it before. The amazing thing is that she's not afraid to do it again. When we fall in love the first time, we don't know anything. We risk a lot less than we do if we choose to love again.
There is something extraordinary about the first time falling.
But if feels even better to find myself standing on solid ground, with someone holding on to me, pulling me back, and know that I'm doing the same for her.
Ally Condie (Reached (Matched, #3))
I stood up angrily. “Look, I’m done talking to you tonight. Will you let me out of this dream? I’m not telling you where I am. And I’m not interested in hearing about how wonderful Avery is and how much better than me she is.”
“Avery would never act like a little brat,” he said. “She wouldn’t get so offended that someone actually cares enough to check on her. She wouldn’t deny me the chance to learn more about my magic because she was paranoid someone would ruin her crazy attempt to get over her boyfriend’s death."
“Don’t talk to me about being a brat,” I shot back. “You’re as selfish and
self-centered as usual. It’s always about you—even this dream is. You hold me against my will, whether I want it or not, because it amuses you.”
“Fine,” he said, voice cold. “I’ll end this. And I’ll end everything between us. I won’t be coming back.”
“Good. I hope you mean it this time.”
His green eyes were the last thing I saw before I woke up in my own bed. I sat up, gasping. My heart felt like it was breaking, and I almost thought I might cry. Adrian was right—I had been a brat. I’d lashed out at him when it wasn’t really deserved. And yet . . . I hadn’t been able to help it. I missed Lissa. I even kind of missed Adrian. And now someone else was taking my place, someone who wouldn’t just walk away like I had.
I won’t be coming back.
And for the first time ever, I had a feeling he really wouldn’t be.
Richelle Mead (Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, #4))
Pictures form and dissolve in my head:
we are walking in a city
you fled, came back to and come back to still
which I saw once through winter frost
years back, before I knew you,
before I knew myself.
We are walking streets you have by heart from childhood
streets you have graven and erased in dreams:
scrolled portals, trees, nineteenth century statues.
We are holding hands so I can see
everything as you see it
I follow you into your dreams
your past, the places
none of us can explain to anyone.
Adrienne Rich (The Dream of a Common Language)
Perfectionism is a particularly evil lure for women, who, I believe, hold themselves to an even higher standard of performance than do men. There are many reasons why women’s voices and visions are not more widely represented today in creative fields. Some of that exclusion is due to regular old misogyny, but it’s also true that—all too often—women are the ones holding themselves back from participating in the first place. Holding back their ideas, holding back their contributions, holding back their leadership and their talents. Too many women still seem to believe that they are not allowed to put themselves forward at all, until both they and their work are perfect and beyond criticism. Meanwhile, putting forth work that is far from perfect rarely stops men from participating in the global cultural conversation. Just sayin’. And I don’t say this as a criticism of men, by the way. I like that feature in men—their absurd overconfidence, the way they will casually decide, “Well, I’m 41 percent qualified for this task, so give me the job!” Yes, sometimes the results are ridiculous and disastrous, but sometimes, strangely enough, it works—a man who seems not ready for the task, not good enough for the task, somehow grows immediately into his potential through the wild leap of faith itself. I only wish more women would risk these same kinds of wild leaps. But I’ve watched too many women do the opposite. I’ve watched far too many brilliant and gifted female creators say, “I am 99.8 percent qualified for this task, but until I master that last smidgen of ability, I will hold myself back, just to be on the safe side.” Now, I cannot imagine where women ever got the idea that they must be perfect in order to be loved or successful. (Ha ha ha! Just kidding! I can totally imagine: We got it from every single message society has ever sent us! Thanks, all of human history!) But we women must break this habit in ourselves—and we are the only ones who can break it. We must understand that the drive for perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time, because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No matter how many hours you spend attempting to render something flawless, somebody will always be able to find fault with it. (There are people out there who still consider Beethoven’s symphonies a little bit too, you know, loud.) At some point, you really just have to finish your work and release it as is—if only so that you can go on to make other things with a glad and determined heart. Which is the entire point. Or should be.
Elizabeth Gilbert (Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear)
It's always the chest of the other person we lean back against for support, we only really feel supported or backed up when, as the latter verb itself indicates, there's someone behind us, someone we perhaps cannot even see and who covers our back with their chest, so close it almost brushes our back and in the end always does, and at times, that someone places a hand on our shoulder, a hand to calm us and also to hold us. That's how most married people and most couples sleep or think they sleep, the two turn to the same side when they say goodnight, so that one has his or her back to the other throughout the whole night, when he or she wakes up startled from a nightmare, or is unable to get to sleep, or is suffering from a fever or feels alone and abandoned in the darkness, they have only to turn round and see before them the face of the person protecting them, the person who will let themselves be kissed on any part of the face that is kissable (nose, eyes and mouth; chin, forehead and cheeks, the whole face) or perhaps, half-asleep, will place a hand on their shoulder to calm them, or to hold them, or even to cling to them.
Javier Marías (A Heart So White)
I remembered a scripture they read us from the Bible about God not putting more on us than we could bear. I was beginning to wonder if that was just for those people who went to church every Sunday and prayed before they went to bed at night. Because he wasn’t holding back any punches with me.
Abbi Glines (Never Too Far (Rosemary Beach, #2; Too Far, #2))
Thomas was still outside, so I knocked once and opened the door without waiting for a response. Loki was in the middle of changing clothes as I came in. He'd already traded his worn slacks for a pair of pajama pants, and he was holding a white T-shirt, preparing to put it on.
He had his back to me, and it was even worse than I'd thought.
"Oh, my god, Loki," I gasped.
"I didn't know you were coming." He turned around to face me, smirking. "Shall I leave the shirt off, then?"
"No, put the shirt on," I said, and I closed the door behind me so nobody could see or overhear us talking.
"You're no fun." He wrinkled his nose and pulled the shirt over his head.
"Your back is horrific."
"And I was just going to tell you how beautiful you look today, but I'm not going to bother now if you're going to talk that way." Loki sat back down on his bed, more lying than sitting.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
At the next song switch, I hang back. I want to see this as well as be a part of it. I want to remember it for what it is. I am amazed by the love I feel for so many people. I am amazed at the randomness, the comedy, and the faith that brings us all together and makes us hold on. I open myself wide to take it all in. The scene plays out like a rhapsody.
David Levithan (Boy Meets Boy)
All this time he was sitting up in bed and looking at the woman who was lying beside him and holding his hand in her sleep. He felt an ineffable love for her. Her sleep must have been very light at the moment because she opened her eyes and gazed up at him questioningly.
“What are you looking at?” she asked.
He knew that instead of waking her he should lull her back to sleep, so he tried to come up with an answer that would plant the image of a new dream in her mind.
“I’m looking at the stars,” he said.
“Don’t say you’re looking at the stars. That’s a lie. You’re looking down.”
“That’s because we’re on an airplane. The stars are below us.”
“Oh, in an airplane,” said Tereza, squeezing his hand even tighter and falling asleep again. And Tomas knew that Tereza was looking out of the round window of an airplane flying high above the stars.
Milan Kundera (The Unbearable Lightness of Being)
Hello, Olympus! Aeolus, master of the winds here, with weather every twelve! We‘ll have a low-pressure system moving over Florida today, so expect milder temperatures since Demeter wishes to spare the citrus farmers!‖ He gestured at the blue screen, but when Jason checked the monitors, he saw that a digital image was being projected behind Aeolus, so it looked like he was standing in front of a U.S. map with animated smiley suns and frowny storm clouds. ―Along the eastern seaboard—oh, hold on.‖ He tapped his earpiece. ―Sorry, folks! Poseidon is angry with Miami today, so it looks like that Florida freeze is back on! Sorry, Demeter. Over in the Midwest, I‘m not sure what St. Louis did to offend Zeus, but you can expect winter storms! Boreas himself is being called down to punish the area with ice. Bad news, Missouri! No, wait. Hephaestus feels sorry for central Missouri, so you all will have much more moderate temperatures and sunny skies.
Rick Riordan (The Lost Hero (The Heroes of Olympus, #1))
It is only right and proper to be moved by the Bible, but present-day reality has so strong a hold over us that even when we try to imagine the past the minor events in our lives immediately wrench us out of our musings, and our own adventures throw us back irrevocably upon our personal feelings—joy, boredom, suffering, anger, or a smile.
Vincent van Gogh
I am, and always have been - first, last, and always - a child of America.
You raised me. I grew up in the pastures and hills of Texas, but I had been to thirty-four states before I learned how to drive. When I caught the stomach flu in the fifth grade, my mother sent a note to school written on the back of a holiday memo from Vice President Biden. Sorry, sir—we were in a rush, and it was the only paper she had on hand.
I spoke to you for the first time when I was eighteen, on the stage of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, when I introduced my mother as the nominee for president. You cheered for me. I was young and full of hope, and you let me embody the American dream: that a boy who grew up speaking two languages, whose family was blended and beautiful and enduring, could make a home for himself in the White House.
You pinned the flag to my lapel and said, “We’re rooting for you.” As I stand before you today, my hope is that I have not let you down.
Years ago, I met a prince. And though I didn’t realize it at the time, his country had raised him too.
The truth is, Henry and I have been together since the beginning of this year. The truth is, as many of you have read, we have both struggled every day with what this means for our families, our countries, and our futures. The truth is, we have both had to make compromises that cost us sleep at night in order to afford us enough time to share our relationship with the world on our own terms.
We were not afforded that liberty.
But the truth is, also, simply this: love is indomitable. America has always believed this. And so, I am not ashamed to stand here today where presidents have stood and say that I love him, the same as Jack loved Jackie, the same as Lyndon loved Lady Bird. Every person who bears a legacy makes the choice of a partner with whom they will share it, whom the American people will “hold beside them in hearts and memories and history books. America: He is my choice.
Like countless other Americans, I was afraid to say this out loud because of what the consequences might be. To you, specifically, I say: I see you. I am one of you. As long as I have a place in this White House, so will you. I am the First Son of the United States, and I’m bisexual. History will remember us.
If I can ask only one thing of the American people, it’s this: Please, do not let my actions influence your decision in November. The decision you will make this year is so much bigger than anything I could ever say or do, and it will determine the fate of this country for years to come. My mother, your president, is the warrior and the champion that each and every American deserves for four more years of growth, progress, and prosperity. Please, don’t let my actions send us backward. I ask the media not to focus on me or on Henry, but on the campaign, on policy, on the lives and livelihoods of millions of Americans at stake in this election.
And finally, I hope America will remember that I am still the son you raised. My blood still runs from Lometa, Texas, and San Diego, California, and Mexico City. I still remember the sound of your voices from that stage in Philadelphia. I wake up every morning thinking of your hometowns, of the families I’ve met at rallies in Idaho and Oregon and South Carolina. I have never hoped to be anything other than what I was to you then, and what I am to you now—the First Son, yours in actions and words. And I hope when Inauguration Day comes again in January, I will continue to be.
Casey McQuiston (Red, White & Royal Blue)
He caught hold of my hand. “Sydney, please don’t do this,” he begged. “No matter how confident you feel, no matter how careful you think you are, things will spiral out of control.”
“They already have,” I said, opening the passenger door. “And I’m going to stop fighting them. Thank you for everything, Marcus. I mean it.”
“Wait, Sydney,” he called. “Just tell me one thing.”
I glanced back and waited.
“Where did this come from? When you called me to tell me you were coming, you said you’d realized it was the smart thing to do. What made you change your mind?”
I gave him a smile that I hoped was as dazzling as one of his. “I realized I’m in love.”
Marcus, startled, looked around as though he expected to see my object d’amour in the car with us. “And you just realized that? Did you just have some sort of vision?”
“Didn’t need to,” I said, thinking of Wolfe’s ill-fated trip to the Orkneys. “It’s always been right in front of me.
Richelle Mead (The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3))
But for the first time, I wanted to believe in the things that outlasted us: the stories that came to life in a child’s head, the fear of the dark, the hunger to live. Those were the footsteps that not even Time could discover and erase, because they lived far out of reach, in the song of blood coursing through veins and in the quiet threads that made up dreams. I wanted to hold the hope of those tales within me and follow it like a lure all the way back to myself.
Roshani Chokshi (A Crown of Wishes (The Star-Touched Queen, #2))
I'd said it before and meant it: Alive or undead, the love of my life was a badass. -Rose, Blood Promise
Dimitri:I'd do a lot of things to protect you Roza"
Dimitri: "What i say in an entire paragraph you can say in three words"
"I set off, off to kill the man I loved" - Rose Hathaway
•We try to do what’s right, or rather, what others say is right. But sometimes, when that goes against who we are…you have to choose…. I realized how much you meant to me. It changed everything… And it became useless to try to act like I could ever put any Moroi life above yours. It’s not going to happen, no matter how wrong others say it is. And so I decided that’s something I have to deal with. Once I made that decision … there was nothing to hold us back. – Dimitri
•You’re strong-you’re so, so strong. It’s why I love you. – Dimitri
If you touch me I’ll touch you back. I’ll cup your face and kiss your mouth. I’ll hold you close and make you choose me.” I stop and swallow hard and then lean into her space and whisper, “I’ll ruin everything if you touch me. I’ll ruin us. I’ll ruin this. I’ll ruin you, just like you said. I’ll ruin you and I’ll ruin your life. And I love you too much to ruin you. So I’m leaving.
J.A. Huss (Panic (Rook and Ronin, #3))
Many people hold onto a grudge because it offers the illusion of power and a perverse feeling of security. But in fact, we are held hostage by our anger. It is never too late to forgive. But you can forgive too soon. I am especially wary of what I call "saintly forgiveness." Premature forgiveness is common among people who avoid conflict. They're afraid of their own anger and the anger of others. But their forgiveness is false. Their anger goes underground. I define forgiving as letting someone back into your heart. This returns us to a loving state -- and not merely within the relationship -- we feel good about ourselves and the world. True forgiveness isn't easy, but it transforms us significantly. To forgive is to love and to feel worthy of love. In that sense, it is always worthwhile.
He was done talking. Aiden came off the wall so fast the water reacted in a frenzy of bubbling. He—we—were in a frenzy. His arms crushed me to him, his mouth demanding, saying those three little words over and over again without speaking them. Aiden lifted me up, one hand burying deep in my hair, the other pressing into my lower back, fitting us together. He turned and my back was against the edge and he was everywhere all at once, stealing my breath, my heart, my soul. There was no coming up for air, no control or limits. There was no tottering on the edge. We both fell headfirst. In his arms, in the way the water bubbled and moved with our bodies, I may’ve lost track of time, but I gained a little part of me. I gained a part of him that U would hold close for the rest of my days, no matter how long or short that turned out to be.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Apollyon (Covenant, #4))
I heard the bathroom door close and I kept my eyes screwed shut, but my heart skyrocketed into uncharted territories. I folded my arms around me and held my breath.
There was the slightest movement behind me. Skin brushed against mine. A fine shiver rolled up my spine. An infinite spark transferred between us, something that couldn’t be replicated or forced. How could I’ve forgotten that when connected with Seth? My heart turned over heavily.
Aiden brushed the mass of thick hair over one shoulder and his lips met the space between my neck and shoulder. His hands slid down the slick skin of my arms, cupping over my elbows and then to my wrists. Gently, slowly, he eased my arms to my sides.
I bit down on my lip and my legs started trembling. But he was there. Like always, holding me up when I couldn’t stand on and letting me go when he knew I needed him to. He was more than just a shelter. AIden was my other half, my equal. And he needed no weird Apollyon connection.
Aiden waited, still as a statue, patient as ever, until my muscles unlocked, one by one. Then his hands dropped to my waist and he turned me toward him. A heartbeat passed and he placed his fingers on my chin, tipping my head back.
I opened my eyes, blinking the wetness off my lashes, and the air hitched in my throat. Faint, purplish bruises shadowed his jaw. There was a cut over the bridge of his nose. No doubt injuries I had given him.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Apollyon (Covenant, #4))
Beside us lies a fair-headed recruit in utter terror. He has buried his face in his hands, his helmet has fallen off. I fish hold of it and try to put it back on his head. He looks up, pushes the helmet off and like a child creeps under my arm, his head close to my breast. The little shoulders heave. Shoulders just like Kemmerich's. I let him be.
Erich Maria Remarque (All Quiet on the Western Front)
The reason to forgive ourselves is not because we feel like it or because we want to see ourselves as blameless but because we limit what we can receive from God when we hold on to our past. He wants to do so much more than we could ever imagine. Forgiving yourself starts with believing in God’s incredible love for you and accepting His amazing grace and mercy. If God Almighty can forgive us who are we to hold on to what He has not only forgiven but forgotten
Sue Augustine (When Your Past Is Hurting Your Present: Getting Beyond Fears That Hold You Back)
We all have light and dark inside us, love. We try to hide the darkness from others because we’re afraid it will scare them away. But your dark doesn’t scare me, Luca. It only makes me want to hold your hand and be your light until you can find your own again. That’s what people do when they’re in love. I won’t always be able to give you your light back, because sometimes you need to find that within yourself, but I’ll stand by your side and hold your hand in the dark so things aren’t so scary.
Vi Keeland (Dirty Letters)
Always too eager for the future, we
Pick up bad habits of expectancy.
Something is always approaching; every day
Till then we say,
Watching from a bluff the tiny, clear,
Sparkling armada of promises draw near.
How slow they are! And how much time they waste,
Refusing to make haste!
Yet still they leave us holding wretched stalks
Of disappointment, for, though nothing balks
Each big approach, leaning with brasswork prinked,
Each rope distinct,
Flagged, and the figurehead with golden tits
Arching our way, it never anchors; it's
No sooner present than it turns to past.
Right to the last
We think each one will heave to and unload
All good into our lives, all we are owed
For waiting so devoutly and so long.
But we are wrong:
Only one ship is seeking us, a black-
Sailed unfamiliar, towing at her back
A huge and birdless silence. In her wake
No waters breed or break.
- Next, Please
Philip Larkin (Collected Poems)
You and Wes," she said, triumphant, "are just likethis ."
She was holding a book, a paperback romance. The title, emblazoned in gold across the cover, wasForbidden
, and the picture beneath it was of a man in a pirate outfit, eye patch and all, clutching a small, extremely
busty woman to his chest. In the background, there was a deserted island surrounded by blue water.
"We're pirates?" I said.
She tapped the book with one fingernail. "This story," she said, "is all about two people who can't be together
because of other circumstances. But secretly, they pine and lust for each other constantly, the very fact that
their love is forbidden fueling their shared passion."
"Did you just make that up?"
"No," she said, flipping the book over to read the back cover. "It's right here! And it's totally you and Wes.
You can't be together, which is exactly why you want to be. And why you can't admit it to us, because that
would make it less secret and thus less passionate.
Sarah Dessen (The Truth About Forever)
How ... how fragile situations are. But not tenuous. Delicate, but not flimsy, not indulgent. Delicate, that's why they keep breaking, they must break and you must get the pieces together and show it before it breaks again, or put them aside for a moment when something else breaks and turn to that, and all this keeps going on. That's why most writing now, if you read it they go on one two three four and tell you what happened like newspaper accounts, no adjectives, no long sentences, no tricks they pretend, and they finally believe that they really believe that the way they saw it is the way it is ... it never takes your breath away, telling you things you already know, laying everything out flat, as though the terms and the time, and the nature and the movement of everything were secrets of the same magnitude. They write for people who read with the surface of their minds, people with reading habits that make the smallest demands on them, people brought up reading for facts, who know what's going to come next and want to know what's coming next, and get angry at surprises. Clarity's essential, and detail, no fake mysticism, the facts are bad enough. But we're embarrassed for people who tell too much, and tell it without surprise. How does he know what happened? unless it's one unshaven man alone in a boat, changing I to he, and how often do you get a man alone in a boat, in all this ... all this ... Listen, there are so many delicate fixtures, moving toward you, you'll see. Like a man going into a dark room, holding his hands down guarding his parts for fear of a table corner, and ... Why, all this around us is for people who can keep their balance only in the light, where they move as though nothing were fragile, nothing tempered by possibility, and all of a sudden bang! something breaks. Then you have to stop and put the pieces together again. But you never can put them back together quite the same way. You stop when you can and expose things, and leave them within reach, and others come on by themselves, and they break, and even then you may put the pieces aside just out of reach until you can bring them back and show them, put together slightly different, maybe a little more enduring, until you've broken it and picked up the pieces enough times, and you have the whole thing in all its dimensions. But the discipline, the detail, it's just ... sometimes the accumulation is too much to bear.
William Gaddis (The Recognitions)
DO NOT FALL IN LOVE WITH PEOPLE LIKE ME
Do not fall in love with people like me.
People like me will love you so hard
that you turn into stone,
into a statue where people come to marvel at how long
it must have taken to carve that faraway look into your eyes.
Do not fall in love with people like me.
We will take you to museums and parks and monuments
and kiss you in every beautiful place
so that you can never go back to them
without tasting us like blood in your mouth.
Do not come any closer.
People like me are bombs.
When our time is up, we will splatter loss all over your walls
in angry colors that make you wish your doorway
never learned our name.
Do not fall in love with people like me.
With the lonely ones.
We will forget our own names if it means learning yours.
We will make you think that hurricanes are gentle,
that pain is a gift.
You will get lost in the desperation, in the longing
for something that is always reaching,
but never able to hold.
Do not fall in love with people like me.
We will destroy your apartment.
We will throw apologies at you that shatter on the floor
and cut your feet.
We will never learn how to be soft.
We will leave.
We always do.
Caitlyn Siehl (What We Buried)
Everybody in!" I said.
Which was when we discovered the final problem.
Little Echos aren't designed to hold six, count them six, larger-than-average-sized children.
And their wings.
And a dog.
"This is like a clown car," Total grumbled front my lap in the front seat.
"Why does the dog get to sit in your lap?'' Gazzy asked plaintively, as we rattled and banged down the dark streets. "How about a kid?"
"Oh. 'The dog.' Very nice," said Total.
"Because you're not allowed to have people on your lap in the front seats," I explained. "It's not safe. If a cop saw us, we'd be stopped for sure. You want Total back there?"
Everyone in the back screamed no at the same time.
James Patterson (School's Out—Forever (Maximum Ride, #2))
Why do we sacrifice so much energy to our art?
Not in order to teach others but to learn with them what our existence, our organism, our personal and repeatable experience have to give us; to learn to break down the barriers which surround us and to free ourselves from the breaks which hold us back, from the lies about ourselves which we manufacture daily for ourselves and for others; to destroy the limitations caused by our ignorance or lack of courage; in short, to fill the emptiness in us: to fulfill ourselves...art is a ripening, an evolution, an uplifting which enables us to emerge from darkness into a blaze of light.
The argument has long been made that we humans are by nature compassionate and empathic despite the occasional streak of meanness, but torrents of bad news throughout history have contradicted that claim, and little sound science has backed it. But try this thought experiment. Imagine the number of opportunities people around the world today might have to commit an antisocial act, from rape or murder to simple rudeness and dishonesty. Make that number the bottom of a fraction. Now for the top value you put the number of such antisocial acts that will actually occur today.
That ratio of potential to enacted meanness holds at close to zero any day of the year. And if for the top value you put the number of benevolent acts performed in a given day, the ratio of kindness to cruelty will always be positive. (The news, however, comes to us as though that ratio was reversed.)
Harvard's Jerome Kagan proposes this mental exercise to make a simple point about human nature: the sum total of goodness vastly outweighs that of meanness. 'Although humans inherit a biological bias that permits them to feel anger, jealousy, selfishness and envy, and to be rude, aggressive or violent,' Kagan notes, 'they inherit an even stronger biological bias for kindness, compassion, cooperation, love and nurture – especially toward those in need.' This inbuilt ethical sense, he adds, 'is a biological feature of our species.
Daniel Goleman (Social Intelligence: The New Science of Human Relationships)
We sleep, allowing gravity to hold us, allowing Earth- our larger body- to recalibrate our neurons, composting the keen encounters of our waking hours (the tensions and terrors of our individual days), stirring them back, as dreams, into the sleeping substance of our muscles. We give ourselves over to the influence of the breathing earth. Sleep is the shadow of the earth as it seeps into our skin and spreads throughout our limbs, dissolving our individual will into the thousand and one selves that compose it- cells, tissues, and organs taking their prime directives now from gravity and the wind- as residual bits of sunlight, caught in the long tangle of nerves, wander the drifting landscape of our earth-borne bodies like deer moving across the forested valleys.
David Abram (Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology)
Leif gripped Benny's shoulders to hold him back, but he broke free and chased the truck, pumping his tiny arms and legs with great furry.
"I love you!" he called out, when he was just ten feet away. I gripped the metal bars, my throat choked with emotion.
"I love you!" Silas cried, as he followed.
They both kept after us, sprinting wildly behind the cage. I watched their mouths moving, saying those words over and again, as the truck bounded through the woods and their small bodies disappeared, unreachable, behind the trees.
Anna Carey (Eve (Eve, #1))
No one has to know until we adopt in a few years. I’m sure there are loads of damn babies waiting for parents to buy them. We will be fine.”
I know she hasn’t accepted my offer of marriage, or even being in a relationship with me, but I hope she doesn’t use this opportunity to remind me of that.
She laughs softly. “Damn babies? Please tell me you don’t think there is a store somewhere downtown where you walk in and purchase a baby?” She lifts her hand to her mouth to stop herself from laughing at me.
“There isn’t?” I joke. “What’s Babies ‘R’ Us, then?”
“Oh my goodness!” She tilts her head back in laughter.
I reach across the small space between us and grab hold of her hand. “If that damn store isn’t full of babies, lined up, ready for purchase, than I’m suing for false advertisement.
Anna Todd (After Ever Happy (After, #4))
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))
I want to do something, right here, right now, to shame them, to make them accountable, to show the Capitol that whatever they do or force us to do there is a part of every tribute they can't own. That Rue was more than a piece in their Games. And so am I.
"A few steps into the woods grows a bank of wildflowers. Perhaps they are really weeds of some sort, but they have blossoms in beautiful shades of violet and yellow and white. I gather an armful and come back to Rues's side. Slowly, one stem at a time, I decorate her body in the flowers. Covering the ugly wound. Wreathing her face. Weaving her hair with bright colors.
"They'll have to show it. Or, even if they choose to turn the cameras elsewhere at this moment, they'll have to bring them back when they collect the bodies and everyone will see her then and know I did it. I step back and take a last look at Rue. She really could be asleep in that meadow after all.
""Bye, Rue," I whisper. I press the three middle fingers of my left hand against my lips and hold them out in her direction. Then I walk away without looking back.
Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1))
Then you do not belong here. Death holds no sweetness in this house. We are not warriors, nor soldiers, nor swaggering bravos puffed up with pride. We do not kill to serve some lord, to fatten our purses, to stroke our vanity. We never give the gift to please ourselves. Nor do we choose the ones we kill. We are but servants of the God of Many Faces."
"Valar dohaeris." All men must serve.
"You know the words, but you are too proud to serve. A servant must be humble and obedient."
"I obey. I can be humbler than anyone."
That made him chuckle. "You will be the very goddess of humility, I am sure. But can you pay the price?"
"The price is you. The price is all you have and all you ever hope to have. We took your eyes and gave them back. Next we will take your ears, and you will walk in silence. You will give us your legs and crawl. You will be no one's daughter, no one's wife, no one's mother. Your name will be a lie, and the very face you wear will not be your own.
George R.R. Martin (A Dance with Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire, #5))
(I pull the second to last item out of my bag. Her purple hair clip. She told me once how much it meant to her, and why she always keeps it.)
This purple hair clip?
It really is magic…just like your dad told you it was.
It’s magic because, no matter how many times it lets you down…you keep having hope in it.
You keep trusting it.
No matter how many times it fails you,
You never fail it.
Just like you never fail me.
I love that about you,
because of you.
(I set it back down and pull out a strip of paper and unfold it.)
Your mother was an amazing woman, Lake.
I'm blessed that I got to know her,
And that she was a part of my life, too.
I came to love her as my own mom…just as she came to love Caulder and I as her own.
I didn’t love her because of you, Lake.
I loved her because of her.
So, thank you for sharing her with us.
She had more advice about
Life and love and happiness and heartache than anyone I've ever known.
But the best advice she ever gave me?
The best advice she ever gave us?
(I read the quote in my hands)
"Sometimes two people have to fall apart, to realize how much they need to fall back together."
(She’s definitely crying now. I place the slip back inside the satchel and take a step closer to the edge of the stage as I hold her gaze.)
The last item I have wouldn’t fit, because you’re actually sitting in it.
You’re sitting in the exact same spot you sat in when you watched your first performance on this stage.
The way you watched this stage with passion in your eyes…I'll never forget that moment.
It's the moment I knew it was too late.
I was too far gone by then.
I was in love with you.
I was in love with you because of you.
(I back up and sit down on the stool behind me, still holding her stare.)
I could go on all night, Lake.
I could go on and on and on about all the reasons I'm in love with you.
And you know what? Some of them are the things that life has thrown our way.
I do love you because you're the only other person I know that understands my situation.
I do love you because both of us know what it's like to lose your mom and your dad.
I do love you because you're raising your little brother, just like I am.
I love you because of what you went through with your mother.
I love you because of what we went through with your mother.
I love the way you love Kel.
I love the way you love Caulder.
And I love the way I love Kel.
So I'm not about to apologize for loving all these things about you, no matter the reasons or the circumstances behind them.
And no, I don’t need days, or weeks, or months to think about why I love you.
It’s an easy answer for me.
I love you because of you.
Colleen Hoover (Point of Retreat (Slammed, #2))
What is the best that lies within us? Of how much are we capable? None of us yet knows. An old Arabic legend tells of a rider finding a spindly sparrow lying on its back in the middle of the road. He dismounted and asked the sparrow why his feet were in the air. Replied the sparrow, "I heard the heavens were going to fall today." "And I suppose you think your puny bird legs can hold up the whole universe?" laughed the horseman. "Perhaps not," said the sparrow with conviction, "but one does whatever one can.
Jeffrey R. Holland (Created for Greater Things)
Hope is a merciless tormentor. It's the sound of trickling water to parched lips. The prospect of love to the unlovable. A miracle cure to the parents of a dying child. It holds up victory over the inevitable and beckons us to crawl further over slicing shards, all the while pulling back, remaining just out of reach. It makes agony out of mere pain by pretending a different outcome could have been. It laughs at mankind's embrace of it after millennia of disappointment.
Robert Liparulo (Comes a Horseman)
This is the one thing I hope: that she never stopped. I hope when her body couldn’t run any farther she left it behind like everything else that tried to hold her down, she floored the pedal and she went like wildfire, streamed down night freeways with both hands off the wheel and her head back screaming to the sky like a lynx, white lines and green lights whipping away into the dark, her tires inches off the ground and freedom crashing up her spine. I hope every second she could have had came flooding through that cottage like speed wind: ribbons and sea spray, a wedding ring and Chad’s mother crying, sun-wrinkles and gallops through wild red brush, a baby’s first tooth and its shoulder blades like tiny wings in Amsterdam Toronto Dubai; hawthorn flowers spinning through summer air, Daniel’s hair turning gray under high ceilings and candle flames and the sweet cadences of Abby’s singing. Time works so hard for us, Daniel told me once. I hope those last few minutes worked like hell for her. I hope in that half hour she lived all her million lives.
Tana French (The Likeness (Dublin Murder Squad, #2))
We stared at each other for a long moment. His hand smoldered against my skin. In my face, I knew there was nothing but wistful sadness―I didn't want to have to say goodbye now, no matter for how short a time. At first his face reflected mine, but then, as neither of us looked away, his expression changed.
He released me, lifting his other hand to brush his fingertips along my cheek, trailing them down to my jaw. I could feel his fingers tremble―not with anger this time. He pressed his palm against my cheek, so that my face was trapped between his burning hands.
"Bella," he whispered.
I was frozen.
No! I hadn't made this decision yet. I didn't know if I could do this, and now I was out of time to think. But I would have been a fool if I thought rejecting him now would have no consequences.
I stared back at him. He was not my Jacob, but he could be. His face was familiar and beloved. in so many real ways, I did love him. He was my comfort, my safe harbor. Right now, I could choose to have him belong to me.
Alice was back for the moment, but that changed nothing. True love was forever lost. The prince was never coming back to kiss me awake from my enchanted sleep. I was not a princess, after all. So what was the fairy-tale protocol for other kisses? The mundane kind that didn't break any spells?
Maybe it would be easy―like holding his hand or having his arms around me. Maybe it would feel nice. Maybe it wouldn't feel like betrayal. Besides, who was I betraying, anyway? Just myself.
Keeping his eyes on mine, Jacob began to bend his face toward me. And I was still absolutely undecided.
Stephenie Meyer (New Moon (Twilight, #2))
Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to....
How different everything is for the craftsman who ... can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object--whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug--and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see.
Alain de Botton (The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work)
History is ending because the dominator culture has led the human species into a blind alley, and as the inevitable chaostrophie approaches, people look for metaphors and answers. Every time a culture gets into trouble it casts itself back into the past looking for the last sane moment it ever knew. And the last sane moment we ever knew was on the plains of Africa 15,000 years ago rocked in the cradle of the Great Horned Mushroom Goddess before history, before standing armies, before slavery and property, before warfare and phonetic alphabets and monotheism, before, before, before. And this is where the future is taking us because the secret faith of the twentieth century is not modernism, the secret faith of the twentieth century is nostalgia for the archaic, nostalgia for the paleolithic, and that gives us body piercing, abstract expressionism, surrealism, jazz, rock-n-roll and catastrophe theory. The 20th century mind is nostalgic for the paradise that once existed on the mushroom dotted plains of Africa where the plant-human symbiosis occurred that pulled us out of the animal body and into the tool-using, culture-making, imagination-exploring creature that we are. And why does this matter? It matters because it shows that the way out is back and that the future is a forward escape into the past. This is what the psychedelic experience means. Its a doorway out of history and into the wiring under the board in eternity. And I tell you this because if the community understands what it is that holds it together the community will be better able to streamline itself for flight into hyperspace because what we need is a new myth, what we need is a new true story that tells us where we're going in the universe and that true story is that the ego is a product of pathology, and when psilocybin is regularly part of the human experience the ego is supressed and the supression of the ego means the defeat of the dominators, the materialists, the product peddlers. Psychedelics return us to the inner worth of the self, to the importance of the feeling of immediate experience - and nobody can sell that to you and nobody can buy it from you, so the dominator culture is not interested in the felt presence of immediate experience, but that's what holds the community together. And as we break out of the silly myths of science, and the infantile obsessions of the marketplace what we discover through the psychedelic experience is that in the body, IN THE BODY, there are Niagaras of beauty, alien beauty, alien dimensions that are part of the self, the richest part of life. I think of going to the grave without having a psychedelic experience like going to the grave without ever having sex. It means that you never figured out what it is all about. The mystery is in the body and the way the body works itself into nature. What the Archaic Revival means is shamanism, ecstacy, orgiastic sexuality, and the defeat of the three enemies of the people. And the three enemies of the people are hegemony, monogamy and monotony! And if you get them on the run you have the dominators sweating folks, because that means your getting it all reconnected, and getting it all reconnected means putting aside the idea of separateness and self-definition through thing-fetish. Getting it all connected means tapping into the Gaian mind, and the Gaian mind is what we're calling the psychedelic experience. Its an experience of the living fact of the entelechy of the planet. And without that experience we wander in a desert of bogus ideologies. But with that experience the compass of the self can be set, and that's the idea; figuring out how to reset the compass of the self through community, through ecstatic dance, through psychedelics, sexuality, intelligence, INTELLIGENCE. This is what we have to have to make the forward escape into hyperspace.
We took the path that led others nowhere and only we saw the light at the end of the tunnel. They warned us about the monsters we would encounter, the odds that we would meet. And they laughed when we got the scars while fighting the dragons on our way. When we came back out of the tunnel, holding the sword that they always craved for tightly in our hand. Bleeding and the sun shining on our face. We became the tales they wanted to be. We became the reflections of what they always wanted to see themselves through. We became the warriors they had always imagined of.
What can turn us from this deserted future, back into the sphere of our being, the great dance that joins us to our home, to each other and to other creatures, to the dead and unborn? I think it is love. I am perforce aware how baldly and embarrassingly that word now lies on the page—for we have learned at once to overuse it, abuse it, and hold it in suspicion. But I do not mean any kind of abstract love (adolescent, romantic, or "religious"), which is probably a contradiction in terms, but particular love for particular things, places, creatures, and people, requiring stands, acts, showing its successes and failures in practical or tangible effects. And it implies a responsibility just as particular, not grim or merely dutiful, but rising out of generosity. I think that this sort of love defines the effective range of human intelligence, the range within its works can be dependably beneficent. Only the action that is moved by love for the good at hand has the hope of being responsible and generous. Desire for the future produces words that cannot be stood by. But love makes language exact, because one loves only what one knows.
Beauty is one of the great facts of the world, like sunlight,or springtime, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. You have only a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully. When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you...Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses. You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed...Ah! realise your youth while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days, listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless, or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar...Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing...The world belongs to you for a season...how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is such a little time that your youth will last. The common hillflowers wither, but they blossom again. The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now. In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars. But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us at twenty, becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to...Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but youth.
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
As I’ve said, it wasn’t until a long time afterwards—long after I’d left the Cottages—that I realized just how significant out little encounter in the churchyard had been. I was upset at the time, yes. But I didn’t believe it to be anything so different from other tiffs we’d had. It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven could unravel and separate over a thing like that.
But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we’d understood that back then—who knows?—maybe we’d have kept a tighter hold of one another.
Kazuo Ishiguro (Never Let Me Go)
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))
When Allah (swt) decrees that a door in your life is to be opened, no matter how hard you try to close it, no matter how far you run away from it, it will remain open until you walk through. When Allah (swt) decrees that a door is to be closed, no matter how many times you knock on that door, try to break it down, or cry on your knees in front of it, begging it to open again, it will never be opened. Grieve in front of that closed door if you must. Stand there for a time and look at it. Hold your hands over your heart and press down to calm it's quickened pained rhythm. Then know- know beyond the shadow of a doubt, know in your heart of hearts- that when you trust Allah and move forward, he will open a more beautiful door for you. You will walk through it and perhaps you will even praise him for having closed the past door you loved so much. He is Al-Fattah, the Opener. May the doors He opens for us always lead us back to him.
Asmaa Hussein (A Temporary Gift: Reflections on Love, Loss, and Healing)
To know a thing you have to trust what you know, and all that you know, and as far as you know in whatever direction your knowing drags you. I once had a pet pine squirrel named Omar who lived in the cotton secret and springy dark of our old green davenport; Omar knew that davenport; he knew from the Inside what I only sat on from the Out, and trusted his knowledge to keep from being squashed by my ignorance. He survived until a red plaid blanket--spread to camouflage the worn-out Outside--confused him so he lost his faith in his familiarity with the In. Instead of trying to incorporate a plaid exterior into the scheme of his world he moved to the rainspout at the back of the house and was drowned in the first fall shower, probably still blaming that blanket: damn this world that just won't hold still for us! Damn it anyway!
Ken Kesey (Sometimes a Great Notion)
A Rock, A River, A Tree
Hosts to species long since departed,
Mark the mastodon.
The dinosaur, who left dry tokens
Of their sojourn here
On our planet floor,
Any broad alarm of their of their hastening doom
Is lost in the gloom of dust and ages.
But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,
Come, you may stand upon my
Back and face your distant destiny,
But seek no haven in my shadow.
I will give you no hiding place down here.
You, created only a little lower than
The angels, have crouched too long in
The bruising darkness,
Have lain too long
Face down in ignorance.
Your mouths spelling words
Armed for slaughter.
The rock cries out today, you may stand on me,
But do not hide your face.
Across the wall of the world,
A river sings a beautiful song,
Come rest here by my side.
Each of you a bordered country,
Delicate and strangely made proud,
Yet thrusting perpetually under siege.
Your armed struggles for profit
Have left collars of waste upon
My shore, currents of debris upon my breast.
Yet, today I call you to my riverside,
If you will study war no more.
Come, clad in peace and I will sing the songs
The Creator gave to me when I
And the tree and stone were one.
Before cynicism was a bloody sear across your brow
And when you yet knew you still knew nothing.
The river sings and sings on.
There is a true yearning to respond to
The singing river and the wise rock.
So say the Asian, the Hispanic, the Jew,
The African and Native American, the Sioux,
The Catholic, the Muslim, the French, the Greek,
The Irish, the Rabbi, the Priest, the Sheikh,
The Gay, the Straight, the Preacher,
The privileged, the homeless, the teacher.
They hear. They all hear
The speaking of the tree.
Today, the first and last of every tree
Speaks to humankind. Come to me, here beside the river.
Plant yourself beside me, here beside the river.
Each of you, descendant of some passed on
Traveller, has been paid for.
You, who gave me my first name,
You Pawnee, Apache and Seneca,
You Cherokee Nation, who rested with me,
Then forced on bloody feet,
Left me to the employment of other seekers--
Desperate for gain, starving for gold.
You, the Turk, the Swede, the German, the Scot...
You the Ashanti, the Yoruba, the Kru,
Bought, sold, stolen, arriving on a nightmare
Praying for a dream.
Here, root yourselves beside me.
I am the tree planted by the river,
Which will not be moved.
I, the rock, I the river, I the tree
I am yours--your passages have been paid.
Lift up your faces, you have a piercing need
For this bright morning dawning for you.
History, despite its wrenching pain,
Cannot be unlived, and if faced with courage,
Need not be lived again.
Lift up your eyes upon
The day breaking for you.
Give birth again
To the dream.
Women, children, men,
Take it into the palms of your hands.
Mold it into the shape of your most
Private need. Sculpt it into
The image of your most public self.
Lift up your hearts.
Each new hour holds new chances
For new beginnings.
Do not be wedded forever
To fear, yoked eternally
The horizon leans forward,
Offering you space to place new steps of change.
Here, on the pulse of this fine day
You may have the courage
To look up and out upon me,
The rock, the river, the tree, your country.
No less to Midas than the mendicant.
No less to you now than the mastodon then.
Here on the pulse of this new day
You may have the grace to look up and out
And into your sister's eyes,
Into your brother's face, your country
And say simply
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 is something about nature out of control that touches a primal terror. We are used to believing that we’re the masters of our domain, and that God has given us this earth to rule over. We need this illusion like a good night-light. The truth is more fearsome: we are as frail as young trees in tornadoes, and our beloved homes are one flood away from driftwood. We plant our roots in trembling earth, we live where mountains rose and fell and prehistoric seas burned away in mist. We and the towns we have built are not permanent; the earth itself is a passing train. When you stand in muddy water that is rising toward your waist and you hear people shouting against the darkness and see their figures struggling to hold back the currents that will not be denied, you realize the truth of it: we will not win, but we cannot give up.
Robert R. McCammon (Boy's Life)
All of us who fight here today do so with someone standing invisible behind us.” Asterin’s gold-flecked black eyes softened a bit. “Yes,” was all Manon’s Second said as her hand drifted to her abdomen. Not in memory of the hateful word branded there, of what had been done to her. In memory of the stillborn witchling who had been thrown by Manon’s grandmother into the fire before Asterin had a chance to hold her. In memory of the hunter whom Asterin had loved, as no Ironteeth ever had loved a man, and had never gone back to, for shame and fear. The hunter who had never stopped waiting for her to return, even when he was an old man. For them, for the family she had lost, Manon knew her Second would fight today. So it might never happen again.
Sarah J. Maas (Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass, #7))
Why didn't you come sooner?
I offered them no excuses that day, but I did know that there were reasons. Reasons that, when we hear God's call, when we feel that gentle (or not so gentle) urging of God's Spirit for us to make a bold step, take a risk, serve others, save a life, commit - we so often hold back.
It's because we don't feel empowered.
We don't feel qualified.
We think we lack the courage, the strength, the wisdom, the money, the experience, the education, the organization, the backing.
We feel like Moses...
Not me, God. I'm afraid. Weak. Poor. Stupid.
It has never been my desire to be daunted, to be afraid, to be unable to respond to God's call.
Christine Caine (Undaunted: Daring to do what God calls you to do)
I got a demerit, professor." There was a kind of naughty amusement in her eyes that I found myself really liking.
I smiled slowly. "Why did you do, Miss Dearly?"
"She henpecked Elpinoy in a most spectacular fashion," Renfield offered. "I think at one point she was actually hanging on his back." Nora made a sound of annoyance. "Alas, I was looking at a computer screen with Dr. Samedi at the time, and thus I'm afraid that neither of us can vouch for this with certainty."
The laughter bubbled out of me before I could hold it back. "Were you?" I asked her.
"Bra,." Elpinoy appeared in one of the lab doorways. He gestured to the exterior doors. "Take her out. Now. Never in my life have I encountered such a little-"
"Lady?" I asked, trying to keep a straight face.
"'Phone call,'" Nora said, affecting his tone of voice and looking right at him. "'Let-ter.'"
"Not until Wolfe orders it!" Elpinoy marched into his lab again and slammed the door behind him.
Nora stood up, her skirt bouncing a bit atop its puffy petticoat. "That man is an infuriating ponce."
"And you're an excellent judge of character.
Lia Habel (Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1))
Danger lies before you, while safety lies behind, Two of us will help you, whichever you would find, One among us seven will let you move ahead, Another will transport the drinker back instead, Two among our number hold only nettle wine, Three of us are killers, waiting hidden in line. Choose, unless you wish to stay here forevermore, To help you in your choice, we give you these clues four: First, however slyly the poison tries to hide You will always find some on nettle wine’s left side; Second, different are those who stand at either end, But if you would move onward, neither is your friend; Third, as you see clearly, all are different size, Neither dwarf nor giant holds death in their insides; Fourth, the second left and the second on the right Are twins once you taste them, though different at first sight.
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter #1))
No, you don't feel it now. Some day, when you are old and wrinkled and ugly, when thought has seared your forehead
with its lines, and passion branded your lips with itshideous fires, you will feel it, you will feel it terribly.Now, wherever you go, you charm the world. Will it always
be so? . . . You have a wonderfully beautiful face, Mr. Gray. Don't frown. You have. And beauty is a form of genius-- is higher, indeed, than genius, as it needs no explanation.
It is of the great facts of the world, like sunlight, or spring-time, or the reflection in dark waters of that silver shell we call the moon. It cannot be questioned. It has its divine
right of sovereignty. It makes princes of those who have it.You smile? Ah! when you have lost it you won't smile.
. . . People say sometimes that beauty is only superficial.That may be so, but at least it is not so superficial
as thought is. To me, beauty is the wonder of wonders.It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.
The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.
. . . Yes, Mr. Gray, the gods have been good to you.But what the gods give they quickly take away. You have only
a few years in which to live really, perfectly, and fully.When your youth goes, your beauty will go with it, and then you will suddenly discover that there are no triumphs left for you,
or have to content yourself with those mean triumphs that the memory of your past will make more bitter than defeats.Every month as it wanes brings you nearer to something dreadful.
Time is jealous of you, and wars against your lilies and your roses.
You will become sallow, and hollow-cheeked, and dull-eyed. You will suffer horribly.... Ah! realize your youth
while you have it. Don't squander the gold of your days,listening to the tedious, trying to improve the hopeless failure,or giving away your life to the ignorant, the common, and the vulgar. These are the sickly aims, the false ideals,of our age. Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you!
Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing. . . . A new Hedonism--
that is what our century wants. You might be its visible symbol.With your personality there is nothing you could not do.The world belongs to you for a season. . . . The moment I met
you I saw that you were quite unconscious of what you really are,
of what you really might be. There was so much in you that charmed me that I felt I must tell you something about yourself.I thought how tragic it would be if you were wasted. For there is
such a little time that your youth will last--such a little time.The common hill-flowers wither, but they blossom again.The laburnum will be as yellow next June as it is now.In a month there will be purple stars on the clematis, and year after year the green night of its leaves will hold its purple stars.
But we never get back our youth. The pulse of joy that beats in us
at twenty becomes sluggish. Our limbs fail, our senses rot. We degenerate into hideous puppets, haunted by the memory of the passions of which we were too much afraid, and the exquisite temptations that we had not the courage to yield to. Youth! Youth! There is absolutely nothing in the world but
Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray)
[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.
Why do you think she did it?” I asked as we stepped back into the sunlight. For that’s all any of us were thinking, had been thinking, since we got the news. Mustn’t Tiffany have hoped that whatever pills she’d taken wouldn’t be strong enough and that her failed attempt would lead her back into our fold? How could anyone purposefully leave us—us, of all people? This is how I thought of it, for though I’ve often lost faith in myself, I’ve never lost faith in my family, in my certainty that we are fundamentally better than everyone else. It’s an archaic belief, one I haven’t seriously reconsidered since my late teens, but still I hold it. Ours is the only club I’d ever wanted to be a member of, so I couldn’t imagine quitting. Backing off for a year or two was understandable, but to want out so badly that you’d take your own life?
David Sedaris (Calypso)
The sober truth is that the most important civil rights battles were fought and won four decades before the Obama presidency. The black underclass continues to face many challenges, but they have to do with values and habits, not oppression from a manifestly unjust society. Blacks have become their own worst enemy, and liberal leaders do not help matters by blaming self-inflicted wounds on whites or “society.” The notion that racism is holding back blacks as a group, or that better black outcomes cannot be expected until racism has been vanquished, is a dodge. And encouraging blacks to look to politicians to solve their problems does them a disservice. As the next chapter explains, one lesson of the Obama presidency—maybe the most important one for blacks—is that having a black man in the Oval Office is less important than having one in the home.
Jason L. Riley (Please Stop Helping Us: How Liberals Make It Harder for Blacks to Succeed)
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))
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.
We didn't finish that dance."
Echo's high heel tapped against the sidewalk, the telltale sign of nerves. I took a deliberate step forward and caught her waist before she coud back away from me. My siren had sung to me for way too long, capturing my heart, tempting me with her body, driving me slowly insane. Now, I expected her to pay up.
"Do you hear that?" I aked.
Echo raised an eyebrow when she heard nothing but the sound of water trickling in the fountain. "Hear what?"
I slid my right hand down her arm, cradled her hand against my chest and swayed us from side to side. "The music."
Her eyes danced. "Maybe if you could tell me what i'm supposed to be hearing."
"Slow drum beat." With one finger i tapped the beat into the small of her back. "Acoustic quitar." I leaned down and hummed my favorite song in her ear. Her sweet cinnamon smell intoxicated me.
She relaxed, fitting perfectly into my body. In the crisp, cold February air, we swayed together, moving to our own personal beat. For one moment, we escaped hell. No teachers, no therapist, no well-meaning friends, no nightmares-just the two of us, dancing.
My song ended, my finger stopped tapping the beat, and we ceased swaying from side to side. She held perfectly still, keeping her hand in mine, her head resting on my shoulder. I nuzzled into the warmth of her silky curls, tightening my hold on her. Echo was becoming essential, like air.
I eased my hand to her chin, lifting her face toward me. My thumb caressed her warm, smooth cheek. My heart beat faster.
A ghost of that siren smile graced her lips as she tilted her head closer to mine, creating the undeniable pull of the sailor lost to the sea to the beautiful goddess calling him home.
I kissed her lips. Soft, full, warm-everything i'd fantasized it would be and more, so much more. Echo hesitantly pressed back, a curious question for which i had a response. I parted my lips and teased her bottom one, begging, praying, for permission. Her smooth hands inched up my neck and pulled at my hair, bringing me closer.
She opened her mouth, her tongue seductively touching mine, almost bringing me to my knees. Flames licked through me as our kiss deepened. Her hands massaged my scalp and neck, only stoking the heat of the fire.
Forgetting every rule i'd created for this moment, my hands wandered up her back, twining in her hair, bringing her closer to me. I wanted Echo. I needed Echo.
Her eyes met mine again. "So what does this mean for us?"
I lowered my forehead to hers. "It means you 're mine.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
You know someone is special to you when you're literally captivated by them in even the little moments. The slightest thing they say or do, is like watching the universe unfold. And nothing else matters in those moments.
Where you go about your day, & the most capricious of things send you into a whirlwind of thoughts connected to them. And a plethora of thoughts flood into your mind, for no apparent reason other than its them.
Or perhaps, you randomly see a picture of them in your news feed & you just pause & look, & the world melts away & all time seems to stop, & there's a radiance that illuminates your life. And you focus on the little details, & wish you could just capture every single detail vividly.
And you see their eyes, & though they're merely a moment in time, their eyes are so beautiful, that they transcend the medium & are as if they're there looking back. And all you can do it look into them. Knowing those eyes are what you could look into endlessly.
And you know that it's all you could ever want, if for just a single moment in time.
Or they share their thoughts, & you rack your brain around how they think. An you just want to understand & know more of their thoughts, simply because they're theirs.
They, to you, are a more elegant work of art than even the finest painting, songs or poems of the great artists. And you know that even the most renowned artist couldn't conceive of a more perfect image of beauty. Leonardo, Van Gough, Rembrandt, Picasso, the most renowned artist of time would go mad in attempts to capture even a fraction of such a beautiful sight.
That even Shakespeare couldn't put such a person into words. Though there's no doubt they're worthy of being the subject of a Shakespearean sonnet. But it could do no justice to their reality, that because there are no words that truly could ever describe them, even such an attempt would be like trying to describe the complex, wondrous & marvelous nature of the universe in but a single word.
That no words, paintings, pictures, or thought could describe them & encapsulate the essence of their grace. And that though no one is truly perfect, they as a person through your eyes, reach a state as near perfect as you could imagine. And even dreams couldn't conceive of a greater wonder of life. It's as if the sum of all the beauty in the world can be found within this one person.
It's wonderful, inspiring, breathtaking. Or rather, it's a whirlwind of emotions. Where the wonder & awe bleed into & merge with the disheartening longing, utter belief that you could not for a second touch that with you so desperately struggle & grasp for & an inability to even breath in the moments you're interacting with them.
But it's all the more maddening because with all the wanting of your heart, you know it's wanting for something it could never have. That for all your wanting, you know such things are simply & purely unobtainable. And all you can do is hold to adoration & hopes. Hopes that you in your heart know fully are hopeless, but which you can't help but maintain. I think few things are more maddening than that feelings.
Most people, when face with such a situation, might despair & grow cynical. But so seldom do we ever meet someone who so maddeningly captivates us, so seldom someone who's very existence throws your world upside down.
In a time in which genuine emotion is a scarcity. And pseudo-emotions, frivolous & quick to fade, are rampant. The genuine article is something I cherish.
When something makes you feel anything, it's something amazing. Regardless if it's a fervent concoction of the greatest good & the saddest sad. The experience of meeting such a person, who can spark such thoughts & feeling, is a genuine rarity.
One in which a given person could go a lifetime without experiencing, but which is worth experiencing. And something that, though ultimately heartbreaking, I wouldn't give up experiencing.
The secret killer of innovation is shame. You can’t measure it, but it is there. Every time someone holds back on a new idea, fails to give their manager much needed feedback, and is afraid to speak up in front of a client you can be sure shame played a part. That deep fear we all have of being wrong, of being belittled and of feeling less than, is what stops us taking the very risks required to move our companies forward. If you want a culture of creativity and innovation, where sensible risks are embraced on both a market and individual level, start by developing the ability of managers to cultivate an openness to vulnerability in their teams. And this, paradoxically perhaps, requires first that they are vulnerable themselves. This notion that the leader needs to be “in charge” and to “know all the answers” is both dated and destructive. Its impact on others is the sense that they know less, and that they are less than. A recipe for risk aversion if ever I have heard it. Shame becomes fear. Fear leads to risk aversion. Risk aversion kills innovation.
Brené Brown (Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead)
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))
I made a choice between you and the King, and I chose you," Loki said. "In the garden, we were alone. I could've knocked you out and thrown you over my shoulder, then taken you back to the King. He would've spared me if I had.
"But I didn't." He stepped closer to me, and I could feel the heat radiating from his body. "He told me what he'd do to me if I didn't return you to him, but I couldn't do it."
He lifted his other hand, so he held my face in his hands. His skin was warm against mine, and even if he wasn't holding me, I wouldn't have looked away. There was something in his eyes, a longing and warmth, that took my breath away.
"Do you understand now?" Loki asked, his voice husky. "I would do it again for you, Wendy. I would go through hell and back for you. Even knowing how much you hate me right now."
I was so caught up in the moment I didn't even notice how close the passing SUV had gotten until it squealed to a stop next to us, nearly hitting our Cadillac. Loki moved toward me, and Tove jumped out of the driver's seat. Finn ran around the car and charged at Loki.
Amanda Hocking (Ascend (Trylle, #3))
FOR THE DYING May death come gently toward you, Leaving you time to make your way Through the cold embrace of fear To the place of inner tranquillity. May death arrive only after a long life To find you at home among your own With every comfort and care you require. May your leave-taking be gracious, Enabling you to hold dignity Through awkwardness and illness. May you see the reflection Of your life’s kindness and beauty In all the tears that fall for you. As your eyes focus on each face, May your soul take its imprint, Drawing each image within As companions for the journey. May you find for each one you love A different locket of jeweled words To be worn around the heart To warm your absence. May someone who knows and loves The complex village of your heart Be there to echo you back to yourself And create a sure word-raft To carry you to the further shore. May your spirit feel The surge of true delight When the veil of the visible Is raised, and you glimpse again The living faces Of departed family and friends. May there be some beautiful surprise Waiting for you inside death, Something you never knew or felt, Which with one simple touch, Absolves you of all loneliness and loss, As you quicken within the embrace For which your soul was eternally made. May your heart be speechless At the sight of the truth Of all belief had hoped, Your heart breathless In the light and lightness Where each and everything Is at last its true self Within that serene belonging That dwells beside us On the other side Of what we see.
John O'Donohue (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Invocations and Blessings)
Miss Edi: My brother Bertrand is the laziest person in the world.
David: Oh yeah? And how lazy is that?
Miss Edi: When he was three and saw all his gifts under the Christmas tree, he said, 'Who's going to open them for me?'
David: I've heard worse.
Miss Edi: When he was six, my father bought him a bicycle and took him out to teach him to ride it.
Miss Edi: Bertrand did very well. My father ran along behind him, holding on, and my brother balanced perfectly. But when my father let go and the bicycle stopped, Bertrand asked why. When my father said he had to push on the pedals, my brother left it lying there in the street, and he never got on a bicycle again.
David: Not bad, but I've heard worse.
Miss Edi: When he was twelve, my parents took us out to a restaurant, the first one we'd ever been to, and my father ordered steaks for each of us. When my brother's came, he looked at it and asked how he was to eat it. My father showed him how to cut the steak, then how to chew it. My brother called the waiter back and ordered a bowl of mashed potatoes.
David: Okay, that's getting up there, but I have heard a few worse.
Miss Edi: When he was sixteen, my mother arranged for her beloved son to go to a dance with a very nice young girl. He was to pick her up at six pm. At six-thirty Bertrand was sitting in the living room and my father asked him why he hadn't gone on his date. My brother said, 'Because she hasn't come to get me yet.
Jude Deveraux (Lavender Morning (Edilean, #1))
His vulnerability allowed me to let my guard down, and gently and methodically, he tore apart my well-constructed dam. Waves of tender feelings were lapping over the top and slipping through the cracks. The feelings flooded through and spilled into me. It was frightening opening myself up to feel love for someone again. My heart pounded hard and thudded audibly in my chest. I was sure he could hear it.
Ren’s expression changed as he watched my face. His look of sadness was replaced by one of concern for me.
What was the next step? What should I do? What do I say? How do I share what I’m feeling?
I remembered watching romance movies with my mom, and our favorite saying was “shut up and kiss her already!” We’d both get frustrated when the hero or heroine wouldn’t do what was so obvious to the two of us, and as soon as a tense, romantic moment occurred, we’d both repeat our mantra. I could hear my mom’s humor-filled voice in my mind giving me the same advice: “Kells, shut up and kiss him already!”
So, I got a grip on myself, and before I changed my mind, I leaned over and kissed him.
He froze. He didn’t kiss me back. He didn’t push me away. He just stopped…moving. I pulled back, saw the shock on his face, and instantly regretted my boldness. I stood up and walked away, embarrassed. I wanted to put some distance between us as I frantically tried to rebuild the walls around my heart.
I heard him move. He slid his hand under my elbow and turned me around. I couldn’t look at him. I just stared at his bare feet. He put a finger under my chin and tried to nudge my head up, but I still refused to meet his gaze.
“Kelsey. Look at me.” Lifting my eyes, they traveled from his feet to a white button in the middle of his shirt. “Look at me.”
My eyes continued their journey. They drifted past the golden-bronze skin of his chest, his throat, and then settled on his beautiful face. His cobalt blue eyes searched mine, questioning. He took a step closer. My breath hitched in my throat. Reaching out a hand, he slid it around my waist slowly. His other hand cupped my chin. Still watching my face, he placed his palm lightly on my cheek and traced the arch of my cheekbone with his thumb.
The touch was sweet, hesitant, and careful, the way you might try to touch a frightened doe. His face was full of wonder and awareness. I quivered. He paused just a moment more, then smiled tenderly, dipped is head, and brushed his lips lightly against mine.
He kissed me softly, tentatively, just a mere whisper of a kiss. His other hand slid down to my waist too. I timidly touched his arms with my fingertips. He was warm, and his skin was smooth. He gently pulled me closer and pressed me lightly against his chest. I gripped his arms.
He sighed with pleasure, and deepened the kiss. I melted into him.
How was I breathing? His summery sandalwood scent surrounded me. Everywhere he touched me, I felt tingly and alive.
I clutched his arms fervently. His lips never leaving mine, Ren took both of my arms and wrapped them, one by one, around his neck. Then he trailed one of his hands down my bare arm to my waist while the other slid into my hair. Before I realized what he was planning to do, he picked me up with one arm and crushed me to his chest.
I have no idea how long we kissed. It felt like a mere second, and it also felt like forever. My bare feet were dangling several inches from the floor. He was holding all my body weight easily with one arm. I buried my fingers into his hair and felt a rumble in his chest. It was similar to the purring sound he made as a tiger. After that, all coherent thought fled and time stopped.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
God will not be tolerated. He instructs us to worship and fear Him.
In our world, where hundreds of things distract us from God, we have to intentionally and consistently remind ourselves of Him.
Because we don’t often think about the reality of who God is, we quickly forget that He is worthy to be worshiped and loved. We are to fear Him.
The answer to each of these questions is simply this: because He’s God. He has more of a right to ask us why so many people are starving. As much as we want God to explain himself to us, His creation, we are in no place to demand that He give an account to us.
Can you worship a God who isn’t obligated to explain His actions to you? Could it be your arrogance that makes you think God owes you an explanation?
If God is truly the greatest good on this earth, would He be loving us if He didn’t draw us toward what is best for us (even if that happens to be Himself)? Doesn’t His courting, luring, pushing, calling, and even “threatening” demonstrate His love? If He didn’t do all of that, wouldn’t we accuse Him of being unloving in the end, when all things are revealed?
Has your relationship with God actually changed the way you live? Do you see evidence of God’s kingdom in your life? Or are you choking it out slowly by spending too much time, energy, money, and thought on the things of this world?
Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next.
Jesus’ call to commitment is clear: He wants all or nothing.
Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.
If life is a river, then pursuing Christ requires swimming upstream. When we stop swimming, or actively following Him, we automatically begin to be swept downstream.
How could we think for even a second that something on this puny little earth compares to the Creator and Sustainer and Savior of it all?
True faith means holding nothing back; it bets everything on the hope of eternity.
When you are truly in love, you go to great lengths to be with the one you love. You’ll drive for hours to be together, even if it’s only for a short while. You don’t mind staying up late to talk. Walking in the rain is romantic, not annoying. You’ll willingly spend a small fortune on the one you’re crazy about. When you are apart from each other, it’s painful, even miserable. He or she is all you think about; you jump at any chance to be together.
There is nothing better than giving up everything and stepping into a passionate love relationship with God, the God of the universe who made galaxies, leaves, laughter, and me and you.
Do you recognize the foolishness of seeking fulfillment outside of Him?
Are you ready and willing to make yourself nothing? To take the very nature of a servant? To be obedient unto death?
True love requires sacrifice.
What are you doing right now that requires faith?
God doesn’t call us to be comfortable.
If one person “wastes” away his day by spending hours connecting with God, and the other person believes he is too busy or has better things to do than worship the Creator and Sustainer, who is the crazy one?
Am I loving my neighbor and my God by living where I live, by driving what I drive, by talking how I talk?”
If I stop pursuing Christ, I am letting our relationship deteriorate.
The way we live out our days is the way we will live our lives.
What will people say about your life in heaven? Will people speak of God’s work and glory through you? And even more important, how will you answer the King when He says, “What did you do with what I gave you?
Francis Chan (Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God)
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)
When the mind, for want of being sufficiently reduced by recollection at our first engaging in devotion, has contracted certain bad habits of wandering and dissipation, they are difficult to overcome, and commonly draw us, even against our wills, to the things of the earth.
I believe one remedy for this is to confess our faults, and to humble ourselves before God. I do not advise you to use multiplicity of words in prayer: many words and long discourses being often the occasions of wandering. Hold yourself in prayer before God, like a dumb or paralytic beggar at a rich man's gate. Let it be your business to keep your mind in the presence of the Lord. If it sometimes wander and withdraw itself from Him, do not much disquiet yourself for that: trouble and disquiet serve rather to distract the mind than to re-collect it: the will must bring it back in tranquility. If you persevere in this manner, God will have pity on you.
Brother Lawrence (The Practice of the Presence of God)
A good relationship has a pattern like a dance and is built on some of the same rules. The partners do not need to hold on tightly, because they move confidently in the same pattern, intricate but gay and swift and free, like a country dance of Mozart's. To touch heavily would be to arrest the pattern and freeze the movement, to check the endlessly changing beauty of its unfolding. There is no place here for the possessive clutch, the clinging arm, the heavy hand, only the barest touch in passing. Now arm in arm, now face to face, now back to back -- it does not matter which because they know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.
The joy of such a pattern is...the joy of living in the moment. Lightness of touch and living in the moment are intertwined. One cannot dance well unless one is completely in time with the music, not leaning back to the last step or pressing forward to the next one, but poised directly on the present step as it comes... But how does one learn this technique of the dance? Why is it so difficult? What makes us hesitate and stumble? It is fear, I think, that makes one cling nostalgically to the last moment or clutch greedily toward the next. [And fear] can only be exorcised by its opposite: love.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Gift from the Sea)
Coddly slammed a fist on the table. “No one will take you seriously if you do not act decisively.”
There was a beat of silence after his voice stopped echoing around the room, and the entire table sat motionless.
“Fine,” I responded calmly. “You’re fired.”
Coddly laughed, looking at the other gentlemen at the table. “You can’t fire me, Your Highness.”
I tilted my head, staring at him. “I assure you, I can. There’s no one here who outranks me at the moment, and you are easily replaceable.”
Though she tried to be discreet, I saw Lady Brice purse her lips together, clearly determined not to laugh. Yes, I definitely had an ally in her.
“You need to fight!” he insisted.
“No,” I answered firmly. “A war would add unnecessary strain to an already stressful moment and would cause an upheaval between us and the country we are now bound to by marriage. We will not fight.”
Coddly lowered his chin and squinted. “Don’t you think you’re being too emotional about this?”
I stood, my chair screeching behind me as I moved. “I’m going to assume that you aren’t implying by that statement that I’m actually being too female about this. Because, yes, I am emotional.”
I strode around the opposite side of the table, my eyes trained on Coddly. “My mother is in a bed with tubes down her throat, my twin is now on a different continent, and my father is holding himself together by a thread.”
Stopping across from him, I continued. “I have two younger brothers to keep calm in the wake of all this, a country to run, and six boys downstairs waiting for me to offer one of them my hand.” Coddly swallowed, and I felt only the tiniest bit of guilt for the satisfaction it brought me. “So, yes, I am emotional right now. Anyone in my position with a soul would be. And you, sir, are an idiot. How dare you try to force my hand on something so monumental on the grounds of something so small? For all intents and purposes, I am queen, and you will not coerce me into anything.”
I walked back to the head of the table. “Officer Leger?”
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“Is there anything on this agenda that can’t wait until tomorrow?”
“No, Your Highness.”
“Good. You’re all dismissed. And I suggest you all remember who’s in charge here before we meet again.
Kiera Cass (The Crown (The Selection, #5))
The essence of meditation practice in Dzogchen is encapsulated by these four points:
▪ When one past thought has ceased and a future thought has not yet risen, in that gap, in between, isn’t there a consciousness of the present moment; fresh, virgin, unaltered by even a hair’s breadth of a concept, a luminous, naked awareness?
Well, that is what Rigpa is!
▪ Yet it doesn’t stay in that state forever, because another thought suddenly arises, doesn’t it?
This is the self-radiance of that Rigpa.
▪ However, if you do not recognize this thought for what it really is, the very instant it arises, then it will turn into just another ordinary thought, as before. This is called the “chain of delusion,” and is the root of samsara.
▪ If you are able to recognize the true nature of the thought as soon as it arises, and leave it alone without any follow-up, then whatever thoughts arise all automatically dissolve back into the vast expanse of Rigpa and are liberated.
Clearly this takes a lifetime of practice to understand and realize the full richness and majesty of these four profound yet simple points, and here I can only give you a taste of the vastness of what is meditation in Dzogchen.
Dzogchen meditation is subtly powerful in dealing with the arisings of the mind, and has a unique perspective on them. All the risings are seen in their true nature, not as separate from Rigpa, and not as antagonistic to it, but actually as none other–and this is very important–than its “self-radiance,” the manifestation of its very energy.
Say you find yourself in a deep state of stillness; often it does not last very long and a thought or a movement always arises, like a wave in the ocean. Don’t reject the movement or particulary embrace the stillness, but continue the flow of your pure presence. The pervasive, peaceful state of your meditation is the Rigpa itself, and all risings are none other than this Rigpa’s self-radiance. This is the heart and the basis of Dzogchen practice. One way to imagine this is as if you were riding on the sun’s rays back to the sun: ….
Of couse there are rough as well as gentle waves in the ocean; strong emotions come, like anger, desire, jealousy. The real practitioner recognizes them not as a disturbance or obstacle, but as a great opportunity. The fact that you react to arisings such as these with habitual tendencies of attachment and aversion is a sign not only that you are distracted, but also that you do not have the recognition and have lost the ground of Rigpa. To react to emotions in this way empowers them and binds us even tighter in the chains of delusion. The great secret of Dzogchen is to see right through them as soon as they arise, to what they really are: the vivid and electric manifestation of the energy of Rigpa itself. As you gradually learn to do this, even the most turbulent emotions fail to seize hold of you and dissolve, as wild waves rise and rear and sink back into the calm of the ocean.
The practitioner discovers–and this is a revolutionary insight, whose subtlety and power cannot be overestimated–that not only do violent emotions not necessarily sweep you away and drag you back into the whirlpools of your own neuroses, they can actually be used to deepen, embolden, invigorate, and strengthen the Rigpa. The tempestuous energy becomes raw food of the awakened energy of Rigpa. The stronger and more flaming the emotion, the more Rigpa is strengthened.
Sogyal Rinpoche (The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
Our lips just trespassed on those inner labyrinths hidden deep within our ears, filled them with the private music of wicked words, hers in many languages, mine in the off color of my own tongue, until as our tones shifted, and our consonants spun and squealed, rattled faster, hesitated, raced harder, syllables soon melting with groans, or moans finding purchase in new words, or old words, or made-up words, until we gathered up our heat and refused to release it, enjoying too much the dark language we had suddenly stumbled upon, craved to, carved to, not a communication really but a channeling of our rumored desires, hers for all I know gone to Black Forests and wolves, mine banging back to a familiar form, that great revenant mystery I still could only hear the shape of, which in spite of our separate lusts and individual cries still continued to drive us deeper into stranger tones, our mutual desire to keep gripping the burn fueled by sound, hers screeching, mine – I didn’t hear mine – only hears, probably counter-pointing mine, a high-pitched cry, then a whisper dropping unexpectedly to practically a bark, a grunt, whatever, no sense any more, and suddenly no more curves either, just the straight away, some line crossed, where every fractured sound already spoken finally compacts into one long agonizing word, easily exceeding a hundred letters, even thunder, anticipating the inevitable letting go, when the heat is ultimately too much to bear, threatening to burn, scar, tear it all apart, yet tempting enough to hold onto for even one second more, to extend it all, if we can, as if by getting that much closer to the heat, that much more enveloped, would prove … - which when we did clutch, hold, postpone, did in fact prove too much after all, seconds too much, and impossible to refuse, so blowing all of everything apart, shivers and shakes and deep in her throat a thousand letters crashing in a long unmodulated fall, resonating deep within my cochlea and down the cochlear nerve, a last fit of fury describing in lasting detail the shape of things already come.
Too bad dark languages rarely survive.
Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)
There are many differing viewpoints on nature versus nurture, and there are those who believe that bad behavior can be excused and understood if a person doesn't know better. The theory that someone who has been abused as a child will go on to abuse their own children, and so on, because they don't know differently is widely held. But children know. We all know.
Learned behavior. When a child is abused, he or she knows, even as it is happening, that it is wrong. I knew. I was abused. When a child is treated unfairly in any way, he or she knows that it is wrong. I knew. I was treated unfairly. And when a child is treated with love and affection, he or she knows that it is right. I knew. I saw how other kids were treated with love and affection by their parents. I knew. My soul cried out to me and told me so. We all know. We all know right from wrong. Our souls cry out to us and tell us so. And we decide, we make our choices, and we are responsible for those choices. We, no one else but we, decide.
Anger, hurt, pain, humiliation, fear, dread, confusion-all these emotions we choose. De we hold on to our anger, our pain and humiliation, and hit back, or do we strive to understand that we can do better?
Rosemary Altea (Soul Signs: An Elemental Guide to Your Spiritual Destiny)
They rode for a while in silence, a tiny island in the smoky stream of marching men. Then Lee said slowly, in a strange, soft, slow tone of voice, "Soldiering has one great trap."
Longstreet turned to see his face. Lee was riding slowly ahead, without expression. He spoke in that same slow voice. "To be a good soldier you must love the army. But to be a good officer you must be willing to order the death of the thing you love. This is...a very hard thing to do. No other profession requires it. That is one reason why there are so very few good officers. Although there are many good men."
Lee rarely lectured. Longstreet sensed a message beyond it. He waited. Lee said, "We don't fear our own deaths, you and I." He smiled slightly, then glanced away. "We protect ourselves out of military necessity, not do not protect yourself enough and must give thought to it. I need you. But the point is, we are afraid to die. We are prepared for our own deaths, and for the deaths of comrades. We learn that at the Point. But I have seen this happen: we are not prepared for as many deaths as we have to face, inevitably as the war goes on. There comes a time..."
He paused. He had been gazing straight ahead, away from Longstreet. Now, black-eyed, he turned back, glanced once quickly into Longstreet's eyes, then looked away.
"We are never prepared for so many to die. So you understand? No one is. We expect some chosen few. We expect an occasional empty chair, a toast to dear departed comrades. Victory celebrations for most of us, a hallowed death for a few. But the war goes on. And the men die. The price gets ever higher. Some officers...can pay no longer. We are prepared to lose some of us." He paused again. "But never ALL of us. Surely not all of us. But...that is the trap. You can hold nothing back when you attack. You must commit yourself totally. And yet ,if they all die, a man must ask himself, will it have been worth it?
Michael Shaara (The Killer Angels (The Civil War Trilogy, #2))
He told me that from now on, everything I did and everything he did was of the utmost importance: any word spoken, the slightest gesture, would take on a meaning, and everything that happened between us would change us continually. 'For that reason,'he said,'I wish I were able to suspend time at this moment and keep things exactly at this point, because I feel this instant is a true beginning. We have a definite but unknown quantity of experience at our disposal. As soon as the hourglass is turned, the sand will begin to run out and once it starts, it cannot stop until it's all gone. That's why I wish I could hold it back at the start. We should make a minimum of gestures, pronounce a minimum of words, even see each other as seldom as possible, if that would prolong things. We don't know how much of everything we have ahead of us so we have to take the greatest precautions not to destroy the beauty of what we have. Everything exists in limited quantity-especially happiness. If a love is to come into being, it is all written down somewhere, and also its duration and content. If you could arrive at the complete intensity the first day, it would be ended the first day. And so if it's something you want so much that you'd like to have it prolonged in time, you must be extremely careful not to make the slightest excessive demand that might prevent it from developing to the greatest extent over the longest period...If the wings of the butterfly are to keep their sheen, you mustn't touch them. We mustn't abuse something which is to bring light into both our lives. Everything else in my life only weighs me down and shuts out the light. This thing wih you seems like a window that is opening up. I want it to remain open...
Françoise Gilot (Life with Picasso)
How are you giving it magic?” he said, through his teeth.
“I already found the path!” I said. “I’m just staying on it. Can’t you—feel it?” I asked abruptly, and held my hand cupping the flower out towards him; he frowned and put his hands around it, and then he said, “Vadiya rusha ilikad tuhi,” and a second illusion laid itself over mine, two roses in the same space—his, predictably, had three rings of perfect petals, and a delicate fragrance.
“Try and match it,” he said absently, his fingers moving slightly, and by lurching steps we brought our illusions closer together until it was nearly impossible to tell them one from another, and then he said, “Ah,” suddenly, just as I began to glimpse his spell: almost exactly like that strange clockwork on the middle of his table, all shining moving parts. On an impulse I tried to align our workings: I envisioned his like the water-wheel of a mill, and mine the rushing stream driving it around. “What are you—” he began, and then abruptly we had only a single rose, and it began to grow.
And not only the rose: vines were climbing up the bookshelves in every direction, twining themselves around ancient tomes and reaching out the window; the tall slender columns that made the arch of the doorway were lost among rising birches, spreading out long finger-branches; moss and violets were springing up across the floor, delicate ferns unfurling. Flowers were blooming everywhere: flowers I had never seen, strange blooms dangling and others with sharp points, brilliantly colored, and the room was thick with their fragrance, with the smell of crushed leaves and pungent herbs. I looked around myself alight with wonder, my magic still flowing easily. “Is this what you meant?” I asked him: it really wasn’t any more difficult than making the single flower had been. But he was staring at the riot of flowers all around us, as astonished as I was.
He looked at me, baffled and for the first time uncertain, as though he had stumbled into something, unprepared. His long narrow hands were cradled around mine, both of us holding the rose together. Magic was singing in me, through me; I felt the murmur of his power singing back that same song. I was abruptly too hot, and strangely conscious of myself. I pulled my hands free.
Naomi Novik (Uprooted)
But as I stood across from Archer, I couldn't forget that I was completely, stupidly in love with the one person I could never have.
The laughter died on my lips, and I dashed at my eyes with the back of my hand. "I need to get back," I said.
"Right," he replied. He was still holding his sword in his right hand, and he twirled the hilt, the point sratching the wooden floor. "So this is it. We're done."
"Yeah," I said, my voice cracking. I cleared my throat. "And I have to say, the world's first and last Eye-demon reconnaissance mission went pretty well." It was a struggle to meet his eyes, but I managed it. "Thank you."
He shrugged, his dark gaze full of something I couldn't quite read. "We were a good team."
"We were." In more ways than one, I thought. Which is why this sucked so bad.
I stepped back. "Anyway, I should go. See ya,Cross." Then I laughed, only it sounded suspiciously like another sob. "Except I won't, will I So I guess I should say goodbye." I felt like I was about to shatter into a million tiny shards, like the mirrors I'd broken with Dad. "okay, well, best of luck with the whole Eye thing, then. Try not to kill anyone I know." I turned away, but he reached out and caught my wrist.
I could feel my pulse hammering under his fingers. "Mercer, that day in the cellar..." He searched my face, and I could sense him struggling for what he wanted to say. Then finally, "I didn't kiss you back because I had to. I kissed you because I wanted to." His eyes dropped to my lips,and it was like the whole world had shrunk to just me and him and the shaft of light between us. "I still want to," he said hoarsely. He tugged my wrist and pulled me into his arms.
My brain registered the sound of his sword clattering to he ground as his other hand came up to grab the back of my neck, but once his lips were on mine, everything else faded away. I clutched at his shoulders, raising up on my tiptoes, and kissed him with everything I had in me. As the kiss deepened, we held each other tighter, so I didn't know if the pounding heartbeat I felt was mine or his.
How stupid,I thought dreamily, to have ever thought I could give this up. Not just the kissing, although, as Archer's hands cupped my face, I had to admit that part was pretty awesome. But all of it: joking with him and working beside him. Being with a guy who was my friend and could still make me feel like this.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
I love being horribly straightforward. I love sending reckless text messages (because how reckless can a form of digitized communication be?) and telling people I love them and telling people they are absolutely magical humans and I cannot believe they really exist. I love saying, Kiss me harder, and You’re a good person, and, You brighten my day. I live my life as straight-forward as possible. Because one day, I might get hit by a bus. Maybe it’s weird. Maybe it’s scary. Maybe it seems downright impossible to just be—to just let people know you want them, need them, feel like, in this very moment, you will die if you do not see them, hold them, touch them in some way whether its your feet on their thighs on the couch or your tongue in their mouth or your heart in their hands. But there is nothing more beautiful than being desperate. And there is nothing more risky than pretending not to care. We are young and we are human and we are beautiful and we are not as in control as we think we are. We never know who needs us back. We never know the magic that can arise between ourselves and other humans. We never know when the bus is coming.
Rachel C. Lewis
Now, it is our understanding that his Majesty Grom is requesting an unsealing from his mating with the Common Paca?”
“That is correct,” Antonis says, rolling his eyes. “Poseidon’s beard, but this is repetitive.”
Tandel ignores the elder king’s bluster. “It is also our understanding that Prince Galen requests, in exchange for his help, and the help of Emma the Half-Breed, that he is permitted to mate with Emma as if she were full-blooded Syrena.”
“You have that correct,” Galen answers gruffly.
Tandel pauses. “And do the Royals have any more requests at this time?”
“Yes,” Emma says, to Galen’s surprise. She’s never held back from speaking what’s on her mind. But she never acknowledged herself as a Royal until now. “Because of my Half-breed status, and the fact that I’ve lived on land all my life, I would like for the Royals to be able to visit me here whenever they like. I know that under the current laws, that’s not allowed, but I want that changed.”
“You might as well agree to that, Tandel,” Antonis says. “Or else you’ll be holding another tribunal for the Royals, because all of us intend to be visiting land more often I think.”
“Actually I won’t be visiting land,” Galen says. He turns to Emma. “I’ll be living here.” Tears pool in her eyes. He catches one sliding down her cheek and kisses it away. Her reaction just confirms what he’d suspected all along. That she’s been worried about it. How it would work out between them, where would they live. Emma had said before that she wanted the best of both worlds. Prom, graduation, college. Swimming with dolphins, visiting the Titanic, searching for Amelia Earhart’s plane. He intends to make sure she has it all.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
As for us,Etienne was right.Our schools are only a twenty-minute transit ride away.He'll stay with me on the weekends, and we'll visit each other as often as possible during the week. We'll be together.We both got our Point Zero wishes-each other.He said he wished for me every time.He was wishing for me when I entered the tower.
"Mmm," I say.He's kissing my neck.
"That's it," Rashmi says. "I'm outta here.Enjoy your hormones."
Josh and Mer follow her exit,and we're alone.Just the way I like it.
"Ha!" Ettiene says. "Just the way I like it."
He pulls me onto his lap,and I wrap my legs around his waist.His lips are velvet soft,and we kiss until the streetlamps flicker on outside. Until the opera singer begins her evening routine. "I'm going to miss her," I say.
"I'll sing to you." He tucks my stripe behind my ear. "Or I'll take you to the opera.Or I'll fly you back here to visit. Whatever you want.Anything you want."
I lace my fingers through his. "I want to stay right here,in this moment."
"Isn't that the name of the latest James Ashley bestseller? In This Moment?"
"Careful.Someday you'll meet him, and he won't be nearly as amusing in person."
Etienne grins. "Oh,so he'll only be mildly amusing? I suppose I can handle mildly amusing."
"I'm serious! You have to promise me right now,this instant,that you won't leave me once you meet him.Most people would run."
"I'm not most people."
I smile. "I know.But you still have to promise."
His eyes lock on mine. "Anna,I promise that I will never leave you."
My heart pounds in response.And Etienne knows it,because he takes my hand and holds it against his chest,to show me how hard his heart is pounding, too. "And now for yours," he says.
I'm still dazed. "My what?"
He laughs. "Promise you won't flee once I introduce you to my father.Or, worse, leave me for him."
I pause. "Do you think he'll object to me?"
"Oh,I'm sure he will."
Okay.Not the answer I was looking for.
Etienne sees my alarm. "Anna.You know my father dislikes anything that makes me happy.And you make me happier than anyone ever has." He smiles. "Oh,yes. He'll hate you."
"So....that's a good thing?"
"I don't care what he thinks.Only what you think." He holds me tighter. "Like if you think I need to stop biting my nails."
"You've worn your pinkies to nubs," I say cheerfully.
"Or if I need to start ironing my bedspread."
"I DO NOT IRON MY BEDSPREAD."
"You do.And I love it." I blush,and Etienne kisses my warm cheeks. "You know,my mum loves you."
"You're the only thing I've talked about all year.She's ecstatic we're together."
I'm smiling inside and out. "I can't wait to meet her.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
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))
It isn’t Easter,” he said, “but this week has caused me to think a lot about the Easter story. Not the glorious resurrection that we celebrate on Easter Sunday but the darkness that came before. I know of no darker moment in the Bible than the moment Jesus in his agony on the cross cries out, ‘Father, why have you forsaken me?’ Darker even than his death not long after because in death Jesus at last gave himself over fully to the divine will of God. But in that moment of his bitter railing he must have felt betrayed and completely abandoned by his father, a father he’d always believed loved him deeply and absolutely. How terrible that must have been and how alone he must have felt. In dying all was revealed to him, but alive Jesus like us saw with mortal eyes, felt the pain of mortal flesh, and knew the confusion of imperfect mortal understanding. “I see with mortal eyes. My mortal heart this morning is breaking. And I do not understand. “I confess that I have cried out to God, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’ ” Here my father paused and I thought he could not continue. But after a long moment he seemed to gather himself and went on. “When we feel abandoned, alone, and lost, what’s left to us? What do I have, what do you have, what do any of us have left except the overpowering temptation to rail against God and to blame him for the dark night into which he’s led us, to blame him for our misery, to blame him and cry out against him for not caring? What’s left to us when that which we love most has been taken? “I will tell you what’s left, three profound blessings. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Saint Paul tells us exactly what they are: faith, hope, and love. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and he’s given us complete control over them. Even in the darkest night it’s still within our power to hold to faith. We can still embrace hope. And although we may ourselves feel unloved we can still stand steadfast in our love for others and for God. All this is in our control. God gave us these gifts and he does not take them back. It is we who choose to discard them. “In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way. “And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you’ve prayed for. God probably won’t undo what’s been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day. “Jesus suffered the dark night and death and on the third day he rose again through the grace of his loving father. For each of us, the sun sets and the sun also rises and through the grace of our Lord we can endure our own dark night and rise to the dawning of a new day and rejoice. “I invite you, my brothers and sisters, to rejoice with me in the divine grace of the Lord and in the beauty of this morning, which he has given us.
William Kent Krueger (Ordinary Grace)
Your life is beautiful.
I see nothing especially lovely about it. [He looks at his watch] Excuse me, I must go at once, and begin writing again. I am in a hurry. [He laughs] You have stepped on my pet corn, as they say, and I am getting excited, and a little cross. Let us discuss this bright and beautiful life of mine, though. [After a few moments' thought] Violent obsessions sometimes lay hold of a man: he may, for instance, think day and night of nothing but the moon. I have such a moon. Day and night I am held in the grip of one besetting thought, to write, write, write! Hardly have I finished one book than something urges me to write another, and then a third, and then a fourth--I write ceaselessly. I am, as it were, on a treadmill. I hurry for ever from one story to another, and can't help myself. Do you see anything bright and beautiful in that? Oh, it is a wild life! Even now, thrilled as I am by talking to you, I do not forget for an instant that an unfinished story is awaiting me. My eye falls on that cloud there, which has the shape of a grand piano; I instantly make a mental note that I must remember to mention in my story a cloud floating by that looked like a grand piano. I smell heliotrope; I mutter to myself: a sickly smell, the colour worn by widows; I must remember that in writing my next description of a summer evening. I catch an idea in every sentence of yours or of my own, and hasten to lock all these treasures in my literary store-room, thinking that some day they may be useful to me. As soon as I stop working I rush off to the theatre or go fishing, in the hope that I may find oblivion there, but no! Some new subject for a story is sure to come rolling through my brain like an iron cannonball. I hear my desk calling, and have to go back to it and begin to write, write, write, once more. And so it goes for everlasting. I cannot escape myself, though I feel that I am consuming my life. To prepare the honey I feed to unknown crowds, I am doomed to brush the bloom from my dearest flowers, to tear them from their stems, and trample the roots that bore them under foot. Am I not a madman? Should I not be treated by those who know me as one mentally diseased? Yet it is always the same, same old story, till I begin to think that all this praise and admiration must be a deception, that I am being hoodwinked because they know I am crazy, and I sometimes tremble lest I should be grabbed from behind and whisked off to a lunatic asylum. The best years of my youth were made one continual agony for me by my writing. A young author, especially if at first he does not make a success, feels clumsy, ill-at-ease, and superfluous in the world. His nerves are all on edge and stretched to the point of breaking; he is irresistibly attracted to literary and artistic people, and hovers about them unknown and unnoticed, fearing to look them bravely in the eye, like a man with a passion for gambling, whose money is all gone. I did not know my readers, but for some reason I imagined they were distrustful and unfriendly; I was mortally afraid of the public, and when my first play appeared, it seemed to me as if all the dark eyes in the audience were looking at it with enmity, and all the blue ones with cold indifference. Oh, how terrible it was! What agony!
Anton Chekhov (The Seagull)
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))
Raw emotions and the need to hold him close overwhelmed me. Every part of ached for him-my mind, my soul and my body. Without hesitation, i closed the gap between us and pressed my lips eagerly to his.
Noah's hands were everywhere, my hair, my face, my back, and for the love of all things holy, my breasts. My hands roamed his glorious body just as greedily. After drugging me with delicious kisses for not nearly long enough, his warm lips skimmed my throat and kissed down the center of my breasts, causing me to arch my back and lose my ever loving mind.
Without meaning to, i moaned and whispered his name when his hands wandered to my thighs and set my world and blood on fire. Noah eased me back into the bed and my hair sprawled all around me.
"I love how you smell," he whispered as he suckled my earlobe. "I love how beautiful you are."
I reclaimed his lips and hooked a leg around his as we moved in rhythm with each other. In between frantic kisses, i whispered the words, "I love you". Because i did. Noah listened to me. He made me laugh and he made me feel special. He was strong and warm and caring and...everything. I loved him. I loved him more than i'd ever loved another person in my life.
Every muscle in my body froze when Noah stopped kissing and stare down at me with wide eyes. He caressed my cheek twice over and tilted his head. "Make love to me, Echo. I've never made love."
No way. Noah's experienced reputation walked down the hallway before he did. "But..."
Noah cut me off with a kiss. "Yes, but never love. Just girls who didn't mean anything" You..." His tongue teased my bottom lip, thawing my body. "Are everything. I got tested over winter break and i'm clean and i've got protection." He reached to the side of the bed and magically produced a small orange square.
I froze again. Sensing my hesitation, Noah kissed my lips slowly while stroking my cheek.
"And since break?" I asked.
"There's been no one," he whispered against my lips. "I met you soon after and i could never think of touching anyone else."
I loved him and we were together. I entwined my fingers in his hair and pulled his head back to mine, but the second his hand touched the waist of my jeans, my heart shook and my hands snapped out to stop him. "Please. Wait. Noah..." Oh, God, i was actually going to say it. "I'm a virgin."
Now Noah froze. "But you were with Luke."
A faint smile grew on my lips. I was typically the tongue-tied one and found it amusing to see him confused for once. "That's why we broke up. I wasn't ready."
He shifted his body off of mine and tuckled me close against his warmth. I laid my head on his chest and listened to the comforting sound of his beating heart. Noah ran his hand through my hair. "I'm glad you told me. This needs to be right for you and i'll wait, for as long as you need.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
The band was playing a softer song, mellow and slow.
"Why did you ask me out when you did?" I tried to sound casual.
"What do you mean?"
"I mean,did something specific happen to make you ask me out?"
"Yes," he said.
"What was it?" Had I thrown myself at Jack Caputo? Had I done something to get in Lacey's way?
"You remember the first game of the season?"
"Yeah," I said. It was Jack's first game as starting quarterback, the youngest starter in school history. I remembered sitting in the second row, directly behind the team bench.
"After I threw for the first touchdown of the game?"
"Yes." I still couldn't figure out where he was going with this.Had I flashed him or something,and blocked it out of my memory? I was pretty sure I wasn't holding up any large signs declaring my love or anything.
"Our defense took the field, and I was on the bench.When I turned around to look at the fans..." He paused.
Oh,no. "What did I do?"
He smiled. "You looked at me.Not the game." He sighed,as if reliving the memory.
I felt my face scrunch up in confusion. "That's it?"
"That's it." He shrugged. "It was the first time I thought there might be a chance. I asked Jules about it."
I bit my lip. "Apparently she doesn't understand that trusty sidekicks aren't supposed to spill secrets."
In a flash,I was suspended in air, the back of my head inches from the ground, Jack's face a breath away from mine, his lips in a wicked grin.
I gasped,more from surprise at the sudden dip than from fear.
"There are no secrets between us,Becks." His smile remained,but his eyes were intense.
Brodi Ashton (Everneath (Everneath, #1))
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)
To all who walk the dark path, and to those who walk in the sunshine but hold out a hand in the darkness to travel beside us: Brighter days are coming. Clearer sight will arrive. And you will arrive too. No, it might not be forever. The bright moments might be for a few days at a time, but hold on for those days. Those days are worth the dark. In the dark you find yourself, all bones and exhaustion and helplessness. In the dark you find your basest self. In the dark you find the bottom of watery trenches the rest of the world only sees the surface of. You will see things that no normal person will ever see. Terrible things. Mysterious things. Things that try to burrow into your mind like a bad seed. Things that whisper dark and horrid secrets that you want to forget. Things that scream lies. Things that want you dead. Things that will stop at nothing to pull you down further and kill you in the most terrible way of all … by your own trembling hand. These things are fearsome monsters … the kind you always knew would sink in their needle-sharp teeth and pull you under the bed if you left a dangling limb out. You know they aren’t real, but when you’re in that black, watery hole with them they are the realest thing there is. And they want us dead. And sometimes they succeed. But not always. And not with you. You are alive. You have fought and battled them. You are scarred and worn and sometimes exhausted and were perhaps even close to giving up, but you did not. You have won many battles. There are no medals given out for these fights, but you wear your armor and your scars like an invisible skin, and each time you learn a little more. You learn how to fight. You learn which weapons work. You learn who your allies are. You learn that those monsters are exquisite liars who will stop at nothing to get you to surrender. Sometimes you fight valiantly with fists and words and fury. Sometimes you fight by pulling yourself into a tiny ball, blotting out the monsters along with the rest of the world. Sometimes you fight by giving up and turning it over to someone else who can fight for you. Sometimes you just fall deeper. And in the deepest, night-blind fathoms you’re certain that you’re alone. You aren’t. I’m there with you. And I’m not alone. Some of the best people are here too … feeling blindly. Waiting. Crying. Surviving. Painfully stretching their souls so that they can learn to breathe underwater … so that they can do what the monsters say is impossible. So that they can live. And so that they can find their way back to the surface with the knowledge of things that go bump in the night. So that they can dry themselves in the warm light that shines so brightly and easily for those above the surface. So that they can walk with others in the sunlight but with different eyes … eyes that still see the people underwater, allowing them to reach out into the darkness to pull up fellow fighters, or to simply hold their cold hands and sit beside the water to wait patiently for them to come up for air. Ground zero is where the normal people live their lives, but not us. We live in the negatives so often that we begin to understand that life when the sun shines should be lived full throttle, soaring. The invisible tether that binds the normal people on their steady course doesn’t hold us in the same way. Sometimes we walk in sunlight with everyone else. Sometimes we live underwater and fight and grow. And sometimes … … sometimes we fly.
Jenny Lawson (Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things)
He cupped my chin with his big hand and watched me. He breathed hard through his nose. His shoulders heaved way harder than they should have after a few minutes
of kissing. I was about to suggest some additional conditioning exercises before football season started. I opened my mouth to tell him.
He kissed me again. His tongue passed my lips and played across my teeth. We’d only been kissing like this for a week, but it seemed very natural when I kissed him back
the same way. My body was on autopilot as I reached blindly for his waist and dragged him even closer, his torso skin-to-skin with mine against the tree. Who were we? I
was turning into any of the assorted older girls who’d been seen leaving the cab of Sean’s truck at night. I’d always viewed those girls with a mixture of awe and derision.
Sexual attraction was funny. Lust was hilarious.
Now, not so much. Those girls had my sympathy, because I totally got it. I ran my fingers lightly up Adam’s bare back.
I opened my eyes to see if I’d done something wrong. He still touched the tree, but his muscles were taut, holding on to it for dear life. His eyes were closed. He rubbed
his rough cheek slowly against mine. I had done nothing wrong. He was savoring.
I knew how he felt. Tracing my fingernails down his back again, I whispered, “Stubble or what?”
Eyes still closed, he chuckled. “I’m not shaving until our parents let us date again.” He kissed my cheek.
“What if it takes… a… while?” I asked, struggling to talk.
Jennifer Echols (Endless Summer (The Boys Next Door, #1-2))
I will say it again," said Dumbledore as the phoenix rose into the air and resettled itself upon the perch beside the door. "You have shown bravery beyond anything I could have expected of you tonight. Harry. You have shown bravery equal to those who died fighting Voldemort at the height of his powers. You have shouldered a grown wizard's burden and found yourself equal to it - and you have now given us all we have a right to expect. You will come with me to the hospital wing. I do not want you returning to the dormitory tonight. A Sleeping Potion, and some peace . . . Sirius, would you like to stay with him?"
Sirius nodded and stood up. He transformed back into the great black dog and
walked with Harry and Dumbledore out of the office, accompanying them down a
flight of stairs to the hospital wing.
When Dumbledore pushed open the door. Harry saw Mrs. Weasley, Bill, Ron, and
Hermione grouped around a harassed-looking Madam Pomfrey. They appeared to
be demanding to know where Harry was and what had happened to him. All of
them whipped around as Harry, Dumbledore, and the black dog entered, and Mrs.
Weasley let out a kind of muffled scream.
"Harry! Oh Harry!"
She started to hurry toward him, but Dumbledore moved between them.
"Molly," he said, holding up a hand, "please listen to me for a moment. Harry has been through a terrible ordeal tonight. He has just had to relive it for me.What he needs now is sleep, and peace, and quiet. If he would like you all to stay with him," he added, looking around at Ron, Hermione, and Bill too, "you may do so. But I do not want you questioning him until he is ready to answer, and certainly not this evening."
Mrs. Weasley nodded. She was very white. She rounded on Ron, Hermione, and
Bill as though they were being noisy, and hissed, "Did you hear? He needs quiet!
J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4))
School went exactly as Violet thought it would: weird. It wasn’t her best, and it wasn’t her worst, day ever. It was just weird.
Jay was true to his word, deciding not to hold anything back. And it started the second they got out of the car, when he claimed her hand and refused to let go, even when Violet tugged and pulled to try to get it away from him. He ignored her mute protests and held on tight, smiling more to himself than to her, and paraded her right into the school like that.
Not that they’d never held hands before, because they had. But this was entirely different, and Jay was hell-bent on making sure that everyone knew it. And just in case anyone wondered what the hand-holding actually meant, he made sure to clear things up for them by planting a big, albeit very satisfying, kiss on her lips, right in the middle of the hallway. Violet didn’t try to pull away from that; in fact, she was dismayed to find herself leaning into him, craving more, and not caring—at least at that moment—who might see them together.
Unfortunately that person turned out to be Chelsea. Chelsea, of all people, along with Claire, who happened to walk up at very inopportune instant.
“Well, well, well,” Chelsea said in an oh-so-innocent voice. “Look what we have here, Claire-bear. It’s old Jay and Violet.” The unconcealed smile was embedded deep in her voice. “Only, and correct me if I’m wrong, this looks a little more than friendly, don’t you think?”
“I never kiss my friends like that,” Claire replied, blank-faced and serious, oblivious to sarcasm.
Jay’s answer was to pull Violet closer, wrapping his arm around her waist. Violet cringed.
Chelsea cocked her head at Claire. “I was just trying to make a point.”
Claire looked confused. “What point?”
“Seriously, Claire? That Violet and Jay are dating now.” She glanced away from poor confused Claire and flashed a gloating look to the couple in front of her. “It’s about time, by the way. I think everyone will thank you for putting us all out of our misery. I, for one, was completely fed up with watching you two lovesick puppies pining over each other. Seriously, it was disgusting.”
She grabbed Claire by the sleeve of her snug, body-hugging hoodie and led her down the hallway, toward their first-period class. Violet watched in stunned silence, processing everything that Chelsea had said to them, as Claire bounded along in Chelsea’s commanding wake.
Jay decided that it was his turn to gloat. “You pined for me?” he asked, stupid grin and all.
Violet hit him in the arm. “Shut up!” She shook her head. “I’m pretty sure she was talking about you anyway.
Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))
But…” Hazel gripped his shoulders and stared at him in amazement. “Frank, what happened to you?” “To me?” He stood, suddenly self-conscious. “I don’t…” He looked down and realized what she meant. Triptolemus hadn’t gotten shorter. Frank was taller. His gut had shrunk. His chest seemed bulkier. Frank had had growth spurts before. Once he’d woken up two centimeters taller than when he’d gone to sleep. But this was nuts. It was as if some of the dragon and lion had stayed with him when he’d turned back to human. “Uh…I don’t…Maybe I can fix it.” Hazel laughed with delight. “Why? You look amazing!” “I—I do?” “I mean, you were handsome before! But you look older, and taller, and so distinguished—” Triptolemus heaved a dramatic sigh. “Yes, obviously some sort of blessing from Mars. Congratulations, blah, blah, blah. Now, if we’re done here…?” Frank glared at him. “We’re not done. Heal Nico.” The farm god rolled his eyes. He pointed at the corn plant, and BAM! Nico di Angelo appeared in an explosion of corn silk. Nico looked around in a panic. “I—I had the weirdest nightmare about popcorn.” He frowned at Frank. “Why are you taller?” “Everything’s fine,” Frank promised. “Triptolemus was about to tell us how to survive the House of Hades. Weren’t you, Trip?” The farm god raised his eyes to the ceiling, like, Why me, Demeter? “Fine,” Trip said. “When you arrive at Epirus, you will be offered a chalice to drink from.” “Offered by whom?” Nico asked. “Doesn’t matter,” Trip snapped. “Just know that it is filled with deadly poison.” Hazel shuddered. “So you’re saying that we shouldn’t drink it.” “No!” Trip said. “You must drink it, or you’ll never be able to make it through the temple. The poison connects you to the world of the dead, lets you pass into the lower levels. The secret to surviving is”—his eyes twinkled—“barley.” Frank stared at him. “Barley.” “In the front room, take some of my special barley. Make it into little cakes. Eat these before you step into the House of Hades. The barley will absorb the worst of the poison, so it will affect you, but not kill you.” “That’s it?” Nico demanded. “Hecate sent us halfway across Italy so you could tell us to eat barley?” “Good luck!” Triptolemus sprinted across the room and hopped in his chariot. “And, Frank Zhang, I forgive you! You’ve got spunk. If you ever change your mind, my offer is open. I’d love to see you get a degree in farming!” “Yeah,” Frank muttered. “Thanks.” The god pulled a lever on his chariot. The snake-wheels turned. The wings flapped. At the back of the room, the garage doors rolled open. “Oh, to be mobile again!” Trip cried. “So many ignorant lands in need of my knowledge. I will teach them the glories of tilling, irrigation, fertilizing!” The chariot lifted off and zipped out of the house, Triptolemus shouting to the sky, “Away, my serpents! Away!” “That,” Hazel said, “was very strange.” “The glories of fertilizing.” Nico brushed some corn silk off his shoulder. “Can we get out of here now?” Hazel put her hand on Frank’s shoulder. “Are you okay, really? You bartered for our lives. What did Triptolemus make you do?” Frank tried to hold it together. He scolded himself for feeling so weak. He could face an army of monsters, but as soon as Hazel showed him kindness, he wanted to break down and cry. “Those cow monsters…the katoblepones that poisoned you…I had to destroy them.” “That was brave,” Nico said. “There must have been, what, six or seven left in that herd.” “No.” Frank cleared his throat. “All of them. I killed all of them in the city.” Nico and Hazel stared at him in stunned silence. Frank
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
How did you find out?” he asked.
I dropped the coat I’d been holding. “How do you think? She told me. She couldn’t wait to tell me.”
He sighed and sat on the arm of my couch and stared into space.
“That’s it? You have nothing else to say?” I asked.
“I’m sorry. God, I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean for you to find out like this.”
“Were you ever going to tell me?”
His voice was so sweet and so gentle that it momentarily defused the anger that wanted to explode out of me. I stared at him, looking hard into those amber brown eyes. “She said...she said you didn’t drink, but you did, right? That’s what happened?” I sounded like I was Kendall’s age and suspected I wore the pleading expression Yasmine had given Jerome.
Seth’s face stayed expressionless. “No, Thetis. I wasn’t drunk. I didn’t drink at all.”
I sank down into the arm chair opposite him. “Then…then…what happened?”
It took a while for him to get the story out. I could see the two warring halves within him: the one that wanted to be open and the one that hated to tell me things I wouldn’t like. “I was so upset after what happened with us. I was actually on the verge of calling that guy…what’s his name? Niphon. I couldn’t stand it—I wanted to fix things between us. But just before I did, I ran into Maddie. I was so…I don’t know. Just confused. Distraught. She asked me to get food, and before I knew it, I’d accepted.” He raked a hand through his hair, neutral expression turning confused and frustrated. “And being with her…she was just so nice. Sweet. Easy to talk to. And after leaving things off physically with you, I’d been kind of…um…”
“Aroused? Horny? Lust-filled?”
He grimaced. “Something like that. But, I don’t know. There was more to it than just that.”
The tape in my mind rewound. “Did you say you were going to call Niphon?”
“Yeah. We’d talked at poker…and then he called me once. Said if I ever wanted…he could make me a deal. I thought it was crazy at the time, but after I left you that night…I don’t know. It just made me wonder if maybe it was worth it to live the life I wanted and make it so you wouldn’t have to worry so much.”
“Maddie coming along was a blessing then,” I muttered. Christ. Seth had seriously considered selling his soul. I really needed to deal with Niphon. He hadn’t listened to me when I’d told him to leave Seth alone. I wanted to rip the imp’s throat out, but my revenge would have to wait. I took a deep breath.
“Well,” I told Seth. “That’s that. I can’t say I like it…but, well…it’s over.”
He tilted his head curiously. “What do you mean?”
“This. This Maddie thing. You finally had a fling. We’ve always agreed you could, right? I mean, it’s not fair for me to be the only one who gets some. Now we can move on.”
A long silence fell. Aubrey jumped up beside me and rubbed her head against my arm. I ran a hand over her soft fur while I waited for Seth’s response.
“Georgina,” he said at last. “You know…I’ve told you…well. I don’t really have flings.”
My hand froze on Aubrey’s back. “What are you saying?”
“I…don’t have flings.”
“Are you saying you want to start something with her?”
He looked miserable. “I don’t know.
Richelle Mead (Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, #3))
One by one our skies go black. Stars are extinguished, collapsing into distances too great to breach. Soon, not even the memory of light will survive. Long ago, our manifold universes discovered futures would only expand. No arms of limit could hold or draw them back. Short of a miracle, they would continue to stretch, untangle and vanish – abandoned at long last to an unwitnessed dissolution. That dissolution is now. Final winks slipping over the horizons share what needs no sharing: There are no miracles. You might say that just to survive to such an end is a miracle in itself. We would agree. But we are not everyone. Even if you could imagine yourself billions of years hence, you would not begin to comprehend who we became and what we achieved. Yet left as you are, you will no more tremble before us than a butterfly on a windless day trembles before colluding skies, still calculating beyond one of your pacific horizons. Once we could move skies. We could transform them. We could make them sing. And when we fell into dreams our dreams asked questions and our skies, still singing, answered back. You are all we once were but the vastness of our strangeness exceeds all the light-years between our times. The frailty of your senses can no more recognize our reach than your thoughts can entertain even the vaguest outline of our knowledge. In ratios of quantity, a pulse of what we comprehend renders meaningless your entire history of discovery. We are on either side of history: yours just beginning, ours approaching a trillion years of ends. Yet even so, we still share a dyad of commonality. Two questions endure. Both without solution. What haunts us now will allways hunt you. The first reveals how the promise of all our postponements, ever longer, ever more secure – what we eventually mistook for immortality – was from the start a broken promise. Entropy suffers no reversals. Even now, here, on the edge of time’s end, where so many continue to vanish, we still have not pierced that veil of sentience undone. The first of our common horrors: Death. Yet we believe and accept that there is grace and finally truth in standing accountable before such an invisible unknown. But we are not everyone. Death, it turns out, is the mother of all conflicts. There are some who reject such an outcome. There are some who still fight for an alternate future. No matter the cost. Here then is the second of our common horrors. What not even all of time will end. What plagues us now and what will always plague you. War.
Mark Z. Danielewski (One Rainy Day in May (The Familiar #1))
Do you think, little flower, that there will ever come a day when you regret meeting me?” he asked quietly.
“Yes,” she said simply.
“I see,” he said tightly.
“Would you like a specific date?”
“You are teasing me,” he realized suddenly.
“No, I’m dead serious. I have an exact date in mind.”
Jacob pulled back to see her eyes, looking utterly perplexed as her pupils sparkled with mischief.
“What date is that? And why are you thinking of pink elephants?”
“The date is September 8, because, according to Gideon, that’s possibly the day I will go into labor. I say ‘possibly,’ because combining all this human/Druid and Demon DNA ‘may make for a longer period of gestation than usual for a human,’ as the Ancient medic recently quoted. Now, as I understand it, women always regret ever letting a man touch them on that day.”
Jacob lurched to his feet, dropping her onto her toes, grabbing her by the arms, and holding her still as he raked a wild, inspecting gaze over her body.
“You are pregnant?” he demanded, shaking her a little. “How long have you known? You went into battle with that monster while you are carrying my child?”
“Our child,” she corrected indignantly, her fists landing firmly on her hips, “and Gideon only just told me, like, five seconds ago, so I didn’t know I was pregnant when I was fighting that thing!”
“But . . . he healed you just a few days ago! Why not tell you then?”
“Because I wasn’t pregnant then, Jacob. If you recall, we did make love between then and now.”
“Oh . . . oh Bella . . .” he said, his breath rushing from him all of a sudden.
He looked as if he needed to sit down and put a paper bag over his head. She reached to steady him as he sat back awkwardly on the altar. He leaned his forearms on his thighs, bending over them as he tried to catch his breath. Bella had the strangest urge to giggle, but she bit her lower lip to repress to impulse.
So much for the calm, cool, collected Enforcer who struck terror into the hearts of Demons everywhere.
“That is not funny,” he grumbled indignantly.
“Yeah? You should see what you look like from over here,” she teased.
“If you laugh at me I swear I am going to take you over my knee.”
“Promises, promises,” she laughed, hugging him with delight. Finally, Jacob laughed as well, his arm snaking out to circle her waist and draw her back into his lap.
“Did you ask . . . I mean, does he know what it is?”
“It’s a baby. I told him I didn’t want to know what it is. And don’t you dare find out, because you know the minute you do I’ll know, and if you spoil the surprise I’ll murder you.”
“Damn . . . she kills a couple of Demons and suddenly thinks she can order all of us around,” he taunted, pulling her close until he was nuzzling her neck, wondering if it was possible for such an underused heart as his to contain so much happiness.
Jacquelyn Frank (Jacob (Nightwalkers, #1))
What finally turned me back toward the older traditions of my own [Chickasaw] and other Native peoples was the inhumanity of the Western world, the places--both inside and out--where the culture's knowledge and language don't go, and the despair, even desperation, it has spawned. We live, I see now, by different stories, the Western mind and the indigenous. In the older, more mature cultures where people still live within the kinship circles of animals and human beings there is a connection with animals, not only as food, but as 'powers,' a word which can be taken to mean states of being, gifts, or capabilities.
I've found, too, that the ancient intellectual traditions are not merely about belief, as some would say. Belief is not a strong enough word. They are more than that: They are part of lived experience, the on-going experience of people rooted in centuries-old knowledge that is held deep and strong, knowledge about the natural laws of Earth, from the beginning of creation, and the magnificent terrestrial intelligence still at work, an intelligence now newly called ecology by the Western science that tells us what our oldest tribal stories maintain--the human animal is a relatively new creation here; animal and plant presences were here before us; and we are truly the younger sisters and brothers of the other animal species, not quite as well developed as we thought we were. It is through our relationships with animals and plants that we maintain a way of living, a cultural ethics shaped from an ancient understanding of the world, and this is remembered in stories that are the deepest reflections of our shared lives on Earth.
That we held, and still hold, treaties with the animals and plant species is a known part of tribal culture. The relationship between human people and animals is still alive and resonant in the world, the ancient tellings carried on by a constellation of stories, songs, and ceremonies, all shaped by lived knowledge of the world and its many interwoven, unending relationships. These stories and ceremonies keep open the bridge between one kind of intelligence and another, one species and another.
(from her essay "First People")
Linda Hogan (Intimate Nature: The Bond Between Women and Animals)
Is that a no?" I said.
"No. I mean.." He struggled for the smile again. "I'm just waiting for the punch line. Something about making it date so I need to pay. Or you expecting flowers. Or.." He trailed off.
"There isn't a punch line," I said.
I rose onto my knees and inched over, in front of him. Then I stopped about a foot away.
"No punch line, Daniel," I said. "I'm asking if you'll go out with me."
He didn't answer. Just reched out, his hand sliding between my hair and face, pulling me toward him and..
And he kissed me.
His lips touched mine, tentatively, still unsure, and I eased closer, my arms going around his neck. He kissed me for real then, a long kiss that I felt in the bottom of my soul, a click, some deep part of me saying, "Yes, this is it."
Even when the kiss broke off, it didn't end. It was like coming to the surface for a quick gasp of air, then plunging back down again, finding that sweet spot again, and holding onto it for as long as we could. Finally it tapered off, and we were lying on the picnic blanket, side by side, his hand on my hip, kissing slower now, with more breaks for air. until I said, "We should have done that sooner."
He smiled, a lazy half smile, and he just looked at me for a moment, our gazes locked, lying there in drowsy happiness, before he said, "I think now's just fine." And he kissed me again, slower and softer now, as we rested there, eyes half closed.
"So, about Saturday, did you ask me?" he said after a minute, "Because I'm pretty sure that means yo're paying."
"Nope. You were imaging it. Considering how you eat, the meal bill is all yours. But I will spring for the movie. And bring you flowers."
He chuckled. "Will you?"
"Yep, a dozen pink roses, which you'll have to carry all night or risk offending me."
"And what happens if I offend you?"
"You don't get any more of this."
I leaned in and kissed him again. And we stayed out there, on the blanket, as the sun fell, talking and kissing mostly, just being together. We had a long road ahead of us, and I knew it wasn't going to be easy. But I had everything I wanted-everything I needed-and I'd get through it just fine. We all would.
Kelley Armstrong (The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3))
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))
an empathic and patient listener, coaxing each of us through the maze of our feelings, separating out our weapons from our wounds. He cautioned us when we got too lawyerly and posited careful questions intended to get us to think hard about why we felt the way we felt. Slowly, over hours of talking, the knot began to loosen. Each time Barack and I left his office, we felt a bit more connected. I began to see that there were ways I could be happier and that they didn’t necessarily need to come from Barack’s quitting politics in order to take some nine-to-six foundation job. (If anything, our counseling sessions had shown me that this was an unrealistic expectation.) I began to see how I’d been stoking the most negative parts of myself, caught up in the notion that everything was unfair and then assiduously, like a Harvard-trained lawyer, collecting evidence to feed that hypothesis. I now tried out a new hypothesis: It was possible that I was more in charge of my happiness than I was allowing myself to be. I was too busy resenting Barack for managing to fit workouts into his schedule, for example, to even begin figuring out how to exercise regularly myself. I spent so much energy stewing over whether or not he’d make it home for dinner that dinners, with or without him, were no longer fun. This was my pivot point, my moment of self-arrest. Like a climber about to slip off an icy peak, I drove my ax into the ground. That isn’t to say that Barack didn’t make his own adjustments—counseling helped him to see the gaps in how we communicated, and he worked to be better at it—but I made mine, and they helped me, which then helped us. For starters, I recommitted myself to being healthy. Barack and I belonged to the same gym, run by a jovial and motivating athletic trainer named Cornell McClellan. I’d worked out with Cornell for a couple of years, but having children had changed my regular routine. My fix for this came in the form of my ever-giving mother, who still worked full-time but volunteered to start coming over to our house at 4:45 in the morning several days a week so that I could run out to Cornell’s and join a girlfriend for a 5:00 a.m. workout and then be home by 6:30 to get the girls up and ready for their days. This new regimen changed everything: Calmness and strength, two things I feared I was losing, were now back. When it came to the home-for-dinner dilemma, I installed new boundaries, ones that worked better for me and the girls. We made our schedule and stuck to it. Dinner each night was at 6:30. Baths were at 7:00, followed by books, cuddling, and lights-out at 8:00 sharp. The routine was ironclad, which put the weight of responsibility on Barack to either make it on time or not. For me, this made so much more sense than holding off dinner or having the girls wait up sleepily for a hug. It went back to my wishes for them to grow up strong and centered and also unaccommodating to any form of old-school patriarchy: I didn’t want them ever to believe that life began when the man of the house arrived home. We didn’t wait for Dad. It was his job now to catch up with
Michelle Obama (Becoming)
He was beautiful when he sat alone, he was like me, he had wide lapels, he was holding the mug in the hardest possible way so that his fingers were all twisted but still long and beautiful, he didn’t like to sit alone all the time, but this time, I swear, he didn’t care on way or the other.
I’ll tell you why I like to sit alone, because I’m a sadist, that’s why we like to sit alone, because we’re the sadists who like to sit alone.
He sat alone because he was beautifully dressed for the occasion and because he was not a civilian.
We are the sadists you don’t have to worry about, you think, and we have no opinion on the matter of whether you have to worry about us, and we don’t even like to think about the matter because it baffles us.
Maybe he doesn’t mean a thing to me any more but I think he was like me.
You didn’t expect to fall in love, I said to myself and at the same time I answered gently, Do you think so?
I heard you humming beautifully, your hum said that I can’t ignore you, that I’d finally come around for a number of delicious reasons that only you knew about, and here I am, Miss Blood.
And you won’t come back, you won’t come back to where you left me, and that’s why you keep my number, so you don’t dial it by mistake when you’re fooling with the dial not even dialing numbers.
You begin to bore us with your pain and we have decided to change your pain. You said you were happiest when you danced, you said you were happiest when you danced with me, now which do you mean?
And so we changed his pain, we threw the idea of a body at him and we told him a joke, and then he thought a great deal about laughing and about the code.
And he thought that she thought that he thought that she thought the worst thing a woman could do was to take a man away from his work because that made her what, ugly or beautiful?
And now you’ve entered the mathematical section of your soul which you claimed you never had. I suppose that this, plus the broken heart, makes you believe that now you have a perfect right to go out and tame the sadists.
He had the last line of each verse of the song but he didn’t have any of the other lines, the last line was always the same, Don’t call yourself a secret unless you mean to keep it.
He thought he knew, or he actually did know too much about singing to be a singer; and if there is actually such a condition, is anybody in it, and are sadists born there?
It is not a question mark, it is not an exclamation point, it is a full stop by the man who wrote Parasites of Heaven. Even if we stated our case very clearly and all those who held as we do came to our side, all of them, we would still be very few.
Leonard Cohen (Parasites of Heaven)
Did he say anything to you?”
“Just that I was supposed to watch you while he was gone. A hunt can take several days.”
“Really? I had no idea it would take that long.” I hestitated, “So…he doesn’t mind you staying here while he’s gone.”
“Oh, he minds,” he chuckled, “but he wants to make sure you’re safe. At least he trusts me that much.”
“Well, I think he’s mad at both of us right now.”
Kishan looked at me curiously with a raised eyebrow. “How so?”
“Um…let’s just say we had a misunderstanding.”
Kishan’s face turned hard. “Don’t worry, Kelsey. I’m sure that whatever he’s upset about is foolish. He’s very argumentative.”
I sighed and shook my head sadly. “No, it’s really all my fault. I’m difficult, a hindrance, and I’m a pain to have around sometimes. He’s probably used to being around sophisticated, more experienced women who are much more…more…well, more than I am.”
Kishan quirked an eyebrow. “Ren hasn’t been around any women as far as I know. I must confess that I’m now exceedingly curious as to what your argument was about. Whether you tell me or not, I won’t tolerate any more derogatory comments about yourself. He’s lucky to have you, and he’d better realize it.”
He grinned. “Of course, if you did have a falling out, you’re always welcome to stay with me.”
“Thanks for the offer, but I don’t really want to live in the jungle.”
He laughed. “For you, I would even consider a change of residence. You, my lovely, are a prize worth fighting for.”
I laughed and punched him lightly on the arm. “You, sir, are a major flirt. Worth fighting for? I think you two have been tigers for too long. I’m no great beauty, especially when I’m stuck out here in the jungle. I haven’t even picked a college major yet. What have I ever done that would make someone want to fight over me?”
Kishan apparently took my rhetorical questions seriously. He reflected for a moment, and then answered, “For one thing, I’ve never met a woman so dedicated to helping others. You put your own life at risk for a person you met only a few weeks ago. You are confident, feisty, intelligent, and full of empathy. I find you charming and, yes, beautiful.”
The golden-eyed prince fingered a strand of my hair. I blushed at his assessment, sipped my water, and then said softly, “I don’t like him being angry with me.”
Kishan shrugged and dropped his hand, looking slightly annoyed that I’d steered the conversation back to Ren. “Yes. I’ve been on the receiving side of his anger, and I’ve learned not to underestimate his ability to hold a grudge.
Colleen Houck (Tiger's Curse (The Tiger Saga, #1))
As I speak, his fingers trail down my arm. I’m just so relieved he’s willing to touch me after I’ve told him this. He turns my hand over and traces the fine lines on my palm. “And?” He looks up beneath heavy lids. “What else should I know about you?”
“My skin—” I stop, swallow.
He leans down, presses his lips to my wrist in a feathery kiss. “What about your skin?”
“You know. You’ve seen it,” I rasp. “It changes. The color becomes—”
“Like fire.” His gaze lifts from my wrist and he says that word he said so long ago surrounded in cold mists, tucked on a ledge above a whispering pool of water. “Beautiful.”
“You said that before. In the mountains.”
“I meant it. Still do.”
I laugh weakly. “I guess this means you’re not mad at me.”
“I would be mad, if I could.” He frowns. “I should be.” He inches closer to me on the couch. We sink deeper into the tired cushions. “This is impossible.”
“This what?” I clutch the collar of his shirt in my fingers. His face is so close I study the varying color of his eyes.
For a long time, he says nothing. Stares at me in that way that makes me want to squirm. For a moment, it seems that his irises glow and the pupils shrink to slits. Then, he mutters, “A hunter in love with his prey.”
My chest squeezes. I suck in a breath. Pretty wonderful, I think, but am too embarrassed to say it. Even after what he just admitted.
He loves me?
Studying him, I let myself consider this and whether he can possibly mean it. But what else could it be? What else could drive him to this moment with me? To turn his back on his family’s way of life?
As he looks at me in that desperate, devouring way, I’m reminded of those moments in his car when he tended the cut on my palm and ran his hand over my leg. My belly twists.
I glance around, see how seriously, dangerously alone we are. More alone than in the stairwell. Or even the first time together, on that ledge. I lick my lips. Now we’re alone with no school bell ready to rip us apart. Even more alarming, no more secrets stand between us. No barriers. Nothing to stop us at all.
I hold my breath until I feel the first press of his lips, certain I’ve never been this close to another soul, this vulnerable. We kiss until we’re both breathless, warm and flushed, twisting against each other on the couch. His hands brush my bare back beneath my shirt, trace every bump of my spine. My back tingles, wings vibrating just beneath the surface. I drink the cooler air from his lips, drawing it into my fiery lungs.
I don’t even mind when he stops and watches my skin change colors, or touches my face as it blurs in and out. He kisses my changing face. Cheeks, nose, the corners of my eyes, sighing my name it like a benediction between each caress. His lips slide to my neck and I moan, arch, lost to everything but him. In this, with him . . . I’m as close to the sky as I’ve ever been.
Sophie Jordan (Firelight (Firelight, #1))
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)
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))
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))