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I love you so much, sweetheart. So, so much. And it's in part because of things like that. You're an idealist and a romantic, and you have a beautiful soul. And I wish the world was ready to be the way you see it. I wish that the rest of the people on earth with us were capable of living up to your expectations. But they aren't. The world is ugly, and no one wants to give anyone the benefit of the doubt about anything. When we lose our work and our reputations, when we lose our friends and, eventually, what money we have, we will be destitute. I've lived that life before. And I cannot let it happen to you. I will do whatever I can to prevent you from living that way. Do you hear me? I love you too much to let you live only for me.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma -- tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said." She could really say nothing. "You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more."
Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling.
"I cannot make speeches, Emma," he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing. "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am. You hear nothing but truth from me. I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it. Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover. But you understand me. Yes, you see, you understand my feelings and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.
Jane Austen (Emma)
Whatever it is," I said, "the point is moot because as long as I'm on these pills, I can't make contact to ask."
Derek ... snapped, "Then you need to stop taking the pills."
Love to. If I could. But after what happened last night, they're giving me urine tests now."
Ugh. That's harsh." Simon went quiet, then snapped his fingers.
Hey, I've got an idea. It's kinda gross, but what if you take the pills, crush them and mix them with your, you know, urine."
Derek stared at him.
You did pass chem last year, didn't you?"
Simon flipped him the finger. "Okay, genius, what's your idea?"
I'll think about it. ..."
Here," Derek whispered, pressing an empty Mason jar into my hand. He'd pulled me aside after class and we were now standing at the base of the boy's staircase. "Take this up to your room and hide it."
It's a ... jar."
He grunted, exasperated that I was so dense I failed to see the critical importance of hiding an empty Mason jar in my room.
It's for your urine."
He rolled his eyes, a growl-like sound sliding through his teeth as
he leaned down, closer to my ear. "Urine. Pee. Whatever. For the testing."
I lifted the jar to eye level. "I think they'll give me something
You took your meds today, right?" he whispered.
Then use this jar to save it."
Save . . . ?"
Your urine. If you give them some of today's tomorrow, it'll seem like you're still taking your meds."
You want me to . . . dole it out? Into specimen jars?"
Got a better idea?"
Um, no, but ..." I lifted the jar and stared into it.
Oh, for God's sake. Save your piss. Don't save your piss. It's all the same to me."
Simon peeked around the corner, brows lifted. "I was going to ask what you guys were doing, but hearing that, I think I'll pass.
Kelley Armstrong (The Summoning (Darkest Powers, #1))
You want to hear the rules?"
My heart jackhammered as I nodded. That same hand slid around my hip, up under my shirt, and felt warm and perfect against my lower back. I closed my eyes as his lips just barely brushed mine. His touch made me feel brave. It pushed the uncertainty back until it couldn't reach me. "The first one is you can't think too hard about it. The second is you say when you want to stop. The third is you do whatever feels good to you. The fourth is-"
"-you stop talking," I said, blindly reaching back to pull the door shut, "and kiss me?
Alexandra Bracken (In the Afterlight (The Darkest Minds, #3))
It’s killing me, baby,” he says, his voice much more calm and quiet. “It’s killing me because I don’t want you to go another day without knowing how I feel about you. And I’m not ready to tell you I’m in love with you, because I’m not. Not yet. But whatever this is I’m feeling—it’s so much more than just like. It’s so much more. And for the past few weeks I’ve been trying to figure it out. I’ve been trying to figure out why there isn’t some other word to describe it. I want to tell you exactly how I feel but there isn’t a single goddamned word in the entire dictionary that can describe this point between liking you and loving you, but I need that word. I need it because I need you to hear me say it.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
Walking around, even on a bad day, I would see things – I mean just the things that were in front of me. People’s faces, the weather, traffic. The smell of petrol from the garage, the feeling of being rained on, completely ordinary things. And in that way even the bad days were good, because I felt them and remembered feeling them. There was something delicate about living like that – like I was an instrument and the world touched me and reverberated inside me.
After a couple of months, I started to miss days. Sometimes I would fall asleep without remembering to write anything, but then other nights I’d open the book and not know what to write – I wouldn’t be able to think of anything at all. When I did make entries, they were increasingly verbal and abstract: song titles, or quotes from novels, or text messages from friends. By spring I couldn’t keep it up anymore. I started to put the diary away for weeks at a time – it was just a cheap black notebook I got at work – and then eventually I’d take it back out to look at the entries from the previous year. At that point, I found it impossible to imagine ever feeling again as I had apparently once felt about rain or flowers. It wasn’t just that I failed to be delighted by sensory experiences – it was that I didn’t actually seem to have them anymore. I would walk to work or go out for groceries or whatever and by the time I came home again I wouldn’t be able to remember seeing or hearing anything distinctive at all. I suppose I was seeing but not looking – the visual world just came to me flat, like a catalogue of information. I never looked at things anymore, in the way I had before.
Sally Rooney (Beautiful World, Where Are You)
I think about how there are certain people who come into your life, and leave a mark. I don’t mean the usual faint impression: he was cute, she was nice, they made me laugh, I wish I’d known her better, I remember the time she threw up in class. And I don’t just mean that they change you. A lot of people can change you – the first kid who called you a name, the first teacher who said you were smart., the first person who crowned you best friend. It’s the change you remember, the firsts and what they meant, not really the people. Ethan changed me, for instance, but the longer we are apart the more he sort of recedes into the distance as a real person and in his place is a cardboard cutout that says first boyfriend. I’m talking about the ones who, for whatever reason are a part of you as your own soul. Their place in your heart is tender; a bruise of longing, a pulse of unfinished business. My mom was right about that. Just hearing their names pushes and pulls at you in a hundred ways, and when you try to define those hundred ways, describe them even to yourself, words are useless. If you had a lifetime to talk, there would still be things left unsaid.
Sara Zarr (Sweethearts)
You are the last Five left in the competition, yes? Do you think that hurts your chances of becoming the princess?"
The word sprang from my lips without thought. "No!"
"Oh, my! You do have a spirit there!" Gavril seemed pleased to have gotten such an enthusiastic response. "So you think you'll beat out all the others, then? Make it to the end?"
I thought better of myself. "No, no. It's not like that. I don't think I'm better than any of the other girls; they're all amazing. It's just...I don't think Maxon would do that, just discount someone because of their caste."
I heard a collective gasp. I ran over the sentence in my head. It took me a minute to catch my mistake: I'd called him Maxon. Saying that to another girl behind closed doors was one thing, but to say his name without the word "Prince" in front of it was incredibly informal in public.
And I'd said it on live television.
I looked to see if Maxon was angry. He had a calm smile on his face. So he wasn't mad...but I was embarrassed. I blushed fiercely.
"Ah, so it seems you really have gotten to know our prince. Tell me, what do you think of Maxon?"
I ahd thought of several answers while I was waiting for my turn. I was going to make fun of his laugh or talk about the pet name he wanted his wife to call him. It seemed like the only way to save the situation was to get back the comedy. But as I lifted my eyes to make one of my comments, I saw Maxon's face.
He really wanted to know.
And I couldn't poke fun at him, not when I had a chance to say what I'd really started to think now that he was my friend. I couldn't joke about the person who'd saved me from facing absolute heartbreak at home, who fed my family boxes of sweets, who ran to me worried that I was hurt if I asked for him.
A month ago, I had looked at the TV and seen a stiff, distant, boring person-someone I couldn't imagine anyone loving. And while he wasn't anything close to the person I did love, he was worthy of having someone to love in his life.
"Maxon Schreave is the epitome of all things good. He is going to be a phenomenal king. He lets girls who are supposed to be wearing dresses wear jeans and doesn't get mad when someone who doesn't know him clearly mislabels him." I gave Gavril a keen look, and he smiled. And behind him, Maxon looked intrigued. "Whoever he marries will be a lucky girl. And whatever happens to me, I will be honored to be his subject."
I saw Maxon swallow, and I lowered my eyes.
"America Singer, thank you so much." Gavril went to shake my hand. "Up next is Miss Tallulah Bell."
I didn't hear what any of the girls said after me, though I stared at the two seats. That interview had become way more personal than I'd intended it to be. I couldn't bring myself to look at Maxon. Instead I sat there replaying my words again and again in my head.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
(about William Blake)
As for Blake's happiness--a man who knew him said: "If asked whether I ever knew among the intellectual, a happy man, Blake would be the only one who would immediately occur to me."
And yet this creative power in Blake did not come from ambition. ...He burned most of his own work. Because he said, "I should be sorry if I had any earthly fame, for whatever natural glory a man has is so much detracted from his spiritual glory. I wish to do nothing for profit. I wish to live for art. I want nothing whatever. I am quite happy."
...He did not mind death in the least. He said that to him it was just like going into another room. On the day of his death he composed songs to his Maker and sang them for his wife to hear. Just before he died his countenance became fair, his eyes brightened and he burst into singing of the things he saw in heaven.
Brenda Ueland (If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit)
You hear a lot about the benefits of insanity or whatever - like, Dr. Karen Singh had once told me this Edgar Allan Poe quote: "The question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence." I guess she was trying to make me feel better, but I find mental disorders to be vastly overrated. Madness, in my admittedly limited experience, is accompanied by no superpowers; being mentally unwell doesn't make you loftily intelligent any more than having the flu does.
John Green (Turtles All the Way Down)
You had a fucking friend who needed you. What the hell was that, Jocelyn?"
He shook his head slowly. "Don't," he whispered hoarsely, dipping his head so our noses were almost touching. "Don't do this. Not now. Whatever shit your spinning in that head of yours, stop. She needs you, babe." He shallowed hard, his eyes glimmering in the streetlights. "I need you."
I felt that familiar choking in the bottom of my throat. "I didn't ask you to need me," I whispered back.
I saw it. The hurt flickered across his face before he quickly banked it. Abruptly, he let go of me. "Fine. I don't have time for your multitude of emotional issues. I have a wee sister who may or may not have brain cancer, and she needs me, even if you don't. But I'll tell you something Jocelyn," he stepped forward, point a finger in my face, his own hardened with anger, "If you don't see her through this, you'll hate yourself for the rest of your life. You can pretend you don't give a shit about me, but you can't pretend Ellie means nothing to you. I've seen you. Do you hear me?" He hissed, his hot breath blowing across my face, his words cutting though my soul. "You love her. You can't sweep that under the rug because it's easier to pretend she means nothing to you than it is to bear the thought of losing her. She deserves better than that.
Samantha Young (On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1))
Wow,” Sussman said, “you look hot even with the slight disfigurement.”
I stopped and turned toward him.
“What did you say?”
“Um, you look hot?”
“Let me ask you something,” I said, easing closer. He took a wary step back. “When you were alive, like, five minutes ago, would you have told some chick you’d just met that she looked hot?”
He thought about that a moment, then answered, “No. My wife would divorce me.”
“Then why is it the moment you guys die, you think you can say whatever you want to whomever you want?”
He thought about that a moment, too. “Because my wife can’t hear me?” he offered.
Darynda Jones (First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1))
Who are we to say getting incested or abused or violated or any of those things can’t have their positive aspects in the long run? … You have to be careful of taking a knee-jerk attitude. Having a knee-jerk attitude to anything is a mistake, especially in the case of women, where it adds up to this very limited and condescending thing of saying they’re fragile, breakable things that can be destroyed easily. Everybody gets hurt and violated and broken sometimes. Why are women so special? Not that anybody ought to be raped or abused, nobody’s saying that, but that’s what is going on. What about afterwards? All I’m saying is there are certain cases where it can enlarge you or make you more of a complete human being, like Viktor Frankl. Think about the Holocaust. Was the Holocaust a good thing? No way. Does anybody think it was good that it happened? No, of course not. But did you read Viktor Frankl? Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning? It’s a great, great book, but it comes out of his experience. It’s about his experience in the human dark side. Now think about it, if there was no Holocaust, there’d be no Man’s Search for Meaning… . Think about it. Think about being degraded and brought within an inch of your life, for example. No one’s gonna say the sick bastards who did it shouldn’t be put in jail, but let’s put two things into perspective here. One is, afterwards she knows something about herself that she never knew before. What she knows is that the most totally terrible terrifying thing that she could ever have imagined happening to her has now happened, and she survived. She’s still here, and now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows. Look, totally terrible things happen… . Existence in life breaks people in all kinds of awful fucking ways all the time, trust me I know. I’ve been there. And this is the big difference, you and me here, cause this isn’t about politics or feminism or whatever, for you this is just ideas, you’ve never been there. I’m not saying nothing bad has ever happened to you, you’re not bad looking, I’m sure there’s been some sort of degradation or whatever come your way in life, but I’m talking Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning type violation and terror and suffering here. The real dark side. I can tell from just looking at you, you never. You wouldn’t even wear what you’re wearing, trust me.
What if I told you it was my own sister that was raped? What if I told you a little story about a sixteen-year-old girl who went to the wrong party with the wrong guy and four of his buddies that ended up doing to her just about everything four guys could do to you in terms of violation? But if you could ask her if she could go into her head and forget it or like erase the tape of it happening in her memory, what do you think she’d say? Are you so sure what she’d say? What if she said that even after that totally negative as what happened was, at least now she understood it was possible. People can. Can see you as a thing. That people can see you as a thing, do you know what that means? Because if you really can see someone as a thing you can do anything to him. What would it be like to be able to be like that? You see, you think you can imagine it but you can’t. But she can. And now she knows something. I mean she really, really knows.
This is what you wanted to hear, you wanted to hear about four drunk guys who knee-jerk you in the balls and make you bend over that you didn’t even know, that you never saw before, that you never did anything to, that don’t even know your name, they don’t even know your name to find out you have to choose to have a fucking name, you have no fucking idea, and what if I said that happened to ME? Would that make a difference?
David Foster Wallace (Brief Interviews with Hideous Men)
The Battle of Gettysburg was fought in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in 18-something-or-nother. The year doesn‘t matter.They considered it the turning point of the war, and President Lincoln showed up to give his big speech. Who really cares what it was called? I don‘t. After it was all over and the North won, Congress passed the 13th amendment to free the slaves. It outlawed owning another person, yada, yada, yada, but it was a waste of time. All of it. Every bit. Completely pointless. All those people died and it didn't change anything, because it doesn't work if they don't enforce it. They just ignore it, turn their backs and say it‘s not their problem, but it is. It's everyone's problem. They can say slavery ended all they want, but that doesn't make it true. People lie. They'll tell you what they think you wanna hear, and you‘ll believe it. Whatever makes you feel better about your dismal little lives. So, whatever. Go on being naive. Believe what the history book tells you if you want. Believe what Mrs. Anderson wants me to tell you about it. Believe the land of the free, blah, blah, blah, star spangled banner bullshit. Believe there aren‘t any slaves anymore just because a tall guy in a big ass top hat and a bunch of politicians said so. But I won‘t believe it, because if I do too, we‘ll all fucking be wrong, and someone has to be right." -Carmine DeMarco
J.M. Darhower (Sempre (Sempre, #1))
It's killing me Sky. It's killing me because I don't want you to go another day without knowing how I feel about you. And I'm not ready to tell you I'm in love with you , because I'm not. Not yet. But whatever this is I'm feeling-it's so much more than just like . It's so much more. And for the past few weeks I've been trying to figure out. I've been trying to figure out why there isn't some other word to describe it. I want to tell you exactly how I feel but there isn't a single goddamned word in the entire dictionary that can describe this point between liking you and loving you, but I need that word. I need it because I need you to hear me say it.
Colleen Hoover (Hopeless (Hopeless, #1))
We aren't fighting right now." I blurted out.
He gave me a sidelong look. "Do you want to fight?"
"No. I hate fighting with you. Verbally, I mean. I don't mind in the gym."
I thought I detected the hint of a smile. Always a half-smile for me. Rarely a full one. "I don't like fighting with you either."
Sitting next to him there, I marveled at the warm and happy emotions springing up inside me. There was something about being around him that felt so good, that moved me in a way Mason couldn't. You can't force love, I realized, It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.
The next words that came out of my mouth astonished me, both because they were completely unselfish and because I actually meant them.
"You should take it."
He flinched. "What?"
"Tasha's offer. You should take her up on it. It's a really great chance."
I remembered my mom's words about being ready for children. I wasn't. Maybe she hadn't been. But Tasha was. And I knew Dimitri was too. They got along really well. He could go be her guardian, have some kids with her...it would be a good deal for both of them.
"I never expected to hear you say anything like that," he told me, voice tight. "Especially after-"
"What a bitch I've been? Yeah." I tugged his coat tighter against the cold. It smelled like him. It was intoxicating, and I could half-imagine being wrapped in his embrace. Adrian might have been onto something about the power of scent. "Well. Like I said, I don't want to fight anymore. I don't want us to hate each other. And...well..." I squeezed my eyes shut and then opened them. "No matter how I feel about us...I want you to be happy."
Silence yet again. I noticed then that my chest hurt.
Dimitri reached out and put his arm around me. He pulled me to him, and I rested my head on his chest. "Roza," was all he said.
It was the first time he'd really touched me since the night of the lust charm. The practice room had been something different...more animal. This wasn't even about sex. It was just about being close to someone you cared about, about the emotion that kind of connection flooded you with.
Dimitri might run off with Tasha, but I would still love him. I would probably always love him.
I cared about Mason. But I would probably never love him.
I sighed into Dimitri, just wishing I could stay like that forever. It felt right being with him. And-no matter how much the thought of him and Tasha made me ache-doing what was best for him felt right. Now, I knew, it was time to stop being a coward and do something else that was right. Mason had said I needed to learn something about myself. I just had.
Reluctantly, I pulled away and handed Dimitri his coat. I stood up. He regarded me curiously, sensing my unease.
"Where you going?" he asked.
"To break someone's heart," I replied.
I admired Dimitri for a heartbeat more-the dark, knowing eyes and silken hair. The I headed inside. I had to apologize to Mason...and tell him there'd never be anything between us.
Richelle Mead (Frostbite (Vampire Academy, #2))
You can’t just do whatever you feel like.” “You can’t just do anything you want.” “You have to learn self-restraint.” “You’re only interested in gratifying your desires.” “You don’t care about anything but your own pleasure.” Can you hear the judgmentality in these admonitions? Can you see how they reproduce the mentality of domination that runs our civilization? Goodness comes through conquest. Health comes through conquering bacteria. Agriculture is improved by eliminating pests. Society is made safe by winning the war on crime. On my walk today, students accosted me, asking if I wanted to join the “fight” against pediatric cancer. There are so many fights, crusades, campaigns, so many calls to overcome the enemy by force. No wonder we apply the same strategy to ourselves. Thus it is that the inner devastation of the Western psyche matches exactly the outer devastation it has wreaked upon the planet. Wouldn’t you like to be part of a different kind of revolution?
Charles Eisenstein (The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible (Sacred Activism Book 2))
But we’d have each other. And that’s enough for me.” She was crying now, the tears streaking down her face and carrying her mascara with them. I put my arms around her and wiped her cheek with my thumb. “I love you so much, sweetheart. So, so much. And it’s in part because of things like that. You’re an idealist and a romantic, and you have a beautiful soul. And I wish the world was ready to be the way you see it. I wish that the rest of the people on earth with us were capable of living up to your expectations. But they aren’t. The world is ugly, and no one wants to give anyone the benefit of the doubt about anything. When we lose our work and our reputations, when we lose our friends and, eventually, what money we have, we will be destitute. I’ve lived that life before. And I cannot let it happen to you. I will do whatever I can to prevent you from living that way. Do you hear me? I love you too much to let you live only for me.” She heaved into my body, her tears growing inside her. For a moment, I thought she might flood the backyard. “I love you,” she said. “I love you, too,” I whispered into her ear. “I love you more than anything else in the entire world.” “It’s not wrong,” Celia said. “It shouldn’t be wrong, to love you. How can it be wrong?” “It’s not wrong, sweetheart. It’s not,” I said. “They’re wrong.
Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo)
What are you doing here?" I whispered, smiling in the dark.
"I had to see you," he breathed into my cheek as he wrapped his arms around me, pulling me down until we were lying side by side on the bed.
"I have so much to tell you, Aspen."
"Shhh, don't say a word. If anyone hears, there'll be hell to pay. Just let me look at you."
And so I obeyed. I stayed there, quiet and still, while Aspen stared into my eyes. When he had his fill of that, he went to nuzzling his nose into my neck and hair. And then his hands were moving up and down the curve of my waist to my hip over and over and over. I heard his breathing get heavy, and something about that drew me in.
His lips, hidden in my neck, started kissing me. I drew in sharp breaths. I couldn't help it. Aspen's lips traveled up my chin and covered my mouth, effectively silencing my gasps. I wrapped myself around him, our rushed grabbing and the humidity of the night covering us both in sweat.
It was a stolen moment.
Aspen's lips finally slowed, though I was nowhere near ready to stop. But we had to be smart. If we went any further, and there was ever evidence of it, we'd both be thrown in jail.
Another reason everyone married young: Waiting is torture.
"I should go," he whispered.
"But I want you to stay." My lips were by his ears. I could smell his soap again.
"America Singer, one day you will fall asleep in my arms every night. And you'll wake up to my kisses every morning. And them some." I bit my lip at the thought. "But now I have to go. We're pushing our luck."
I sighed and loosened my grip. He was right.
"I love you, America."
"I love you, Aspen."
These secret moments would be enough to get me through everything coming: Mom's disappointment when I wasn't chosen, the work I'd have to do to help Aspen save, the eruption that was coming when he asked Dad for my hand, and whatever struggles we'd go through once we were married. None of it mattered. Not if I had Aspen.
Kiera Cass (The Selection (The Selection, #1))
People are always thinking they can use the Lord to get their own way-- all they have to do is pray and God's gonna take away all their suffering and give them what they whatever they ask for. But it don't work that way. God's doing His business, and it's up to us to be serving Him, not the other way around."
Then why do people pray at all? My papa asked Jesus to help him escape with me when I was just a little girl. But Jesus didn't help us."
Praying ain't about asking for your own way. It's all about talking things over with God, just like you and me are talking things over. In the end, you have to be trusting the Lord to do what's best."
So the Lord thought it was best that my papa died and my mama was sold?"
Delia slowly shook her head. "I don't know, honey, I just don't know. The hardest thing of all to understand is why a loving God keeps letting us suffer... I don't know all the answers myself. I seen my share of suffering, believe me. But there two things I do know for sure. One is that God loves us... And the second thing is that God's always in control of everything that happens. When bad things come our way and it starts looking like He don't love us, all I can say is that maybe we ain't knowing everything He knows."
Kitty's tears started falling again. "I still don't understand."
Remember what you told me about the fighting up in Charleston? How you was standing on that porch, not able to see what's going on? This here's the same thing. We're standing in the smoke, hearing the noise [of the battle] all around us, and we don't know what God's doing because we can't see things clearly as He sees them. But He's gonna make everything turn our okay when the smoke clears. When it does, God's gonna be the winner and all our suffering here on earth is gonna finall make sense. We're gonna look in Jesus' face and say, 'O Lord, it was worth it all.
Lynn Austin (A Light to My Path (Refiner's Fire, #3))
For most of my life, I would have automatically said that I would opt for conscientious objector status, and in general, I still would. But the spirit of the question is would I ever, and there are instances where I might. If immediate intervention would have circumvented the genocide in Rwanda or stopped the Janjaweed in Darfur, would I choose pacifism? Of course not. Scott Simon, the reporter for National Public Radio and a committed lifelong Quaker, has written that it took looking into mass graves in former Yugoslavia to convince him that force is sometimes the only option to deter our species' murderous impulses.
While we're on the subject of the horrors of war, and humanity's most poisonous and least charitable attributes, let me not forget to mention Barbara Bush (that would be former First Lady and presidential mother as opposed to W's liquor-swilling, Girl Gone Wild, human ashtray of a daughter. I'm sorry, that's not fair. I've no idea if she smokes.) When the administration censored images of the flag-draped coffins of the young men and women being killed in Iraq - purportedly to respect "the privacy of the families" and not to minimize and cover up the true nature and consequences of the war - the family matriarch expressed her support for what was ultimately her son's decision by saying on Good Morning America on March 18, 2003, "Why should we hear about body bags and deaths? I mean it's not relevant. So why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"
Mrs. Bush is not getting any younger. When she eventually ceases to walk among us we will undoubtedly see photographs of her flag-draped coffin. Whatever obituaries that run will admiringly mention those wizened, dynastic loins of hers and praise her staunch refusal to color her hair or glamorize her image. But will they remember this particular statement of hers, this "Let them eat cake" for the twenty-first century? Unlikely, since it received far too little play and definitely insufficient outrage when she said it. So let us promise herewith to never forget her callous disregard for other parents' children while her own son was sending them to make the ultimate sacrifice, while asking of the rest of us little more than to promise to go shopping. Commit the quote to memory and say it whenever her name comes up. Remind others how she lacked even the bare minimum of human integrity, the most basic requirement of decency that says if you support a war, you should be willing, if not to join those nineteen-year-olds yourself, then at least, at the very least, to acknowledge that said war was actually going on. Stupid fucking cow.
David Rakoff (Don't Get Too Comfortable: The Indignities of Coach Class, The Torments of Low Thread Count, The Never-Ending Quest for Artisanal Olive Oil, and Other First World Problems)
I once wrote you a letter and you never replied, which makes me wonder if you ever received it. This time it's a more personal delivery - and I need a reply, even if it's not the one I want.
I'm listening to you - I can hear every word, however softly you speak - and I'm half-agony, half-hope. You're saying that men are realists - that, when the woman they love is no longer available, they move on. Well, believe me, I tried - and I thought I had. But seeing you again, after so many years, just proved how little I knew...
You told me to trust myself. So here I am back in Bath, putting everything on the line for a second chance with you. Is that what you want, too? Whatever your answer, remember this: I may not deserve you - when I think of how I've behaved, I know I've shown little self-control and even less forgiveness - but I've never stopped loving you.
You're talking about heartless men... But I have a heart, and it's the same one you almost broke ten years ago, and it belongs to you, and only you, even more than it did then. And yes, I'm a realist: if you no longer love me, I will accept it. But don't say that only a woman can keep on loving someone who's no longer part of her life! Because I will keep on loving you until there are no stars in the sky.
Tell me tonight how you feel. If there's any chance of you loving me back, then I'll wait for you as I should have waited before. If not, say the word and I'll leave you in peace. But I'll never forget you, or what we had, or what might have been.
Juliet Archer (Persuade Me (Darcy & Friends, #2))
Thank you for inviting me here today " I said my voice sounding nothing like me. "I'm here to testify about things I've seen and experienced myself. I'm here because the human race has become more powerful than ever. We've gone to the moon. Our crops resist diseases and pests. We can stop and restart a human heart. And we've harvested vast amounts of energy for everything from night-lights to enormous super-jets. We've even created new kinds of people, like me.
"But everything mankind" - I frowned - "personkind has accomplished has had a price. One that we're all gonna have to pay."
I heard coughing and shifting in the audience. I looked down at my notes and all the little black words blurred together on the page. I just could not get through this.
I put the speech down picked up the microphone and came out from behind the podium.
"Look " I said. "There's a lot of official stuff I could quote and put up on the screen with PowerPoint. But what you need to know what the world needs to know is that we're really destroying the earth in a bigger and more catastrophic was than anyone has ever imagined.
"I mean I've seen a lot of the world the only world we have. There are so many awesome beautiful tings in it. Waterfalls and mountains thermal pools surrounded by sand like white sugar. Field and field of wildflowers. Places where the ocean crashes up against a mountainside like it's done for hundreds of thousands of years.
"I've also seen concrete cities with hardly any green. And rivers whose pretty rainbow surfaces came from an oil leak upstream. Animals are becoming extinct right now in my lifetime. Just recently I went through one of the worst hurricanes ever recorded. It was a whole lot worse because of huge worldwide climatic changes caused by... us. We the people."
"A more perfect union While huge corporations do whatever they want to whoever they want and other people live in subway tunnels Where's the justice of that Kids right here in America go to be hungry every night while other people get four-hundred-dollar haircuts. Promote the general welfare Where's the General welfare in strip-mining toxic pesticides industrial solvents being dumped into rivers killing everything Domestic Tranquility Ever sleep in a forest that's being clear-cut You'd be hearing chain saws in your head for weeks. The blessings of liberty Yes. I'm using one of the blessings of liberty right now my freedom of speech to tell you guys who make the laws that the very ground you stand on the house you live in the children you tuck in at night are all in immediate catastrophic danger.
James Patterson (The Final Warning (Maximum Ride, #4))
A friend once told me that what she fears most about growing old is becoming irrelevant, turning into a nostalgic old woman who cannot understand the world around her, or contribute much to it. This is what we fear collectively, as a species, when we hear of superhumans. We sense that in such a world, our identity, our dreams and even our fears will be irrelevant, and we will have nothing more to contribute. Whatever you are today – be it a devout Hindu cricket player or an aspiring lesbian journalist – in an upgraded world you will feel like a Neanderthal hunter in Wall Street. You won’t belong.
Yuval Noah Harari (Homo Deus: A History of Tomorrow)
You speak as if you envied him."
"And I do envy him, Emma. In one respect he is the object of my envy."
Emma could say no more. They seemed to be within half a sentence of Harriet, and her immediate feeling was to avert the subject, if possible. She made her plan; she would speak of something totally different—the children in Brunswick Square; and she only waited for breath to begin, when Mr. Knightley startled her, by saying,
"You will not ask me what is the point of envy.—You are determined, I see, to have no curiosity.—You are wise—but I cannot be wise. Emma, I must tell you what you will not ask, though I may wish it unsaid the next moment."
"Oh! then, don't speak it, don't speak it," she eagerly cried. "Take a little time, consider, do not commit yourself."
"Thank you," said he, in an accent of deep mortification, and not another syllable followed.
Emma could not bear to give him pain. He was wishing to confide in her—perhaps to consult her;—cost her what it would, she would listen. She might assist his resolution, or reconcile him to it; she might give just praise to Harriet, or, by representing to him his own independence, relieve him from that state of indecision, which must be more intolerable than any alternative to such a mind as his.—They had reached the house.
"You are going in, I suppose?" said he.
"No,"—replied Emma—quite confirmed by the depressed manner in which he still spoke—"I should like to take another turn. Mr. Perry is not gone." And, after proceeding a few steps, she added—"I stopped you ungraciously, just now, Mr. Knightley, and, I am afraid, gave you pain.—But if you have any wish to speak openly to me as a friend, or to ask my opinion of any thing that you may have in contemplation—as a friend, indeed, you may command me.—I will hear whatever you like. I will tell you exactly what I think."
"As a friend!"—repeated Mr. Knightley.—"Emma, that I fear is a word—No, I have no wish—Stay, yes, why should I hesitate?—I have gone too far already for concealment.—Emma, I accept your offer—Extraordinary as it may seem, I accept it, and refer myself to you as a friend.—Tell me, then, have I no chance of ever succeeding?"
He stopped in his earnestness to look the question, and the expression of his eyes overpowered her.
"My dearest Emma," said he, "for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma—tell me at once. Say 'No,' if it is to be said."—She could really say nothing.—"You are silent," he cried, with great animation; "absolutely silent! at present I ask no more."
Emma was almost ready to sink under the agitation of this moment. The dread of being awakened from the happiest dream, was perhaps the most prominent feeling.
"I cannot make speeches, Emma:" he soon resumed; and in a tone of such sincere, decided, intelligible tenderness as was tolerably convincing.—"If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more. But you know what I am.—You hear nothing but truth from me.—I have blamed you, and lectured you, and you have borne it as no other woman in England would have borne it.—Bear with the truths I would tell you now, dearest Emma, as well as you have borne with them. The manner, perhaps, may have as little to recommend them. God knows, I have been a very indifferent lover.—But you understand me.—Yes, you see, you understand my feelings—and will return them if you can. At present, I ask only to hear, once to hear your voice.
Jane Austen (Emma)
And What Good Will Your Vanity Be When The Rapture Comes”
says the man with a cart of empty bottles at the corner of church
and lincoln while I stare into my phone and I say
I know oh I know while trying to find the specific
filter that will make the sun’s near-flawless descent look
the way I might describe it in a poem and the man
says the moment is already right in front of you and I
say I know but everyone I love is not here and I mean
here like on this street corner with me while I turn
the sky a darker shade of red on my phone and I mean
here like everyone I love who I can still touch and not
pass my fingers through like the wind in a dream
but I look up at the man and he is a kaleidoscope
of shadows I mean his shadows have shadows
and they are small and trailing behind him and I know
then that everyone he loves is also not here and the man doesn’t ask
but I still say hey man I’ve got nothing I’ve got nothing even though I have plenty
to go home to and the sun is still hot even in its
endless flirt with submission and the man’s palm has a small
river inside I mean he has taken my hand now and here we are
tethered and unmoving and the man says what color are you making
the sky and I say what I might say in a poem I say all surrender
ends in blood and he says what color are you making the sky and
I say something bright enough to make people wish they were here
and he squints towards the dancing shrapnel of dying
light along a rooftop and he says I love things only as they are
and I’m sure I did once too but I can’t prove it to anyone these days
and he says the end isn’t always about what dies and I know I know
or I knew once and now I write about beautiful things
like I will never touch a beautiful thing again and the man
looks me in the eyes and he points to the blue-orange vault
over heaven’s gates and he says the face of everyone you miss
is up there and I know I know I can’t see them but I know
and he turns my face to the horizon and he says
we don’t have much time left and I get that he means the time
before the sun is finally through with its daily work or I
think I get that but I still can’t stop trembling and I close
my eyes and I am sobbing on the corner of church and
lincoln and when I open my eyes the sun is plucking everyone
who has chosen to love me from the clouds and carrying them
into the light-drunk horizon and I am seeing this and I know
I am seeing this the girl who kissed me as a boy in the dairy aisle
of meijer while our parents shopped and the older boy on the
basketball team who taught me how to make a good fist and swing
it into the jaw of a bully and the friends who crawled to my porch
in the summer of any year I have been alive they were all there
I saw their faces and it was like I was given the eyes of a newborn
again and once you know what it is to be lonely it is hard to
unsee that which serves as a reminder that you were not always
empty and I am gasping into the now-dark air and I pull my shirt
up to wipe whatever tears are left and I see the man walking in the
other direction and I chase him down and tap his arm and I say did
you see it did you see it like I did and he turns and leans into the
glow of a streetlamp and he is anchored by a single shadow now
and he sneers and he says have we met and he scoffs and pushes
his cart off into the night and I can hear the glass rattling even
as I watch him become small and vanish and I look down at my
phone and the sky on the screen is still blood red.
He spoke about cognition.”
“Is that all you know? Don’t you remember anything?”
“I remember the verses he interpreted.”
“I don’t know.”
“Let me hear.”
“Ahriman knows not
The secret of God’s unity.
Ask Asaf, he knows.
Can a sparrow swallow the mouthful of the Anka-bird?
‘Can a single jug take in
The waters of a great sea?’”
“Those are the verses of Ibn Arabi.They say that the perception of God’s wisdom is possible only for the chosen, only for a few.”
“And what remains for us?”
“To comprehend what we can. If a sparrow cannot swallow the mouthful of the Anka-bird, it will still eat as much as it can. You cannot scoop up the whole sea with a jug, but whatever you scoop up is also the sea.
Meša Selimović (Death and the Dervish)
I spent my whole life repressing my true nature, but I’d willingly embrace my demons for you. I’d turn into the devil, a monster, and whatever weapon I have to be if it means I can protect you. You will never, ever question me about it, do you hear me?
Rina Kent (God of Malice (Legacy of Gods, #1))
Nothing to hold on to while the current takes me.
Whatever I might have had until today, I’ve lost.
I feel my love for her, swelling; bloating into something that’s about to explode, like an abscess that’s been allowed to rot for too long, but the pain drowns it so completely I know I’m never coming back out. This feeling, that you’re choking and that your body is underwater, immersed in the ocean, a dense flood that overpowers your breathing abilities, and your will to survive gets drowned right along with it. And as I’m drowning I see her face and hear her voice—and it doesn’t give me hope, it terrifies me. I’m terrified because I know she’s going to be the death of me. I’m terrified because I know I won’t be able to cope. I’m terrified because the darkness is the only true friend I’ve ever had and if it wants to embrace me I don’t have the power to make it stop.
Kady Hunt (Seven Cuts)
I felt as though the skin had been peeled away from half of my body. Half my face had been peeled away, and everybody would stare in horror for the rest of my life. Or they would stare at the other half, at the half still intact; I could see them smiling, pretending that the flayed half wasn't there, and talking to the half that was. And I could hear my self screaming at them, I could see myself thrusting my hideous side right up into their unmarred faces to make them properly horrified. 'I was pretty! I was whole! I was sunny, lively little girl! Look, look at what they did to me!' But whatever side they looked at, I would always be screaming, 'Look at the other! Why don't you look at the other!' That's what I thought about in the hospital at night. However they look at me, however they talk to me, however they try to comfort me, I will always be this half-flayed thing. I will never be young, I will never be kind or at peace or in love, and I will hate them all my life.
Philip Roth (The Ghost Writer)
Rebuffed from his fine feelings, Milkman matched her cold tone. "You loved those white folks that much?"
"Love?" she asked. "Love?"
"Well, what are you taking care of their dogs for?"
"Do you know why she killed herself? She couldn't stand to see the place go to ruin. She couldn't live without servants and money and what it could buy. Every cent was gone and the taxes took whatever came in. She had to let the upstairs maids go, then the cook, then the dog trainer, then the yardman, then the chauffeur, then the car, then the woman who washed once a week. Then she started selling bits and pieces––land, jewels, furniture. The last few years we ate out of the garden. Finally she couldn't take it anymore. The thought of having no help, no money––well, she couldn't take that. She had to let everything go."
"But she didn't let you go." Milkman had no trouble letting his words snarl.
"No, she didn't let me go. She killed herself."
"And you still loyal."
"You don't listen to people. Your ear is on your head, but it's not connected to your brain. I said she killed herself rather than do the work I'd been doing all my life!" Circe stood up, and the dogs too. "Do you hear me? She saw the work I did all her days and died, you hear me, died rather than live like me. Now, what do you suppose she thought I was! If the way I lived and the work I did was so hateful to her she killed herself to keep from having to do it, and you think I stay on here because I loved her, then you have about as much sense as a fart!
Toni Morrison (Song of Solomon)
Do I remember what?” he asked.
My heart sank in my chest, realizing I was engaged to someone who didn’t even remember asking. Who maybe hadn’t even really wanted to ask. Maybe his memory had blocked it out on purpose.
“Nothing,” I said, and started to pull away.
“No, Gracie.” Daniel grabbed my arms. An expression of pain crossed his face as he pulled me up so I was standing in front of him, gripping me tightly so I couldn’t run away. “Whatever it is you wanted to ask me is important. I can see it on your face. Don’t hide anything from me. That’s not how we work. Not anymore. We’re in this together. No matter what.”
I could tell he meant it. So maybe the idea of our being engaged wouldn’t be too crazy, even if he had no recollection of it. “It’s just that . . . when we were locked up . . . you asked me . . . What the hell?” I jumped back and smacked my hip on the foot of my bed. My hearing had pricked at the sound of an unexpected noise, stopping me from finishing what I was about to say.
Daniel laughed and let go of my arms. “That’s an odd thing for me to ask.
Bree Despain (The Savage Grace (The Dark Divine, #3))
I want you gone,” he says. “I want you out of my life. Out of my system. I don’t want to spend another goddamn second thinking about you, wondering about you, worrying about you. I don’t want to look at you, don’t want to see you or smell you or taste you or hear you. I don’t want this. Do you get that? I don’t want any of this. It’s driving me fucking insane. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I can’t think. I hate this, whatever this is... whatever this bullshit is that I’m feeling because of you. Make it go away.”
I just stare at him, because I don’t know what to say to that. I don’t know much of anything right now except what I’m feeling, and even that is hard to comprehend.
“You want the fairy tale,” he continues. “You want the happy ending. You want the little boy to be a fucking bird so he can fly away and make everything okay, but I can’t do it. I’ve told you that. It’s not me.”
“So why the fuck are you here?”
“Because I love you anyway.
J.M. Darhower (Grievous (Scarlet Scars, #2))
it happened again. And again. Some blackouts were benign, the last few hours of an evening turning into a blurry strobe. Some were extravagant. Like the one that brought me to the health clinic, after waking up in my parents’ house and having no idea how I got there. Three hours, gone from my brain. During uncomfortable conversations with my friends, I would listen in disbelief as they told stories about me that were like the work of an evil twin. I said what? I did what? But I didn’t want to betray how little I knew. I wanted to eject from those discussions as quickly as possible, so I would nod and tell them I felt terrible about what I’d done (whatever it turned out to be). The soft language of disarmament: I hear you. You are heard.
Sarah Hepola (Blackout: Remembering the Things I Drank to Forget)
Brian! Brian! Won’t you give us a statement before you go inside?” Brian stopped walking. A hush fell over the crowd. The atmosphere turned almost reverent as the world waited to hear what Brian Oliver would say. I hoped, for his sake, whatever he came up with was good. I had a feeling this moment of ours was going to go down in Hollywood history. Brian looked at the man and then back at me. His grin spread the entire length of his face and he said, “How about, ‘And they lived happily ever after’?
Kelly Oram (Cinder & Ella (Cinder & Ella, #1))
The majority of things in life are about picking your battles. You'll learn that too. And that will never be clearer than when you're at IKEA. You'd have to visit a Danish vacation village after two weeks of pouring rain and no beer to come across as many couples arguing as you'll hear in the IKEA section for changeable sofa covers on any given Tuesday. People take this whole interior design thing really seriously these days. It's become a national pastime to over interpret the symbolism of the fact that "he wants frosted glass, that just proves he never listens to my FEELINGS." "Ahhhhh! She wants beech veneer. Do you hear me? Beech veneer! Sometimes, it feels like I've woken up next to a stranger!" That's how it is, every single time you go there. And I'm not going to lecture you, but if there's just one thing I can get across then let it be this: no one has ever, in the history of the world, had an argument in IKEA that really is about IKEA. People can say whatever they life, but when a couple who has been married for ten years walks around the bookshelves section calling one another words normally only used by alcoholic crime fiction detectives, they might be arguing about a number of things, but trust me: cupboard doors is not one of them. Believe me. You're a Backman. Regardless of how many shortcomings the person you fall in love with might have, I can guarantee that you still come out on top of that bargain. So find someone who doesn't love you for the person you are, but despite the person you are. And when you're standing there, in the storage section at IKEA, don't focus too much on the furniture. Focus on the fact that you've actually found someone who can see themselves storing their crap in the same place as your crap. Because, hand on heart: you have a lot of crap.
Fredrik Backman (Saker min son behöver veta om världen)
I sit in the center row of the SUV, fuming on the way back to the hotel.
“Can I offer you a bit of advice, Prince Nicholas?” Tommy asks.
I may have been mumbling out loud.
“Shut up, Tommy,” Logan says from the driver’s seat...
“It’s all right.” I meet Tommy’s light brown eyes in the rearview mirror, where he sits behind me. “Offer away.”
He scratches his head. “I think the lass was embarrassed.”
“Aye. It’s like my younger sister, Janey. She’s a good-looking girl, but one day she had a zit on her forehead that was so big it made her look like a dickicorn. And she was walking—”
James, in the front passenger seat, reads my mind.
“What the fuck is a dickicorn?”
“It’s an expression,” Tommy explains.
James angles around to look at Tommy, his blue eyes crinkled.
“An expression for what?”
“For…someone with something big coming out o’ their forehead that looks like a cock.”
“Wouldn’t it be a unicock, then?” James wonders.
“For Christ’s sake,” Logan cuts in. “Would you forget about the fuckin’ unicorn or dickicock or whatever the hell it is—”
“It doesn’t make any sense!” James argues.
“—and let Tommy finish his story? We’re never gonna hear the end at this rate.”
James throws up his hands, grumbling. “Fine. But it still doesn’t make any sense.”
For the record, my semantic vote goes to unidick
Emma Chase (Royally Screwed (Royally, #1))
All of us struggle to realize something Patrice spent years telling me, as I took on one position or another: "It's not about you, dear." She often needed to remind me that, whatever people were feeling-happy, sad, frightened, or confused-it was unlikely it had anything to do with me. They had received a gift, or lost a friend, or gotten a medical test result, or couldn't understand why their love wasn't calling them back. It was all about their lives, their troubles, their hopes and dreams. Not mine. The nature of human existence makes it hard for us-or at least for me-to come to that understanding naturally. After all, I can only experience the world through me. That tempts all of us to believe everything we think, everything we hear, everything we see, is all about us. I think we all do this.
But a leader constantly has to train him- or herself to think otherwise. This is an important insight for a leader, in two respects. First, it allows you to relax a bit, secure in the knowledge that you aren't that important. Second, knowing people aren't focused on you should drive you to try to imagine what they are focused on. I see this as the heart of emotional intelligence, the ability to imagine the feelings and perspective of another "me". Some seem to be born with a larger initial deposit of emotional intelligence, but all of us can develop it with practice.
James Comey (A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership)
Why are you so mad at me?" Norris shouted back. The neighbors could definitely hear them now. His throat dry, but he didn't care. "I'm sorry if I interrupted one of your dates, or whatever, but I DID NOT DO ANYTHING! Ground me for leaving prom, ground me for drinking, but I didn't drive, I didn't have unprotected sex, I didn't even get high! You know that! You're supposed to be on my side here, Mom!"
"NO!" she hurled back. "Not on this, Norris" I can't be!"
"Why the hell not?!"
"You know damn well! Trayvon Martin," she began. "Tamir Rice, Cameron Tillman, so many others that I can't remember all their names anymore!"
Norris knew too well. It was almost a ritual, even back in Canada. They would sit as a family and watch quietly. "Be smart out there," Felix used to say.
"You're not a handsome blue-eyed little Ken doll who's going to get a slap on the wrist every time he messes up. That, tonight?" she said, pointing to the door. "Do you know what that was? Do you?!"
"That was a fucking coin flip, Norris. That was the coin landing heads." Her finger dug into his chest, punctuating every other word she was saying, spittle flying at his face. "Heads. A good one. Officer Miller, who has four sons, and luckily, mercifully, thank Jesus saw someone else's kid back-talking him tonight."
She exhaled, her breath Thai-food hot against his face.
"Tails." Her voice broke. "Tails, and I would be at the morgue right now identifying you! With some man lecturing me about our blood alcohol level and belligerent language and how you had it coming.
Ben Philippe (The Field Guide to the North American Teenager)
You have to find a mother inside yourself. We all do. Even if we already have a mother, we still have to find this part of ourselves inside.’ She held out her hand to me. ‘Give me your hand.’ I lifted my left hand and placed it in hers. She took it and pressed the flat of my palm up against my chest, over my beating heart. ‘You don’t have to put your hand on Mary’s heart to get strength and consolation and rescue, and all the other things we need to get through life,’ she said. ‘You can place it right here on your own heart. Your own heart.’ August stepped closer. She kept the pressure steady against my hand. ‘All those times your father treated you mean, Our Lady was the voice in you that said, “No, I will not bow down to this. I am Lily Melissa Owens, I will not bow down.” Whether you could hear this voice or not, she was in there saying it.’ I took my other hand and placed it on top of hers, and she moved her free hand on top of it, so we had this black-and-white stack of hands resting upon my chest. ‘When you’re unsure of yourself,’ she said, ‘when you start pulling back into doubt and small living, she’s the one inside saying, “Get up from there and live like the glorious girl you are.” She’s the power inside you, you understand?’ Her hands stayed where they were but released their pressure. ‘And whatever it is that keeps widening your heart, that’s Mary, too, not only the power inside you but the love. And when you get down to it, Lily, that’s the only purpose grand enough for a human life. Not just to love – but to persist in love.
Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees: The stunning multi-million bestselling novel about a young girl's journey; poignant, uplifting and unforgettable)
RubyMars: Have you heard anything else about when you’re leaving for good?
AHall80: Not yet, but everything seems to be on schedule. Should be about 8 weeks. The longest 8 weeks of my life.
RubyMars: I’m sure.
AHall80: I want a shitty, greasy, deep dish pizza like you can’t imagine. I can already taste it.
AHall80: A hot shower… a real bed… AC everywhere…
RubyMars: Clean clothes?
AHall80: Clean clothes. Clean socks. No sand.
RubyMars: Clean underwear.
RubyMars: No sand? I thought you were planning on going to the beach?
AHall80: The beach is different. There’s water. It isn’t just desert and more desert.
RubyMars: I guess that makes sense.
RubyMars: My brother said once that his goal is to never see sand in his life again.
AHall80: For real.
RubyMars: What I didn’t finish saying was that he said that, but he’s gone to Cancun twice with his boyfriend, LOL.
AHall80: It’s different. I’m over this sand shit.
AHall80: Never again
RubyMars: Does that mean you’re dead set on not re-enlisting?
RubyMars: Whatever you want. I’m not judging. We don’t have to talk about it.
AHall80: It’s not that I don’t want to talk about it…
RubyMars: But you don’t want to talk about it.
AHall80: :] Basically.
RubyMars: I’ll change the subject then.
RubyMars: Have you gone #2 lately?
AHall80: Three days ago.
RubyMars: Are you joking?
AHall80: I wish.
AHall80: I know. I KNOW.
RubyMars: Does it hurt?
AHall80: Uh, when it comes out?
RubyMars: I meant your stomach.
RubyMars: Does your stomach hurt?
RubyMars: I can’t breathe
RubyMars: Or type
RubyMars: I didn’t mean your… rectum.
RubyMars: Are you there?
AHall80: You’re not the only one who couldn’t breathe or type.
RubyMars: LMAO I’m crying.
AHall80: me too
AHall80: me too
RubyMars: I mean… you can tell me if your butt hurts too, I guess.
AHall80: Ruby, stop
RubyMars: Seriously. You can tell me. I won’t judge.
RubyMars: It happens.
RubyMars: I think.
RubyMars: I can’t breathe
AHall80: I don’t know when the last time I laughed so hard was.
AHall80: Everyone is looking at me wondering wtf happened.
RubyMars: Your rectum happened
RubyMars: I can’t stop laughing
AHall80: You’re never hearing from me again
RubyMars: There are tears coming out of my eyes.
AHall80: Bye. I’ll write you again when I find my balls.
RubyMars: It was nice knowing you.
Mariana Zapata (Dear Aaron)
I'm jittery.It's like the animatronic band from Chuck E. Cheese is throwing a jamboree in my stomach. I've always hated Chuck E. Cheese. Why am I thinking about Chuck E. Cheese? I don't know why I'm nervous.I'm just seeing my mom again. And Seany.And Bridge! Bridge said she'd come.
St. Clair's connecting flight to San Francisco doesn't leave for another three hours,so we board the train that runs between terminals,and he walks me to the arrivals area.We've been quiet since we got off the plane. I guess we're tired. We reach the security checkpoint,and he can't go any farther. Stupid TSA regulations.I wish I could introduce him to my family.The Chuck E. Cheese band kicks it up a notch,which is weird, because I'm not nervous about leaving him. I'll see him again in two weeks.
"All right,Banana.Suppose this is goodbye." He grips the straps of his backpack,and I do the same.
This is the moment we're supposed to hug. For some reason,I can't do it.
"Tell your mom hi for me. I mean, I know I don't know her. She just sounds really nice. And I hope she's okay."
He smiles softly. "Thanks.I'll tell her."
"Yeah,whatever. You'll be so busy with Bridge and what's-his-name that you'll forget all about your English mate, St. Clair."
"Ha! So you are English!" I poke him in the stomach.
He grabs my hand and we wrestle, laughing. "I claim....no...nationality."
I break free. "Whatever,I totally caught you. Ow!" A gray-haired man in sunglasses bumps his red plaid suitcase into my legs.
"Hey,you! Apologize!" St. Clair says,but the guy is already too far away to hear.
I rub my shins. "It's okay, we're in the way. I should go."
Time to hug again. Why can't we do it? Finally, I step forward and put my arms around him. He's stiff,and it's awkward, especially with our backpacks in the way.I smell his hair again. Oh heavens.
We pull apart. "Have fun at the show tonight" he says.
"I will.Have a good flight."
"Thanks." He bites his thumbnail,and then I'm through security and riding down the escalator. I look back one last time. St. Clair jumps up and down, waving at me.I burst into laughter, and his face lights up.The escalator slides down.
He's lost from view.
I swallow hard and turn around.And then-there they are.Mom has a gigantic smile, and Seany is jumping and waving, just like St. Clair.
Stephanie Perkins (Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1))
December 25, 4:30 p.m.
It’s been seven hours since you left. Twice now I’ve started to go to your room to ask how you liked your presents and then remembered you weren’t here. I’ve gotten so used to you, it’s strange that you aren’t around, drifting down the halls. I’ve nearly called a few times, but I don’t want to seem possessive. I don’t want you to feel like I’m a cage to you. I remember how you said the palace was just that the first night you came here. I think, over time, you’ve felt freer, and I’d hate to ruin that freedom, I’m going to have to distract myself until you come back.
I decided to sit and write to you, hoping maybe it would feel like I was talking to you. It sort of does, I can imagine you sitting here, smiling at my idea, maybe shaking your head at me as if to say I’m being silly. You do that sometimes, did you know? I like that expression on you. You’re the only person who wears it in a way that doesn’t come across like you think I’m completely hopeless. You smile at my idiosyncrasies, accept that they exist, and continue to be my friend. And, in seven short hours, I’ve started to miss that.
I’ve wonder what you’ve done in that time. I’m betting by now you’ve flown across the country, made it to your home, and are safe. I hope you are safe. I can’t imagine what a comfort you must be to your family right now. The lovely daughter has finally returned!
I keep trying to picture you home. I remember you telling me it was small, that you had a tree house, and that your garage was where you father and sister did all their work. Beyond that I’ve had to resort to my imagination. I imagine you curled up in a hug with you sister or kicking around a ball with your little brother. I remember that, you know? That you said he liked to play ball.
I tried to imagine walking into your house with you. I would have liked that, to see you where you grew up. I would love to see you brother run around or be embraced by your mother. I think it would be comforting to sense the presence of people near you, floorboards creaking and doors shutting. I would have liked to sit in one part of the house and still probably be able to smell the kitchen. I’ve always imagined that real homes are full of the aromas of whatever’s being cooked. I wouldn’t do a scrap of work. Nothing having to do with armies or budgets or negotiations. I’d sit with you, maybe try to work on my photography while you played the piano. We’d be Fives together, like you said. I could join your family for dinner, talking over one another in a collection of conversations instead of whispering and waiting our turns. And maybe I’d sleep in a spare bed or on the couch. I’d sleep on the floor beside you if you’d let me.
I think about that sometimes. Falling asleep next to you, I mean, like we did in the safe room. It was nice to hear your breaths as they came and went, something quiet and close keeping me from feeling so alone. This letter has gotten foolish, and I think you know how I detest looking like a fool. But still I do. For you.
Kiera Cass (The One (The Selection, #3))
used to wonder what feelings are If they were something other people kept in a jar Then, reaching in, they would choose whatever feeling they wished. Today I learned the truth about feelings – You don’t choose them; they choose you. They grab you, HARD, and don’t let go until they decide to. I think I liked it better when I didn’t know what feelings are.
David Johnson (Who Will Hear Me When I Cry (Tucker, #5))
This writing thing, it ain’t like that hip hop shit, City. For li’l niggas like you,” he told me, “this writing thing is like a gotdamn porta potty. It’s one li’l nigga at a time, shitting in the toilet, funking up the little space he get. And you shit a regular shit or a classic shit. Either way,” he said. “City, you gotta shit classic, then get your black ass on off the pot.” He actually grabbed my hand. “You probably think I’m hyping you just for the money. It ain’t just about the money. It’s really not. It’s about doing whatever it takes for you to have your voice heard. So I don’t know what you’re writing in that book you always carrying around, but it better be classic because you ain’t gonna get no two times to get it right, you hear me?
Kiese Laymon (Long Division)
He slammed his cup down. Coffee splashed over the rim and puddled around the base. “What on earth gave you the idea I want space? I want you here. With me. All the time. I want to come home and hear the shower running and get excited because I know you’re in it. I want to struggle every morning to get up and go to the gym because I hate the idea of leaving your warm body behind in bed. I want to hear a key turn in the lock and feel contented knowing you’re home. I don’t want fucking space, Harper.”
“I didn’t mean space. I meant space, like closet space, a drawer in the bedroom, part of the counter in the bathroom.”
Trent’s mouth twitched, a slight smile making its way to his lips.
“Like a compromise. A commitment that I want more. I seem to recall you telling me in the car about something being a step in the right direction to a goal we both agreed on. Well, I want all those things you just said, with you, eventually. And if we start to leave things at each other’s places, it’s a step, right?”
Trent reached up, flexing his delicious tattooed bicep, and scratched the side of his head. Without speaking, he leapt to his feet, grabbing Harper and pulling her into a fireman’s lift.
“Trent,” she squealed, kicking her feet to get free. “What are you doing?”
He slapped her butt playfully and laughed as he carried her down the hallway.
Reaching the bedroom, Trent threw her onto the bed. “We’re doing space. Today, right now.” He started pulling open his drawers, looking inside each one before pulling stuff out of the top drawer and dividing it between the others.
“Okay, this is for your underwear. I need to see bras, panties, and whatever other girly shit you have in here before the end of the day.”
Like a panther on the prowl, Trent launched himself at the bed, grabbing her ankle and pulling her to the edge of the bed before sweeping her into his arms to walk to the bathroom. He perched her on the corner of the vanity, where his stuff was spread across the two sinks.
“Pick one what?”
“Sink. Which do you want?”
“You’re giving me a whole sink? Wait … stop…”
Trent grabbed her and started tickling her. Harper didn’t recognize the girly giggles that escaped her.
Pointing to the sink farthest away from the door, she watched as he pushed his toothbrush, toothpaste, and styling products to the other side of the vanity.
He did the same thing with the vanity drawers and created some space under the sink.
“I expect to see toothbrush, toothpaste, your shampoo, and whatever it is that makes you smell like vanilla in here.”
“You like the vanilla?” It never ceased to surprise her, the details he remembered.
Turning, he grabbed her cheeks in both hands and kissed her hard. He trailed kisses behind her ear and inhaled deeply before returning to face her. “Absolutely. I fucking love vanilla,” he murmured against her lips before kissing her again, softly this time. “Oh and I’d better see a box of tampons too.”
“Oh my goodness, you are beyond!” Harper blushed furiously.
“I want you for so much more than just sex, Harper.
Scarlett Cole (The Strongest Steel (Second Circle Tattoos, #1))
He said they would be mad at me. He said they would hate me.’
Tina saw her hand on the poker again. Some killing was good.
‘Lockie, look at me.’
He turned away from the yellow fields and his eyes met hers.
‘I’ve told you before and you have to believe me: everything the uniform said was a lie. Everything. He lied about taking you to your parents and he lied about them not looking for you and he lied about them being angry with you. Whatever he did or you did he made you do it. He made you do it and he was bad and a liar and you are a good kid.’
‘He said they wouldn’t love me ever again.’
Tina looked out of the window. The thing about being a kid was that you had to hear the good stuff a lot before you believed it. You only had to hear the bad shit once before it began to eat away at you.
Nicole Trope (The Boy Under the Table)
I don't know what's happening to me," she says, blinking through a veil of tears as she looks everywhere but at me. "I don't think I can do this anymore."
My heart plummets inside my chest, my lips still hovering over hers, my hands on her waist "do what anymore?" I don't want the answer, don't want to hear what follows my question, don't want to lose her.
"Fight it." Tears are still flowing from her eyes, but I think she stop crying. She sucks and several breaths when she looks at me, her eyes are clear that I anticipated. She's scared shitless - that's clear - but it's like she stop fighting the fear, giving into it instead.
Her lips apart and I'm a stop whatever she's about to say, silence her with my lips, but I don't, forcing myself to hear, needing to know what's got all worked up.
"I think I'm in love with you," she says, her chest heaving with every ravenous breath she takes, yet her voice is astonishingly even and she manages to maintain my gaze.
My voice however is the exact opposite of even, coming out all high-pitched like I'm a thirteen year old and going through puberty all over again. "What?"
She sucks and a breath, then releases is slowly, the fear in her eyes subsiding, as if she just won it. "I think I'm in love with you..." She bites on your lips and shakes her head. "No...I don't think. I know."
I gradually process her words and the full extent of what she's saying. I think I'd honestly believed that she might never say them, that this love thing was going to be a one-way street. Hearing her say it... I don't even know how to describe it. It's like my entire life of associated the word with hatred. Every time my mother said it, it felt like she was trying to take something from me and it made me hate her and myself-Love equaled hate for me. But hearing it from Violet's lips, seeing that look in her eyes, the one I've never seen from anyone, is so different. She's not taking something for me right now, she's giving me something.
She's giving me everything.
Jessica Sorensen (The Certainty of Violet & Luke (The Coincidence, #5))
Suffice it to say I was compelled to create this group in order to find everyone who is, let's say, borrowing liberally from my INESTIMABLE FOLIO OF CANONICAL MASTERPIECES (sorry, I just do that sometimes), and get you all together. It's the least I could do.
I mean, seriously. Those soliloquies in Moby-Dick? Sooo Hamlet and/or Othello, with maybe a little Shylock thrown in. Everyone from Pip in Great Expectations to freakin' Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre mentions my plays, sometimes completely mangling my words in nineteenth-century middle-American dialect for humorous effect (thank you, Sir Clemens). Many people (cough Virginia Woolf cough) just quote me over and over again without attribution. I hear James Joyce even devoted a chapter of his giant novel to something called the "Hamlet theory," though do you have some sort of newfangled English? It looks like gobbledygook to me. The only people who don't seek me out are like Chaucer and Dante and those ancient Greeks. For whatever reason.
And then there are the titles. The Sound and the Fury? Mine. Infinite Jest? Mine. Proust, Nabokov, Steinbeck, and Agatha Christie all have titles that are me-inspired. Brave New World? Not just the title, but half the plot has to do with my work. Even Edgar Allan Poe named a character after my Tempest's Prospero (though, not surprisingly, things didn't turn out well for him!). I'm like the star to every wandering bark, the arrow of every compass, the buzzard to every hawk and gillyflower ... oh, I don't even know what I'm talking about half the time. I just run with it, creating some of the SEMINAL TOURS DE FORCE OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. You're welcome.
Sarah Schmelling (Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook)
Dear Mr. Chance and Ms. Brattle. Sorry about the mess. Great bed. Loved it. As a matter of fact, loved the whole house. Actually, I tried to kill your kids when I found them here. Yeah, funny story. Maybe not funny, hah hah.’”
Astrid heard nervous laughter from the media people, or maybe just from the hotel staff who were hovering around the edges grabbing a glimpse of the Hollywood royalty.
“‘Anyway, I missed and they got away. I don’t know what will happen to Sanjit and that stick-up-his butt Choo and the rest, but whatever happens next, it’s not on me. However . . .’”
Astrid took a dramatic pause.
“‘However, the rest of what happened was on me. Me, Caine Soren. You’ll probably be hearing a lot of crazy stories from kids. But what they didn’t know was that it was all me. Me. Me me. See, I had a power I never told anyone about. I had the power to make people do bad things. Crimes and whatnot. Especially Diana, who never did anything wrong on her own, by her own will, I mean. She—and the rest of them—were under my control. The responsibility is on me. I confess. Haul me away, officers.’”
Astrid suddenly felt her throat tightening, although she’d read the letter many times already, and knew what it said. Rotten son of a . . . And then this.
Redemption. Not a bad concept.
Well, partial redemption.
“It’s signed Caine Soren. And below that, ‘King of the FAYZ.’”
It was a full confession. A lie: a blatant, not-very-convincing lie. But it would be just enough to make prosecutions very difficult. Caine’s role in the FAYZ, and the reality that strange powers had actually existed in that space, were widely known and accepted.
Of course Caine had enjoyed writing it. It was his penultimate act of control. He was manipulating from beyond the grave.
Michael Grant (Light (Gone, #6))
Aaron sketched up a tattoo design for me. We’ll start on it soon, but he thinks I can’t handle all the pain in one sitting, so he’s breaking it into parts.”
“What’s the tattoo of and where will it be?” he asked, glancing over my breasts.
“A fallen angel and it won’t be on my boobs, Judd.”
Laughing at my tone, he didn’t seem to hear the first part. I saw when the words registered. “Why fallen?” he asked, his gaze harder now.
Holding his gaze, I refused to back down. “You know.”
“Fuck you for thinking that makes you fallen.”
“Fuck you for thinking you know what I am.”
Judd suddenly laughed. “What?”
Grudgingly, I smiled. “Whatever. You’re irritating me.”
“Where’s the tat going to be? Something around your heart shaped ass maybe?”
Judd wiggled his eyebrows at me. “I love that damn ass of yours. Shit, this morning when you walked over to get your clothes, I about jizzed myself.”
“Yummy. Best breakfast conversation ever.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Knight (Damaged, #2))
And if I was seen as temperamentally cool and collected, measured in how I used my words, Joe was all warmth, a man without inhibitions, happy to share whatever popped into his head. It was an endearing trait, for he genuinely enjoyed people. You could see it as he worked a room, his handsome face always cast in a dazzling smile (and just inches from whomever he was talking to), asking a person where they were from, telling them a story about how much he loved their hometown (“Best calzone I ever tasted”) or how they must know so-and-so (“An absolutely great guy, salt of the earth”), flattering their children (“Anyone ever tell you you’re gorgeous?”) or their mother (“You can’t be a day over forty!”), and then on to the next person, and the next, until he’d touched every soul in the room with a flurry of handshakes, hugs, kisses, backslaps, compliments, and one-liners. Joe’s enthusiasm had its downside. In a town filled with people who liked to hear themselves talk, he had no peer. If a speech was scheduled for fifteen minutes, Joe went for at least a half hour. If it was scheduled for a half hour, there was no telling how long he might talk. His soliloquies during committee hearings were legendary. His lack of a filter periodically got him in trouble, as when during the primaries, he had pronounced me “articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy,” a phrase surely meant as a compliment, but interpreted by some as suggesting that such characteristics in a Black man were noteworthy. As I came to know Joe, though, I found his occasional gaffes to be trivial compared to his strengths. On domestic issues, he was smart, practical, and did his homework. His experience in foreign policy was broad and deep. During his relatively short-lived run in the primaries, he had impressed me with his skill and discipline as a debater and his comfort on a national stage. Most of all, Joe had heart. He’d overcome a bad stutter as a child (which probably explained his vigorous attachment to words) and two brain aneurysms in middle age.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
I BELIEVE THAT we know much more about God than we admit that we know, than perhaps we altogether know that we know. God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
Kevin tried to sleep with a pillow tight over his face, and he nearly suffocated himself. When he tiptoed over to close the door, they were talking in a subdued tone on the narrow couch. Colette's bare legs were curled up on the pillows, her head riding on the camelback motion of his chest. But her eyes were open, and she looked more adrift than comforted. In a tired baritone, Jerry was talking about prison. It was a horror story -- about the echoing screams of young kids and eyeballs cut open with smuggled razor blades, beginning as the usual speech about the hell he'd seen. But somehow it bcame a lonesome country-western love song, about how every long night of his life he had dreamed of a woman like her-- quick-witted and beautiful and tenacious. It was more than Kevin expected from the man. He told her that if he could buy her safe passage out of this life, hers and Kevin's, he would; but it was hard with a teenage son always pressing to know more and a tiring and insatiable young girlfriend who wanted to devour the world. Think of the pressure on him. "You need to know that we're together like this partly because of you. You keep us up and running. I know it and Kevin knows it. I'm not a good person, Colette -- I never claimed to be, I don't want to be, and you can't expect me to be. But look me in the eye and accept me as a snake, and I'll tell you whatever you're waiting to hear: I need you, I want you, I hurt for you, down in the dust, honey, down in the dust of my bones."
She interrupted him with kisses that sounded like determined sips at a scalding drink.
Peter Craig (Hot Plastic)
I love the pink that creeps up your cheeks when I say something dirty. The way your pussy throbs when I mention what I’m going to do to you later, and you wiggle in your seat trying to control it. So yeah, I guess I do like watching you flustered. You sit and give your attention to the waiter, trying to pretend you’re listening to whatever he’s saying instead of thinking of me feeding you my cock later, but we both know you didn’t hear one word he said. Hell I didn’t hear one word watching you, just knowing what you were thinking about.
Vi Keeland (Worth Forgiving (MMA Fighter, #3))
If you ask why I’m not interested in someone, I might say their nose is too big, or they don’t know how to dress, or they’re too thin or too fat or too plain. But the truth is, I only notice those things because of the real reason - that I’m just not feeling anything. But people don’t want to hear that. They always want an explanation. So I have to come up with something concrete even though feelings aren’t like that. If I did meet a guy and I felt happy with him for whatever reason, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass what he wore or how tall he was or what he did for a living. But when I’m with someone and it just doesn’t feel right, that’s when I start noticing the bad haircut or Chicago accent or unibrow. And it’s true that tomorrow I may go home with someone who you think is totally wrong for me. And the next day I might meet a perfectly nice guy who you think I should feel excited about, but I don’t. But if I do go home with someone, it means for a change, something feels right. For a change, I’m feeling hopeful. I just want to feel happy when I’m with someone. Is that so wrong?
Caren Lissner (Starting from Square Two (Red Dress Ink))
She stared at him, at his face. Simply stared as the scales fell from her eyes. "Oh, my God," she whispered, the exclamation so quiet not even he would hear. She suddenly saw-saw it all-all that she'd simply taken for granted.
Men like him protected those they loved, selflessly, unswervingly, even unto death.
The realization rocked her. Pieces of the jigsaw of her understanding of him fell into place. He was hanging to consciousness by a thread. She had to be sure-and his shields, his defenses were at their weakest now.
Looking down at her hands, pressed over the nearly saturated pad, she hunted for the words, the right tone. Softly said, "My death, even my serious injury, would have freed you from any obligation to marry me. Society would have accepted that outcome, too."
He shifted, clearly in pain. She sucked in a breath-feeling his pain as her own-then he clamped the long fingers of his right hand about her wrist, held tight.
So tight she felt he was using her as an anchor to consciousness, to the world.
His tone, when he spoke, was harsh. "Oh, yes-after I'd expended so much effort keeping you safe all these years, safe even from me, I was suddenly going to stand by and let you be gored by some mangy bull." He snorted, soft, low. Weakly. He drew in a slow, shallow breath, lips thin with pain, but determined, went on, "You think I'd let you get injured when finally after all these long years I at last understand that the reason you've always made me itch is because you are the only woman I actually want to marry? And you think I would stand back and let you be harmed?"
A peevish frown crossed his face. "I ask you, is that likely? Is it even vaguely rational?"
He went on, his words increasingly slurred, his tongue tripping over some, his voice fading. She listened, strained to catch every word as he slid into semi delirium, into rambling, disjointed sentences that she drank in, held to her heart.
He gave her dreams back to her, reshaped and refined. "Not French Imperial-good, sound, English oak. You can use whatever colors you like, but no gilt-I forbid it."
Eventually he ventured further than she had. "And I want at least three children-not just an heir and a spare. At least three-if you're agreeable. We'll have to have two boys, of course-my evil ugly sisters will found us to make good on that. But thereafter...as many girls as you like...as long as they look like you. Or perhaps Cordelia-she's the handsomer of the two uglies."
He loved his sisters, his evil ugly sisters. Heather listened with tears in her eyes as his mind drifted and his voice gradually faded, weakened.
She'd finally got her declaration, not in anything like the words she'd expected, but in a stronger, impossible-to-doubt exposition.
He'd been her protector, unswerving, unflinching, always there; from a man like him, focused on a lady like her, such actions were tantamount to a declaration from the rooftops. The love she'd wanted him to admit to had been there all along, demonstrated daily right before her eyes, but she hadn't seen.
Hadn't seen because she'd been focusing elsewhere, and because, conditioned as she was to resisting the same style of possessive protectiveness from her brothers, from her cousins, she hadn't appreciated his, hadn't realized that that quality had to be an expression of his feelings for her.
Until now that he'd all but given his life for hers.
He loved her-he'd always loved her. She saw that now, looking back down the years. He'd loved her from the time she'd fallen in love with him-the instant they'd laid eyes on each other at Michael and Caro's wedding in Hampshire four years ago.
He'd held aloof, held away-held her at bay, too-believing, wrongly, that he wasn't an appropriate husband for her.
In that, he'd been wrong, too.
She saw it all. And as the tears overflowed and tracked down her cheeks, she knew to her soul how right he was for her. Knew, embraced, and rejoiced.
Stephanie Laurens (Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue (Cynster, #16; The Cynster Sisters Trilogy, #1))
JANUARY 25 Loving Yourself I begin to realize that in inquiring about my own origin and goal, I am inquiring about something other than myself…. In this very realization I begin to recognize the origin and goal of the world. —MARTIN BUBER In loving ourselves, we love the world. For just as fire, rock, and water are all made up of molecules, everything, including you and me, is connected by a small piece of the beginning. Yet, how do we love ourselves? It is as difficult at times as seeing the back of your head. It can be as elusive as it is necessary. I have tried and tripped many times. And I can only say that loving yourself is like feeding a clear bird that no one else can see. You must be still and offer your palmful of secrets like delicate seed. As she eats your secrets, no longer secret, she glows and you lighten, and her voice, which only you can hear, is your voice bereft of plans. And the light through her body will bathe you till you wonder why the gems in your palm were ever fisted. Others will think you crazed to wait on something no one sees. But the clear bird only wants to feed and fly and sing. She only wants light in her belly. And once in a great while, if someone loves you enough, they might see her rise from the nest beneath your fear. In this way, I've learned that loving yourself requires a courage unlike any other. It requires us to believe in and stay loyal to something no one else can see that keeps us in the world—our own self-worth. All the great moments of conception—the birth of mountains, of trees, of fish, of prophets, and the truth of relationships that last—all begin where no one can see, and it is our job not to extinguish what is so beautifully begun. For once full of light, everything is safely on its way—not pain-free, but unencumbered—and the air beneath your wings is the same air that trills in my throat, and the empty benches in snow are as much a part of us as the empty figures who slouch on them in spring. When we believe in what no one else can see, we find we are each other. And all moments of living, no matter how difficult, come back into some central point where self and world are one, where light pours in and out at once. And once there, I realize—make real before me—that this moment, whatever it might be, is a fine moment to live and a fine moment to die.
Mark Nepo (The Book of Awakening: Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have)
When He Must Hear What I Have to Tell Him Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God. JAMES 1:19-20 OFTEN WE WIVES are tuned in to things our husbands are not. There are times when you see the truth about a situation and your husband doesn’t, and you know he needs to hear your input. For example, if you see your husband about to go over a cliff by making a wrong decision, you must absolutely say something to him. If there are words you need to speak to your husband with regard to what he is doing or not doing, pray first. Ask God to open his ears to hear, his mind to understand, and his heart to receive what you have to say. There is a type of man who refuses to listen to anything his wife says simply because she is a woman and he is convinced he knows better. Sometimes it hurts his ego to think she could be right and he might be wrong. Most men, however, have a healthy self-image and know it doesn’t minimize them to receive input from their wife. In fact, they welcome it. When Sarah realized something was happening in her family that wasn’t right, she knew she had to speak. When she told Abraham about it, what she said was something Abraham did not want to hear. He rejected the idea at first, but then God told him, “Do not let it be displeasing in your sight…whatever Sarah has said to you, listen to her voice…” (see Genesis 21:9-12). Don’t you love that? God told Abraham to listen to his wife because she was right. Pray that God will help your husband see when you are right as well. Ask God to open your husband’s heart to hear from Him, even as you are speaking. My Prayer to God LORD, I pray You will show me the truth about what I need to see regarding my husband. Help me to know if whatever I am sensing in my soul about him or his situation is really a revelation from You. If I am wrong, show me what is right. If I am right about this, prepare my husband’s heart to receive what I have to say to him. Open his ears to hear the truth and keep him from being resistant or defensive. Help me to speak to him with the patience, kindness, humility, and self-control that come from walking with You and being filled with Your Spirit. Sarah knew what was right, yet when she told Abraham about it he wasn’t in agreement with her. But You spoke to him, and he heard Your voice and saw the truth. I pray that whenever I must speak to my husband about a situation I am seeing in my spirit, You will speak the truth to him that he needs to hear. I am not concerned about whether he thinks I am right, but more concerned that he understands Your will for his life and our lives together, and that he does the right thing. Help my husband to be swift to hear Your voice, and slow to say no before he has even heard the matter through. Prepare his heart now and give me the words I need to say. If I should not say anything at all, show me that too. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
Dead Seas and Babbling Brooks Not all of us are out of touch with our emotions, but when it comes to talking, all of us are affected by our personality. I have observed two basic personality types. The first I call the “Dead Sea.” In the little nation of Israel, the Sea of Galilee flows south by way of the Jordan River into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea goes nowhere. It receives but it does not give. This personality type receives many experiences, emotions, and thoughts throughout the day. They have a large reservoir where they store that information, and they are perfectly happy not to talk. If you say to a Dead Sea personality, “What’s wrong? Why aren’t you talking tonight?” he will probably answer, “Nothing’s wrong. What makes you think something’s wrong?” And that response is perfectly honest. He is content not to talk. He could drive from Chicago to Detroit and never say a word and be perfectly happy. On the other extreme is the “Babbling Brook.” For this personality, whatever enters into the eye gate or the ear gate comes out the mouth gate and there are seldom sixty seconds between the two. Whatever they see, whatever they hear, they tell. In fact, if no one is at home to talk to, they will call someone else. “Do you know what I saw? Do you know what I heard?” If they can’t get someone on the telephone, they may talk to themselves because they have no reservoir. Many times a Dead Sea marries a Babbling Brook. That happens because when they are dating, it is a very attractive match. If you are a Dead Sea and you date a Babbling Brook, you will have a wonderful evening. You don’t have to think, “How will I get the conversation started tonight? How will I keep the conversation flowing?” In fact, you don’t have to think at all. All you have to do is nod your head and say, “Uh-huh,” and she will fill up the whole evening and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.” On the other hand, if you are a Babbling Brook and you date a Dead Sea, you will have an equally wonderful evening because Dead Seas are the world’s best listeners. You will babble for three hours. He will listen intently to you, and you will go home saying, “What a wonderful person.” You attract each other. But five years after marriage, the Babbling Brook wakes up one morning and says, “We’ve been married five years, and I don’t know him.” The Dead Sea is saying, “I know her too well. I wish she would stop the flow and give me a break.” The good news is that Dead Seas can learn to talk and Babbling Brooks can learn to listen. We are influenced by our personality but not controlled by it. One way to learn new patterns is to establish a daily sharing time in which each of you will talk about three things that happened to you that day and how you feel about them. I call that the “Minimum Daily Requirement” for a healthy marriage. If you will start with the daily minimum, in a few weeks or months you may find quality conversation flowing more freely between you.
Gary Chapman (The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts)
Stop,” Jesse said.
I stared up at him, almost panting with fear.
“Stop, beloved,” he said more gently, and took up my clenched fist with both hands. “I’ve upset you, and I shouldn’t have. I don’t want you to dread yourself. I don’t want you to dread what is to come. Like I said, you’re exceptional, so there may be nothing to worry about at all. But whatever happens, whatever you face, I’ll face it with you. Do you hear?”
“How can you say it? It nearly happened on the roof today. You can’t know-“
“I will be with you. We’re together now, and the universe knows I won’t let you make your sacrifice alone. Dragon protects star. Star adores dragon. An age-old axiom. Simple as that.”
I looked down at our hands, both of his curled over mine. I unclenched my fist. Blood from the thorn smeared my skin.
“The universe,” I muttered. “The same universe that has produced the Kaiser and bedbugs and Chloe Pemington. How reassuring.”
With the same absolute concentration he might have shown for turning flowers into gold, Jesse Holms smoothed out my fingers between his, wiping away the blood. He turned my hand over and lifted it to his lips. His next words fell soft as velvet into the heart of my palm.
“Those nights, in the sweetest dark, we shared our dreams. That’s you answer. I was stitched into yours, and you were stitched into mind, and that was real, I promise you.” I felt his lips curve into a smile. The unbelievably sensual, ticklish scuff of his whiskers. “Very good dreams they were, too,” he added.
It was no use trying to cling to mortification or fear. He was holding my hand. He was smiling at me past the cup of my fingers, and although I couldn’t see it, the shape of it against my skin was beyond tantalizing, rough and masculine. I was a creature gone hot and cold and light-headed with pleasure. I wanted to snatch back my hand and I wanted him to go on touching me like this forever. I wanted to walk with him back to his cottage, to his bed, and to hell with the Germans and school and all the rest of the world.
But he looked up suddenly.
“They’re searching for you,” he said, releasing me at once, moving away.
They were. I heard my name being called by a variety of voices in a variety of tones, all of them still inside the castle, none of them sounding happy.
“Go on.” With a few quick steps, Jesse was less than a shadow, retreating into the black wall of the woods. “Don’t get into trouble. And, Lora?”
There was hushed laughter in his voice. “Until we can see each other again, do us both a favor. Keep away from rooftops.
Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))
He looked sharply towards the pollarded trees.
'Yes, just there,' he said. 'I saw it plainly, and equally plainly I saw it not. And then there's that telephone of yours.'
I told him now about the ladder I had seen below the tree where he saw the dangling rope.
'Interesting,' he said, 'because it's so silly and unexpected. It is really tragic that I should be called away just now, for it looks as if the - well, the matter were coming out of the darkness into a shaft of light. But I'll be back, I hope, in thirty-six hours. Meantime, do observe very carefully, and whatever you do, don't make a theory. Darwin says somewhere that you can't observe without theory, but to make a theory is a great danger to an observer. It can't help influencing your imagination; you tend to see or hear what falls in with your hypothesis. So just observe; be as mechanical as a phonograph and a photographic lens.'
Presently the dog-cart arrived and I went down to the gate with him.
'Whatever it is that is coming through, is coming through in bits,' he said. 'You heard a telephone; I saw a rope. We both saw a figure, but not simultaneously nor in the same place. I wish I didn't have to go.'
I found myself sympathizing strongly with this wish, when after dinner I found myself with a solitary evening in front of me, and the pledge to 'observe' binding me. It was not mainly a scientific ardour that prompted this sympathy and the desire for independent combination, but, quite emphatically, fear of what might be coming out of the huge darkness which lies on all sides of human experience. I could no longer fail to connect together the fancied telephone bell, the rope, and the ladder, for what made the chain between them was the figure that both Philip and I had seen. Already my mind was seething with conjectural theory, but I would not let the ferment of it ascend to my surface consciousness; my business was not to aid but rather stifle my imagination. ("Expiation")
E.F. Benson (The Collected Ghost Stories of E.F. Benson)
A few silent moments later, Peter tells me it’s time to go. He barely looks at me, scowls at the back wall instead. I suppose it would have been too much to ask, to see a friendly face this morning. I stand, and together we walk down the hallway.
My toes are cold. My feet stick to the tiles. We turn a corner, and I hear muffled shouts. At first I can’t tell what the voice is saying, but as we draw closer, it takes shape.
“I want to…her!” Tobias. “I…see her!”
I glance at Peter. “I can’t speak to him one last time, can I?”
Peter shakes his head. “There’s a window, though. Maybe if he sees you he’ll finally shut up.”
He takes me down a dead-end corridor that’s only six feet long. At the end is a door, and Peter is right, there’s a small window near the top, about a foot above my head.
“Tris!” Tobias’s voice is even clearer here. “I want to see her!”
I reach up and press my palm to the glass. The shouts stop, and his face appears behind the glass. His eyes are red; his face, blotchy. Handsome. He stares down at me for a few seconds and then presses his hand to the glass so it lines up with mine. I pretend I can feel the warmth of it through the window.
He leans his forehead against the door and squeezes his eyes shut.
I take my hand down and turn away before he can open his eyes. I feel pain in my chest, worse than when I got shot in the shoulder. I clutch the front of my shirt, blink away tears, and rejoin Peter in the main hallway.
“Thank you,” I say quietly. I meant to say it louder.
“Whatever.” Peter scowls again. “Let’s just go.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
Lutch Crawford always talked straight to the point. That’s how he got so much work done. “Fawn, about the other night, with all that moon. How do you feel now?”
“I feel the same way,” she said tightly.
Lutch had a little habit of catching his lower lip with his teeth and letting go when he was thinking was hard. There was a pause about long enough to do this. Then he said, “You been hearing rumors about you and me?”
“Well I—” She caught her breath. “Oh, Lutch—” I heard the wicker, sharp and crisp, as she came up out of it.
“Hold on!” Lutch snapped. “There’s nothing to it, Fawn. Forget it.”
I heard the wicker again, slow, the front part, the back part. She didn’t say anything.
“There’s some things too big for one or two people to fool with, honey,” he said gently. “This band’s one of ’em. For whatever it’s worth, it’s bigger than you and me. It’s going good and it’ll go better. It’s about as perfect as a group can get. It’s a unit. Tight. So tight that one wrong move’ll blow out all its seams. You and me, now—that’d be a wrong move.”
“How do you know? What do you mean?”
“Call it a hunch. Mostly, I know that things have been swell up to now, and I know that you—we—anyway, we can’t risk a change in the good old status quo.”
“But—what about me?” she wailed.
“Tough on you?” I’d known Lutch a long time, and this was the first time his voice didn’t come full and easy. “Fawn, there’s fourteen cats in this aggregation and they all feel the same way about you as you do about me. You have no monopoly. Things are tough all over. Think of that next time you feel spring fever coming on.” I think he bit at his lower lip again. In a soft voice like Skid’s guitar with the bass stop, he said, “I’m sorry, kid.”
“Don’t call me kid!” she blazed.
“You better go practice your scales,” he said thickly.
The door slammed.
After a bit he let me out. He went and sat by the window, looking out.
“Now what did you do that for?” I wanted to know.
“For the unit,” he said, still looking out the window.
“You’re crazy. Don’t you want her?”
What I could see of his face answered that question. I don’t think I’d realized before how much he wanted her. I don’t think I’d thought about it. He said, “I don’t want her so badly I’d commit murder for an even chance at her. You do. If anyone wants her worse than I do, I don’t want her enough. That’s the way I see it.
Theodore Sturgeon (The Complete Stories of Theodore Sturgeon, Volume V: The Perfect Host)
Peter sits with his back to the wall in the hallway. He looks up at me when I lean over him, his dark hair stuck to his forehead from the melted snow.
“Did you reset her?” he says.
“No,” I say.
“Didn’t think you would have the nerve.”
“It’s not about nerve. You know what? Whatever.” I shake my head and hold up the vial of memory serum. “Are you still set on this?”
“You could just do the work, you know,” I say. “You could make better decisions, make a better life.”
“Yeah, I could,” he says. “But I won’t. We both know that.”
I do know that. I know that change is difficult, and comes slowly, and that it is the work of many days strung together in a long line until the origin of them is forgotten. He is afraid that he will not be able to put in that work, that he will squander those days, and that they will leave him worse off than he is now. And I understand that feeling--I understand being afraid of yourself.
So I have him sit on one of the couches, and I ask him what he wants me to tell him about himself, after his memories disappear like smoke. He just shakes his head. Nothing. He wants to retain nothing.
Peter takes the vial with a shaking hand and twists off the cap. The liquid trembles inside it, almost spilling over the lip. He holds it under his nose to smell it.
“How much should I drink?” he says, and I think I hear his teeth chattering.
“I don’t think it makes a difference,” I say.
“Okay. Well…here goes.” He lifts the vial up to the light like he is toasting me.
When he touches it to his mouth, I say, “Be brave.”
Then he swallows.
And I watch Peter disappear.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
March 28, 2005
I am so ready to be home I have already gone into autopilot mode. Just counting the days, waiting for that big bird to take me home. I am sorry to hear that you are not feeling good. Hopefully getting off the pill will help. Hopefully when I get home I can help with your emotions. Whatever you need, just tell me. I want to make things easy for you when I am home. At least as easy as possible. I love you so much gorgeous. Glad to hear your dad has busted his ass to help us out so much. We are so lucky with our family, I couldn’t have married into a better one. Not to mention couldn’t have married a better woman, cause there is none better. I also got an email from your niece. It was a PowerPoint slide that was real cute. It had a green background with a frog, and said she missed me. Sweet, huh. If she didn’t forward a copy to you, I can. Oh, about the birth control: You said you wanted ten kids anyway. Change your mind yet? What is Bubba doing that has changed? Is he being a fart or is he just full of energy? I’m sure when I get home you will be ready for a break. How about after I get to see you for a little while, you go to a spa for a weekend to be pampered? I REALLY think you deserve it. You’ve been going and going, kinda like the Energizer Bunny. Just like when I get home for sex, we keep going and going and going and going and, you get the point. Hopefully you at least smiled over that. I always want you to be happy, and want to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Even if it means buying a Holstein cow. Yuk! That’s big time love. Wow. I hope you have a good day, and can find time in the day to rest. I love you more than you will ever know.
Taya Kyle (American Wife: Love, War, Faith, and Renewal)
Poet's Note: Kindly do not use my poem without giving me due credit. Do not use bits and pieces to suit your agenda of Kashmir whatever it may be. I, Srividya Srinivasan as the creator of this poem own the right to what I have chosen to feel about the issue and have represented all sides to a complex problem that involves people. I do not believe in war or violence of any kind and this is my compassionate side speaking from all angles to human beings thinking they own only their side to the story. THIS POEM IS THE ORIGINAL WORK OF SRIVIDYA SRINIVASAN and any misuse by you shall be considered as a violation of my copyrights and legally actionable. This poem is dedicated to all those who have suffered in Kashmir and through Kashmir and to not be sliced and interpreted to each one's convenience.
Weep softly O mother,
the walls have ears you know...
The streets are awash o mother!
I cannot go searching for him anymore.
The streets are awash o mother
with blood and tears, pellets and screams.
that silently remain locked in the air,
while they seal our soulless dreams.
The guns are out, O mother,
while our boys go armed with stones,
I cannot go looking for him O mother,
I have no courage to face what I will find.
For, I need to tend to this little one beside,
with bound eyes that see no more.
Weep for the home we lost O mother,
Weep for the valley we left behind,
the hills that once bore our names,
where shoulder to shoulder,
we walked the vales,
proud of our heritage.
Hunted out of our very homes,
flying like thieves in the night,
abandoning it all,
fearful for the lives of our men,
fearful of our being raped,
our children killed,
Kafirs they called us O mother,
they marked our homes to kill.
We now haunt the streets of other cities,
refugees in a country we call our own,
feeling homeless without the land
we once called home.
Weep loudly O mother,
for the nation hears our pain.
As the fresh flag moulds his cold body,
I know his sacrifice was not in vain.
We need to put our chins up, O mother
and face this moment with pride.
For blood is blood, and pain is pain,
and death is final,
The false story we must tell ourselves
is that we are always the right side,
and forget the pain we inflict on the other side.
Until it all stops, it must go on,
the dry tears on either side,
Every war and battle is within and without,
and must claim its wounds and leave its scars,
And, if we need to go on O mother,
it matters we feel we are on the right side.
We need to tell ourselves
we are always the right sight...
We need to repeat it a million times,
We are always the right side...
For god forbid, what if we were not?
Request you to read the full poem on my website.
Barry, if I were to say to you that I haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs yet, what would that mean?” Barry looks at me. “Just…come on, what would it mean to you? That sentence? ‘I haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs yet?’” “To me, it would mean that you’re a liar. Either that or you’ve gone potty. You saw it twice. Once with Laura, once with me and Dick. We had that conversation about who killed Mr. Pink or whatever fucking color he was.” “Yeah, yeah, I know. But say I hadn’t seen it and I said to you, ‘I haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs yet,’ what would you think?” “I’d think, you’re a sick man. And I’d feel sorry for you.” “No, but would you think, from that one sentence, that I was going to see it?” “I’d hope you were, yeah, otherwise I would have to say that you’re not a friend of mine.” “No, but—” “I’m sorry, Rob, but I’m struggling here. I don’t understand any part of this conversation. You’re asking me what I’d think if you told me that you hadn’t seen a film that you’ve seen. What am I supposed to say?” “Just listen to me. If I said to you—” —“‘I haven’t seen Reservoir Dogs yet,’ yeah, yeah, I hear you—” “Would you …would you get the impression that I wanted to see it?” “Well…you couldn’t have been desperate, otherwise you’d have already gone.” “Exactly. We went first night, didn’t we?” “But the word yet… yeah, I’d get the impression that you wanted to see it. Otherwise you’d say you didn’t fancy it much.” “But in your opinion, would I definitely go?” “How am I supposed to know that? You might get run over by a bus, or go blind, or anything. You might go off the idea. You might be broke. You might just get sick of people telling you you’ve really got to go.” I don’t like the sound of that. “Why would they care?” “Because it’s a brilliant film. It’s funny, and violent, and it’s got Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth in it, and everything. And a cracking sound track.
Nick Hornby (High Fidelity)
up for it, and I’m sorry. That’s not enough. You’re going to search until you find something, and you’re going to tell me. Right now. Sheri. Please. You do it now or we’re gone. You give me some way to have some sympathy for you as I stand in this nice house, all lovingly redone, and think about the broken house you left us in, with its leaky roof and no heat and no insulation and nothing. Tell your sob story about the fucking war, whatever it was that my mom thought you were so broken about. My grandfather closed his eyes. No story ever explains. But I’ll give you what you want. I think I know the moment you want, because I made a kind of decision. There was some change. But I can’t start the story at the beginning. I’ve never been able to do that. I have to start at the end and then go back, and it doesn’t finish, because you can go back forever. Do it, my mother said. I don’t think Caitlin should hear. She can hear. Okay. You’re her mother. That’s right. So I won’t give the awful details, but I was lying in a pile of bodies. My friends. The closest friends I’ve ever had. Not piled there on purpose, but just the way it ended up because I had been working on the axle, lying on the ground. And the thing is, the war was over. It had been over for days, and we were laughing and a bit drunk, telling jokes. There was something unbearable about the fact that we’d all be going our separate ways now. The truth is that we didn’t want to leave. We wanted the war over, but we didn’t want what we had together to be over. I think we all had some sense that this was the closest we’d ever be to anyone, and that our families might feel like strangers now. So that’s it? You couldn’t be a father and husband because you weren’t done being a buddy? No. No. It’s the way it happened, in a moment that was supposed to be safe. After every moment of every day in fear for years, we were finally safe, and that’s when the slugs came and I watched my friends torn apart and landing on me, dying. That’s the point. We were supposed to be safe. And with your mother, too, I was supposed to be safe. A wife, a family. The story doesn’t make any sense unless you know every moment before it, every time we thought we were going to die, all the times we weren’t safe. You can’t just be told about that. You have to feel it, how long one night can be, and then all of them put together, hundreds of nights and then more, and there’s a kind of deal that’s made, a deal with god. You do certain terrible things, you endure things, because there’s a bargain made. And then when god says the deal’s off later, after you’ve already paid, and you see your friends ripped through, yanked like puppets on a day that was safe, and you find out your wife is going to die young, and you get to watch her dying, something that again is going to be for years, hundreds of nights more, all deals are off.
David Vann (Aquarium)
Wait in the car." He opened the door and started to climb out.
"Hold on! How long should I give you? What if you don't come back in a certain number of minutes? Should I call the cops?"
"Don't do anything. Don't call anyone. I'll be fine."
"But what if you're not?"
"Then go home."
And with that, he got out and jogged down the street, like if I heard screams or gunshots or whatever I would just drive on home like nothing happened. Well, good for you, I thought, watching him climb a short cement staircase and put a key in the door. You don't need anyone. Fine.
I watched the clock. Three minutes went by, four. I thought about knocking on the door, having of course no idea what I would actually do once I got there. Maybe I'd have to break the door down, wrestle Cameron away from the bad men, and then carry him out the way you hear people when they get a huge burst of adrenaline. Except the person I pictured rescuing was little Cameron, in shorts and a striped T-shirt, his arms wrapped around my neck.
Then there he was, bursting out of the apartment door and bounding down the steps, a big garbage bag in hand. He ran to the car, fast. I reached over and opened the passenger door and he jumped in.
You can't exactly peel out in a '94 Escort, but I did my best. Cameron breathed hard, clutching the garbage bag to his chest.
"What happened?" I drove a good fifteen miles per hour over the speed limit, convinced we were being chased by angry roommates with guns.
"Nothing. You can slow down."
I didn't. "Nothing? Nothing happened?"
"They weren't even there."
Then I did slow down. "No one was there? At all?"
"Right." His breathing had returned to almost normal.
"Then what's the deal with freaking me out like that?" My voice came out high and hysterical and I realized how nervous I'd been, imagining some dangerous scenario from which Cameron had barely escaped, an echo of that day at his house.
"I don't know. I started to picture one of them pulling up and finding me there and...I panicked.
Sara Zarr (Sweethearts)
That pain of wanting, the burning desire to possess what you lack, is one of the greatest allies you have. It is a force you can harness to create whatever you want in your life. When you took an honest look at your life back in the previous chapter and rated yourself as being either on the up curve or the down curve in seven different areas, you were painting a picture of where you are now. This diagram shows that as point A. Where you could be tomorrow, your vision of what’s possible for you in your life, is point B. And to the extent that there is a “wanting” gap between points A and B, there is a natural tension between those two poles. It’s like holding a magnet near a piece of iron: you can feel the pull of that magnet tugging at the iron. Wanting is exactly like that; it’s magnetic. You can palpably feel your dreams (B) tugging at your present circumstances (A). Tension is uncomfortable. That’s why it sometimes makes people uncomfortable to hear about how things could be. One of the reasons Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous “I have a dream” speech made such a huge impact on the world and carved such a vivid place in our cultural memory is that it made the world of August 1963 very uncomfortable. John Lennon painted his vision of a more harmonious world in the song Imagine. Within the decade, he was shot to death. Gandhi, Jesus, Socrates … our world can be harsh on people who talk about an improved reality. Visions and visionaries make people uncomfortable. These are especially dramatic examples, of course, but the same principle applies to the personal dreams and goals of people we’ve never heard of. The same principle applies to everyone, including you and me. Let’s say you have a brother, or sister, or old friend with whom you had a falling out years ago. You wish you had a better relationship, that you talked more often, that you shared more personal experiences and conversations together. Between where you are today and where you can imagine being, there is a gap. Can you feel it?
Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge: Turning Simple Disciplines into Massive Success and Happiness)
There’s more, you know,” he whispered, letting his breath caress her ear.
“I’m sure there must be,” she replied, her voice mere breath.
“You are?” he asked teasingly, squeezing her again.
“I’m not so green that I think one can make a baby from what we’ve been doing.”
“I’d be happy to show you the rest,” he murmured.
He’d squeezed again, this time allowing his fingers to tickle her skin. He loved that she couldn’t think when he touched her breasts.
“You were saying?” he prompted, nibbling on her neck.
“I— I was?”
He nodded, the faint stubble of his beard brushing her throat. “I’m sure you were. But then again, perhaps I’d rather not hear. You’d begun with the word ‘not.’ Surely,” he added with a flick of his tongue against the underside of her chin, “not a word that belongs between us at a time like this. But”— his tongue moved down the line of her throat to the hollow above her collarbone—“ I digress.”
“You— you do?”
He nodded. “I believe I was trying to determine what pleases you, as all good husbands should do.”
She said nothing, but her breathing quickened.
He smiled against her skin. “What, for example, about this?” He flattened his hand so that he was no longer cupping her, instead just letting his palm graze lightly over her nipple.
“Anthony!” she choked out.
“Good,” he said, moving to her neck, nudging her chin up so that she was more open to him. “I’m glad we’re back to Anthony. ‘My lord’ is so formal, don’t you think? Far too formal for this.”
And then he did what he’d been fantasizing about for weeks. He lowered his head to her breast and took her into his mouth, tasting, suckling, teasing, reveling in each gasp he heard spill forth from her lips, each spasm of desire he felt shivering across her body.
He loved that she reacted this way, thrilled that he did this to her. “So good,” he murmured, his breath hot and moist against her skin. “You taste so damn good.”
“Anthony,” she said, her voice hoarse, “Are you sure—”
He put a finger to her lips without even lifting his face to look at her. “I have no idea what you’re asking, but whatever it is”— he moved his attention to her other breast—“ I’m sure.”
-Anthony & Kate
Julia Quinn (The Viscount Who Loved Me (Bridgertons, #2))
Will you never forgive me for what I did so long ago, Jane?”
The soft question caught her off guard. “Would you do it again if you had the chance?” She could hardly breathe, awaiting his answer.
With a low oath, he glanced away. Then his features hardened into those of the rigid and arrogant Dom he had become. “Yes. I did the only thing I could to keep you happy.”
Her breath turned to ice in her throat. “That’s the problem. You still really believe that.”
His gaze swung to her again, but before he could say anything more, noises in the hall arrested them both.
“It’s gone very quiet in there.” It was the duke’s voice, remarkably clear, sounding as if it came from right outside the door. “Perhaps we should knock first.”
Oh no! As Jane frantically set her gown to rights, she heard Lisette say, “Don’t you dare bother them, Max. I’m sure everything’s fine. Let’s come back later.”
With panic growing in her belly, Jane glanced around for her tucker. Wordlessly, Dom plucked it from the back of a chair and handed it to her.
Without meeting his gaze, she pinned it into her bodice, hoping to hide the tiny holes where Dom had unwittingly ripped it free of its pins.
“Besides,” drawled Tristan, “it’s not as if Dom will seduce her or anything. That’s not his vice.”
Sweet Lord, were they all right outside the door?
“I’m not worried about that,” Max answered. “Miss Vernon isn’t the sort to let him seduce her.”
As Jane tensed, Dom hissed under his breath, “Do the blasted idiots not realize we can hear them?”
Dom furtively adjusted his trousers, which seemed to be rather…oddly protruding just now.
Ohhh. Right. This was one time she wished Nancy hadn’t been so forthcoming about what happened to a man’s body when he was aroused. So that, not his pistol, had been the odd bulge digging into her.
Definitely not a pistol. Her cheeks positively flamed. Faith, how could she even face his family after this and not give away what she and Dom had been doing?
Mortified, she hurried to the looking glass to fix her hair. While she stuffed tendrils back into place and repinned drooping curls, Dom came up behind her to meet her gaze in the mirror. “Before we let them in, I want an answer to my question about Blakeborough.”
Curse the stubborn man. How could she tell Dom she was so pathetic that she hadn’t even managed to find another man to love in all the years they’d spent apart? That she’d been foolish enough to wait around for Dom all this time, when he’d happily gone on living his life without her? Her pride couldn’t endure having him know that.
To her relief, Tristan said, “Well, whatever they’re up to, we have to get moving.” A knock sounded at the door. “Dom? Jane? Are you done talking?”
She met Dom’s gaze with a certain defiance, and he arched one eyebrow in question.
So she took matters into her own hands and strode for the door. Caught off guard, Dom swore behind her and snatched up his greatcoat just as she opened the door and said, “Please come in. We’re quite finished.”
In more ways than one.
Their companions trooped in, casting her and Dom wary glances. Jane looked over to see Dom holding his greatcoat looped over his arm as if to shield the front of him. That brought the blushes back to her cheeks.
She caught Lisette furtively watching her, and she cursed herself for wearing her emotions on her sleeve. Better shift her attention elsewhere before Lisette guessed just how shameless she’d been.
Sabrina Jeffries (If the Viscount Falls (The Duke's Men, #4))
Ronan was waiting for her beyond the estate’s guarded gate. From the looks of things, he had been waiting for some time. His horse was nosing brown grass as Ronan sat on a nearby boulder, throwing pebbles at the general’s stone wall. When he saw Kestrel ride through the gate on Javelin, he flung his handful of rocks to the path. He remained sitting, elbows propped on his bended knees as he stared at her, his face pinched and white. He said, “I have half a mind to tear you down from your horse.”
“You got my message, then.”
“And rode instantly here, where guards told me that the lady of the house gave strict orders not to let anyone--even me--inside.” His eyes raked over her, taking in the black fighting clothes. “I didn’t believe it. I still don’t believe it. After you vanished last night, everyone at the party was talking about the challenge, yet I was sure it was just a rumor started by Irex because of whatever has caused that ill will between you. Kestrel, how could you expose yourself like this?”
Her hands tightened around the reins. She thought about how, when she let go, her palms would smell like leather and sweat. She concentrated on imagining that scent. This was easier than paying heed to the sick feeling swimming inside her. She knew what Ronan was going to say.
She tried to deflect it. She tried to talk about the duel itself, which seemed straightforward next to her reasons for it. Lightly, she said, “No one seems to believe that I might win.”
Ronan vaulted off the rock and strode toward her horse. He seized the saddle’s pommel. “You’ll get what you want. But what do you want? Whom do you want?”
“Ronan.” Kestrel swallowed. “Think about what you are saying.”
“Only what everyone has been saying. That Lady Kestrel has a lover.”
“That’s not true.”
“He is her shadow, skulking behind her, listening, watching.”
“He isn’t,” Kestrel tried to say, and was horrified to hear her voice falter. She felt a stinging in her eyes. “He has a girl.”
“Why do you even know that? So what if he does? It doesn’t matter. Not in the eyes of society.”
Kestrel’s feelings were like banners in a storm, snapping at their ties. They tangled and wound around her. She focused, and when she spoke, she made her words disdainful. “He is a slave.”
“He is a man, as I am.”
Kestrel slipped from her saddle, stood face-to-face with Ronan, and lied. “He is nothing to me.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
I landed on my side, my hip taking the brunt of the fall. It burned and stung from the hit, but I ignored it and struggled to sit up quickly. There really was no point in hurrying so no one would see.
Everyone already saw
A pair of jean-clad legs appeared before me, and my suitcase and all my other stuff was dropped nearby.
"Whatcha doing down there?" Romeo drawled, his hands on his hips as he stared down at me with dancing blue eyes.
"Making a snow angel," I quipped. I glanced down at my hands, which were covered with wet snow and bits of salt (to keep the pavement from getting icy).
Clearly, ice wasn't required for me to fall.
A small group of girls just "happened by", and by that I mean they'd been staring at Romeo with puppy dog eyes and giving me the stink eye. When I fell, they took it as an opportunity to descend like buzzards stalking the dead. Their leader was the girl who approached me the very first day I'd worn Romeo's hoodie around campus and told me he'd get bored. As they stalked closer, looking like clones from the movie Mean Girls, I caught the calculating look in her eyes. This wasn't going to be good.
I pushed up off the ground so I wouldn't feel so vulnerable, but the new snow was slick and my hand slid right out from under me and I fell back again. Romeo was there immediately, the teasing light in his eyes gone as he slid his hand around my back and started to pull me up. "Careful, babe." he said gently.
The girls were behind him so I knew he hadn't seen them approach. They stopped as one unit, and I braced myself for whatever their leader was about to say.
She was wearing painted-on skinny jeans (I mean, really, how did she sit down and still breathe?) and some designer coat with a monogrammed scarf draped fashionably around her neck. Her boots were high-heeled, made of suede and laced up the back with contrasting ribbon.
"Wow," she said, opening her perfectly painted pink lips. "I saw that from way over there. That sure looked like it hurt." She said it fairly amicably, but anyone who could see the twist to her mouth as she said it would know better.
Romeo paused in lifting me to my feet. I felt his eyes on me. Then his lips thinned as he turned and looked over his shoulder.
"Ladies," he said like he was greeting a group of welcomed friends. Annoyance prickled my stomach like tiny needles stabbing me. It's not that I wanted him to be rude, but did he have to sound so welcoming?
"Romeo," Cruella DeBarbie (I don't know her real name, but this one fit) purred. "Haven't you grown bored of this clumsy mule yet?"
Unable to stop myself, I gasped and jumped up to my feet. If she wanted to call me a mule, I'd show her just how much of an ass I could be.
Romeo brought his arm out and stopped me from marching past. I collided into him, and if his fingers hadn't knowingly grabbed hold to steady me, I'd have fallen again.
"Actually," Romeo said, his voice calm, "I am pretty bored."
Three smirks were sent my way. What a bunch of idiots.
"The view from where I'm standing sure leaves a lot to be desired."
One by one, their eyes rounded when they realized the view he referenced was them.
Without another word, he pivoted around and looked down at me, his gaze going soft. "No need to make snow angels, baby," he said loud enough for the slack-jawed buzzards to hear. "You already look like one standing here with all that snow in your hair."
Before I could say a word, he picked me up and fastened his mouth to mine. My legs wound around his waist without thought, and I kissed him back as gentle snow fell against our faces.
Cambria Hebert (#Hater (Hashtag, #2))
If there’s one thing you learn from me, after hearing about just under one year of my life can it be that you should do whatever makes you happy. People can bring you down, people can bully you, can cheat on you but if you are doing whatever makes you happy they’ll never break you. Like you saw Jacob cried but he went back fighting, no way was he going to drop out that course, it was what he wanted to do in his life and Noah was as happy as always when he told us about Stephen, because he knew although that hurt him he was about to go onto bigger and better things. Oh and never let people hold you back, ever. Mason wouldn’t be going to university this September if he had and he wouldn’t be doing what makes him happy (see full circle). And most of all, always have the courage to stand up and say I am what I am, never apologize for who you are or who you love and always take a chance because you never know what could happen and although some people call it cliché, it’s okay to fall in love with your best friend because sometimes having your best friend as your lover is the best thing you could ask for. I promise. It’s also perfectly acceptable to dress up as a women on a weekly basis and singing popular songs as long as it makes you happy doing so.
R.J. Seeley (Released (Trapped #2))
This is weird for me, too, you know. It’s like, ever since I got that letter…” He hesitates. “Forget it.”
“Just say it,” I say.
“Ever since I got that letter, things have been messed up between us. It’s not fair. You got to say everything you wanted to say, and I’m the one who has to rearrange the way I think about you; I have to make sense of it in my head. You totally blindsided me, and then you just shut me out. You start dating Kavinsky, you stop being my friend.” He exhales. “Ever since I got your letter…I haven’t been able to stop thinking about you.”
Whatever I was expecting him to say, it wasn’t that. It definitely wasn’t that. “Josh…”
“I know you don’t want to hear it, but just let me say what I need to say, okay?”
“I hate that you’re with Kavinsky. I hate it. He’s not good enough for you. I’m sorry to say it, but he’s just not. In my opinion, no guy will ever be good enough for you. Least of all me.” Josh ducks his head, and then suddenly he looks up at me and says, “There was this one time, I guess it was a couple of summers ago. We were walking home from somebody’s house--I think it was Mike’s.”
It was hot, around dusk. I was mad because Mike’s older brother Jimmy had said he’d give us a ride home, and then he went somewhere and didn’t come back, so we had to walk. I was wearing espadrilles and my feet were hurting something terrible. Josh kept telling me to keep up with him.
Quietly he says, “It was just me and you. You had on that tan suede shirt you used to wear, with the straps, and it showed your belly button.”
“My Pocahontas-meets-seventies-Cher-style shirt.” Oh, how I loved that shirt.
“I almost kissed you that day. I thought about it. It was this weird impulse I had. I just wanted to see what it would be like.”
My heart stops. “And then?”
“And then I don’t know. I guess I forgot about it.”
I let out a sigh. “I’m sorry you got that letter. You were never supposed to see that. It wasn’t meant for you to ever read. It was just for me.”
“Maybe it was fate. Maybe this was all supposed to happen just like this, because…because it was always gonna be you and me.”
I say the first thing that comes to mind. “No, it wasn’t.” And I realize it’s true.
This is the moment I realize I don’t love him, that I haven’t for a while. That maybe I never did. Because he’s right there for the taking: I could kiss him again; I could make him mine. But I don’t want him. I want someone else. It feels strange to have spent so much time wishing for something, for someone, and then one day, suddenly, to just stop.
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
Korie: Willie and I dated for about eight months, and then I was getting ready to leave for school at Harding University. Willie was still attending seminary school, and I wanted him to go to Harding University with me. But Willie said he wasn’t leaving West Monroe. He wanted me to stay in West Monroe with him. We broke up before I left for school in August, and I’m sure he thought I’d find someone else at college, because that’s what typically happens when you leave home. Willie called me one night in September 1991 after I had been gone a few weeks and said, “Let’s get back together.” I knew I loved him, but I told him I wasn’t sure about it. He was trying to change my life, and it was really his way or no way. I just didn’t know what to do.
“Let me think about it,” I said. “I’ll call you back tomorrow.”
I was convinced she’d found someone else. I was telling all my buddies that it was over between us, and I was gathering other girls’ phone numbers to prepare myself to move on. I just knew it was over, and I wasn’t waiting to hear it from her the next day. I was convinced she wanted to end our relationship but couldn’t muster the courage to tell me. Korie called me the next day, and I was ready to tell her that I didn’t want to get back together anymore and that our relationship was over. I was certainly going to end it before she ended it. I just knew she already had a new boyfriend at Harding.
“I’ve got something I want to tell you,” Korie told me.
“What do you want to say?” I asked her, deciding I’d better hear her out first.
“Let’s get back together,” she said.
My ears started buzzing. I threw all the girls’ phone numbers in the trash can. About a month later, Korie and I decided we were going to get married.
Korie: I had turned eighteen in October 1991, so legally I was allowed to do whatever I wanted. But I knew I had to call my parents, Johnny and Chrys, to get their permission. We had had some discussions about my getting married that summer that had not gone so well, so I knew they were not going to be excited about it. I mustered up the courage to make the phone call.
“Look, I’m legal, so I’m just going to say it,” I told them. “I’m getting married, and you’re going to have to be behind me or not.”
Of course, my parents told me it was the worst idea ever, and they were naturally worried that I was going to leave school and come home. They asked me to at least wait until I’d finished college. I hung up the phone and called Willie immediately.
“I just told them and it didn’t go so well,” I blurted out.
“They’ve already called me and they’re on their way over here,” he said.
Willie Robertson (The Duck Commander Family)
So you were bored and decided to come looking for me?”
He trailed a finger over the exposed part of her upper chest. “Something like that.”
Blushing prettily, she brushed his hand away, but not before giving his fingers a squeeze. “Well, I’m busy, so unless you want to help Heather and me in our endeavors, you will have to find some way to amuse yourself.”
Grey sighed. “All right, I’ll go, but only because I’m likely to ruin whatever beautification potions you two lovely witches are brewing.”
Behind Rose, the maid Heather giggled. Grey grinned at Rose’s wide-eyed disbelief as she looked at first her maid and then him. “Have you always charmed women so easily?”
Grey’s humor faded. “I’m afraid so.” And then softly, “It if offends you…”
She shoved her palm into his shoulder. “Don’t be an idiot. Flirt with my maid all you want. But I don’t want to hear anything from you when I smile at the footmen.”
God she was amazing. He slipped his arms around her, no caring that the maid could see, even though she made a great pretense of not looking. “Are you going out tonight?”
Rose pushed against his chest. “Grey, I’m all sweat and grime.”
“I don’t care. Answer me, are you going out?”
She arched a brow. “Are you trying to get rid of me?”
“No.” He held her gaze as he lowered his head, but he didn’t kiss her. He simply let the words drift across her sweet lips. “I’d keep you here every night if I could.”
She shivered delicately. Christ, he could kiss her. He could make love to her right there. “All you have to do is ask.”
“I won’t have you give up your society for me.”
Something flickered in her dark eyes. “It wouldn’t be much of a sacrifice.”
Because of the gossip? How long before she began to resent him for it? He could just push her away and be done with it-tell her to go out and find herself a lover, but he would rather carve up the rest of his face than do that.
Instead, he took the coward’s route. He didn’t ask for an explanation. He didn’t want to know what she’d heart about him or what they’d said about her. He simply smiled and decided to take advantage of what time he had left. Because he loved having her with him, and spending what had always been lonely hours in company better than any he might have deserved or ever wished for.
“You are sweaty and grimy,” he murmured in his most seductive tones. “And now I find I am as well. Shall we meet in the bath in, say, twenty minutes? I’ll scrub your back if you’ll scrub mine.”
Of course, when she joined him later, and their naked bodies came together in the hot, soapy water, all thoughts of scrubbing disappeared. And so did-for a brief while-all of Grey’s misgivings.
But he knew they’d be back.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
I pull into the driveway outside of my father's house and shut off the engine. I sit behind the wheel for a moment, studying the house. He'd called me last night and demanded that I come over for dinner tonight. Didn't request. He demanded. What struck me though, was that he sounded a lot more stressed out and harried than he did when he interrupted my brunch with Gabby to demand my presence at a “family”dinner. Yeah, that had been a fun night filled with my father and Ian badgering me about my job. For whatever reason, they'd felt compelled to make a concerted effort to belittle what I do –more so than they usually do anyway -- try to undermine my confidence in my ability to teach, and all but demand that I quit and come to work for my father's company. That had been annoying, and although they were more insistent than normal, it's pretty par for the course with those two. They always think they know what's best for me and have no qualms about telling me how to live my life. When he'd called me last night though, and told me to come to dinner tonight, there was something in my father's voice that had rattled me. It took me a while to put a finger on what it was I heard in his voice, but when I figured it out, it really shook me. I heard fear. Outright fear. My father isn't a man who fears much or is easily intimidated. In fact, he's usually the one doing the intimidating. But, something has him really spooked and even though we don't always see eye-to-eye or get along, hearing that fear in his voice scared me. In all my years, I've never known him to sound so downright terrified. With a sigh and a deep sense of foreboding, I climb out of my car and head to the door, trying to steel myself more with each step. Call me psychic, but I have a feeling that this is going to be a long, miserable night. “Good evening, Miss Holly,”Gloria says as she opens the door before I even have a chance to knock. “Nice to see you again.”“It's nice to see you too, Gloria,”I say and smile with genuine affection. Gloria has been with our family for as far back as I can remember. Honestly, after my mother passed away from ovarian cancer, Gloria took a large role in raising me. My father had plunged himself into his work –and had taken Ian under his wing to help groom him to take over the empire one day –leaving me to more or less fend for myself. It was like I was a secondary consideration to them. Because I'm a girl and not part of the testosterone-rich world of construction, neither my father nor Ian took much interest in me or my life. Unless they needed something from me, of course. The only time they really paid any attention to me was when they needed me to pose for family pictures for company literature.
R.R. Banks (Accidentally Married (Anderson Brothers, #1))
This stuff is kind of gross,” he says, draining his cup and setting it down.
“Yes, it is,” I say, staring at what remains in mine. I drink it in one gulp, wincing as the bubbles burn my throat. “I don’t know what the Erudite are always bragging about. Dauntless cake is much better.”
“I wonder what the Abnegation treat would have been, if they had one.”
He laughs. “Plain oatmeal.”
“Sometimes I think I believe everything they taught us,” he says. “But obviously not, since I’m sitting here holding your hand right now without having married you first.”
“What do the Dauntless teach about…that?” I say, nodding to our hands.
“What do the Dauntless teach, hmm.” He smirks. “Do whatever you want, but use protection, is what they teach.”
I raise my eyebrows. Suddenly my face feels warm.
“I think I’d like to find a middle ground for myself,” he says. “To find that place between what I want and what I think is wise.”
“That sounds good.” I pause. “But what do you want?”
I think I know the answer, but I want to hear him say it.
“Hmm.” He grins, and leans forward onto his knees. He presses his hands to the metal plate, framing my head with his arms, and kisses me, slowly, on my mouth, under my jaw, right above my collarbone. I stay still, nervous about doing anything, in case it’s stupid or he doesn’t like it. But then I feel like a statue, like I am not really here at all, and so I touch his waist, hesitantly.
Then his lips are on mine again, and he pulls his shirt out from under my hands so that I am touching his bare skin. I come to life, pressing closer, my hands creeping up his back, sliding over his shoulders. His breaths come faster and so do mine, and I taste the lemon-syrup-fizz we just drank and I smell the wind on his skin and all I want is more, more.
I push his shirt up. A moment ago I was cold, but I don’t think either of us is cold now. His arm wraps around my waist, strong and certain, and his free hand tangles in my hair and I slow down, drinking it in--the smoothness of his skin, marked up and down with black ink, and the insistence of the kiss, and the cool air wrapped around us both.
I relax, and I no longer feel like some kind of Divergent soldier, defying serums and government leaders alike. I feel softer, lighter, and like it is okay to laugh a little as his fingertips brush over my hips and the small of my back, or to sigh into his ear when he pulls me against him, burying his face in the side of my neck so that he can kiss me there. I feel like myself, strong and weak at once--allowed, at least for a little while, to be both.
I don’t know how long it is before we get cold again, and huddle under the blanket together.
“It’s getting more difficult to be wise,” he says, laughing into my ear.
I smile at him. “I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
My husband, Eric, has a joke he likes to say: “Ask Jessica to sing about Jesus or America, and she’ll be there. Super Bowl, backyard cookout, whatever you got, she’s coming to sing ‘God Bless America.’ ” And he’s right. Growing up in Texas, I sang that song over and over. From Memorial Day parades to Veteran’s Day pancake breakfasts—I was your girl. When I sang it at the East Room of the White House, I finally found out I had been flubbing the lyrics all those years. I was there to kick off the USO holiday tour for troops fighting in Afghanistan. It was the first time they let celebrities in after 9/11, because, well, they were busy. It was surreal to hear President Bush speak, thanking the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for his service, the transportation secretary for keeping the airlines safe. And then he added, “I want to thank Rob Schneider and Jessica Simpson as well.” They asked me to sing “God Bless America,” and I gave it my all. President Bush was in the front row, right next to Laura, and I watched him quietly sing along, his mouth moving along with mine. Something went wrong after we got to the mountains, though. I said, “to the rivers,” just like I always did, and, well, he knew it was “the prairies.” I was so embarrassed that I apologized to him and Mrs. Bush after. “I swear all this time I thought it was rivers!” I said. “That’s okay, Jessica,” he said. “God blessed the rivers, too.
Jessica Simpson (Open Book)
First experiences in life are very important. I never analyzed you, I always saw you. I never judged you, I always grasped you. When I left, I became lost. I was working, living, performing but you were missing, I don’t know why? I seriously don't understand why you are impacting so much on me? Can you clear in future if you have answer? We never talked too much but why this pain of departure is there? I have tried to forget you a lot, tried to delete the contact, tried to full concentrate on my life, sometime cried but there was not a single day when I didn't think about you. Am I really over thinker? I failed in your case, I failed. I have to accept the reality that to be good with you is the only solution which can make me happy & stable. Wherever I'll be in life, but this connectivity is necessary now. It is a part of life.
I have so many questions for you. Have you ever missed me like I do? Everyday? I felt it, was that true? Do you really like to hear me? Or you are also in me? Or you are trying to suggest me some future planning? Are you shy? Less talker? You always tried to be open up with me? I always maintained safe distance? Was I too reserved? Was I egoistic? Yes, I was, but only in your case. Whatever you did for me that all was unsaid, pure, clear, fair. You were always nice to me? You never scold me, is this your part of nature? I heard so many cases of your temper? I never asked about you to people, they used to tell me about you by their own. Can I suggest you something? You are smart thinker but be careful from the people. Never be too kind to anyone, not all people have value of it. People never learn from the mistakes; they don’t want to create; they want to copy. I would say, don’t kind to me too, I have said so many things to you. I never seen so calm person. How? Do you have emotions? neutral? You never think on the things? Are you so productive? Are you innocent (in case of people)? Why can’t you understand that people makes show off in front of you only? Why are you giving so much importance to commerce people? Are they intelligent than engineers? Do you think so? Am I asking you so many questions? I really care for you & your selection of people. What are you actually see in the people? Obviously it’s your choice to answer it or not? At least I can ask my questions.
Did I make a mistake according to you? For me, I was right, but I never asked you about you. As you said, I never gave you chance. For me, you are the chance giver & I am chance taker. I was scared by you. Did I hurt you? Hope I never made loss of you in any manner.
I want to clear you one thing that apart from all my shit thinking, if you need any kind of assistance then please feel free to share. So what I have confess my love to you? It’s fine? Right? It’s natural, I had tried to control it a lot. Now I am more transparent, shameless & confident. I can face you in any condition. This change has changed my life.
Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who delight in them. —Psalm 111:2 (NIV) The church I attend recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. It’s been a festive year, replete with special dinners, panel discussions, and a book on the church’s history. But what amazed me even more were all the little stories that formed the big story—those quiet, individual witnesses of faith who, taken together, made up this grand sweep of 150 years. One woman has been a member for nearly half the church’s life. Fifty-two Sundays times seven decades is how many church services? “You’ve heard thousands of sermons!” I said. “What do you remember about the best ones?” She smiled. “The best sermons are the ones I think about all week. Because then I know God is working in me.” That simple lesson of faith was the start of a new practice for me. When I hear a phrase or sentence in a sermon that especially strikes me, I’ll write it down on the bulletin or on whatever I have handy. (Once it was the palm of my hand!) Then I pin that phrase to the bulletin board behind my computer. This week’s was: May God give me the grace to understand that the world is too small for anything but Love. I see it every day, reminding me to ponder how I might live that message. Like my friend at church, I’ve been able to see in a new way how God is working in my life—all week long. Guide my life, God, by Your Words; that in hearing them, I may live according to Your wishes. —Jeff Japinga Digging Deeper: Pss 105, 111, 119:18; 1 Pt 2:2
Guideposts (Daily Guideposts 2014)
I couldn’t wait to follow through. I couldn’t wait to end this. “Your revenge?” Matthias laughed. “You’re revenge? What could you possibly do that would make any difference to me?” I looked up at Kane and he looked down at me. I smiled at him sweetly and he smiled back. I leaned in and he mirrored me. I tilted my face up to kiss him and he gladly reciprocated. Then I pulled back and swiveled my gaze to Matthias. “I will take your family away. Just like you took mine. I will pluck them from you one by one and make them suffer until they beg for death. Or, I will simply rescue them and give them a better life than you ever could.” Matthias barked out a louder laugh. “That’s sweet. It sounds like you’ve put thought into all that, but you can’t. It’s just not possible. “Sure it is,” I told him. “I’ve already gotten two of your children. Tyler isn’t here.” I gestured at Tyler. “Tyler will never be here. Unless you count that. Which being a self-respecting person, I wouldn’t. But who knows about you. And Miller isn’t here either. Miller is worse than Tyler. Look! You got Tyler to come to breakfast, but I seem to have forgotten Miller’s excuse. Could you remind me?” He stayed quiet. Which was a miracle in itself. So I continued, “I’m waiting for the right opportunity for Linley. I’ve been waiting for it for a while now. I’ve been watching her and watching her and just waiting. I cannot wait until I get her alone. I cannot wait until it’s just the two of us. It will be so fun. It’s what helps get me through these long days. Just thoughts of Linley. Just thoughts of what I will do to her and how slowly I will make those last painful moments last. And Kane? I could take him in a second. I could rip him out of your hands so fast you would blink and he would be gone. He might deny that if you ask him. But I know better. I hear everything else he says. I feel everything else he means. Kane is mine. You’re a smart man, Matthias, so don’t think for a second he isn’t. Right?” I turned to Kane. He leaned down again and kissed me. Point proved. I relaxed into Kane and let my threats soothe my soul and settle over the man I wanted to watch burn in hell. His reply was an arrogant smirk and hard eyes. “Little girl, you just asked for trouble, I’m-” “Do it,” I hissed. “Do whatever it is you want to do and see if I’m bluffing. Try me! Hurt someone I love. Hurt me. Take something away from me and see how painfully and how permanently I take something away from you.” I stood up and pushed aggressively away from the table. I stared him down the entire time. Kane let me go without even an attempt to restrain me. I was beyond that. I was beyond all of this. I was leaving. Today. Because without a doubt I would follow through with every single one of my threats. I stomped from the warehouse. I could feel Kane behind me, but he still didn’t try to slow me down. And I knew he wouldn’t. He really was mine. Matthias, Hendrix, nobody could take him from me. And he would do whatever I wanted as long as he thought we could survive. I hoped both of us could survive what I was about to ask him to do.
Rachel Higginson (Love and Decay Omnibus: Season Two (Episodes 1-12) (Love and Decay, A Novella Series Book 2))
And when I looked away for a second and then looked back, I saw her reflection behind me, in the mirror. I was speechless. Somehow I knew I wasn't allowed to turn around--it was against the rules, whatever the rules of the place were--but we could see each other, our eyes could meet in the mirror, and she was just as glad to see me as I was to her.... She was between me and whatever place she had stepped from, what landscape beyond. And it was all about the moment when our eyes touched in the glass, surprise and amusement, her beautiful blue eyes with the dark rings around the irises, pale blue eyes with a lot of light in them: hello! Fondness, intelligence, sadness, humor. There was a motion and stillness, stillness and modulation, and all the charge and magic of a great painting. Ten seconds, eternity. It was all a circle back to her. You could grasp it in an instant, you could live in it forever: she existed only in the mirror, inside the space of the frame, and though she wasn't alive, not exactly, she wasn't dead either because she wasn't yet born, and yet never not born--as somehow, oddly, neither was I. And I knew that she could tell me anything I wanted to know (life, death, past, future) even though it was already there, in her smile, the answer to all questions, the before-Christmas smile of someone with a secret too wonderful to let slip, just yet: well, you'll just have to wait and see, won't you? But just as she was about to speak--drawing an affectionate exasperated breath I knew very well, the sound of which I can hear even now--I woke up.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
And when I looked away for a second and then looked back, I saw her reflection behind me, in the mirror. I was speechless. Somehow I knew I wasn't allowed to turn around--it was against the rules, whatever the rules of the place were--we could see each other, our eyes could meet in the mirror, and she was just as glad to see me as I was to see her. She was herself. An embodied presence. There was psychic reality to her, there was depth and information. She was between me and whatever place she had stepped from, what landscape beyond. And it was all about the moment when our eyes touched in the glass, surprise and amusement, her beautiful blue eyes with the dark rings around the irises, pale blue eyes with a lot of light in them: hello! Fondness, intelligence, sadness, humor. There was motion and stillness, stillness and modulation, and all the charge and magic of a great painting. Ten seconds, eternity. It was all a circle back to her. You could grasp it in an instant, you could live in it forever: she existed only in the mirror, inside the space of the frame, and through she wasn't alive, not exactly, she wasn't dead either because she wasn't yet born, and yet never not born--as somehow, oddly, neither was I. And I knew that she could tell me anything I wanted to know (life, death, past, future) even though it was already there, in her smile, the answer to all questions, the before-Christmas smile of someone with a secret too wonderful to let slip, just yet: well, you'll just have to wait and see, won't you? But just as she was about to speak--drawing an affectionate exasperated breath I knew very well, the sound of which I can hear even now--I woke up.
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
I sit down across from her at the table and put the vial of memory serum between us.
“I came to make you drink this,” I say.
She looks at the vial, and I think I see tears in her eyes, but it could just be the light.
“I thought it was the only way to prevent total destruction,” I say. “I know that Marcus and Johanna and their people are going to attack, and I know that you will do whatever it takes to stop them, including using that death serum you possess to its best advantage.” I tilt my head. “Am I wrong?”
“No,” she says. “The factions are evil. They cannot be restored. I would sooner see us all destroyed.”
Her hand squeezes the edge of the table, the knuckles pale.
“The reason the factions were evil is because there was no way out of them,” I say. “They gave us the illusion of choice without actually giving us a choice. That’s the same thing you’re doing here, by abolishing them. You’re saying, go make choices. But make sure they aren’t factions or I’ll grind you to bits!”
“If you thought that, why didn’t you tell me?” she says, her voice louder and her eyes avoiding mine, avoiding me. “Tell me, instead of betraying me?”
“Because I’m afraid of you!” The words burst out, and I regret them but I’m also glad they’re there, glad that before I ask her to give up her identity, I can at least be honest with her. “You…you remind me of him!”
“Don’t you dare.” She clenches her hands into fists and almost spits at me, “Don’t you dare.”
“I don’t care if you don’t want to hear it,” I say, coming to my feet. “He was a tyrant in our house and now you’re a tyrant in this city, and you can’t even see that it’s the same!”
“So that’s why you brought this,” she says, and she wraps her hand around the vial, holding it up to look at it. “Because you think this is the only way to mend things.”
“I…” I am about to say that it’s the easiest way, the best way, maybe the only way that I can trust her.
If I erase her memories, I can create for myself a new mother, but.
But she is more than my mother. She is a person in her own right, and she does not belong to me.
I do not get to choose what she becomes just because I can’t deal with who she is.
“No,” I say. “No, I came to give you a choice.”
I feel suddenly terrified, my hands numb, my heart beating fast--
“I thought about going to see Marcus tonight, but I didn’t.” I swallow hard. “I came to see you instead because…because I think there’s a hope of reconciliation between us. Not now, not soon, but someday. And with him there’s no hope, there’s no reconciliation possible.”
She stares at me, her eyes fierce but welling up with tears.
“It’s not fair for me to give you this choice,” I say. “But I have to. You can lead the factionless, you can fight the Allegiant, but you’ll have to do it without me, forever. Or you can let this crusade go, and…and you’ll have your son back.”
It’s a feeble offer and I know it, which is why I’m afraid--afraid that she will refuse to choose, that she will choose power over me, that she will call me a ridiculous child, which is what I am. I am a child. I am two feet tall and asking her how much she loves me.
Evelyn’s eyes, dark as wet earth, search mine for a long time.
Then she reaches across the table and pulls me fiercely into her arms, which form a wire cage around me, surprisingly strong.
“Let them have the city and everything in it,” she says into my hair.
I can’t move, can’t speak. She chose me. She chose me.
Veronica Roth (Allegiant (Divergent, #3))
God speaks to us, I would say, much more often than we realize or than we choose to realize. Before the sun sets every evening, he speaks to each of us in an intensely personal and unmistakable way. His message is not written out in starlight, which in the long run would make no difference; rather it is written out for each of us in the humdrum, helter-skelter events of each day; it is a message that in the long run might just make all the difference. Who knows what he will say to me today or to you today or into the midst of what kind of unlikely moment he will choose to say it. Not knowing is what makes today a holy mystery as every day is a holy mystery. But I believe that there are some things that by and large God is always saying to each of us. Each of us, for instance, carries around inside himself, I believe, a certain emptiness—a sense that something is missing, a restlessness, the deep feeling that somehow all is not right inside his skin. Psychologists sometimes call it anxiety, theologians sometimes call it estrangement, but whatever you call it, I doubt that there are many who do not recognize the experience itself, especially no one of our age, which has been variously termed the age of anxiety, the lost generation, the beat generation, the lonely crowd. Part of the inner world of everyone is this sense of emptiness, unease, incompleteness, and I believe that this in itself is a word from God, that this is the sound that God’s voice makes in a world that has explained him away. In such a world, I suspect that maybe God speaks to us most clearly through his silence, his absence, so that we know him best through our missing him. But he also speaks to us about ourselves, about what he wants us to do and what he wants us to become; and this is the area where I believe that we know so much more about him than we admit even to ourselves, where people hear God speak even if they do not believe in him. A face comes toward us down the street. Do we raise our eyes or do we keep them lowered, passing by in silence? Somebody says something about somebody else, and what he says happens to be not only cruel but also funny, and everybody laughs. Do we laugh too, or do we speak the truth? When a friend has hurt us, do we take pleasure in hating him, because hate has its pleasures as well as love, or do we try to build back some flimsy little bridge? Sometimes when we are alone, thoughts come swarming into our heads like bees—some of them destructive, ugly, self-defeating thoughts, some of them creative and glad. Which thoughts do we choose to think then, as much as we have the choice? Will we be brave today or a coward today? Not in some big way probably but in some little foolish way, yet brave still. Will we be honest today or a liar? Just some little pint-sized honesty, but honest still. Will we be a friend or cold as ice today? All the absurd little meetings, decisions, inner skirmishes that go to make up our days. It all adds up to very little, and yet it all adds up to very much. Our days are full of nonsense, and yet not, because it is precisely into the nonsense of our days that God speaks to us words of great significance—not words that are written in the stars but words that are written into the raw stuff and nonsense of our days, which are not nonsense just because God speaks into the midst of them. And the words that he says, to each of us differently, are be brave…be merciful…feed my lambs…press on toward the goal.
Frederick Buechner (Listening to Your Life: Daily Meditations with Frederick Buechne)
To the infra-human specimens of this benighted scientific age the ritual and worship connected with the art of healing as practiced at Epidaurus seems like sheer buncombe. In our world the blind lead the blind and the sick go to the sick to be cured. We are making constant progress, but it is a progress which leads to the operating table, to the poor house, to the insane asylum, to the trenches. We have no healers – we have only butchers whose knowledge of anatomy entitles them to a diploma, which in turn entitles them to carve out or amputate our illnesses so that we may carry on in cripple fashion until such time as we are fit for the slaughterhouse. We announce the discovery of this cure and that but make no mention of the new diseases which we have created en route. The medical cult operates very much like the war office – the triumphs which they broadcast are sops thrown out to conceal death and disaster. The medicos, like the military authorities, are helpless; they are waging a hopeless fight from the start. What man wants is peace in order that he may live. Defeating our neighbor doesn’t give peace any more than curing cancer brings health. Man doesn’t begin to live through triumphing over his enemy nor does he begin to acquire health through endless cures. The joy of life comes through peace, which is not static but dynamic. No man can really say that he knows what joy is until he has experienced peace. And without joy there is no life, even if you have a dozen cars, six butlers, a castle, a private chapel and a bomb-proof vault. Our diseases are our attachments, be they habits, ideologies, ideals, principles, possessions, phobias, gods, cults, religions, what you please. Good wages can be a disease just as much as bad wages. Leisure can be just as great a disease as work. Whatever we cling to, even if it be hope or faith, can be the disease which carries us off. Surrender is absolute: if you cling to even the tiniest crumb you nourish the germ which will devour you. As for clinging to God, God long ago abandoned us in order that we might realize the joy of attaining godhood through our own efforts. All this whimpering that is going on in the dark, this insistent, piteous plea for peace which will grow bigger as the pain and the misery increase, where is it to be found? Peace, do people imagine that it is something to cornered, like corn or wheat? Is it something which can be pounded upon and devoured, as with wolves fighting over a carcass? I hear people talking about peace and their faces are clouded with anger or with hatred or with scorn and disdain, with pride and arrogance. There are people who want to fight to bring about peace- the most deluded souls of all. There will be no peace until murder is eliminated from the heart and mind. Murder is the apex of the broad pyramid whose base is the self. That which stands will have to fall. Everything which man has fought for will have to be relinquished before he can begin to live as man. Up till now he has been a sick beast and even his divinity stinks. He is master of many worlds and in his own he is a slave. What rules the world is the heart, not the brain, in every realm our conquests bring only death. We have turned our backs on the one realm wherein freedom lies. At Epidaurus, in the stillness, in the great peace that came over me, I heard the heart of the world beat. I know what the cure is: it is to give up, to relinquish, to surrender, so that our little hearts may beat in unison with the great heart of the world.
And whatever you do, do not break the mirror.”
Without looking away from Mari, Bowe asked, “Why no’?” This seemed an ideal solution to him.
Jillian murmured, “The shock could . . . it could kill her.”
“I want to be alone with her,” Bowe said.
She nodded. “We’re going to the binding ceremony. Good luck, Bowen.”
After they closed the door, Bowe could still hear Mari’s father say, “Jill, why are you so confident in MacRieve?”
“Because he won’t ever rest until he has her back with him,” she replied before they descended the stairs.
Alone with Mari, Bowe said, “Lass, we’re about to take a break from the mirror for a bit. How am I to marry you in front of all those witches in an eerie, embarrassing ceremony if you will no’ look away?”
He put his arms around her waist and leaned down to kiss her neck, closing his eyes with pleasure just to be close to her once more.
“Doona wish to turn from your glass? Verra well. Then ask it some questions while you’re here. Ask it how much your Lykae’s missed you.”
Had she blinked?
At her other ear, he murmured, “Ask it who Bowe loves.”
Her lips parted. Her body seemed to begin thrumming, as if she was struggling with everything she had in her to be free.
“Aye, that’s right. Ask it who’s the only one Bowe’s ever been in love with.” He brushed the back of his fingers down her cheek, willing her to meet his gaze in the mirror. “And the last question we’re goin’ tae have before you come away with me . . . ask it how damned good our lives are goin’ tae be together, just as soon as you turn tae kiss me.”
Her brows drew together, and her stiff posture tightened, then relaxed. Her eyelids slid closed.
“There now, that’s it, beautiful girl,” he asked, easing her face toward him. Behind her, he pressed the mirror until it flipped over, revealing the back of the frame. “Now, kiss me, witch.
Kresley Cole (Wicked Deeds on a Winter's Night (Immortals After Dark, #3))
Violet’s not getting out of our sight,” Arion adds.
There’s a moment of just staring…like everyone is trying to silently argue.
“No one naked in my car,” Mom states when I just stand in my spot, waiting on them to hurry through the push and pull.
You really can tell how thick the air is when too many alphas are in the room at one time, but weirdly it never feels this way when it’s just the four of them. Unless punches are thrown. Then it gets a little heavier than normal.
Arion pulls on his clothes, and threads whir in the air as I quickly fashion Emit a lopsided toga that lands on his body. Everyone’s gaze swings to him like it’s weird for him and normal for me to be in a toga.
Damien muffles a sound, Emit arches an eyebrow at me, and Arion remains rigid, staying close to me but never touching me.
All of us squeezing into a car together while most of them hate each other…should be fun.
The storm finally stops before we board the elevator, and it’s one of those super awkward elevator moments where no one is looking at anyone or saying anything, and everyone is trying to stay in-the-moment serious.
We stop on the floor just under us, after the longest thirty-five seconds ever.
The doors open, and two men glance around at Emit and I in our matching togas, even though his is the fitted sheet and riding up in some funny places.
He looks like a caveman who accidentally bleached and shrank his wardrobe.
I palm my face, embarrassed for him.
The next couple of floors are super awkward with the addition of the two new, notably uncomfortable men.
Worst seventy-nine seconds ever. Math doesn’t add up? Yeah. I’m upset about those extra nine seconds as well.
Poor Emit has to duck out of the unusually small elevator, and the bottom of his ass cheek plays peek-a-boo on one side.
Damien finally snorts, and even Mom struggles to keep a straight face. That really pisses her off.
“You’re seeing him on an off day,” I tell the two guys, who stare at my red boots for a second.
I feel the need to defend Emit a little, especially since I now know he overheard all that gibberish Tiara was saying…
I can’t remember all I said, and it’s worrying me now that my mind has gone off on this stupid tangent.
I trip over the hem of my toga, and Arion snags me before I hit the floor, righting me and showing his hands to my mother with a quick grin.
“Can’t just let her fall,” he says unapologetically.
“You’re going to have to learn to deal with that,” she bites out.
She has a very good point. I don’t trip very often, but things and people usually knock me around a good bit of my life.
The two guys look like they want to run, so I hurry to fix this.
“Really, it’s a long story, but I swear Emit—the tallest one in the fitted-sheet-toga—generally wears pants…er…I guess you guys call them trousers over here. Anyway, we had some plane problems,” I carry on, and then realize I have to account for the fact we’re both missing clothing. “Then there was a fire that miraculously only burned our clothes, because Emit put all my flames out by smothering me with his body,” I state like that’s exactly what happened.
Why do they look so scared? I’m not telling a scary lie.
At this point, I’ve just made it worse, and fortunately Damien takes mercy, clamping his hand over my mouth as he starts steering me toward the door before I can make it…whatever comes after worse but before the worst.
“Thank you,” sounds more like “Mmdi ooooo,” against his hand, but he gets the gist, as he grins.
Mom makes a frustrated sound.
“Another minute, and she’d be bragging about his penis size in quest to save his dignity. Did you really want to hear that?” Damien asks her, forcing me to groan against his hand.
Kristy Cunning (Gypsy Moon (All The Pretty Monsters, #4))
You should buy a potted plant.”
I laugh at that as I sit on the wooden picnic table at the park in the dark, listening to Jack ramble through the speakerphone beside me. “A plant.”
“Seriously, hear me out—you get a plant. You nurture it, keep it alive, and wham-bam, that’s how you know you’re ready for this whole thing.”
“No, it’s not. It’s a real thing. I saw it in that movie 28 Days.”
“The zombie one?”
“Nah, man, the Sandra Bullock one. You’re thinking about 28 Days Later.”
“You steal your advice from Sandra Bullock movies?”
“Oh, don’t you fucking judge me. It’s a hell of a lot better than that shit you keep making. And besides, it’s good advice.”
“Buy a plant.”
“Did you buy one?”
“A plant,” I say. “Did you buy yourself a plant to prove you’re ready for a relationship?”
“No,” he says.
“Because I don’t need a plant to tell me what I already know,” he says. “I’m wearing a pair of emoji boxers and eating hot Cheetos in my basement apartment. Pretty sure the signs are all there.”
“Emoji boxers?” I laugh. “Talk about a stereotypical internet troll.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” he says. “This isn’t about me, though. We’re talking about you.”
“I’m tired of talking about me.”
“Holy shit, seriously? Didn’t think that was possible!”
“Remember that interview you did on The Late Show two years ago?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“You were stoned out of your mind, kept referring to yourself in third person.”
“Pretty sure that guy would never be tired of talking about himself.”
“You’re an asshole.”
He laughs. “True.”
“You get on my nerves.”
Sighing, I shake my head. “Thank you.”
“Now go buy yourself a plant,” he says. “I was in the middle of a game of Call of Duty when you called, so I’m going to get back to it.”
“Oh, and Cunning? I’m glad you haven’t drowned yourself in a bottle of whiskey.”
“Why? Would you miss me?”
“More like your fangirls might murder me if I let you destroy yourself,” he says. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they’re crazy. Have you seen some of their fan art? It’s insane.”
“Goodbye, Jack,” I say, pressing the button on my phone to end the call
J.M. Darhower (Ghosted)
He shortened up the rope a couple of reaches and dragged the wolf through the bar ditch and stood by the fence and watched the truck come over the hill and approach in its attendant dust and clatter.
The old man slowed and peered. The wolf was jerking and twisting and the boy stood behind her and held her with both hands. By the time the truck had pulled abreast of them he was lying on the ground with his legs scissored about her midriff and his arms around her neck. The old man stopped and sat the idling truck and leaned across and rolled down the window. What in the hell, he said. What in the hell.
You reckon you could turn that thing off? the boy said.
That's a damn wolf.
Yessir it is.
What in the hell.
The truck's scarin her.
Boy what's wrong with you? That thing comes out of that riggin it'll eat you alive.
What are you doin with him?
It's a she.
It's a what?
A she. It's a she.
Hell fire, it dont make a damn he or she. What are you doin with it?
Fixin to take it home.
Whatever in the contumacious hell for?
Can you not turn that thing off?
It aint all that easy to start again.
Well could I maybe get you to drive down there and catch my horse for me and bring him back. I'd tie her up but she gets all fuzzled up in the fencewire.
What I'd liketo do is to try and save you the trouble of bein eat, the old man said. What are you takin it home for?
It's kindly a long story.
Well I'd sure like to hear it.
The boy looked down the road where the horse stood grazing. He looked at the old man. Well, he said. My daddy wanted me to come and get him if I caught her but I didnt want to leave her cause they's been some vaqueros takin their dinner over yonder and I figured they'd probably shoot her so I just decided to take her on home with me.
Have you always been crazy?
I dont know. I never was much put to the test before today.
How old are you?
Well you aint got the sense God give a goose. Did you know that?
You may be right.
How do you expect your horse to tolerate a bunch of nonsense such as this.
If I can get him caught he wont have a whole lot of say about it.
You plan on leadin that thing behind a horse?
How you expect to get her to do that?
She aint got a whole lot of choice either.
Cormac McCarthy (The Crossing (The Border Trilogy, #2))
What did you do?” I mumble. He is just a few feet away from me now, but not close enough to hear me. As he passes me he stretches out his hand. He wraps it around my palm and squeezes. Squeezes, then lets go. His eyes are bloodshot; he is pale.
“What did you do?” This time the question tears from my throat like a growl.
I throw myself toward him, struggling against Peter’s grip, though his hands chafe.
“What did you do?” I scream.
“You die, I die too.” Tobias looks over his shoulder at me. “I asked you not to do this. You made your decision. These are the repercussions.”
He disappears around the corner. The last I see of him and the Dauntless traitors leading him is the gleam of the gun barrel and blood on the back of his earlobe from an injury I didn’t see before.
All the life goes out of me as soon as he’s gone. I stop struggling and let Peter’s hands push me toward my cell. I slump to the ground as soon as I walk in, waiting for the door to slide shut to signify Peter’s departure, but it doesn’t.
“Why did he come here?” Peter says.
I glance at him.
“Because he’s an idiot.”
I rest my head against the wall.
“Did he think he could rescue you?” Peter snorts a little. “Sounds like a Stiff-born thing to do.”
“I don’t think so,” I say. If Tobias intended to rescue me, he would have brought others. He would not have burst into Erudite headquarters alone.
Tears well up in my eyes, and I don’t try to blink them away. Instead I stare through them and watch my surroundings smear together. A few days ago I would never have cried in front of Peter, but I don’t care anymore. He is the least of all my enemies.
“I think he came to die with me,” I say. I clamp my hand over my mouth to stifle a sob. If I can keep breathing, I can stop crying. I didn’t need or want him to die with me. I wanted to keep him safe. What an idiot, I think, but my heart isn’t in it.
“That’s ridiculous,” he says. “That doesn’t make any sense. He’s eighteen; he’ll find another girlfriend once you’re dead. And he’s stupid if he doesn’t know that.”
Tears run down my cheeks, hot at first and then cold. I close my eyes. “If you think that’s what it’s about…” I swallow another sob “…you’re the stupid one.”
His shoes squeak as he turns away. About to leave.
“Wait!” I look up at his blurry silhouette, unable to make out his face. “What will they do to him? The same thing they’re doing to me?”
“I don’t know.”
“Can you find out?” I wipe my cheeks with the heels of my hands, frustrated. “Can you at least find out if he’s all right?”
He says, “Why would I do that? Why would I do anything for you?”
A moment later I hear the door slide shut.
Veronica Roth (Insurgent (Divergent, #2))
23 When He Carries a Heavy Burden Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. GALATIANS 6:2 SOCIETY PUTS A LOT OF WEIGHT on a man’s shoulders. It is his burden to earn the finances to support his family. He is expected to do well at his work and on his job. There are so many expectations of him in that regard that he feels the pressure of it constantly. That’s why you read about so many men committing suicide when they are in serious financial trouble. The burden is too great. Few women commit suicide for financial failure. If you or I fell into financial ruin, we would just sell everything, pay off all the debts we could, get a job, and start over. Men can feel the burden of failure in life-threatening ways. That’s why your husband needs your prayers to keep his burdens lifted. One of the best ways to bear your husband’s burden is to pray for him about whatever heavy load he is carrying. Every time you do, pray especially for what burdens him the most. One of the most effective things you can do is let him know you are praying for him and ask him to tell you what his burdens are. He may reveal something you didn’t even know was bothering him. God’s Word says that sometimes our burden comes from the oppressor. The children of Israel had an oppressor, and they were overtaken by this oppressor because of their own disobedience. But God promised that the burden the oppressor put on them would eventually be broken by the power of His Spirit. “It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil” (Isaiah 10:27). The anointing oil refers to a work of the Holy Spirit. Your prayers can invite the Holy Spirit to break any burden of the oppressor off of your husband’s shoulders. You will be fulfilling the “law of Christ” every time you pray like that, not to mention how it will secure your husband’s devotion. My Prayer to God LORD, I pray my husband will be able to fully release his burdens to You. I know that when we cast our burdens on You, You will sustain us and not allow us to be shaken (Psalm 55:22 NASB). Help me to bear his burdens in prayer and in any other way You reveal to me. Show me what his greatest burden is and what I can do to lighten it. I ask that You would relieve him of his heavy load by Your presence in his life. Enable him to understand that when he yokes up with You, You will carry the burden for him. I pray that when he is oppressed by the enemy, whatever prayer or supplication is made by him—when he acknowledges his own burdens before You and turns to You for help—that You will hear him (2 Chronicles 6:29-30). I also pray that as You take his burden from him, he will know it’s You doing the heavy lifting. In Jesus’ name I pray.
Stormie Omartian (The Power of a Praying Wife Devotional)
Without thinking, she delivered a stinging slap, all her hurt and disappointment behind the impact.
The imprint of her hand on his cheek shocked her. And though she immediately regretted her childish action, pride forbade her to own up to it. "Mind your manners, next time, Sinclair!"
Across the yard, Luter Hicks halted and burst into guffaws. "Guess she told you, lapdog! Hey, honey," he called to Willow, "if he ain't satisfying you, how 'bout lettin' me warm your bed tonight?"
An angry growl rolled out of Rider's throat. He pulled Willow up on her tiptoes, mashing her breasts against his hard chest. His fingers plowed through her thick tresses, knocking her bonnet off and scattering her hair pins. Then clasping her chin between his thumb and fingers, he tipped her head back and took fierce possession of her mouth.
When he finally released her lips, he set her down a little harder than necessary. "I'll kill the first man who even blinks at you," he ground out loud enough for Hicks to hear. Then in a low, no-nonsense voice,meant for her ears alone, he ordered, "Kiss me and make it look good!"
Willow glanced over at Hick's eager face and cringed. Her pride be damned! Sinclair was by far the lesser evil. She swept her arms around his neck. "Whatever you say...lover," she hissed in his ear. Standing on tiptoe again, she slowly brought his head down and pasted her lips to his.
But he would have none of her stiff-lipped kiss and increased the pressure on her mouth until she opened to his brazen tongue. As the kiss deepened, he spread one big hand at the base of her spine and molded her stomach against his hard, hot need. Willow's blood sang, her anger instantly gone in the heat of the moment.
"Mr. Sinclair!" Miriam interrupted in a berating tone. "You degrade this young lady with your public display. Unhand her at once!"
Without his supporting arms, Willow's weak knees barely held her upright. She stumbled backwards, thoroughly stunned by her backfiring emotions.
A loud crash snapped her to her senses when Luther threw his plate against the house and stomped off to the bunkouse.
Rider collected himself and stooped to pick up Willow's discarded bonnet. Carefully brushing the dust off, he handed it to her without a word.
Willow took her hat, gave him a perfunctory nod, and ground her heel into his toe as she pivoted to enter the house.
Unaware of the young man's pained expression, Miriam followed on the girl's heels. "Talk about circuses!" she exclaimed, closing the door behind them.
"It was just an act for Hick's benefit," Willow defended. Feeling the need to escape Miriam's all-too-knowing glance,she headed down the hall to her room.
A heavy boot kicked at the door. Miriam opened it and Rider limped in. "Where do you want these?" he growled testily from behind a tower of packages.
"Put them on the settee for now, thank you," Miriam said. "I'd have you carry them back to Willow's room but it isn't a healthy place for you right now."
Rider only grunted,dumped the bundles, and returned to the wagon for another armload.
Charlotte McPherren (Song of the Willow)
I hate like hell to go, especially with things still so up in the air between us.” Liv was watching him from the bed. “Nothing’s up in the air. You’re determined to keep me and I’m determined to go.” His face darkened. “You’re not so damn determined when I have you in the bathing pool.” Liv felt a heated blush creep into her cheeks but she refused to back down. “Be that as it may, what I say or do in the, uh, in the heat of passion doesn’t change how I feel.” A look that was almost despair crossed over his chiseled features. “Damn it, Olivia, can’t you admit to yourself that you feel for me what I feel for you? Can’t you just try to imagine having a life here with me on the ship?” “I could…if I didn’t already have a life waiting for me back on Earth.” She sighed. “Look, let’s not fight about this right now. You have to go, fine. I’ll manage okay on my own here.” To be honest she was looking forward to a reprieve from the constant lust she felt while being cooped up with him in close quarters. He frowned. “I shouldn’t be leavin’ you alone during our claiming period. If I hadn’t had a direct order from my CO—” “It’s okay, really. I’ll find something to keep me occupied. I’ll try the translator and read one of your books. And I can work the wave well enough to make my own lunch without burning a finger off now.” “All right, fine.” He looked slightly mollified. “But whatever you do, stay in the suite. Don’t leave for any reason.” “Yes, sir!” She gave him a mocking salute. “To hear is to obey, oh my lord and master.” “Lilenta…” He sighed. “This is for your safety. I’m not trying to order you around for the hell of it.” “No, you just want to make my decisions for me. Stay here, don’t go there. Live the rest of your life on the ship instead of ever seeing your loved ones on Earth again. Why should this be any different?” Liv knew an edge of bitterness had crept into her voice but she couldn’t seem to help it. Baird scowled. “In time you’ll see that this is best. The only way I can protect you is to keep you close to me.” “Funny how much being protected feels like being owned.” “I thought you didn’t want to fight.” “You started it.” Liv knew it sounded childish but she didn’t care. He ran a hand through his hair. “Damn it, Olivia…” Then he shook his head, as though sensing the futility of any argument. He pointed a finger at her instead. “I’m going but I’ll be back tonight in time for the start of our tasting week.” “You…I’m surprised you want to…to do anything at all.” Liv worked hard to keep the tremble out of her voice but didn’t quite succeed. He raised an eyebrow. “You mean with you trying to pick a fight at every opportunity and generally resisting me every step of the way? I have news for you, Lilenta, none of that affects the way I feel for you—the way I need you—one bit.” He walked over to the bed where she was sitting on the edge and pulled her to her feet. “I still want you more than any other woman I’ve ever seen. Still need to be inside you, bonding you to me, making you mine,” he growled softly, pulling her close. “Baird, stop it!” She wanted to beat against his broad chest in protest but she somehow found herself melting against him instead. “Don’t you want to give me a kiss goodbye?” There was a flicker of bitter amusement in his golden eyes. “No, I guess you don’t. Too bad.” Leaning down, he took her lips in a rough yet tender kiss that took Liv’s breath away.
Evangeline Anderson (Claimed (Brides of the Kindred, #1))
I no longer require your services." With her head held high, she strode for the door.
Hell and blazes, he wouldn't let her do this! Now when he knew what was at stake.
"You don't want to hear my report?" he called out after her.
She paused near the door. "I don't believe you even have a report."
"I certainly do, a very thorough one. I've only been waiting for my aunt to transcribe my scrawl into something decipherable. Give me a day, and I can offer you names and addresses and dates, whatever you require."
"A day? Just another excuse to put me off so you can wreak more havoc." She stepped into the doorway, and he hurried to catch her by the arm and drag her around to face him.
He ignored the withering glance she cast him. "The viscount is twenty-two years your senior," he said baldly.
Her eyes went wide. "You're making that up."
"He's aged very well, I'll grant you, but he's still almost twice your age. Like many vain Continental gentlemen, he dyes his hair and beard-which is why he appears younger than you think."
That seemed to shake her momentarily. Then she stiffened. "All right, so he's an older man. That doesn't mean he wouldn't make a good husband."
"He's an aging roué, with an invalid sister. The advantages in a match are all his. You'd surely end up taking care of them both. That's probably why he wants to marry you."
"You can't be sure of that."
"No? He's already choosing not to stay here for the house party at night because of his sister. That tells me that he needs help he can't get from servants."
Her eyes met his, hot with resentment. "Because it's hard to find ones who speak Portuguese."
He snorted. "I found out this information from his Portuguese servants. They also told me that his lavish spending is a façade. He's running low on funds. Why do you think his servants gossip about him? They haven't been paid recently. So he’s definitely got his eye on your fortune.”
“Perhaps he does,” she conceded sullenly. “But not the others. Don’t try to claim that of them.”
“I wouldn’t. They’re in good financial shape. But Devonmont is estranged from his mother, and no one knows why. I need more time to determine it, though perhaps your sister-in-law could tell you, if you bothered to ask.”
“Plenty of people don’t get along with their families,” she said stoutly.
“He has a long-established mistress, too.”
A troubled expression crossed her face. “Unmarried men often have mistresses. It doesn’t mean he wouldn’t give her up when he marries.”
He cast her a hard stare. “Are you saying you have no problem with a man paying court to you while he keeps a mistress?”
The sigh that escaped her was all the answer he needed.
“I don’t think he’s interested in marriage, anyway.” She tipped up her chin. “That still leaves the duke.”
“With his mad family.”
“He’s already told me about his father, whom I knew about anyway.”
“Ah, but did you know about his great-uncle? He ended his life in an asylum in Belgium, while there to receive some special treatment for his delirium.”
Her lower lip trembled. “The duke didn’t mention that, no. But then our conversation was brief. I’m sure he’ll tell me if I ask. He was very forthright on the subject of his family’s madness when he offered-“
As she stopped short, Jackson’s heart dropped into his stomach. “Offered what?”
She hesitated, then squared her shoulders. “Marriage, if you must know.”
Damn it all. Jackson had no right to resent it, but the thought of her in Lyons’s arms made him want to smash something. “And of course, you accepted his offer,” he said bitterly. “You couldn’t resist the appeal of being a great duchess.”
Her eyes glittered at him. “You’re the only person who doesn’t see the advantage in such a match.
Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))
I wanted to apologize.”
His gaze lifted from her bosom. He remembered those breasts in his hands. “For what?”
“For deceiving you as I did. I misunderstood the nature of our relationship and behaved like a spoiled little girl. It was a terrible mistake and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.”
A terrible mistake? A mistake to be sure, but terrible? “There is nothing to forgive,” he replied with a tight smile. “We were both at fault.”
“Yes,” she agreed with a smile of her own. “You are right. Can we be friends again?”
“We never stopped.” At least that much was true. He might have played the fool, might have taken advantage of her, but he never ceased caring for her. He never would.
Rose practically sighed in relief. Grey had to struggle to keep his eyes on her face. “Good. I’m so glad you feel that way. Because I do so want your approval when I find the man I’m going to marry.”
Grey’s lips seized, stuck in a parody of good humor. “The choice is ultimately yours, Rose.”
She waved a gloved hand. “Oh, I know that, but your opinion meant so much to Papa, and since he isn’t here to guide me, I would be so honored if you would accept that burden as well as the others you’ve so obligingly undertaken.”
Help her pick a husband? Was this some kind of cruel joke? What next, did she want his blessing?
She took both of his hands in hers. “I know this is rather premature, but next to Papa you have been the most important man in my life. I wonder…” She bit her top lip. “If you would consider acting in Papa’s stead and giving me away when the time comes?”
He’d sling her over his shoulder and run her all the way to Gretna Green if it meant putting an end to this torture! “I would be honored.” He made the promise because he knew whomever she married wouldn’t allow him to keep it. No man in his right mind would want Grey at his wedding, let along handling his bride.
Was it relief or consternation that lit her lovely face? “Oh, good. I was afraid perhaps you wouldn’t, given your fear of going out into society.”
Grey scowled. Fear? Back to being a coward again was he? “Whatever gave you that notion?”
She looked genuinely perplexed. “Well, the other day Kellan told me how awful your reputation had become before your attack. I assumed your shame over that to be why you avoid going out into public now.”
“You assume wrong.” He'd never spoken to her with such a cold tone in all the years he'd known her. "I had no idea your opinion of me had sunk so low. And as one who has also been bandied about by gossips I would think you would know better than to believe everything you hear, no matter how much you might like the source."
Now she appeared hurt. Doe-like eyes widened. "My opinion of you is as high as it ever was! I'm simply trying to say that I understand why you choose to hide-"
"You think I'm hiding?" A vein in his temple throbbed.
Innocent confusion met his gaze. "Aren't you?"
"I avoid society because I despise it," he informed her tightly. "I would have thought you'd know that about me after all these years."
She smiled sweetly. "I think my recent behavior has proven that I don't know you that well at all. After all, I obviously did not achieve my goal in seducing you, did I?"
Christ Almighty. The girl knew how to turn his world arse over appetite. "There's no shame in being embarrassed, Grey. I know you regret the past, and I understand how difficult it would be for you to reenter society with that regret handing over you head."
"Rose, I am not embarrassed, and I am not hiding. I shun society because I despise it. I hate the false kindness and the rules and the hypocrisy of it. Do you understand what I am saying? It is because of society that I have this." He pointed at the side of his face where the ragged scar ran.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))