“I knew after weeks of meeting you that I was never going to love another girl like I love you. You’re it for me. They write books about what we have.”
“Are you going to make me work for it?”
I nodded and straightened up from the post, bringing our bodies so close I could almost feel him against me. “If I don’t believe I’m worth the effort, why the hell would you?”
“We are all looking for a place in life, somewhere we fit. It’s not a place that changes who we are or what we do – perhaps it shapes us, makes us better, makes us more - but mostly it shelters us with a sense of peace, a sense that whatever we do, whoever we are, we’re not alone in it.
I was lucky enough to find that place, when I was sixteen years old.”
“I’m going to kiss you when you least expect it. And it WILL be epic.”
“All I know is that you probably deserve better than me, but I’m too selfish to let you. I’m into you, and I want you to be so into me, you don’t even care that I’m not good enough for you.”
“From the moment we’d met, he’d dragged me into the deep, swearing to me he was in there with me. It was a lie. He’d waded back out to the shallows and left me to drown.”
“I’ve been in love with you since our first date, and every day since I’ve fallen deeper and deeper for you.”
“I won’t ever stop loving you,” I promised him.
“Good,” Jake replied, and upon hearing how hoarse his voice was with emotion, I felt tears prick my eyes.
“I won’t ever stop loving you. No matter what.”
“You’re not…jealous?” He eyed me warily.
I shrugged. “I’ll always be jealous of any girl who’s had that part of you, but I’m not worried about it. If you wanted her, you’d be with her. But you’re not. You’re with me. A sound choice, I might add. “I smirked suggestively.”
Jake threw his head back in laughter. “God, my girl is cocky”
“Pot, meet kettle.”
“Good thing we’re both attracted to cocky, then, huh?”
“I didn’t think you did bad boys ever?”
“I’m seriously making an exception for Beck.” Claudia’s eyes fluttered closed on another moan. “Beck. Even his freaking name is hot.”
“Well, my mother would hate him. He said ‘fuck’ twice within a matter of seconds.”
“I’d fuck him twice in a matter of seconds.”
“You’re very good at the flirting thing. Very confident for your age.”
“I don’t know about that. I’ve never really had to wor—“
“Work at it,” I finished for him, quirking my eyebrow at him. “Confident or arrogant…”
His laughing eyes narrowed on me. “You think you’re pretty smart.”
“No. I know I’m pretty smart.”
“Now who’s arrogant?”
I chuckled but shrugged. “Well, I have reason to be. I’m awesome.”
“I pulled out that photograph and as I stared at it, it was just a flood tide. I remembered. I remembered how much I loved you. How happy you made me. How much you could surprise me. How hard you made me laugh. And what it felt like to feel you laughing against me. To hold you. To kiss you. To be inside you. I remembered what I said to you. I remembered every tear on your face when I broke up with you, and I couldn't believe I put them there That's when it hit me: there was no going back.”
“I won’t ever stop loving you. No matter what.”
“This shouldn’t be possible,” he whispered, “but somehow, it’s happening. You’re something special to me, and I can only hope that I’m something special to you.”
“My friends back in Chicago think I’m crazy when I talk about you. They keep telling me that I’m too young to feel this way. I’m not too young, Charley. I know with more certainty than I’ve ever had about anything in my life that you’re my future. I know that when we’re ready, after college or whatever, we’re going to get married and that you’re going to be the mother of my kids. I know that deep in my gut. --Jake”
“I wish I could go back to that scared-shitless kid and tell him to be brave like his girl. I can't take that back though. All I can do is attempt to make up for it. I want you to give me that chance, but if you don't, I need you to know I never lied when I told you that you're extraordinary, Charley. Whatever your answer is, just know that I will always believe that, and I will always believe in you.”
“Charley!” Maggie shrieked drunkenly and I watched as my name hit Jake’s ears. I noted the way he tensed, my fingers trembling around my beer bottle.
His eyes shot up from his group and tore through the crowd across the room. His chest jerked as his gaze collided with mine and his arm fell away from the girl cuddled into him. His lips parted as shock slackened his handsome features and I watched him mouth my name.
Everyone disappeared around me as we locked eyes for the first time in years. The music dulled to a throb, the conversation to a muffled buzz, and all I could hear was my heartbeat.”
“He watched me the entire time. He watched me like he wanted to watch me forever. I knew this because I was looking back at him thinking the exact same thing.”
“I think I could orgasm just looking at him,” she moaned”
“I don't think we're ever anybody's, and to believe otherwise will get you hurt.”
“For a while, he’d let himself forget what it was like to be around her. It was peace. It was war. It was excitement. It was contentment. It was exhilaration. It was soothing. It was heat. It was calm. It was everything.”
“If I didn’t think it would get me hurt in the end … I’d be the guy who got serious for you.” His”
“He had his arms around me, I had my hand on his stomach, and I was smiling up into his face. Jake wasn’t smiling but the expression in his eyes told everyone who looked at that picture that he was in love with me. I’d”
“I know something about dread myself, and appreciate the elaborate systems with which some people fill the void, appreciate all the opiates of the people, whether they are as accessible as alcohol and heroin and promiscuity or as hard to come by as faith in God or History.”
“In the east," she says after a time, her gaze still downcast, "there is a tradition known as kintsukuroi. It is the practice of mending broken ceramic pottery using lacquer dusted with gold and silver and other precious metals. It is meant to symbolize that things can be more beautiful for having been broken."
"Why are you telling me this?" I ask.
At last she looks at me. Her irises are polished obsidian in the moonlight. "Because I want you to know," she says, "that there is life after survival.”
“Those who cannot be aggressive are hunted down while they shiver and hide because the night is dark.”
“I love you, man, you know it, sucked losin’ you when you two disintegrated and I’m fuckin’ thrilled to have you back, but I love her a fuckuva lot more than you and I find out she’s in her head because you can’t let go of something that happened eighteen years ago and still feel like getting’ your licks in, you got me to worry about. You get me?”
“But all I said, as I dug a five from my pocket to pay for my soda, was, "You have a friend?"
Tod scowled. "Well, I wouldn't call him a friend according to the traditional definition, but in the sense that he imposes on me constantly and isn't afraid to point out my flaws, I'd say he qualifies."
"Sounds more like a cousin.”
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