“Just try and live. Try and be happy. Or else, what’s the fucking point?”
“Eventually, something or someone will come along in your life to show you that what other people think don’t matter. You’ll find the strength to not let what people say affect you in quite the same way.”
“Do you know what I wish for, Levi, what I hope and pray for all the time?” “What, bella mia?” “That people have one thought, one instinct: Be kind-hearted. Simply be kind of heart.”
“I’ll be your voice when you can’t speak.”
“Pushing Elsie back, I said, “I’m not the most special guy in the world. I’m no one’s perfect dream. I’m not sure I’ll ever do anything extraordinary with my life. I’ll always be that little bit awkward, and that little bit too shy. I’ll always blush and dip my head, but if you’ll let me, I’ll be the one that’s there for you. I’ll be happy knowing I’ve got you and you’ve got me. That’s enough for me, to be the one that you can lean on, to be the one to tell you you’re beautiful every day. And talk to. I’ll adore every sound that comes out of your mouth. I’ll be the one to love you like nothing you’ve ever seen, bella mia.” I blushed with embarrassment, but managed to rasp, “If you’ll just let me… If you want me.”
Elsie sobbed out a cry, tears tumbling down her rosy cheeks. “Levi. You are my dream realized, in every possible way. You are the most special person in my world. And I love that you blush—because I do too.” She wiped at her cheeks. “I love that you’re shy, and,” her breathing hitched, “I love that you love my voice. I love that I never have hide who I am, disguise how I sound. Because I’m tired of trying to please others.” She dipped her eyes and almost flattened me when she said, “You’re my kind of extraordinary. Levi Carillo, you’re the sweetest of souls.”
“And the Italian thing. He speaks fucking Italian, fluently.” Ashton shook his head and gripped my arm. “Use your powers, Alabama. For the sake of jocks everywhere, use the fucking pussy-magnet powers you’ve been granted!”
“Ally Prince’s huge smile greeted me and she pulled me in her arms. “I knew you’d be back,” she said.
“You did?” I questioned.
Ally rolled her eyes then spun me around to face the three Italian brothers and pointed at Levi. “You see that look in Levi’s eyes, the same one Aust is giving Lex and the one my tough guy is giving me?”
I blushed, but nodded my head under the attention of Levi’s storm cloud colored gaze. “Well that’s how I knew you’d be back. Once a Carillo cracks his hard shell and lets you in, once you see them look at you like that, you’re toast, and you’re theirs. You never really had a choice.”
“Words are the worst kind of ammunition. Physical pain fades in time, but bullets of cruelty forever penetrate the soul.”
“Alone and lost, appeared this saint,
With pretty gray eyes, darkness can’t taint.
He stole her from cold, from blustering storm,
Kind and gentle, he took her from harm.
Fearful of dark, he created her light,
A jar of gold, chasing demons of night.
Telling stories of love, he brought to her life,
A moment by his side: no pain, no strife.
He gifted her poems, a gesture on whim,
With every word read, she could see only him.
She counted the days until he returned home,
The boy with his light, the girl not alone.
Invisible to all, a shade wandering in dark,
He brought back her faith, with his pure kind heart.
“I’m so fucking pissed that I was born in Cali. I’d clean up if I said ‘y’all’ and ‘fixin’ every other word,” Jake complained.”
“I don’t want to hurt you.”
Her head tilted to the side and she smiled. “That’s why I want to do this more than ever.” Her eyelashes fluttered against her cheeks. “Because you care enough to stop at the thought of causing me pain. Because, even though I can see how desperately you want to be inside me, you’re going slow, you’re making sure I’m safe.”
“Because you’re my girl,” I replied. Elsie’s eyes glossed at my statement.”
I’d search the world for Heaven’s Door,
Over mountains and valleys, each sandy shore.
I’d find the stairway, soaring through clouds,
I'd climb each step, without making a sound.
I’d arrive at the door of glimmering gold,
I’d slip through unnoticed, not stirring a soul.
I’d gasp at its beauty, at its rivers and trees,
I’d stray from the paths, I’d hide among leaves.
I’d tiptoe unseen, under sun and sky blue,
I’d search every corner until I found you.
I’d capture a tear, catch a glimpse of your hair,
As you danced and you twirled, without any care.
You’d smile and you’d laugh, like a bird you’d be free,
I’d try not to cry, you’re there without me.
I’d stay my hand from touching your face,
From calling your name, to feel your embrace.
You’d open your mouth and your voice would be pure,
I’d treasure the sound, no more pain you’d endure.
I’d stay ‘til the sunset, when I’d have to leave,
A pain in my heart, my spirit in grief.
I’d blow you a kiss, let it drift to the sky,
I’d whisper ‘I love you’ and bid you goodbye.
I'd pass through the door, I’d descend out of view,
Knowing that one day, some day, I’d again be with you.
“We healed each other,” Lexi said, without removing her attention from her husband. “We were both lost and knocked down, but we held on tight, and raised each other from the ashes. He brought me my rainbow, Elsie,” she huffed a loving laugh and said, “he brought me the stars.”
I didn’t know what that reference meant, but I could feel the magnitude of what he meant to her. Lexi slipped out of the car and I did too. I walked to the back gate, staying out of sight. I glanced back, seeing Austin, with his gang tattoos and intimidating stature, taking Lexi in his arms and pressing a soft kiss on her mouth.”
“You are the timid one, the gentle brother – inside and out. You are the one to carry his heart on his sleeve. You are the one who watches silently from afar and loves with all his soul.”
“Elsie … you can talk to me. You can open up to me. I swear, you are safe with me.”
“I want to kiss you,” he whispered, barely making a sound. “Real bad.”
I was shocked into stillness. Levi’s warm breath drifted over my face, and I found it in me to ask, “Why?”
Levi pushed closer to me, his breathing stuttered. “Because you’re you.”
“I’ve been lost, Elsie. Lost and drowning since I was a kid … Then I saw you. I saw you and you brought me back to me … Elsie, you brought me life.”
“I want it to be good. I don’t want to mess it up.”
“Because it’s you. And it’s me. Nothing means more to me in the world but this. But us.”
“It’s okay, kid,” Austin said quietly. “It’s okay to admit that you love her. It’s okay to open yourself up to allow yourself to love. You’ve fought getting close to anyone for too long. Elsie fucking smashed through that wall.”
“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our distress. For we don’t even know what we should pray for, nor how we should pray. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. ROMANS 8:26”
“I would rather have had someone shoot me in the head with a nail gun, repeatedly, than have to watch the two of them cuddling on the couch together all night. --Conrad”
“I never knew there were this many stars."
"I can't see them," he told me. "I just see you."
"That's one of your cheesier lines," I told him.
"It's the altitude," he told me. "I don't have enough oxygen in my brain."
“decade after the first edition of this book was published, Yan Wong and I met in the fitting surroundings of the Oxford Museum of Natural History to discuss the possibility of producing a new, tenth anniversary edition. Yan, once my undergraduate pupil, had been employed as my research assistant during the writing of the original edition, before he left for his lecturing position in Leeds and his career as a television presenter. He played an enormously important part in the conception and execution of the first edition, and he was credited as joint author of several of the chapters. During the course of our discussion ten years on, we realised that much new information had come in, especially from the molecular genetics laboratories of the world. Yan undertook the bulk of the revision and I proposed to the publisher that this time he should be properly credited as joint author of the whole book.”
“in the midst of war and crisis nothing is as clear or as certain as it appears in hindsight”
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