Archive by Author | jnlletrry

Tyrone.

My mom died when I was nine.
She died in combat . . .
When I found out she was dead, I don’t really remember how I felt, or if I fully and truly understood what had happened. Of course I understood death, but that was the first time it had happened to me and it was my mom. The idea that I would never see her again wasn’t really registering . . . I was like my mind and my body were working separately. I guess I was in shock.
It’s tragic when anyone loses their parents, but with my being so young, it was devastating. When I finally came to terms with what was happening, I broke down; I was inconsolable. I slipped into a really dark place . . . Pops did too.
Dad . . . God, he lost it. Nothing in life really seemed to matter to him with Mom gone. He drank all the time; never got out of bed; eventually lost his job. My grandparents had to step in after awhile . . . He spiraled, and I completely understand.
Not to sound too cheesy, but Mom was Dad’s epic love. There’s that quote that says something about one body and two souls or something like that. Well, that was my parents, from what I remember and what I was told. They never seemed completely whole when they were away from each other. There was always a light that came on when Mom walked into a room Dad and I were in, and Mom blushed like a little girl when Dad would kiss her or something two people in love do. They were always holding hands or touching in some way; I thought it was disgusting as a kid, but I know love like theirs doesn’t find each other often. I hope that one day, I’m as fortunate . . .
Dad would go on these binges where he was gone for days at a time. I never knew if he drank himself dead or drove himself off the road, into a tree or a ditch, and I couldn’t help but think I can’t lose him too . . . So I tried to make him see that I needed him, that I needed him to be my dad, to take care of me, but he was too far gone.
My mom died a soldier and a hero, and I’m damn proud of her.
I thought my dad was going to die a drunken, heartbroken mess, and on top of losing him, I would have been incredibly ashamed. There’s no way that I can completely understand the grief that my father was feeling–or rather, was trying to escape from–but he . . . he wasn’t the only one in pain. He didn’t have the right to monopolize on the anguish that Mom’s death left.
. . . It was bad for a few years.
But then Dad met Jocelyn. I don’t know what it was about her, but she pulled him up and out of whatever abyss he’d been drowning in.
I didn’t know the word at the time, but I was a little skeptical of their relationship at first. I thought Jocelyn was going to make Dad forget about mom, but I know now that was just me being ridiculous. Despite the miracle she worked on him, he will never be the same without Mom, but Jocelyn helped him moved forward.
I love Jocelyn like a mom; she’s an amazing woman and great mom to my little brothers. I appreciate that while she knew I needed a mother figure in my life, she didn’t try to replace my mom, but since she’s been in my life, she’s been there whenever I needed her. She helped me pick out my tux for prom and bought my date her corsage. She was a shoulder to cry on when things between Izzy and I didn’t work out. She already knows me well enough to know when I really need my space versus when I say need my space but actually need a hug. Maybe it’s a Jocelyn thing; maybe it’s a mom thing.
. . . It’s been almost ten years since Mom’s death. Much has occurred and much has changed. And with every passing year, it gets harder and harder to remember little things about her, but I’ll never forget how much I loved her and how much respect I have for her and what she did for this country.

I love you, Mom,
Ty

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Untitled, Part 2

A moment of silence passed between Gabriel and Chachi before Gabriel said, “That shouldn’t have happened,” but made no move to distance himself from her.
Chachi nodded, “I know, but it did.”
Gabriel searched her face and smiled, “And it was great.”
“So what now?”
Gabriel shook his head, “I’m not exactly sure.”
“Well,” Chachi started, “We can, A. Pretend this never happened because 1. It could just be the alcohol. And 2. I don’t want one kiss to mess up what you and Leah have. Or B. We can continue to explore these feelings and see where it may or may not go.”
Stepping away from Chachi, Gabriel crossed his arms and thought for a moment. “I can already tell you option A is not gonna work for me, but I also don’t want to lead Leah on. I do love her, but–”
Cutting him off, Chachi said, “You don’t have to figure things out right now. How about we call it a night and talk about this later, okay?”
He nodded before giving her a hug and a kiss on the forehead. “Night Chachi.”
Chachi listened as he walked back into the living room and told Leah he was ready to go. She waited until she heard the door shut before going into her room and flopping down on her bed. She pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes and said to herself, sighing heavily, “I hate being the adult sometimes.”

———————————–

Chachi was laying on her bed with her eyes closed when she heard her bedroom door open.
“I don’t have enough energy to even open my eyes, so whoever you are, please go away.”
Chachi felt someone sit on her bed, and then Melanie spoke, “What’s the matter, Chach?”
“I don’t wanna talk about it.”
“It wouldn’t happen to have anything to do with what transpired between you and Gabriel, would it?”
Chachi sat up quickly. “You saw that?”
Melanie nodded. “Ohhhh yeah! Talk about McSteamy! Which is why I’m confused why he left with Leah? … Unless he’s coming back?”
Chachi flopped back down. “Idk. He said he didn’t want to pretend like it didn’t happen, but he also implied that he didn’t want to end things with Leah just in case things between us don’t work out. And I’m at the point where I don’t really care what he does as long as he comes back to me, someway, somehow.”
Surprised, Melanie asked, “You really like him?”
Chachi nodded.
“Why didn’t you tell anybody?”
“Tell you what? That I’m a walking cliché? That I’m in love with my best friend who, or course, has a girlfriend? There’s nothing you could have done or can do about it, so can we just drop it, please? I’ll let you know if anything happens, but until then, I would really like to be alone.”
“Well, you kinda are hosting a party …”
Chachi groaned. “I’ll be out in a few minutes. And please, not a word of this to anyone?”
Melanie nodded, “Of course. But just between you and me–and I’m not just saying this because you’re one of my besties–he’s gonna come back, Chach. It may be out of pure curiosity, but you have this magnetism that’s hard to resist which is undeniably what attracted him in the first place. From there, the rest is up to you. Stop being so concerned about other people’s feelings. Be selfish for once in your life and tell him you want him!”
“We’ll see.”
Melanie left the room and Chachi allowed herself a few more minutes of wallowing in self-pity before rejoining her friends in the living room.

———————————–

Eh eh eh eh … If you’re ready come and get it! Nah na nah na nah na nah na nah na nah na. If you’re ready come and–
Chachi fumbled for her phone, pressing answer without looking at the caller ID.
“Hello?” she croaked.
“It’s later.”
Chachi squinted her eyes at her alarm clock: 5:27. She shut her eyes and said, “Go away.”
“But I’m outside. At least let me in. It’s kinda chilly.”
Chachi groaned and sat up, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. She was exhausted, having only fallen asleep about an hour and a half ago, but Gabe had come back and was waiting for her, even if it was at this God forsaken hour.
“Give me five minutes,” she said and hung up the phone.
After a good stretch, she began to navigate her room in the dark, grabbing the first pair of socks and pants she could find. She slipped on her Chucks, threw on a jacket, fixed her ponytail, grabbed her keys, and was out the door.
Gabe was sitting on the front steps waiting for her.
He smiled, “Good morning, Chachi.”
She glared daggers at him and started walking.
Catching up with her, he said, “I’m sorry. I know you’re not a morning person. I tried to wait, but I couldn’t. I needed to see you.”
Those words coming from his mouth should have made her weak in the knees, but she was still too tired and too angry that she was awake at this hour to fully care. She gave him a look that said Go on.
“I mean, I guess … Leah was the first person I met when I got here. We were both new, so we kinda just stuck together; and you see the end result. But then I meet you, and it’s like: you’re funny and intelligent, and I can talk to you about all these things that most other girls shy away from. We have the same vision for the world, and you don’t agree with me just to keep me complacent. Obviously, you’re absolutely beautiful–inside and out–and I find myself thinking ‘What if I met her first?’ and then, ‘Dude, you have a girlfriend who you care about immensely.’
“So here I am just confused because I know that I love Leah, but I also know that I’m insanely attracted to you. At first I think that’s it: it’s just attraction, but then we kissed and it felt like more. It felt right, like … the first two pieces of puzzle that you found fit together. However, like you said, it could have been the alcohol talking, but if it wasn’t, I don’t wanna pass up this chance.”
Chachi stopped walking, and Gabriel stopped with her. She turned to look at him, and just stared for a moment, thinking.
Her head was telling her to let it and him go, to just stay happy being friends. That way she wouldn’t get her heart broken if she gave him a choice and he didn’t choose her, but she remembered what Melanie had said: Be selfish.
Melanie was right: she was always putting other people’s feelings before hers. She deserved at least a shot at getting what she wanted. She wanted Gabriel, and if she couldn’t be honest with him, who else could she trust?
Chachi took a leap of faith, stepped towards Gabriel, took his face in her hands and kissed him gently. When she pulled away, she looked him in the eyes and said, “This may be hard for you, but it’s easy for me: I want you. I want us. I want this. Even though I hate the morning, I will take walks every day at 5:30 in the morning as long as they’re with you. I want to hold your hand on those walks. I want you to put your arm around my shoulder and kiss me softly on my temple, and I know I’ll smile because I’ll be happy that I’m with you.
“I know I kinda gave you the idea that I would be the other woman until we figured things out, but I won’t. I don’t and shouldn’t have to hide my feelings for you. I want to be able to kiss you without fear or regret that someone might see us or someone else’s feelings might be getting hurt. I love you, Gabriel Ryan Núñez. I want you to be happy, but I won’t be your second best.
“You know where I stand. The rest is up to you. I’m gonna go back to my apartment and go back to sleep. You know how to reach me if you need me.”
Chachi turned and walked the way they had just come, leaving Gabriel and his decision with him. All the way to her apartment, she hoped that she hadn’t but her heart out on the line for nothing.

Just another reason why I wouldn’t choose immortality …

Like any avid reader, I frequent goodreads.com. One of the only authors I follow on Goodreads is Cinda Williams Chima, author of The Heir Trilogy (soon to be a saga or series or whatever more than three books/anything is called) and The Seven Realms series. Anyway, being that I follow her, her activity uploads to my feed. One book she suggested or had read herself was The Taker by Alma Katsu. I thought The Taker was just a single book, but it turns out, it is part of a trilogy. I actually finished reading the second book, The Reckoning, but the third book does not come out until 2014, so says Goodreads.

Anyway, these books follow the lives of a few characters, mainly Luke Findley, Lanore (Lanny) McIlvrae, and Adair (I’m pretty sure his last name was never mentioned. The minor characters consist of Jonathan St. Andrew, Alejandro, Jude, Tilde, and Donatello, who typically goes by Dona.

The books are categorized as historical fiction, more fiction than historical. Historical in the sense that the story, at least in the first book, is chronological, as Lanny tells her story. The second book is set more in the present, but it tends to go back and forth between past and present as the characters, mainly Lanny and Adair recount their past experiences.

As you may have surmised from the title of this post, there is some immortality in this book. All the characters mentioned above are immortal except for Luke. Adair was the very first to become immortal having been fed an elixir of life. As the years have gone by, Adair has “collected” those who he feels will be beneficial in his conquest for power. In acquiring his companions/minions, Adair sought out people who were capable of being ruthless. As far as the audience knows, Tilde killed her husband and children in order to be with another richer man and Alejandro having sacrificed his sister in order to save his own life. I don’t believe Dona’s story has been told.

In this universe, when each person becomes immortal by drinking the elixir, whoever feeds the person the elixir is the only person who can harm the recipient. For example, Adair was the only person who physically harm and kill Lanny, Jude, Alej, Tilde, Dona, and all the others he turned. And Adair was a tyrant. He took pleasure in harming those he so-called for, but Alej, Tilde, and Dona had been with Adair for so long, they seemed to have forgotten any other way of life. Lanny on the other hand, wasn’t going to endure Adair’s tyrannical ship anymore. She launched a plan to imprison Adair since he couldn’t be killed.

Two centuries passed before Adair was released from his prison into modern day 2010, and you could imagine, he was vengeful. Using something similar to an empathy link, Adair finds Jude in modern day Boston, and is eager to find Lanny. However, he has to spend a considerable amount of time getting acquainted to everything that is modern day 21st century: cars, cell phones, computers, etc.

In the meantime, during the two hundred years that Adair is imprisoned and shortly he is freed, Lanny is constantly on the run. Every day she is constantly wary that Adair will be freed from his prison and come after her, and after he is released, she panics and flees her newly comfortable life with Luke. There’s more to that story and the book, but I’m not gonna talk anymore about the plot. Now on to the point of this post:

Even in this reality, immortality still sucks. When you became immortal, you couldn’t starve to death, drown, you didn’t technically need to sleep; you were never sick, couldn’t even feel pain unless inflicted upon you by the person who fed you the elixir. If you were harmed by someone other than your ‘creator’, you healed almost instantaneously  no matter what you infliction may be. (The book didn’t mention things like being blown up or being decapitated.) I think it sucks more than being a vampire or a warlock (Mortal Instruments). At least as a vampire, you can kill yourself: burn up in the daylight, stab yourself with a wooden stake, maybe rip out your own heart. Warlocks and other immortal creatures are killed in the Mortal Instruments series when they’ve gone wayward, but here, once you drink the elixir of life, only one person can kill you, can harm you. That may be a relief, but what would happen if the only person who wanted to kill you was killed by the person who ‘created’ them? For example, Savva was another one of Adair’s minions, but he was released when Adair had no more further use for him. Lanore comes across Savva soon after she imprisoned Adair, and they traveled together throughout developing northern Africa. After Adair is released, Lanny seeks out help from Savva who asks Lanny upon her departure that if she ever has the ill fortune to run into Adair again to ask Adair to end Savva’s life.

Also, in the second book, the reader was able to view the story from Adair’s point-of-view, and he told the story of how he threw a man in a ‘hole’ where no one would ever find him, to be buried alive for the rest of eternity. When I read that, I inwardly cringed. Talk about Hell on earth.

As I mentioned in my previous post about immortality, if it could be a reality, it could be awesome if you made it so. There’s so much you could do and see, so much good that you could offer to the world with acquired knowledge over centuries, but there’s also the fact that everyone you would care for would grow old and pass away. Because honestly, if you truly loved someone, even if you wanted to be with them for all time, subjecting them to the possibility of an eternity of Hell.

Lanny had said something about how the elixir made your body impervious to harm but not your mind.

So once again, if it was ever possible, say no to immortality.

Lovatic.

The other day I was hanging out with a few friends and we were talking about tattoos. I said that I wanted to get another one, but one of my friends didn’t know that I already had one. I have a quote going around my lower calf, and by the title of this post, you could probably guess who said it: Demi Lovato.

The quote says, “Love is louder than the pressure to be perfect,” and if you’re a Demi fan, you know what it means to her and why she said it. For those who aren’t fans, you’re probably more than aware of the fact that Demi was in rehab for some time for mental and emotional struggles. Either during or following her recovery came the quote, which I didn’t get just because Demi said it. I got it as kind of a reminder, not specifically for me, but as a reminder to me to let people know that love is louder.

But I’m straying away from what I really wanted to say … So I have this Demi tattoo. I have two Demi wristbands with her name and ‘Stay Strong’ written in her handwriting, and I have a board devoted to Demi on Pinterest. I have all her CDs & just about every other song she’s done, solo or having been featured, and people don’t seem to understand why I like Demi so much, besides other Lovatics, of course.

So here’s why: 1. She’s gorgeous. After she got out of rehab, people were calling her fat, but OMG. No. She looked healthy and curvy and like a real woman is supposed to. She’s beautiful, but modest about it, and I love that about her.
2. She can sing like nobody’s business. When she first sang “Shadow” on ‘When the Bell Rings’, I said to myself, “That girl is going places.” And look where she is now. I saw her once in concert; she was opening for the Jonas Brothers, and ever since she started touring by herself, I’ve been dying to see a show!
3. I find her simply inspiring. I personally haven’t experienced the same struggles that she has, but the fact that, for someone at such a young age, to openly admit they have a problem and seek help and then speak out about a problem that she knows thousands of girls and young women are struggling with is phenomenal to me. Most of the time, when a celebrity enters rehab, they seem to use the publicity coverage negatively & there’s more than likely a relapse. You never really see any real progress, but with Demi, she overcame her demons and became the epitome of it’s always darkest before the dawn.

While I obviously don’t know Demi, she just seems like a beautiful person inside and out, and I hope that she stays strong and keeps fighting because we don’t have enough positive and empowering female role models in the world. While everyone might not see her that way, she’s definitely something special. 🙂

If you could be immortal, would you? I wouldn’t.

CLOCKWORK PRINCESS SPOILERS ARE CONTAINED IN THIS POST!

(I always start posts and save them to finish later thinking I’m gonna finish them in the next couple days, but no. I started this post on April 1, so when I say a few days ago, I don’t mean end of April . . .)

A few days ago, I finished reading Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare, and oh my gosh, the epilogue about broke my heart into a million and four pieces. Here is an excerpt:

It still seemed incredible to her sometimes that they had managed to grow old together, herself and Will Herondale, whom Gabriel Lightwood had once said would not live to be older than nineteen. They had been good friends with the Lightwoods too, through all those years. Of course Will could hardly not be friends with the man who was married to his sister. Both Cecily and Gabriel had seen Will on the day he died, as had Sophie, though Gideon had himself passed away several years before.
Tessa remembered that day clearly, the day the Silent Brothers had said there was nothing more they could do to keep Will alive. He had been unable to leave their bed by then. Tessa had squared her shoulders and gone to give the news to their family and friends, trying to be as calm for them as she could, though her heart had felt as if were being ripped out of her body.
It had been June, the bright hot summer of 1937, and with the curtains thrown back the bedroom had been full of sunlight, sunlight and her and Will’s children, their grandchildren, their nieces and nephews—Cecy’s blue-eyed boys, tall and handsome, and Gideon and Sophie’s two girls—and those who were as close as family: Charlotte, white-haired and upright, and the Fairchild sons and daughters with their curling red hair like Henry’s had once been.
All day Tessa had set on the bed with Will beside her, leaning on her shoulder. The sight might have been strange to others, a young woman lovingly cradling a man who looked old enough to be her grandfather, her hands looped through his, but to their family it was only familiar—it was only Tessa and Will. And because it was Tessa and Will, the others came and went all day, as Shadowhunters did at a deathbed, telling stories of Will’s life and all the things he and Tessa had done through their long years together.
The children had spoken fondly of the way he had always loved their mother, fiercely and devotedly, the way he had never had eyes for anyone else, and how their parents had set the model for the sort of love they hoped to find in their own lives. They spoke of his regard for books, and how he had taught them all to love them too, to respect the printed page and cherish the stories that those pages held. They spoke of the way he still cursed in Welsh when he dropped something, though he rarely used the language otherwise, and of the face that though his prose was excellent—he had written several histories of the Shadowhunters when he’d retired that had been very well respected—his poetry had always been awful, though that had never stopped him from reciting it.
Their oldest child, James, had spoken laughingly about Will’s unrelenting fear of ducks and his continual battle to keep them out of the pond at the family home in Yorkshire.
Their grandchildren had reminded him of the song about demon pox he had taught them—when they were much too young, Tessa had always thought—and that they had all memorized. They sang it all together and out of tune, scandalizing Sophie.
With tears running down her face, Cecily had reminded him of the moment at her wedding to Gabriel when he had delivered a beautiful speech praising the groom, at the end of which he had announced, “Dear God, I thought she was marrying Gideon. I take it all back,” thus vexing not only Cecily and Gabriel but Sophie as well—and Will, though too tired to laugh, had smiled at his sister and squeezed her hand.
They had all laughed about his habit of taking Tessa on romantic “holidays” to places from Gothic novels, including the hideous moor where someone had died, a drafty castle with a ghost in it, and of course the square in Paris in which he had decided Sydney Carton had been guillotined, where Will had horrified passerby by shouting “I can see the blood on the cobblestones!” in French.
At the end of the day, as the sky had darkened, the family had come around Will’s bed and kissed him each in turn and left one by one, until Will and Tessa were alone together. Tessa had lain down beside him and slid her arm beneath his head, and put her head on his chest, listening to the ever-weakening beat of his heart. And in the shadows they’d whispered, reminding each other of the stories only they knew. Of the girl who had hit over the head with a water jug the boy who had come to rescue her, and how he had fallen in love with her in that instant. Of a ballroom and a balcony and the moon sailing like a ship untethered through the sky. Of the flutter of the wings of a clockwork angel. Of holy water and blood.
Near midnight the door had opened and Jem had come in. Tessa supposed she should have thought of him as Brother Zachariah by then, but neither Will nor Tessa had ever called him that. He had come in like a shadow in his white robes, and Tessa had taken a deep breath when she had seen him, for she had known that his was what Will had been waiting for, and that the hour was now.
He did not come to Will at once, but crossed the room to a rosewood box that sat upon the top of the dresser. They had always kept Jem’s violin for him, as Will had promised. It was kept clean and in order, and the hinges of the box did not creak as Jem opened it and lifted the instrument out. They watched as he rosined the bow with his familiar slim fingers, his pale wrists disappearing down into the paler material of the Brother’s parchment robes.
He lifted the violin to his shoulder then, and raised the bow. And he played.
Zhi yin. Jem had told her once that it meant understanding music, and also a bond that went deeper than friendship. Jem played, and he played the years of Will’s life as he had seen them. He played two little boys in a training room, one showing the other how to throw knives, and he played the ritual of parabatai: the fire and the vows and the burning runes. He played two young men running through the streets of London in the dark, stopping to lean up against a wall and laugh together. He played the day in the library when he and Will had jested with Tessa about ducks, and he played the train to Yorkshire on which Jem had said that parabatai were meant to love each other as they loved their own souls. He played that love, and he played their love for Tessa, and her for them, and he played Will saying, In your eyes I have always found grace. He played the too few times he had seen them since he had joined the Brotherhood—the brief meetings at the Institute; the time when Will had been bitten by a Shax demon and nearly died, and Jem had come from the Silent City and sat with him all night, risking discovery and punishment. And he played the birth of their first son, and the protection ceremony that had been carried out on the child in the Silent City. Will would have no other Silent Brother but Jem perform it. And Jem played the way he had covered his scarred face with his hands and turned away when he’d found out the child’s name was James.
He played of love and loss and years of silence, words unsaid and vows unspoken, and all the spaces between his heart and theirs; and when he was done, and he set his violin back in its box, Will’s eyes were closed, but Tessa’s were full of tears. Jem set down his bow, and came toward the bed, drawing back his hood, so she could see his closed eyes and his scarred face. And he had sat down beside them on the bed, and taken Will’s hand, the one that Tessa was not holding, and both Will and Tessa had heard Jem’s voice in their minds.
I take your hand, brother, so that you may go in peace.
Will had opened the blue eyes that had never lost their color over all the passing years, and looked at Jem and then Tessa, and smiled, and died, with Tessa’s head on his shoulder and his hand in Jem’s.
It never stopped hurting, remembering when Will had died. After he was gone, Tessa had fled. Her children were grown, had children of their own; she told herself they did not need her and hid in the back of her mind the thought that haunted her: She could not bear to remain and watch them grow older than she was. It had been one thing to survive the death of her husband. To survive the death of her children—she could not sit by and watch it. It would happen, must happen, but she would not be there.
. . .
In Paris she found Magnus, who was living in a garret apartment and painting, an occupation for which he had no aptitude whatsoever. He let her sleep on a mattress by the window, and in the night, when she woke up screaming for Will, he came and put arms around her, smelling of turpentine.
“The first one is always the hardest,” he said.
“The first?”
“The first one you love who dies,” he said. “It gets easier, after.”
. . .
Will. For a moment her heart hesitated. She remembered when Will had died, her agony, the long nights alone, reaching across the bed every morning when she woke up, for years expecting to find him there, and only slowly growing accustomed to the fact that that side of the bed would always be empty. The moments when she had found something funny and turned to share the joke with him, only to be shocked anew that he was not there. The worse moments, when, sitting alone at breakfast, she had realized that she had forgotten the precise blue of his eyes or the depth of his laugh; that, like the sound of Jem’s violin music, they had faded into the distance where memories are silent.
Jem was mortal now. He would grow old like Will, and like Will he would die, and she did not know if she could bear it again.
And yet.
Most people are lucky to have even on great love in their life. You have found two.
Suddenly her feet were moving, almost without her volition. She was darting into the crowed, pushing past strangers, gasping out apologies as she nearly tripped over the feet of passerby or knocked into them with her elbows. She didn’t care. She was running flat out across the bridge, skidding to a halt at the very end of it, where a series of narrow stone steps led down to the water of the Thames.
She took them two at a time, almost slipping on the damp stone. At the bottom of the steps was a small cement dock, ringed around with a metal railing. The river was high and splashed up between the gaps in the metal, filling the small space with the smell of river water.
Jem stood at the railing, looking out at the water. His hands were jammed tightly into his pockets, his shoulders hunched as if against a strong wind. He was staring ahead almost blindly, and with such a fixed intent that he didn’t seem to hear her as she came up behind him. She caught at his sleeve, swinging him around to face her.
“What,” she said breathlessly. “What were you trying to ask me, Jem?”
His eyes widened. His cheeks were flushed, whether from running or the cold air, she wasn’t sure. He looked at her as if she were some bizarre plant that had sprung up on the spot, astonishing him. “Tessa—you followed me?”
“Of course I followed you. You ran off in the middle of a sentence!”
“It wasn’t a very good sentence.” He looked down at the ground, and then up at her again, a smile, as familiar as her own memories, tugging at the corner of his mouth. It came back to her then, a memory lost but not forgotten: Jem’s smile had always been like sunlight. “I was never the one who was good with words,” he said. “If I had my violin, I would be able to play you what I wanted to say.”
“Just try.”
. . .
“To be a Silent Brother,” he said, “it is to see everything and nothing all at once. I could see the great map of life, spread out before me. I could see the currents of the world. And human life began to seem a sort of passion play, acted at a distance. When they took the runes from me, when the mantle of the Brotherhood was removed, it was as if I had awoken from a long dream, or as if a shield of glass around me had shattered. I felt everything, all at once, rushing in upon me. All the humanity the Brotherhood’s spells has taken from me. That I had so much humanity to return to me . . . That is because of you. If I had not had you, Tessa, if I had not had these yearly meetings as my anchor and my guide, I do not know if I could have come back.”
There was light in his dark eyes now, and her heart soared in her chest. She had only ever loved two men in her life, and she had never thought to see either of their faces again. “But you have,” she whispered. “And it is a miracle. And you remember what I once told you about miracles.”
He smiled again at that. “’One does not question miracles, or complain that they are not constructed perfectly to one’s liking.’ I suppose that is true. I wish I could have come back to you earlier. I wish I were the same boy I was when you loved me once. I fear that the years have changed me into someone else.”
Tessa searched his face with her eyes. In the distance she could hear the sound of traffic passing, but here, by the river’s edge, she could almost imagine that she was a girl again, and the air full of fog and smoke, the rattling sound of the railway in the distance . . . “They have changed me, too,” she said. “I have been a mother and a grandmother, and I have seen those I love die, and seen others be born. You speak of the currents of the world. I have seen them too. If I were still the same girl I was when you knew me first, I would not have been able to speak my heart as freely to you as I just have. I would not be able to ask you what I am about to ask you now.”
He brought his hand up and cupped her cheek. She could see the hope in his expression, slowly dawning. “And what is that?”
“Come with me,” she said. “Stay with me. Be with me. See everything with me. I have traveled the world and seen so much, but there is so much more, and no one I would rather see it with than you. I would go everywhere and anywhere with you, Jem Carstairs.”
His thumb slid along the arch of her cheekbone. She shivered. It had been so long since someone had looked at her like that, as if she were the world’s greatest marvel, and she knew was looking at him like that too. “It seems unreal,” he said huskily. “I have loved you for so long. How can this be true?”
“It is one of the great truth of my life,” Tessa said. “Will you come with me? For I cannot wait to share the world with, Jem. There is so much to see.”
She was not sure who reached for who first, only that a moment later she was in his arms and he was whispering, “Yes, of course, yes,” against her hair. He sought her mouth tentatively—she could feel his gentle tension, the weight of so many years between their last kiss and this. She reached up, curling her hand around the back of his neck, drawing him down, whispering “Bie zhao ji.” Don’t worry, don’t worry. She kissed his cheek, the edge of his mouth, and finally his mouth, the pressure of his lips on hers intense and glorious, and Oh, the beat of his heart, the taste of his mouth, the rhythm of his breath. Her senses blurred with memory: how then he had once been, the feeling of his shoulder blades as sharp as knives beneath the fine linen shirts he had once worn. Now she could feel strong, solid muscle when she held him, the thrum of life through his body where it pressed against hers, the soft cotton of his jumper gripped between her fingers.
Tessa was aware that above their small embankment people were sill walking along Blackfriars Bridge, that the traffic was still passing, and that passerby were probably staring, but she didn’t care; after enough years you learned what was important and what wasn’t  And this was important: Jem, the speed and stutter of his heart, the grace of his gentle hands sliding to cup her face, his lips soft against hers as he traced the shape of her mouth with his. The warm solid definitive realness of him. For the first time in many long years she felt her heart open, and knew love as more than a memory.

As I was reading this, the feelings that overwhelmed me where more than just the fact that one of my favorites series has ended. It was Cassandra Clare writing so beautifully and vividly that it was like physically being there at Will’s deathbed and feeling the same heartbreaking emotions that Tessa was experiencing . . .

Back to what I was initially going for: today, books and movies and TV shows are rampant with vampires, wizards, and werewolves and this idea that living forever is desirable. And undeniably, it’s kind of a cool idea. Just imagine being alive the past 500 years: all the development and history and knowledge you would develop. Granted, there’s been much pain and loss and bloodshed that you would probably experience, but there’s a price to pay for everything, right?

I don’t want to stray too far, but I’m thinking of The Vampire Diaries and the original family. Rebecca is tired of living forever. Elijah doesn’t seem to have any qualms about it. He seems to look more to the future. And Klaus seems to be more about the here and now . . . But Tessa. It’s just like: there you are, you have had the good fortune to find the love of your life knowing that you get to spend every day together, but he is going to die. Not just him, but that you’re going to outlive your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, and so on and so forth.

For those of you who do or don’t know the series, warlocks are immortal but infertile, and Tessa is kind of a warlock but not really. I’m not going in to detail, but an immortal, she’s had the opportunity to not face living life alone. Not only did she have Will as one of her great loves, but now she has Jem for the rest of his life. So, you know, Tessa has been “blessed” to find great loves more than once, but is it really worth it? Is the exhilarating rush of being able to find new love worth the pain of losing an old one? Would it be better to be immortal and infertile or immortal and be able to have children knowing that one day they’re going to pass and you’re not? At at least you don’t have to spend all your days alone.

Again, immortality seems to have its perks. Depending on your world view, imagine the change that you could make, how many lives you could touch? Not saying that you have to become Mother Teresa, but you could work towards a better tomorrow. Or you could leave a path of death and destruction. Your choice . . . Dying is not something I like to think about, but I think living forever would be a much worse fate, regardless of being a vampire, warlock, or whatever.

(Percy Jackson &) The Lightning Thief

I recently just finished reading The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, and for a book written primarily for middle-school aged boys, I can honestly say, that as twenty-year-old female, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

So, here’s the thing: As I know I have mentioned before, I’m the kind of girl who always, always, ALWAYS reads a book before I see the movie, but I broke my rule, not intentionally though. While I was home over Christmas break, Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief (the movie) premiered on Cartoon Network. I didn’t plan on watching it, but 1. I only have basic cable in my room; 2. Not much else was on; and 3. Logan Lerman is SUCH a cutie! But that’s not the point. I watched the movie before reading the book, but that’s because I wasn’t, at that time, actually planning on reading the books. It was just by chance that I went into the local bookstore, and they had the whole PJ series. (I ended up getting the first three books for $5.83 – used, of course).

What’s the verdict?
Having seen the movie first (and I guess I should say that I didn’t see the whole movie), I liked it. I wasn’t critical of it because I didn’t know what to look for or what shouldn’t have been there, so while the movie left much out and changed some things around, I think it got the story across pretty well:
Percy goes to the museum with his wheelchaired god of a teacher. Grover is there. Mrs. Dodds attacked him. (I watched the trailer and that thing was FREAKY.) Idk how he ends up at Half-Blood Hill/Camp Half-Blood, but he got there. Annabeth was a brunette (though she’ll be blond in The Sea of Monsters, and I guess I should mention that all the actors were older). There was the whole capture the flag game, but I’m pretty sure no Clarisse (though, she’ll be in the sequel but not quite as scary). I believe Ares was left out of the entire plot, and when reading the book, I almost thought that the whole Luke thing (with him stealing the bolt) wasn’t even in the book (but you’ve gotta read to the very end).

Some distinct differences that I noticed:
1. Uma Thurman playing Medusa. The book described her as more of a middle eastern looking woman, which is not UT. At all. Idk how or even if Medusa was physically described pre-Gorgon, and I can’t imagine what she may have looked like.

2. The kids had to find the magic transportation pearls instead of just getting them from the sea lady/naiad messenger woman.

3. The whole hydra at Athena’s temple thing (I think . . . it may have been elsewhere). I don’t really know what that was all about. I know the magic pearl was in Athena’s headband, but the hydra was just . . . And Percy used the shoes Luke gave him to get the pearl, but they didn’t have the same purpose as in the book because, boom: no mention of Kronos at all. No Tartarus either, but the rising of Kronos is apparently the main focus of the next movie (and the whole book series).

I may be not remembering things correctly, but it hasn’t been that long since I’ve seen the movie . . .

4. The fight between Luke and Percy on the Empire State Building was kinda corny. The graphics weren’t that great either.

5. Kevin McKidd as Poseidon? No lie, I wasn’t upset because K. McKidd is one sexy mother hubbard, but that didn’t make much sense to me. Sean Bean as Zeus . . . The gods were all portrayed in the movie as youngish–well maybe more middle-aged–but I imagined Zeus more like a young version of President Snow, yes from The Hunger Games (Donald Sutherland). However, more times than not, when I imagine a character in my head, I’m usually wrong. However, when Percy does go to Olympus in the movie, all the gods are there, but only Zeus and Poseidon are there in the book. And they were all wearing togas (way to be stereotypical) instead of Zeus being dressed like the CEO of some Fortune 500 company and Poseidon dressed like a fisherman.

But all-in-all, the movie was enjoyable– pre-reading the book. I’ll probably go see The Sea of Monsters if I have the chance. I enjoyed the book. I can’t wait to dive into the next one, but I don’t know if I’ll watch a movie before reading the book again. There were a lot of things that were spoiled, but there was also a lot that the movie didn’t portray which made reading the book still somewhat of an adventure. So, if you’re looking for a quick read and like Greek mythology, I give two thumbs up!

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“Alright, Gabe, you’re up. What’ll it be’ truth or dare?”
” Truth.”
Melanie steepled her fingers over her mouth looking contemplative. “Interesting … What do we all wanna know about Gabriel?”
“I’m not that interesting of a person,” Gabe said in response.
“We’ll be the judge of that, thank you very much! Guys! I need ideas!”
Tabby leaned over and whispered in Melanie’s ear. Melanie shook her head.
“No. Not juicy enough.”
Melanie sat thinking for a few moments and was just about to ask Gabriel a question when her phone buzzed. She quickly scanned the text she’d just received and a mischievous grin spread across her face. She looked across the room at Brea and said, “That’s why you’re my best friend.”
Brea shook her head and pointed to Renee. “It actually wasn’t my idea.”
Melanie shrugged and said, “Well, I guess I found a new best friend.”
Brea scoffed while Renee smiled and clapped. Melanie threw her hand and said, “You’ll get over it,” before turning back to Gabriel.
“So Gabe, Melanie started.
“Yes . . . ” he said hesitantly.
“What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done or thought about doing with Chachi?”
Caught off guard, Gabriel’s faced scrunched up in confusion. He shook his head and asked, “What?”
“Gabe,” Chachi started, “You don’t have to–”
“Shut up, Chach! Answer the question, Gabe.” Melanie smiled.
Arms crossed across her chest looking thoroughly pissed, “Yeah, answer the question, Gabe,” Leah said.
Gabriel shook his head, “Nothing. I mean, I gave her a kiss on the forehead once, but I’d highly call that naughty or scandalous.”
“Seriously? You’ve never thought about kissing her or seeing her naked?” Melanie pushed.
“Technically, that’s three questions, but no. Chachi’s my best friend. Why does there have to be more to our story?”
“I guess there doesn’t have to be, but it would have made for one hell of story if there was.”
“Whatever,” Gabriel said. “I’m officially out of this game.” He got up and walked into the kitchen.
“Boo! You’re no fun!” Melanie called after him.
Leah got up to follow, but Chachi beat her to it.
“Let me talk to him first, Leah. I’m sorry for my friends’ lack of indiscretion.” Chachi shot a death glare at Melanie. Leah sat back down as Chachi turned toward the kitchen.
When she walked in, Gabriel had just finished downing a shot of Jim Beam and was in the process of pouring another.
“Whoa,” Chachi said. “Did they shake up you up that badly?”
Gabriel downed his second shot. “No.”
“Then what was that for?”
“Besides the fact that Leah’s gonna tear me a new one when we leave here for even hesitating to answer that question? I was hoping the shot would help assuage my somewhat guilty conscious.”
Chachi lifted an eyebrow. “About what?”
Gabriel looked into Chachi’s eyes hoping to say what his mouth couldn’t.
“About the lie I told in there,” he whispered.
“Which one?” Chachi asked as she took a step closer to him even though she was pretty sure she already knew the answer to her question.
His eyes continued to search hers. He shook his head slightly. Chachi averted her eyes.
“If it makes you feel any better, I’ve thought about us . . . about that . . . I mean, how could I not? You’re funny and sweet and I can talk to you about anything, and God! You’re gorgeous.”
“But you’re not dating anyone, Chach.”
Looking back up at Gabriel, Chachi started, “But I know that you are; that’s gotta be just as bad.” She dropped her eyes again, “I keep thinking that if you kissed me, you’d realize . . .”
Gabriel took a step closer; he placed his finger under Chachi’s chin and gently lifted her face. He ducked his head to look into her eyes. Their faces were inches apart.
“Realize what?”
She searched his eyes, his face, for any indication that what she was about to say could result in anything other than what she had wanted for so long. His full attention was on her, and there was something about the way he was looking at her that gave her the courage to say what she was thinking. She dropped her eyes to his lips.
“I guess you’ll just have to kiss me to fi–”
Before she could finish her statement, his mouth was covering hers. One hand was in her hair, the other wrapped around her waist pulling her as close as he possible could. Chachi could feel his tongue slip into her mouth; she met his movements with her own, grabbing fists of his shirt. An indiscernible sound escaped from his throat before he pulled back, both arms wrapping around her, his breath labored; he rested his forehead against hers. He leaned in to give her another lingering kiss before he said, “Dear Lord.”