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452 pages, Hardcover
First published December 8, 2009
“What if the person you were meant to be with could never be yours?”
“The only way to survive eternity is to be able to appreciate each moment.”
“The tender pressure of his lips soothed her, like a warm drink in the dead of the winter, when every part of her felt so cold.”
“You're still here," he whispered.
"They couldn't drag me away.”
But Luce's body got the better of her mind when she caught another glimpse of Daniel. His back was to her and he was standing in a corner picking out a jump rope from a tangled pile. She watched as he selected a thin navy rope with wooden handles, then moved to an open space in the center of the room. His golden skin was almost radiant, and every move he made, whether he was rolling out his long neck in a stretch or bending over to scratch his sculpted knee, had Luce completely rapt. She stood pressed against the doorway, unaware that her teeth were chattering and her towel was soaked.
When he brought the rope behind his ankles just before he began to jump, Luce was slammed with a wave of deja vu. It wasn't exactly that she felt like she'd seen Daniel jump rope before, but more that the stance he took seemed entirely familiar. He stood with his feet hip-width apart, unlocked his knees, and pressed his shoulders down as he filled his chest with air. Luce could almost have drawn it.
It was only when Daniel began twirling the rope that Luce snapped out of that trance... and right into another. Never in her life had she seen anyone move like him. It was almost like Daniel was flying. The rope whipped up and over his tall frame so quickly that it disappeared, and his feet- his graceful, narrow feet- were they even touching the ground? He was moving so swiftly, even he must not have been counting.
"You think you're so smart? I spent three years on a full academic scholarship at the best college-prep school in the country. And when they kicked me out, I had to petition- petition!- to keep them from wiping my four-point-oh transcript."
Daniel moved away, but Luce pursued him, taking a step forward for every wide-eyed step he took back. Probably freaking him out, but so what? He'd been asking for it every time he condescended to her.
"I know Latin and French, and in middle school, I won the science fair three times in a row."
She had backed him up against the railing of the boardwalk and was trying to restrain herself from poking him in the chest with her finger. She wasn't finished. "I also do the Sunday crossword puzzle, sometimes in under an hour. I have an unerringly good sense of direction... though not always when it comes to guys."
She swallowed and took a moment to catch her breath.
"And someday, I'm going to be a psychiatrist who actually listens to her patients and helps people. Okay? So don't keep talking to me like I'm stupid and don't tell me I don't understand just because I can't decode your erratic, flaky, hot-one-minute-cold-the-next, frankly" - she looked up at him, letting out her breath - "really hurtful behavior." She brushed a tear away, angry with herself for getting so worked up.
"Shut up," Daniel said, but he said it so softly and so tenderly that Luce surprised both of them by obeying.
But. Luce was proving day after day that- especially when it came to Daniel- she was incapable of doing anything that fell under the category of "normal" or "smart".