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- I meet West at a concert, and he decides we should be boyfriends for the night.
- We kiss on the subway.
- In the morning, he begs me to see him again.
- I drive out to his place in Jersey, where we wear fur hats in his hot tub during a blizzard, drinking nonalcoholic mint juleps, no parents in sight.
- We catch snowflakes on our tongues.
- He recites poetry in public.
Is this real life?
But as I see West more and more, the cracks begin to show. Maybe my manic pixie dream boy isn’t what he seems. Maybe manic pixie dream boys are too weird for the real world, anyway. Maybe my high school would eat him alive. Maybe West is the weird kid.
Maybe I don’t want to be the weird kid with him.
But what if one person’s weird is another person’s beautiful?
From internationally best selling author Annabeth Chatwin comes a book about wild love slamming against hard reality, and choices we make to believe in each other, despite stories the world may want to tell us.
Price: 1.99, 7.59
Length: 111 pages, print
#1 New Release in:
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Check out my review HERE
Grab your copy here: Amazon
I woke to a gray Jersey dawn. West had curled into me, his back against my chest, his head on my arm. I held his belly. We breathed in sync. His hair smelled even more minty than the rest of him. I held him in the silent house. This was what it meant to wake up with someone else. I had never done it before, and I imagined a lifetime of it stretching before me, not necessarily with West, but West would always be the first person I’d have come awake holding in my arms. I closed my eyes and tried to memorize the moment: the soft down mattress and pillows and comforter making us a warm, swaddling nest, the slanted grayish light that promised more snow, West’s solidity in my arms, his soft, vulnerable belly under my palm, my pinkie against his waistband.
He suddenly turned to me. “Hi,” he said softly, as if the snow muffled his voice.
“Hi,” I said, just as softly.
“What were you thinking about?” he asked.
“You woke up before me. What were you thinking about?”
That otherworldly magic West carried with him made me tell the truth. “I was thinking how it was the very first time I’d woken up holding someone,” I said. “And that there would be so many more times in my life that it would happen, I mean, if it were you or not you or whatever, but you, on this morning, that would always be the first.” I blushed. “I know. That’s weird.”
He smiled and touched my face. “That makes me really happy, Malcolm.”
“Because you’ll always remember it. When someone asks, who did you first wake up next to? You’ll say, West Cassidy. And you’ll think of this bed and this morning. And it makes everything special.”
I shook my head with a small smile. “You want everything to be special, West.”
He kissed my forehead. “Because it is, if you look at it the right way, Malcolm. Like watch.” He got up and yanked on his plaid pajama pants, which were falling down his butt. He pulled open a dresser drawer and took out two folded sets of clothes, a navy one and a burgundy one. “Pick a set,” he said, then began rooting through his walk-in closet. After I had finished buttoning up a maroon pajama set, he emerged with a red silk robe, a blue silk robe, and two pairs of matching silk slippers.
“Oh my gosh, you have got to be kidding me,” I said.
“We are fabulous,” West informed me. “Put it all on, and we are having waffles.”
Downstairs, we sipped coffee from tiny espresso cups and devoured plate after plate of Eggo waffles from what looked like very expensive china. “One of these things is not like the other,” I said.
“Shut up and eat your toaster waffles,” West ordered. He pointed a fork at me. “There are the finer things in life and there are the finer things in life. Toaster pastries are one of the finest things in life.”
I cracked up.
“Now, it’s time to feed the birds,” he announced. “Rinse your plate and put it in the sink.” We walked to his back door.
“Aren’t we going to change clothes?” I asked.
“We’re wearing slippers.” West snorted. “And it’s fake silk. Don’t worry, they won’t get ruined.” He handed me a cup of birdseed, and we walked through the yard. He directed me where to sprinkle it. I obeyed, shaking my head. Then we went back inside. I thought we’d watch a movie or something, but he grabbed a fuzzy blanket. “Now we go watch,” he said, and pulled me back outside.
An awning had kept a living-room type area snow-free. West wrapped us in his fuzzy blanket. “You have to be patient,” he said in a scolding tone, as if I’d already begun squirming. “They’ll come.”
And they did: cardinals began landing, bright red drops against the snow, and little drab sparrows. Then more and more birds I couldn’t name, but West could, and he pointed them out. “That’s a chickadee,” he said. “That’s a tufted titmouse. That’s a junco. That’s a goldfinch and that’s a house finch.” He recited their names like a child pointing to letters, as if he’d been waiting forever for someone to share them with. My hand crept into his. Under that blanket, in that cold, wearing a silk robe and old man pajamas, I cuddled next to West. He’d picked me to be his someone, and I was so grateful.
Annabeth has been writing since she could hold a pencil. An English major with an MFA in fiction, she turned to young adult literature after a long time in the freelancing (nonfiction) world. She has been published in Time, The Washington Post, and on The Huffington Post, and appeared numerous times as a guest on both CNN and NPR.
Annabeth has three sons, three dogs, and one very patient husband.
If you are in need of help, please contact the Trevor Project.
Annabeth is always available for free mom hugs at email@example.com.