Jessica Darling Books

Sloppy Firsts
Second Helpings
Charmed Thirds
Fourth Comings
Perfect Fifths

Megan McCafferty

I love when I reach Marcus on the phone and as he says hello, I can hear the music he’s listening to in the background. That music is the sound of him without me. How he surrounds himself when I’m not there, which is almost all the time.

„We’re all people“, he said simply. „It doesn’t matter if you’re two, thirty-two, or ninety-two. Everyone wants to be treated with respect. Everyone wants to feel like they matter in this world.“

I knew, deep down, that love, though a beautiful beginning, isn’t enough. It’s the practice of honoring and caring for another that’s noble, not the emotion of love itself. The emotion is the easy part.

„Whaddaya want?“ growled Viola, our small, surly, octogenarian waitress.
What did I want? A job. A clue. A love.
„Two coffees,“ Len answered for me.
Coffee would do for now, I guess.

„Jessica…“ The sound of his voice saying my name soothed me, and it’s all I wanted to hear him say. Just my name, over and over and over again in his buttery baritone. I wanted my name to be his mantra, the word he meditated on, his tool for finding calm in the world.
But he kept on talking.

Most of my friends from Columbia are going on to get advanced degrees. And why not? A Ph.D. is the new M.A., a master’s is the new bachelor’s, a B.A. is the new high school diploma, and a high school diploma is the new smiley-face sticker on your first-grade spelling test.

Don’t talk to strangers. Don’t do drugs. Don’t smoke. Don’t drink and drive. Don’t have sex. Wear a condom. Wear sunblock. Wear a seat belt. Wear a helmet. If you see something, say something. Just say no. Stop, drop, and roll. Stop, look, and listen. Look both ways before you cross the street…

Safety is an illusion. Bad things can happen to anyone at any time, whether you follow the rules or not. You can check left, check right, check left again before you step off the curb and into the crosswalk, but that won’t stop an anonymous asshole in his shitty pickup from putting you in intensive care…

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