Melissa Jensen Quotes
“Alex was right in front of the mantel now, bent forward, his nose mere inches from a picture of me.
"Oh,God. Don't look at that!"
It was from the year-end recital of my one and only year of ballet class. I was six: twig legs, a huge gap where my two front teeth had recently been, and a bumblebee costume. Nonna had done her best, but there was only so much she could do with yellow and black spandex and a bee butt. Dad had found one of those headbands with springy antennai attached. I'd loved the antennae. The more enthusiastic my jetes, the more they bounced. Of course, I'd also jeted my flat-chested little self out of the top of my costume so many times that, during the actual recital itself,I'd barely moved at all, victim to the overwhelming modesty of the six-year-old. Now, looking at the little girl I'd been, I wished someone had told her not to worry so much, that within a year, that smooth, skinny, little bare shoulder would have turned into the bane of her existence. That she was absolutely perfect.
"Nice stripes," Alex said casually, straightening up.
That stung. It should't have-it was just a photo-but it did. I don't know what I'd expected him to say about the picture. It wasn't that. But then, I didn't expect the wide grin that spread across his face when he got a good look at mine, either.
"Those," he announced, pointing to a photo of my mulleted dad leaning against the painted hood of his Mustang "are nice stripes. That-" he pointed to the me-bee- "Is seriously cute."
"You're insane," I muttered, insanely pleased.
"Yeah,well, tell me something I don't know." He took the bottle and plate from me. "I like knowing you have a little vanity in there somewhere." He stood, hands full, looking expectant and completely beautiful.
The reality of the situation hadn't really been all that real before. Now, as I started up the stairs to my bedroom, Alex Bainbridge in tow, it hit me. I was leading a boy, this boy, into my very personal space.
Then he started singing.
"You're so vain, I bet you think this song is about you. You're sooo vain....!" He had a pretty good voice. It was a truly excellent AM radio song.
And just like that, I was officially In Deep”
“How did you find me?" I asked.
"Easy.I looked in the school directory and called Frankie Hobbes this morning."
"He was okay, only called me 'Dickhead' twice."
I winced. "Sorry."
"Not a problem. From his viewpoint I deserve it." He shrugged. "He'll come around. We'll be down to one negative nickname per conversation by summer.”
“Well, good night," he said cheerfully. "Thanks for dinner."
"Oh. Right." I took a half step back toward the house. "You're welcome."
"You've gotta be kidding."
PECo hadn't some yet, so it was pretty dark where we were standing. I don't know how his hand found mine so fast, but one second I was thinking about how much I didn't want to say good night, and the next I was up against his chest, standing on my toes with my feet between his.
"Is this okay?" he asked, his breath chocolaty and warm against my forehead.
"Yeah," I answered, my own breath coming in quick little jumps. "Yeah."
"Good.I have something I have to tell you."
"I hate that Klimt painting," he said. "I really hate it."
Then he was folding me into his coat and his face was right above mine, and there was only one kiss that mattered.”
“From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Date: December 19, 6:54 p.m.
Subject: Three Things
1. Truth: I'm terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including Ferris wheels, rusty nails, being alone, and being with someone.
2. Truth: I'm working on that.
3. Dare: Take a chance on me, Alex Bainbridge. Qu'ieu sui precieuse, leu lo sai."”
“I like your hair," he said quietly, "but I think you'd look good whatever you did with it."
Here's the thing.He looked like he meant it, and like it had been the most natural thing in the world to say. I blinked at him.
"Okay," I said. "You want to know something about me that I don't really want to tell you? How about this. I dont get it.This.I hate that I don't. I wish I were the kind of girl who took guys like you as my sovereign right in life. But I don't."
"Yeah,I've sorta figured that out,too." He let go of my hair and put his hand on my waist, so his thumb was against my skin. I shivered. "Here's my first reveal for the night. One day, not so long ago, I'm just sitting in the dining room, digesting, minding my own business-literally. Trying to decide whether the second hamburger had been such a good idea and whether to break up with my girlfriend of a year and a half. Then I try to stand up, and suddenly there's this really pretty girl doubled over and looking at my book like it was covered with crap-"
"Yeah.You were. So there you were, with that amazing face and a yard of hair that smelled like flowers, and all this stuff drawn on your jeans. I really liked that."
"You liked my jeans."
"Among other things.But, jeez, Ella. After that, if you weren't making me feel like I had the IQ of a stone, your friends were looking at me like I'd crawled out from under one. I won't even go into what you obviously think of my friends."
"Chase Vere is a reptile.”
“Would you like to dance?"
I knew I had frosting on my nose.
Alex leaned over and wuped it off with his thumb. "Well?"
I could only nod. I had a full mouth, too. I stood up, swallowed, and accepted the napkin he was holding. "You're here."
"I'm here," he agreed, like it hadn't been a ridiculous thing to say. "I am crashing your sister's wedding. Hope she won't mind."
"She won't mind."
He was wearing a tux. A real tux, complete with bow tie and silk lapels. I stroked one. "I'm guessing this isn't a rental."
He squirmed a little. "No, it's mine. Nice dress."
I looked down at the snug purple monstrosity my sister had chosen. At least it had a mandarin collar and some sleeves. "It's a cheongsam," she'd announced proudly. "It's Eggplant Ho Lee Mess" was Frankie's take. My pear-shaped cousin Vanessa got strapless. Now she looked like an eggplant.
"You look beautiful," Alex said, but the corner of his mouth was twitching.
"Well,you look like...like..." I sighed. "Okay, you look really really good." Then, again, "You're here."
"I missed you," he said simply.
"It's only been four days."
"A very,very long four days. But your e-mail helped." He reached for my hand. "Now,are we dancing or not?"
We did, and it wasn't as complicated as I'd thought it might be. I stood on my toes, he bent down a little, and we fit together pretty well. The song ended way too soon.
"So," Alex said.
"We can stay here if you want to...or if you have to. But I have another suggestion. Let's go watch the sun rise."
It sounded like a good idea to me. Except... "It's ten o'clock. And it's freezing out there."
"Trust me," he said.
“Whatever you want," he said. "Will you please come here now?"
I slipped a piece of protective tissue over my drawing and flipped the book closed. A piece of blue scratch paper slid out, the line I'd copied from Edward;s poetry book. "Hey. Translate for me, Monsieur Bainbridge."
I set the sketchbook on my stool and joined him on the chaise. He tugged me onto his lap and read over his head. "'Qu'ieu sui avinen, leu lo sai.' 'That I am handsome, I know."
"Very true." He grinned. "The translation. That's what it says. Old-fashionedly."
I thought of Edward's notation on the page, the reminder to read the poem to Diana in bed, and rolled my eyes. You're so vain.I bet you think this song is about you..."Boy and their egos."
Alex cupped my face in his hands. "Que tu est belle, tu le sais."
"Oh,I am not-"
"Shh," he shushed me, and leaned in.
The first bell came way too soon. I reluctantly loosened my grip on his shirt and ran my hands over my hair. He prompty thrust both hands in and messed it up again. "Stop," I scolded, but without much force.
"I have physics," he told me. "We're studying weak interaction."
I sandwiched his open hand between mine. "You know absolutely nothing about that."
"Don't be so quick to accept the obvious," he mock-scolded me. "Weak interaction can actually change the flavor of quarks."
The flavor of quirks, I thought, and vaguely remembered something about being charmed. I'd sat through a term of introductory physics before switching to basic biology. I'd forgotten most of that as soon as I'd been tested on it,too.
"I gotta go." Alex pushed me to my feet and followed. "Last person to get to class always gets the first question, and I didn't do the reading."
"Go," I told him. "I have history. By definition, we get to history late."
"Ha-ha. I'll talk to you later." He kissed me again, then walked out, closing the door quietly behind him.”
“It was Day Three, Freshman Year, and I was a little bit lost in the school library,looking for a bathroom that wasn't full of blindingly shiny sophomores checking their lip gloss.
Day Three.Already pretty clear on the fact that I would be using secondary bathrooms for at least the next three years,until being a senior could pass for confidence.For the moment, I knew no one,and was too shy to talk to anyone. So that first sight of Edward: pale hair that looked like he'd just run his hands through it, paint-smeared white shirt,a half smile that was half wicked,and I was hooked.
Since, "Hi,I'm Ella.You look like someone I'd like to spend the rest of my life with," would have been totally insane, I opted for sitting quietly and staring.Until the bell rang and I had to rush to French class,completely forgetting to pee.
Edward Willing.Once I knew his name, the rest was easy.After all,we're living in the age of information. Wikipedia, iPhones, 4G ntworks, social networking that you can do from a thousand miles away.The upshot being that at any given time over the next two years, I could sit twenty feet from him in the library, not saying a word, and learn a lot about him.ENough, anyway, for me to become completely convinced that the Love at First Sight hadn't been a fluke.
It's pretty simple.Edward matched four and a half of my If My Prince Does, In Fact, Come Someday,It Would Be Great If He Could Meet These Five Criteria.
1. Interested in art. For me, it's charcoal. For Edward, oil paint and bronze. That's almost enough right there. Nice lips + artist= Ella's prince.
2. Not afraid of love. He wrote, "Love is one of two things worth dying for.I have yet to decide on the second."
3.Or of telling the truth. "How can I believe that other people say if I lie to them?"
4.Hot. Why not?I can dream.
5.Daring. Mountain climbing, cliff dying, defying the parents. Him, not me. I'm terrified of an embarrassing number of things, including heights, convertibles, moths, and those comedians everyone loves who stand onstage and yell insults at the audience.
5, subsection a. Daring enough to take a chance on me.Of course, in the end, that No. 5a is the biggie. And the problem. No matter how muuch I worshipped him,no matter how good a pair we might have been,it was never, ever going to happen. To be fair to Edward,it's not like he was given an opportunity to get to know me. I'm not stupid.I know there are a few basic truths when it comes to boys and me.
Truth: You have to talk to a boy-really talk,if you want him to see past the fact that you're not beautiful.
Truth: I'm not beautiful. Or much of a conversationalist.
Truth: I'm not entirely sure that the stuff behind the not-beautiful is going to be all that alluring, either.
And one written-in-stone, heartbreaking truth about this guy.
Truth:Edward Willing died in 1916.”
“He sighed again, but I couldn't see the fate of his dolphin logo person. I was completely fixated on his eyes. They're a pretty amazing combination of green and bronze. "I don't know what's going on, but it's weird, and it shouldn't be. I'm a decent guy."
"Of course you are." I sighed. And caved. Apparently, my Phillite defenses were worthless around this particular specimen, no matter that he couldn't seem to make up his mind whether I was worth noticing or not.
Truth: Yes,I am that naive.
"Good.So.Friday after school. We can meet down here."
I could just see Amanda's face when she caught us on our way into the dark depths of the school. "No."
"Do you make everything this complicated?" he asked. "No. Don't answer that. Would you come to my house?"
That sounded doable.If we were at his place, I could leave whenever I wanted. "okay."
As I watched, he did a slo-mo, surprisingly graceful flop onto the floor. "Finally!"
I stepped over him and headed for the stairs.”
“Okay.First things first. Three things you don't want me to know about you."
"What?" I gaped at him.
"You're the one who says we don't know each other.So let's cut to the chase."
Oh,but this was too easy:
1. I am wearing my oldest, ugliest underwear.
2.I think your girlfriend is evil and should be destroyed.
3.I am a lying, larcenous creature who talks to dead people and thinks she should be your girlfriend once the aforementioned one is out of the picture.
I figured that was just about everything. "I don't think so-"
"Doesn't have to be embarrassing or major," Alex interrupted me, "but it has to be something that costs a little to share." When I opened my mouth to object again, he pointed a long finger at the center of my chest. "You opened the box,Pandora.So sit."
There was a funny-shaped velour chair near my knees. I sat. The chair promptly molded itself to my butt. I assumed that meant it was expensive, and not dangerous. Alex flopped onto the bed,settling on his side with his elbow bent and his head propped on his hand.
"Can't you go first?" I asked.
"You opened the box..."
"Okay,okay. I'm thinking."
He gave me about thirty seconds. Then, "Time."
I took a breath. "I'm on full scholarship to Willing." One thing Truth or Dare has taught me is that you can't be too proud and still expect to get anything valuable out of the process.
"I'm terrified of a lot things, including lightning, driving a stick shift, and swimming in the ocean."
His expression didn't change at all. He just took in my answers. "Last one."
"I am not telling you about my underwear," I muttered.
He laughed. "I am sorry to hear that. Not even the color?"
I wanted to scowl. I couldn't. "No.But I will tell you that I like anchovies on my pizza."
"That's supposed to be consolation for withholding lingeries info?"
"Not my concern.But you tell me-is it something you would broadcast around the lunchroom?"
"Probably not," he agreed.
"Didn't think so." I settled back more deeply into my chair. It didn't escape my notice that, yet again, I was feeling very relaxed around this boy. Yet again, it didn't make me especially happy. "Your turn."
I thought about my promise to Frankie. I quietly hoped Alex would tell me something to make me like him even a little less.
He was ready. "I cried so much during my first time at camp that my parents had to come get me four days early."
I never went to camp. It always seemed a little bit idyllic to me. "How old were you?"
"Why?" I imagined a very small Alex in a Spider-Man shirt, cuddling the threadbare bunny now sitting on the shelf over his computer. I sighed. "Oh,no reason. Next."
"I hated Titanic, The Notebook, and Twilight."
"What did you think of Ten Things I Hate About You?"
"Hey," he snapped. "I didn't ask questions during your turn."
"No,you didn't," I agreed pleasantly. "Anser,please."
"Fine.I liked Ten Things. Satisfied?"
No,actually. "Alex," I said sadly, "either you are mind-bogglingly clueless about what I wouldn't want to know, or your next revelation is going to be that you have an unpleasant reaction to kryptonite."
He was looking at me like I'd spoken Swahili. "What are you talking about?"
Just call me Lois. I shook my head. "Never mind. Carry on."
"I have been known to dance in front of the mirror-" he cringed a little- "to 'Thriller.'"
And there it was. Alex now knew that I was a penniless coward with a penchant for stinky fish.I knew he was officially adorable.
He pushed himself up off his elbow and swung his legs around until he was sitting on the edge of the bed. "And on that humiliating note, I will now make you translate bathroom words into French." He picked up a sheaf of papers from the floor. "I have these worksheets. They're great for the irregular verbs...”