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To my dad, who did everything possible not to be the worst.
And to my mom for making sure we never see him at his worst.
Sitting here with one foot on each side of the ledge, looking out over the twelve-story streets of Boston, I can't help but think about suicide.
Not mine. I like my life enough to want to get on with it.
I focus more on other people and how they end up making the decision to end their own lives. Have you ever regretted? In the moment after you let go and the second before impact, there should be a bit of regret in that brief free fall. Look at the ground falling towards you and think, "Okay, shit. That was a bad idea."
Somehow I don't think so.
I think a lot about death. Especially today, when you consider that just twelve hours ago I delivered one of the most epic eulogies the people of Pléthora, Maine have ever seen. Okay, maybe it wasn't the most epic. It could well be considered the most disastrous. I guess it depends if you ask my mom or me. My mom, who probably won't talk to me for a year from now.
Do not get me wrong; The eulogy I delivered was not deep enough to make history like the one Brooke Shields delivered at Michael Jackson's funeral. Or the one provided by Steve Jobs' sister. Or Pat Tillman's brother. But it was epic in its own way.
I was nervous at first. After all, it was the funeral of the amazing Andrew Bloom. Dear Mayor of my hometown of Pléthora, Maine. Owner of the most successful real estate agency in the region. Husband of the esteemed Jenny Bloom, the most esteemed teaching assistant in all of Plethora. And the father of Lily Bloom, that strange girl with the shaggy red hair who once fell in love with a bum and shamed the whole family for her.
That would be me. I'm Lily Bloom and Andrew was my father.
When I finished your eulogy today, I flew straight to Boston and hijacked the first roof I found. Again, not because I have suicidal thoughts. I have no intention of lowering this ceiling. I was in desperate need of some fresh air and rest, and damn if I can't get it in my third-floor apartment, which has absolutely no access to the roof and is a roommate who loves to hear herself sing.
However, I didn't take into account how cold it would be up here. It's not unbearable, but it's not nice either. At least I can see the stars. Dead parents, annoying roommates, and questionable compliments don't seem so awful when the night sky is clear enough to literally feel the grandeur of the universe.
I love when heaven makes me feel insignificant.
I like tonight.
So . . . Let me rephrase this to better reflect my feelings in the past.
I enjoyed tonight.
But to my dismay, the door was flung open with such force that I expect the ladder to throw a human onto the roof. The door closes again and footsteps move quickly across the deck. I don't even look up. Whoever it is probably won't even notice that I'm sitting here on the ledge to the left of the door. They got here in such a hurry that it's not my fault they think they're alone.
I sigh softly, close my eyes, and lean my head against the stucco wall behind me, cursing the universe for taking away this moment of peace and introspection. The least the universe could do for me today is make sure I'm a woman and not a man. If I must have company, I prefer a woman. I'm tough for my size and can probably get by on my own in most cases, but I'm very comfortable alone with a strange man on a rooftop in the middle of the night. I may fear for my safety and feel the need to go, but I really don't want to go. As I already said. . . I feel good.
Finally, I let my eyes take the trip to the silhouette leaning over the edge. Luckily, he is definitely a man. Even leaning over the railing, I can tell he's tall. His broad shoulders are in stark contrast to the frail way he holds his head in his hands. I can barely see the heavy movement of his back as he takes a deep breath and forces it when he's done.
It seems about to collapse. I consider speaking up to let her know she has company or to clear my throat, but between the thought and the actual action, he turns and kicks one of the patio chairs behind him.
I wince as he hisses across the deck, but since he doesn't even know he has an audience, the guy doesn't stop with a single kick. Over and over he kicks the chair. Instead of giving way under the brute force of his foot, the chair continues to slide away from him.
This chair should be made of marine grade polymer.
I once saw my dad at an outdoor patio table made of marine polymer and practically laughed at him. He dented the bumper, but didn't even scratch the table.
This guy has to realize he's no match for high-quality stuff because he finally stops kicking the chair. He is now standing over her, his fists clenched at his sides. Honestly, I'm a little jealous. Here's this guy taking aggression out on him like a champ of patio furniture. Obviously he was having a shitty day, as was I, but as long as I hold back my aggression until it manifests as passive aggression, this guy really does have a way out.
Gardening used to be my outlet. Whenever he was stressed, he would just go out in the backyard and pull all the weeds he could find. But since I moved to Boston two years ago, I haven't had a garden. Or a terrace. I don't even have weed.
Maybe I need to invest in a marine grade polymer lawn chair.
I look at the boy for a moment longer, wondering if he's going to move. He just stands there and looks at the chair. Your hands are no longer closed into fists. They rest on his hips and I notice for the first time that his shirt doesn't fit well around his bicep. He looks good everywhere else, but his arms are huge. He starts rummaging through his pockets until he finds what he's looking for and, I'm sure this is probably an attempt to vent further aggression on him, lights up a joint.
I'm 23 years old, went to college, and have used the same recreational drug once or twice. I'm not going to judge this guy for feeling the urge to smoke in particular. But that's it, it's not private. He just doesn't know it yet.
He takes a long drag on the joint and begins to focus his attention on the rim. He notices my exhalation. It stops as soon as our eyes meet. Her expression shows neither surprise nor amusement when he sees me. She's about ten feet away, but the stars are bright enough that I can see her eyes moving slowly over my body without revealing a single thought. This guy handles his cards well. His gaze is narrow and his mouth is tight, like a male version of the Mona Lisa.
"What's your name?" he asks.
I can feel your voice in my stomach. This is not OK. Voices are supposed to stop in my ears, but sometimes, not very often, actually, a voice slips past my ears and echoes through my body. He has one of those voices. Deep, confident and a bit like butter.
When I don't respond, he puts the joint back in his mouth and takes another drag.
"Lily," I finally say. I hate my voice. It sounds too thin to reach your ears from here, let alone reverberate off your body.
chin slightly and sticks his head in my direction. "Are you going to come down from there, Lily?"
It's only when he says this that I realize his attitude. Now he is erect, even rigid. Almost like he was nervous that I was going to fall. I am not. This ledge is at least a foot wide and I'm almost always on the ceiling side. I managed to catch myself easily before falling, not to mention that I had the wind in my favor.
I look at my legs and then I look at him. "No thanks. I'm pretty comfortable where I am."
He turns a little like he can't look directly at me. "Please come down." Now it's more of a requirement, even though it uses the word please. "There are seven empty chairs up here."
"Almost six," I correct, reminding him that he just tried to kill one of them. You don't like my answer. When I don't follow his orders, he takes a few steps closer.
“You are only three inches away from falling to your death. She waves me down. "You're making me nervous. Not to mention ruining my euphoria.
I roll my eyes and swing my legs. "God forbid a joint goes to waste." I jump down and wipe my hands on my jeans. "Improve?" I say as I walk towards him.
He lets out a breath like he really was holding his breath when he saw me at the edge. I walk past him to the side of the roof for a better view, and as I do so, I can't help but notice how sadly cute he is.
No. Cute is an insult.
This boy is beautiful. Well groomed, he smells like money, he looks several years older than me. His eyes crinkle at the corners as they follow me, and his lips seem to pucker up even when they're not. When I get to the side of the building that faces the street, I lean in and look at the cars below, trying not to seem impressed by him. I can tell just from his haircut that he's the type of man who easily impresses people and I refuse to pry into his ego. Not that he's done anything to make me think he has one. But he's wearing a casual Burberry shirt, and I'm not sure I've ever been on the radar of someone who could casually afford one.
I hear footsteps approaching from behind, and then he leans against the railing next to me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see him take another hit on his joint. When he's done, he offers it to me, but I decline. The last thing I need is to be under the influence of this guy. His voice stinks in itself. I kind of want to hear it again, so I ask him a question.
"So what did that chair do to make you so angry?"
He looks at me like he's really looking at me. Her eyes meet mine and she looks at me like all my secrets are right there on my face. I have never seen eyes as dark as his. Maybe so, but they seem darker when paired with such an intimidating presence. He doesn't answer my question, but my curiosity isn't allayed that easily. If you want to force me off a very peaceful and comfortable ledge, I hope you'll entertain me with answers to my curious questions.
"Was it a woman?" I wonder. "She broke your heart?"
He laughs a little at that question. "If only my problems were as trivial as matters of the heart." She leans against the wall so she can look at me. "In which floor do you live?" She licks her fingers and pinches the end of the joint, then puts it back in her pocket. "I've never noticed you before."
"That's because I don't live here." I point in the direction of my apartment. "Do you see the insurance building?"
He blinks as he looks in the direction I'm pointing. "Yeah."
"I live in the building next door. It's too short to see from here. It's only three floors."
He looks back at me and rests his elbow on the edge. "If you live there, why are you here? Does your boyfriend live here or something?"
Your comment makes me feel cheap. It was very easy: an amateur pickup line. Judging from this guy's appearance, I know that he has better abilities. This leads me to believe that he reserves the toughest lines for the women he deems worthy.
"You have a nice roof," I tell him.
He raises an eyebrow, waiting for more explanation.
"I wanted fresh air. Something to think about. I searched Google Earth and found the nearest apartment complex with a decent terrace."
He looks at me with a smile. "At least you're frugal," she says. "That's a good quality."
I nod because I'm frugal. And it is of good quality.
"Why do you need fresh air?" he asks.
Because today I buried my dad and gave him an epically disastrous eulogy and now I feel like I can't breathe.
I look forward again and exhale slowly. "Can we just not talk for a while?"
He seems a little relieved that he's called for silence. He leans over the edge, swinging one arm as he looks down the street. He stays like that for a while and I keep looking at him. He probably knows I'm looking at him, but he doesn't seem to care.
"Last month, a guy fell off this roof," he says.
I was annoyed by his disrespect for my request for silence, but I'm a little taken aback.
"It was an accident?"
He shrugs. "Nobody knows. It happened late in the afternoon. His wife said he was cooking dinner and he said he came here to take some sunset photos. He's a photographer. They think he leaned over the edge. He took a picture of the horizon. and slipped."
I look over the edge and wonder how anyone could put themselves in a situation where they could accidentally fall. But then I remember walking on the ledge on the other side of the roof a few minutes ago.
“When my sister told me what happened, all I could think about was whether or not he took the photo. She hoped she didn't drop the camera because it would be a waste, you know? He died for the love of his photograph of him, but you didn't even take the last photo that cost you your life?"
Your thought makes me laugh. Although I'm not sure I should have laughed about it. "Do you always say exactly what you think?"
He shrugs. "Not for most people."
It makes me laugh. I like that he doesn't even know me, but for some reason, he doesn't think of me as most people.
He leans on the edge and crosses his arms over his chest. "You were born here?"
I shake my head. "No. I moved from Maine after I graduated from college."
He wrinkles his nose and it's a little hot. Watching this guy, dressed in his Burberry shirt and $200 haircut, make a face.
"So you're in Boston purgatory, huh? That must suck.
"What do you think?" I ask him.
The corners of his mouth turn up. "Tourists treat you like a local; locals treat you like a tourist."
I laughed. "Wow. That's a pretty accurate description."
"I've been here for two months. I'm not even in purgatory, so you're better off than me."
"What brought you to Boston?"
"My residence. And my sister lives here." She stomps her foot and says, "Right below us, actually.
I look down. "The entire top floor?"
He agrees. “Lucky Bastard works from home. He doesn't even have to take his pajamas off and he makes seven figures a year."
Lucky bastard indeed.
"What kind of residency? Are you a doctor?"
He agrees. "Brain Surgeon. Less than a year until my residency and then it's official."
Elegant, well-spoken and intelligent. And he smokes weed. If this were an SAT question, I would ask what it isn't. "Should doctors smoke weed?"
He smiled. "Probably not. But if we didn't give up once in a while, a lot more of us would be jumping off those ledges, I guarantee it." She looks straight ahead again, her chin resting on her arms. Her eyes are now closed like if you're enjoying the wind in your face, it doesn't look so intimidating.
"Do you want to know something
Only the locals know?"
"Of course," he says, turning his attention to me.
I point east. "See the building? The one with the green roof?
“Behind him, on Melcher, there is a building. There is a house at the top of the building. Like a real house, built on the roof knowing that."
He seems impressed. "Actually?"
I agree. "I saw it while searching Google Earth, so I looked it up. Apparently, a building permit was granted in 1982. How cool would that be? Living in a house on top of a building?"
"You would have the whole roof to yourself," he says.
Had not thought of that. If he owned it, he could plant gardens there. He would have a way out.
"Who lives there?" he asks.
"Nobody really knows. It's one of Boston's great mysteries."
He laughs and then looks at me questioningly. "What's another great Boston secret?"
"Your name." As soon as I say that, I hit my forehead with my hand. It sounded a lot like a cheesy pickup line; all I can do is laugh at myself.
He smiled. "It's Ryle," he says. "Ryle Kincaid".
I sigh and sink into myself. "That's a great name."
"Why do you look sad about that?"
"Because I would give anything for a great name."
"Don't you like the name Lily?"
I tilt my head and raise an eyebrow. "My last name... is Bloom."
He is calm. I can feel him trying to hold the pen from him.
"I know. It's horrible. It's the name of a two-year-old girl, not a twenty-three-year-old woman."
"A two-year-old will have the same name no matter how old she is. Names are not something we can outgrow, Lily Bloom."
"Unfortunately for me," I tell him. "But what makes it worse is that I love gardening. I love flowers. Planting. Things grow. It's my passion. It's always been my dream to open a flower shop, but I'm afraid if I open it, people will open it." I don't think my wish was real. They'd think I'm trying to capitalize on my name and that being a florist isn't really my dream job."
"Maybe," he says. "But what is this?"
"No, I guess." I find myself whispering "Lily Bloom" under my breath. I see him smile a little. "Ella. That's a great name for a florist. But I have an MBA. It would lower me, wouldn't it? I work for the largest marketing company in Boston.
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One of the Best, Yet Hardest Books Worth Reading
Thank you for what this book has done for the romance book industry. It's amazing, and I applaud you. I now cannot wait to see the It Ends With Us movie! I will most definitely be reading It Starts With Us to finish off this amazing book series.
|Series:||It Ends with Us , #1|
The It Ends With Us movie release date has been announced for February 9, 2024, perfect for your Valentine's Day viewing! With continued buzz over the book and the success of book two in the It Ends With Us series, It Starts With Us, the early 2024 release date sounds perfect and fans don't have to wait much longer.What does the cover of It Ends With Us mean? ›
Obviously, the main character's name is lily, and she is really into gardening and flowers, but lilies are also the first flowers that Ryle ever bought for her and having them shattered on the cover foreshadows how their story is going to go.Is it okay for a 14 year old to read It Ends With Us? ›
No. It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover is not appropriate for children or Young Adults. It is only appropriate for Mature Adults aged 17 and over. It contains adult themes, including domestic violence, and explicit romantic content.How old should you be to read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover? ›
Both books in the It Ends With Us series have a recommended reading age rating of mature 17+.Which Colleen Hoover books are best? › How many books does Colleen Hoover have all together? ›
Colleen Hoover is a young adult fiction and romance author. Colleen Hoover has published over 20 books and novellas including many New York Times best sellers. She has written 4 series: Slammed series, Hopeless series, Maybe Someday series, and Never Never series.Does Lily end up with Atlas? ›
Through patience, respectful love, and unwavering commitment, Atlas ends up with Lily in the end.Is the book It Ends With Us a good book? ›
Colleen Hoover books always seem to do so well, but It Ends With Us seems to hold a special place in her readers' hearts. It Ends With Us is a New York Times Bestselling novel and it's been captivating readers since its release in 2016.
It's a love story about choosing oneself over someone they love deeply; it's about choosing to end a cycle of violence that hurts more people than it helps. This book taught me how women in situations of domestic violence may feel torn between someone they took a vow for and their own personal well-being and safety.Why is the book It Ends With Us so popular? ›
Labeled as a Booktok sensation, "It Ends with Us" gained immense popularity thanks to the bookish side of TikTok in 2021, which led to Colleen Hoover's quickly-rising fame. The book currently has more than 700 reviews on Fable, and is one being read by 200 book clubs on our platform!Is It Ends With Us a dirty book? ›
Sexual content includes erotic and specific descriptions of sex between adults including genital and manual penetration, manual stimulation, thrusting, tremors, entering, pulling out, jerking with release, and more. Sex in the past between teens is described vaguely mentioning only kissing and breathing.