Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2)

And you have me. Sometimes you need someone else to believe in you, to carry you, until you can do that yourself. Let me carry you. You’re almost there. Damn it, Celeste, you’re almost there. God, please, you have me, and I want you.” He stopped walking back and forth and put both of his hands over his heart. “I want you so much.

Dear Algebra, Stop asking us to find your X. She’s not coming back,

I am choosing a love that defies boundaries and a life that defies boundaries. That is the power of Celeste.

I am staggered by you. I am intoxicated by you. I think about you way more than I should. I want to get to know you as much as possible, but you have to let me. I mean, if that’s what you want. Maybe you think I’m a huge jerk, and maybe you’re done with me. So tell me that if you need to.” He kissed her hands again and peeked up at her, his eyes sparkling. “But please don’t, because I desperately want to take you out tonight.

I'm not going to drown in what I can't change.

I’m not letting my woman of salvation travel around the dangerous streets unaccompanied. #chivalryaintdeadbaby #sendhelp #sendshrimp #hashtagsgoneinsane #hashtagsdonotbelonginatext #whatever I’ll pick you up at 7, okay?

I refuse to be left behind in this world, so I need to catch up.

I won the battles, Justin. And I won the war. And now there is no more fighting. Now there is peace. You told me to let the joy win out, and I am choosing to do that.

Justin: I am falling so in love with you.

Justin: I am falling so in love with you.



Her body electrified. Celeste wiped her eyes and read his text again. The drone of the plane disappeared; the turbulence was no more. There was only Justin and his words.



Justin: I lose myself and find myself at the same time with you.

Justin: I need you, Celeste. I need you as part of my world, because for the first time, I am connected to someone in a way that has meaning. And truth. Maybe our distance has strengthened what I feel between us since we’re not grounded in habit or daily convenience. We have to fight for what we have.

Justin: I don’t know if I can equate what I feel for you with anything else. Except maybe one thing, if this makes any sense.

Justin: I go to this spot at Sunset Cliffs sometimes. It’s usually a place crowded with tourists, but certain times of year are quieter. I like it then. And there’s a high spot on the sandstone cliff, surrounded by this gorgeous ice plant, and it overlooks the most beautiful water view you’ve ever seen. I’m on top of the world there, it seems.

Justin: And everything fits, you know? Life feels right. As though I could take on anything, do anything. And sometimes, when I’m feeling overcome with gratitude for the view and for what I have, I jump so that I remember to continue to be courageous because not every piece of life will feel so in place.

Justin: It’s a twenty-foot drop, the water is only in the high fifties, and it’s a damn scary experience. But it’s a wonderful fear. One that I know I can get through and one that I want.

Justin: That’s what it’s like with you. I am scared because you are so beyond anything I could have imagined. I become so much more with you beside me. That’s terrifying, by the way. But I will be brave because my fear only comes from finally having something deeply powerful to lose. That’s my connection with you. It would be a massive loss.

Justin: And now I am in the car and about to see you, so don’t reply. I’m too flipping terrified to hear what you think of my rant. It’s hard not to pour my heart out once I start. If you think I’m out of mind, just wave your hands in horror when you spot the lovesick guy at the airport.



Ten minutes went by. He had said not to reply, so she hadn’t.



Justin: Let’s hope I don’t get pulled over for speeding… but I’m at a stoplight now.

Justin: God, I hope you aren’t… aren’t… something bad.

Celeste: Hey, Justin?

Justin: I TOLD YOU NOT TO REPLY!

Justin: I know, I know. But I’m happy you did because I lost it there for a minute.

Celeste: HEY, JUSTIN?

Justin: Sorry… Hey, Celeste?
Celeste: I am, unequivocally and wholly falling in love with you, too.

Justin: Now I’m definitely speeding. I will see you soon.

Justin: I drive a Prius. Justin: Nobody gets abducted in a Prius, right?

Justin… I know that we do not care for clichés, but this is a rather large can of worms that you are attempting to pry open using a rusty can opener.”

“Like one of those old creaky ones you’d find in a summer rental home? With the super skinny handles that hurt?”

Celeste laughed. “Yes. Like that.”

“I like worms. You can let the worms out. But only if you want. I won’t make you talk about anything you don’t want to.

Justin: I know where you live.
Justin: Wait, I didn't mean that in a creepy way...
Justin: Hello? Oh gawd... Did I freak you out?
Justin: I just meant that I would know where to pick you up. And it's not like I'd show up in a van with the windows all blacked out. That'd be super creepy.
Justin: I drive a Prius.
Justin: Nobody gets abducted in a Prius, right?

Justin stirred, smiling even before his eyes were open. “Well, hello. This person reaching up my shirt better be who I think it is, or I’m gonna freak out.”

Celeste pulled her hand away quickly. “Sorry.”

“Oh good, it is you,” he murmured. “Why is there stopping? Why is there no more hand being all cute and awesome?

Solitude, which I both crave and detest.

Sometimes love is not enough, and it doesn’t matter how much you want it. Want him. And even if nobody else compares to that person, it doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to be with him.

That's the thing about music. You get to make it mean whatever you need it to mean.

This coffee looks, like, totally amazing and delicious, but I really want to kiss you. And for that I need two hands because I’m going to have to hold you up. That’s how hard I’m going to kiss you.

This is fun, Matty, isn't it? Cocktail hour is intoxicating." "It is." "I made a little joke there." - Celeste.

Well, yeah. Aren’t you? I want to destroy anyone who has hurt you for a dumb reason like just being yourself. What? Do we want the entire universe made up of people who are all clones of each other? How damn boring would that be? You know the expression that love makes the world go ‘round? That might be true, but love comes from the way differences interact. How personalities interact. How we bounce off of each other, challenge each other, and how we push and pull. It’s through those tensions that we connect with others and with ourselves. And it’s how we fall in love. Because there is magic in diversity. Without the Celestes, the world wouldn’t go ‘round. Do you see that?

What he did do was reach the driver’s side door and throw a hand up in the air, punching the night sky twice. And under the fuzzy light from the moon, she could see him smile.

What is meant by ‘nut bag’? Is that a testicular reference or merely the identification of a satchel of cashews or pecans?

What is perceived as normal. That makes it other people’s failings. Deficits. Not yours. Who the hell sets the standards, huh? Who gets to say how we are supposed to be? Or who we are supposed to be? And how dare anyone make you feel inadequate for being who you are? It’s not okay. It pisses me off.

What is your preference?" She felt nearly sick asking this question.
"My preference is to pack you in my suitcase,but those TSA people are so picky,and there's some kind of stupid regulation about human trafficing and-"
"Justin. This is serious.

You are more capable of being loved than you understand. And—Celeste, this is important—you nurture and love and protect more than anyone I have known. Or could know. Don’t take that away from me. From us.

You are who you are. Don't be ashamed of yourself. At all. Surround yourself with people who cheer you on.

You don't want to miss out on people. If you assume everyone is out to get you, then you're going to shut them down before they have a chance to prove you wrong.

You give me such clarity.

You have taught me that I am allowed to like myself as I am, at whatever stage I am in. I can change, I can stay the same, or I can be whoever it is that is right for me; but I can be satisfied. No, more than that. I can be proud. I can celebrate. That is what I am going to do.

You know the expression that love makes the world go ‘round? That might be true, but love comes from the way differences interact. How personalities interact. How we bounce off of each other, challenge each other, and how we push and pull. It’s through those tensions that we connect with others and with ourselves. And it’s how we fall in love. Because there is magic in diversity.