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Broken

They tell you don’t let the world break you

It’s not the world, you make you

But they let you judge and then break you

How can the broken you, be the real you?

They tell you make life your main bitch

Not a scratch that you just gotta itch

But when life lands you in a ditch

Who’s gonna come and make you pitch?

They tell you love is a beautiful thing

Makes the sun shine and bird sing,

But when there’s no promise ring,

They leave you, an unwanted thing.

They tell you a lot of lies,

The world is just and nothing dies,

We all live life for it ties,

Its wondrous laughs and woeful cries.

They tell you but I don’t wanna hear

I wanna hide and drown in my fear

Not listen with a hopeful ear,

That life is meant for something dear.

Nightmares is where I will go,

In nightmares at least I know,

That the world will break you,

You’re not the one that makes you,

You can judge and they will break you,

Cause the broken you is the real you.

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Excerpt#19: Chase Takes One for the Seals

So it looks like I peed on myself…just a fair warning.” Chase said over the phone.

“DID you pee on yourself?” She quipped.

“What the fuck? No, these dratted kids…”

“Wait! What? Kids peed on you? Not one, but collectively? What the hell?! How did that happen?”

“No, no, they didn’t pee on me. Hold up and let me finish the story first. Jesus.”

“Carry on.”

“So I got on the ferry half an hour ago with a cup of tea in my hands and saw a group of kids annoying the shit out of their mother. She looked so hassled. So I sat far, far away glad I didn’t have to deal with it. I kept an eye out though since kids are like ninjas and pop out of nowhere.”

“Okay so rowdy kids, got it. I don’t see how tea soaked pants come into play.”

“I am getting there woman!”

“Carry on.”

“So I am about to get off the ferry with quarter of the tea finished and BAM! the kids all crash into me and spill it all over my pants and bag.”

“Hahaha. That’s what you get for drinking tea and not coffee. Coffee for the win!”

“You’re such a kid. Well anyway, now everyone is looking at me like I peed on myself. I can FEEL the judgement.”

“Well you should tell them they wouldn’t be judging you if they knew what valiant act led to the pant wetting.”

“Uhh…getting trampled by unruly kids and an unfortunate cup of tea?”

“No that makes you sound wimpy. Say you saved a baby seal and got your pants wet in the process. Everyone loves a baby seal rescue.”

“Just my pants? Not my top? What seal was I rescuing and how so that it only wet my bottom half?”

“Seriously? I don’t know.  You have a brain, use it. I came up with the idea, you make it work.”

“As always.”

“Shut up.”

“I see you.” He said, grinning at her from across the road as they waited for the light to turn green.

“Me too…my, my…maybe we should say a humongous seal instead of a baby one. The kids sure did a number on your pants.”

“Hanging up now.”

“Sure thang, sweet pea.”

“Oh no! Not the puns. Make them stop!”

“Never.”

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Excerpt# 18: Princess Laser Tag

“Where are we going?”
“Just two streets. I promise.”
“You said that two streets ago, Ray.”
“You know at the rate you complain we should just change your name to the whiner.”
“Oh really? Fine I will stop complaining if you tell me where we are running off to.”
“Nope.”
“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”—–“Why is it that on every date we end up running to someplace?”
“Because. I gotta keep you on your toes princess. If I don’t you might actually stop to think and try to ruin this.”
He was right.
“Do you think I am fat?” She changed the topic.
“What?!”
“Well with all this physical exertion, I am wondering if it’s your way of telling me I need to lose a few pounds.”
He shook his head. “You’re ridiculous.”
“Nope I’m your little miss sunshine. I like the princess by the way.”

“Speaking of princesses, we are here.”

They were facing an Italian pastry shop decked out in Christmas lights, beautiful music and fairytale vibe.

“Wow.” For once she was speechless.
“Wow, for once are you actually speechless?”
“Shut up while you’re ahead.” She hushed and grabbed his hand.

They walked into the restaurant hand in hand and sat down.

“You know next time, if you want, instead of running around I can think of other physical exertions for our next date.” He grinned, she looked at him for a long second “I know what your thinking and I am totally for it.”

“Yeah?”

“Of course. Laser tag here we come.” His groan and her snicker could be heard mingling with the music.

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Excerpt #18: Date 2- Order of Sushi with a Side of Stubborn

Women can’t resist the lure of good sushi.

Their second date was founded on Ray’s wholehearted belief of this concept.

“A dragon roll please” she ordered.
“Let me guess. That’s what you usually order.”
“Yep.”
“Why not try something new?”
“I am. I am eating it with you.”
He chuckled, “Cheekiness. I like.”
She batted her eye lashes at him, “And what, pray tell, do you dislike?”

He bought out her weird quirks…including defunct phrases and terrible accents.
“Why? So you can annoy me?”
“It only seems fair. To return the favor and all,” she blurted out. She didn’t know what the fuck she was doing. Here was this amazing guy and here she was trying to ruin it.

He stared at her intensely for a moment.
“It won’t work you know.”
“What?” She said nonchalantly.
“You, trying to ruin this.”
She let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding. She looked up and grinned, “Darn and here I was trying so hard.” She meant the statement as a weird kind of apology. Miraculously, he must have understood because he nodded and dropped his seriousness.
“Come on.” He said as they finished.
“Where?”
“Just come!” Having paid the bill, he grabbed her hand and dragged her out of the resturant.
“Ray! Where are we going? I didn’t sign up for exercising. You promised it would only be sushi!”
“Oh, come on you big baby.”

It was a beautiful summer night… the kind of night in those romantic movies that all girls dreamed out. And here she was, walking alongside Ray to God knows where. It was a while before she realized he hadn’t let go of her hand. She decided not to remind him.
“Ray…where are we going?”
“There was a lake here somewhere.” He mumbled as they kept walking.
“We are trying to find…a lake? In the middle of the city?”
“Okay not a lake. A body of water of sorts. Just a bit farther.”
They kept walking. After a while they came across a row of apartments and a shifty neighborhood.
“Ray…I don’t think there is a lake this way.”
“What?”
“We are, by the looks of it, in the projects.”
Ray swore when he realized the truth and she laughed. His desire and grand failure at finding the elusive and romantic lake was endearing.
“Well…on the bright side… it’s no lake but there is a puddle by the broken fire hydrant there. That looks promising.”
He stared at her again trying to gauge her. When he realized she was teasing him and not being mean, he hugged her, laughing. It was so effortless that she didn’t even realize when a piece of her shattered heart began to put itself back in place.

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Excerpt #17:Date 1- Establishing the Brownie point System

For the next week, she tried her best to cancel the coffee date with Ray. She called him a couple of times, but had the strangest feeling he was screening her calls. She had to hand it to him…he had her pegged. She could never cancel a date, a first date at that, over a text…it seemed so barbaric. So when Friday rolled around, it found her in her favorite rust color long dress and her golden brown mane of hair tousled in waves over her shoulders. She might have been less than enthused about the date, but she never passed up a reason to dress up.

As she rounded the corner of Martha’s, she got her first glimpse of Ray. She almost changed her mind about the whole thing and began to turn back.

“Hey! Miss Sunshine!”

Damn, he saw her. Curse her bright dress and hair!

“Oh! Hi…Ray the artifact…” she mumbled.

“Did I just catch you attempting to slink away and stand me up?”

“N-no, that’s preposterous!” she said defensively. She was using SAT words, a sure tell she was lying to those who knew her.

He looked unconvinced, “Am I that hideous?” He teased.

He was the exact opposite of hideous and that was the problem. And funny. Shit. She wasn’t ready! She gave him a daggered look that he took to mean: no he wasn’t hideous and there was no way she was going to admit how attractive she found him. He was right.

He grinned, “Come on, grumpy lady, maybe some coffee will take care of that growling problem you have.”

How the hell did he keep doing that? Knowing exactly what to say, how to act to make it impossible to dislike him? She sat down facing him on a table outside the café with drinks in hand. She refused to start the conversation; she knew at this point that she was being a bitch. But this was dangerous territory and survival in any form was paramount. Besides, he seemed to be doing well in conversing all by him self.

He did not disappoint.

“You realize my name isn’t Ray the artifact right?”

“And you realize mine isn’t Little Miss Sunshine?

“Yeah, but it’s a cute nickname, I think I will call you that from now on.”

“Well then, your status as an artifact remains unchanged in my book.”

“Finally! Some progress! At least I am in your book.”

“Oh God, Ray you are relentless” She finally cracked a smile and shook her head in defeat.

“Hey, I say what I mean.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Her first sip of delicious coffee bought a blissful smile on her face. She caught him staring. “What?”

“Nothing, just seeing my theory being proven in action.”

“Theory?”

“You’re a coffee lover, your whole demeanor changed with a sip.”

“Fine you got me, what about you.”

“Oh I dabble in the art of coffee, used to work as a barista for a bit.”

“No way.”

“Way…so should I put this down as two brownie points for Ray?”

“Ray, we do not have a brownie point system…”

“Well, we should. Let’s start now.”

“And what are we offering as a reward?”

“Not being mean to poor old Ray maybe?”

“Whoa there artifact, that’s asking a lot…how about I bake you actual brownies instead?”

“Yum home made brownies, that sounds delicious. Reward accepted”

“Then again, I don’t really know how to bake so…” She smiled devilishly, enjoying herself.

“Damn, fell into that one. Well I can always teach you…we can make a day of it!”

“Oh, Ray you’re hopeless.” Every negative thing just bounced off of him.

“No Little Miss Sunshine, I am here to bring back your hope…just call me…wait for it… your Ray of Sunshine.”

“Ungh, lame,” she groaned. “No, I think I will stick to Ray the artifact.”

“From you, I expected no less,” he conceded graciously.

She hadn’t had this much fun in weeks.

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Excerpt #16: Asking a Girl Out 101 With Ray Fyodor

When she had suggested they go out for coffee, it had been her gut reaction. She didn’t want, or need, a rebound guy. Ray certainly wasn’t the rebound type either. So when he called her the weekend after their first meet in the train she was determined to turn him down. But somehow, she ended up with a coffee date.

Earlier in the day

She was binge watching Criminal Minds when her phone rang. She picked it up, not checking the caller ID as she continued to lust after—ahem—watch Spencer Reid do something brilliant on her screen.

“Hello?”

“Hey Little Miss Sunshine.” A smiling male voice replied.

“Excuse me?”

“It’s Ray from the train? Remember me?”

She was so engrossed in her show, she didn’t respond.

“Ray… the artifact, remember? Cradle, Russian, ring any bells?” Comically he mentioned the highlights of their conversation.

As it dawned on her who this Ray was, she sat up straighter.

“Uh, yeah hi Ray the artifact, what can I do for you?”

“If I recall correctly, we had a coffee date.” he said ignoring her jab.

“If I recall correctly, you are a budding alcoholic.” She said vehemently, trying to offend him.

Instead, he laughed.

“As I told you, I am Russian, alcohols in our blood.”

“Yeah, yeah. Look I am actually really busy at the moment…”

“Is that Criminal Minds I hear in the background?” Indeed she had forgotten to turn off the show.

“AS I was saying, Spencer Reid and I have a standing Criminal Minds date on the weekends and you are disturbing our alone time.”

“Ah, Spencer Reid. Many a great men have lost to his boyish good lucks and his nerdy charms.”

“You watch Criminal Minds?” She narrowed her eyes.

“Yep, does that win me brownie points?”

“I didn’t know we had established a point system.”

“We hadn’t, why not start now?”

“Sure, can I go now?”

“Yep, so coffee next Friday at Martha’s downtown? Let’s say seven-ish?”

The team was about to face the perpetrator, “Yeah sure, whatever.” She said transfixed, whatever to get off the phone.

“Okay, cool! It’s a date. See you soon.” He hung up quickly, knowing he won.

She looked at the phone, episode forgotten. Wait, what?

He looked at his phone as he hung up. Thank you Spencer Reid.

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Excerpt #15: White Russian

She knew better than to look anyone in the eye on the train. It was a recipe for disaster.

“Hello, hello, miss?”

Maybe if I ignore him he will stop. Concentrating on the music, she closed her eyes.

“Oy, Miss, you in there?”

“Yes, hello, apologies, I didn’t hear you the last 3 times, how may I help you?” she sighed.

“Do you know how I can get to ________? The announcer just said the train wouldn’t stop at the station.” He smiled at her, undeterred.

“Yeah, just take the shuttle at the last stop”

“Where’s the shuttle?”

“Just follow the crowd.” She began to put her earphone back on, eye contact averted.

“Miss?”

Sigh. And then it happened, eye contact made. Gorgeous blue eyes crinkled back at her, reminding her of someone else.

“Hi I am Ray.”

“Hey, what’s up?”

“Are you always this friendly or am I getting the special treatment?”

“That’s me, little Miss Sunshine, at your service,” she gave him a grudging smile.

He made small talk while she berated herself for making eye contact. Granted he wasn’t a pervert, but she never knew how to deal with beautiful eyes.

“How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?”

“20”

“Wow you are a baby! Like practically in the cradle” He guffawed.

“Well, how old are you?”

“25”

“Wow! You’re ancient, like practically an artifact!” She mimicked.

The woman sitting beside them burst into laughter. “Good one”

He shook his head.

“Wanna grab lunch sometime,” he asked.

“How about a drink?”

“But you’re not even legal!”

“Are we back to that again? Russians. I meant coffee.”

“Oh.”