Authors: A. D. Ellis
Copyright © 2014
Cover, spine, back by
LOVE. There are many facets of this emotion. Love of family. Love of friends. Love of self. Love of others. Romantic love.
This is a love story through and through. It’s a story of a brother’s unfailing love for his twin. It’s a story of a girl’s fight to get her sister back and find
herself at the same time. It’s a story of learning to let go of anger, standing up for yourself, and being kind to others. It’s a story of love between a man and a woman despite the twists and turns that come their way.
This story came about after a year or so of watching a brother take care of his special-needs sibling during church service. I wondered about that brother’s feelings toward his sibling. Love was obvious. Protector was clear. Burdened? It didn’t appear that way.
Guilty? Possibly. Nicky doesn’t have the severe special needs that this sibling had, but Nicky faces his own challenges in life.
I also wrote this story because I despise bullying and the r-word. I wanted to share with my readers how painful and damaging both bullying and the word retard/retarded can be. I want my readers to finish this book with a better understanding of how words and actions can hurt. Or, maybe, my readers will finish this book with affirmation that the words and actions used against them did hurt and they have the right to feel upset by them.
I wrote this story for many reasons. My main reason is to share the story with my readers. I want nothing more than for you to enjoy this story and feel a range of emotions from start to finish. If that happens, I can say I accomplished what I set out to do.
“A.D. Ellis takes you on a journey of emotions with her debut novel. A beautiful and captivating story of love and all the twists and turns it brings when trying to protect the ones who matter most.”
“Author A.D. Ellis authors a beautifully written love story with an unexpected outcome that readers will love.”
“Author A.D. Ellis debuts a unique and sexy love story about love, trust, and second chances.”
“In her debut novel, A.D. Ellis writes a modern day love story with a surprising turn of events that will capture readers’ hearts.”
"A.D. Ellis blesses us with a contemporary love story that touches the heart and brings to light how bullying affects not only the target, but also the loved ones around them."
– Jen M.
A.D. Ellis brings a contemporary romance to life in a story that compels you to keep reading! The family dynamics, the twists you don’t expect and the unfolding love story make this a great read!
This book is dedicated to my husband and children who put up with me spending hours upon hours
at the computer with headphones in, music blaring. I know they got tired of it, but they never complained. Thank you to my children for being my reasons to take breaks so I could fix your suppers, dry your hair, and read books to you. Thank you to my husband, who doesn’t enjoy reading, for listening to me talk for hours about all that I was learning in the world of independent authors. I love all three of you more than words can explain.
I was 6 years old and I was sitting in my usual spot in the principal’s office at Torey Hope Elementary School in Torey Hope, Illinois. My principal, Mr. Jones, had given me his usual speech about being disappointed in my behavior. He shook his head and gave a heavy sigh as he made yet another call to my parents. Now, as we waited, he was continuing to work on some paperwork. The paperwork probably had to do with my behavior. My student file was likely already thicker than most of the older students and I was only in first grade. Mr. Jones wasn’t an unfair man; I knew that the boy I’d gotten in a fight with was getting punished too. That only brought me a tiny bit of satisfaction.
I was sitting in the big red leather chair. I always sat in the big red leather chair. The big red leather chair was sort of “mine” and I was here enough to have the right to claim it. My parents were on their way for yet another meeting about my behavior. I had gotten in trouble for fighting.
Again. My lip got busted in the process, but the kid who had been making fun of my brother got what was coming to him. I hated when people were mean to my brother or when they thought he was so stupid he couldn’t understand that they were making fun of him. Today, and a lot of days, it was over one simple word. “Retard.” God, how I hate that word. I hate the way it sounds, the way it is used to degrade, the way it hurts. Mostly, I hate the way my brother flinches when he hears that word.
My mom and dad understood where my anger was coming from
, but they didn’t condone the fighting. They knew I was just sticking up for my brother in the only way I knew how, but they weren’t ok with it. I knew there would be consequences at home and I was ok with that. I would take the punishment a thousand times over, and, if it means getting in trouble every day or being labeled a bully for dealing with the kids who hurt my brother, then I’ll do it. This wasn’t for me. This was for him. For my brother. For Nicky.
“Nathaniel, this is the second fight you’ve been in this week and it’s only Wednesday. I know you want to protect Nicky from the bullies, but you’ve got to stop fighting others. You want to protect Nick, but you’re just as bad as the people who make fun of him.” My mom looked weary as she and my dad gave me the same old speech. At this rate, I’d never see a video game again for as long as I lived. I hadn’t watched TV shows I wanted to watch in over a year. My room had basically nothing but a bed. It didn’t matter, I wouldn’t stop threatening and fighting the kids who made fun of my brother until they learned their lesson. I didn’t care how much trouble I got in. It was for Nicky.
I was about five years old the first time I realized that Nicky and I were different. There wasn’t one defining instance that brought me to this realization; it was more a series of instances that led me to become aware that Nicky was
not only not like me, but he was also not like other kids. My parents had always treated us the same, never favoring one over the other or coddling Nicky more than me.
Nicky and I are twins.
Identical twins. We were born in November and we will be turning 25 on our next birthday. I was born 2 minutes before Nicky. Nicky’s full name is Nicholas Edward Morgan. But he’s always been Nick or Nicky, especially with close friends and family. My given name is Nathaniel Joseph Morgan, but I usually go by Nathan or Nate.
When I started noticing that Nick and I were different, I asked my mom about it. She explained that Nick had been deprived of oxygen due to his umbilical cord being
twisted. Since birth, he’s always been smaller than me. He struggles with speech sometimes. He has trouble thinking of certain words he wants to use. However, when he’s excited, he talks a mile a minute. He moves a bit more slowly and awkwardly than most; he has a slight limp. But, these challenges have never slowed Nick down. Learning was always harder for him, but he would eventually grasp most things; it just took him longer. He’s always done the same things I’ve done. We played all sorts of sports while growing up. I was always better than Nicky; I was usually better than most of the other players too. Even though I had him on the skill front, Nick always had more heart and gumption than me. He always had to fight that much harder to reach goals, and he worked hard, never giving up.
Once I noticed Nicky was different than me, I also started noticing that a lot of people treated him differently. Kids and adults both would talk to him like he was dumb or they assumed he couldn’t do things so they didn’t even give him a chance. It was around this time that I started sticking up for him and being extra protective. He was my “little brother” and I wouldn’t stand for anyone treating him poorly just because he was different. The worst was when kids made fun of him. They would laugh at how he talked or laugh at him if he missed a goal in soccer or got an answer wrong or they’d mimic his gait. One of the things that set me off quicker than anything w
as when they called him retard or retarded. I got used to getting in fights protecting my brother and as the bullies got worse, the fights got worse too. The years we were in class together were the easiest because I could keep a better eye on things. The years we ended up separated in different classes were the hardest on both of us. As we grew up, we ran in different social circles, but we were still the best of friends. In high school, my parents decided that Nick would be better off in a trade school setting. So Nick started attending a community trade school, Torey Hope Education Center, where he learned life and job skills in the morning and social skills in the afternoon. This school was perfect for Nick because he got to continue attending there even after graduation. He landed a job at a local grocery store sacking groceries and stocking shelves. Nicky is a great employee; he takes his job seriously and follows instructions to a T. In the afternoon he went to the community center. Nick loved to tell me about his friends and activities at the center. He enjoyed playing ping pong and air hockey with his friends. The center didn’t let the kids just sit and play video games or watch TV so he got his video gaming fun in with me. He had chores at the center. He despised washing dishes because his hands got wrinkly in the water, but he adored bagging up and taking out the trash. He said it made him feel like the trash truck we used to watch pick up trash up and down our street when we were little kids. His favorite part of the center recently became the library. The center hired a new librarian and she is now Nicky’s favorite person. Her name is Miss Elizabeth. He loves when she reads to the group and helps them pick out books. To hear Nick tell it, Miss Elizabeth walks on water.