Read Online Books/Novels:
Little & Lion
Author/Writer of Book/Novel:
0316349003 (ISBN13: 9780316349000)
When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.
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It’s bizarre to be so nervous about seeing the person who knows me best, but the past year hasn’t been so kind to Lionel and me.
I’m standing outside LAX on a sun-soaked afternoon in early June when my brother’s navy-blue sedan screeches to a halt a few feet away. Part of me doesn’t mind that he’s thirty minutes late, because I needed time to get used to the idea of being back home. But now he’s here and my heart is thumping like it’s going to jump out of my mouth and there’s nowhere to go.
Lionel bolts from the car and barely looks at me before he starts rummaging around in the trunk, shoving aside a plastic crate filled with used books to make room for my luggage. “I am so sorry,” he mutters. “The freeway was a nightmare.”
There really is no such thing as traffic back in Avalon, Massachusetts. People don’t honk their horns. They put up with totally inconsiderate shit, like neighbors stopping their Volvos and Saabs in the middle of tree-lined streets to chat with friends, clogging up the road so no one else can pass. L.A. drivers would honk until their horns went dead while flipping them off and threatening murder—and I have missed that.
Lionel hoists my bags into the trunk, slams it closed, and turns to give me a quick hug. But it feels perfunctory and that makes me stiffen in his arms and I wonder why we’re acting like strangers. I relax a bit when I notice he smells so much like he is supposed to smell, like the coziness of our house and the mustiness of his car, which is always filled with hiking shoes and old books. I’m almost overwhelmed with the reality of actually being home and standing next to Lionel. For a while now—not just a weekend or a few days clustered around a hectic holiday. I’m home for the summer.
“Good to see you, Little,” he says, pulling away as he tugs one of the black dreadlocks that hang to the middle of my back.
That name never sounded so good. My brother calls me Suzette only when he’s feeling anxious, and I’m relieved that he seems so calm right now.
I smile and pretend like I’m not examining every single inch of him for changes. “Yeah? I don’t look too East Coast–y?” I glance down at his thumbs. Before, they were shredded, the sides of them forever bitten and spotted with red. Now they are smooth and the skin is clean, and I think that’s a good thing, too.
He squints at me, blinks, shakes his head. “Nah. They haven’t broken you yet. You—when the hell did you get that?”
My fingers automatically go up to the tiny gold hoop on my face. It’s a septum piercing, “badass but still classy” according to the girl who put the needle through my nose at the only tattoo parlor in Avalon.
“Do you like it?”
He leans closer, his eyes glued to the jewelry. “Yeah. Never pictured it on you, but I dig it. Does Nadine know?”
Nadine doesn’t know. She’s my mother and she’s been with Lionel’s father, Saul, since I was six and Lion was seven; we merged households two years later. Lionel and I have called each other brother and sister since then, and that surprises some people at first, because he’s white and I’m black. But we’ve been built-in best friends for practically our entire lives, until last fall—when boarding school separated the inseparable.
“Let’s move it along, people!” a sturdy man wearing a fluorescent vest booms, gesturing toward the cars backed up in the lanes surrounding us.
We hustle to our respective sides of the car, and a few seconds later, Lionel successfully steers us out of the throng of airport traffic amid a cacophony of honking horns and hissing shuttle brakes.
“The parents are waiting for us,” he says. “But I’m starving. Are you starving? Want to sneak off and grab a bite first?”
What I want is to go straight to my bed and collapse into a deep sleep for about twelve hours. But all I’ve had today is a pack of peanuts and two cans of cherry cola, and as soon as he mentions my favorite taco truck, I forget about my jet lag.
People back East would ask what I missed the most about California, and I never quite knew where to start. Of course I missed my family. It’s never cool to say so, but even the little things I used to hate, like the way Saul hums Barry Manilow songs while he makes breakfast—I would’ve killed for that on the really bad days. I missed the towering palm trees that look a little ratty during the day and majestic against the inky skyline after the sun drops. I missed the blistering sunshine and the horrific traffic and the way nobody here gives a shit about what anyone else is up to because there are too many better things to be doing with your time.