When Livia Stone suddenly loses her twin brother, Jasper, she must learn to navigate her new life alone. As she faces tragedy and starts down a road toward self-destruction, Daniel enters Livia’s life—at a moment when she needs it most.
Standing Sideways is a poignant, relevant, and touching story of survival, courage, and compassion that will have readers crying, laughing, and most of all, debating the issues affecting the lives of parents and teens alike on a journey of hope and forgiveness.
Daniel’s bare chest rises and falls. His breath is the sweet scent of mint. I want to tell him I’ll most likely break his heart because of the alcohol. Just like my father did to my mother. My brother. And me.
I’ve seen what addiction can do. But, in this moment, I know he needs me, and I, him. I tell myself I’ll allow our bodies to coil around each other in order to mask his sadness. Let him feel me the way he needs to—with his hands, his legs, his chest, the shell of a boy who won’t ever be the same.
The poor, poor boy whose mother died too young, people will say.
I try to push my heart out of this, not let it connect with his, so I don’t look into his eyes.
How did this happen so quickly?
My head resting on his bare chest, his arms tighten around my body, and I feel a drop of his sadness land on my cheek.
And I allow one of my own to fall, too.
Telling Daniel about his father asking me to stay away wouldn’t be appropriate now. Neither would asking about Sienna.
So, we stand here as the sky welcomes the moon and the hour count to morning begins. The days of loss. Where the days turn into nights and the nights into days without so much of a blink of an eye. Where dates blend and months blur. And life seems to unravel.
Standing here with Daniel, I’ve never felt this way about Simon as he pushed inside me. Nor did I feel the tremble that went along with Simon’s when he finished. I forced the bad feelings away through touch and allowed an unspoken need on both parts to be filled. An escape, a getaway, only to be met with the demoralization once I awoke from my momentary state of euphoria.
This is something so much more. Nothing like the feeling I got when Ben Novak, my first boyfriend, rammed his tongue down my throat. Or the time Lee Cunningham touched my boob on accident at Whitney’s pool party during the summer of our freshman year. I didn’t feel it between my legs, like I do now.
This isn’t Simon.
Or any other boy for that matter.
This is Daniel.
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About the Author
J. Lynn Bailey has loved to write since she learned to read, around the second grade. When she isn't running after her children, watching COPS, or on the hunt for her next Laffy Taffy joke, you can probably find her holed up in her writing room feverishly working on her next book. She lives in Northern California with her family.