Book Title: Sinners + Saints
Author: Chelsea Ballinger
Genre: New Adult
Release Date: July 1, 2015
Hosted by: Book Enthusiast Promotions
From the first moment I saw him, I knew he was it for me… even if he didn’t. The most beautiful boy I have ever seen has become my obsession and yet I am perfectly fine with it. I was born with a warm heart… but a strong one at that.
They call me a bitch; they say I’m cruel, vindictive, and evil beyond repair… and they’re right. Frankly, I don’t find anything wrong with that. I believe people should be more like me. Life is so much easier when you shut off all the emotions that cause you to care. I am simply a woman who gets what she wants and what I want is for everyone to know their place.
Most people feel sorry for my father. Jonathan Mandrake. Wife and son are dead. Remaining sons might as well be dead. One is autistic and the other is the devil. If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m not the twin with autism. That’s my brother, August. We are a mirror image of each other but due to bad luck, we are complete opposites. My father is a prick—don’t let the smile fool you. My brother is one of the few people I tolerate and like. The only person who’s ever really understood me is Scarlett. The closest thing I have to a parent is Ms. Eleanor, my temporary guardian. When wealthy parents don’t want to leave their children home alone to embarrass the family name, they send them to her, not caring that her head is full of nothing but butterflies, rainbows, Bloody Mary’s, and young Latin men. Aside from my brother, I also live here with Jordana Abbott, the only girl I haven’t slept with because she's a lesbian; Poppy Montgomery, who loves pink and pills; and Cody Nichols, a virgin—poor bastard. But now we have added a new resident. I call her the English Rose. She’s beautiful, British… and very annoying. Scarlett wants me to break her, but something tells me there is no breaking this girl. So I won’t bother. Unfortunately, along with being unbreakable, Juliet Spears is also persistent when it comes to things she should not delve into… which is me.
Sometimes you can be awake and asleep at the same time. Metaphorically and physically speaking. Physically, I am indeed still asleep, but awake. My eyes are closed but the sounds from outside my room resonate in my ears. I hear the cars honking outside, the construction on the townhouse across the street. The birds tapping on my window and inside I hear a pair of feet running upstairs. He always runs upstairs, excited to see me.
My brother is a person of a rare perception. He sees things like no other. He is shy, timid, and sensitive to touch, but never with me; he always loves to touch me and I hate to be touched.
“Hugo!” He jumps in my bed, with his probably red Ralph Lauren loafers still on. He keeps jumping until I finally awake, turning on my back. There he is, smiling at me.
“Hello, August,” I greet him nonchalantly. He never cares how I greet him as long as I do. I grunt as he plops down on my stomach and starts to tickle me. I’m not ticklish yet that still doesn’t stop him. He loves to tickle me. He got it from our mother. She loved to tickle us.
He finally gets off and sits next to me. I grab a cigarette out of my gold cig case and light it. He wipes away the smoke from his face, pouting. I look at him as he scratches the top of his head while the other hand moves his fingers, making the usual hand gestures he does. “How was the trip?” I ask.
He shakes his head, staring off frowning and confused. “I- I didn’t like it. People kept talking to me, asking me bout myself and I didn’t like it at all, Hugo. They kept getting in my face and I don’t understand. And when I did talk, they looked at me funny. How can
you be at a function for people with autism and you don’t know how to act around people with autism? You’re not supposed to look at us funny and make us feel uncomfortable and not normal. That’s rude.”
“Well, big brother, the world is full of ignorant folk.”
“I didn’t like the food either, but!” His face lights up, scratching his nose. “There was cake. It was chocolate.”
“Sounds riveting,” I deadpan. He bites his lip, his brow scrunched up in deep thought. “What?” I ask. “Dad yelled at me. He was mad at me, but I don’t know
what I did, Hugo. I try... I try to be normal, but I can’t. It’s written in stone; I am different. You say that. I am- I am different.”
“Yes, you are. You are more than different. Hey, look at me.” My brother doesn’t make eye contact with people, barely me, but if I need to get a point across, he will grant me his stare. His head hunches over and his eyes look into mine. I see my reflection. We are identical. Same everything except his hair is longer and falls over his forehead and the obvious, he is indeed different. “You are better than any of those people... even me.”
“But we are the same, so if I’m better, than you are, right?”
He likes to see us as the same because it gives him confidence. My confidence in myself is what he relies on. I am his hero and it both amuses and frightens me.
“Yeah...” I give in to make him feel better. “You and I are better than all of them... so fuck em.”
He winces whenever someone curses. His ears are sensitive to vulgar words and loud sounds. His body is sensitive to crowds of people and swimming pools. His mind works visually. Everything he feels is visualized in his mind and projected into a maze. My brother is oddly a genius in his own right, but people never seem to grasp that. So he is the wise recluse, a man wise beyond his premature years who is content to live a solitary life. He only asks for one thing and that is that I will always be there because we are one and without the other, we are nothing. I have no choice but to promise him that out of obligation, out of blood, out of guilt
because I could have been the brother who came out differently. Last time I checked, if one twin comes out with autism, there is a seventy percent chance that the other will develop it too. My brother came out first. If you were asked which one you’d think would develop it before knowing, you’d suggest me, the twin that took twelve minutes to come out of my mother’s womb and wasn’t breathing when arrived. It took them a minute to get me crying loudly like my life depended on it. My mother told me I was like a banshee. She said my screams scared her and for a moment she did not want to hold me. But when they lay August and I next to each other, it did not matter because to her it was as if we were one. They kept monitoring me, not worried about August. He came out on time and healthy. He was okay, but soon they learned that irony is very essential to life. I became the thirty percent chance, ‘The lucky chance’, our doctor told our parents when August couldn’t talk nor act accordingly to most standards of a five year old. I was lucky. Not him and to me that was fucked up.
I thought about him last night before I fell asleep and I thought of him when I woke this morning. Then when I was in the shower and when I threw on the last piece of clothing on my body. When I walked down the hall from my room.
I am anticipating the moment I see him again. I think I come across him in the foyer, rolling a glass marble on the centered round dark brown table. I am mistaken.
The marble slowly collides with the decorated centerpiece, a gold moai of Buddha, which doesn’t surprise me is there. He’s staring at the marble hard, trying to figure it out maybe? He reaches his hand over the table and grabs the marble, prepared to repeat the same action. I only see the back of him, but I can tell this is the infamous twin brother, August Mandrake.
Slowly, he stands up, his shoulders hunched. He turns and I see his side frame. His bottom lip pokes out as he stares at the
marble. He’s wearing a blue collared shirt that is buttoned up to the top. A brown belt holds up his green khaki shorts. He has on red Ralph Lauren loafers. His hair falls over his forehead and he looks slightly leaner than Hugo. Realizing he isn’t alone, he faces me, his eyes widening.
“Hello,” I say carefully. I’ve never interacted with someone of his nature. It might be a bit presumptuous or even rude, but I would think you’d have to be careful with someone like him. But it doesn’t stop me from stepping forward. He steps back. He keeps staring at the floor, but for a quick second he raises his head to me, staring off at the wall. Wow, I see the color of his eyes. One blue, a bright blue at that, and the other green but darker. His eyes are big and round and the contrast between them is clear. Seeing August’s eyes is almost like seeing Hugo for the first time.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” he asks, frowning, scared and confused. I feel like shit for staring at him like he’s an alien. “I don’t like it when people stare at me.” His fingers move frequently and his eyes blink every half a second. I step back, not wanting to frighten him anymore.
“I’m sorry,” I apologize. I stick out my hand. “I’m Juliet.” He stares down at my hand and scratches the back of his head. He takes another step back like it’s the plague. “Well, we don’t have to shake hands.” I quickly pull my hands behind my back.
“My dad says I-I need to start shaking people’s hands, but I don’t want to.” He shakes his head as he speaks still staring off. His eyes dance, shifting from left to right. It’s as if there is a war going on in them. “I don’t like it when people touch me.”
I tilt my head, wondering how I should go about this. “Well, how about we figure out a new way to greet one another?”
The corners of his mouth start to turn up. “You’re British. Like James Bond, David Beckham, Keira Knightley, the Queen of England.”
I giggle. “Yes, I am and I don’t know about you, but I get tired of shaking people’s hands.”
“What do you suggest?” he asks eagerly. “Hmm,” I think. “How about a wave?”
He scratches the mild chin hair he has, biting his lip. “A wave makes sense; I probably should’ve thought of a wave first.” He starts frowning, a distressed moan escapes from his lips. “Why didn’t I think of a wave?”
“Hey,” I say softly and shit I press me hand without thinking on his shoulder. I don’t make a sudden movement, scared to scare him off. He looks at my hand on his shoulder and surprisingly, he doesn’t freak out. “It’s alright,” I go on. “Sometimes the most simple things slip from our minds.”
“Even the normal?” he asks, still staring at my hand on his shoulder.
I smile at his curiosity and innocence. “Even the normal.”
He starts to laugh to himself. “I’m August,” he graciously introduces himself.
“Lovely to meet you, August.”
London Grammar –Metal & Dust
Frank Ocean –Super Rich Kids
Frank Ocean –Lost
Phantogram –Black Out Days
Hozier –Work Song
Hozier –Take Me Church
2Pac –Hit ‘Em Up
The Civil Wars –Devil’s Backbone
Taylor Swift –Wildest Dreams
Taylor Swift –Style
The Weeknd –Wicked Games
Skylar Grey –I Know You
Prelow –Mistakes Like This
Nicki Minaj –Night is Still Young
Nicki Minaj –Buy a Heart (Feat. Meek Mill)
Kevin Garrett –Coloring
Halsey –Hold Me Down
Kanye West –Wolves (Feat. Vic Mensa & Sia)
Vic Mensa –U Mad
Florence and the Machine –Long & Lost
Florence and the Machine –Various Storms & Saints
Laura Welsh –Ghosts