Jonathan Drazen,” I said, squeezing his hand. “You’re a manipulative bastard, a brazen liar, and a sadist. You’ve brought me to my knees. You’ve dominated me. You’ve told me who I am and then challenged me to be it. If you made me strong enough to stand up to the world, let me stand by you. If you completed the woman I am, let me be that woman in your honor. Every part of my body is dedicated to you. Every note I sing. Every breath in my lungs. My pleasure and pain. Take me. Let me serve you. Let me be yours.

If all were perfect, what should we have to suffer from others for God’s sake? But God has so ordained, that we may learn to bear with one another’s burdens, for there is no man without fault, no man without burden, no man sufficient to himself nor wise enough. Hence we must support one another, console one another, mutually help, counsel, and advise, for the measure of every man’s virtue is best revealed in time of adversity — adversity that does not weaken a man but rather shows what he is.

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