Usage of italics in writing
“But I was patient. I wrote back. I was sympathetic, I was kind. Ginny simply loved me. No one’s ever understood me like you, Tom...I’m so glad I’ve got this diary to confide in...It’s like having a friend I can carry around in my pocket...” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (p.309, US edition).
The speaker, Tom Riddle, is a villain in this story. He is boasting how well he could win Ginny’s heart by becoming a kind of pen pal with her.
I understand the latter part is italicized because Tom is mimicking Ginny’s comment. But why is “loved” written in italics? Or, if you were the writer, how would you express the same meaning without italics?