Authors: Ash Johnson
Copyright© 2013 by Ashley Johnson
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without the written permission of the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All songs, song titles and lyrics contained in this book are the property of the respective songwriters and copyright holders.
Cover art by Stephanie Nelson of Once Upon a Time Covers.
This day just can’t seem to get worse, can it
? This is the question no one should ever ask, because when you do ask, things can seem to get worse. I ran out of gas on the way to school this morning and was late to my much needed study group for my math class, I stepped in a mud puddle and ruined my brand new pair of white tennis shoes, and to top it all off, I just saw my boyfriend of over a year with his tongue down another girl’s throat outside of the science building that I just walked out of.
Well, that last part doesn’t faze me anymore; it’s one of the many times I’ve caught my scumbag boyf
riend, Jake, making out with the same girl who used to be one of my closest girlfriends in high school. I have thought to myself so many times that I should break up with him, but I know it would crush him, and my parents, if I did.
Jake has already asked my father if he could marry me and my father happily agreed, because who wouldn’t want the
ir daughter to marry the mayor’s son, even if he is a cheating piece of shit. “That would be huge for us to be able to call his family in-laws” my mother had said, constantly worrying about our family’s image.
All I could do was plaster on the brightest smile I could muster and walk away.
I never dreamt my life would be like this, in fact my dreams were completely opposite of what my parents wanted for me. I was going to leave this place the second I graduated high school. I was going to work in a crime lab. I was going to be married to Ryan, my best friend and the man of my dreams, and wait until we were at least thirty before we had kids so that we could see the world together.
My biggest downfall, though, was that I was raised to do for others. I am the worst kind o
f people pleaser, to the point I have put everything I want on the back burner so that I could fulfill others’ ideas of how my life should be.
I am at this in
-state college because my parents told me to stay home and wait for Jake to be ready to propose. I work a meaningless job as a cashier at the local grocery store so that it will be “an easy job to quit when the time comes to have babies”, those being my father’s words.
It’s the last week of my first semester of college.
I really wanted to go to a school out of state and have a different experience than everyone else around me, but my parents and my boyfriend wouldn’t hear of it. In this little hell hole of a town I’m from, and with the old fashioned family I have, women are seen and not heard.
You go to church every Sunday.
You stay out of trouble.
You are allowed to go to college, but only until you get married, and then you focus all of your attention on your husband’s success and stay hom
e to have a bunch of rug rats.
It’s like being stuck in the nineteenth century all over again.
Just thinking of the outcome of my future makes me cringe, luckily I still have my best friend, Ryan, to help talk me through this joke of a life.
I hear my
cell phone beep, signaling an incoming text, in my backpack so I move to the side of the walkway and put it down on the sidewalk to fish my phone out. After I tuck a lock of my long brown hair behind my ear and push my aviator sunglasses up to the top of my head, I pull my phone out I see that it’s a text from Ryan.
Ryan: The wife is mad that we keep talking. Says she’ll leave me if I keep texting you. I’m so sorry Brynnie, but stop texting me.
What? How could he?
My mouth drops open and tears prick the corners of my eyes. Ryan has been my best friend since the third grade and the man I’ve secretly been in love with for about five years. All I can do is glare at the text that I just received from my now ex-best friend, Ryan, in disbelief.
Ryan’s new wife, Amber, is the worst type of person.
They’ve been married for a month now and since their quickie wedding, I’ve gone from talking to my best friend at least twice a day to a hand full of times in a month.
her to marry him because Amber found out she was barely pregnant about five weeks after we started college. Ryan suspected her of poking holes in the condoms he was using so that she could get pregnant, but was given quite a few guilt trips and ultimatums from family members to do the “honorable” thing and marry her as quickly as possible.
I glance around to see if anyone on campus is looking at me
while I openly weep, and then look back to the text when I notice that the campus grounds are mostly empty. I push my sunglasses back down to cover my blue, smeared, make-up covered eyes and shove my cell phone into the pocket of my light purple Roxy hoodie.
This day has reached an all time low.
What the hell am I supposed to do now?
It’s right t
hen that I snap. That’s it! That text was the last nail in the coffin for me. I could have kept going the rest of the day, perhaps my life, hating everything but holding it all in because this is what was planned out for me, but losing my best friend for the stupidest reason ever is the last straw.
I can’t keep living my life like this
; I will end up just miserable and drinking myself into oblivion when no one is watching-like my mother does. I square my shoulders, pick up my backpack and start heading toward my car in the parking lot. I’m already late for my last class, so I might as well go home and decide what I really want to do with my life.
I don’t want to marry that cheating bastard Jake. I don’t want to quit school. I want to live and enjoy my life, not throw it d
own the drain at the age of nineteen.
Since it is
the last week of the semester, I know exactly what I am going to do. I drive home and apply to as many out of state colleges as I can think of, and with my grades, I will most likely get in. I don’t care where I end up going. The first school to send me an acceptance letter is where I would choose to go.
I call my cheating boyfriend that I have been dating for a year and tell him that we need to talk. I have never really loved him, and caught him cheating on me after two months of us dating, but didn’t ever want to hurt him by breaking it off or endure the never ending shit storm that would fly at me from my parents when I did. He had gone around telling all of our friends that he was going to marry me, after all, and that’s a promise you just don’t break.
An hour later, I me
et my soon to be ex-boyfriend at an ice cream shop down the street from his house.
“I don’t understand, Brynn. We are supposed to g
et married.” Jake just stares at me like I have grown an extra head, but still has the confidence in his voice and a shine in his big brown eyes that says he knows I won’t have the guts to follow through with it. I give him a half a smile and study him for a moment.
Jake has beautiful
tan skin, but it looks a bit orange because he bleaches his short spiky hair, which has enough gel in it to turn his hair into a lethal weapon if he leans down, to an unnatural blonde. He is on the shorter side at about five foot seven, but he’s decently built; not really muscular, but not wimpy either.
He is not the type of man I ever saw
myself dating, let alone getting married to. I stare at him and wonder how I ever ended up with him. “I’m not happy, Jake. This isn’t what I wanted from my life and I don’t want this life that my parents have planned for me. I never wanted to hurt you, but I’m not in love with you and I want you to find someone that loves you as much as you love them. Perhaps you can go ask Melanie if she’ll marry you. I saw your hands all over her and your tongue in her mouth this morning at school.” I scoff, inwardly reeling as I watch his face pale.
I stand from the booth we a
re sitting at, ready to walk away. I take one last look at Jake who has the most confused look on his face. Before I can take my first step, he grabs my hand tightly and lets out one sarcastic laugh before he says “Are you fucking kidding me, Brynn? You are my girlfriend and I’m going to marry you. You are the world to me and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you and have kids with you. How can you just throw away a year like it was nothing?” I can only let my head fall back and laugh sarcastically at his remark.
Of course he isn’t going to deny making out with Melanie this morning. I look to the ground, shaking my head from side to side slowly while I try to calm my rage.
pulling my arm away from him and taking a deep breath, I say “I didn’t throw away a year, Jake. You threw it all away a long time ago when you started fucking around with other girls behind my back.” Jake’s eyebrows shoot into his hairline; he’s never heard me swear before, but I’m pissed and not about to hold anything back now. I decide to hit him with a low blow.
I won’t marry a cheating asshole; worrying about if you’re really staying late at the office or if you’re at the motel with another woman. By the way, tell Melanie I said thanks for being such a wonderful friend by making sure that the inside of your mouth was thoroughly cleaned this morning.” Jake looks at his folded hands on top of the table and sniffs like he was about to cry. In that moment I think about caving, but know that it if I do, my life will be horrible. If I don’t do it now, I will never get the guts to do it, so I decide to turn around and leave without looking back.
Now I just need
to figure out what to do about Ryan. I text him one last time and ask him to come to my house so that we can talk about his text and how easily he is casting me out of his life. Ten minutes later Ryan knocks on the front door. I don’t let him in, but instead I walk past him outside and we sit on the front steps of my porch for a few minutes before either one of us says anything.
y his profile while we sit in silence; strong square jaw, toned body, tan skin, perfect straight nose, long dark eyelashes covering his light blue eyes, and medium blonde hair that reaches his shoulders and curls at the ends. He looks like he could be a surfer.
“I can’t stay long. Amber thinks I’m out ge
tting her ice cream.” Ryan mutters, fiddling with his car keys, his hands between long legs with his elbows resting on his knees. I let out a loud huff of air and shake my head before practically screaming at him.
“What the fuck, Chuck
! Why are you throwing me out like I’m last night’s garbage?” I hear my voice crack but I’m trying to keep my emotions in check, because I know I will cry. I look over at Ryan, willing him to look at me and give me an honest answer, but he refuses to look up at me.
“Brynn, I know this sucks. I don’t want to do this, but Amber is really sensitive right now since she’s pregnant and she thinks that I’m going to leave her for you. She doesn’t like me talking to you, so for now I need you to stay away; no texting, no calling, no coming over. Just for a little while, you know. M
aybe she’ll lighten up after this baby is born and you and I can go back to the way things used to be.”
I am furious by the time he finishes his sentence. My hands are clenched into fists and I’m gritting my teeth so hard I think I may crack a few of them. I shake my head and stand up, but Ryan still won’t make eye contact, so I’m forced to scream at the back of his head.
“You know what, Ryan, fuck you! You can’t just pick and choose when you want me to be in your life. I’m so sick of everyone thinking that I’m just going to stick around and wait to do what they ask me to. If you want to throw away your best friend of eleven years so that you don’t accidentally step on Princess Amber’s pretty glass heart then so be it, but I won’t be here waiting for you to talk to me again. Thanks for ending our friendship with the awesome text, by the way. It was the perfect ending to my day. Go get your wife’s fucking ice cream before she suspects that you were out talking to me.”
I walk into my house and slam the front door
, visibly upset but mentally thanking him for sending me that text that caused me to snap and make a change in my life. I leave Ryan sitting on my front steps with his head in his hands without a backward glance.