Ok, ok. Here goes.
Once upon a time (August 30, 2003), in a faraway land called "Chicago, Illinois", there were a bunch of kids about to start their first year of college. Our characters' names were Allie, Ian, Cheryl, Emma, Jessica, Paul (he lived across campus, but was still a music student) and RT, but he didn't go to college with the rest of the kids. He went to trade school in the suburbs, but we'll get to him later.
The first night in their new dorm, Seton Hall, they were still a bit anxious and excited about theri new surroundings, so our heroes (except for Paul and RT) gathered in room 329, the luxurious (read: small) domocile of Allie, Emma and Cheryl. Allie and Cheryl had become fast friends via the phone and internet immediately upon receiving their room assignemnts. Jessica and Allie had been in youth orchestras together for ages and were excited about "neighbors' in the dorm. Emma was the out-of-stater from Michigan. Ian was the hot-shot king of his high school from a tiny suburb next to the international runway of O'Hare airport which no one had heard of.
Anyway, we all got together and played Cranium, because we're a big bunch of nerds. Ian spent the night hitting on me, much to disappointment of Cheryl and Jess, who had their eyes on this hottie as well. When he asked who the guy in the picture on my desk was, I word vomitted "Oh, we're sort of dating", even though we really weren't anymore. Way to shoot myself in the foot. The next day, when I told Jess that I liked Ian, she announced that not only did she like Ian as well, but that she had made out with him. Wanting to end the bad guy-mongering habits I had had in high school, I decided to cede this one to her. Ian did seem a little arrogant anyway.
Well, it was a good thing, too, because Ian was also kind of a "playa". After he decided that Jess had too much baggage, he moved on to Ashley, then Lauren. Then, onto Cheryl. Only, he and Cheryl actually talked. He totally liked her! Of course they both confided in me. I told them to do it the only way my little naive self approved of it: make it official! So, even though he had some hesitations for his own reasons, he went ahead and asked her out. He was pleased, she was thrilled.
Around this same time, this creep, Paul (who I didn't know at that point was a creep) began pursuing me. I was happy to have the attention, now being the 3rd wheel with my 2 best friends (did I mention that Ian and Cheryl and I became EXTREMELY close friends in those first few weeks?), so I went along with it. There should have been all kinds of red flags, but I totally missed them. After telling me he loved me, after like 2 weeks of "officially" dating, he dumped me the following day. I later learned that he was really rboken up about being dumped by his ex of 3 years. I met this girl fairly recently...she looks and talks the way I do and we have almost identical tastes. Hmmm...
Well, the day after Paul dumped me, Ian thought it would be a good opportunity to dump the increasingly clingy and freakishly dependent Cheryl. He liked her, sure, but not that much. I was actually kind of horrified at this point, because I thought that logically EVERY relationship ended in love unless it was declared "low-key". This just goes to show you how much things change between age 18 and age 20. So I was a little disgusted with him. But more upset about Paul, since I was busy going along with that whole deal. So now, you have me and my best friend Cheryl, just totally upset about our situation. Only with Cheryl, and this is an important plot detail, she was unwilling to give up on Ian and began to fall steadily more and more in love with this enigma of a guy.
Well, Paul called me one night to "hang out". While I fully intended to go, I was all melencholy about the possibility that he was just doing this to make me feel better. So Ian, trying to be helpful, told me that he was SURE Paul would put the moves on me and that he was willing to put money on it. Not one to pass up the opportnity for free cash, I told him that I'd take the bet. He told me to set the terms. Based on an earlier conversation I had with Ian about "fun strings-free dates" and fancy restaurants, I said that if he lost he'd have to take me on one such date.
Ian lost the bet.
The next weekend, he took me to Bistro 110, which is in the real toursity part of town, near Water Tower and the Hancock building. It was easily the most fun date I had ever been on in my life. Sure it was stress free and we weren't following the rules of dating, but it was fun on another level. It was quite clear that Ian and I had a chemistry that went beyond friendship. If only we had owned up to it then.
Well, he kissed me at the end of that date. And one thing lead to another...there were more dates and even secret weekend train rides out to his mom's house to escape the dorm and the roommates. He was a judge for IHSA Speech team events, and I'd just tell everyone that my big fat Italian Family was getting together to do something. At one point, we were both leaving campus every weekend. Eventually, it got even more difficult to resist each other and we were "finding opportunities" to be with each other at school. Cheryl is, at this point, still madly in love with Ian. ANd Ian and I are either in deep denial or are totally ignorant of the fact that this is obviously more than physical.
Valentine's day 2004, and this is after Ian took both Cheryl and I out to dinner together AS FRIENDS, we were walked in on by Ian's roommate, who had suspected it for a long time. He didn't see us "doing" anything and we were, mind you, fully clothed, but we were definitely on his bed together. I went out without Ian that night to a party. It was at this party that I met RT. My soon-to-be-new-roommate, Salina, introduced us and made an attempt to set us up. Thinking that I'd probably get dinner and some positive, accepted attention out of this, I went along with it. He was a total sweetheart, he was a down-home country boy from rural Wisconsin and he worked on cars. Like, good body, wearing a white t-shirt while being all greasy worked on cars. He wasn't particularly bright, but he was nice and very sincere.
So RT wined and dined me for about 6 or 8 weeks. In that period, he did incredibly sweet things for me. He "stole" my bike and replaced a blown out tire and tund up the whole thing without being asked to do so, he brought me little rpesents, he never forgot to call, he even turned off the Nascar channel in favor of CSI, which doesn't interest him. Things got serious and one thing lead to another...which was immediately followed by him admitting that he had been lying about his "status" the whole time we'd been dating, if you know what I mean.
THAT whole carade happened simultaneously with Ian refusing to speak to me, yet making me CD's with "I'll Cover You" from RENT and "If I Fell In Love With you" and leaving them all over my room for me. One day, he made me one with "The Luckiest" by Ben Folds on it. I was in the gym eating lunch (there's a juice bar) and I started bawling. Hours later, RT had been dumped.
But we still had to tell Cheryl, who isn't an idiot, and had suspected something for weeks now (Disclaimer: I never did cheat on RT, at least not physically, but it's hard to escape one's mind) but was giving the benefit of the doubt because she refused to believe that people would do something so bad to someone they loved.
Well, we did. And we owned up to it. And Cheryl moved out hours later, followed by a disgusted Emma. And it's just what we had to deal with for doing what we did. But that's what we get for going about it the way we did.
As for right now, Cheryl and Ian are my two rocks. Cheryl and I went through a lot of talks and even counseling but it was all because we knew how special our relationship was and is.
Here's a couple pics, one of me and Cheryl and another of me and Ian:
(I'm on the left)
This is an old pic, but one of my favorites. Hooray for soft focus lenses!
Hope you enjoy my novel...lt me know if anyone actually reads it