Authors: Savannah Page
Tags: #relationships, #love, #contemporary women, #fiction, #contemporary women's fiction, #chick lit, #women, #friendship, #chicklit
a novel by
Also by Savannah Page
Bumped to Berlin
When Girlfriends Break Hearts
Copyright © 2012, Savannah Page
Print ISBN: 978-1475248913
Digital Release: May 2012
Trade Paperback Release: May 2012
Publisher: Pearls and Pages
Cover Art and Book Design: Pearls and Pages
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. The characters, names, events, and places portrayed in this novel are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarity to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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Information about the author and her upcoming books can be found online at
For Christian, my husband and love.
And for Cynthia.
I would like to thank my parents, sister, brother, family, and friends for their love and endless cheerleading.
A special thanks to a few of my own girlfriends, Anne, Erin, and Jade, for their advice and support; for helping make this book the best that it can be.
Many thanks to my editor, Nicholas Ambrose.
And last but never least, I thank my husband, Christian, for believing in me, encouraging me, and making this author lifestyle possible and absolutely enjoyable. And of course many thanks for being my book cover artist. Thank you for everything.
Ich liebe dich.
I’ve never been one who can let go. I’ve never been able to just let something
. Never been able to let sleeping dogs lie or leave well enough alone. Usually because nothing is ever well enough to be let alone. Because letting go is losing control. And losing control is losing, and you can’t find peace or contentment or even happiness if you’re losing the game of life, right?
Walking away from a problem or a situation without all of the answers you need in order to claim control of the situation—of your life—is simply unacceptable. You can’t just sit back and let go. Your life starts to spin out of control, and you deserve answers to the problems. To the chaos. So you demand them, you claim them, and then you finally gain control. And then maybe, just maybe, you can be at peace. Right? You can be happy. You can be content. Isn’t that how it goes?
Sometimes I wonder if a weekly appointment with a psychologist would help me. I’m always imagining chaotic life scenarios, and often running these lines through my head:
Why can’t I just let go? Why do I always seek control? Is something wrong with me? Am I abnormal?
I think constantly questioning my outlook on and approach to life, and frequently second-guessing who I am and who I ought to be, is just another meager attempt at controlling everything and anything. Yes, I’m Anna-Sophia (just call me Sophie) Wharton, and I’m a control-aholic.
I’ve always wanted for control, even since childhood; it’s habitual at this point. Keeping as much in order as I possibly can and making sure that everything has a schedule, a place, a reason was as much a part of my personality at five as it is now at twenty-five. Actually, I’d argue that it’s gotten considerably worse with age. And has been rather heightened over the past three weeks, in particular.
At five, my priority was to have each stuffed animal lined up according to species, followed by size, and finally by color. If each stuffed animal wasn’t lined up properly along my bedroom bay window before it was lights out I’d feel my body tense with an oncoming temper tantrum. Occasionally I could relax and just let things
, but usually there was a right way to do something, and the right way was how it had to be done.
Twenty years later I may not be lining up my stuffed animals just so, and in fact my plethora of decorative bed pillows don’t
have to be arranged in their as-designed-to-be-displayed manner, but I’m still a very control-seeking person. I’ve matured enough over the years to realize that sometimes there’s a bit of elbow room to just leave things alone. I seriously doubt I will die if the leftover pizza isn’t put away into Ziploc bags as soon as dinner is done. I know I can’t control
around me and that things
happen outside of a planned schedule. That’s life. I get that.
But when your boyfriend of three years suddenly says he has fallen out of love with you and can no longer be with you—that he doesn’t see a future with you anymore—you don’t dust off your hands and say, “Well, I guess that’s life.” I can’t dismiss an apocalyptic scenario like that as “one of life’s little surprises,” much less accept it for face value. This kind of thing deserves answers. An explanation. Reasons.
When you devote three years to the person who you believed and even planned to spend the rest of your life with, and all of the sudden he says, “Catch you later,” you can’t help but demand answers to this sudden change of heart. Sure, things may not always go according to plan—but those are like potholes or bumps in the road.
was like gunning someone down, hitting them head on with your car, and then fleeing the scene. Homicide. In the first degree.
Alright, I tend to have a flair for drama—just occasionally. But having my heart broken and life completely disrupted like this has been extremely painful and life-altering. All I do day and night is run through the same self-reflecting questions. I can’t stop asking if the reason behind the sudden breakup was something in particular that I did, or said, or maybe didn’t say or didn’t do. Or maybe I’m seriously flawed in the whole character department. Maybe all I need is some psychological help. But I can’t help but think that any other woman in my situation, with or without controlling tendencies, could just accept that her relationship with her supposed soul mate had concluded so out of the blue. And without a Q and A session!
I met my boyfriend—rephrase; my
-boyfriend—Brandon Crossley, at our university’s graduation party three years ago. I had finally accomplished four years of intense studying (and occasionally equally intense partying) at the University of Washington in Seattle. “Pomp and Circumstance” had sounded for what seemed like a million loops, my mock degree in History was in my hands (the real one would arrive in the mail weeks later, giving cause for grad party number two), my tassel had been turned, and it was time to celebrate.
Every year, the university student association arranged a fabulous party in a swanky downtown hotel for the year’s graduates. My best girlfriends and I, and some of our guy friends (and boyfriends for those of us who were attached), would treat ourselves to a night of much-deserved partying, cocktails, random table dances, countless photos and drunken ten-second cell phone videos, and of course shameless flirting for those who weren’t attached. (Yes, that was me.)
Before the night had even gotten started, with my first apple martini still in-hand, I met
. I was standing in line with two of my best friends, Lara Kearns and Robin Sinclair, waiting to have our caricatures done, when I noticed a very tall and attractive guy with messily tousled, sort of shaggy-like, mocha-colored hair. He was standing with a few other guys at one of the nearby bistro tables that had been arranged throughout the large hotel ballroom. And he was staring at me.
He was resting one of his nicely built arms on the tabletop, leaning in a very sexy and inviting sort of way. Very Hollywood film-like. At first and double glance (because who couldn’t do a double-take of this man?) his figure and appearance begged for a woman’s attention. He was a head-turner, no doubt. Not your classic Ralph Lauren model or Calvin Klein material, but he could beckon attention by just standing there and being…himself. I wasn’t the only girl who agreed that he had it “going on.” A choir of serious approval sounded from all of my girlfriends once I shared the news that the hottie from the grad party was my latest “love” interest.
Brandon’s black book, as I would later learn, was brimming with more exes and first dates and flings than I could have imagined. It was obvious that Brandon had great looks and a suave personality and that was all it took to land ladies—some serious relationships, many not. For me, from the first moment I laid eyes on him at that party, all I could think about was delectable eye candy. Would I have imagined that we’d end up having an amazing—and horribly ending—three-year relationship? Never. That night all I could think of was if I would work up the nerve to flirt with him. Would I get a chance to have any form of conversation with him? Would we hit it off? Would there be some romantic spark that could lead to a kiss? Maybe something more? I wasn’t sure, but at the very moment that I had caught his stare I honestly didn’t care. I figured inhibitions could be laid aside that celebratory evening and I deserved to do a little shameless flirting…even shameful if it came to that.
I continued to soak in the beauty before my eyes and encouraged the stare he was sending me with a bit of flirtatious smiling and even a little eyebrow raise. He sent a smile my way. That’s when I figured I had to make my next move.
Oh the way he wore those black slacks that were just tight enough to define his nice ass, but not to where you’d second guess if he were going for the young Italian mobster look or something metro. And the way his collared shirt fell perfectly along his strong and wide shoulders—all that was enough for me to hand over my hotel room key and say, “Take me now!” His hair, though rather disheveled, balanced out the “professional” appearance that his slacks and nice dress shirt afforded him. From head to toe he was basically a real looker. And I wanted a word with him.
Sipping his beer, his lips curled into another smile. My flirt meter really starting to kick in, I ducked out of line, whispering to my girlfriends that I needed to take care of something.
I had been single for quite some time, my last love interest not being all that interesting. I wasn’t looking for a relationship, or even a quick and meaningless fling, but I wasn’t closed to the idea… Closed to the idea of a budding relationship, that is. When I caught this attractive man’s stare and considered how inviting his lean against the bistro table, and how infectious his smile, were to a freshly graduated and unattached girl who was ready to take on the “real world” like myself, I decided grad party night would inevitably become a night of intense flirting. Maybe even snagging a date.
Lucky for me it was instant attraction on both ends. Brandon, also a recent grad (obviously), although a student of Business Administration rather than a “good luck finding a real job” student of History like myself, told me that he had spotted me from across the room and was instantly attracted to my smile. He said that he was pleasantly surprised when I decided to slip out of the caricature line to say “hi.”
That night we shared a few drinks. He met some of my friends. I met a few of his. We talked about our “real world plans.” We exchanged numbers. And a kiss. Okay, a
kisses. Okay, okay,
kisses that give me slight chills even now just thinking about them, despite the hell that I’ve been through these past three weeks. That’s how intense our chemistry was within the first few hours we got to know each other. And that’s how intense our chemistry and relationship were for three years.