Saturday, April 16, 2016

Chapter 9 (4/16/16)

Hey all!  Thanks so much for your patience, support, and encouragement.  I'm counting down the days until I'm done with school and can give you a consistent posting schedule.  Just know I won't ever forget about you!  In the meantime, here is a nice long post for your weekend reading pleasure!

My inopportune run in with my former in-laws was enough to finally motivate to make some real moves to get out of this house.  I spent Sunday looking at listings online and emailing them to Mike.  I bumped my budget up a little, expanded the areas of town I was willing to live in, and realized that getting all of the things on my list of preferred features was not realistic. 
I also started combing Google and Craigslist for rental backups.  I couldn’t stay here any longer than necessary anymore.  I located a couple apartment or townhome complexes that were in my price range and looked reasonably nice and bookmarked their sites so I had them on hand if I didn’t find anything.  Then, taking a deep breath, I wrote “January 23rd” on a post-in and stuck it to my laptop.
January 23rd was the date I’d chosen for Chelsea’s suggestion of setting a date by which if I wasn’t in the process of actually buying a house, I’d look for a rental or other short term option instead.  It was a significant date, because it was the day I’d met Kevin.

“Jenna!” Erica hissed in my ear. 
“What?” I asked loudly.  Erica immediately shushed me and I rolled my eyes.  It’s not like our campus cafeteria was a quiet library where everyone could hear you.
“There is a really hot guy that keeps looking over here.  I think he’s looking at you,” she replied in her hushed tone.  “He’s over to your left, but don’t—“
She stopped and sighed audibly as I ignored her telling me not to look and turned my head to the left.  “I can’t take you anywhere,” she grumbled.  I didn’t even hear her, because I had immediately made eye contact with the most attractive man I had ever seen on this campus.  I smiled lazily at him, glanced away, and immediately looked back.  He was still watching me.  I let my lazy smile turn to a smirk, held his gaze for about 3 seconds, and then turned back to Erica.
“How do you do that?” she asked me. 
“Do what?” I asked, confused. 
“Eye fuck someone like that and get away with it?”  I was about to respond when her eyes widened.  “He’s coming over here,” she hissed.
My heart rate immediately picked up.  I was a phenomenal flirt from across the room, but my actual flirting skills left quite a bit to be desired.  I took a deep breath, determined not to screw this up by being awkward.  I didn’t even look up until I saw him right at our table.  Then I let my eyes slowly wander his way.
“Hi,” he said, his voice deep and smooth.  “My friends and I are having a party tonight.  You should come.”  He didn’t even introduce himself.  I blinked in surprise, unsure how to respond.  Unfazed, he continued.  “Give me your number.  I’ll text you the address.”
Without even thinking, I automatically rattled off my cell phone number.  Erica had yet to say a word.  In fact, she was embarrassingly staring at him in wonder.  I kicked her under the table and she jumped and glared at me.
A second later, my phone vibrated.  I looked down at it and saw I had a new text.  I grabbed it and saw an address and the words, “By the way, my name is Kevin.  See you tonight.  Things usually get pretty wild by 10.”
I looked up to say something, anything, to him, but he was gone.  “What the hell was that?” Erica breathed.
            “I don’t know,” I replied.  “But you’re coming to this party with me.  Kelly too.”

            “Jen, he’s probably slept with at least half of the girls that go here and has had every STD known to man,” Kelly said practically.  After lunch, we’d headed directly to her dorm room, which was one floor directly below ours.  “You don’t get that smooth and confident without a lot of practice.
            “Stop ruining my life,” I complained.  “The hottest man in the world wants me to go to his party.  I’m going, and you’re coming with me.”
            “Oh, I’ll go,” she replied.  “Someone has to keep you two from falling head over heels for this popped collar frat boy.”
            “He didn’t look like a frat boy,” Erica chimed in.
            “Yeah, have you even seen the guys in frats here?” I asked, wrinkling my nose.  “This guy was actually hot, Kel.” 
            “We’ll see about that,” she said, shrugging.

            By the time we got to the address Kevin had texted me, it was 10:30 and the house looked dark and silent.  “What the fuck?” Kelly asked.  “He’s not a frat boy, he’s a serial killer.  He’s waiting inside with a knife and a vat of acid and we’re all going to be dismembered and dissolved by tomorrow.”
            “I think it takes longer than a few hours to dissolve a body,” Erica said.  “Probably like—“
            “Don’t!” Kelly and I exclaimed at the same time.  Erica looked at us, startled.  “Just…don’t,” I followed up.  Thinking about body parts dissolving in acid was not going to do anything good in my brain.
            I did have to admit I was nervous.  I mean, I had been nervous before.  But coming to see a dark, quiet house?  Even more nervous.  I checked the text again and squinted at the numbers on the house.  They matched.  Just as I was about to chicken out, two squealing girls pranced into the front yard from around the back of the house.  A guy, clearly irritated by their noise, strolled behind them, scrolling through his phone.  He looked up as they approached us and rolled his eyes.  “You trying to attract cops?” he snapped.  “Go around the back and stop standing there like neon lights pointing to the underage drinking.”  As he walked past he muttered, “Fucking freshmen.” 
            Kelly looked like she was about to retort, but I grabbed her arm and pulled her towards the back of the house.  Erica trailed behind us.  As soon as we got around to the backyard, we heard the faint thump of muffled music coming from inside.  The door opened, momentarily making the music louder, and I saw Kevin standing on the porch.  “My buddy texted me that there were three lost girls standing out front,” he said, and I could see his smirk even in the dark.  “Sorry, I should have told you to come around the back.  Come on.”  He motioned with his head back towards the door, so we walked up the porch steps.  “Hi,” he grinned at each of us in turn.  “I’m Kevin.”  His gaze landed on me and I struggled to remember my name for a second.
            “Jenna,” I said finally.  “Hi.”  Next to me, Kelly snorted, clearly aware of why it took me several seconds to answer.  I would have glared at her if Kevin’s eyes weren’t still trained intently on me. 
            Erica and Kelly introduced themselves, and then Kevin took us inside.  He immediately grabbed us a few bottles of beer from the fridge in the dark, empty kitchen.  “There’s a keg downstairs,” he informed us, “But feel free to drink the good stuff that’s up here.  I like to treat my guests right.”  He winked as he said that, and I almost died.  I could practically hear Kelly rolling her eyes, but I didn’t care.  He took the tops off each beer bottle as he handed them to us.  “We can go downstairs if you want,” he said, raising an eyebrow, “Otherwise I was hanging out in a quieter room with a couple of my friends if you want to join us.”
            I immediately replied, “We’d love to join you,” while Kelly said, “We’ll head downstairs,” at the same time.  I glared at her and she sighed and said, “I guess we’ll join you for a little while.”
            We followed him to a bedroom that had 4 other people inside.  Kelly quickly changed her tune as one of Kevin’s friends started chatting with her.  We spent the entire time in this room.  Kevin was a senior, majoring in biology.  He wanted to go to med school, but was going to take a year to get his resume in top shape before applying.  He was smart, funny, and seemed genuinely interested in me.  He was also kind to Erica and Kelly, which was something that seemed kind of rare in a lot of the guys any of us had hung out with so far. 
            When we were ready to go, he and the guy that had been chatting up Kelly insisted on walking us back to the dorms.  The house was just 3 blocks from campus, but it was really late, so it probably wasn’t a bad idea.  When we got to our dorm, Kevin pulled me aside.  I didn’t even notice the cold when he smiled at me.  “I’d like to take you out to dinner,” he said.  I was a little thrown off by it being a statement instead of a question, but I had to admit I liked his confidence. 
            “I think I can allow that,” I replied with a smirk. 
He laughed.  “Good.  I’ll text you tomorrow and we’ll figure something out.  Thanks for coming tonight, I’m glad I invited you.”
“I had fun,” I responded, feeling a flutter in my stomach.  “I’m glad you invited us.”
“I invited you,” he said.  In the moment, it didn’t feel like an odd statement, it just made the fluttering feeling spread beyond my stomach.  I wondered briefly what it was about me that this incredibly attractive guy found so appealing, but was quickly distracted by him leaning forward and planting a soft, lingering kiss on my cheek.  “Goodnight, Jenna.”
And then he was gone.  Erica and Kelly were standing just outside the door to the dorm, watching me expectantly.  I turned, slightly dazed, and followed them in.

Kevin came home Monday evening to find me packing up some of my rarely used kitchen items.  He leaned against the counter and watched me for several seconds before saying, “You found a new place?”
“Not yet,” I replied.  My answer sounded short, and I decided to try to be a little nicer to make my time in this house less awful.  “I’m looking pretty seriously though, and I want to be ready to move when I find something.  You know how I am about packing and stuff.” 
“Yeah,” he said.  “I do.”  He paused and then said, “Could you remind me when you leave for your parents’ house?”
“Wednesday morning,” I said.  “Whenever I get up and moving.  I plan to be gone by noon for sure though.”  I didn’t make eye contact.  I’m sure he was asking because he wanted to have a girl over.  At least he was waiting until I was gone this time?  Maybe.
“Okay,” he replied.  “I’m working an overnight tonight and tomorrow, just so you know.”
“I’ll try to be as quiet as I can while I’m getting ready to leave on Wednesday, then,” I said, agreeing to his unasked request.
“Thanks,” he said.  “I appreciate that.”  He stood for a second longer, then said, “You can take all the kitchen stuff if you want.  I don’t like the pattern on the dishes. I can just buy better stuff after you move.”  Then he turned and walked out.
I closed my eyes briefly, wondering why I’d even bothered to try to be nice.  I tucked my partially packed boxes into a nearly empty hallway closet and walked downstairs.  I sat on my bed with my phone in my hand and composed a text.  Hey, you free to hang out tomorrow night before I head down to my parents’ house?” 


  1. It's sad how far away their relationship has gotten from its sweet beginning. I find the different sides of Kevin to be very interesting. I wonder where his asshole behaviour comes from? Is it because he's defensive and doesn't want to face the fact that their divorce is all his fault, or is he bitter about her leaving and trying to hurt her because of it?

    I hope your last few weeks of school go well!

    1. Right. I don't get it. He's the one that cheated repeatedly. Why take little jabs at her?

  2. Medical school sucks your soul out of your ears. And I'm only a first year.

  3. I think he was manipulative and preyed on her from the start. She wondered what he saw in her? I think that statement shows she felt inadequate from the start, and he knew he could get away with treating her badly. I love getting little peeks into their past meshed in with their present. It juxtaposes the situation so well!

  4. I almost liked Kevin in the beginning... ALMOST!

  5. Have to say...I love this blog!! Your writing is awesome. Can't wait to see where this story goes.