Friday, July 31, 2015

First Visitor

If I was any cornier in this particular moment, as I stood in my new floral sundress and wedges with a small piece of oak tag that had Scott's name written in pretty cursive lettering, I would probably be stoned to death by the other travelers at the airport. They thankfully spared me on this day.

I couldn't help but squeal when I saw Scott walking toward me with his large duffle bag in hand and a tired look on his face. I saw him before he saw me and the look on his face as he searched for me was beyond adorable.

Once he spotted me, his eyes lit up and the familiar butterflies in my stomach returned. I hadn't felt them this strong since I was in New York even though they made their presence subtly known whenever I heard Scott's voice.

As he walked over to me and noticed the sign, his shoulders dropped and a smirk crept over his face.

"You're adorable," he quickly said. He barely had the words out of his mouth before he dropped his bag at my feet, cupped my face in his hands, and planted a much anticipated kiss onto my lips. I couldn't have wanted this moment more.

Scott took off work the Friday that corresponded with my second weekend in California. I thought it might've been too soon for him to visit, but after my first weekend without him, or anybody from home, I couldn't wait for him to arrive. I had actually grabbed drinks with Shelby on Friday after work, but I mostly just worked on making my apartment more livable over the weekend. Shelby was really nice and we were getting along pretty well, but it still wasn't the same as having drinks with my best friends. It felt like a weird first date rather than a familiar gathering.

I honestly couldn't complain. I was so happy and motivated at work that the first couple weeks really flew by. Pete and I hadn't really had any more weird interactions. Maybe I had misread the first day. It might also have to do with more people starting in the department. There are now four employees at our set of cubicles. Besides Shelby, there's also a middle aged man who used to be a marriage counselor and a woman who is rumored to have been the Millionaire Matchmaker's assistant at one point. I knew there would be six of us by the end of July, but had no idea who else was starting.

Scott and I figured that we could spend Thursday night together and then while I was at work on Friday, he'd get to enjoy Santa Monica a bit. It's not like he would object to hanging out on the beach or checking out one of the bike tours.

"So, where are we going to dinner?" he asked me as we piled into the back seat of a cab.

"Um, there's a decent pizza place near me," I began while still staring at him. Two weeks away from your man will really leave you in awe of how attractive he really is in person, even if you have a crazy hot boss you see every day. "It's not New York pizza, though."

"Is that what you miss most about New York?" Scott asked as he wiggled his eyebrows up and down.

I bit my bottom lip and shook my head.

"So what do you miss most?"

I tilted my head and maintained our electrifying gaze. "I can show you before dinner if you're up for it."

Scott smiled and looked down. He silently began running his finger along the hem of my dress. "Let's order in."

Needless to say, Thursday night was amazing and I was probably glowing at work Friday. I knew the plan was for me to work a full day before meeting up with Scott, but I was thoroughly regretting it once I was sitting in my cubicle, mindlessly scrolling through online profiles. I kept telling myself that I would need other days off. I had to be somewhat strategic about using my valuable vacation time.

"Can you meet me for lunch?" I texted to Scott from the bathroom. We weren't technically prohibited from having our cell phones at work, but the receptionist had told me that a few people have been written up for excessive phone use over the past few months.

He responded right away. "Sure, where?"

"My apartment ;)"

"Haha. I'll meet you there with sandwiches."

I felt a tingle in my lady parts and I swear, it wasn't because there was mention of sandwiches.

I went back to my desk and continued working. By the time 12:58 hit, I was turning off my computer monitor and grabbing my purse from the bottom drawer of my desk. I swiveled my chair around and almost gasped when I saw Pete, leaning against the wall of my cubicle.

"Did I scare you?" Pete asked with a cocky smirk on his face.

"Um," I began, averting my eyes. "No, just, well, startled." I looked back up and innocently smiled.

"You seem eager to head out. Hungry?"

I wasn't sure what my eagerness to leave had to do with my appetite, until I realized that I was technically going on my lunch break and not a sex break.

"Yes," I said as I stood up. "Unless," I began before I could stop myself. "Do you need something?" I really didn't have time to make small talk with him or to complete a task for him before heading out, but I couldn't not ask when he was expectantly standing there.

He laughed and moved out of the way. "No, enjoy your lunch date."

My stomach flipped. "Uh," I began.

"I can tell there's a guy," he said as he put his hands in his pockets. "Take an extra hour."

Before I could even respond, he was turning on his heel and walking back toward his office.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

My door is always open

If I hadn't heard Pete yelling seconds before I opened the door, I wouldn't have believed that he was angry at all. He had a huge smile plastered over his face as he asked me how my morning went.

"Great!" I said, hoping he couldn't read my mind. No matter what he was yelling about on the phone, I didn't understand how he could totally just change his mood with a knock on his door. Was I dealing with a person suffering from Bipolar Disorder?

We talked for a while about everything that I had learned that morning. I felt a little on edge the whole time, even though I know whatever conversation he was having before I entered his office obviously wasn't about me. I still wondered if he was going to explode at any moment.

He didn't, though. After discussing a few work related things for a while, I felt like I had a good idea of what I'd be working on for the next few days. I was excited to get back to my cubicle and could sense the conversation dying down when Pete leaned forward on his desk with his hands clasped together.

"So, how are you liking Santa Monica?"

My heart skipped a beat. I swear, it was not because of his smile as he asked the question. I was caught off guard. I had been so work focused that I totally forgot people might be interested in me as a person.

"It's beautiful," I replied. "I hope I can get my work done with this view!"

He turned his head to look toward the window and I got another view of his beautiful profile. "Yeah, it's pretty nice, isn't it? We recently moved here. Our last office was a dump, but we've really grown since then."

"How long have you been with the company?" I asked.

Pete looked up and pressed his lips together. "Um," he began. "It's going to be five years soon, actually."

"Wow," I replied. "That's a call for celebration!"

He laughed. "Yeah, I'll have to plan a company outing. You'll get the first invite."

I smiled and tried to suppress the red that I felt rising to my cheeks. "Sounds good," I replied before changing the subject. "It's definitely an adjustment from New York, but I mean, who wouldn't want to live in California?"

Pete silently nodded. "Yeah, I went to college in Colorado. I got my fair share of the cold weather and while I love winter activities, like snowboarding, there's nothing like good ol' vitamin D."

I nodded and then an awkward silence fell over the room. I jumped at the opportunity to be the one to break it before Pete kicked me out of his office.

"Well, I have a lot of work to do," I said as I rose to my feet. "Thank you so much for all your insight. I'll be sure to let you know if I have any questions."

"Please do, Caroline," Pete replied as he intertwined his fingers and rested his hands behind his neck. "My door is always open."

I smiled, even though his tone left me questioning what that actually meant, before walking back to my cubicle.

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I finished my work and had the rest of my week pretty much planned out. I got a chance to meet Shelby and we made arrangements to get lunch together the next day. I figured the only way I would make friends the first couple months of being here would be through work, so I hoped Shelby was at least a little bit normal.

As soon as I got home, I called Scott. He had texted me around 2 o'clock wishing me a good first day, but I didn't look at my phone all day. With my luck, the second I pulled out my phone, Pete would've shown up behind me.

"Babe, I miss you," I said as soon as Scott picked up the phone. I began unbuttoning my shirt as I walked over to my bed. I was really looking forward to laying on my bed and not moving for a few hours.

"I miss you, too," Scott replied. "How was your first day?"

I went on for about 20 minutes about all the tasks of the day. I only briefly mentioned Pete, but Scott asked what kind of boss I thought he'd be.

"He seems really nice," I honestly replied. "There was one weird thing." I told him about hearing him scream on the phone, which didn't fit in with his nice guy persona at all, but left out the semi weird vibes I got from the rest of our conversation.

"Eh, I'm sure the guy was just having a moment," Scott replied. "You don't know what he's dealing with in his personal life."

"True," I replied with a sigh. "I'm going to keep my guard up a bit, though."

"Good idea," Scott replied. "So," he began before pausing. "What are you wearing?"

I smiled as I looked up at my ceiling. Was Scott about to try to have phone sex with me?

"Well, a button down shirt but it's open. I'm just laying on my bed."

"Mmm, I wish I was there."

"Oh, really?" I playfully asked. "What would you do if you were?"

"I'd start unbuttoning your pants also and undress you until you were in only your underwear. Then I'd kiss your body all over."

Scott was never this verbal or articulate with sexy talk. I began wondering if he looked up some pointers on how to keep long distance relationships alive or something.

"I'd like that," I replied. The conversation continued and to my surprise, I actually got really into it. Scott definitely enjoyed himself, too.

It was nothing compared to the real thing, but I was starting to believe that Scott and I could definitely survive a long distance relationship if we had plenty of these long conversations.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Dreamy Pete

Pete, who just introduced himself as my new supervisor, was gorgeous. I mean, in this town, that adjective didn't really seem to hold as much weight since everyone seemed to be attractive, but Pete was striking. He hovered over me at about 6'3, had a strong jaw line that was covered in the faintest hint of stubble, and tan skin that made it clear he was a beach goer, although I sensed he had some, if not all, Hispanic roots also.

"Caroline, right?"

Of course, I hadn't said anything for what felt like ten minutes but realistically was five seconds. "Yes, sorry." I stuck out my hand and firmly shook his. "It is so nice to meet you! I'm just taking everything in."

When I said the statement in my head, I thought it sounded much clearer. I was talking about the environment of the office. At this side of the room, you could see out these huge windows. There was a beautiful view of the West Coast sky. I was excited to have that view every day.

I could feel my face turning red once I said that, though, because from the look on Peggy's face, it may have come off as if I meant I was taking all of him in. Well, that's embarrassing.

"I'm really excited to get started here," I added with a smile. Pete didn't seem phased by my awkwardness so that's a start.

"I'm excited to see how you do!" Pete exclaimed as he put his hands in his pockets. "We have a bunch of different people starting at different times on the project. I'll be going over some of the basics with you, but I'm also going to have Shelby give you some info. She started last week."

I looked around and a head full of black hair caught my eye. She was sitting in one of the cubicles connected to mine, but she was all the way at the other corner.

"Lillian said very good things about you," Pete continued, catching my attention away from who I assumed to be Shelby.

"Oh," I replied, standing up a little straighter. "Thank you. I'm glad she was able to provide me with this amazing opportunity."

Pete grinned and rubbed his chin with his right hand. "Me too. You seem like you'll be a good fit around here." He turned to Peggy, who was still standing there just observing our conversation with an odd grin on her face, and nodded before stepping to walk away. "Let me know if you have any concerns. Otherwise I'll see you after lunch!"

Then he was gone and I was alone with Peggy, still grinning. Now it was beginning to worry me. That is, until she spoke.

"Isn't he so dreamy?" She asked me, as she leaned in and her eyes widened.

I couldn't help but let out an awkward chuckle. "Um, yeah, he's handsome," I replied with a shrug. I hoped that I came across as not even having noticed.

Peggy nodded and then continued with her job of instructing me. She told me there was a sort of tutorial video that I should watch and then find Shelby if I had any questions before lunch. Then, after lunch, I'd meet with Pete again.

The tutorial went over a lot of what I already knew. I'd basically be calling these premium members and discussing their more specific wants with them. Then, I could match them with other premium members or reach out to regular members that I thought would fit, even if they didn't pay for the extra service. With my research experience, Lillian felt like I'd be a great addition to the diversity of the pool of candidates they already had. I was younger than other people they had hired on, which Lillian saw as an advantage. Younger members who may be hesitant to sign up for the extra service may feel more comfortable talking to someone close to their age.

The video was about an hour and a half, but I watched it until about 11:30 because I took a few breaks for the sake of my eyes. Then, I explored the site a bit. I had never used Web Matcher, so I didn't really know how it exactly worked. The tutorial said I should go through the database, especially the premium members, to get a feel for different members. I also had to read a ton of success stories to get an idea of what worked, along with some major criticisms of the site.

By 1 o'clock, I was actually a little hungry but also still too excited to crave a huge meal. I made my way out of the building and decided to walk around a bit before heading back to meet with Pete.

I was pleased to see that there were a lot of cute little stores around my building. I was tempted to go shopping in one of them, but decided that it wasn't a great idea. I didn't even want to stay out the whole hour, because I was so excited to get back to work. Isn't that such a great feeling?!

I found a smoothie place and got a protein packed drink. Then, I began making my way back.

I'm glad I left myself plenty of time because I actually ended up getting kind of lost. I thought I had to make a right, but I think I was supposed to make a left. As a result of whatever I did, I ended up freaking out for a solid fifteen minutes before realizing where I was.

I didn't feel full relief until I was in the elevator at exactly 1:50. I was not happy about how close I was cutting it on my very first day. 

As I knocked on Pete's door, my heart stopped when I heard yelling on the other side. Then, I heard the slam of a phone before he told me to come in.

Monday, July 20, 2015

First Day

I'm not going to lie. I cried on the plane. It began within minutes of the plane taking off. I have never felt more fortunate to have a window seat so I could curl up against the side and hide from the people surrounding me.

It wasn't just about Scott. I felt really good about our discussion before getting on the plane. We'd have to see how this was going to work out, but I was optimistic. We were both young and doing somewhat well. We are at a stage where we can both financially and socially afford to jump on a plane at a moment's notice and be by each other's side.

Again, I wasn't just crying because of him. Everything kind of hit me. I was going to miss my family. I was going to miss my friends. I was going to be completely alone in California. I get it, I chose this. But maybe I made the wrong choice. My anxiety was at an all time high.

But I knew there was so much to look forward to. I was about to start a new job and with that, I was sure there would be a lot of other new exciting things. New is just scary to me, even when it's good new.

Once I landed, I took a cab straight to my new apartment (!). I ended up going with the studio that I liked. I thought it'd be better to have my own space and not have to worry about possible roommate drama while starting out. While this seemed good in theory, it felt very lonely walking through the door and not being greeted by anyone. I've always lived at home, with four other people and two little dogs, so this was going to be an adjustment. I began crying as soon as the door shut behind me. At least nobody was there to see how ridiculous I was being.

I took a shower and set out my clothing for the next day. The apartment had barely any furniture, but the essential stuff was there. I put sheets on my bed before sitting with my legs crossed on top of it, notebook in hand.

My nerves were all over the place, but my Type A personality makes me deal with stress in a somewhat productive manner. I made a list of everything I had to do over the next couple days, such as go grocery shopping and see if I could get a few pieces of small furniture to spruce the place up.

After I felt like my list was pretty complete, I picked up my phone and texted Scott. I had called him from the cab, but I wanted to talk to him again.

"This feels so weird."

"It'll feel that way for a little while, but eventually it'll be home :)"

I smiled at that text. I stood up and walked over to my luggage. I wasn't able to bring all my stuff with me this trip, but I did make sure to bring a framed picture of me and Scott, along with a group shot of my friends and one of my immediate family.

I propped all three of them on my counter, which was basically the only table space I had at the moment.

I texted Scott that I loved him and was headed to bed. It was only about 9 o'clock but it felt like midnight to me because of the time difference.

"I love you, too. Call me after work tomorrow. I want to hear all about it!"

"Will do :)"

I let out a sigh. I didn't know how I was going to sleep when I was so nervous to start my new job! I fortunately fell asleep after laying there for about an hour.

Figuring out the public transportation systems in Santa Monica was on my list of things to do during my first week of work, but for convenience I took an Uber to Web Matcher on my first day. I was hoping not to have to get a car while living here, at least not right away, so I needed to learn the ins and outs of how to get around.

After spending way too much time while still in New York trying to figure out what to wear on my first day, with the input of my friends via group texting, I decided to go with black pants, a polka dot shirt, and a pair of tan pumps for my first day.

When I got to the building, I tried to remember to stand up straight and confident as I walked in. There was a man seated at a desk in the lobby, so I greeted him with a smile and, "hello," before walking to the elevator. I pressed 6 and patiently waited for the doors to open.

Web Matcher had the whole sixth floor of the building. Lillian told me to tell the receptionist who I was and she'd be able to help me find my space. At this point, I hadn't even seen the office, so I was excited.

When the doors opened, I saw all the walls were a shiny grayish color and the desk that the receptionist sat at perfectly matched. She had bleach blonde hair that was tied in a loose bun on the top of her head and she was wearing a pretty floral dress. I pegged her at about 19-years-old. From what I saw so far, the town was filled with a lot of movie star and model wannabes.

Her name was Peggy, though, and she was super sweet. She walked me past a bunch of cubicles until she reached a set of about six that seemed a little nicer and bigger than the ones we had already passed.

"This is where you'll be set up," she said as she motioned toward a corner one.

Then, a handsome man appeared at my side. "Hi," he said. "I'm Pete, your supervisor."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Take Off

I bit the inside of my cheek as I felt the urge to scream in pain.

"Babe, I told you to let me carry that one." Scott grabbed the big duffel bag from my left hand. "Are you okay?"

I rubbed my left hip once my hand was free. As I quickly grabbed the bag from my trunk, something hard hit into the side of my body. "I think it was my straightener," I said to Scott as I pouted.

Scott smiled and leaned down. He lifted up my tank top just enough so my hip was exposed before he lightly kissed it.

"It doesn't hurt anymore," I responded with an exaggerated smile.

Scott laughed. "What are you going to do when you bump into stuff in California? I'm not going to be able to kiss it and make it better."

I frowned. "Don't remind me!" I squealed with a smile. I was glad Scott and I were able to keep things so light when it was such a sad moment.

We made our way into the airport and continued walking until we got to security. I pushed my sleeve back to examine my watch. "Wanna grab a bite?" I asked even though I knew it'd be cutting it close.

Scott sighed and looked around. "Um, you know, I'm not really that hungry." His eyes landed on an area with couches that wasn't near any restaurants. "Want to just sit?"

I nodded and we shuffled ourselves over to an empty love seat.

"So," I began as I met Scott's eyes.

"So," he repeated, his eyes softening as they looked into mine.

"Are we doing this?" I asked, still kind of confused. "I mean, I don't want to break up." After our discussion in the car, I felt like we didn't need to converse much more. It seemed like he wanted to make things work, but we didn't really get into the specifics. I had never done long distance, though. Were we supposed to figure it all out now?

Scott leaned back and placed his arm behind me. "Yeah, I don't want to either." He smiled and looked away from me. "I honestly just thought you were going to dump me as soon as we got here."

"Really?" I asked.

"Yeah," he replied as he smoothed the back of his hair a bit. He really needed to get it cut. "You're a planner. I would've thought you would've had like, a spread sheet of how you wanted this to all go down."

I playfully swatted him. Then I rolled my neck as I tried to let go of some nerves. "Long distance is just so, bleh. I figured there was no way in hell you'd want to try it." I paused for a moment. "But I never really thought I'd want to try it. Yet, here I am." I placed my hand on his and smiled. "It's all I can imagine doing."

Scott let out a sigh and he looked more relieved than I've seen him in weeks. "I have been going nuts trying to figure out where you stood on this for weeks," Scott said. "You know, you're not too easy to read." He raised an eyebrow at me and the corner of his mouth went up.

"Look who's talking!" I loudly exclaimed and Scott's eyes got big at my enthusiasm. I began laughing and turning red as I realized people were alarmed by my volume. "You're not exactly an open book either."

Scott shrugged. "I can be. I mean, I will be."

I picked up my legs and put them over his lap. (PDA is totally more acceptable at airports; It's a thing.)

"So," I began as I pointed my finger at me, then him, and then back again. "We're definitely doing this."

Scott leaned over and gave me a long, lingering kiss. "We're doing this," he said as he pulled his lips off of mine, but left his face close.

As we pulled apart and I began to gather my things, I could feel tears welling up. Before I got a chance to wipe them away, I felt Scott's hands doing it for me.

"I'm sorry," I began. "I'm being a baby."

"No, you're not. Besides, you can't even imagine what I'm about to look like as I drive home."

I laughed. "You're not going to cry," I said. I never saw Scott cry. The closest I got was on the drive here when he looked like he could have possibly had something in his eye.

"I might," he said with raised eyebrows. "I have my T Swift playlist all ready."

I laughed. Ugh, I was going to miss this guy.

As we began walking to the security line, I asked him how this was going to work. "I mean, are you going to fly out sometimes and I'll fly to you other times? How much are we going to communicate? There is a time difference. It's not huge but it'll be something we have to be conscious about."

"I think we'll work all that out," Scott replied. "I love you, Caroline, and if anybody can make long distance, it'll be us."

I was about to challenge him on that statement. If anybody could make a long distance relationship work, it would be a couple with award winning communication skills. As much as we loved each other in the eight months or so that we've been together, we were not the greatest at always being on the same page.

However, I understood that the premise of what he was saying was sweet. "Yup," I replied before giving him a quick peck on the lips. "I'll call you when I land?"

Scott nodded and pulled me in for a suffocating hug.

Scott watched me go through security and once I was done, I turned to look at him before walking to my terminal. It was far, but I swear I saw a tear in his eye as he waved.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Airport

As Scott and I drove to the airport, we began by talking about the last few days. You would think by listening to us that we didn't have this lingering decision hanging over our heads. Since I wasn't bringing it up, I couldn't expect him to. Maybe we didn't need to talk about it. Maybe we were both content with staying together and seeing how things went once I was out there. Was it actually possible for us to avoid this conversation? I began to imagine him giving me a romantic send off as he told me he loved me and even thousands of miles wouldn't change that.

Well, I was wrong.

"So," he began as I caught his grip tightening on the steering wheel. "Where's your head at?"

I didn't fully understand the question. "What do you mean?"

Scott sighed. "Am I driving you all the way here just to be dumped at the terminal? Or are you going to wait until you've landed so you can just text me the news?"

"What?" I exclaimed turning my entire torso so I was facing him in the car. "You think that's what I'm going to do?"

I could see Scott's jaw clenching but he waited a moment before speaking. I didn't know if he was trying to keep himself from yelling at me or crying. "What am I supposed to think?" He asked as he face softened. "You get this job, accept it, and pack your bags. All of this went on without a word to me about our relationship."

I felt slightly deflated. "I guess I was just waiting for the right moment. I mean, you didn't bring it up either."

"I'm not the one moving," he loudly replied as soon as I finished saying my statement. "Plus, you told me you didn't want to decide anything too early! Why would I bring it up?"

I hadn't thought of this. Of course it was my job to bring it up. "You're right," I replied as I felt myself getting smaller in the passenger seat. "I honestly didn't think of it that way. And, I guess I was putting it off." I felt my eyes filling with tears but I tried to wipe them away before Scott noticed.

I heard him slightly laugh. What was so funny? I looked over at him and he quickly met my eyes before returning his view to the road. "Don't cry," he said. "Just talk to me."

I tried to stop the tears from coming but they wouldn't so I decided to talk through them. "I love you. You know I love you. I hate that this job is taking me away from you. As excited as I've been these past few weeks, it makes me sick to my stomach to think about losing you." I stopped talking because I was getting choked up.

I heard Scott sigh. "Don't get upset, C." I put my face in my hands and just let the tears come out. I began to let everything go that I had been bottling up since I found out the job was in California.

Scott was silent for a minute or two. Then, I felt the car come to a stop.

I looked up. We couldn't possibly be at the airport yet.

Scott had pulled over into a pitstop area. There was a gas station along with a few shops.

"Do you want a coffee?" He asked as if nothing was wrong. "Or a treat?" He raised his eyebrows up and down as he asked the second question. I couldn't help but laugh. Whenever we go to get coffee, I either get a hot black coffee or I go completely over the top and get an iced latte with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

"A treat," I said, wiping my eyes. "A small one, though."

Scott smiled and nodded. "Just relax, okay?" He kissed my forehead and grabbed his wallet before walking into the building.

I took a few deep breathes and composed myself. At least I had my breakdown in the privacy of Scott's car rather than in the airport with hundreds of onlookers.

Scott returned and I immediately began drinking my 'treat.' He took a sip of his iced coffee before setting it into the cup holder.

"You know, I actually researched some jobs out there," Scott quickly began. "But I'm up for this promotion and... I don't know." Scott let out a heavy sigh again. "I can't just follow you, you know? Would you even want me to?"

"Of course I would!" I exclaimed. "Scott, I would love it if you were with me."

Scott coyly smiled. "Well, that's good to hear."

I was feeling a lot better at this point. "Listen," I said as I cleared my throat. "People do this all the time. My friend's cousin just spent six months barely speaking to her husband because he was deployed."

"Yeah, but this is different. You decided this."

I was stunned by Scott's words. They seemed almost aggressive. "What?" I asked.

"I'm just saying," he said, his tone softening. "You're not getting deployed to war. You're taking a job. You're..." He paused for a moment before finishing his sentence. "You're going to have a whole new life out there."

I felt myself choking up again. "Scott," I began as I reached my hand over and placed it on his. "Please believe me when I say this. I am not moving to California to get a new life. I am just trying to do what's best for my future." I took a deep breathe. "You make me want to succeed. You make me want to, well, be a better person."

I looked into Scott's eyes. We didn't say anything for a moment and then he kissed me. I could barely even handle how much love I felt for him at that moment.

"You're going to miss your flight," he suddenly said as he put the car into drive.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Independence Day: Part Two

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I sternly asked Moose on the side of my house where I practically pulled him against his will.

"What?" He innocently asked. That just drove me more crazy.

"You're being a dick," I blatantly responded. I didn't feel the need to explain any more than that.

"Oh, come on," he said with an eye roll. "I'm kidding around. Scott doesn't care."

"I care," I responded. "And he probably doesn't like it either. You know he's not going to say anything."

"Caroline, don't pick a fight right before you leave."

"You shouldn't be acting like a big douche right before I leave!"

"I'm sorry," he replied with a huff. "I didn't mean to be a dick. I mean, I don't mean to be a dick, but sometimes I can't help it, I guess."

I usually like to get closure on things. I didn't want to leave New York and be in a fight with any of my friends. I like things to be settled. I like to just forgive and forget in a way. If someone apologizes, I tend to accept it so everyone can just move on. But something about today was different. I hit a breaking point and it wasn't like I was about to punch Moose in the stomach or anything, but I just didn't care enough to let him off the hook for this.

"Whatever," I said as I went to walk past him.

"No, not whatever," he said stopping me.

"Excuse me?" I narrowed my eyes at him.

"I said I was sorry. You're being too sensitive about it."

"I'm being too sensitive?" Moose began shushing me at this point but I didn't even care. It's not like any of my friends didn't know how stupid Moose had been. "Moose, you can't be a dick all the time only to apologize and then be a dick again."

"Okay, I get it," he responded with a sigh. "What's the big fucking deal anyway? It was a game."

"I'm over it," I responded in a way that demonstrated I clearly was not but I refused to talk about it anymore. "I want to enjoy the rest of my night."

This time, as I shoved past Moose, he didn't stop me. He barely talked to me for the rest of the party but I noticed him getting drunker and drunker. Moose made a good call not trying to rectify anything for the rest of the night because I was not having his bull shit anymore. And I realistically knew that I'd get over it at some point. Moose acted out a lot, but I know deep down, he's a nice guy. I was still unclear on what happened with Beth, so I decided I wouldn't bring up this evening again if he didn't.

We ended the night sitting on lawn chairs watching fireworks that my neighbors were setting off. I was happy with my last night on Long Island, Moose's outbursts aside.

Scott slept over that night. He had actually never spent the night at my house, considering my parents were still slightly old fashioned. My sister and I were never allowed to have guys sleep over, even though my brother got away with having girls in the basement where he slept. Whatever. I guess since I was moving out anyway, my parents turned a blind eye.

Besides, we were all going to breakfast the next morning before I headed to the airport with Scott. When I woke up Sunday morning, wrapped in Scott's arms, I couldn't believe that it was the day of my departure and we still hadn't discussed what we were going to do. I thought of it as a good sign, though. I didn't know if Scott and I were going to work, but my feelings for him only got stronger over the last few weeks. So, even though long distance doesn't always work, I was willing to at least try. Then, if we didn't work, we didn't work. 

Why stand at the starting line of a race and not move because you don't think you'll finish? Isn't it better to attempt the race and see how far you get?

So we cuddled for about an hour that morning before getting out of bed and getting ready to go to a nearby diner that made the best stuffed waffles I've ever had in my life. I almost cried as my parents told me how much they were going to miss me.

"So, Scott," my mother began saying in between bites of her omelette. "Do you have a trip planned out yet?"

Scott was taking a sip of his coffee as I caught his eyes widen a little bit, but he quickly recovered. I don't think my parents picked up on it. "Um, not yet," he replied.

"I'm not even there yet," I quickly added in an attempt to save this conversation from taking a turn towards Awkward Town.

"Well, I'm figuring you guys have discussed some sort of system," she continued. I wanted to kick her under the table, but it was a fair conclusion. Of course, any reasonable couple would've figured things out at least 24 hours before the plane was going to depart.

"I don't know, " I responded before changing the subject. "I know you're a planner, Mom. When are you going to start redoing my bedroom?"

My father laughed and started telling me about her home office ideas. I rolled my eyes. She didn't need a home office, but apparently she was planning on keeping my bed in there so that I could sleep there when I came home.

It was really hard to say goodbye to my parents, but I tried to remind myself that I'd still talk to them all the time. We'd probably talk more now that I wasn't actually living at home. It was just a big adjustment.

Then, it was just Scott and I. We avoided this talk long enough.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Independence Day: Part One

I had a Fourth of July barbecue and while it was pretty uneventful, I felt like it was a good send off. Scott and Darlene came over early to help clean up my backyard, arrange the food, and put out tables so we could play drinking games.

"Scott, you better still hang out with us while Caroline's away," Darlene said as she poured potato chips into a big red bowl I found in my garage.

Scott laughed. "Oh, yeah. We'll hang out all the time."

I knew Darlene was joking but it was an awkward thing to say, so I began involuntarily turning red. A minute later, Darlene walked into the garage to put some ice and beer in a cooler. I walked over to Scott and gave him a long, lingering kiss.

"What's that for?" Scott asked with a half smile, leaving his hands on my waist.

"Just because," I replied. "Thanks for coming today and helping me set up. You sure you don't wanna invite any of your friends?"

"Nah," Scott said with a wave of his hands. "I don't want the task of entertaining them. That'll take my attention away from you." He lightly kissed my nose before asking if I wanted a drink.

"Sure," I said with a shrug. "The white sangria, please."

Scott nodded and walked towards the table. I continued cleaning up a few more things in my backyard before checking my phone. Everyone was arriving soon and I had two text messages. One was from Anna that said she was on her way with Jessica and asked if I needed anything. The second was from Moose, saying he was on his way with cups and ping pong balls.

I told Anna that I didn't need anything and told Moose to tell Beth that I made white sangria, since I knew she liked it. He responded right away.

"Beth's not coming."

Okay, awkward. I put my phone back in the pocket of my old checkered shorts and was greeted by Scott and my drink.

Everyone began arriving and other than a quick period of light rain, it was a beautiful day on Long Island. I'd miss nice days like this, but definitely not the snow we were bound to get come the winter months.

After some casual games of beer pong and lots of eating, Moose proposed that we play slap cup. This is honestly one of my favorite drinking games and if you haven't played it, I highly recommend getting a group of your loudest friends together for a few rounds.

I was a little curious why Moose didn't bring Beth and due to his obvious social awkwardness, he didn't volunteer the information. I didn't know if they broke up or if she just had other plans. I would've asked one of my other guy friends, because I'm nosy, but I didn't feel like filling my last fun filled day with Moose drama.

So we all collected ourselves around a long table with cups set up on it. Scott isn't usually clingy at events with my friends. It's one thing I love about him. He can start a conversation with just about anybody and I don't have to make sure he's having a good time. This day was a little different and I felt it, too. I didn't want to leave his side. So, of course, we went right next to each other.

"Nope," Moose said as he pointed at the two of us. I scrunched my face up and gave him an annoyed look.

"What?" I aggressively asked.

"Couples can't stand next to each other. It ruins the game."

I rolled my eyes at him. "Whatever," I replied. "My house, my party, my rules."

Moose started huffing at me and I could see how angry he was. I'm all for fairness in games, but Moose goes way too far with it. The guys stopped inviting him to play basketball on the weekends for a while because he would jump down everyone's throats for what he deemed a foul.

"Babe, it's not a big deal," Scott replied as he placed his hand on my lower back. Then he leaned down and whispered to me. "I'll move across from you so I can watch you."

"Okay," I pouted. His words put me at ease but I was still pissed at Moose. Just because he's miserable doesn't mean he has to ruin everyone else's time.

If I was mad at Moose then, I was ready to murder him by the time the game was under way. There's a particular way to target in on a specific person in slap cup if you get your ball in the cup on your first attempt. This is what makes the game so fun, but it can also be dangerous. Due to this, I ended up having to chug three or four cups before I even got a chance to shoot my ball. Moose was heavily involved in this.

I felt like I was about to puke when Scott had the ball. Everyone was cheering for him to get it in so I'd have to drink again when I made eye contact with him. He winked at me and purposely missed his cup. Then he continued going very slow so I would make my cup before he made his. I was grateful and shot a smile his way.

"This is ridiculous," I heard Moose say.

Without even looking in his direction, I told him to shut up. He is such a child. And it was my going away party!

Anyway, because of that, Scott ended up being targeted next. It was all in good fun, but I felt really bad when he had to continuously drink more than I even did. Of course, Moose had to add his two cents.

"That's what happens when you try to protect your girlfriend," he laughed.

Scott luckily didn't puke, but I was so angry at Moose and decided to tell him so.