Character List

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Britney's Perspective

Authors Note:  First I'd like to thank Bella for suggesting writing from Britney's perspective.  I was intrigued and very excited to do this.  Bella has been amazing; reading this post in advance, providing me with her thoughts and also pointing out grammatical errors which I didn't catch!!  I'm super grateful for her help:)  If you haven't already done so, please check out her blog - Being Bella Isn't Easy.  Second, thanks to all of you that participated in the poll.  Third, I'm going out of town for one last weekend of fun in the sun.  I'm sure many of you will be enjoying the unofficial last weekend of summer too.  With that said, I plan to post on Monday but a little later than usual.  Thanks for understanding and have an awesome weekend!!!

The guilt was unbearable and made each second brutally painful.  Seeing Elisabeth at Rooftop tonight made be yearn for the good, old days.  But now that I think of it, there weren't many good days; I only let everyone believe that my life consisted of infinite happiness.  Meanwhile inside I was full of turmoil and angst.  My cheerful demeanor was a show, even to those nearest and dearest to me.  The walls I built around myself came crashing down and there was no recourse.  No one was safe from my reign of destruction, not even myself.

I still reel over the loss of my friendship with Elisabeth. Many nights I lay awake, reflecting on my unwarranted behavior and betrayal.  She was the best friend I could've asked for but I always had an agenda.  Life was unfair to me but no one knew my story because I chose to keep that side of me hidden.

My mind keeps drifting to my fucked up behavior.  Baiting and insulting Elisabeth, hoping that she could see the pain I felt.  I was spiraling downward with no end in sight and needed a friend but I burnt my bridges.  My erratic behavior and lies pushed them all away.  I needed to forget and obliterate all memories of the past couple months. I reached for an opened bottle of Grey Goose and took a huge swig before sliding down to the floor, hot tears streaming down my cheeks.  How did it get so bad so fast?  Did I really throw a drink in Elisabeth’s face and try to fight her?  Shit, I NEED HELP AND FAST.

The past couple months were a blur and full of deception.  Why did I resort to lying to those that meant the most to me?  I did it as a defense mechanism, to protect myself.  That day before my college friend's wedding was one of the worst of my life and the beginning of this terrible saga.  I went to work early and was putting the finishing touches on a marketing project.  It was about eleven when my phone rang.  I glanced at the caller ID which read “Conference Room A.”

I answered puzzled and heard my boss, Doug, on the other end, asking me to meet him in Conference Room A on the tenth floor.  This didn't seem unusual; Doug always beckoned me to meetings at the last moment.  I gathered my ID card and coffee and proceeded to my destination.  I knocked gently on the conference room door before opening it.  I was shocked seeing Doug and Leslie from human resources inside.  I took a seat and heard Doug say, “Britney, as you know our company has been struggling and we are moving in a different direction.  I regret to inform you that your job has been eliminated.”

Doug tried to comfort me but Leslie insisted that he leave.  I was overcome with emotion but unable to express myself.  No tears fell, the shock was too great.  Leslie explained the severance package I was to receive and I nodded absentmindedly.  When she completed her spiel, she asked me to sign some documents.  My hands were shaking so bad that I barely spelt my name correctly.  When we were done I walked into the empty hall.  Doug’s words replayed in my head and my parent’s proclamations were turning out to be correct.

My mind drifted to my childhood days in Manhasset.  I didn't have a care in the world and money was flowing.  My dad was a Managing Director for a Fortune 500 company and my mom was the top earner in her real estate office for many years running.  My older brother Brandon received all the praise and glory in our family.  He was a straight A student, excelled in sports and attended Brown University on a full academic scholarship.  He was every parent's dream.  Even to this day, whenever I speak to Mom or Dad, they rave about Brandon's accomplishments.  My parents never encouraged me to achieve greatness, to them I was a pretty face. Whenever I spoke of my career aspirations, they shot my dreams down.  My main goal was to find an affluent husband and pop out a few children.  When I accepted this marketing job my dad specifically told me I was in over my head and wouldn’t make it.  It seems as though he were right.

I rushed back to my office and frantically packed my things before sending a farewell note to my work associates with my contact information.  My phone started ringing incessantly.  Each person wanting to know where I was moving on to.  It killed me to say I was laid off.  Before leaving Doug called me into his office. “Britney you were one of my best employees and it saddened me to let you go. It was the hardest thing I had to do and I feel awful.  Please don’t take this personally, it was purely business.”

I don’t know where I found the hutzpah to even respond but I didn't. “Doug I don’t need your fake sympathy.  I went above and beyond for this firm and I am completely blindsided by this decision.  It isn't my responsibility to clear your conscience or placate you.  What's done is done but I know you’re making a huge mistake.”  With that I gathered my belongings and left.

Once in the comforts of my apartment, I buried myself under my covers and cried.  I cried to break my heart.  All of my emotions coming to surface.  The realization that I actually lost my job hit me.  Nothing could make the pain go away.  My spirits lifted when Tommy texted, asking if he could come over later.  We had been dating for a little while and things were going fantastic.  I never had a boyfriend or a serious relationship before.  Well there was Chad, but he put me through hell.  In a way, that was Elisabeth’s fault.

You see once Elisabeth started dating Jason, our friendship suffered.  She turned into "that" girl, only caring about her man.  She hardly made time for me or anyone else for that matter.  Whenever I called, she rushed me off the phone.  Jason controlled her every move.  He had to know where she was at all times.  He resented our friendship.  He believed I was a party girl and would fuck with her head.  I wanted to tell her that I missed her but didn't want to appear needy.  At a local dive bar, notorious for serving underage college students, I met Chad.  He was gorgeous.  He stood well over six feet tall, with dirty blond hair and eyes the color of the clear blue sky.  His body well chiseled.  He exuded charm.  I was captivated with him and we started dating.

I ignored the warning signs and made excuses for his behavior.  He spoke down to me.  He verbally abused me; told me I was worthless and only good for fucking but I stayed.  Why? Because I thought that was what I deserved.  As far back as I could remember, I was told I was just a pretty face and had nothing else to offer.  That was my shining glory - my looks.  We went out with my friends on occasion and they were dazzled by Chad; they adored him.  There was no way that they would believe my accusations.  Meanwhile our relationship became more volatile.  The verbal abuse intensified and the physical abuse started.  If I disagreed with him, he would grab me and slam my body against the wall.  That's how it started.  He always apologized and promised to control himself but didn't.  He would slap me across the face or pinch me hard in public.  My body was covered with bruises which I explained with clever excuses.

I wished someone would put the pieces together and realize my life was a living nightmare but no one did.  My own best friend was too preoccupied with her life to give a shit.  I remember one night we went to a party.  Chad drank like a fish and was plastered.  We went back to his dorm room where he forced himself on me.  He ignored my protests and told me "I wanted it."  He silenced my sobs and screams by clamping his hand over my mouth. Once he was done, he ordered me to get dressed and leave.  I was a mess but did as he said.  I wanted to tell someone but didn't have the strength or courage.  To this day, only Chad and I know what happened that night.

Chad and I stayed together for three months after that. He never spoke of the incident and I didn't dare bring it up.  Being with him increasingly became a chore.  I wanted to leave but didn't know how.  Many days I tried to tell Elisabeth but couldn't find the strength.  The abuse was never ending and I was dying inside.  One night he came over to my dorm and wanted to fuck but I wasn't in the mood.  He grabbed me by the throat and pushed me against the wall.  I had had enough and kneed him in the balls.  He doubled over in pain and released me.  I ran to the door but he was too fast and strong.  He pulled me back and slapped me across the face.  I whimpered and scooted down to the floor.  It was then that we heard a gentle knock on the door.

He clamped his hand over my mouth and whispered for me to be quiet.  He thought he had me where he wanted me until I kicked him and breathlessly shouted, "Coming."

I ran to the door and swung it open, collapsing in Elisabeth's arms.  From what I was told Chad ran away from the scene like the coward he is while Elisabeth called for help.  By the time the paramedics came, I had awoken.  They took me to the hospital for observations and found nothing wrong with me.  The doctor asked about the bruises on my face and I covered up for Chad saying that I must have gotten them when I fainted.

Elisabeth didn't buy my story and pleaded for the truth.  She held me close and promised to help as I told her that Chad slapped me.  I was too embarrassed to tell her that he had forced himself on me weeks earlier and was trying to do the same that night she rescued me.  She urged me to call the cops and have Chad arrested but I refused.  Instead I agreed to move into her and Jason's off campus apartment temporarily.  For the next month, I crashed on their couch while Elisabeth nurtured and watched over me; she made sure I ate, went to class and was doing okay.  I played it off as though I was fine but inside I was a mess.

When I finally returned to my dorm room, I became an insomniac.  On the rare occasion when I feel asleep, I awoke in a cold sweat, fearing for my safety.  One night my nightmare was so intense that I woke up screaming for help, almost giving my dorm mate, Kim, a heart attack.  The nightmares became increasingly worse and I was starting to become paranoid.  When I commuted to class or was on the subway, I feared Chad would attack.  It became so bad that I ended up seeing a therapist.  I was able to talk through my problems with him but never disclosed the sexual abuse.  With each session, I became stronger and more aware of my value.  

However, I was never able to heal the scars of the sexual abuse I suffered.  I jumped from man to man, not able to commit.  Maybe that was because I was attracting losers that only wanted to fuck.  In retrospect, I should have more respect for myself and my body but the nagging doubts and Chad's words haunt me.  It wasn't until Tommy that I  was able to temporarily alleviate the insecurities I felt.

The memories of Chad and pain of losing my job were overwhelming.  I forced myself to put on my happiness face when Tommy came over.  Tommy and I went to the same high school but weren't close. Back then he was a lanky, acne ridden, awkward, horny teenage boy.  Now he was ripped, with bulging muscles, sparkling brown eyes framed by long, thick lashes, flawless skin olive skin and a mischievous smile that gave me butterflies. I didn't share my bad news with him, instead I relished in our time together.  He was gentle and sweet.  He gave me a sense of self worth that I never felt with any other man before.

I was honestly falling in love with Tommy but that day was the beginning of my demise.  That night was absolutely perfect.  We had dinner and watched Pretty Woman (my ultimate favorite movie) before cuddling until we fell asleep.  The next morning we went our separate ways; Tommy went home and I started to get ready for my friend’s wedding.

What really happened that night?  Running into my college friends was supposed to be fun.  After all, we hadn’t seen each other in years and had to catch up.  Sadly at these events the first question is always “So what do you do?”  I lied and said that I was a marketing executive.  The wound was fresh and it was painful to speak of my non-career.  I needed to dull the pain and started drinking.  I was buzzed by the time I ran into Jason.  Yes, Elisabeth’s ex Jason.

He was pleasant and introduced me to his date Tiffany.  She was stunning and very sweet.  She excused herself leaving Jason and I to our own devices.  We talked and it became apparent from his inquiries that he was still hung up on Elisabeth.  The alcohol was starting to cloud my judgment and being this close to Jason was making me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Weird, because I was never attracted to him.  In fact, I disliked him with a passion.  I resented that he controlled Elisabeth and tried to drive a wedge between our friendship.  Yet, in this moment, I wanted him.

Jason excused himself to go to the restroom.  I followed him and checked to make sure no one was watching as I slipped in.  I proceeded to make an ass of myself.  I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing him but he didn't kiss me back.  Instead he pushed me away.  My hands slipped into his pants, gripping his flaccid cock.  I stood up and unzipped my dress, letting it fall to the floor.  He stared in shock at my naked body.  I pulled down his pants and took his cock in my mouth.  Blowjobs were my specialty but no matter what I did, Jason couldn't get it up.  His cock slipped out of my mouth and I sat on the dirty bathroom floor, in only my thong, sobbing.  He attempted to console me, saying that hooking up with me would diminish any chance of him ever reconciling with Elisabeth.  I was filled with rage.  Not only did Elisabeth have Lukas but she had Jason dying to get her back.  What the fuck was wrong with me? Why didn't he want me?

I got dressed and made a beeline to the open bar where I was hit on by a barely legal boy.  He was persistent and wouldn't take no for an answer.  I was about to slap him when Jason came to my rescue.  Whatever he said, worked!  Jason was starting to walk away when I grabbed his forearm.  He spun around.  “I have a proposition for you” I said boldly.

He lowered his voice to almost a whisper, “Brit, I’m not interested in your sexual advances.  You’re a pretty girl and you're better than that.”

“Not that kind of proposition” I said, rolling my eyes. “If you promise to keep this entire evening a secret, I’ll get Elisabeth to give you another chance.”

He protested, saying that he didn't think that was right but I insisted.  I cringed when he asked about my boyfriend.  Guilt encompassed me when I thought of how I fucked up.  Tommy was the love of my life but the alcohol and the events of the last 24 hours left me in a tizzy.  Jason saw how conflicted I was and promised to keep everything between us, no strings attached.  I should have taken him up on his offer but instead I promised to help him in his quest to win back Elisabeth.  In retrospect he probably went along with my plan to shut me up.

We went our separate ways but my promise gnawed at me, not to mention the shame.  Being with Tommy filled me with apprehension and anguish.  I knew I had to make good on my end, even if Jason wasn't 100% on board.  I started hounding Elisabeth, planting seeds of doubt in her head about Lukas.  I begged her to speak with Jason but she refused.  Her stubbornness forced me to kick my plan into second gear.  I made up an elaborate story of Jason blackmailing me to get her sympathy.  It worked like a charm.  She wanted to help me get my revenge, even forgetting my nasty comments about her and her relationship with Lukas.

Little did I know that she would confront him and repeat all of my lies. Even though it was my idea to invite him over July 4th,  I didn't realize the ramifications for me.  Jason denied everything and Elisabeth believed him.  I was caught.  I interjected and tried to counter his story but it was pointless.  She told him she was disappointed in him and kicked him out.  I silently prayed that she would forgive me, wrapping my arms around her as fireworks lit up the sky.  She said she needed time and would deal with me later.  I was at my lowest point but about to sink further.  No boyfriend, no job, no best friend, nothing.

Honestly, I never meant the things I said to Elisabeth but my pride got the best of me.  I wanted to apologize and tell her how wrong I was but each time we met my plan went awry.  We ended up arguing and I said the most hurtful things possible.  I wanted her to feel the pain I felt.  She was supposed to recognize that I wasn't alright but she didn't.  That night when we met at her apartment, I was determined to make things right.  I didn't though. I still don’t know what caused me to act the way I did.

Actually now that I think about it, I do.  I was insecure about losing my job and felt worthless.  I was supposed to be pretty, that was my job according to Daddy dearest but Jason rejecting me nixed that.  If I wasn't pretty what did I have to fall back on?  I used the anger I felt against Elisabeth instead of using it to motivate me. I was never a strong, confident woman.

I regretted making up lies about Lukas.  Fuck, I definitely don’t remember him from speed dating and I didn't pay him to go out with Elisabeth.  He chose her on his own.  I hated spewing lies and spreading rumors about their relationship.  Elisabeth was my best friend and didn't need the added stress and drama.  Hadn't she gone through enough with Amy and then that crazy girl at work?  She deserved a break.  I was all set to come clean when I reached out to Grant.  Elisabeth had mentioned him when we visited Anthony in the hospital.  I looked him up on Facebook and seemed like a good catch.  Handsome, well-educated, great job, grew up in a prestigious neighborhood.

That was my biggest mistake.  Grant is a psychopath. He realized the fragile mental state I was in and took advantage of me.  He manipulated me into helping him execute his plan to win over Elisabeth.  Why is it that every man wants her over me?  Like, seriously?  What does she have that I don’t?  Even back in high school, boys would only pay attention to me, to get closer to her.  What..the..fuck?  Maybe I am slightly jealous of her life.  I mean she moved back to NYC and was able to land a great job, an apartment with Priya and find a man that she was falling deeper in love with each day.  Additionally, she had family and friends that encouraged and supported her.  Why couldn't I have half of those things?  

I wished that I never reached out to Grant.  I wanted to make a clean break, lick my wounds and fix the wrongs I created.  But I couldn't.  Grant texted me furiously to meet him at 230 Fifth.  I was already in bed but he insisted I show up as soon as possible.  When I arrived he was acting erratically, ranting and raving.  I played along, making him think that I was going to help him execute his plan.  I started drinking and ended up having sex with him.  Little did I know that fucking creep videotaped everything.  He had a camera mounted in his bedroom.  At first I didn’t believe that he was capable of that but he showed me footage of us fucking.  There was no way out and I felt the walls closing in on me.  If I didn't help him, he threatened to make our sex tape public.  That was a spark plug for Kim Kardashian’s career (what does she do anyway besides getting dolled up by her glam squad, squeeze into dresses two sizes too small and get her picture taken by the paparazzi) but would only sink me further.

I needed help and support but had no one to turn to.  I've burned all my bridges.  My parents see me as a disappointment.  Twenty-six and not a marriage prospect in sight.  I shudder at the thought of their reaction if they found out I lost my job.  They would mockingly laugh and say, “I told you so” before filling me in about Brandon’s latest accomplishment.  My friends hated me.  I've hurt Elisabeth more than I can imagine.  Anthony and Melissa have greater allegiance and loyalty to her.  

A light bulb went off in my head when Anthony asked me to meet him for coffee.  I knew that telling him what was going on with Grant, at least our “plan” would get the ball rolling.  Without a doubt her would report back to Elisabeth and help her.  I wanted and needed that.  Someone needed to thwart Grant’s plan and sick game.  

Tonight was a disaster.  Seeing Elisabeth and Melissa at the Rooftop made me yearn for the days when we were all friends.  I have no one to blame but myself for the demise of our friendship.  I wanted Elisabeth to engage me in conversation and maybe just maybe we would take a positive step forward.  Unfortunately, we wasted zero time hurling accusations around.  I didn't want to throw a drink in Elisabeth’s face.  That wasn't my intention.  She was leaving and I wanted to stop her.  That was my only recourse.  I know my actions were inexcusable and I owe her a huge apology.

I want things to go back like they were but Grant keeps pestering me.  He holds the sex tape over my head and is making me do whatever he says.  I need help.  I need a way out.  I need to get back my sanity and sense of self worth.  I need my friends.  I need to make up for the wrongs I committed.  I need to do something.

I take another swig of Grey Goose, the bottle is now almost empty.  My mind might be clouded but I know what I need to do.  I need to get my life back and the only way to do so is to fix me.  I’m determined to start going back to my therapist and fix everything.  I pray that it isn't too late.


Monday, August 25, 2014

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Bad Behavior

Just reading Anthony's text made me exhausted.  Thinking about what Britney could have possible told him made me feel drained.  I've tried to wrap my head around Britney's complete 180 and the demise of our lifelong friendship but a lot of things still didn't make sense.  There were times when I missed her but then I remembered how she lied and betrayed me.  Why she made up a convoluted, crazy story about Jason was beyond me.  I gave her an out, an opportunity to tell me the truth on more than one occasion but she didn't.  Instead when confronted with cold, hard truth she berated me.  The things she said were unforgivable.  A real friend would never stoop so low.  She was adamant that Lukas deserved better than me and insisted he was just using me until he found someone better.  She claimed I was a horrible friend...that's right I was the HORRIBLE friend!!!  Meanwhile, I was willing to look past the lies and help her when she swore Jason was blackmailing her....I guess that's what shitty friends do.

Her words cut me deep and there was zero remorse on her part.  In fact, she was steadfast that I was the one that did something wrong.  And to top it off she had the audacity to call me immature, when she was the one acting like a child.  To this day I cannot believe that our friendship spiraled downward so fast.  I'm still in a state of shock that Britney was working with Grant to ruin my relationship with Lukas.  No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't figure out why she was obsessed with him.  Throughout the train ride home, I replayed the events of the past month and a half.  As I walked to my apartment, I chuckled in disbelief to myself.

Once inside, I slipped off my heels and made a beeline to my bedroom.  There was no sign of Priya and I figured that she was out.  I flopped on my bed and stared aimlessly at my phone.  Part of me didn't want to deal with whatever Anthony was about to share but I knew I had to.  I pulled up Anthony's phone number.  My finger hovered around the send key for a while before I finally got the courage to hit it.

Anthony started making small talk and I had to control myself from yelling at him to tell me whatever it is he had to.  He was droning on and on about God knows what when I interrupted him, "Anthony I'm literally dying here.  What's going on with Britney?"

He avoided my question, instead asking if he could stop by to talk in person.  I immediately agreed and he said that he would be over in an hour.  While I waited I decided to take a shower.  Taking the subway on a hot day always made me feel gross.  After showering I slipped into a comfy maxi dress and put my hair in a messy bun.  I was browsing Seamless (a website where you can order and have food delivered) when Priya walked in.  While we chatted, we ordered Chinese food from a place a few blocks over.

Priya mentioned that she was getting ready to go back to medical school.  At first I was taken aback but then quickly realized that it was almost mid-August.  Summer was almost over and I hardly did anything.  It was a little disappointing.  Priya shared that she was apprehensive about going back to med school because she didn't know how she could juggle being in a relationship and taking crazy hard classes and labs.  I assured her that everything would work out and that she shouldn't stress so much over little things.

We were both caught off guard by a knock on the door.  I was engrossed in our conversation and almost forgot that Anthony was stopping by.  I opened the door and gave him a quick hug.  He embraced Priya and gave her a kiss before turning his attention to me.  "I know that text I sent has you going crazy."

"Obviously.  My mind has been working overtime trying to decode your words."

Priya looked from Anthony to me, with a puzzled look.  I filled her in and she started hounding Anthony to tell us what happened.  It felt great to have someone on my side.  Anthony was just about to start when that darn delivery man called to let us know our food was in the lobby.  Don't you hate when that happens. Something is about to go down and then a freaking interruption!!  Anthony volunteered to grab our food and we agreed.

We ate in silence.  In our world food and drama don't mix.  Food equaled happiness and pleasure whereas drama was a major headache.  Once we were done we piled our dishes in the sink; the OCD side of me wanted to wash them immediately but I needed to know what Britney said.

I looked at anxiously at Anthony. His eyebrows furrowed as he spoke softly, "This is actually twofold.  One part is about Britney, the other about Grant."

"Let's start with Britney" I responded.

Anthony shared that they met at Starbucks earlier.  Britney revealed that she was recently laid off but received a very generous severance package.  I immediately felt a pang of pain for her.  Losing your job is never easy and I hated to hear that Britney was dealing with that seemingly on her own.  I could still recall Britney glowing and speaking excitedly about her job and growing old with her company.  Knowing that she lost that dream made me feel for her.

Anthony nervously looked at me before continuing, "Britney said that you stole Lukas from her."

"What?!!?" I exclaimed in complete shock.

He nodded, "She wanted him when you guys went speed dating but you kept saying that he was the only one you were interested in.  She felt sorry for you and convinced him to take you out on a date thinking you would only go out once and then he'd realize he could do better.  She never expected that the two of you would get serious and it pissed her off."

"That makes no sense at all, Anthony.  Seriously at the speed dating event each person selected who they wanted to speak with and gave that information to the sponsor.  How Britney convinced Lukas to go out with me is beyond me.  In fact, if I remember correctly she was busy talking about all of these men who she thought were hot.  Lukas wasn't even on her radar" I said defensively.

"I believe you and know this is Britney's spin.  She claims that July 4th weekend she confronted Lukas and threatened to tell you how she paid him to date you but he called her bluff and she couldn't stand hurting you."

She scoffed and replied angrily, "I'm over her bullshit.  None of what she's saying is true."

He held his hand up for me to stop.  "I know it isn't but I pretended to buy her story to make her tell me more."

Britney "confided" that I ended our friendship without warning and left her blindsided.  She claimed that I was jealous that she was spending time with Jason and ended up turning on her.  Then when she came over to speak with me I flew into a rage and threw her out, while yelling incoherently that I didn't want to be friends anymore.  She was so hurt and blindsided by my behavior and spent all this time grieving the loss of our friendship.  She probably could've won an Oscar for that performance I silently thought.

Anthony kept talking and I was getting increasingly perturbed.  I leaned back against the couch and closed my eyes.  I was only half listening to Anthony repeating Britney's lies while inwardly seething.  Rage and anger consumed me with each word.  My eyes flew open when Anthony mentioned Grant's name.  "Hold up, what did you say about Grant?" I yelled.

"I said that Britney thought he was hot and reached out to him and they developed a friendship."

"But what about Tommy?  I mean she was determined to get him back and even said that she wouldn't even consider flirting with another man because that might jeopardize her chances with him.  What the hell changed?" I asked.

Anthony shrugged, "Don't shoot the messenger.  I'm just telling you what Britney said."

"I'm sorry, Anthony.  I'm so fucking frustrated and angry over all this."

"I know, don't worry about it.  Long story short, Britney claims that you banged Grant and that's why he ended up leaving his job," Anthony blurted out.

My jaw dropped open and my eyes widened in shock, "Are you serious?!?"

He nodded, "She 'claims' that Grant told her everything.  She's disappointed that you would do that to Lukas.  She feels that he needs a woman that would treat him right."

"Like she treated Tommy?" I snapped.

"Liz maybe this isn't such a great idea.  Let's talk about something else for a little" Anthony said, calmly.

I shook my head, "I'm going crazy here...I need to know everything.  It's just that hearing all these lies is pissing me off."

"Basically Britney wants to break you and Lukas up.  She feels you're leading him on and don't really care for him.  She swears that you're cheating and wants to expose you because you have this picture perfect life and get everything you want while she gets nothing" he blurted.

Priya hadn't said a word til now, "Are you saying that Britney is jealous of Elisabeth?"

Anthony nodded, "Her life is going no where.  She lost her job, Tommy, her friendship with you - Elisabeth and feels hopeless.  At least I think she does.  Then she looks at you and you're killing it in every area.  She doesn't think it's fair."

I laughed bitterly, "Eight, nine months ago I hit rock bottom.  I lost it all because I fucked up.  I came back to New York with nothing and worked hard to get where I am.  Nothing was handed to me.  Britney lost Tommy because she hooked up with Jason.  I ended our friendship because I couldn't deal with the lies and insults anymore.  She was the catalyst in both instances."

"I know you did but you're a lot stronger than Britney" Anthony said soothingly.

I smiled, "Stop buttering me up and tell me about Grant."

"He thinks you played him.  He never believed that you had a boyfriend and jumped at the opportunity when Britney contacted him on Facebook.  She promised him that she would help him so that she could get with Lukas."

"How do you know all this?" Priya asked.

"Britney told me" he said flatly.

I asked, "So that's all you have on Grant?"

"No.  Back when he was in college he was accused of sexually assaulting a woman during spring break. The charges were dropped and he was exonerated.  I heard from Mike D'Amico that Grant's parents paid off the girl to keep her quiet.  That wasn't the first time they paid off someone to get him off the hook."

"What a fucking loser!  How dare he force himself on a woman!!  How does Mike know this?" I pondered.

Anthony shared, "He's a piece of shit.  Mike went to college with him and is friends with Grant's older brother Chad."

"You said there were other instances?"

"Yes according to Mike there were at least three instances that he knows of personally where Grant's parents gave someone hush money to protect Grant's rep and their family name" Anthony said, disgusted.

As I walked into the kitchen, I said "This is all so much to process.  I don't know what to think or do anymore."

"I don't know how we ended up in this situation.  It's mind boggling" Anthony said quietly.

The rest of the evening was spent trying to talk about other things but somehow our conversation steered back to Britney.  I was exhausted when I laid in my bed that night but couldn't sleep.  I wondered if there was anything I did to contribute to Britney's behavior?  Maybe I wasn't that good of a friend as I thought.  Those feelings of despair quickly turned to anger as I remembered all that Britney had done and planned to do to me.

Work was picking up on Wednesday.  Labor Day weekend was two weeks away and it seemed that companies wanted to execute deals.  Being busy took my mind off my personal issues and made my day go by quicker. It was a little before six when I pushed the down button, as I waited for the elevator.  Melissa had texted me earlier in the day and suggested we meet for drinks at the Park South Rooftop bar.  It was relatively new and neither of us had been there before.

When I got to the rooftop I was blown away by the amazing view of the Chrysler Building.  If the view was this glorious now, I could hardly imagine how gorgeous it would be when it got dark.  I been to quite a few rooftop bars in NYC but this one was different.  It wasn't as crowded and seemed a little more intimate.  I immediately spotted Melissa sitting at a four person table and rushed over.  I gave her a quick hug before sitting down.

"This place is amazing" I gushed.

She laughed, "The only downside is that each drink is like $20."

I ordered a Bellini from the hostess before turning my attention back to Melissa.  "So tell me what's been going on, how's wedding planning."

"I seriously want to elope.  All the venues and figuring out who to invite, the food, dress...it's way too much for me.  I'm getting stressed thinking about it."

I smiled at her sympathetically, "If you need my help, I'll be more than willing to pitch in.  You know how much I love weddings."

She nodded, "Thanks.  I really appreciate it."

I sipped on my Bellini as we caught up.  We were laughing and talking and having a grand ole time when I heard a familiar voice saying, "Melissa, it's great seeing you here."

My heart skipped a beat and I felt the blood drain from my face.  I didn't even need to turn around, I already knew who it was.  Melissa awkwardly glanced to the left and said quietly, "Hi, Britney."

Britney threw her arms around Melissa before flashing me a fake smile. "Hello Elisabeth.  You look nice."

I nodded politely but didn't say a word.  Britney took a seat next to Melissa and called the hostess over, ordering a round of Patron shots, even though Melissa and I both protested.  "It feels like forever since I saw either of you.  Well, at least you, Melissa."

I rolled my eyes and Britney immediately said, "You didn't want to be friends anymore, remember?  I really miss you but I would look like a fool picking up the phone and calling you to catch up."

I stared at Britney, taking in her appearance.  Her brown hair now had caramel highlights and was straight and sleek, not a flyway in sight.  Her makeup flawless and gorgeous but her eyes were different.  They seemed dead and inexpressive.  There was zero emotion in her facial expressions or even her voice.  It was a far cry from the bubbly, cheerful person that was once my best friend.  I downed the remainder of my Bellini and then said, "Sometimes people aren't who you think they are.  I never expected my so called best friend to stab me in the back and then spin it so I'm at fault. How can I trust a person who would deliberately hurt me so bad?"

For the first time I saw genuine emotion as a guilty look filled her face.  She tried to defend her actions and even though I was seething, I chose to ignore her.  I knew what she was up to and didn't want to play into her game.  I sat back and listened as Melissa uncomfortably engaged Britney in conversation.  Even though it was rude, I whipped out my cell phone and asked Lukas if he could stop by later.  Minutes later he said that he would to and we agreed to meet around 10'ish.

I jumped back to reality when Melissa called out my name.  "Sorry I was lost in my thoughts."

"Look, I'm tired of this shit.  You two have been friends forever and I can't stand seeing you like this.  It's awkward and  I feel like I'm stuck in the middle.  I encouraged you to talk through your issues and that made this worse.  I'm responsible for everything" Melissa said despondently.

Softly I said, "Melissa, you did nothing wrong.  You were only trying to help.  My issues with Britney have nothing to do with you."

Britney wasn't no time chiming in, "She right, Melissa.  Elisabeth's a self-righteous bitch and can't see the errors of her ways...that's why we aren't friends.  I did my best to reconcile.  Reached out to her, even went over to her apartment.  Do you know how hard that was? I was trying to explain my side but she didn't want to hear that she's imperfect and started acting like the immature child that she is and threw me out while yelling that she didn't want to be friends anymore.  I did my part."

By this point I was fuming and angrily said, "Yea, you were trying to reconcile when you came over and called me every name in the book, mocked my relationship with Lukas, accused me of being a shitty friend and lied incessantly."

"Lied?!?  I never lied. You're so fucking stupid! You wouldn't know the truth if it hit you in the face" she ranted.

"I don't give a shit anymore" I responded as I started to gather my things.

She taunted, "What you're going to run away like the little girl you are?"

I locked eyes with her, "You should be the last person to call me immature or a "little girl."  Look at how you're acting right now."

Melissa tried her best to interject and deescalate the situation to no avail.  There was a lot of pent up anger that we both had and it was coming to surface.  Plus, there was so much more that Melissa didn't know.  I had planned to tell her all about my conversation with Anthony but Britney showed up unexpectedly.

"Don't fucking call me a immature. I tried and you turned on me" Britney exclaimed.

I scoffed, "Turned on you?  I tried to help you even though you lied.  I was nothing but a good friend to you."

She glared at me, "A good friend?  That's why you took Jason's side over mine!  You don't give a fuck about no one but you.  You screwed me over and now you're screwing over Grant."

Melissa injected, "Guys, please stop this.  Now isn't the time or place.  People are starting to stare."

I don't know how I found the strength to not attack Britney.  I gathered my things and leaned over to give Melissa hug telling her that I'll talk to her later.  I looked at Britney, "I'm not the mood to engage you over nonsense. What you think doesn't mean anything to me and maybe if you'd pay more attention to your life than interfere mine, you'd be a happier person."

Her face turned pale and she stared down at her drink.  I started to walk away when I felt her grab my arm. I turned around and wrestled away from her tight grasp.  "Don't fucking touch me" I said through clenched teeth and Melissa tried to get in between us.  She pleaded with Britney to let me go home and it seemed that she was making headway until Britney picked up her drink from the table and flung it my face.  The alcohol burned my eyes and streaked down my face.  I pushed her with my two hands and she staggered backwards.  She started flailing her arms, trying to hit me when security rushed over.  The two big burly bouncers grabbed Britney and escorted her towards the exit as she screamed, "This is far from over Elisabeth."

I was thoroughly embarrassed as I slunk down into the chair.  My entire body was shaking as I tried to regain my composure.  Another bouncer came over and asked I was okay.  I nodded, unable to speak.  I never expected that Britney would try to fight me and the realization of what just happened rendered me speechless.  Melissa was saying something or the other but I was clearly in a different world, replaying all that transpired.

It was a good 15-20 minutes later when Melissa insisted that we leave.  As we headed down in the elevator, she soothingly told me that she would speak with Britney.  I shook my head and muttered, "There's so much you don't know."

"What do you mean?" she asked gently as we headed out of the Park South Hotel.

I looked at my phone, it was a little after nine.  "Lukas is coming over at 10 and I don't want to keep him waiting."

"Please tell me.  I swear, I had no idea that Britney was going to show up.  I was just as shocked as you were.  I knew that both of you were upset with each other but I never expected this" she babbled.

I nodded, "This isn't your fault.  There's just a lot of bad blood between us."

"Tell me what's going on."

I walked towards a bench and motioned for her to sit.  I spent the next fifteen minutes sharing all that Anthony told me.  She listened incredulously, interrupting to state her disbelief and disgust.  Once I was done she said calmly, "I had no idea Elisabeth.  I'm so sorry that Britney is doing this to you."

"I know.  I'm confused and angry about the entire situation. Tonight just added another layer to this mess" I said sharply.

She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, "I wish I knew how to resolve this."

"Me too" I whispered.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Unbelievable

I met Alison by the elevator bank a little before one.  We walked in virtual silence to Wahoo's on Park Avenue South.  It was packed with the typical lunch hour crowd.  After ordering and waiting for twelve minutes exactly for our orders, we found a table.  I watched as Alison slid into the seat across from me.  I took a small bite of my chicken enchilada while Alison looked intently at me.

She nervously played with the straw in her drink.  "I guess you're wondering why I wanted to talk to you."

I nodded and she continued, "Elisabeth I feel like such a fool."

With a raised eyebrow I asked, "Why?"

It seemed as though she was conflicted and debating whether or not to confide in me.  It was a good three minutes later when she finally spoke again.  "I wasn't invited to Grant's farewell party.  I didn't even know he had resigned.  I overheard everyone talking and started putting the pieces together."

"Alison, what are you saying?" I asked, completely lost.

She sighed, "I felt like such a loser.  I know I'm not a part of your group and I'm just John's secretary but I felt that I deserved to know Grant was leaving.  I was in John's office and overheard him and Christine making plans to go to 230 Fifth to have one final drink with Grant.  I wanted to say goodbye to him too but how could I?"

"Okay" I said quietly.

"I ended up going home and then it dawned on me.  This was my last shot to get Grant to notice me.  Ever since I started I was drawn to him.  At first he use to flirt with me and was so nice but then it was like I didn't exist. I knew that if I didn't tell Grant how I felt, I would regret it.  I went home, got dressed in my sexiest dress, did my hair and makeup.  I was on a mission" she shared as she shredded her napkin.

I took a sip of my drink, "Alison, I'm not sure what any of this has to do with me."

"I made an ass of myself" she continued, as her eyes welled up with tears.

"What the hell are you talking about?"

I saw her swallow hard and wipe away the tears that were leaking out of her eyes.  "As soon as Grant saw me, he was all over me.  Kissing me, telling me how beautiful I was, how he wanted to be with me.  It was a dream come true until you showed up."

"Alison, I don't want Grant" I said softly.

She nodded, "But he wants you.  After you left he came back and cursed me out.  Blamed me for you being mad at him.  He started ranting and talking about how his foolproof plan backfired."

I took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, "I'm sorry you had to deal with that."

"Thanks.  There's a little more. I was in shock and just sitting there, trying to figure out what went wrong, when this very pretty brunette showed up.  He introduced her as his friend Britney.  I overheard them talking about you and this master plan to break you and your boyfriend up."

My eyes widened as I processed her words.  It couldn't be the same Britney, could it?  Why would she be hellbent on fucking up my relationship with Lukas?  As calmly as possible, I asked her to tell me more about Britney.

"She had long brown hair, was immaculately dressed and seemed to have some vendetta against you.  She kept telling Grant you didn't deserve to have a good man," Alison shared.

My mind was reeling and I was furious but there was no way that I would let Alison know this.  Even though I appreciated her telling me this, I wasn't ready to be her friend nor did I trust her.  What if she was a part of this sick plan?  I put on my widest smile and said sweetly, "Thank you so much for telling me this Alison."

"Are you okay?" she asked, concerned.

"I'm fine, just a little confused."

She looked away, "I'm sorry, Elisabeth.  I saw how happy you looked with your boyfriend and felt that you had a right to know what Grant and this Britney chick were up to.

"I appreciate that" I said sincerely.

She looked around before lowering her voice, almost whispering, "Do you think Grant's right and that I'm a loser destined to be alone."

Hearing the vulnerability in Alison's voice and seeing the sadness in her eyes made me feel her pain.  "Everyone deserves happiness and love.  You're in a rough patch right now, but things will get better.  Don't let Grant or anyone make you feel inferior."

Emotionally, she said, "Thanks."

I gave her a small smile before looking at my watch, "We really should head back."

On our way back to work, we talked about our plans for the remainder of the summer.  Alison was going to Mexico on Thursday for her brother's wedding.  I shared that I didn't have anything scheduled yet but hoped to go somewhere warm in late fall.  Before heading to my work space, Alison thanked me for being so kind.  I told her not to worry about.  As I sat in front of my computer, my head was spinning.  I had so many questions about Britney, Grant, their connection and I needed answers.

The remainder of my workday crawled by.  As I cabbed it to my apartment, I texted Lukas, asking him if he wanted to come over later.  He said yes, but that he wasn't getting out of work until close to nine.  I told him that was perfectly fine.  The cab came to an abrupt stop in front of my building.  I paid the cabbie and walked into my building, saying hello to the doorman.  When I was opened my apartment door, I was surprised to see Anthony sitting on the couch.

Our eyes met, "You okay, Liz?"

"I don't know, Anthony.  I'm so confused."

"You want to talk about it?" he asked gently.

"I don't want to ruin you and Priya's evening" I said honestly.

He shook his head, "You aren't.  I want to help you.  It's the least I can do."

I agreed to tell him everything but first I wanted to change into something more comfy.

A half hour later, Priya, Anthony and I were trying to make sense of Alison's story.  Anthony felt that there was truth into what Alison said while Priya suggested we do a little snooping.

"Let's check out if she's Facebook friend's with Grant" she suggested.

"I don't have Facebook" I shared.

In the financial services industry, firms were looking for any reason to lay off employees and were even resorting to incriminating evidence of Facebook.  In fact, when new employees came in for interviews they were asked for their Facebook information.  It was extremely intrusive in my opinion.  Anyway, I ended up deleting my Facebook account because I didn't want to put myself in a precarious situation.  Plus I didn't use it much.  Between work and Jason, I didn't have much time.

Anthony quickly volunteered to use his account.  I rushed into my bedroom and grabbed my laptop. Anthony logged into his account and went to Britney's page.  We checked her friends and I gasped upon seeing Grant's name.  We scrolled through her pics and there was one from Thursday night with her and Grant with the Empire State building behind them.  "Oh my God" I exclaimed, "she really was at 230 Fifth."  We continued looking and found at least five pics with her and Grant over the past two weeks.

Priya tried to console me while Anthony went to Grant's Facebook.  Like the idiot he is, all his information was public.  There were a couple pics of him and Britney together, one of them with the caption "my partner in crime."  In the comments section, Britney wrote, "You're damn right.  Not stopping til we both get what we want;)"

I wanted to maintain my composure but I couldn't.  I wept while Priya gently rubbed my back and Anthony promised to help me.  It was bad enough that Britney lied and conspired with Jason.  Ending my friendship with Britney was difficult and painful and now knowing that Britney was working with Grant to screw me over was like pouring salt on an open wound.  Why was she so against me being with Lukas?

I wiped my tears and asked, "What do we do next?  I'll be damned if I let Britney and Grant control my life."

"Does Lukas know about Grant?" Anthony asked.

"Kind of.  He knows who he is but he doesn't know what Grant tried to kiss me and about all this drama."

Anthony said gently, "You're going to have to tell him."

I nodded.  "I know.  I wanted to but then John had surgery and I was caught off guard by Lukas showing up at my parent's house.  I was so relieved and happy and I got caught up."

"Lukas will understand" Priya said softly.

"In the meantime, let's brainstorm and come up with a plan.  I'm going to text Britney tomorrow and see if she wants to grab coffee and 'catch up.'  I want to get a feel of where she's at mentally and go from there" Anthony shared.

I mustered up a small smile, "Thanks."

By the time Lukas came over I was feeling better.  I was determined to stop both Britney and Grant in their tracks.  There was no way I would let anyone interfere in my relationship with Lukas.  I gave him a tight hug and led him to the couch.  "What's going on?" he asked concerned.

"There's something I need to discuss with you" I said shakily.

"What is it?"

I took his hand in mine.  "Remember I told you that Grant accepted a job at another bank and was leaving?" He nodded and urged me to continue.  "Thursday night he had farewell drinks at 230 Fifth.  I went for about an hour or two and when I was leaving he tried to kiss me and I pushed him off.  I was so angry.  I wanted to slap him but I didn't want to create a scene."

I saw Lukas' eyes narrow, "What a fucking piece of shit.  I wish I was there, I would've kicked his ass."

"After I left I realized that I didn't have my phone and had to go back.  That's when I saw him making out with Alison, you know, Amy's cousin. The crazy girl from work."

Lukas' sighed, "And what happened?"

"Nothing.  He wanted to talk and I didn't so I just went home.  This morning Alison asked me to lunch and I agreed.  She was saying that Grant used her to get over me rejecting him and that as soon as I left he turned on her."

Lukas shook his head, "It's a good thing he doesn't work with you anymore.  He sounds like a complete jackass."

"Alison told me that Britney and him are conspiring to break us up.  When I got home Anthony was here and me, him and Priya did some Facebook stalking and found out that Grant and Britney are friends.  There were even pics of the two of them at 230 Fifth on Thursday" I said quickly.

Lukas jaw clenched, "I can't believe this."

"I'm sorry" I said quietly.

"You don't have anything to apologize for.  You did nothing wrong.  I'm pissed that this guy Grant and Britney are trying to play God and fuck with us."

I snuggled close to him, "Me too.  I don't want to lose you, Lukas.  I love you so much."

"Listen, I'm not going anywhere and there's no way in hell I'm letting Grant and Britney come between us" he said softly.

"Anthony says that he'll invite Britney to coffee tomorrow to see where her head is at."

He kissed the top of my head, "That's not a bad idea."

I nodded, "I was so happy this morning when I heard that John's tumor was benign and then after talking to Alison my mind has been all over the place.  This entire situation is so unnerving."

"Baby, it'll be okay.  I promise.  If Grant comes anywhere near you, I'll fuck him up" Lukas said strongly.

Lukas and I were watching the news when Priya and Anthony got back.  I watched as Anthony and Lukas talked in the kitchen, wondering what they were up to.  When they finally returned, Anthony said, "We have an idea."

I scoffed, "Please tell me you're not going to suggest I get a bodyguard again."

Priya giggled and I joined in while Lukas and Anthony rolled their eyes. "No, not that.  I'm going to talk to Britney tomorrow and Lukas is going to get a private investigator to follow Grant.  That's the only way we can know what he's up to."

I sighed, "I know that he's on garden leave for the next three months."

"That's perfect.  That means that he'll be out and about" Lukas said.

Anthony stood up and paced before saying, "There's no way any of us will let Grant or Britney harm you Elisabeth.  I'm going to hit up some high school friends that know Grant and see if I can get some insight into him."

I smiled, "I appreciate everything that all of you are doing."

We talked for a little while before going to bed.  That night I snuggled close to Lukas not wanting to let him go.  The next day, work was extremely slow and boring.  I was eagerly watching the clock, waiting for it to strike five.  As I was walking to elevator my phone vibrated with a text from Anthony.

Shit just got real, we have to talk ASAP.  

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Q&A

Happy Tuesday!!  I've received all of your questions and here are the answers.  If you have anymore, ask away!  


1.  Are you are fashionable as Elisabeth?
I don't know if I'm that fashionable.  Admittedly I have an obsession for designer bags and shoes.  I've limited myself to getting two bags per year (birthday and Christmas).  Shoes, are another story!!  There are some pairs in my closet that I have never worn but won't give up because I know I'll find the perfect outfit to go with them one day.  My biggest temptation is the Manolo Blahnik annual shoe sale where you can get the cutest shoes and boots from $200 to $275, more than half off retail. I would love, love, love, love to get access to the Christian Louboutin sample sale but sadly I don't have contacts in media!  In terms of work clothes, I'm a J Crew, Theory and Banana Republic girl (I work in a conservative/business professional field).  I do love my Alice and Olivia, BCBG, DVF dresses but I also kick back in jeans or leggings (yes I know they're not pants) and a t-shirt.  

2.  Is this blog completely fictional or are some storylines things that happened to you?
For the most part the blog is fictional.  Thankfully I've never had a crazy stalker like Amy or a shitty friend like Britney.  I will say that the storyline about Elisabeth's brother is similar to something that I experienced in real life with my own brother. Anthony is based off of my male best friend that I've known forever.  And Joe is similar to my high school sweetheart.  Elisabeth's career and interactions (sans Grant) are similar to my own as well. I'm finding as the story progresses Elisabeth is becoming similar to me.  After writing about her for the past 6/7 months, she's a part of me!

3.  Where did you go to college and what did you major in?
I attended Boston University and majored in Finance.  I didn't go to NYU like Elisabeth but many of my friends and my fiance...I mean husband (I keep calling him my fiance out of habit...lol) did.  I wanted to get away from New York and Boston University seemed like the best option for me.  I loved my college years and wouldn't change a thing!

I received my MBA from Fordham University.

4.  Will the tone of the blog change once you're married?
Hmm, that's an interesting question and I honestly don't know the answer.  It probably won't but I guess you'll have to keep reading to find out;)

5.  How long do you think you'll continue writing about Elisabeth?
I don't like to set timelines because sometimes they limit you or are unrealistic.  I don't see Elisabeth's story ending anytime soon.  There's so much more she needs to accomplish and there are so many wonderful ideas I have about her progression.  I think that when writing become boring and stressful to me, it will be time to wrap things up.  Whenever I decide to end this story, it will be done the right way, with the proper send off for Elisabeth.  

6.  Is Lukas as perfect as he seems?
Maybe or maybe not?  You'll have to keep reading!!

7.  Do you read other blogs?  If so, which ones?
I totally need to catch up on my reading but I have been reading these blogs for a long while now:
LoveLifeLA - my favorite blog.  It has a little bit of everything and I might have a tiny crush on Tanner;)
Life By Aleah- another awesome blog.  Aleah and I did a crossover earlier in the year and I love her writing style and her storylines.
MinneappleGirl - how can you not love and cheer for Maddie?!?  
Hot Mess In High Heels - I love reading about Reese's life.  I have much respect for Reese, putting her real life out there.  Now that I'm a married woman I can life vicariously through her!!!
Tragedy and the Twenty-Something - I love reading about Danielle!

There are other blogs that I recently started reading or have on my to read list as well.  On the web version of my blog there is a list of the blogs I follow and enjoy.  I'm in awe of all of the other bloggers and they truly push me to want to be a better writer and create better storylines.  Not to mention they are super sweet and very helpful.  

8.  Is Lukas based on your fiance/husband?
No, lol.  My husband is wonderful and perfect for me.  Lukas is a character I made up in my mind.  There are similarities but Lukas is his own person;)

9.  I'm getting married in September.  Any advice on the name change process?
Congratulations and best of luck to you!!!  Name change process?  Um.....I'm not changing my name...lol.  Ever since I was young I always said that I would keep my name when I got married and it's something that I discussed with my husband when we were just friends and when we got engaged.  He's been nothing but supportive of my choice.  With that said, there's a chance I might change my mind down the road and opt to take on his long Greek last name...lol....but right now it's not happening.

10. You mentioned being a foodie, what's your favorite food/drink/dessert?
That's such a hard question because I love food!!!  Thankfully I have a fast metabolism;)
Favorite Food - Linguine with Clams
Drink - Sauvignon Blanc (I love my wines) or Pomegranate Martini
Dessert - Macarons from Laduree or Chocolate Mousse

11. Does you fiance know about this blog?
Yes!!!!  He's never read it but he knows about it.

12. Do you have kids?
No, not yet.  Maybe in a couple years;)

13. What is your motivation for the blog?
All of my readers keep me motivated.  I want to create riveting, fun storylines that will keep all of you on your toes and wanting more!!

14. Do you write in advance?
The past five weeks of posts were written in advance.  I didn't want to go on hiatus and felt that was the best option.  Usually I have one or two posts in reserves.  Right now I have one post left and am trying to figure out where to go with current storylines.  It's hard to jump right back into things but you've been away for so long!!  Hopefully, I'll be able to start writing again by the end of the week.

15. Were there any posts that you didn't like?
Yes.  There are a couple posts that I've written and posted that I've re-read and wondered WTF I was thinking.  It's all part of the learning curve, I guess.

16. How was your wedding?
Our wedding was beautiful.  When I woke up the day of our wedding it was pouring and that upset me a little.  I had envisioned this picture perfect day and here it was raining.  I heard all the cliche's about rain being a sign of good luck from everyone and quite frankly it only upset me more. I was relieved when it started to clear up midday.  While I was getting ready, my mother in law showed up with a present from my now husband and a card. I was surprised because he's romantic but not super sappy.  Of course I was blubbering mess! I had a present for him and a card which she took to him.

We had a super small Greek Orthodox wedding ceremony Friday night and had a basic wedding in the garden of our venue as well on Saturday. After, our guests indulged in cocktail hour outside while we took pics with our wedding party and immediate family. We had a sit down formal dinner.  Tons of food.  My husband and I opened the dance the floor to "Back at One".  At one point we did sneak away to take in the beauty of the day.  We looked down at all the wonderful friends and family that took time out to come to our wedding and felt very loved and blessed.  So many of you suggested that and I appreciate it.  You were absolutely right.  Speeches were great and very emotional.  We partied the night away and our guests joined us for breakfast before leaving.

The next day we went to my parent's house where they had a bbq for our guests and then on Monday we left for our honeymoon.  I wasn't sure where we were going, my husband (takes getting use to saying or even typing) was in charge of that.  I needed to give him something to do!!  We spent five days in Nice and five days in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  We had an awesome time and are super relaxed and tanned now!

17. Is professional writing in the cards?
Probably not.  While I am improving (at least I think I am) I don't think I can write a novel or anything like that.  Writing for me is fun and I'd like to keep it that way.

18. Where do you see yourself many years from now?
God willing with a couple kids and running my own business.  I'd like to have the flexibility to be able to watch my children grow up while using my business background to do something I love.  I have many ideas for a business that I'm toying with but that's my long term plan.

19. Do negative comments bother you?
Honestly, I'm cool with constructive criticism.  It helps me become better as a writer.  There's only been one comment that set me off.  When I first started the blog someone said that I write like an uneducated person. That bothered me because not only did I go to college but I went to graduate school.  I'm the furthest thing from uneducated.  Don't take personal shots at me or my family or I will strike back.  I've learned to ignore and delete such comments.  If you don't like Elisabeth's current storyline or disagree with what she's doing that's cool but don't attack me.  I don't know if that makes sense.

20. Are you really from NYC?
I grew up on Long Island (Nassau County) and have been living in Manhattan for the past six years.

21. Are you a Republican or Democrat?
I plead the fifth!!

21. What nationality are you?
Italian-American

22. What was the last book your read?
100 Foot Journey...I can't wait to see the movie.

23. Are you as nice as your seem?
Haha, I'm a very friendly, happy person but I have my moments like everyone else.

24. What do you do for a living?
I'm in marketing (aka sales) at an investment back.  I sell fixed income products to institutional clients...nothing terribly fascinating but it pays the bills!!


Monday, August 18, 2014

Prognosis

My parents were sitting out on the front porch when we pulled into the driveway.  They watched as we approached.  We chatted for a little before my mom started talking about about John.  She shared that John looked at ease with his children and was in a great mood.  After the kids left, they were able to get some alone time with him.  Even though I visited him earlier, I asked how he was doing.

"He's doing so much better, honey.  The doctors wanted him to get out of bed and walk around for a little.  He did but he's still in pain.  That's expected after having surgery" my mom shared.

I nodded, "Do we know yet if the tumor was malignant?"

Both of my parents shook their head.  My dad explained, "They doctors are saying they'll have a definite answer Monday morning."

My mom quickly changed the subject, "Lukas, are you enjoying Long Island?"

He laughed, "It's a lot different than I thought.  I've been to the Hamptons a couple of times but no where else.  I didn't know there was so much to do here."

My mom smiled widely, "So you like it here?"

"I do" Lukas said gently.

I listened as my parents and Lukas conversed.  Everything flowed; it was as though they were on similar wavelengths.  It was close to midnight when we finally went inside.  Before slipping into my bedroom, I gave Lukas a long, lingering kiss.  Part of me hoped that Lukas would try to sneak into my room but I knew that would be unlikely since my parents were still up.  I ended up falling asleep not long after settling in my bed.

The next morning, Lukas and I stopped at the bakery before going to the hospital.  I knocked softly before entering the room.

John winced in pain  as he attempted to sit up.  "How are you?" I asked gently

"Not too bad, just in a little pain" he said hoarsely.

Lukas shook his hand, "Isn't there a button that you can press to get more painkillers in your IV?  If not, I'll grab a nurse."

"Yea, but I'm trying to ween off the painkillers.  A friend of mine became addicted and I don't want to deal with that" John offered.

I smiled and cheerfully said, "John, I got you a little surprise!"

He sighed loudly, "A surprise?"

"YESSS!!!!" I answered, handing a box from the bakery.

He took the box from me and looked confused.  "Open it" I ordered.  He slowly opened the box and chuckled.

"Thank you, Lizzie" he said appreciatively as he eyed the rainbow cookies.

"I know they're your favorite."

He nodded before looking at Lukas, "When we were younger, mom would go to the bakery and get us cookies, pastries, whatever we wanted.  Lizzie knew these were my favorite and would hide them just to piss me off."

I giggled, "No, I hid them to get back at you for teasing me."

He rolled his eyes, "Teasing?  I was trying to help you!"

"Whatever, John."

John nibbled on a cookie while insisting that Lukas and I have some as well.  We agreed.  After all, who could resist freshly baked rainbow cookies?  During our visit we reminisced about our childhood and of course Lukas and John got to know each other better.  When Lukas went to the lobby to get us coffee, John turned to face me.  "I like him for you."

I beamed, "I'm glad."

"No I mean it, Lizzie.  He's seems like a great guy and I can tell he's really into you."

"Thanks.  That means a lot to me."

Shortly after Lukas returned we decided it was time to head back to the city.  Lukas told John to feel better before leaving to get the car.  I appreciated that he was giving me a couple minutes to say goodbye to John on my own.

I walked over and hugged him.  "I wish I could stay but I have to go to work tomorrow."

"Don't worry so much about me Lizzie.  Whatever it is, we'll work it out" John said confidently.

I smiled, "I know.  I just want you to be okay."

"I will be" he said squeezing my hand.

"Call me if you need anything" I said as I walked away.

After leaving the hospital we went back to my parent's house where we had dinner.  My parents drilled Lukas about his family and he seemed to answer every single question perfectly.  As we ate our strawberry cheesecake, I made my parents promise to call or text me the minute they heard anything about John's condition.  Once done, Lukas helped my mom clean up.  He insisted and wouldn't take no for an answer.

By the time we left, it was close to 8.  As we drove Lukas shared that my family reminded me of his except for the unstable sister of course. I was looking out at the bumper to bumper traffic on the Long Island Expressway when I felt his strong hand on my upper thigh; heat immediately radiated throughout my body. His fingers absentmindedly made little circles, reaching further up until they were brushing against my panties. I gasped and instinctively spread my legs a little wider.  I anxiously waited for Lukas to touch me but instead he teased my inner thighs.  He had me squirming and very wet when he moved his fingers away.  I groaned frustrated and disappointed, while Lukas smirked at me.

As I caught my breath, I figured it would be best to change the subject.  No use in getting all hot and bothered when we were stuck in gridlock.  I glanced over at Lukas.  His eyes seeded  fixated on the road.  I cleared my throat, "Lukas, I wanted to say thank you for being here this weekend.  I mean, I know you had other things to do..."

He interrupted and shifted his eyes in my direction, "Liz, there is no place I'd rather be."

I nodded and peered out of the window, watching the cars creeping by.  I was completely shocked when I felt Lukas' fingers under my skirt and stroking over my panties.  I swallowed hard and leaned back.  His fingers pulled my panties to the side, before quickly thrusting two fingers into me while his thumb lightly brushed over my clitoris.  I closed my eyes and felt myself explode, clenching tightly around his fingers as he continued his skillful assault. I tried to catch my breath but Lukas' fingers had me in a constant state of arousal.  I wanted more, I wanted to feel him inside me but that was virtually impossible.  As his fingers teased me I sat up and reached my hand over, grabbing his hardness.  He moaned softly, "Fuck, Elisabeth."

"I want you so bad Lukas" I whispered.

I swear I felt him pulsate in my hand when I said those words.  His breathing was becoming jagged, "Fucking traffic."

I giggled.  "We'll be home soon enough" I said removing my hands.

An hour and a half later, I struggled to open my apartment door as Lukas' hands moved up and down my sides before cupping my breasts.  I moaned and pushed back against him, feeling how aroused he was.  I breathed a sigh of relief when the key finally turned, opening the door.  Not much longer now, I told myself as I pushed the door open.  Lukas' lips were now on my neck, kissing gently, sending shivers down my spine.  It was dark inside and there was no sign of Priya.

I giggled as Lukas picked me up and carried me to my bedroom.  He hiked my skirt up and pulled my panties off, throwing them to the floor before slipping his pants off.  His erection spung free.  He teased me with his hardness until I couldn't stand it anymore.  My legs shook and every inch of my body yearned for his touch.  I wanted and needed him so bad.  He pressed his forehead against mine and gazed into my eyes as he thrust into me.  I gasped in pleasure, feeling so full.  He gave me a moment to adjust before he started moving quicker.  Each second bringing me closer to my climax.  I wrapped my legs around his back and pulled him in deeper.  Never once breaking eye contact, his hands slipped into my bra and teasingly rolled my nipples.  I couldn't take anymore.  My back arched and my eyes closed as I exploded around his thickness.  As I lay there trying to catch my breath, he started moving faster and deeper, his fingers gripping my hips.  A thin layer of sweat covered his perfect body, his breathing so shallow.  When he threw his head back and moaned my name, I felt his muscles tense as he climaxed.

That night I slept peacefully in Lukas' arms.  The next morning I was jolted awake by the alarm.  I rushed out of bed and hurriedly got ready for work.  Before leaving, I ran my fingers though Lukas' hair, feeling him stir. His eyes heavy with sleep as he looked at me.  "I have to go to work but you can sleep in" I said gently massaging his head.

"Mmm, anything I can do to convince you to stay?" he asked huskily.

I shook my head, "I wish there were but I was off on Friday and probably have a shitload of work to do."

I leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.  During my commute to work, I became increasingly anxious as I thought about my brother, John.  Today was the day when we would find out if his tumor was malignant or benign.  Even though he was feeling better and recovering, I still feared that something was going to happen to change that.  I was in a daze, totally oblivious to my surroundings, when I walked past Alison's desk.  I could've sworn that she called my name but my mind was somewhere else.  As I logged onto my computer, I felt Nick tap me on the shoulder.

I jumped and turned to him.  He stifled a grin, "So sorry Elisabeth.  I was asking you how your brother's doing but you seemed like you were in another world.  You, okay?"

I gave him a small smile, "I was just....thinking.  My brother is doing better but we'll get his test results today."

"Listen, if you need anything or want to talk, I'm here. Even if you want to go outside for a few minutes, hours, whatever, I'll cover for you.  Just tell me."

I nodded, "Thanks, Nick.  I appreciate the offer."

As much as I tried to throw myself into my work, my mind kept drifting to happier and simpler times with John.  The good times and happy memories for our childhood.  I was startled when my phone vibrated.  My hands literally shaking when I saw a text from my mom that read, "Call me."

I automatically assumed the worse as I grabbed my phone and headed towards the elevator bank.  I anxiously pressed the down button repeatedly.  It seemed like an eternity, but actually less than two minutes before I was outside.  I dialed my mom's number and paced nervously.  She finally answered on the fifth ring.

"Mom, what's going on?" I asked in a panicked tone.

"Honey, calm down.  The results came back and John's tumor was benign" she said exuberantly.

Hearing those words made me feel relieved; it was as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.  I shrieked, "I'm so happy to hear that.  I've been on edge all morning.  I was so scared that I was...that we were going to lose John."

"Aw, me too honey.  John is going to be fine and isn't going anywhere for a long, long time."

I smiled, "You're right.  This ordeal has made realize how important my family is."

"Liz, I know this was hard on you.  It was hard on all of us but John is better now and that's all that matters" she said gently.

"I know, Mom."

She quickly said, "I really should let you get back to work."

"Thanks.  Give my love to John and tell him I'll visit him when he gets out of the hospital."

As soon I ended the phone call with my mom, I texted Lukas to let him know that John was going to be fine. He immediately texted back that that was the best news he's heard in a while.  He was back in his apartment, getting ready to go to work.

It was a gorgeous day outside and part of me wanted to bask in all of its glory but I had work to do.  As I walked through the lobby and towards the elevator, I could feel myself beaming.  When I got off on my floor, I was immediately accosted by Alison.

"Elisabeth, we need to talk" she said firmly.

I raised an eyebrow, "What?"

"We need to talk."

"Alison, I'm busy" I responded.

"It's important.  Please" she pleaded.

What the fuck was her problem?  I knew that she would not stop hounding me unless I talked to her.  "Fine."

"Can we do lunch?"

It was a relatively quiet day and what could possibly go wrong, I thought to myself.  "Okay."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Bonus - To Move or Not to Move

My Awesome Readers - the past month has been surreal and unbelievably great.  I'm back, now a married woman, no longer living in sin;)  I appreciate all of the comments, suggestions and of course your support.  I hope that you're enjoying the current storylines.  I have to go back and read the past few posts as a refresher!!  With that said, I have a lot planned for Elisabeth and can't wait to get back to writing, so stay tuned!!!  Because of your unbridled support, this blog has gotten to the 300k hits mark, yay!!! This bonus post is to show my appreciation.  Lastly, just wanted to say a big thank you to my cousin Amanda who did an amazing job running the blog in my absence.

Lukas seemed like a bundle of nerves as he softly said, "Maybe you can move in with me?"

My mouth dropped open and my pulse quickened.  I was completely caught off guard by Lukas asking me to move in with him.  I allowed myself to get lost in my thoughts as I processed his words.  I loved Lukas and living with him would be icing on the cake.  However, I wasn't sure if I was ready for that.  Part of me was scared of the unknown.  So many what if scenario's crossed my mind.  And then there was my experience with Jason.  I thought we had the perfect relationship when we moved in together but shortly after the cracks started to show.  After Jason and I broke up, I swore that I wouldn't play house with another man until I had a ring on my finger.  But here I was, conflicted.  A huge part of me wanted to say yes and start packing but a smaller part wanted to be more cautious.  I was weighing the pros and cons when I felt Lukas' hand reach for mine, our fingers intertwined

I turned to face him,finally speaking, "I'm completely blown away that you want me to live with you."

"I do, but only if you want to" he said as he pushed a stand of hair behind my ears.

All of the thoughts running through my mind, flooded out of my mouth, "I love you Lukas and I would love to live with you one day.  I'm just so conflicted and scared.  In my last relationship everything was going great and then we moved in together and you know how it ended.  I don't want that for us."

"Elisabeth, I" he started and I cut him off.

"This is such a huge step and something I'd need to think long and hard about.  I love you more than anything but I don't want to mess up what we have."

He took me in his arms, "I understand your apprehensions.  I want you to make the best decision for you and not be swayed by your past experiences."

I nodded and started babbling.  "You're nothing like my ex.  You make me feel special and I can't picture my life without you. I'm thrilled that you want to take this step in our relationship.  I can't think of anything better than seeing your face each night before I go to sleep and then first thing in the morning.  I just don't know if it's feasible at this very moment. Plus I have to think about Priya. I would feel terrible leaving her in the middle of her lease.  I guess what I'm saying is I need some time to think about his."

He laughed, "You don't have to make up your mind just yet.  I haven't even found a place. The offer is on the table and it's your call.  I'd love for you to live with me and I think it'll only make our relationship stronger. I understand that you have prior obligations and I respect that.  Maybe once I find an apartment and close you'll be in a different place.  Regardless we'll find a way to make this work for both of us."

I snuggled close to him, "Living with you would be a dream come true."

He brushed his lips against mine, "You're my dream come true."

I felt the butterflies wreaking havoc in my stomach and my pulse quickening.  "And you're mine.  When I moved back here, I never dreamed that I would find someone that makes me as happy as you do."

"Mm.  You are special Elisabeth" he said as he spooned me.  The warmth of his body radiated against me.  I closed my eyes and drifted off to sleep.  The next morning I woke up and glanced at Lukas' perfectly sculpted body laying next to me.  He looked so peacefully.  I leaned over and kissed his cheek.  He stirred and his eyelids fluttered.

"Did you sleep well?" I asked quietly.

"Always when I'm with you" he said huskily.

As I showered, a smile crept on my face as I recalled Lukas asking me to move in with him.  The more I thought about it, the more I knew what I had to do.
_______________________________________________________________

Lukas and I were just finishing breakfast when my parents arrived home.  Needless to say there were thrilled that Lukas came back from Miami to support me.  It was evident they loved and approved of him.  It was quite the contrast to their feelings for Jason.  My parents never warmed up to him and he wasn't fond of them either.  I later found out he hadn't even asked my dad for my hand in marriage before he proposed.  I was a little disappointed because in my fairy-tale relationship my soon to be husband always spoke to my dad first to get his blessing.  I didn't say anything at the time because let's face it I had bigger fish to fry and was overcome with guilt over my infidelity.

Looking back, Jason avoided my family like the plague but expected me to go to all of his family functions.  He always found an excuse to get out of visiting with my family or even getting to know them.  He justified his actions by saying he was with me and that was all that mattered, not my family.  I should have seen the warning signs then but you live and learn.  I'm the person I am today because of the choices I've made and quite frankly, I like me just the way I am.  Okay, maybe not exactly, I have some flaws here and there but I'm quite content with who I am.

After a lengthy conversation with my parents, Lukas and I went to the hospital to visit John.  He was in much better spirits.  He excitedly shared that Kristen went home to get the kids.  He missed them and was couldn't wait to see them.  John was an awesome dad.  He always made time for his children and put them first. When he was with his children, it was as though we were a different person with no care in the world.  He made each moment with them a treasured memory, even if it were something simple as a tea party with his youngest daughter.  We spent about thirty minutes with John before Maria arrived.

She kissed John on the cheek before throwing her arms around me.  "It's so great to see you, Liz."

As she pulled away I chirped, "We totally have to have a girls day in the city."

"That sounds amazing.  How about some next week?  I have orientation the last week in August and then school reopen.  That's like two weeks only.  I'm free next week and then the following week I'm going to San Francisco for my friend's wedding."

She gave Lukas a quick hug before refocusing her attention on me.  "I should be able to swing something next week.  I'll text you with the details" I said eagerly.

"That's perfect.  Maybe we can invite Priya and Brit.  They were so much fun" she squealed.

Lukas and I looked at each other knowingly.  "Um, definitely Priya and maybe my friend Melissa" I responded.

It was obvious that Maria wanted to know more but now was definitely not the right time.  Before she could ask any questions, I said, "Lukas and I really should get going.  John, we'll come back and see you tomorrow."

Later that afternoon, Lukas and I managed to get away for a while.  We went to Freeport's Nautical Mile where we had a late lunch and mini-golfed. It was a lot of fun even if Lukas did let me win.  There's no way that anyone could hit the windmill so many times without it being intentional.  We were like two little kids, laughing and joking, not a care in the world in that moment.  After mini-golf, we noticed that they were boarding for a booze cruise around the Long Island Sound.  It didn't take long for us to get tickets.  Even though it was a booze cruise, we only had two glasses of wine each.  Our day was going amazingly well but I knew that Lukas and I needed to have a heart to heart talk.

I led him to a secluded area of the boat and motioned for him to sit.  I took a deep breath and nervously looked around.  "So I was thinking" I started.

Lukas chuckled, "Thinking about moving in with me?"

I nodded and said quietly, "At this very moment, I can't."

"I understand" he said gently.

I swallowed hard, "Let me explain.  I don't want anything to change between us and I'm afraid that moving in together will fuck everything up.  We've been through so much together and I'm looking forward to getting to know you better without friend and family drama.  There's so much we don't know about each other and I just want to enjoy what we have without rushing things.  Plus, I would feel awful flaking out on Priya."

"That makes sense" he said, wrapping an arm around me.  He seemed to understand my hesitation but I couldn't help wondering if he was holding back his true feelings.  I leaned back against him and stared at the majestic sky.   Watching the sunset with Lukas with truly romantic and magical.

It was close to ten when the boat docked.  We walked around for a little before getting into Lukas' Range Rover.  As we drove to my parent's house, I placed my hand on his thigh.  "Lukas, I hope you don't take offense to me not immediately agreeing to move in with you."

He waved me off, "Elisabeth, everything will happen when the time is right.  Trust me I'm not upset or offended.  I actually appreciate your honesty.  Who knows when I'll find a place to my liking and finally move.  It could be months from now or even a year.  We have plenty of time to figure it out."

He leaned over and kissed me as we waited for the light to change.  "That's true but I wanted to reassure you that I love you more than anything."

He smiled, "I already know that and I love you.  You're the most special person in my life.  You make me happy."

I blushed and felt my heart fill with love all over.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Sickness and Health

Time seemed to standstill as I hurriedly got ready to go to the hospital with my parents.  I slipped on my most comfortable pair of jeggings and tank top.  I tied my hair back in a ponytail and put on a smidgen of eyeliner, mascara and lip gloss.  I've always found hospitals to be on the chilly side and grabbed my black, cotton Ralph Lauren hoodie before walking downstairs.  My parents were having coffee and talking.  I could tell for their body language that they were both tense and nervous.

"Morning, dear.  I made you coffee" I mom said with a forced smile.

I took a large gulp of my coffee.  "Thanks, Mom."

My dad asked me something about work and I absentmindedly responded. My thoughts were clearly somewhere else and it seemed as though his were as well.  Ten minutes later we made a beeline to my dad's black Mercedes Benz sedan.  My parents were both quite established in their professions but kept a low profile.  The Mercedes and my dad's Rolex were two of his splurges. While he wasn't fazed by the latest Hublot or Ferragamo shoes, my dad loved to travel and eat; he surely didn't skimp on anything travel or food related.  He and my mom always went to some exotic locale each year.  I vividly remembered traveling to most of the European countries and Caribbean islands with my parents and brothers.  Each year's vacation topped the previous.  How I longed for those days right now.

My mom, on the other hand, enjoyed the finer things in life.  She wasn't super extravagant but definitely indulged in her wants.  I definitely inherited that trait from mom.  Together my parents managed to pay for myself and three brothers to go to college.  They always said that an education is the best gift a parent can give a child.  I am grateful to not be saddled with hundreds of thousands of dollars in school loans like so many of my peers.

As my dad drove, I looked at my cell phone for the first time.  I had four new texts.

One from Lukas.  "I'm sorry I can't be there with you.  Think positive and know that I'm only a phone call and a quick plane ride away.  I love you."

The other was from Anthony.  "Hey Liz, just wanted to say that my thoughts are with you.  John's gonna pull through this."

I retrieved Melissa text.  "Hang in there.  Everything will be fine.  I'm here for you."

The last text was from Grant.  "Elisabeth, I'm so sorry about last night.  I was drunk and didn't know what I was doing.  I care about you and our friendship.  Please give me another chance."

Part of me wanted to respond to him but then my brain took over.  Grant wasn't worthy of my friendship. He never respected me. If he did, he wouldn't have tried to kiss me when I repeatedly told him I had a boyfriend and only wanted to be his friend.  I didn't need anymore fake friends.  I deleted his text and proceeded to block his number.

It was a little before 8:45 when my dad pulled into the parking lot at Long Island Jewish.  Minutes later we were heading towards John's room or at least where they were keeping him until surgery.  My mom knocked gently on the door before walking in.  I followed slowly.  Kristen (John's wife) and my brother Danny were already there.  I stood to the side and listened as they all made small talk.  It was as though they were all avoiding talking about John's surgery.  Maybe that was a defense mechanism or maybe they didn't want to project their fears onto John.  Regardless, it made me slightly uneasy.

My dad suggested that we all take a couple minutes to speak to John in private.  I'm guessing he was feeling overwhelmed by the situation as well.  One by one we visited.  Danny volunteered to go first. When he was inside I was slightly surprised to see my brother Ryan.   Every since he got married, he seemed to be excluding himself from our family events.  If and when he did show up it was only for a short time.  There was always somewhere else he had to be or something he needed to do.  Meanwhile he had no problem spending endless time with his wife's family.

"I'm so happy you came, Ryan.  John needs all of us" my mom said quietly.

"I know, Mom" he said softly.

By this time Danny returned.  Ryan offered to go next and then it was my turn.  I walked slowly into John's room while he looked at me intently.  I sat on the edge of his bed and held his hand.  He smiled, "Don't worry so much about me."

"John, I know you're going to be okay.  You're one of the strongest, most determined people I know" I said emotionally.

He nodded, "Listen, I need you to remember what you promised me at mom and dad's house...just in case."

I was about to chastise him for being negative when I saw the fear in his eyes.  He didn't know what would happen and was scared.  I squeezed his hand and choked back tears.  "I remember."

He closed his eyes for a moment, allowing one lone tear to slide down his cheek.  "Thank you.  That means more to me than you know."

"John, I never got the chance to tell you that I love you.  Growing up I always looked up to you and I admired your will and determination.  I know that you'll pull through this" I said leaning over and giving him a hug.  Even though we were close, I never expressed those sentiments and in this moment I needed to.

"I love you too, Lizzie.  You're a pretty, awesome sister."

I pulled away, "I really need to go and let the others get a word in with you."

I leaned and kissed him on the cheek before walking out of the door.  I waited patiently as mom, dad and finally Kristen went into see John.  While the anesthesiologist visited with John, Danny and I opted to go to the Au Bon Pain in the lobby.  We sat in the lobby and drank our coffee while nibbling on almond croissants.

"I'm scared Danny" I shared.

"There's nothing to be scared about.  John's going to make through the surgery.  The hard part is waiting to know if the growth is cancerous or not."

I nodded.  We ate in virtual silence before joining our family in the waiting area.  My parents and Kristen sat together while Ryan was off in a corner by himself, playing with his phone.  I glanced in his direction but he was engrossed in whatever he was doing.  I muttered something as we sat down. The next three hours went by painstakingly slow.  Each time a doctor came out, we became anxious. Finally, John's doctor came out.  He told us that John's surgery was successful and that he was going to be in the recovery room for a few hours.

Kristen asked nervously, "Was the growth cancerous or benign?"

"I can't answer that at the moment.  Our staff will need to do some tests on the tumor before coming to any conclusion.  The growth was intruding on John's left intestine, which led to the discomfort and pain he felt.  Now that it's removed that pain and the inability to digest solid food should dissipate.  In a 24 to 48 hours we should be able to provide you with a definitive response regarding the status of the tumor and what actions need to be taken" the doctor responded.

Kristen offered a small smile, "Thank you, doctor.  When can we see him?"

"John's going to be moved to a recovery room shortly.  We need him to rest but once he's settled in you can see him one by one.  He might still be out of it though."

"Thanks, Dr. Shah" my mom said quietly.

We hugged each other, relieved that John had made it out of surgery.  My parents and Kristen wanted to go see John in recovery while Danny and I decided to grab a bite to eat.  "Ryan do you want to have lunch with us?" I asked.

"No.  Thanks. I really have to get back home.  I have a lot to take care of of" he said while texting on his phone.

His lack of concern and his isolation was getting on my last nerve.  "Seriously, Ryan?  Why are you even here?"

He finally looked up from his phone, "I came here to support John and make sure he's okay" he responded strongly.

"That's why you sat in a corner and didn't so much as break voice with any of us?" I accused.

He phone pinged and he started responding to whomever messaged him while mumbling, "Elisabeth I'm a busy man, I can't always be at the family's beck and call."

I heard Danny clear his throat, "We really should get going.  I want to make sure we're back when John's awake and in his own room."

I nodded in agreement before turning to Ryan, "It was nice seeing you again."

"Yeah.  Have fun at lunch" he muttered.

We drove in virtual silence to a Burger King, a few miles away.  After debating, we chose to eat inside and then pick up something for the others before leaving.  While eating I asked Danny about Ryan.  He seemed hesitant to say anything but I prodded.

"Ryan's in a tough jam" he said taking a bite of his original chicken sandwich.

I crinkled my forehead, "What does that mean?"

He took a huge swig of his Coke before answering. "He's having financial problems, well not him but Tina.  She has a spending addiction.  She's been wasting their money on anything and everything except the mortgage, bills, car payments."

My eyes widened like saucers, "Wait, that doesn't make sense!  Tina is a lawyer and Ryan works for a hedge fund.  They make plenty of money."

"I know...that's the scary part.  They should be comfortable financially and probably would be if Tina didn't push for the house in Rye.  And then she had to buy new furniture.  A new car to fit in with the neighbors.  Clothes, jewelry, shoes, you name it she bought it."

I processed Danny's words for a moment.  Rye, was a suburb in Westchester, that was known for it's extravagant houses.  The fact that it was close to the city (think less than an hour by Metro North) made it an appealing neighborhood.  I've been to Ryan's house once - a brick colonial on a corner lot - when I came back home for Thanksgiving two years prior.  They had just closed on the property and were in the process of completely gutting and renovating it.  It was understandable that after that they would be strapped for cash I justified in my mind, not wanting to fully believe Danny.

I sipped my drink.  "How do you know all this?  I mean buying and fixing a home is expensive.  You can't just blame all this on Tina without any facts."

"I know what you're getting at but I do have facts.  About a year ago Ryan asked mom and dad for money.  This was a week after Tina bought herself a brand new Mercedes SUV and a new wardrobe.  She even took mom for a test drive in her new car.  Mom and dad talked about it and refused to help him because they felt that would be like funding Tina's habit.  Since then the relationship has become strained.  Ryan needs money to keep afloat but Tina doesn't give a shit and keeps spending" Danny shared.

"I had no idea.  Together they make well over six figures; that should be more than enough to fund their lifestyle."

Danny shook his head, "Not when Tina doesn't understand the difference between a want and need.  Ryan is frustrated, he confided his financial issues to me.  I suggested that he talk to Tina but he says he has, numerous times.  He's between a rock and a hard place.  His house is in the process of being foreclosed on and it seems like he's the only one who gives a shit."

"That sucks.  Now I feel awful for being such a bitch to him" I said honestly.

"Listen Liz, Ryan made his bed and he's the one that has to lay in it.  I know you're probably thinking of how to help him because that's how you are but this is his issue.  Stay out of it" Danny advised.

I nodded, "You're right. But if he does call me to talk or ask for help I'll do my best to help."

"Fair enough."

After eating we ordered some food to take back to the hospital. As we pulled into the parking lot Danny said he felt it was best that we not talk about Ryan.  I agreed.  The last thing either of us wanted was to upset and stress out mom and dad.

John was still in recovery when we returned.  We found my parents and Kristen were sitting in the waiting area and looking in our direction as we approached.  "Danny and I thought it would be a good idea to get you guys something to eat" I said sweetly.

"What a great idea.  I'm starving" Kristen said with a smile.

We made small talk while they ate. We were all happy that John made it through the surgery and that the doctors were able to remove the tumor.  We weren't sure what laid ahead but for now we were all happy with how things were progressing.

It was close to seven when John was finally moved to a room of his own.  While we were able to see him, we were advised to make it quick.  Danny and I went in first.  I was taken aback seeing John in a hospital bed, looking a little pale.  He smiled weakly when he saw us.  Danny leaned down and gave him a hug. When I did the same he winced in pain.  I started apologizing and he burst out laughing with Danny joining in.

"Sorry I had to do that.  You looked so freaking scared Lizzie" John said hoarsely.

"How are you feeling?"

"Pretty numb right now.  The painkillers haven't worn off yet.  I'm in good spirits.  Dr. Shah said they removed the tumor and I should be fine.  Only thing left is to find out if the tumor was...you know?"

I nodded.  It was clear he didn't want to say the word...cancerous.  "Dude you gotta get better soon so we can hit the golf course" Danny said happily.

"You got it man.  You tell me when and where and I'll be there" John replied.

I liked that John was in good spirits.  It made me feel better.  "John, is there anything you need."

"Yea, I want to see my kids."

"Okay I'll make sure they come to see you tomorrow" I said genuinely.

Danny nodded, "Liz we really should get going before the nurse throws us out."

Once again Danny hugged John but I hesitated. "Don't you dare try to scare me" I said as I hugged him gently and kissed his forehead.

"Hey Lizzie" John said as we started to walk out.  I turned back and he mouthed, "Thank you."

I nodded and gave him a quick hug, "Rest and get better."

That night my mom insisted on staying at the hospital and my dad went with her.  As I sat in the empty house, I texted Lukas and waited for him to respond.  An hour past and nothing.  I assumed that he was doing some business thing and headed up to my bed.  I had just fallen asleep when I heard the doorbell ring.  I groaned and rubbed my eyes.  It was 12:37.  Who the fuck was at the door at this time?  I crept down the stairs and turned on the lights on the front porch.  I gasped in surprise as I saw......LUKAS.

I turned off the alarm and flung open the door.

"Oh my god Lukas, what are you doing here?" I asked hugging him tightly.

"I felt terrible for letting you go through all this on your own.  My dad and I found a location and there was no point in me staying.  I wanted to be here for you. How's your brother?" he asked pushing the door closed behind him.

A feeling of warmth encompassed me as I dragged him into the living room.  "He's doing better.  The doctors say that the surgery was a success.  Now they just have to do some tests on it."

"I'm glad to hear that.  Usually when they do surgery like that they can tell if it's malignant or not and whether it's spread immediately.  If there was a problem more than likely they would've said something to that effect."

"Mmmm enough talking.  Kiss me" I said sexily.

He leaned over and gently brushed his lips against mine.  I wanted more and pulled him against me, my tongue playing with his and exploring his mouth.  My hands now in his hair as our kiss intensified.  By the time Lukas pulled away I was gasping for breath.  "Liz, your parents..."

"They're at the hospital" I said, pulling Lukas up.  He followed me up the stairs and to my bedroom.  We both stripped off our clothes with a sense of urgency.  Lukas' erection pulsating in my hands.  I needed and wanted him so bad.  No preliminaries were needed as I pushed him onto my bed and straddled him.  In one swift movement I lowered myself onto his hardness.  I leaned forward and started riding him fast and deep while he thrusted under me.  He reached forward and took my nipples between his fingers, pinching them.  That was all it took for me to orgasm.  I was panting when Lukas flipped me over and thrust into me until he came shortly after.

"I'm so glad you're here" I whispered, snuggling up to him.

As he wrapped his arms around me he said, "Me too.  I love you Liz."

"I love you too Lukas."

As we laid together and talked, Lukas mentioned that he was going to start apartment hunting.  I quickly asked why.

"I can't throw Lauren out and I can't live with her.  For now this is the best alternative.  I own my current place outright and Lauren'll only have to pay HOA fees and utilities.  She can swing that.  In the meantime I need to be proactive and find a place that I can live comfortably in."

"Oh" I said, making circles on his stomach with my fingertips.

"You can come visit me anytime you want at my new place" he said smiling.

"I plan on that."

He took a deep breath, "Or maybe...." he said before his voice trailed off.

"Maybe what?" I asked anxiously.

Lukas seemed like a bundle of nerves as he softly said, "Maybe you can move in with me?"