Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippets 10 & 11: The End

Well it took me just over a year instead of 12 weeks, but I did it! One short story in the books. I have lots of other work in progress (way too many if we’re being honest) so marking one off list finally feels amazing. I’m still not sure what my plans are for this project, but this phase is complete. I know it’s a very rough first draft, but hope you still find it entertaining. So without further adieu, here is the end (for now) of Isla Doesn’t Give a F**K.

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

The Invites

The Party

The Showdown

The Goodbye

The Promises

Snippet Eleven: The Truth

Nick did all the heavy lifting moving me into my new town home after the divorce and continued taking care of me in the weeks that followed. One day after restocking my pantry, again, he hung a list on my fridge.

Isla’s New Life Rules:

  • Get out of the house at LEAST once a day
  • Get back into yoga
  • Do NOT set up another Tinder account
  • Actually cook meals *pizza cannot be eaten 3 times a day*
  • Find a job

“Nicky, that’s a lot of work,” I whined.

I had hardly moved off my sofa since moving in. I had no clue what I wanted from my life and the few months since Peter and I split was the longest I’d ever been single. I felt beyond useless.

He didn’t say a word. He simply sat on the couch and wrapped me in his arms. It was the happiest I’d felt in weeks. I don’t know how long we sat there, but it wasn’t enough. When he got up to get his phone from the kitchen, I was instantly back to my blue and melancholy mood.

He laid a blanket across me and kissed the top of my head. “I’ll call you tomorrow, okay?”

“Kay,” I whispered.

When I heard the door close behind him, I started to cry. I wanted that feeling to return. I wanted him to stay. I wanted…

How had I never seen it?

The plot of every damn romance film had played out around me, and I had never noticed!

Nick was the one I was supposed to be with.

He was the only man whoever truly loved me. I knew I loved him as a friend, but never imagined being IN love with him.

Clearly, he’d felt the same way, at least before Peter. I hoped it wasn’t too late.

A few days of following Nicky’s “rules”, minus the new job part, and fantasizing about our future together, I felt like a whole new person. My caffeine habit was back, I was enrolled in a yoga class, and I hadn’t touched a frozen pizza.

We had planned on ordering take out to celebrate one month of being in my town home, but I was ready to turn the night into a celebration of the day we confessed the truth to each other and lived happily ever after.

“Let’s go out!” I suggested when he arrived. “Somewhere nice. I’ve got some exciting news.”

“I have some things I’ve been meaning to tell you too.” He had a nervous grin across his face.

I bet we have the same news. This is going to be perfect!

He opened doors for me, held out his hand as I got out of the car; I wasted all those years searching for a gentleman, and he’d been right by my side the whole time.

He looked so handsome sitting across from me. After high school, I had only seen the goofy kid I had class with. I hadn’t taken the time to look at the man he had become.

“Isla,” he began. “Seeing you go through this with Peter has really shown me we can’t hide who we are.”

“I know. I’m never going to make a mistake like that again.” I waited at the edge of my seat.

“I’ve needed to tell you this for a long time…and I’m sorry it’s taken so long.” He rubbed the back of his neck and avoided looking directly at me. “It’s silly really. I mean I’m sure you already know…”

My skin crawled with goosebumps. I prepared the words ‘I love you too’ on the tip of my tongue.

“…I’m gay.”

“I lo—. What?” My words came out in a jumble so thankfully he didn’t understand.

“I’ve been dating this guy, Brian, and I would like you to meet him. It would mean a lot to me.”

My face went blank. I broke into a sweat and felt like I was about to throw up the dinner I hadn’t eaten yet.

“Isla. Isla. Are you okay?” Nick’s voice sounded fuzzy and distant.

“Yeah, I just need to…” I looked around the restaurant in a daze. “Bathroom, I need to go to the bathroom I’ll be right back.”

I kicked the table as I got up and almost ran into a waiter as I turned the corner abruptly. I darted for the bathroom, jumped in the first stall, and slammed the door.

“WHAT. THE. F**K.” I tried to keep my voice down, but it came out in a loud grunt. My purse became my weapon of choice for slapping the walls around me with each word I uttered. “HOW. COULD. I. BE. SO. STUPID! Ahhhhh!”

When my makeup started falling out of my purse from flailing it around, I realized I needed to take a moment to breathe. I gathered my things back up and leaned against the wall.

“I’m not wrong.” I told myself aloud. “He’s wrong. Nicky isn’t gay. He’s confused or experimenting or something. He loves me. I have to win him back.”

Act like nothing changed. Flirt with him. Seduce him. My plan was fool proof.

I walked back to our table. My arm swept behind his neck and across his shoulder as I took my seat. “Sorry ‘bout that, Nicky.”

“So like I was saying. I was thinking next weekend you two could meet.”

“Yeah, yeah.” I shrugged. “We’ll figure that out next week, but tonight we should do movie night. We haven’t done that in months.”

“It’s been over a year.” He looked disappointed.

I was convinced he was so hurt over me leaving him for Peter that was the reason he was unsure about his sexuality.

“Well that’s unacceptable! We can never let it go that long again.”

He smiled. “You pick the movie, I pick dessert?”

I reached out my hand and laid it across his resting on the table. “As always.”

I picked a horror film so I’d have a reason to sit closer to him on the couch. I poured stronger drinks than usual to ensure we’d both be feeling more than buzzed by then end. I slipped into my shortest and laciest night gown just for good measure.

When the credits began to scroll it was time to see how well the alcohol had done its job. I snuggled into the crook of his neck and slowly pressed my lips to his skin. Drinks must have hit him hard seeing as it took him a good minute to have any kind of reaction. Just before I brought my lips to meet his for the first time, he stopped me.

“Isla, what are you doing?” His eyes studied mine.

“You’ve never wondered what it’d be like? If we could make this work, and not pretend work like our silly promise. For real work, Nick.”

His breath began to deepen. “I don’t know…I mean—”

I kissed him as hard as I could. I couldn’t let him think too much. I had to show him I was all he needed.

 

Snippet Twelve: The Fallout

I woke up alone. I found Nick at the dining room table with his head resting heavily on his clasped hands and his foot nervously thumping at the floor.

“Nicky, you okay?” I tried to rub his shoulder, but he pushed my arm away.

“No! You manipulated me, Isla. You used me.”

“What are you talking about?”

“Last night!” He stood up from his chair

I shrank back. “What about last night?”

“I didn’t want that.”

“I didn’t force you to have sex with me. You seemed pretty willing in the moment.”

“You got me drunk. You—”

“We drink together all the time!” I rolled my eyes.

“It was poor judgment on my part, I can admit that, but I told you I was seeing someone.”

“So?”

“So, I’m not you.” He looked at me with disgust. “I give a shit about being loyal. I actually care about people’s feelings.”

His words pierced my heart. I felt more pain in that moment than I did signing my divorce papers.

“I love you, Nicky.” I choked back tears. “I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to realize it, but it’s true. I would never do anything to hurt you.”

“Well you did, and I don’t know if I can forgive you.” He started towards the front door.

I went after him. “You can’t leave like this. We have to talk this through.”

“I’ll call you later. I can’t do this right now.”

I need a few days to think he texted.

A few days turned into a few weeks. I tried my best to give him space. He wouldn’t answer my calls and was short with his text replies, if he replied at all. It was the longest I’d gone in ten years without hearing his voice.

I had to give him a reason to come back to me and stay.

Without fully thinking my plan through I messaged him We have to talk. In person. This is an emergency.

I’ll be over in an hour he answered.

He let himself in as usual. I was glad to see he was still comfortable doing that at least. I hoped we’d fall back into our norm. That the month-long break was enough for him to call things off with his boyfriend, evaluate his feelings for me, and decide to move forward.

Nick was cold and standoffish. His face still looked as broken and betrayed as the morning he’d stormed out.  He didn’t come in a sit down or ask how I’d been. Panic set in and I was afraid he’d turn around and leave.

“I’m pregnant,” I blurted out.

All the color left his face.

“Nicky, say something!”

“You think it’s mine?” He didn’t blink.

“You’re the only one I’ve been with, of course it’s yours.”

“Shit,” he said under his breath.

Definitely not the reaction I was looking for. I started to sob uncontrollably. I buried my face in my hands.

“I didn’t mean it that way. Isla. Isla.” He came to me, gently held my shoulders, and tried to get me to look at him. “We’ll figure this out, okay?”

“I’m not really pregnant!” I screamed through the tears.

“What?” He dropped his hands and stepped back from me.

“I didn’t want to lose you. I needed you to stay with me.”

“So you were going to fake a pregnancy?” His brow furrowed and he slowly shook his head.

“I…” I looked around helplessly. I couldn’t make any other words come out.

“You weren’t going to lose me, but now you have.”

He turned and walked out without ever looking back.

Nick was gone.

#

Our friendship no longer existed outside of social media. I was relieved he hadn’t unfriended me and as the months went on, he even occasionally liked posts I shared.

I tried to make him proud and apply all the lessons he’d taught me over the years to better my life. I decided to start a yoga teacher training and stopped eating frozen pizza again to name a couple improvements. I had to find a balance between drama-queen-high-school Isla and fake married-to-Peter Isla. I was beginning to get the hang of the adulting thing, all thanks to Nicky.

I was glad I could keep up with him, even if it was only via the internet or stories from Leslie. She seemed to be the only mutual friend that stayed mutual. Everyone else gravitated towards Nick. My popularity had been as shallow as I was.

When Nick and Brian came out publicly they looked so happy. I wanted to stay angry at Nick for abandoning me as a friend after all our years together, but I realized I was angry at myself. If I’d kept my mouth shut I would probably be having a great time being a third wheel on his and Brian’s adventures. Everyone was so supportive of them, and I felt like an ass for trying to dismiss Nick’s truth and force myself on him.

The feeling of love never went away. It was different than the love I had for him when we were friends, and different than being in love with him. It was a feeling of gratitude for carrying me through all the bullshit. He didn’t have to stick by my side all those years. He didn’t have to listen day in and day out about the soap opera I thought my life was.

But he did.

As I lamented to Leslie one afternoon about wanting to reach out to Nick, she kept looking at me with confusion. I thought she was tired of listening to me talk, until she went to get something from her office.

“I was really conflicted on showing you this, but I think you need to.” She handed me the embossed paper she had retrieved.

Nicholas M. Foster

&

Brian S. Lawson

Request your presence at the celebration of their union.

“Nicky’s getting married.” I said with disbelief.

“He wanted to invite you. He did. He didn’t think you’d want to come.” Leslie’s eyes stayed fixed to the ground.

“Of course I want to come! I thought I’d be in his wedding!”

“I can call him.” She quickly suggested. “I’m sure it’s not too late to add you to the guest list. You’ve both been telling me how much you want to talk to each other. This is your opportunity.”

“Please don’t tell him I even know about it.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yeah, I’ll figure it out.”

The day of the wedding I snuck through the vendor entrance of the venue. I wasn’t sure what kind of psycho Nick had painted me to his friends and family, so I wanted to go unnoticed as long as possible.

I heard his voice around a corner and waited until I thought everyone had left. I knocked on the partially open door.

“Come in.”

I wondered if he’d be saying that if he knew it was me on the other side. I slowly opened the door and was relieved to find him alone.

“I’m not here to crash the ceremony. I promise.”

He turned from the mirror he had been fixing his tie in and froze with his eyes locked on me.

“I needed to tell you I’m sorry. For everything, for being a shitty friend in school, for being a crazy person with all my boy drama, for ditching you when I married Peter, and for trying to force you…whatever that stunt was I tried to pull. I’m sorry I hurt you. I always thought I’d be a part of your big day, and I hate myself for ruining my chances of that.”

He wiped a tear from his eye. “How’d you know anyway?”

“Leslie told me.” I choked back tears and the urge to run to hug him. “I should get going, I—”

“Stay.” He said without hesitation.

I couldn’t fight the tears any longer. We were on our way to Nick forgiving me, but I knew we couldn’t magically be back to the way things had been. I didn’t’ want him worrying about me throughout his big day or having to answer questions from friends about why I suddenly was back in his life. “I don’t want the first time I meet Brian to be at your wedding. So, promise we’ll all grab dinner soon, or maybe have a movie night?”

Nick stepped across the room to my side and held out his hand with his pinky extended. “Next Friday?”

“Next Friday.” I curled my finger around his.

“You pick the movie, I pick dessert?”

“Brian can pick both. I need him on my good side. We have a lot of time to make up for.” I wrapped my arms around his waist. “Nicky, are we going to be okay?”

“Yeah…I think we will be.”

 

THE END

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippet Ten: The Promises

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

The Invites

The Party

The Showdown

The Goodbye

 

 

Snippet Ten: The Promises

“Marry me.”

“What?” The fog of my hangover made me sure I had misheard.

Nicky chuckled to himself. “The solution to all your problems is marrying me.”

“Give me a few more years. It’s bound to get better from here, right?

“Okay, if neither of us is married before we’re thirty we’ll just marry each other. You live on one side of the house, I’ll live on the other, and we both get to save on our taxes.”

I rolled over to face him and held out my hand. “You have to pinky promise.”

He wrapped his pinky finger around mine and smiled. “I meant what I said last night. You can do better than all those guys combined.”

“I don’t want to talk about it.” I rolled back onto my pillow and covered my head with my comforter. “Wake me up in a couple hours.”


When hunger finally over-powered my hangover, I stumbled out into the living room where Nick was typing away at his laptop. My fiasco the night before had apparently inspired him to turn my life around.

“I just finished updating your resume and I found you two job fairs this upcoming week.” He didn’t even look up from whatever he was working on to tell me this update.

“I have a job, Nicky.”

“I’m not letting you work with that asshole.”

I put my arm around his shoulder and took a look at my glamorous new resume he way over-hyped me in. “What would I do without you?”

I gave him a quick kiss on the top of his head and went to find the coffee I knew he would have brewed and waiting for me.

In addition to promising Nick I would marry him if my misfortunes continued, I promised I would put my degree to use. I would get out of my comfort zone and look for jobs that weren’t just late-night gigs I could scrape by on, and I promised I wouldn’t look for any shortcuts.

I didn’t expect to break all of those promises in one fell swoop.

I went into the first job fair and came out with a husband instead of a new career.

It may sound like I’m jumping ahead but it happened about that quick. Another mistake Nick tried to warn me against, and I refused to listen.

My date with Peter Hadland, HR executive for a big production company in town, turned into a whirlwind romance, turned into an engagement after three months.

Peter was thirty-one and thought by that point in his life he’d have a wife and kids to share his success with. He could tell within moments of meeting me I really had no interest in working with his company and had stopped by his booth solely to flirt with him. Of course I jumped at the opportunity when he asked me to dinner that night.

Peter’s vision for our life was for me to stay home and take care of our future children. He was hot, he was rich, what could go wrong?

I turned in my notice to my landlord, sold everything but my clothes since Peter would provide it all, and went about planning my dream wedding.

The wedding was the only thing that was a dream. The rest was a nightmare.

Our wedded bliss lasted around three weeks and our Caribbean cruise honeymoon took up ten of those day.

Apparently, I didn’t adjust to my housewife role quick enough. I couldn’t clean properly, my cooking sucked, and heaven forbid I wanted to spend any time with my friends.

Even Nick wasn’t allowed at the house seeing as Peter didn’t trust him. Hanging out at his house was a mistake I only made once. When Peter tracked my phone and showed up unexpectedly, I had to talk him out of fighting Nick by promising to never see him again.

I don’t know why I said that. All those years of putting Nick before stupid boys were erased for the dumbest boy of all.

My promise to cut Nick out of my life was a lie, but it still hurt us both. We could talk while Peter was working and I managed to talk our friend Leslie into being my alibi a couple times so Nick and I could grab dinner. It wasn’t the same though.

My routine to attempt to keep Peter happy took up so much time I was hardly able to see anyone outside of my sham of a marriage.

“Don’t you like the car I bought you? Don’t you want more jewelry?” Peter kept my loyalty with all the material things I always thought I wanted.

It took ten months to realize I was nothing more to him than a maid, cook, and play toy.

He didn’t love me.

He loved control.

I should have realized I was at the end of my rope when I decided it was a good idea to meet up with Nicky for lunch one day with no intention of having a cover plan. I could have turned off my cell phone GPS or had Leslie send texts about our fake plans but honestly, I hoped Peter would catch me.

“Isla, it’s 3:00pm and you’ve had 4 margaritas. What’s going on?”

“I’m fine. Just a rough day.” I lied.

“Is this about Peter?”

“Pshhh, no.”

“You have to leave him, Isla.” Nick pleaded with his eyes.

“I’m sorry we don’t get to see each other like we used to Nicky, but we’re busy people. And when we have kids we’ll be even busier, it just happens.  Maybe when you’re happily married too we can do double dates. I’m sure Peter will be over that fight at your house by then. And you and I can pretend to run into each other at the grocery store and have a big reunion. And then our kids can be friends. And the whole cycle can start over and they can have Friday movie nights. Cause we can’t anymore, Nick, I’m sorry. Life changes sometimes and it just sucks but you have to do it.”

“Happily married…really?”

Out of my whole drunken spiel that’s what he decided to nitpick?

“I have to get home before Peter does.” I dumped out my purse on the table so I could find my keys easily then haphazardly shoved everything else back in.

“You can’t drive.”

“Well I can’t leave me car here! Cause you-know-who will have cow.”

“You don’t see a problem with the way he treats you?”

“I have to go, Nick.” The room became a blur when I stood up. I tried to step forward but had no balance.

Nick jumped up and helped me sit back in my chair. “I’ll drive your car then Uber back here for mine.”

I woke up on Nick’s couch a few hours later. He was sitting at my feet with my phone in his hand.

“I took care of Peter for you.” He tossed the phone to me.

I read through the text exchange of Peter freaking out and Nick responding saying I needed time to think things through. Being with Nick infuriated my husband so much he declared he was going to a divorce lawyer the next day. The hard part was over and all I had to do was get drunk in the middle of the day.

The divorce was surprisingly easy. I agreed to move out since it had been Peter’s house to begin with and wound up with a decent sized spousal support paycheck.

I was covered for a few months so I wouldn’t have to work right away which was great for depressed Isla.

I wasn’t depressed over loosing Peter. That was a relief. But I didn’t expect to be a 24-year-old jobless divorcee with nothing to her name.

Life was fan-freaking-tastic.

 

CONTINUE READING: The End 

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippet Nine: The Goodbye

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

The Invites

The Party

The Showdown

Snippet Nine: The Goodbye

Dillon and I made our way down the street. It was barely 10:00 in the never-ending night of poor decisions. The two hours prior seemed like a blur. I tried to replay what had happened to bring me and my high-school not-so-sweetheart together for such a serious conversation. A conversation I had no intention of having that night, or possibly ever.

“I tried to stay away from you this summer,” I admitted.

“Same. I—”

“Not because I’m tired of you. Those were his words not mine.”

Dillon stood still and sighed. “I know we have to stop this.”

My incoherent thoughts were interrupted by a text from Gabe.

I know there are two sides to every story, but I have no interest in ever hearing yours. Do not contact me again. I regret wasting so much time on a lying whore.

That was the second guy in one night to directly call me a waste of time. I knew Alec had to be feeling the same way.

“Dillon, was all of this…all these years…a waste to you?”

“No,” he answered without hesitation.

That one word was the best thing I had heard all night. We lapped the entire block in silence and wound up back at his car.

“Do you remember senior prom?” he asked.

How could I forget? It goes down in the books as one of the most confusing nights of my life.

We’d just gotten back together after one of our longest break ups. I was even planning on going to the dance with Nicky instead, but last minute Dillon came running back.

The DJ was playing some awful slow song, but all the couples were on the dance floor, so we shuffled out too. Dillon held me close. He’s one of the only guys I know who can pull off the usually over-powering smell of Axe body spray. I didn’t mind swaying back and forth soaking in the scent of him, but I was far from being back to our normal lovey-dovey selves. He was apparently totally over our last hiatus.

“Isla, I’m in love with you.” He whispered.

“Love you too.” I robotically answered.

“No, I mean it this time.” He pulled back slightly to look at me. “I know we’ve been saying that for years, but I never knew what that meant until now.”

“You’re being weird, Dillon.”

“I’m sorry for everything I’ve put you through.”

I stopped dancing and stepped back from him. “You keep talking like this and I’m leaving.”

“Isla, I’m trying to be sincere. Can you listen to me for minute?”

I stuck to my word and walked out right then and there. He followed me into the parking lot, and we had a yelling match about I can’t even remember what. We wound up doing it in the back of his car and never spoke about that fight again.

Prom night played through both our minds and we laughed together without having to recap any part of it out loud.

Dillon’s laughter died off and his eyes saddened. “I knew after that night, we would never make it, but I kept coming back.”

“Both of us have had that problem.”

“Then both of us have to agree this is the end. The real end.”

The breeze seemed to stop, and my breath suddenly echoed through my ears so loudly I was sure they could hear it back at the house.

“I think I’m going to call it a night.” Dillon said, but he leaned against the car door instead of finding his keys.

“Are you sure you’re okay to drive? You know you can stay over.” The longer I could stall him the longer I had to sort through my feelings.

“Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of what we just talked about?” He smiled.

“Just one more night.” My eyes pleaded with him. I could always get him to agree with me if I gave him a look like that. We could say our farewells in the morning.

He leaned in to kiss me. The most gentle and sincere kiss we’d ever had. “I can’t do this anymore.”

I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye to all of them tonight. One was supposed to stay. One was supposed to win. I had to make Dillon change his mind.

“Do you still love me?” I asked

“That’s not fair.”

“Answer the question.”

“What if I said yes?”

“Then stay with me.”

“What if I said no?”

“You’d be lying.”

Dillon moved in close once more. I soaked in everything I could fearing it may be the last time I saw him. He took off his signature black cap and placed it on my head.

“I know you always liked wearing it.” He winked.

This was really goodbye.

Without another word he got in his car and drove away.

I wasn’t going to stand like an idiot in the road for a second time in one night, so I forced myself to head back inside. I snuck into my pantry in hopes that no one would find me. Our house parties typically went well into the night, but I was done being social.

Nick finally found me. He brought me a glass of water and joined me on the floor.

“Don’t even say it,” I chided.

“The only thing I’m going to say is you deserve better. Better than all of them.”

“No, I don’t. I’m a horrible person.”

“Only occasionally though.” He bumped me with his shoulder. “I’m going to get you some Tylenol and get you tucked into bed. Don’t worry about the cleanup.”

Nicky to the rescue once again.

 

CONTINUE READING: The Promises

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippet Eight: The Showdown

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

The Invites

The Party

kiss

 

Snippet Eight: The Showdown

Nicky was waiting in the kitchen and wrapped his arms around me. “Want to talk about it?”

I pulled away and grabbed a bottle of vodka. “No. I want to drink and forget it.”

I saw Gabriel start to head for the back yard and remembered the severity of the situation I was in. If Alec had pre-gamed that hard there was no telling what state he was in now. I needed to keep them away from each other.

“Gabe!” I yelled before he stepped outside. “Come take a shot with me.”

He hesitantly made his way into the kitchen. He had picked the label off his barely touched beer and had it rolled between his fingers. I’d never seen him fidget so much.

“Don’t let her talk you into it, man.” Nicky warned.

“Don’t listen to Nicholas, he clearly has forgotten how to have fun.” I poured three shots of peach vodka. “This will help you remember.”

Nicky, Gabriel, and I each took a glass and held them in front of us.

“To the end of summer,” I toasted.

“Cheers,” Gabriel said before taking half his shot. That was all he could get down at one time. As he struggled to choke down the rest, Nicky and I set our empty glasses down simultaneously.

“Woo!” I cheered. “What next?”

“I’m good for now.” Gabriel said.

“Nicky?” I may have abused my ‘flirty’ eyes to make sure he didn’t say no.

“Go ahead,” he agreed.

I poured him a single and myself a double.

Nick sat his shot glass down and patted a very pale and disoriented looking Gabe on the shoulder. “Come on, let’s get you some food. Looks like that shot isn’t agreeing with you too well.”

Thanks to Nick babysitting my light-weight boyfriend, I could brave the backyard and check up on Dylan. I’d decided he was the one I wanted to ‘win’ for the night. I figured Gabe wouldn’t make it much longer, and I was pissed at Alec. I hadn’t seen him since Finn incident and as far as I knew he left when I ran away and never returned. Good riddance.

Only I was wrong. Alec hadn’t disappeared and he hadn’t avoided Dillon.

“You don’t even know her.” Dillon’s voice was rising above the crowd and they were starting to attract an audience.

Alec took confident steps towards Dillon, backing him to the edge of the pool. One wrong move and they’d both be taking an involuntary swim. I caught Dillon’s gaze and shook my head. He shoved Alec and stepped to the side.

“Leaving so soon?” Alec laughed. He followed Dillon into the yard and the crowd parted ways to let them through. “Tell me, why did you show up in the first place when Isla wants nothing to do with you?”

Dillon turned to face Alec again. The showdown was coming. I managed to take myself out of the equation for minute and realize the person who was going to be hurt most was Gabriel. I ran inside and found him sitting in the living room with Nick.

“Nick was right,” Gabe said between bites of burger. “Food was a good idea.”

“You’re a really good guy, Gabriel. I’m sorry.” I blurted out.

“Sorry for what? The shots? I’m feeling better already, it’s okay.”

I shook my head. “I’m not the kind of girl you think I am.”

Nick took my confession as his cue to leave the room so Gabe and I could talk.

Gabriel sat his plate down, stood by my side and reached for my hand. “Isla, are you breaking up with me?”

“No.” I pulled away. “But I’m pretty sure you’re going to break up with me after this.”

“I don’t know wh—”

Dillon threw the door open so hard he left a small dent in the wall with the knob.  “Isla, you tell that douche bag out there to shut the hell up or I’m gonna beat his ass.”

Nicky came running back around the corner and stood ready to intervene if needed.

In strolled Alec. He walked straight to me and propped his arm over my shoulder. “Dilly boy is just upset ’cause I was telling him the truth about how you’re tired of him.”

“Alec, stop,” I whispered, but the crowd around us was already growing. Everyone from outside had followed Dillon and Alec into the living room.

“What? I’ve done the hard part for you, baby. Now you get to tell him to leave and I get you all to myself.” He kissed the top of my head but kept his eyes on Dillon.

“Isla, who is this?” Gabe demanded.

I shrugged my shoulder to get Alec’s arm off. “Gabriel, I’m sor—”

“Oh shit!” Alec laughed. “Your boyfriend is here too? Damn girl, you do get around.”

That was it for Nicky. He moved across the room as quick as he could and grabbed the back of Alec’s arm. “You need to leave.”

“Just when the dramas getting good? I don’t think so.”

Alec pulled away from Nicky and before I could blink Nicky had punched him in the jaw. Had he not been so shit faced, Alec would have been the one to bet on in a match between the two, but Nicky had the upper hand of sobriety. Alec stood dumbfounded with his hand around his cheek.  All our onlookers let out a gasp in unison and stared unblinking.

Nick kept his fist clenched, ready to throw another punch if Alec was stupid enough to come after him. “Everyone, get outside or go home!”

Alec, still cupping his chin with his palm, stumbled toward the front door. I waited for another smartass comment, but it never came.  I wondered which of us would find a new job first.

The crowd shuffled back outside, and I was left with Nicky, Dillon, and Gabriel standing in front of me. “I’m sorry.”

I ran around the corner into the dining room and sank to the floor. To my surprise Dillon followed.

I could hear Gabriel yelling at Nicky. “Did you know?”

“I stay out of her relationship stuff, man. I’m sorry, but that’s between y’all.”

“This…this…is just really shitty. You know that?” Gabriel’s voice cracked.

Fight back the tears a little longer Isla. You can’t let Dillon see you cry.

“Why are you still here?” I asked as he sat next to me.

“I needed to make sure you were okay.”

I closed my eyes so I wouldn’t have to look at him and his stupid backwards hat. “Don’t I look it?”

“Did he ever hurt you?”

“Who are you now, my mother?” I scowled. Maybe being mad at Dillon too would keep me from crying. Maybe being mad at Dillon would make him leave, but I quickly realized that wasn’t what I wanted. I was annoyed with him, but I needed him there and he knew it.

“Isla, I’m serious.”

“Alec? No he was just being an especially large prick tonight.”

“How long has that been going on?”

“Why do you care?”

“Because…” he gently wiped a tear from my cheek, “if you really are tired of me I want to know.”

The warmth of his hand made me crave the rest of him. I wanted to stop talking and curl up and go to bed together. We could sort out feelings in the morning. “Dillon, I don’t know how I feel about you.”

Gabriel and Nick’s ‘discussion’ had come to an end and I heard the front door slam.

“Want to go for a walk before Nick finds us?” I suggested.

“Yeah.” Dillon stood up and offered me his hand. I’ve never sobered up so quick in my life.

 

CONTINUE READING: The Goodbye

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippet Seven: The Party

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

The Invites

kiss

Snippet Seven: The Party Begins

Gabe arrived early to help set up. Nicky quietly mentioned to me how cruel I was for still leading him on like he was the only guy in my life. I honestly felt if Gabe hadn’t noticed by then, the whole night was going to go over his head. The proof had been right in front of him for weeks and he either didn’t care or was that oblivious.  Either was a win for me.

Eight o’clock.

Show time.

kiss

Nick and I stood in the kitchen looking out over the guests. Everyone was mingling well. I was stuffing my face with chips and cheese dip trying to settle my stomach before the binge drinking ensued.

“You know this is going to be a mess,” Nicky said sternly.

I popped another chip in my mouth. “I don’t care.”

Dillon was out by the pool, I assumed his plan was to stay as far away from Nick as possible. Gabriel was behind us getting a beer from the fridge. When he headed to the living room I told him I’d catch up with him later

Alec was nowhere to be seen and I hadn’t heard from him so I was hopeful he had opted out of attending. All I truly cared about was Finn. I planned to break up with Gabe in a heartbeat if I got even an inkling of having a shot with Finn.

My mind spun into a daydream about how wonderful the evening could go. How I could be having my first kiss with Finn and we would live happily ever after. I was so zoned out for a minute I didn’t even know he had arrived.

“Your third boyfriend is making his way to the snack table.” Nick’s voice snapped me out of my trance.

“What? Oh no, I’m not ready…yes I am…crap…okay. If Alec comes in distract him. Actually if anyone comes in distract them. Wish me luck!”

“Yeah, you need it.” He smirked.

I took a deep breath and headed towards the dining room.

“Hey,” I squeaked when I saw the back of Finn’s head.

“Hi…uh…hey.” He turned toward me and in our usual awkward state we didn’t know whether to greet with a hug, a handshake, or a simple nod.

“What is with us?” I laughed. “We’ve known each other how long and we still can’t say hello?”

“I think its tradition now. We can’t change it.” He grinned.

I just nodded like a bobble head, too dumbfounded to say anything else. Where was cool Isla from lunch a couple days ago?

“This is a great place.” Finn broke our silent lull.

“Thanks! I really like it. Better than renting an apartment.”

“You look great tonight.”

“Thank you.” I tucked my hair behind my ear and I’m pretty sure I’m not the only that started to blush. “I had a great time catching up. I’d love to take you up on the movie and dinner option sometime.”

Finn took a step closer and my heart began to race. “What are you doing tomorrow? Throwing another wild house party?”

“I’m free as a….” my voice trailed off and I laughed. “I have no idea what I was going to compare myself too!”

“You’re adorable.” Finn moved even closer and locked eyes with me.

After all this time Finn was the only one who still filled my stomach with butterflies. The moment, THE kiss, I had imagined for so many years was definitely about to happen.

‘About to’ was as close as I’d ever get. I’d completely forgotten about all the others until Alec stumbled in at most inconvenient moment. Had I known mine and Finn’s paths were going to cross I never would have thrown that stupid party. It should have just been him and I. I should have gotten my perfect last first kiss.

“Hey, baby.” Alec slapped my ass and spun me around to kiss me.

My heart sank. Usually I’d be all over Alec if he was acting that way, but with Finn standing there I knew it was a mistake. Maybe Nicky was right; the whole night was a mistake. Three minutes. I had three perfect minutes with Finn before my plan began to self-destruct. I wanted a fight, but I didn’t want one that quickly. And I didn’t want to be the one fighting.

By the time I broke away from Alec, Finn was gone.

“I’ll be right back. I gotta grab something from my car.” I lied.

Around the corner Nicky was still standing in the kitchen. One look and he could read my mind.

“If you run you can still catch him, he just walked out the door.” He nodded to the front of the house.

Tears welled up inside. Genuine tears I had never felt before in regards to dumb boys. This was different. I screwed up.

“Finn! Wait!”

He was almost to his car. I wouldn’t have blamed him if he didn’t stop, but he did and started walking back towards me.

“What was that, Isla?”

“Listen to me please—”

“I have waited, I have wasted, years of my life waiting for a chance with you. Running into the other day I thought was my sign.  I thought now that Dillon was out of the picture maybe we could give this a shot. And it was all a joke to you.”

“It’s not like that. Alec is just a friend. He’s drunk…” I scrambled for excuses.

“Do you even hear yourself? It’s like you’re still in high school. Oh if Dillon could see you now—”

“He’s here too.”

“What the fu—” he clinched his fist and caught himself before he actually cursed. I always liked that he was one of the ‘good guys’.  “You have some serious issues.”

“You liked me? In school all those years, it wasn’t just my imagination?”

He rolled his eyes and headed toward his car again.

“Yes or no, Finn? I need to know.”

“Yes!” He turned to face me but kept walking backward down the street. “Is that what you wanted to hear? You get the prize, Princess Isla. You were all I wanted. You get to go in the history book as my first love. And now you get to be known as my biggest mistake. I hope you’re happy with yourself.”

He got to his car, slammed the door, and without hesitation sped off down the road. I watched the tail lights disappear and waited far too long for him to turn around and come back.

I slowly made my way back to the house where a true movie-worthy-frat party had broken out. People were swimming in their clothes, the music was ten times louder than when I’d left, a round of beer pong was in full swing, and the refrigerator door had been left open. With Finn gone my other “candidates” suddenly seemed less appealing, but I was hopeful a couple shots of vodka would help drown my sorrows.

 

CONTINUE READING: The Showdown

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF Snippet Six: The Invites

Before you read further make sure you’re all caught up:

Intro 

The Low Down

The (ex)Boyfriend

The Rebound

The Fling

The Crush

Snippet Six: The Invites

“You invited all four of them? Are you insane?” Nick propped his elbows on the kitchen counter and held his face in his hands like it was helping him decipher my madness.

I didn’t like when Nicky disapproved of…well anything I did. He was supposed to be my number one support. He was supposed to understand my logic however unconventional.

“I can’t decide between them. I want to know who’s really in this. I want to know who wants me the most.”

He stood back up and looked at me in disbelief. “You want them to fight.”

“Not physically. Okay, actually that might be funny. Can you imagine Dillon—”

“Isla, that’s not funny.” He slammed his hands down on the counter top.

“It’s our party, Nick, but it’s my house. I can invite who I want.”

“How did you even manage to get yourself into this situation?”

“Well let’s see.” I held up four fingers in Nick’s face for extra emphasis. “You just heard about my coffee date with Finn.”

“That wasn’t a date. That wa—”
“TWO! Gabe is a give-in he’s been helping us plan. Three, Alec…he probably won’t even show up. The party invite just kind of slipped out. I don’t even think I gave him the address.” I definitely did.

“And how did Dillon wind up invited if you haven’t even seen him all summer?” Nick’s eyes studied my pursed lips and fidgeting fingers. “You hooked up with him again didn’t you? You lied to me.”

“It was only last week. I was going to tell you. I was good the rest of summer just like I promised.”
“Why, Isla?” His hands flew into the air. It was like a lecture from my father. “I thought you were done with that prick.”
I thought I was done too, but when I suddenly realized that could be Dillon’s last summer home and it may be years before I saw him again, if ever, I freaked. I wasn’t ready to say goodbye. Or maybe I needed to say goodbye. All I knew was I needed to see him.

Dillon was predictable. So I tossed on slinky dress and headed to his favorite bar. Ding ding ding right on the first guess. Part of me was afraid he’d be there with another girl. He had to have someone new by now; why else would he not have contacted me over the summer? 

I was bound to be prettier than whoever she was though. If I had to sit across the bar alone and wait for him to find an excuse to leave so be it.

My confidence returned in full force when I saw him seated around a high-top table with a bunch of guys. The bar stool next to him was empty so I slid in and rested my hand on his leg.

“You didn’t forget to order me a drink did you?” I asked.

I stole all the attention from the men seated around. Most of them stared; I didn’t mind I was asking for it and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like the attention. I only recognized one of the guys in the group as another high school classmate. The rest were strangers with no clue who I was or why I was at their table.

“Welllll…helll-llloo,” said one of the new faces in a long drawn out drunken slur.

Dillon smirked but didn’t look up from his beer.

“Aren’t you going to introduce me to your friends?” I moved in closer to him.

“No.”

The table let out a collective “ooooo”

We’ve always been drawn to each other. Even when the words out of our mouths say the opposite. Everyone else may have been seeing a catty fight, but we knew the truth. We knew he was taking me home and we’d be acting like we were sixteen again as soon as we hit the sheets.

#

I hadn’t meant to fall asleep and spend the night, but shit happens.

I rolled out of bed unsure of what kind of small talk to start the morning with.

“Nothing like doing the walk of shame out of your high school boyfriend’s parent’s house,” I said under my breath.  

Dillon slowly stretched and sat up in bed. “If you can still fit into your clothes from high school I think you left some here the last time we had to sneak you out.”  

“Are you saying I’ve gotten fat?”

“Far from it.” He stood up wrapped his arms around my waist and kissed me.

Moments like that are the ones I wish we could have always had. If things would have stayed that way maybe it could have worked. He made me feel beautiful, he made me feel safe. In the past he always managed to ruin it by being a self-centered ass, but perhaps he was finally growing up.

He made his way to the closet and pulled out an old pair of sweats and a tank top I hadn’t seen in five years. It would definitely be a more comfortable outfit to leave in than my dress from the night before.

I got dressed and gathered up the last of my things. “Will you still be in town next Friday?”

“Yeah.”

“Nicky and I are throwing a party. You should come.”

“You know he hates me.” He sat back on the bed.  

“You’re not too fond of him either if I recall correctly. Besides, you know he always gets over it.”

“Yeah cause he knows he gets you back every time I leave.”

“Ew! No, you know it’s not like that between us.”

“Oh come on Isla, everyone knows y’all screw around.”

Responding to him wasn’t worth my breath. I rolled my eyes and kissed him goodbye. “I’ll see you Friday?”

“You got it.”

“And that’s that.” I shrugged as I finished recounting the night to Nicky.

“You’re a mess.”

“But I’m your mess and you love me.” I taunted.

“We’re going to need more alcohol to survive tomorrow night,” he sighed.

 

CONTINUE READING: The Party

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

IDGAF: Snippet Three & Four

My thoughts this week: you get a double installment this week because I missed posting last week. Snippet number two also posted during the great Facebook shut down of 2019 ;-P  so I don’t think many people saw it. I’ll always list the previous posts at the beginning so you can be sure you don’t miss past of the story. Overall life has been INSANE so finding time to even edit and format the little bit of story I had written has been difficult, but I’m sticking to it and getting caught back up. I hope you enjoy meeting Gabe and Alec in this week’s installment of Isla Doesn’t Give a F**K!

Before you Read: What to Expect From Isla

Snippet 1: The Low Down

Snippet 2: The (ex)Boyfriend

 

kiss
The Rebound

Nicky arched his brow at me. “Are you serious this time?”

“Yes, I’m serious! I’m done with Dillon. It’s time for a legit boyfriend.”

“You’ve been saying this for how many years?”

“This is different. I just got my house. I’m going to look for a big girl job. I don’t need him distracting me anymore. Besides this should be his last summer home before graduation. He’ll be long gone soon enough.”

Nick rolled his eyes and went back to unpacking my kitchen. “And where exactly are you going to find this ‘legit boyfriend’?”

“I downloaded Tinder again today—”

“Ha!”

“What? There are guys looking for actual relationships on there.”

Enter Gabriel Hernandez.
Poor Gabe. If anyone got the short end of the stick in this story it’s him.

He was looking for the love of his life. I was looking for a rebound. He was not the type I’d normally swipe right on (ie: preppy white boy) but his profile definitely caught my attention immediately. He must have had someone help him pick out his photos because they highlight all the right things: his gorgeous deep brown eyes, his perfect (and I mean perfect!) teeth, and his ‘I’m in shape but not a gym snob’ body…yum!

He was the only Tinder match I was remotely interested in after my first 24 hours officially on the dating scene so I went ahead and agreed to meet.

First date:  get to know you coffee at my go to café, Java House. He was a couple years older, ready to settle down, and so far removed from high school drama he didn’t even realize that’s what he’d basically gotten himself into. I nodded eagerly as he talked about politics and tried to agree with everything he said. I even excused myself to restroom at one point to call Nick with an urgent S.O.S.

“Who is running in next month’s election and why do you like them?” I whispered into the phone.

“Isla, are you seriously about to pretend to care about government for a guy you just met.”

“He’s gorgeous it’s worth it. Now help!”

Nicky gave me enough information I could remain vague but impress Gabriel with my concern over the increasing tax rates in our county. Having a guy interested in my brain instead of my body was a whole new puzzle to figure out, but I was up to the challenge.

Second date: a movie. At least I wouldn’t have to text Nicky for information on current world events. Gabe and I shared popcorn and that was about the extent of our physical interaction. No hand holding or discreet arm over the shoulder. Hands to himself. I hid my frustration as best I could. I had to keep my good girl act going as long as possible. If I kept playing along maybe it would become reality. Maybe I could start to move past my feelings for all the others; especially Dillon.

Third date: time to meet Nick. If he was going to be weird like Dillon about my best friend being a guy then I was going to be done. It couldn’t have gone better! No weird jealousy vibes. They had common taste in movies and sports. We spent the evening barbecuing by the pool and Nick even talked me up and made me more wholesome than I’d been pretending to be. The façade must have been working because that night I got a kiss on the cheek from Gabe when I walked him to his car.

Fourth date: a way too fancy dinner! But that’s where Gabe wanted to ask if I wanted to make things official.

“Hell yes!” I may have been a little too enthusiastic for that particular restaurant.

Yes, things were moving at a snail’s pace compared to what I thought was going to happen, but I really did like Gabriel. He was good to me. He was good for me. I don’t think I’ve ever done so much growing up in such a short amount of time.

He talked about having kids, owning a home, his retirement plan. All things I knew I wanted…eventually. Unfortunately for him eventually didn’t come soon enough.

kiss

The Fling

“I’m not looking to be somebody’s boyfriend.”

“That’s okay. I already have one.” The truth rolled off my tongue.

Unfazed by my confession he kissed me again. How I wound up in my car making out with the hot new bartender from work was a story I should have seen coming from a mile away.

Alec Thompson…or Thomas…I honestly don’t know his last name for sure. We’re not even Facebook friends because he ‘doesn’t do’ social media. Anyway, Alec was some hipster-bad-boy or something. I knew the moment he walked in he’d be trouble if he got the job. Of course his charm worked wonders on the manager and soon he was bartending nearly every shift I was waiting tables. Checking out his tattoos and skinny-jean-perfect ass made the work day much more enjoyable.

It didn’t take long for our flirting to become apparent. I meant the two best looking people in the joint are bound to fall for each other right?  I had enough on my plate with Gabe and resisting the urge to hunt down Dillon, so flirting was all it was going to be.

Then one night the manager let the staff stay late for drinks.

A couple hours later the group was getting ready to shut everything down, but I wasn’t ready to go home alone.

“I don’t think I can drive yet,” I whispered in Alec’s ear. I wasn’t even buzzed but if it meant more time with Alec I could play drunk all night. “Would you wait with me?”

“Sure thing, babe.”

Waiting for me to sober up turned into making out…

turned into “just this once”…

which became “this can’t become a habit”…

resulting in our new normal routine anytime we worked together. Which was way too often.

Here is where even I can admit I became a despicable human being. Being wanted felt too good to stop and sneaking around with Alec was an adrenaline rush like I’d never experienced. Gabriel was moving too slow for my taste, but I loved the public appearance with him.

Gabe knew I worked late and usually told me goodnight long before my shift was over. After closing, Alec and I would find ourselves at his apartment and I’d head home early in the morning. My fling with him was the first secret I didn’t even tell Nick all the details about. He’d heard me talk about the hot new mystery man behind the bar, but I didn’t dare tell him about cheating on Gabe.

Alec’s place is where we should have kept our mess, but my big mouth had to spill that I was having an end-of-summer party at my house followed by, “I took that night off work. You should stop by once you’re done since I won’t get to see you.”

My boyfriend and my…boy-fling in the same place at the same time; what could go wrong?

 

CONTINUE READING: The Crush

IDGAF 1

Isla Doesn't Give a F**K, Writing

What to Expect from Isla

Most people have seen the acronym I.D.G.A.F well it’s time to rethink the meaning. I’m excited to introduce you to

Isla

Dillon

Gabriel

Alec and

Finn

In this attitude filled new adult romance.

WHY BLOG THIS STORY: It’s closest thing to a complete manuscript I have despite not being complete. I want to release something new and thought this would be a fun way to do it.

RATING: Despite the name this story would be considered PG-13. The language is fairly tame and for the internet version will sometimes be modified/edited even further. Heat level: mild / behind closed doors.

UNEDITED: Perhaps the scariest part of this is, you’re my beta readers. This story has not been read or edited by anyone but me. This is my work in its rawest form and it’s terrifying! So please know I am completely open to feedback on grammar, plot, format, etc.

THE FUTURE OF I.D.G.A.F.: I am undecided if this project will ever go further than being a blog series. The initial idea was to have a full novel, and some day I may go back and add to the story to be published. For now I think I’m happy where it’s at (short story / novella length) and think this may simply be a fun transitional piece to get me out of the publishing rut.

SCHEDULE: If I stick to my current plan one chapter will be published each Sunday-ish from March 3rd – May 26th. I hope you’ll enjoy reading each installment and perhaps some reader suggestions could make it into the later chapters.

BLURB: If you missed it on my Facebook page here’s the current blurb for I.D.G.A.F.
“How much drama is too much drama? According to Isla Vander Hey there is no such thing. That is until her ex, her boyfriend, her work fling, and her childhood crush all wind up ‘accidentally’ invited a party together. Will she finally figure out which suitor is her knight in shining armor or will it be up to her best friend Nick to swoop in and save the day…again.”

IDGAF 1

Writing

Dedicated Direction

I have set myself up for perhaps the most confusing and sporadic schedule I’ve ever had, and if you know my story that’s saying a lot! I’ve been a master of multitasking and multiple jobs for years. Just when I think things are settling down, I go and add more to the mix. I’ve done what it takes to survive.

This past week I have decided that my writing needs to be just as important as my other jobs. I may not be able to dedicate as much time to it as I’d like, but some is better than none.

I’ve been diligent about keeping my 5 minute commitment, have started communicating with other authors again, and even managed to start reading a new YA romance (Don’t Forget Me by Judy Corry…I’m loving it!).

While my schedule is jam-packed right now, it is a unique arrangement in that I’m not doing one thing for longer than a few hours. As long as I can clearly dedicate that time to the given objective, and try my hardest to not let my mind wander to past or future tasks I think I’ll be on a much better path than I’ve been this last year.

 

annie-spratt-493168-unsplash
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Writing

5 Minute Commitment

A year ago my world came to a halt as I unexpectedly lost my job and had to scramble to find a new one.
I wound up in retail where I thought I would only have to stay on seasonally until something better came along.

That didn’t happen because my husband then lost his job unexpectedly.

Honestly, things got ugly.

As you’ve seen, the only thing I’ve been able to write has been how I haven’t been writing.

This changes today!

This past year, I still managed to go to my monthly writing critique group despite not bringing anything since February. One of the other authors always talked about how she does most of her writing in a 5 minute time span each morning before she wakes her husband up.

5 minutes…that’s it!

She has managed to write a spectacular horror in 5 minutes a day.

I’ve been thinking if I could commit to AT LEAST 5 minutes a day I would feel much better.

So if anyone is out there reading this, please keep me accountable!