September 5th

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a sort of journal I turned into a short story. At first it was a private way to deal with my emotions but I decided to share it, even with the person the story is about. A story about a girl hopelessly in love and finding herself.

Submitted: November 19, 2016

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Submitted: November 19, 2016

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September 5th

One never knows how a spontaneous decision can change their life so completely; certainly not a girl who thought her life was being panned out a specific way…..

Skyler was attending an esteemed private university to earn a Bachelor’s Degree and was in a committed long term relationship. She saw herself graduating from this school and then moving on to get a graduates’ degree, while in the meantime moving in with her boyfriend. However, this all changed when Skyler received an interview with Costco. Skyler dressed nicely and even drove her mother’s van to this interview, for she heard a rumor that the car she drove could leave an impression on her interviewers. Jeremiah, a beaten down Toyota Rav 4, certainly was not a good impression car, no matter how much she loved him. So she went to this interview, persuaded her interviewers that she was suitable for the job, and made it to the interview with the GM of the new building. She went nervously to the next interview and somehow, be it by fate or pure luck, received the job and would start the following month. This is where our story starts….

The first day of the job at the new building has Skyler seriously nervous. She’s in the break room eating a sub with Jim, the guy she trained with. They do not really know what’s going on or when they are supposed to report to the bakery. They decide to take a break and then meet at the bakery in fifteen minutes. Skyler is super nervous because she is not dressed to actually work in the bakery and did not bring her white hat. However, she walks to the bakery hoping everything will work out. All of her new employees are gathered around the bakery wearing hair nets and their hats. Skyler nervously looks for someone not wearing a hat and finds a couple people who match her. She politely says excuse me to a dark haired guy who smiles and points her to where the hair nets are located. Putting on the hair net without a hat, she feels dumb, and the crowd circles up around a table. Skyler looks around at what will become her new coworkers and finds a couple people who seem to be her age. She notices a cute guy and again feels she looks ridiculous without her damn hat, great first impression. Then, to her dismay, the bosses have everyone doing an icebreaker and talking about themselves. Skyler inwardly sighs because now everyone is going to look at her and she has to think of something interesting to say; she hates icebreakers. Overall the day goes without incident and Skyler slowly starts to get into a routine at the new warehouse….

This is where Skyler’s life starts to pivot; beginning with her decision to move and switch schools. She was living with her aunt but they fought so much, she had to leave. Skyler had text her cousin asking about his school and looked into how much cheaper it was than her current college. Within a matter of days, she decided to move in with her cousin and attend a new university. This decision dramatically changes her life. Starting a new school and a new job is stressful and took a toll on her relationship. Without her awareness, her relationship crumbles, perhaps not her fault but the man’s, however that is not important. Skyler is entering this new stage in her life heartbroken and an emotional wreck; this is what is important.

Due to Skyler’s grief, her workplace becomes a sort of refuge, a place to escape her thoughts. When left alone to overthink she becomes a sobbing mess and hates it. She constantly has to fight between her head saying she is better off and her heart which is torn apart. Therefore, when she is working, coworkers and her job distract her. She becomes friends with a guy she closes with, John. For some unknown reason to her, John asks many personal questions and gets to know Skyler quickly. He learns of her breakup and does his best to cheer her up. Sometimes by giving her good advice or inspirational words, such as the time he asked Skyler when she was cleaning dishes, “Are you still sad?”

She responded, “I don’t know John, sometimes… It’s hard.”

John wasn’t having this saying, “Do you know how many times a person changes before they find who they’re going to be with forever? You’re going to be okay.”

Other times, John just used his crude humor to make her smile and laugh. Skyler wouldn’t usually get along with someone as sarcastic as John, however, they started to bond. He even called her beautiful one day and asked if she was surprised he was single. Skyler answered honestly, “No.” It seems like she was being rude, however, John was not the nicest person to her after the first couple weeks of being a sweetheart. The two had a relationship of being the biggest dicks to one another and laughing about it. They were like brother and sister who loved one another but were rude to each other; that worked to help Skyler feel better. However, John’s sweetness those couple of weeks, became his excuse to be as mean as possible as he could to her. Skyler accepted this and just reciprocated it. That has become their relationship now.

Becoming friends with John and closing with him, allows her to get to know another one of her coworkers, Mark a baker. Skyler had only talked to Mark in passing at work but was very aware of how attractive he was. Skyler could only recall one conversation she had with him before John encouraged their friendship. Mark was teaching Skyler how to prepare the danish and had asked her about music. Skyler had not realized it until that moment that she had lost touch with music. She gave him vague replies because she couldn’t remember being passionate about music in a long time, she just listened to the radio; this would change. Skyler felt she must have made a poor impression on Mark after that conversation, but there was not much she could do. However, Skyler got her second chance to make a better impression…

Skyler is closing with John as usual and they are uninformed about where to put cakes. Usually the bakers dealt with the cakes and the two just had to clean. John is upset because his phone had been acting up and would not let him text anyone. He wants to text Mark and ask where they were supposed to put the cakes. Skyler, not thinking much into it, offers to text Mark so they would not get yelled at the next day for messing up a whole rack of cakes. John, being the jokester that he is says, “Ooooh you have Mark’s number huh???”

Skyler, taken aback, answers, “No? But you could give it to me and I’ll text him so we don’t get yelled at?”

John then gives her Mark’s number and she texts him asking what to do. The pair continue cleaning and Skyler eventually receives a text back. She had expected a simple answer to her question but she receives a little more than that. Mark had answers with a “Hello!” and a smiley face in addition to their answer. Skyler smiling at this text, shows John.

John replies, “Maybe he likes you?”

Skyler, again taken aback, states, “But he hardly even knows me!”

Yet, she texts Mark back with a thank you and a smiley face in return and to her surprise, he continues the conversation with her. She becomes amused by the turn of conversation because Mark tells her to tell John sorry for getting his mom wet and that he did not know it was John’s mom. Skyler, her mind in the gutter, thinks he was making a dirty joke. She figures out later that he is not quite that type of person. Skyler returns to work and gets distracted by John’s disapproving look, for she had flooded the pan washer. She has much work to do.

When Skyler gets home however, she continues texting Mark and is surprised at how easy conversation is with him. They somehow get into a serious conversation about drug addicts and Skyler self-discloses that her dad was one. She hardly ever told anyone this information and is shocked at herself so she quickly changes the conversation. The two continue talking throughout the night and occasionally the days following. Mark is a pleasant surprise to her.

This is how Mark’s and Skyler’s relationship with one another started; by the fate of John’s phone being broken. The two continued to text and Snapchat one another just getting to know each other better. One day at work, Mark asks Skyler what her off days are and she feels the stirring of butterflies in her stomach. She replies but he doesn’t go forth and ask to hang out. Skyler is quite confused but lets it go. However, a few days later, Skyler’s feeling bold and texts Mark asking if he wanted to hang out. He suggests a movie and the two plan the day….

It is the day of the movie and Skyler is feeling all sorts of nervous. She is waiting for Mark to pick her up since he had so sweetly offered to drive. She had probably tried on ten different outfits before deciding what to wear. When Mark arrives, she takes a deep breath and tells herself to chill the heck out. When she gets into the car, she makes polite conversation still feeling nervous. Until she watches Mark go to take a drink of water and spill it on himself. She covers her smile and looks away acting as if she didn’t see; her confidence going up realizing Mark is nervous too. The conversation flows more steadily after that with Skyler learning more about Mark such as his reasons for dropping out of college, his music taste, what he was like in high school, and that he smoked, a shock to her. They get to the movie theater to see “Suicide Squad” and Mark offers to pay. Skyler immediately felt bad that he paid and thanks him. They go into the theater and sit in the middle seats to watch the previews. Skyler purposely talks to him during the previews because he would lean in close to hear to her better. She also was very aware of the fact that he sat leaning towards her the entire movie.

When the movie ends, Skyler isn’t ready for the date to end and mentions something about the Petco across the street. Mark, to her surprise, asks her if she wants to go and she of course says yes. The two went and looked at the animals and had a little adventure. The rest of the day went well and Mark drove her home. Skyler hugged him before he left.

 Of course, this date starts flirting and more conversations between the two. They would look at each other at work and smile and make small talk. A small hiccup occurs when Mark tells Sandra, one of their coworkers, that he did not know if Skyler was single or not. Sandra, being like a mother to Skyler, tells her this and she gets immediately offended. She is not the kind of girl to flirt or go on dates with a guy while being in a relationship. She considered herself a faithful and good person and was upset that Mark thought of her in such a way. Skyler confronts Mark on it and they clear up that she is single and not an awful person. However, this causes Skyler to start worrying about the relationship. She is somewhat recently single and did not want to lead this guy on as a rebound. She decides to really pay attention to what she is feeling to avoid hurting Mark’s feelings in the future. She would do this the next time they hung out which ended up being soon; she went over his house to play video games.

This time Skyler was driving to Mark’s house, again feelings those nerves; she just could not shake them leading up to seeing him. She gets to his house and calls him to let him know she is there. He comes out to greet her and Skyler is immediately forced to meet his mom who is outside, a pretty lady. Skyler tries hard to be polite and make a good first impression, even asking her about the door she was painting. Then they go inside and upstairs to Mark’s bedroom, meeting his adorable puppies along the way. Skyler observes his room which was quite neat and nondescript. They sit on a couch at the end of his bed and start to play the Nintendo. Skyler had teased Mark earlier saying she would kick his ass at some games. They play Donkey Kong and Mario Party while eating the candy Mark had supplied. He had brought this chewy Coke flavored candy that turned out to be quite tasty. Skyler beats Mark at Mario Party all the way throughout the game and is quick to tease him about it. When the final points are being tallied, Skyler runs out to her car to get her crewneck. She comes back into Mark’s room and he is quite concerned that she went out only in her socks but quickly forgets about that so he can gloat that he actually won the game. At the end the game had awarded him stars and he beat Skyler. She is not taking that; in her mind she won and they joke back and forth about it. They two play a couple more games and Skyler gets to meet his sister.

Then they were debating on going out to see a movie or staying at the house. Skyler makes the decision to stay at Mark’s because she’s secretly hoping they will end up cuddling. They go to get food then come back, Skyler meet his dad, an important figure in Mark’s life, and they start watching movies. At first they sit sort of leaning against each other, their legs and arms brushing each other. They gradually slide closer to one another and Skyler keeps hoping he’ll just man up and put his arm around her; he does. They are watching a horror movie about a deaf girl and Skyler, as per her usual, keeps getting frustrated with the main character making Mark laugh. They keep joking about the main character’s actions and Skyler hides her face in Mark’s shoulder when a gruesome scene starts. They end up cuddling the rest of the movie, with Skyler basically lying on Mark, and even watch a second one so the night won’t end as soon. Mark has Skyler laughing all night until he makes her watch a film that upsets her; he had picked it on purpose to mess with her. After the second movie, Mark walks Skyler out to her car. He is asking her questions about her car and she leans into the car to point out that she doesn’t have airbags. When she stands back up, Mark is directly behind her, and she falls into him; he catches her around the waist. She figures that moment probably doesn’t mean much to him but oh does it give her butterflies. Then he hugs her goodbye, no kiss to her dismay, and she drives home all giddy and blasting music. She decides on that drive, that no, she is not using Mark as a rebound. She genuinely enjoys his quirky personality and the fact that he makes her laugh so easily.

The next time Skyler sees Mark is on her birthday. She is feeling quite unhappy about her birthday because many of her old friends can’t make it to the fire. When Skyler voices her concerns to Mark the day before her party, he assures her that it will still be a good time. He is right of course, for many of her family members show up and the turnout is wonderful.

Skyler and her sister are sitting up front on the porch when Mark arrives. When he walks out of his car, Skyler tells her sister that he is the guy she’s talking to. Her sister replies with a, “Damnnn! He’s cute! Nice job!” and he is looking nice in his designer jeans, that he had told her he wears all the time, and his fancy sweater.

Mark walks up to them and Skyler takes him into the house to meet the family. Inside the house, Mark gives her a book with a ribbon around it as a birthday present. He may not notice, but that touches Skyler so much. He had the thought to buy her a book, knowing she loved to read, which meant he paid attention to her when she talked. He also was one of the few people that gave her a birthday present and she was definitely not expecting it. He explains that is a simple book that he loved as a child. She thanks him and then introduces him to the family. Everyone sits down to eat together and are laughing and conversing with one another. Skyler can’t help but notice how much of a gentleman Mark is to the family. Everyone sings happy birthday to Skyler around her Costco cake and she blushes like crazy. They had cake and it was jovial. Then the rest of the night goes well with everyone around a fire joking, talking, and listening to music.

When Mark has to leave, Skyler walks him to his car. Her birthday fire was being taken over by people she was not yet friends with, so she stays to talk with Mark for a little. A little turns into a couple hours and they talk about everything and anything. It is so easy and carefree. Skyler discusses how she’s feeling lost with school and doesn’t know what to major in anymore. They both talked about their families and their different passions. Mark eventually has to leave to go home and they hug goodbye.

However, Skyler is lying in bed confused by Mark and all the signals he was sending so she texts him about it. Probably a big mistake on her part; she pushed the subject when it should have been left alone. He starts out saying a bunch of sweet things about Skyler such as how beautiful she is inside and out and that he thinks she could make him very happy. She’s thinking things are great between them. Then it turns into Mark saying he isn’t ready for a relationship because of his past and his depression. He mentions that he runs from happiness which is a concept that makes no sense to her. Why not just be with her if she can have a positive effect on his mood? Also, Skyler herself has been in quite a down mood and understands how he is feeling to a point. Why can’t they just help one another? She honestly just thinks he is overthinking the whole situation; perhaps assuming it would end badly and already thinking about how he would feel at the end. When instead he could be thinking about how happy they would be, all the adventures they could have with each other, and the fact that it may not end. Skyler is quite upset; certainly not how she wanted her birthday to end. She actually had been hoping it would end with a kiss. However, she understands his reasons, no matter how easily they could be fixed. Plus, he is worried that he is a rebound to her. Though he isn’t, she realizes that someone wouldn’t want to be with such recently “damaged goods.” It stings because they had just clicked but she understands. They decide to be just friends. However, this doesn’t mean Skyler has lost hope.

 Despite what had happened between Mark and Skyler, the two decide to still go on a trip they had planned. The following Monday, Mark comes and picks up Skyler to go to the Columbus Zoo, a two-hour drive away. Skyler is a bit worried because she has a history of getting car sick and doesn’t want to look so wretched in front of Mark. She’s also excited though because going to new places is one of her favorite things; new adventures. He arrives at her house and she’s starting to get very enthusiastic; a usual feeling for Skyler, she always gets way to excited about experiences. They leave to begin the day and Mark stops for gas. He buys the two of them doughnuts, himself an energy drink, and her an iced tea, her favorite drink. He was being so considerate of her and had her feeling bad that he spent money on her again.

They set out on the long haul of a ride, a feeling of enthusiasm in the car. Mark plays a wide array of music throughout the ride. Some of it not so great in Skyler’s opinion such as the Fleet Foxes. Mark is singing and dancing along to everyone of their songs however and has her cracking up over the ridiculous folk lyrics. He also plays a song about a lady who was addicted to cocaine. She records him singing this song and it is still saved in her Snapchat memories. He’s laughing and dancing while singing the lyrics and Skyler is laughing in the background. He also plays music that she grows to really like and asks him to send her the name of the artists. Little did she know, this car ride of music and laughter was the stepping stone to Skyler becoming addicted to music again.

Along the way the pair decides to stop for breakfast at a Waffle House, another place Skyler had never been to and she is looking forward to it. The entire ride they’re looking out for a sign that says where a Waffle House is. When they finally find one they both start shouting and laugh at how stupidly excited they are. They pull off the highway and entered the parking lot of the little restaurant. Mark stops to have a smoke and put on deodorant, even though he always smells good to her; he even offers her some deodorant making her laugh. They go in and order their food at the bar because it is so busy. A guy next to them is picking the music and they find it amusing. They eat their food and Mark again goes to pay the bill, however Skyler offers to pay this time and he refuses. They leave and go back to the car for the last little bit of the drive to the zoo. On the way there, Skyler tells Mark how when she was younger, she would go to the zoo with her mom and always get one of those stuffed monkeys with Velcro hands and rock candy. They finally arrive at the zoo and Skyler is struck by the size and the fact that a water park is connected to it. She suggests they go to the water park next time.

When they pull into the parking lot, Skyler notices that they have to pay for parking and immediately offers to pay because Mark had already paid for way too much. He asks if she’s sure and she tells him to shut up and let her pay. They park and start walking up to the entrance; Skyler is jumping around like a kid because she is so excited to be there. They get in line to pay for tickets and someone offers them a ticket for a cheap price. Skyler at first is like, “Heck yeah!” but then changes her mind and offers the ticket to the guy behind them, no need to be greedy. They finally go to buy their tickets and Mark, again, offers to pay. Skyler would have none of this and tells him no.

Walking into the zoo, Skyler grabs a map because the place is so grand and they start walking. The zoo is separated into different regions and they go through each of them constantly referencing the map. They notice the different types of music playing in each region and joke about it. Skyler learns that Mark’s favorite animal there is the elephant. They go inside an elephant exhibit and Mark seeing an elephant runs excitedly towards it. Skyler noticing this think it’s the cutest thing in the world; Mark’s inner child coming out. Skyler gets really excited to see their giant monkey exhibit, well she gets excited about everything there. In one region the lions are right next to zebras and deer like animals that they would eat and the two find this amusing. They joke about how the lions are just staring down their prey. They also find it fascinating that part of the lion’s exhibit was a plane and that they were inches from the lions looking through one of the windows. When Skyler sees the first bear of the day she calls it huge and Mark amusedly points out that it’s the smallest bear there is. He would not let her live that one down; that bear looked big to her. They find themselves at a lemur exhibit talking and just staring into the window and eventually realize that there are no animals in the exhibit. It took them so long to notice this because they were just genuinely enjoying each other. They then end up on a path that seems a little rundown and away from the crowd, so obviously, them being the kind of people they are, they follow this path. It leads to a pretty area with a bench overlooking an exhibit. The pair sits and begin to chat. Mark mentions how he’s glad for the break because his feet hurt in his boots. Skyler can’t help but tease him for wearing boots to the zoo but apparently the only sneakers Mark owns are old and for cutting the grass. She muses that it might be something he should work on. They also notice there are a bunch of cigarette butts lying around Mark jokes that it’s the smokers secret area. They eventually decide to continue their trek and they find the front of the exhibit, it’s for a moose but they can’t seem to find it. Mark yells out, “Moose!” and it comes out of nowhere, scaring the shit out of the both of them. They leave laughing and finish the rest of the zoo.

When they are finally making their way back to the front of the zoo, Skyler is extremely tired and relieved to go sit in an air conditioned car. They get to the front and Mark pulls Skyler into a shop and tells her to look for the stuffed monkeys like she used to get. They eventually find some at a booth and Mark tells Skyler to pick which one she likes. She of course picks a blue one, her favorite color, and Mark buys it for her. Skyler cannot believe how entirely sweet this guy could be. She decides that she’s going to kiss him goodbye later. They get out to the car and Mark tells her to go ahead and sit in the AC while he smokes. She pulls out her phone and regrets not taking pictures with him at all throughout the day; she had just been so preoccupied by him and the environment that she hadn’t thought of it.

After Mark finishes his smoke, they go to leave for the long ride home. The GPS starts acting all weird on the way home and amused, they think they might get lost. Eventually it starts working and it takes them on some country backroads to avoid traffic from an accident. Skyler doesn’t mind this one bit, another adventure in her head. Mark of course is playing all sorts of crazy music and has Skyler laughing at him. However, due to the curvy country roads, Skyler starts to feel nauseous along with a headache and asks Mark to stop someplace soon to get food and some air. Right before they get on the highway Mark spots a Wendy’s, Skyler’s favorite fast food restaurant. They go in and eat and Skyler’s nausea goes away.

Getting back on the highway, Skyler feels exhausted and content with the day. Her eyes just want to close but she doesn’t want to fall asleep and leave Mark driving alone. She could only imagine how tired he was as well but he had an hour left of driving; she wanted to keep him company. However, it did not help that Mark was playing possibly the sweetest and softest music, You + Me. Skyler fell in love with one of their songs that day, “Break the Cycle.” Mark was aiding her in finding her love of music again. In between drifting off and trying to keep random conversation with Mark, she asks him, “What are you thinking about?”

Looking startled, he replies, “I was thinking about when I first heard this song, you?”

Skyler, not expecting him to ask her back, answers, “About how tired I am.”

She lied, she had been thinking about him. Thinking about how much of a sweetheart he was, thinking about how much he made her laugh, and how she wanted to kiss him. However, she did not feel gutsy enough to give her real answer, so she remarked on how sleepy she was. He, being the gentleman he was, told her to sleep. She, being the stubborn girl she was, said no. They finally make it back to her house and Mark pulls into her driveway. Skyler thanks him for the day and hugs him. Not quite brave enough to kiss him on the mouth, she cups his face and kisses his cheek; he laughs quietly. She gets out the car and tells him, “I’m not giving up on getting through your walls. Have a goodnight.” How stubborn she was on wanting to make him happy, but would it work.

The next day Skyler is relaxing at home and thinks that maybe she shouldn’t talk to Mark for a little. She was confused on the situation but of course he texts her asking how her day was going. She couldn’t help but reply, he made her so happy. They two continued to talk and work with one another as the days went by.

This is the beginning of when Skyler starts to reach her lowest point in life. One day, after a relatively good day at work, Skyler is driving home. She goes to get onto the on ramp to the highway and somehow loses control of her steering wheel. One minute she is steering left then she goes to steer right and her car gets out of her control. All she can do is think that there is nothing she can do; she is going to crash in a car with no airbags. She intakes a breath of fear and then hits a cement wall, her body crashing into the steering wheel. Everything goes suddenly quiet and without thinking, Skyler puts her car in park. She gets out her car, holding her painful chest, because all she can think about is how damaged her precious Jeremiah is. Dear God, don’t let him be ruined she thinks. As she gets out, a lady in the car behind her gets out and calls over asking if Skyler is okay. Skyler, not really having taken in to account what she was feeling, answered with an, “I think so?”

The lady asks if she wants her to call the police and Skyler says sure, not sure what to do in the situation. Skyler walks up to the front of her car and sees the front is totally smashed in and is leaking some sort of fluid. She is so dismayed, what is she going to do? She gets back in the car and calls her mom and sister while pulling her car onto the side of the road. As she tells her mom what happened the tears start to come, she’s in shock. She tells her mom where she is and that she is okay. A cop pulls up so Skyler gets off the phone. In a shaky voice and trying to stop crying, she tells the officer what happened to the best of her knowledge. Again, she’s asked if she is okay. The honest answer is she does not know but she answers yes to avoid an ambulance showing up. The police officer directs her to get her all her important belongings out of the car so it can be towed and to sit in the back of his cruiser. Skyler does as she is told, still crying not able to make the tears stop. She pulls out her phone to answer texts from her mom and sister and the thought of texting Mark comes into her head, maybe he could help calm her down. He replies telling her everything is going to be okay and Skyler is able to start controlling her breathing and tears a little better. She also starts to get a little pissed because the officer keeps asking a bunch of questions and saying stuff she doesn’t understand, except that she will be getting a ticket, and he doesn’t even offer her a damn tissue. After all, she’s a snotty mess in the back of a cruiser with no hope for her car and no idea what that means for her future, he could offer her a tissue. He doesn’t.

The officer drives Skyler to a gas station and her parents arrive to talk with him and pick her up. Her mom immediately gives her a hug and tells her everything will be okay. Her little sister asks if she’s okay and her baby brother yells at her for ruining a car until he sees Skyler crying. She hugs the two of them, glad she still can, and the three girls walk to the bathroom to get a tissue finally. Her mom asks if she needs to take Skyler to a hospital but Skyler’s stubborn and says no, that she is just sore. Her chest is red from the seatbelt and crashing into the steering wheel but nothing more serious than that. She knows she’s going to start feeling it when the shock wears off though. They walk back out to the car and Skyler calls her cousin, Stan, who is about to get off work. He says he can drive her home and take her to work the next day. So he arrives and talks with her parents and tries to joke with Skyler to make her feel better; it works. They drive home to meet up with friends, as that had been their plan earlier in the day. Everyone is waiting for them at the house, since Stan’s parents were out of town. Apparently he had already told everyone about the accident. She walks into the house and immediately receives hugs and shouts of, “We’re glad you’re alive!” It does well to cheer her up for the moment.

However, as the night goes on, Skyler’s chest gets redder and hurts more. She also starts to think more about how in the world she’s going to be able to get a new car. How is she going to get to work? She really cares about her job and how was she to get to school? She was already so lost in her purpose in school, she knew if she had to stop going, she would lose sight of her main goal; to graduate from college and be successful. She is starting to lose hope. This is right around the time when she learns of the song “All Time Low” by Jon Bellion. With nothing else to do because she has no car to go anywhere, she starts listening to his music. She falls in love with the meaning behind his songs, for she connected with so many of them. Being at such a low point in her life, caused her to fall in love with music.

Skyler continues to go to work and school the next couple of days, borrowing her cousin’s car when she needs to. She knows she is blessed to be able to borrow his car and that she should be happy because of that. However, she could not stop from feeling depressed. All she could do was worry about money and how she was going to get a car. This turned into obsessing about how she didn’t know where she was going in life and how lost she felt. Skyler was literally at an all time low. It didn’t help that her body felt so sore and bruised from hitting that cement wall. It pissed her off when she was working and it hurt so badly just to lift pans or do simple movements. Of course she didn’t tell anyone that she was hurting so badly, she needed to work to save money for a car. She hid her watery eyes and faces of pain and put on a smile because she was strong and wanted to work.

Skyler wanted a little escape from being upset and decided to ask Mark to come over to keep her company. He agreed and that’s how he ended up coming over her house.

Skyler is cleaning up her room, even putting her clothes away, before Mark arrives. She has her lovely candle warmers burning to make the place smell good. When Mark gets there, Skyler goes out to greet him. She leads him inside and downstairs to her room. They sit on her couches and talk a bit. She tells him a little about the accident, trying hard not to complain too much, after all, that wasn’t the point in him coming over. They decide to go get dinner and then come back and watch Netflix. Skyler wants Mark to decide what movie to watch because she is a very indecisive person but he keeps suggesting stupid movies, on purpose she knows. So she eventually picks a horror movie, one of her favorite genres to watch with others. Skyler knows that they are supposed to be “just friends” so she makes sure to sit a friendly distance from him when the movie starts.

During the movie, the pair are doing their usual making fun of the horror film and laughing. They start stretching out on the couch and getting more comfortable being in each other’s presence. Halfway through the film, Mark gets up to use the restroom and Skyler lays on half the couch, her head towards the middle and plays on her phone. He comes back and they continue watching the movie. However, Mark lays the same way as her but on the opposite side of the couch. He uses her side and the back of the couch as a sort of pillow. Skyler is hyper aware of the fact of her back against his chest and his head on her side, though she plays it cool. They watch the movie and make a bet about who is going to be possessed next, the loser owes the other dinner they decide. Skyler loses but doesn’t mind too much. The movie ends and they are talking and joking with one another. Mark is making Skyler burst into fits of giggles with his attempts at accents. At one point in the night, he makes Skyler do a pushup, she is laughing so hard at herself and her weakness that she can’t even do one. For goodness sakes, she can’t even get the right form. Mark yells at her to put her butt down and she yells back, “I can’t it just sticks out!”

This makes Mark laugh and she tells him to do pushups. He, trying to show off, does a bunch and even claps in between them. Skyler doesn’t mind however; he looks so strong. They eventually decide to watch a movie and Mark finally picks this time. They two end up lying next to each other, the back of her body against the front of his. As the movie starts, Mark grabs the blanket off the back of the couch as covers himself up with it. He asks her if she wants any and she says yes, so he covers her up as well; the two of them cuddling beneath the blanket. They watch the movie and of course it is the cutest movie Skyler has ever seen. Every other scene, has her turning, looking up at Mark, and exclaiming how adorable the movie is. He just laughs and lets her continue to watch and “Aww” at the film. When it ends she turns towards him and tells him it was her new favorite movie. She tells him about how happy it had made her feel; little did he know how badly she had needed to feel happy.

He responds by asking her, “Guess what?”

She replies, “What?”

He then attacks her with tickles in her stomach and sides. Not expecting this, Skyler laughs and tries to squirm out of his reach. She starts to fall off the couch so he catches her by putting his arm around her. She’s right up against him now and he gives her a little break before he attacks her with tickles again. She warns him that she is not responsible if he gets hurt from her squirming because she can’t help it and he just laughs. She decides to go on the offense and try and to tickle him back. To her delight, he is ticklish too and not so happy she discovered this. She attacks him with tickles to and he tries to hold her hands down. She got out of it however and kept tickling him, so he turned away and curled up to try to avoid it. Skyler stops tickling him with her arm around his side to avoid falling off the couch. He begins to tickle her again and this time she does fall off the couch. She lies laughing on the floor, exclaiming she’d rather be down there anyway. He looks down at her, with his hair all messy and cute, they laugh and talk for a while. He pretends he’s going to pour his drink on her and she shrieks and rolls away on the floor. They stay messing around and talking like this for a little while. Until Mark eventually says he should go. Skyler is sad for the night to end but it is late. She walks him upstairs and her uncle offers Mark food. Mark agrees and Skyler’s uncle prepares him food to take for the ride home. Skyler walks him to his car and hugs him goodbye. She walks back into the house smiling and feeling happy; she had needed that day. She only hopes she had made him as happy as he had made her.

The next day at work, Skyler is working with her buddy John. As usual, he doesn’t start simple conversation with her, he jumps into the juicy stuff he wants information about. He asks her, “How’d your date go?”

She blushes, responding, “We’re just friends John.”

He looks at her slyly saying, “Just friends who cuddle right?”

She is shocked he knows of this, but Mark and John are best friends after all. She responds, “I don’t know. It was fun. I had a good time.”

John lets the subject go for the moment but every day they worked together after that, he asked Skyler about her and Mark. More often than not she didn’t know how to answer his questions. She didn’t know what was going on either. John even started getting to the point of calling Mark her boyfriend at which point she started slapping him for it. He got a kick out of that.  

Not long after this, Skyler and Mark plan to study together. Skyler before leaving, asks him what his favorite candies were. She wanted to do something nice for him knowing he liked sweets. He responds telling her to surprise him so she picks a couple of her favorites to bring for him. She drives to his house all the way from her mom’s, a forty-five minute drive, and eventually arrives. Skyler goes in while Mark grabs his bag and she pets his pups. They are so adorable and rub all over her. She of course wore black leggings and was covered in dog fur in the five minutes it took Mark to grab his bag. She doesn’t mind though, she loves dogs and can’t wait to have one of her own.

They leave the house and Mark drives the two of them to a Starbucks in Kent. Skyler had never really been to Kent, aside from one time, and was taking in all the sights; it was a darling area. They get to the coffee shop and go upstairs to get a little table next to a window. They set up their laptops to start working and Skyler brings out the candy she bought. They spend the next hour or so studying and doing homework while making small conversation in between. Mark goes to get a coffee and asks if she wants anything. She politely declines, she is more of a Dunkin person than Starbucks. He comes back with a black coffee and explains that he doesn’t even like coffee. Skyler is so taken aback by this; he had literally just bought an overpriced coffee that he doesn’t even like. He is trying to drink it and having issues because it’s hot and the lid is leaking. Skyler just looks at him amused by his antics. She suggests just drinking it with the lid off so it wouldn’t spill and could cool. Mark, mock offended, say no. He suggests it would take away the aesthetic of drinking the coffee. She just shakes her head and smiles at this weird, funny boy.

Eventually getting bored with her own studies, Skyler asks Mark about his. He starts to explain about all this intelligent computer stuff but then starts to trail off saying he’s sure she doesn’t want to hear about it. How odd for someone to be so passionate about something then to trail off assuming someone wouldn’t want to hear it Skyler thought. She doesn’t like that and encourages him to keep telling her about it. She only understands about half of what he says but that doesn’t matter to her. What matters is the light in his pretty brown eyes when he got to talk about something he loved; he is so incredibly smart. She would let him talk about it for hours if he wanted; passions deserve to be encouraged.

Mark eventually gets tired of studying too so they leave the coffee shop. They start driving and Skyler asks about getting food. Mark isn’t hungry however so she says nevermind. She doesn’t want to be the only person eating, she could wait. Mark doesn’t like this and keeps offering to take her someplace to eat. Skyler’s stubborn though and keeps declining so he drops the subject temporarily. Skyler assumes that he is going to drive back to his house. She is watching the people walking on the street and looking at the colorful trees and beautiful sky. It was such a lovely fall day and she mentioned how she wanted to take a walk because of this. Eventually Skyler realizes they aren’t going the direction they came from and asks Mark about this. He responds saying he was just going to keep driving until she decided where to eat. She told him that she could wait, for maybe the tenth time. So he starts to take a way back to his house. They are jamming to music and talking about life as usual when they pass a beautiful pond that has the sunset reflected in it. Skyler can’t help but exclaim at how pretty it is and how pretty the day is.

After a couple more minutes of driving, Mark pulls off into this little parking lot area. She asks, “What are we doing?”

He responds, “You said you wanted to walk so I took you to the nearest trail I knew. There’s a little pond back there.”

Smiling, Skyler gets out the car and starts walking the path with Mark trailing next to her. She is not prepared for hiking, being in flip flops, and trips a couple of times, catching onto Mark as she does. He laughs at her and starts offering her his arm to keep her steady. It starts getting dark, especially under all those trees so the two start to joke around with each other talking about spooky stuff. They discuss what they would do if a serial killer came at them in the woods and Mark messes with her saying he would run and leave her. She exclaims at this, “You would leave me to die?!”

He says of course not and starts talking about if they were in a horror film. He says that he would be Skyler’s masculine older friend who would save her. This has her laughing and calling him “SuperMark,” she tells him to do his superhero pose. The two reach the pond and stand, staring at it for a while until Skyler suggests moving on.

They start to continue along the path, Mark still saying creepy stuff to mess with Skyler. She mentions that it is actually getting really dark and that maybe they should go back. Mark teases her about being scared but agrees to turn around. He trails a little behind Skyler, trying to stay behind on the path to scare her, but she catches on to his scheme. They walk back, Skyler still tripping, more so now that she can’t see well. Mark offers to give her a piggy back ride but she declines, out of embarrassment of herself being too heavy. She instead takes his arm again and they walk back to the car talking about a zombie apocalypse. As they reach the parking lot, a semi-truck pulls over to the side of the road. They joke that this is the serial killer and that he has zombies in the back of his truck to let out. Laughing, they walk to the car to leave.

On the way back to Mark’s, Skyler mentions being hungry again and Mark had enough of it. He makes her pick a place to get food to take back to his house and eat. She finally caves and they go to Jimmy Johns. She offers to buy him a sub because she owes him due to their bet but he declines. After receiving her food, they drive back to Mark’s house.

When they get to Mark’s, they go up to his room, much messier than the first time she was over she amusedly notices; gives it more character she thought. She asks for a paper towel and a water. She is sitting on his couch eating her food, chatting with Mark about a TV he is considering buying when his mom comes to the door. She asks if someone was eating because she could smell the food. Skyler points out it was her and has a nice conversation with his mother. His mom leaves to not interrupt too much, and Skyler thinks to herself that she really likes that lady.

After eating, the pair decides to do their usual Netflix movie watching. Mark picks two movies and has Skyler pick the one she wants to watch. She picks “Gladiator” and the two get comfy to settle in for the movie. However, Skyler can’t stop squirming for quite a while before she finally admits she can’t get comfortable. Mark says, “Here,” scooches over and gestures for her to get comfier beside him. She leans against him and uses his arm and shoulder as a pillow; they continue to watch the movie. He eventually puts his arm around her, his hand holding her side, and she lays her head on his chest, sprawled out on the couch. The movie is very intense so it takes a little for Skyler to notice that Mark is asleep. He is breathing very deeply and hadn’t said anything in a bit when she notices. Mark falling asleep while cuddling her felt nice to Skyler in a way; it meant he was comfortable enough with her to let his guard down and relax. At some points in his slumber Mark would twitch and jostle her, making her smile with amusement. Skyler herself was starting to fall asleep when Mark had moved his arm to scratch his face. He hit her head, startling her. She almost starts laughing however, when Mark seems to pat her head, realize there is a person lying on him, and put his arm back tightly around her. Skyler watches the rest of the movie, drifting in and out of sleep. When it ends she debates just closing her eyes and sleeping with Mark but decides he wouldn’t like that.

So she looks up at him and pats his chest saying, “Wake up sleepyhead.”

He rubs his eyes, hair all mussed, and asks in his rough sleep voice, “Is it over? How’d you like it?”

She smiles and says, “It was good but the ending was sad.”

He replies, “Good.”

Then he puts his arms back around her and cuddles her into the couch. She sighs, she never wants to leave this position she thinks. They stay like that for a couple moments, wrapped up in each other, eyes closed and sleepy. Skyler realizes she has to go though, before she gets too tired to drive. She hates it but pushes him slightly away and says she should go. He sighs; she gets up and puts the blanket Mark had given her over his body. She tells him just to go back to sleep and that she could walk herself out. She doesn’t want to bother him knowing how tired he is, he needs his sleep, for he had been tired all day. Mark, being the gentleman that he is however, gets up and walks her to the front door. He hugs her goodbye and tells her to drive safely. Skyler sleepily drives home wondering what would’ve happened if she had just stayed and slept cuddling him instead.

After this encounter with Mark, Skyler starts to get extremely confused. She knows she’s falling fast and hard for him but at the same time, they were supposed to be just friends. Just friends who cuddle runs through her head consistently. They two continue talking both at work and through Snapchat. A couple days /weeks go by and Skyler is really down about her life. It feels like no matter what she does she can’t save enough money to get a car. She has no idea what she is doing with school and constantly thinks about changing her major. Her mother is always in and out of the hospital; it takes a toll on Skyler. She tries to be with her family as much as possible to help with the little ones when her mom is sick. She worries that they’ll get depressed missing their mom, she fears that they’ll start getting behind in school, she even worries if someone will even be making sure they’re fed. She knows she’s worrying too much but she feels she has to step up in a mom position when her mom is in the hospital. She hates that her mother is always sick and there’s nothing she can do to help. And to top off all her stress in life, her ex conveniently comes back into her life to add some more. She learns that he stopped loving her and that he had fallen for another girl. She starts to think she isn’t good enough, not for her ex who left her and not for Mark who doesn’t want to be with her. She prays constantly asking God to help her find herself, to heal her mother, to let someone love her. She prays for hope.

With all this stress weighing on her, she lashes out at Mark one day for not replying to her message. This is not the actual reason she’s upset, she knows he’s a horrible texter, she is just tired of not knowing what is going on between the two of them and tired of being sad. Not entirely his fault, she knows. She regrets arguing with him but she can’t handle not knowing anymore, so she eventually gets the nerve to text him about it. (She later wishes she had all these important conversations in person. Where Mark wouldn’t have time to overthink. Where he wouldn’t be able to hide his true feelings behind the safety of a phone.)  He responds saying he’s sorry she feels that way and that he still doesn’t want a relationship, so he doesn’t want to lead her on. Nothing about his feelings towards her, that’s what bothers her the most. He can cuddle her multiple times, laugh with her, flirt with her but can’t tell her his feelings? She wants to know if he is falling for her as well but trying to stop it. She wants to know if she makes him as happy as he makes her. She wants to know if seeing her still gives him butterflies or if his feelings have stopped. He says nothing of this sort, just apologizes. She decides she needs space from him for a bit.

Turns out Skyler is awful at keeping space from someone. She tries twice and fails. Can you blame her though? She works with Mark all the time and jokes with John and him constantly. It is hard to keep space from someone she is always seeing and always in the position to talk to. He is always the one there for her when she can’t handle the stress anymore. He always says something sweet and makes her feel better. How in the hell is she supposed to have space and not talk to him? How is she supposed to stop her feelings towards him when he is always a sweetheart to her? Even after she drunk texts him or texts him being an emotional wreck. In her opinion she literally makes herself seem crazy, desperate, a mess. Yet he continues to talk to her and be a doll to her. For example, when Skyler’s closing one day with John. The two were feeling stressed and were debating who to ask to help them by cleaning the freezer. They ask Mark together and he of course agrees. When he finishes, Skyler goes into the freezer to help him move racks; the least she can do since he helped her so much. He immediately throws a fit at this telling her that he can handle it. Again, Skyler is stubborn and feels he did too much to help already anyway, so she tells him she can handle moving racks. He, still throwing a fit, makes her at least take the jacket he’s wearing. He puts it on her before she can tell him no. How stubborn they both are and how sweet he is to Skyler. This is what causes her to have a hard time moving on. His smile towards her makes her weak, his eyes draw her in, when he speaks to her it’s all she can do to not stare at his lips, she wants to kiss him and run her fingers through his hair. She laughs at herself at work when dirty thoughts reach her mind about him. She has many sweet thoughts about him as well. Skyler starts to think that she is absolutely crazy. How can she feel so strongly for someone she hasn’t known that long? For someone she hasn’t even kissed? For someone that hardly ever opens up to her, no matter how much she opens up to him? She’s crazy she thinks. Just get over him she thinks. It’s not so easy however. There’s a spark or connection of some sort that she can’t cut off. It drives her crazy. She wants to be in control of her feelings. She wants to stop being infatuated with him. She wants to forget all the adorable memories she has of them together. But she also wants to be with him and to spend time with him. She wants to make him the kind of happy he’s never felt before and she knows she can do it if he’d let her. She wants to work on their futures together and spend time with one another and their families. She is at war with her mind and her heart.

This however, is how Skyler starts to find herself again. Being at the lowest point in her life, there’s nowhere to go but up. She realizes she needs to control her emotions better. No more lashing out and no more making herself look crazy. She, realizing how much Mark has to offer, realizes she needs to have good qualities to offer herself. She needs to focus and work on herself. She starts figuring her life out. She buys a car, the first car to ever be completely her own. She has plans to fix things that are wrong with it as well. She finally figures out what she wants to do in school. She decides to finish her Associate’s in Psychology and then to get her Bachelor’s in Human Development and Family Life. This way she can work with children and families, her passion. She falls in love with music again. Even buys tickets to a concert of the new musician she found; the one that gives her hope with his lyrics. The one she is absolutely addicted to. She sings at the top of her lungs in her car again, only when alone of course. She starts smiling and laughing at everything as her old self used to do. She even is working on forgiving her ex and having a decent, friendly relationship with him. She doesn’t like to hold grudges and doesn’t like being upset over the past anymore.  She spends more quality time with her family because they make her happy. The people who crashed her fire that she didn’t know? They become friends that she hangs out with every weekend. She starts getting to know a girl she works with and has hopes that they’ll become best friends, something she has been missing for a while. Skyler isn’t happy all the time; she still has nights she lays feeling lost in bed. However, she’s becoming happy again and finding herself again. Albeit a changed version of herself, but still.

As for Mark, she realizes she cannot just force her feelings for him to go away. She may be hopelessly in love with him forever. Or maybe, if she lets the feelings run their course and continues to work on herself, she’ll fall in love with someone else. She falls so quickly, having a big heart and all. But she realizes this isn’t so bad. The world is so full of hate, why shouldn’t she spread her love for everyone and everything? Even if only to impact the people around her. She still foolishly hopes that Mark will do as many of her favorite country songs do. She hopes maybe one day he’ll realize he’s madly in love with her and in some romantic way tell her he wants her and finally kiss her. She knows it may never happen, but she is a hopeless romantic after all and she is optimistic again. Who knows what the future has to offer? She only knows now that she can’t help how she feels and that taking care of herself is the most important thing. One day, someone will want to take care of her and she’ll want to take care of him as well. But for now, she is all she needs.

FIN

A list of Jon Bellion’s songs that impacted her... (Just because she’s addicted)

  1. All Time Low: The song she first connected with and sang angrily to every lyric.
  2. Woke the Fuck Up: The song she hopes Mark will do.
  3. Human: The song that explained how she felt and made her realize that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes.
  4. Maybe IDK: The song that made her realize it’s okay to be lost; she will eventually find her way.
  5. The Hand of God: The song that helped restore her faith.
  6. Simple and Sweet: The song that reminds her of when she first started talking to Mark; before everything got complicated…. Maybe they’ll “Just take it slow.” Listen to the song if you want to understand the reference ;)
  7. Good in Me: The song that reminds her of the way life was making her feel at her low points. The “she” in the song, she replaces with “life.”
  8. And all the rest of his songs that she just enjoys jamming to :D

 

 


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