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The Remnants of Uncertainty...
Evening
12/17/09 at 12:51 AM by cassusriff
The nights are always tough.

When everything else in your life is going well, the days go fast. You get up in the morning with purpose. You get things done during the day. You see people and have good times and live your life.

But then the sun goes down. Your friends leave the bar and head to bed. People aren't around to talk to anymore. Nothing is on TV. It's too late to play guitar or go for a run. You feel alone.

I can say with confidence that this is the hardest part right now. All I want to do when I'm in bed before going to sleep is call her or text her. All I want is her in my arms. But we both know that not talking is the best thing to do right now. I can feel myself growing as a person. Getting things done is building my confidence. I'm not angry or devastated like I have been.

I've missed her support and her affection. I've missed telling her things that I'm excited about. I've missed hearing about her day and helping her through things. But that all proved to be too much right now in our lives. We both have to learn to stand on our own feet without having to lean on each other. Because, only then, can you truly benefit from having someone to lean on. The people in our lives should be safety nets, not crutches. We need our own support from within ourselves.

Because we all have to grow on our own at some point. It's true that we grow together and we grow from our experiences with others. But if you aren't happy alone you aren't happy. A relationship should be two stable, happy lives coming together and making each other happier. You brings strengths and weaknesses and you bring out the best in each other. But if you've lost your strength or never found it in the first place, you have nothing but fear and instability to bring. And that only breeds more of the same. You bring each other down in ways you don't realize. You hurt more than you help. As hard as that is to hear, it's true.

This is the time to be selfish, do what you need. This is the time to have expectations and goals. This is the time to focus on yourself. But I feel like I'm close to being at the place I need to begin to share a life with someone else. Who knows what the future holds?

I hope you still read these. I want you to know I haven't given up on us. I've never been more motivated overall than I am right now. Just know that we are doing the right thing right now. That I don't hate you. Sometimes we have to hurt people to do what's right.

I can see the progress. Maybe next time we meet we will be the missing piece to each other's puzzle as opposed to a whole new puzzle.

If happiness is a warm gun, we can't keep playing Russian Roulette.
Tags: relationships, life, personal, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 11: Anxiety
07/23/09 at 01:51 AM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict
Chapter 7: Secrecy
Chapter 8: Familiarity
Chapter 9: Bliss
Chapter 10: Change

I drive.

The road is narrow with doubt. My mind is scattered like the roadkill on the shoulder. I turn on my ignorance. I turn off my head. At the halfway point in between two girls, not knowing what the hell I'm doing.

When I stop to get gas, I call my friend Kyle. I try to explain myself to him without him prompting me to. He's not the one that needs an explanation, I am. I tell him that my past dictates my present. I have to give Lizzy her fair chance because I failed to do it for another girl in the past. It has to be as simple and shallow as first come first served, because there is no possible way for me to make sense of this. His next comment slaps me across the face.

"Dude, that all may be true, but..."
"What?"
"Well I was talking to her friend and she said that Shelby..."
"Yea what about Shelby?"
"Shelby said you're the best she's ever had. That she connected with you better than anyone."
"That's bullshit, we only knew each other for a week."
"That's what Shelby said man, and it's probably true."
"Fuck."

I don't know what to think. The music plays but all I hear is silence. I glance at my phone repeatedly. Nothing from Lizzy. She's already on her damn plane. It's too late to turn back. My stomach turns slowly and deliberately. I hate this. I feel guilt tickle my spine.

I text Shelby. Ask her how she's doing. She gives me a short response. She can't be happy that I've already broken my request that we not talk during this weekend. I can see it. I know her well already and I don't know her at all. I don't know either of these girls that well. I haven't even met one of them. Yet here I am in the middle of two places trying to figure out something I feel is going to affect me for years to come, if not the rest of my life.

Dammit.

I drive through central California, the forgotten part of a state known for its north and south. A perfect metaphor for where my head is. I get closer and closer to the reality I need to face. I receive intermittent texts from Shelby. I ask if she's okay, she gets pissed. I feel stupid.

She tells me she is in Berkeley with her friends, I tell her to enjoy herself and we discontinue communication, presumably, until I come back home.

I hit the grapevine on the 5. The road is twisty and I'm swerving all over the place as I text Eric to let him know I'm getting close. I had left work early that morning so I could surprise Lizzy and be there when her flight arrived instead of meeting her two hours after. I plan to meet Eric at his place and then drive over to the airport. I'm getting closer.

Five exits, four, three, two...

I'm one exit away. My heart is beating fast. I'm still at least an hour away from meeting her. I don't know how I'm going to survive if my blood pressure stays this high. I head towards Eric's apartment. I walk in and I'm giddy, discombobulated, and red in the face.

"Dude, you alright?"
"Yea man, just anxious. I don't know what to expect and I'm all over the place right now."
"Haha, this is the kind of shit that I'm going to tell at your wedding, no matter who you end up with. I'm gonna get up there and talk about how you were in my apartment freaking out over meeting this girl."

He cheers me up, but my breath is getting shorter. With about 30 minutes until the flight lands I finally convince him to go to the airport with me. We get there with about 15 minutes to spare. We park. Nothing is moving fast enough. I look around anxiously for the right terminal. Burbank Airport is set up in a confusing way and I get frustrated. Eric assures me that Lizzy will walk through these doors at any moment. I get a text.

"I landed!"

My heart stops. I'm not ready for this. I tell Eric that I need to buy her flowers or something. I go to the vending machine and get a slightly wilted, small spring bouquet for her. I hold it up nervously. I'm suddenly that guy at the airport waiting for his girl, only in this situation I'm at the airport waiting for a blind date. I start to put pressure on the situation. This has to be perfect. This has to be better than the first time I met Shelby. There is going to be flowers, a hug, and a magical kiss. It's all there waiting to happen.

I tell myself that it will just happen, I don't need to imagine anything. It will just happen the way it is supposed to. Eric tries to calm me down. I see people coming out of the terminal, every few seconds we think we see her but are fooled. The last few stragglers come out. No sign of Lizzy.

I text her, "Where are you?"

She doesn't respond.

I call her. She finally answers and says she's outside. I start running around desperately trying to find where she is. She's terrible at explaining her surroundings. She tells me she is under the sign of the airline she traveled on. There are three signs that say the same airline. I run towards that area. Eric spots her. I walk briskly towards her as she looks the opposite direction from where I'm heading. I get closer and closer. I can see her almost clearly now. I'm pushing people aside and I finally break out into a sprint.

I give her a running hug and startle her. She looks at me and I hand her the flowers. We share a rushed, awkward peck on the lips. Eric catches up with us.

We say hello.

My heart sinks.
Tags: girls, relationships, story, the defining phrase
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 10: Change
12/19/08 at 01:00 AM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict
Chapter 7: Secrecy
Chapter 8: Familiarity
Chapter 9: Bliss

There is an end to all great things. A means to an ending that isn't always favorable. Nothing gold can stay. No love ends without some form of tragedy. Every great rise has a greater fall.

Sunday afternoon pleads for realization. I deny its request. I prefer to maintain my current state of ignorant bliss. There is no decision to be made. I'm going to live like this forever. Time will freeze on Sunday afternoon and all will be just fine.

But time doesn't freeze. Sunday evening comes simply and quickly. Football dominates my attention. My focus is on the things that don't plague my mind and my heart. Lizzy talks to me throughout the day, happy her Jets won another game. I get all my chores and errands done. I am a bit anal about having my life together by Sunday nights.

But that isn't the case this Sunday. I sit on the brink of a life-changing week.

The defining phrase is ambiguity.

Monday comes. Just two days from LA. One day from the election. My brother turns 25 today. November 3rd is a bittersweet day for him. Happy for his birthday, but devastated by the recent turn of events. He feels alone, betrayed, lost, and hopeless.

Strangely and quite unfairly, so do I.

Work is frustrating. I have nothing but the week on my mind. I can't focus on anything else. The weekend with Shelby was amazing, but I notice myself starting to push her away. I had been deliberating with my friends about what to do. I have had a war in my mind over it. I want to stick with my plan to give both girls a chance and then choose, but I feel like Lizzy needs a clean slate when I meet her.

So subconsciously or not, I start to push Shelby away. We make no plans for tonight. We text sparingly. Lizzy and I text and seem in shock that our meeting day is so close. I'm flustered and unprepared. I'm a mess and I seem to have lost control of any sound decision-making. I wish I could go home early and hide away, but I've used all my time off for the vacation I'm about to take. I don't even have enough hours to cover the two days I'm taking off, but I'm taking the pay cut anyway. I need to go to LA, even though it feels like a worse idea every day.

Work ends and I head home. I spend some time with Sean and try to relax a bit. I skip out on Accounting class. I'm in no condition to work with numbers or sit through lectures. I talk to Lizzy on the phone but she has to get to bed early because she has work tomorrow. I talk to Shelby a bit but don't see her. I head to bed, feeling alone and pained. Hating the big decisions I had coming up. I don't like to hurt people. I don't like to make a decision knowing I could regret it. I hate being an adult sometimes.

Tuesday morning.

I wake up with a sense of purpose. My first time voting. And for a historical election. I head to work, still flustered but more focused. I read up on polling numbers and various election coverage. I can barely find time to do work. I make plans to vote during my lunch.

I grab my keys, hands shaking, excited at the prospect of exercising democracy. As I head to my car I text Lizzy and Shelby, asking them about their voting plans. They are both excited like me. Strangely enough, they are both voting for the candidate that I am not voting for. Whoever said you have to have everything in common with people you are involved with?

I arrive at the polling place, ironically located down the street from my apartment complex. I walk in and go upstairs, following the signs. I submit my information and the guy hands me my voting card. I go to the poorly constructed polling table and begin filling out my incredibly lengthy ballet. Damn California and its Direct Democracy initiative. I'm proud of the fact that our citizens can propose amendments to undermine our state government and court, but when it results in 10 propositions it may be a bit too much.

I vote. Turn in my card and receive my snazzy sticker. I wear the damn thing with such bravado and pride that the sticker itself might have been a bit self-conscious.

I get back to work and pump my chest out to present the sticker. Most of the people didn't care much or had already voted. I follow the results for the reminder of work. I have to head to my Political Science class immediately after work. I scour the results until the minute I leave for work. I arrive at class about 10 minutes early and speak with my teacher, who had worked with the Obama campaign and even represented as a delegate at the Democratic National Convention. Needless to say, he was very excited. I'm extremely proud of how well he was able to focus on the class lesson instead of sitting with us refreshing CNN.com. The class was antsy, I was extremely perturbed at not being able to watch this event frame by frame at home. I hated being in class, even if it was the best class to be in during the election.

I look at updates on my phone. By the time I get out of class the election was basically in Obama's hands. I text Shelby and she is beaming with joy over the fact that she voted. She doesn't care that the guy she voted for had little chance of winning, she is so incredibly happy to finally be able to vote after waiting for years.

Lizzy posted every thought she had on Twitter and Facebook as usual. Unfortunately, she joined in the negative and sour statements made by many of those who voted for McCain. I, finding frustration with this, called her out on it. She immediately brushes me off and becomes extremely angry with me. I am boiling over. Tonight is historical, no matter the outcome. Tonight is the eve of my trip to LA. Tonight I have to say goodbye to Shelby, not knowing what we will be when I come back. I'm in no mood to deal with immaturity. Distaste and disappointment is allowed, but I hate immaturity. I boil over and tell her that if we can't get along on a topic like this that I probably shouldn't come down tomorrow.

She hangs up on me and refuses to answer when I call back. She texts and tells me that I have hurt her and she needs time to get over it. She's angry that I'm not being supportive about her fear of going on the plane tomorrow. She's angry that I yelled at her. She's just angry.

I'm understanding of her concerns, but I'm in no mood to deal with them. Shelby texts me and I project my frustration onto her to try to push her away. Before I can explain myself, Lizzy calls back. We talk through things somewhat, but she refuses to fully put it behind her as usual. She heads to bed dejected and worried. When I get off the phone I'm almost home and Shelby has sent me numerous texts. She is freaked out and upset. First I yell at her for no reason and then I don't text her back for 20 minutes. I call Shelby and explain myself, begging her to come over tonight. She is upset but agrees.

I get home, ripping at the seams. I'm almost completely broken down. Sean welcomes me at the door to celebrate Obama's victory. I shake him off to finish talking to Shelby. I go into my room and put my stuff away and Shelby gets on her way. Lizzy has texted me and isn't sleeping of course. She starts to try to infuse positivity into tomorrow. She expresses excitement at seeing me.

I go into my living room, shaken up from all the arguments and the frustration from missing so much of this historic event. I apologize to Sean from the way I treated him. I tell him how I've been waiting for this for so long and how I have had to comfort the people who are upset with the result and haven't had a moment to celebrate 'my guy' winning. We watch McCain's concession speech and my admiration and respect for him grows. We watch Obama's speech and I am inspired. Either way, the direction of the country is changing and I am hopeful and excited again.

Shelby comes over and we watch the speeches again. She makes a joke about Michelle Obama that is completely harmless and in jest. For some reason I can't handle it and go into my room. Whether it was me pushing her away or my frustration at the fact that nearly half the country was upset at that moment, I stormed into my room. Shelby comes by and stands at the door and looks at me with confusion. Just a moment before my friend called me and I was talking to him. While she's looking at me, her friend calls her. After we both get off the phone she sits in the living room. I text her and tell her to come in. She comes in with an angry stare.

She sits down on my chair while I lay in bed, unable to look at her. We start arguing. About petty things like the election and how I dealt with being upset at a joke she made and how I have been treated her with no respect the whole night.

People keep texting me. Lizzy keeps texting me. I throw my phone across the room.

Shelby nearly walks out and I tell her that I expected that. She says she is never going to walk out, that I am the one who is walking out. That I am the one who has already made my decision.

I begrudingly, but not completely agree with her. I admit that I'm trying to push her away. I admit that I have no idea how to handle this. I tell Shelby that I am leaving tomorrow and I have to give Lizzy a fair chance. We know this alll, we knew this day was coming. I finally sit up and she sits next to me on my bed. We hold each other and talk. We lie down and laugh together.

We do everything we can to live what are to be our last true moments together. We discuss what our relationship will be when I get back. We operate on the idea that we will have to hold back our true feelings. We prepare ourselves for a superficial relationship.

But for this last night, a night so ripe with change, we exercise familiarity one last time.

We lie together, and I get on top of her to give her a kiss. Her body is shaking, I feel wetness on her cheeks as I kiss her. I lie next to her and place her head on my chest. She cries and so do I. Suddenly, I realize that we hadn't managed to keep our relationship simple. Somehow we developed something real during our time together.

We relish our moment, but dread the ending. We try to play dumb as we get up and walk to her car. I kiss her as she leans against her car door. She opens it and gets inside. I stick my head inside to kiss her again. Our eyes are welled with tears. Our kisses linger, never wanting to end.

I feel a jolt. I need to break away or else I will never leave. We kiss and I abruptly pull away. I walk away to my apartment. I turn my head to look back, but I keep walking. She sits stunned in her car, wanting to run back to me. But she doesn't

She drives off. I go upstairs to my apartment.

It is over.

Like a bullet to the back of the head.

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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Popular
12/05/08 at 02:26 PM by cassusriff
I'm gonna be pop-u-hoo-lar!

No, but really... what is the criteria for being a "popular" blog on this site? Just wondering. I think I'm up to the top 10 most viewed on the site, which is incredible. Thank you all so much. But I'm thinking I need 200 entries before I get that sweet little red "popular" tag next to my blogs. That'll be fun!

P.S. Bonus points for ANYONE who knows what the first line of my blog is from.

So last night was the first night I had time to write my story and I actually didn't. I needed a mental health day from the damn thing. I'm burnt out on finals and a lot of stuff going on with xmas and friends and family. I'm overall in a very happy place right now so I couldn't bring myself to revisit what is about to be the really dark part of my story last night. I'll do my darndest to get Chapter 10 out tonight, but I have to do my homework for Poly Sci first.

Also, xmas tree lighting with my girl and her parents tonight. Me having holiday spirit is the most amazing development of this year. I even put up decorations at my desk! WTF?

I love the new Kanye West album. Don't care what you say about the guy, he makes good music.

Give me a week and a half and my life will return to some form of normalcy. Fall semesters are always so crazy. Spring semesters are always easy. I have everything I want now: all the tech stuff I need to stay organized, an awesome class schedule that forces me to do cardio (Mon/Wed) and weight training (Tues/Thurs). My only two academic classes (Sociology and Statistics) are online. I love that schedule. No saturday classes. No 3-hour classes after work. Just one hour of working out 2 hours after getting off work from Mon-Thurs. I couldn't be happier.

Also, I'm looking into a program that will cause a lot of friction for people who know me. I'll reveal all that later. Sorry for this long and sporadic update, but with the demand to finish my story I haven't been able to write stuff that I like to write, you know, my narcissistic rants that assume all my readers actually care about my personal life. haha.

I'm hoping that when the story is done I'll get back to thoughts on entertainment and stuff like that. After all, that is what this website is about right?

Okay, peace out!
Tags: update, popular, music, life, school, xmas, girls, writing, story
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 9: Bliss
12/03/08 at 03:55 AM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict
Chapter 7: Secrecy
Chapter 8: Familiarity

Where is the balance?

I do my best to live life in moderation. To experience things simply and never let a situation get out of hand. I do not like to live in extremes. I like to be in the middle of the bell curve of life. Right where all the normalcy is. I don't like the outliers. I don't like the extremes.

So while I sit here and contemplate my situation, I wonder how I ended up with all these extreme scenarios.

I don't sleep very well. I have class early in the morning and wake up late. Too late in fact. I wake up at 8:30am. My class started at 8:00am and it takes half an hour to get there. Since it is a four hour class I contemplate going in late. I decide against this.

I don't care about responsibility anymore. I'm in an impossible situation with two girls. My brother has no job. My parents are stressed. How the hell am I supposed to keep working and going to school? I don't want to try anymore.

I sleep in. I get a ton of texts from all my friends. I don't want to see anyone or do anything. Sean is locked in his room. My mom is trying to talk to me to get updates on him. I don't want any part of it. When do I get to have a breakdown? When do I get some piece of mind? I'm so sick of being strong and pressing through. I want to fold. I want to fall apart. I want to fade away.

The day is a blur. There is nothing else to do or feel. Shelby had planned to come over that night so we kept to those plans. I was okay with seeing her for some reason. We have plans to watch a movie and hang out. She said she can stay the night, and I am not opposed to it. I ask Sean if he can let us be alone in the living room to watch the movie. He doesn't understand the situation to the full extent yet, but he understands enough to know that I need time to be with her.

Though, that day Sean and I had other plans. We were supposed to head to San Francisco to have dinner with a bunch of family members. We were to leave together after I got back from class. But since I didn't go to class we had a bit more time to spare. I wasn't sure if he'd want to go after the night he had, but he got dressed up and ready.

It's a bit after 2pm. I talk with Lizzy via webcam for a bit. We have one of those lingering talks, it goes really well. I tell her to text me throughout the day while I'm in San Francisco. I leave with Sean and we go to check for a package that we had received. It happens to be the Razia's Shadow album I had pre-ordered. I had been so stoked for this. Getting this album just made my day. Sean and I grab some starbucks and head out on the road.

In the last month or so, Autumn has rarely shown its face, much less Winter. Today was the first day of November, and of all the days for it to rain, today was the day it decided to. I drive to San Francisco in thick rain and light fog. The album plays through my stereo and I love every minute of it. Sean talks to me periodically. I text Shelby and Lizzy about how much I love the album. They both respond sparingly. I take what I can get.

We get to San Francisco and have a great time wtih the family. I can see that Sean is uncomfortable. I walk around confidently, happy, and with purpose. I feel better about things again. I feel on the same level as my aunts and uncles. I watch the kids (my little brother and my two cousins) while we all sit at the table and have a blast. I talk with my uncle about pensions and 401ks and retirement. I can't believe I'm actually 20-years-old.

The food is great, the night is good. I head back home with Sean. The rain has died down and I want to get back home so that Shelby can come over. I'm anxious. I feel like this night is different.

We finally get back and I talk with Lizzy a bit. She had been watching her little brother and she had me talk to him to calm him down a bit. I enjoyed doing that. She seems stressed, but Shelby is coming over and I have to stop talking to her. Shelby texts me and tells me she is running late. I say that is good because I am just finishing up a conversation with Lizzy. I get a simple text back.

"Wow."

I may have not known Shelby that long, but I know that response isn't good. I break away from my conversation with Lizzy and call Shelby. I ask what the problem is. She is on her way but has stopped her car.

"You think you can just throw that in there so nonchantly? Go ahead and talk to your girlfriend and then fool around with me, but do me a favor and don't tell me about it okay?"

I freeze. Shelby is right. I am too comfortable with the situation. What the hell am I doing? I convince her to come over anyway and I tell Lizzy that I need to talk to a friend and go to bed. Lizzy isn't happy and keeps texting me but I eventually tell her I'm going to bed.

This double life is clashing too much. I need to end this soon. I need to figure this out before it gets worse. I'm hurting two people now. This isn't what I wanted to do. This is the last thing I ever wanted to do.

I wait outside for Shelby. She pulls up and gets out of her car. I stand there awkwardly. She is in control of her emotions but I tell her that we need to talk. So we walk up to my apartment and into my room. We sit on my bed and talk. I tell her that the last thing I ever want her to think is that she is just some girl I'm messing around with. I feel ashamed to even touch her. I want her to feel cared for like I actually care for her and not just because she is someone I can fool around with. This is different.

We get through the conversation. We head out into the living room to watch the movie. Sean motions me over to talk to him. He tells me that Lizzy is asking about me. I tell him that I'm asleep and he agrees. I apologize for his having to cover for me, but I need this night. I feel like something is special here.

Shelby and I begin the movie. I grab us some juice and we sit next to each other while watching. We eventually lie on the couch and cuddle as we watch. We take moments during the movie to kiss. I lightly brush my hand through her hair. She stares at me with more intensity than I've ever seen. We pause the movie for a bit and go to my room. We makeout wildly and hold each other closely.

We return to the movie. We joke about how we will have to pause the movie many more times. But we don't. We fall asleep as we watch. I wake up and turn the movie off. We head to my bed. I lie on my side and Shelby spoons me. We fall asleep as she holds me.

The next morning, Shelby wakes up while still holding me. I faintly feel her next to me. I am half awake and groggy. It is around 8 or 9am. She tells me to stay in bed and changes her clothes. She says she is running to the grocery. I lie in bed with a smile on my face. Lizzy texts me and I tell her that I am going to go back to sleep, but that I feel much better this morning. I hate lying, but I don't care right now.

Shelby texts me and asks if I have certain ingredients. I respond and she eventually returns with a bunch of breakfast food. She tells me to stay in bed while she cooks breakfast. I listen to the album in my room with a smile on my face. I get up and hug Shelby from behind while she cooks. I kiss her cheek and her shoulder. She kisses me and then tells me to go relax while she cooks.

There is a football game starting, so I turn it on. Shelby finishes breakfast, pours me juice, and brings our plates to the couch. She watches the game with me while we eat. After we finish, we watch the game for a bit and then head to my room and cuddle again.

She finally has to leave because she has work later and needs to go home first. As I say goodbye to her, something feels different. I had never experienced a 24-hour period like that with a girl. I had never slept so well next to anyone. And I sure as hell never had a girl make me breakfast AND watch football with me.

But most of all, I had never felt that comfortable with anyone.

I think I'm falling in love...

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 8: Familiarity
11/26/08 at 07:44 PM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict
Chapter 7: Secrecy

Back at work again. It's funny how mundane my life is despite all the drama and confusion.

Work, school, eat, sleep, repeat.

But life is a bit different these days. This love triangle is wearing me down. I can't imagine how the girls must feel. I can't imagine.

I can't go there again.

Work. Work. Work. Figure this out later.

The day goes through. I text Lizzy. I text Shelby. I'm still under my cloak. I'm hiding and guessing and thinking and I feel sick. I think of Lizzy and I become anxious. Five days. I think of Shelby and the butterflies come back.

I'll know everything in a little over a week. All my questions will be answered. My defining phrase will be clarity.

But first. Pain. Confusion. Secrecy.

Shelby and I make plans for tonight. We will sneak her out again. I don't have class tonight so I can relax a bit. I love thursdays for that reason alone. A day when I only work is a day that is full of excitement and relaxation. When I graduate I will be the happiest man alive to only have eight hour days. To be able to go home and drink a beer or play some guitar or watch some TV without passing out from exhaustion. One day I'll have time to spend with one person. One day I'll have time to do the mundane things and not always feel stressed. One day.

Not today.

I leave to pick up Shelby. We hold hands as we drive back to my place. She softly kisses my knuckles as she holds my hand. She kisses the tips of my fingers. My stomach is turning in ways I never could imagine. She looks beautiful sitting in my passenger seat. This feeling feels too familiar. It's been less than a week. It shouldn't feel this right. I keep thoughts of the trip out of my mind. This is Shelby's time. I will be in LA soon enough. I will know all of this soon enough.

We get to my place around midnight. We watch a movie in my room and lie together. The night is gorgeous and simple. The passion returns. We cuddle and talk and the conversation goes to a bad place. We change the subject and then stay silent for a while.

We kiss and the night glows through my window. We hold each other and kiss each other almost harshly. There is so much desire in us. There is so much beauty in every moment that our lips are locked.

We fall asleep in each other's arms.

3am. We wake up. We share passion yet again. I feel like I've done this with her for years. Everything feels familiar. Everything feels right. We fall asleep yet again.

7am. We wake up in a flurry.

"Shit! I have to get home!" she says.

We gather ourselves in a hurry. I have to drive her to Roseville and then back in an hour and a half. That's not going to happen. We drive. Our minds are racing. She knows she will get in trouble. I know I will be late to work. We are only 10 minutes away and her mom calls. Shelby doesn't answer. I drop her off a block away from her street and she runs away. No goodbye kiss.

I drive away quickly. I'm supposed to be at work in 20 minutes. I'm a mess. It's Halloween. I'm supposed to be at work to participate in the ridiculous games. I'm supposed to be Freddy from Scooby Doo and taking pictures with the rest of my Scooby Crew. I drive quickly and deliberately. I get back to my place and get into my costume quickly. I'm wearing my ridiculous blonde wig and thinking of every excuse I can. My mind drifts to Shelby for a moment. I wonder if that's how things will end with us, like a gunshot to the back of the head.

I wonder if I'll get the opportunity to be with the girl I want or if I'll just lose my chance like that, in an instant. I text Shelby to see if everything is okay with her. She responds and says everything is fine. We don't text again.

I get to work and rush downstairs to where the activities are. I get there an hour late. Everything is pretty much done. I help everyone clean up and head up to my desk. I start working and I email my supervisor,

"Hey, I was helping them set up for the activities and forget to clock in, can you adjust my timecard?"

I get a response 15 minutes later, "Yes, I'll take care of it."

Lucky. I can't expect to ride this luck forever, but for now it'll do. The rest of the day at work is awesome. No one really works, we spend all day eating the endless amounts of food that everyone brought in. I give my co-worker a check for $900 and she hands me my new computer. I feel a kind of happiness I've never felt.

I text Lizzy about my excitement. I go home during lunch to drop my stuff off and take off my costume. I come back to work and finish up. I'm so immensely happy I can't bear it. I start to worry. Days like this are always a set up for something bad. My life never goes this well without something big.

I'm about 15 minutes from finishing up at work. I look at Twitter to pass the time. I see that my brother posted something, "This just became the worst Halloween ever."

I know what happened. He got fired. My roommate just lost his job. My brother, who is already going through so much shit, just had the hammer come down on him. I don't even know how I'm going to afford the LA trip, and now I don't even know how I'll afford to pay my rent next month.

I know what I have to do. I go straight to my mom's house. I tell her the news and we talk it out. We try to figure out what to do. While I talk to her I text Lizzy and Shelby. I tell them what happened. The responses are different.

Shelby sends a few texts asking me if I needed to talk and offering words of encouragement.

Lizzy seems upset at me. I text her back and forth for a bit and then she says, "Okay, well goodnight I guess."

I'm confused, I break away from my family and call her. We talk for a bit. She is really upset. I'm extremely calm. I had prepared for this. I never live life just thinking everything will always be constant. My parents said they would supplement his portion of the rent until we figured something out. I'm okay. I have no worries. I'm focused towards fixing the problem and not dwelling on it.

She says, "So you're probably not coming to LA anymore right?"

I freeze for a moment. Really? She's really making this about her right now? I talk her down from her anxiety and say that I'm still coming to LA no matter what. I say that everything is going to be okay. That I am built for moments like this. That me and my family rise up and we will be fine. She's upset. I don't understand. She says that my problems are her problems. I respect that, but if I'm okay I don't understand why she is so worried.

She pushes me off the phone. She's still edgy despite my attempts to calm her down. I go outside and speak with my family for a bit. My mom and I decide to go see Sean and talk to him. I text Lizzy on the way home and she starts to calm down a bit. I get home with my mom and Sean is sitting on the couch, still in costume. I feel terrible for him. I can't believe the company let him go while he was in a Joker costume. How ridiculous was their lack of professionalism?

My mom and Sean talk and he blocks her off. I stay out of their usual bickering. They never see eye to eye and tonight won't be any different. I open my new computer, the part of my day I was looking forward to the most. I get on ichat and Lizzy happens to be up still. I convince her to get back online and videochat with me. Something about seeing each other in live action makes everything better. We have a cute chat and a fun time. She finally goes to bed after about an hour. My mom and Sean talk for a bit and she leaves.

I talk with Sean and encourage him that we will find a way through all of this. But tonight, we just need to let it all go and calm down. He agrees.

Shelby texts me and asks how I am. I tell her it has been a crazy day and she asks if I want her to come over to talk. I say yes and she comes over. She's dressed as some sort of witch/vampire thing. I don't really remember what it was, just that she was wearing a cape and some sexy boots and dark makeup.

We sit in my room and talk. I feel comforted for the first time that night. She doesn't stay long because I have class the next morning. The day feels like a really unfortunate event sandwiched by some really great events.

I am still confused. But I'm finding comfort in certain things. Life is looking up for me and looking bleak for others so close to me. All I know is that I have class early in the morning.

All I know is what I have at this very moment. And all I have is my piece of mind.

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 7: Secrecy
11/22/08 at 01:18 PM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity
Chapter 6: Conflict

I know I'm going to work today. That's one thing I know. After work I have Accounting. I know that as well. Everything else? No idea.

I'm sitting at work. I've just been reprimanded by my manager about being responsible with calling in to work before my shift. I could've done that, but I fear confrontation.

That bodes well for my current situation.

I can't eat anything. Both girls are texting me again. I think back to the last two nights with Shelby and I feel the most intense butterflies I've felt. Like someone is punching me in the stomach. I talk to Lizzy and I feel a sense of comfort. I felt butterflies for her just a few weeks before and was likely out of the faux honeymoon stage that can only come with an internet/long distance/telephonic romance. But regardless, things with Lizzy are going well. No fights or craziness for the most part. We are operating well. Shelby is just exciting as hell and I can't stop thinking about it.

Do I really think I can work today? There should give a leave of absence for people in a romantic crisis, I'm sure I can deem it medically necessary.

My friend Tristan texts me and demands beer pong at my house. God damn him. He needs a life. He wants to invite some girls that we know and Kyle and use my apartment for his escape from his boring life. I'm glad I'm the only one of my friends with my own place. I tentitively agree. But I let him know that I have Accounting until probably 9pm tonight. He accepts it and likely goes off into his world of giddyness.

Meanwhile, I'm trying to get through work. I let Shelby know about the impromptu party being thrown at my expense and let her know she is welcome to come. The dynamics change in that situation of course, but I'd like to see how we operate in a friendly environment. Especially since I may end up with Lizzy.

She supplies a maybe and that is good enough for me. I get through my day, head home and talk with Lizzy on the phone before class. We have a great conversation, reminiscent of a few weeks ago. We sing songs together and have a decent conversation. I head to class happy.

While in class, I keep staring at the clock. I want to get out early cause I'd like to go home for a bit before they all come over. We are kept past 9pm, I am going crazy. I'm getting texts all over the place. I get out of class and rush home. I'm starving but instead of picking up some food I know I need to be at my place. I call Lizzy on the way and complain a bit. I hate hanging out during the week. I'm too busy and too tired to handle it. I talk to her as I walk upstairs and tell her I have to go because I think everyone is there already. She isn't happy.

I walk in to my apartment and everyone is there playing Rock Band. I'm immediately put off. I don't like that they are all already there. I feel very uncomfortable and stressed. I don't hide my feelings, but eventually I ease into the social situation. They play some Rock Band for a while and then set up my dining table for beer pong. I don't enjoy the situation but I don't want to be a jerk. Why not let my friends have some fun? I didn't want to come off as OCD even though I hated that they were moving everything and making a mess.

Lizzy texts me for a bit and seems really upset. I keep apologizing and try to explain. I have friends who love to hang out and are very forward about it. Sometimes I have no choice in the matter. Usually I end up doing something because I get a call and one of them is 5 minutes away ready to pick me up. My life is spontaneous like that, I get frustrated but I also enjoy it. Lizzy ends up going to bed and I can tell she's not happy. How can I tell? Because she posts it on Twitter.

Shelby texts me finally and asks if we were all still hanging out. I tell her to come over if she wants and she gets directions from Tristan. I wonder how we will act. I know we both can do it, we've both been in theatre after all, but my friends know me really well and notice when I am gawking for a girl.

She gets to my place and settles in quickly. Everyone plays beer pong as Shelby and I watch from the side. We do well as friends, but we flirt a little too much at times and have to pull back. We get caught in each other's stares. We walk by each other and brush our arms together. I feel the urge to kiss her and I know she feels the same. But we maintain our strength.

Kyle and Tristan can see it though. They saw it at the party on Saturday and they can see it more now. I had already told Kyle how I kissed Shelby and he cautioned me. He liked Lizzy because she sent him a birthday card, but Shelby had been his friend for a while and he liked her with me as well. As my best friend, I needed his input. But he left this one to me, like a good friend should do.

The girls leave. Kyle, Tristan, Shelby, and I hang out in my living room. My brother was going through a weird mood swing and was very annoyed at the people there. He acted cold towards my friends and I kept trying to cater to him and make him feel comfortable but he presently himself awkwardly. He was going through a depressive episode and there was not much I could do.

He was having a bad day. I try to include him in the conversation, but he gets deep and depressing on everyone. He starts to debate with Shelby about politics and the war. She stands up for herself and is feisty, I am extremely attracted.

I walk Tristan and Kyle out separately. I'm looking for some real wisdom and direction and they both say,

"Fuck her for me!"

Can't count on your friends for anything.

I come back in and Shelby and Sean are still debating. He is in a bit of an inconsolable mood so I storm to my room angrily. I want to talk to Shelby and I fear that Sean is scaring her off. She comes into my room and looks worried.

"Are you upset with me?"
"No, I'm just upset with Sean. He's projecting on you and I feel like you're going to freak out and not come over."

She handles it all so well. She says she has no problem talking with him and thats he enjoyed it. She understands that I have a bipolar brother who can be kooky and weird but is a good-hearted, great person at the core.

We talk about the night. She had fun, so did I. She can't stay for much longer so we lie together and cuddle. We kiss very softly, very short. This night isn't filled with the hormonal, heated passion of the previous two. This night it feels like I have my girlfriend lying next to me, being understanding while holding me close.

I walk her to her car. A simple goodnight. A night that felt all too much like a relationship. A night that felt way too right.

I go to talk to Sean, he is having a really hard time. I talk to him until 3am. I listen while he vents his frustrations, his issues. I try to be there. He listens to me describe the situation I'm in. I think he hates me for it. What a terrible problem to have, right? Choosing between two amazing girls.

But he consoles me and tells me to see things through with Lizzy before making any decisions.

I crash in my bed.

I have no more clarity tonight than I did before. I'm even more confused.

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 6: Conflict
11/22/08 at 12:35 PM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion
Chapter 5: Ambiguity

I am a piece of shit.

An asshole.

A fuck up.

I'm exactly the person I was just a year ago. How did I manage to erase all the progress I made in just one week? I should've kept to my vow to stay single for two years. What the hell happened to that? Now I'm missing work and class and spending all my time talking to girls. I am no better than any other 20-year-old college guy. I'm a jerk. I'm a player. A user. A preacher of good treatment to woman and a hypocrite in the process.

I don't deserve either of these girls.

Lizzy lives in New York. She obviously has a dynamic and sincere quality to her, why else would 20,000+ people subscribe to watch her videos. The girl is 20, almost 21. She means well, she has a great heart. She's had tons of family issues. She had to leave the college of her dreams for whatever reasons that didn't make much sense. She feels stuck. She wants to be somewhere. She wants direction.

Shelby lives here. She's strong-willed, albeit a bit confused like me. She knows what she wants. She has plans. She's 18, but acts above her age more than any person I've ever met. She's direct, calm, controlled, passionate, sincere. She wants to be in Illinois, she wants to start pursuing her law degree. She wants clarity.

I don't even need to think about looks. Lizzy and Shelby are easily the most beautiful girls I've ever been involved with.

There is no rhyme or reason. I can't determine pros or cons because they remind me of each other in so many ways. But their differences weigh each other out.

I know I could be with either girl for a long time. A long time. So here is my prevailing issue:

Lizzy lives in New York now and has plans to move to LA around the same time I do, within about a year or a year and a half. We haven't met yet, but if we do and our connection continues, there is no reason we can't make it work for a year until we move to the same area. She plans to finish up school in New York and then go to LA to start pursuing a career in some form of entertainment capacity. She is perfect for that.

Shelby lives here, now. She is here, in front of me. She has plans to go to Illinois next year to pursue her undergraduate degree on the U.S. Marine's dime. She then wants to get her law degree and become a JAG. Then she will have active duty for 6 years.

There is no way to plan this out. I'm moving next year too. Might go to UCLA, might stay in Sacramento. I plan to get my MBA directly after my undergraduate. I will have to find a way to continue working close to full time. There is no distinction, no easy road, no predictability.

So what do I want? Someone to be with me here, now? After all, the present time is the only thing I know for sure anymore. I can't predict anything about my future. Do I want someone who I can be with in the future? After all, I will be in LA for a few years and we would have had made it through a year of long distance already. We would be strong.

Maybe I don't deserve either.

But, as much as the old me would accept that and run with it. I can't accept mediocrity anymore. I know I have to give one of these girls up, but I don't have to give them both up. I've dated so many girls that have been terrible for me. I've been cheated and used and left for other guys. I'm not feeling entitled to be an asshole by any means, but I do feel entitled to make the right choice for myself. I can't be with Shelby and wonder what life would have been like with Lizzy. I can't be with Lizzy and have Shelby here and ignore what is simply a strong connection.

So, I go about this in an unconventional way. I give each girl a chance. I have a week where I hang out with and see Shelby. I go to LA and have a romantic weekend with Lizzy. I come back and choose which one is right for me. Simple right?

I wish.

Shelby knows about Lizzy, she knows that I am committed to seeing things through with her and giving her a chance. But Lizzy doesn't know about Shelby. How do I communicate that without losing an opportunity to see her? Based on how Lizzy had acted to that point, I saw her as possessive and somewhat jealous. She didn't like when my female friends would come visit me or when a girl would post on my Facebook. There is nothing wrong with that. But based on those actions, I knew she wouldn't go for a situation like this.

I had dug myself a hole. I should've specified from the start my idea of dating. I considered myself dating or being involved with Lizzy. What that means to me is that there is a girl I am getting to know that has potential to be my girlfriend. Until that point when me and the girl are mutually exclusive, I feel that either of us are free to date anyone else we want. But when you go mutually exclusive with someone, that's it. But I had jumped the gun with Lizzy. We talked at first about not being official until we met. About not specifying ourselves are boyfriend/girlfriend until we felt the connection in person. But the L-word slipped out. And we used the boyfriend/girlfriend terms loosely out of laziness in trying to explain our situation to people.

I said these things because I felt them. But I always tried to caution that all of these feelings might not translate to real life. I was living in the moment too much. Not thinking smart. This was new terroritory for me. I had only dated one girl I met online before, and that was a disaster. She was the one who actually helped me adopt my dating rules. Because I thought her and I were exclusive and she was with another guy the whole time. I came off as too desperate with her because I was fresh out of a three-year relationship. We had a date and it ended well enough, but then we both never talked again.

So, would I have been upset if Lizzy went on a few dates with another guy? Probably. But would I have understood? Yes. We weren't offiicial, she was free to do that. I come off as hypocritical, and I know this. But I always try to let my practically rule over my feelings. But I couldn't expect her to understand this.

If we were two weeks away from meeting in LA and all of this stuff with Shelby developed, I would've laid it out for Lizzy. But we were a week away. A week. It was too close. We had plans for that weekend already. I had booked the hotel and we were going to Disneyland. Calling it off would've had been detrimental. I needed to see this through or else I'd always wonder.

So, I proceed now. I proceed under shitty circumstances. Timing has never been a great to me. I'm trying to rationalize all of this in my head. People date multiple people, they go for the person who is right for them. I'm not official with either girl. The moment I become official with one of them, there will be nothing going on with the other. And either way, Lizzy was going to get a free trip to Disneyland out of it, that had to be worth something right?

Jesus, I'm a pathetic asshole.

But I'm seeing this through regardless. Now it is time to juggle. It is time to figure out what is right for me. I messed up and there is no way out of this situation where I don't hurt someone. I'm trying to do this the best way possible. I'm only human.

The next two weeks are going to change my life.

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 5: Ambiguity
11/20/08 at 11:12 PM by cassusriff
Chapter 1: Complacency
Chapter 2: Unexpected
Chapter 3: Breakdown
Chapter 4: Passion

6am.

I have work in two hours. I may have just throw myself into the most complicated love triangle ever. I may be reverting to the guy I've spent a year trying to shed. I have no idea what today holds. I have no idea about anything. Just a few days ago I was so sure of everything, so solid. Maybe I'm not as solid as thought.

All of this on my mind. And all I can do is smile.

My gas tank is empty. If my car stops on the way home, I don't care. I'm falling asleep while driving, I don't care. I know there is no way I'll be able to handle work today.

I don't care.

I get home alive, somehow. I'm still smiling. I text Shelby a bit to make sure she didn't get caught sneaking out. She says she's very energetic. I envy her. I decide that I should lie down for a bit. Next thing I know, it's 10am and I'm still in bed. I call in to work and put on the sickest voice possible, it works. I have Political Science at 6pm that night, but I finally have a day to relax and get some other stuff done. I stay in bed until 3pm, loving every minute of it.

While I'm in bed, I drift in and out of sleep. I wake up to texts from various people. Why is it that every person in the world wants to contact me the one day I want to sleep? God dammit. When I initially wake up at 10, I notice that Lizzy has texted me about 5 times. She's not having a good day. She's worried about me. She's freaking out.

After I call in sick to work, I call her. She's edgy and bothered. I don't understand. I tell her that I took a day off and I was just sleeping. She seems mad at me. I don't understand. I talk her through things a bit, tell her that I won't always answer her immediately, that she needs to calm down. She does, but I can sense some anger. I feel like she's blaming her bad day on me. I feel cheated a bit. Just the night before she told me that I was too needy, that she couldn't be there for me at every moment, that I needed to find happiness in my life that wasn't her.

Well, I did.

But now she was being a bit needy. We got through it, and eventually she told me to get some more rest. I gladly obliged. When I woke up at 3pm, I finally got out of bed. I decided I'd get a haircut after looking in my bathroom mirror. How the hell did I have two girls after me looking like this? My beard was scruffy and unkempt, my hair was long and messy, my eyes had circles. I looked like hell. I had about 2 hours to bring the sexy back. So after being online for a bit, I told Lizzy I was getting a haircut and then going to class.

So I head down the street to the Supercuts. As I'm there I decide to check the 4 voicemails I have. One of these voicemails is the mother of the kid who hit my car the week before. She's responding to the message I left about the estimate for my car repairs. I call her while waiting for my haircut and we decide to meet up when I'm down so she can give me the check for $1100. I'm stoked. No insurance mess, free money, damage to my car that I'm not going to fix now. Basically, I was going to use that money to get a new computer.

After the haircut, I felt better. After the check, I felt even better. And then something happened that made me realize something.

Shelby texted me. Then Lizzy texted me. Then Shelby. Then Lizzy.

I was officially involved with two girls.

I headed to class. Lizzy had stopped texting me for a while and I decided to call Shelby. We talk, no awkwardness. I ask her if she has plans tonight, she says no. We make plans for another late night meeting to discuss where things are with us.

I go to class, but can't really focus. I have two girls on my mind. I don't know what I want or who I want. I try to list pros and cons, but I honestly don't know enough about either girl to make the list. I drive home from class and call Lizzy. We are 8 days away from meeting each other. I tell her that I'm going to bed early tonight. We have a nice talk as I drive home. This doesn't make anything easier for me.

I get home and sit idly, thinking. I text Lizzy for a bit until she goes to bed. I watch some TV and try to relax. Shelby texts me while we both wait for her parents to go to bed so I can go pick her up. I slip my brother his sleeping pill again so he will hopefully be asleep when I get back.

I leave to pick up Shelby and drive. I start to think too much and judge myself. I don't know what I'm doing exactly, but I seem to be acting anyway. I sing to some songs in my car but stop after a few minutes. My stomach is turning, just like it was last night.

I get to her street again, waiting to pick her up. She walks down the street and my breath gets short. She comes into my car and our eyes meet. We smile.

But we don't know what to do. Do we kiss hello? Do we hold hands? What are we?

We sit in the car. Our banter is subdued. Our passion is smothered. Our comfort is lacking. But we still maintain what we are. Even though we have no idea what that is yet. We talk quietly and firmly. Our words are forced, because our feelings are trapped.

We drive to my house, I grab her hand and we hold on. We shed some of the wall we've put up, but we place the majority of our feelings into that simple gesture. We get to my place and as we enter I hear my brother playing video games. I freak out a bit and say that I ran into my friend while I was at the ATM and decided I'd bring her over to see the place. Sean doesn't ask why she is in pajamas, but simply accepts my outrageous story for what it is. We hang out a bit in the living room, but I become frustrated at his dominance of the conversation. I motion for Shelby to go into my room, we say bye to Sean and I tell him we are going to watch a movie in my room.

I ask her what she wants to watch and I end up putting Pushing Daisies in. We lie on my bed together, unsure of what to do.

Eventually we kiss. And the passion returns. We are together in a clearer, more constant setting. We feel different, but in a good way. After a while we pull back to talk.

"So, what are we?"
"This is wrong, we shouldn't be doing this. But I can't stop myself."
"Me either, so where do we take this?"
"Well, we are both involved, so where can we take this?"

And the conversation continues. There is no rhyme or reason. She is physically dating a guy, but doesn't like him or the way he treats her. I am dedicated to a girl I haven't met who lives across the country.

"So here is what I propse, and you may not like it."
"Hit me."
"We have one week together to see how we work as a couple. No matter what, I am going to head to LA fully intending to be with Lizzy because I have to give her that benefit. I think the best way to make my decision is to see how it is with both of you and then be with the one that is right for me. Either way, we both have a big decision to make."
"YOU have a big decision to make."
"What about?"
"I want you. This is your decision to make."

So at this moment, we decide to take a risk, live in the moment. We decide to have each other for this week, let the story develop on its own. I have no problem with that. These passionate kisses are something I don't mind. I don't mind at all.

This week going to be very interesting...

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 4: Passion
11/17/08 at 05:02 AM by cassusriff
We are on the phone.

She listens to me. She listens to me bitch about Lizzy. Shelby LISTENS to me. Knowing full well that we have slight feelings for each other. I tell her about the crying video. I can tell Shelby is holding back judgment for my sake. She simply says, "Wow, that is cruel."

But I know Shelby thinks Lizzy is a bit crazy. I know Shelby wants to tell me that I deserve someone better. Someone like her.

But we talk. And after I vent for about an hour we end up talking about other stuff. I get into my family issues and my friend issues and just my issues in general. We open up to each other. I feel like she understands me and I feel like she cares. She always has empathy and compassion in her voice. She makes me smile after I thought I'd punch my pillow until I fell asleep.

It is 3am. She says, "I LOVE cheesecake! I'm totally craving it right now."

Before I even think, I say, "I love cheesecake too! Let's go get some right now!"

She thinks I'm joking. I should've said I was.

But I wasn't. And I didn't say I was.

I tell her, "Let's go get Cheesecake right now. We'll go to Winco (Grocery Store open 24 hours). I'll come pick you up right now. Are you down?"

She finally agrees.

So I get ready and get my stuff together. My brother makes this a bit difficult because he never goes to bed at a decent hour and is still in my living room. I tell her he needs his sleeping pill and give it to him. Then I say I'm going to go to the ATM and get some money. I figure he'll be out by the time I get back.

I get in my car. The night is cold and slightly rainy. I drive to Shelby's house. We text while I drive there. She makes sure her parents are asleep and tells me to text when I get there so she could climb out her window.

I get to her street and park at the end of it. I turn my lights off. I'm shivering, not from cold, but from anxiousness. I tell her that I'm here and she climbs out her window and walks down the street. I see her shadow in the dimly lit night. She gets to my car and gets in. We immediately start smiling. We immediately start messing with each other. Sarcastic comments, jokes, banter. We start developing inside jokes, even carrying a few over from the previous times we've hung out. We drive to the grocery store.

I try to not look at her. She's in PJs and basically ready for bed. She looks gorgeous. Her face is flawless. Her hair is short and messy. Her personality is unbelievably attractive.

I want to kiss her. But I don't.

We get to Winco. We walk in and no one is there except for the workers doing their thing. We walk around the entire store looking for cheesecake. We finally find this premade cheesecake platter with 5 different flavors. It is perfect. We continue our banter the whole time we are in the store. Finally, we get to the register and a woman rings us up. We acknowledge the woman but continue our banter.

The woman interjects, "What is up with you two?"
We shrug.
"You two are talking all this nonsense. What kind of relationship is this? You two should just go and have some fun. Go be young and have some fun with each other."

Shelby and I laugh. I tell the woman that we will have plenty of fun, now that we have cheesecake. As we walk out, I say, "The first time we are out together and we already look like a couple."
Shelby acknowledges, silently and seriously.

I suggest we go back to my place to eat the cheesecake. She agrees.

I still want to kiss her. More than ever. I don't.

I slip something out that I knew I shouldn't have. But I said it anyway.
"You know, I should tell you. I've never met Lizzy. She lives in New York. We met online and we are going to meet in person in about a week and a half. But we aren't official."

I couldn't have sounded more desperate and devious. Shelby silently and seriously acknowledges this. We get back to my place and walk in. I notice my brother on the couch so I tell Shelby to run into my room real quick while I put him to bed. I wake him up and walk him to bed and clean up his mess really quickly. Once he is asleep I bring Shelby into my living room. We get the cheesecake and I have about half of a slice. My mind isn't on food. My stomach is already turning.

I sit on the couch and she sits on my ottoman. I ask her why. She simply says, "It's comfy here!"

I know she's lying. I know that the games are on. I know I'm going to kiss her in my heart, but I keep trying to fight it. We finish our pieces of cheesecake and I put it away. I get her to sit on the couch next to me. We talk and continue to play games. I have her watch something on my DVR for a bit. Then she goes and sits on my recliner chair. I go over and sit with her. The recliner is only made for one person, but we manage to fit. I get up and start massaging her.

I say, "This is what friends do!" She agrees.

Eventually, I tell her it's my turn. This time she says, "Hey, we are just being friends!"

Her touch is amazing. I feel comforted and turned on and connected. I must have this girl.

I get up and do a few things. We laugh awkwardly. We continue to play games. We start our banter again, though it never has really stopped. I make fun of her for being small and short and say that I could lift her up easily. She challenges me. I pick her up from the chair, take her into my room and throw her on the bed. She is shocked, but not upset. Not upset at all. I go into the living room and turn off the lights. I turn off the main light in my room and just turn on the lamp.

I lie next to her. We cuddle. We talk. We pull away. We start to nuzzle a bit.

My mind is screaming not to kiss her. My heart is pulling me closer to her. I want to kiss her. But I don't.

I know the same thing is going on with her. I tell her to lie on her stomach and I give her a massage again. I lean down and whisper in her ear. Again, we switch it up. She starts massaging me. All the while, we maintain that this is what friends do. Friends lie in bed together. Friends give each other massages in bed. Friends nuzzle and cuddle.

She massages me and leans down like I did. She slightly kisses my ear. She grazes my cheek with her lips. I try to get up, but instead I just turn around. Next thing I know she's straddling me. She stares at me with shock and I immediately claim, "I didn't mean to end up this way!"

She laughs and says, "yes you did! You're bad..."

We don't move from that position. We keep getting close. We almost kiss, she pulls away. We almost kiss again and I pull away. We say very few words. We are in dim light and it is nearly 4am. I lean up and move in closer to her and she moves closer to me...

I want to kiss her more than I've ever wanted anything. And I do.

We kiss. The most amazing, passionate, perfect kiss I've ever had.

And suddenly, we are making out wildly. I flip her over and we let it all out. All the bottled up passion for each other. She keeps saying we shouldn't be doing this, but I can't stop. She kisses me in between every lecturing word. Finally we stop.

We both know she has to go home. We get in my car and I start driving her home. We hold hands the whole way. We don't talk much about what this means and what the hell we just did. We just enjoy the night, the company, the moment. We kiss simply. As if we've been together for months, years even. We are natural and perfect.

I drop her off. We agree to see each other soon. We kiss goodbye.

I have no idea what this means for Tuesday morning. But for now, I don't care. I drive home with a smile on my face. I drive home happy.

I drive home, changed forever.

It is 6am...

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 3: Breakdown
11/17/08 at 04:29 AM by cassusriff
Sunday morning.

I woke up as if nothing had happened the night before. Shelby was like a dream. I felt like nothing had really happened. I was so exhausted. Partying two nights in a row, going to class Saturday morning, all these girls showing interest in me... it really was a new look for me.

Lizzy, being three hours ahead of me, had texted me good morning. I don't think I got up until 11am or so. Sunday is my only day to sleep in. Thank God I'm not religious.

I finally text Lizzy back. I keep pushing my new crush to the back of my mind. Things with Lizzy are real and great, Shelby is a distraction. Shelby is just me wanting to have someone here. I can handle long distance, especially with someone who gets me as well as Lizzy. Shelby doesn't know me remotely as well. And she's only 18. Lizzy is 20. Shelby is moving next year and so am I. Lizzy is moving to LA a bit after I plan to. This is all so confusing.

Lizzy is great. We are both watching football at the same time. Not together. Just at the same time. She and I had this goofy, overly cheesy relationship. It was a nice change for me, I guess. We would sing songs to each other over the phone or via video-chat. We said sweet things to each other almost all the time. Anytime I tried to talk about anything else, like politics or school, she would interrupt me and say I was handsome or something along those lines. Anyone else might find that cute, I found it annoying. Every time I started talking for an extended period, I felt like Lizzy was just thinking of the next thing she was going to say instead of listening and then responding to what I had to say. It was safe to say I didn't feel like I was being qualified a lot of the time. Maybe we had just been talking on the phone too much or our internet honeymoon period was ending and it was becoming a real relationship. We were about a week and half away from meeting. Things would improve after that, I knew it.

I don't remember much about that Sunday. I watched football and did my usual routine of taking care of cleaning and organizing before the new week started. Lizzy went to bed early that night because she had work early the next morning. I usually stay up late on Sunday night (like I am now) because I'm too used to the late weekend schedule. At around 2am, I go on Facebook to habitually check my stuff. I notice that Shelby has approved my friend request. I find that to be very awesome. I also notice that she approved this friend request only four minutes prior.

I immediately text her, "Are you still up?"

She texts back, "Yea... what's up?!"

We start texting for a bit. Just talking about whatever. I eventually tire of the texting and ask her if I can call. She happily responds yes. We start talking. Next thing I know, it's 4am. Maybe we can be friends. Maybe we can just be two people who connect in an amazing way and have feelings for each other but don't act on them. We talk about this. We talk about how we still can never be alone. We talk about everything and it is amazing and we have to convince ourselves to get off the phone.

Monday morning. I go to work. I'm tired, but jubilated. Lizzy texts me throughout the day as usual. Life is good, but stressful and tiring. I have so much shit to do before the trip. I'm behind on homework. I'm trying to get my classes figured out because I'm dropping Calculus but adding Political Science. I think about how I need to sell my book, and how I need to take care of getting money from the kid who hit my car so I can buy my new computer, and how I have Accounting later and need to do homework for that, and how I start more training soon at work. And bills, bills, bills. Life is stressing me out.

I get home and talk with Lizzy in between work and class. For whatever reason, we are in shitty moods. She has done this before, where she gets ridiculously moody and takes it out on me. I'm in no mood to deal with this. We get in a major fight. She tells me that she can't always be there for me and I need to rely on myself. She basically calls me needy and pathetic and unhappy with my life. She tells me that she is only saying these things cause she wants our relationship to work. I tell her that I was perfectly happy before she came along. I have nothing else to say to her at that point. I hang up.

She cries. She tells me off through a text about ging up on her. I call her back out of obligation. She's crying and telling me that I say such hurtful things. We struggle through the next hour. I try to calm her down. I talk about how I don't want to make her feel that way. How I wish I was a better guy to her. I try to muster up some tears to show some sincerety, but in all honesty I'm a bit freaked out. I go to class 30 minutes late and we decide to finish this talk later.

After class I call her but she's sleeping. She eventually wakes up and calls me back. We talk for a bit but she tells me to watch a video she sent me. She says it is different from any other video she has sent me before. Since we have pretty much made up at this point, I think that maybe this video is good or sexy or something.

It wasn't.

She had recorded a 15 minute video of clips of her crying and talking on the phone with me. It completely freezes me. I want to jump out of my window. I don't know how to react. It is so overdramatic and out of hand. I call her back and still can't find many words. We try to make up but she continues to bite at every thing I say. Even when I say she is right, she bites at that. I try to just say goodnight and that we will be in better moods tomorrow and put this past us, but she responds negatively to that as well. We finally get off the phone.

I'm livid. I'm so angry. I go outside and talk to my brother Sean about how every girl is insane. I watch Heroes and How I Met Your Mother and my other typical Monday shows that I DVR.

I get the urge to text Shelby.

"How are you?" I say.
"I'm great! How about you?"
"I've had a shitty, terrible night..."
"Oh no! What's wrong? Wanna talk about it?"

I call Shelby. Nothing good can come of this. Especially since it is after midnight...

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 2: Unexpected
11/15/08 at 06:59 PM by cassusriff
I met her.

Shelby.

I took my friend Kyle out to a restaurant for his 21st bday to buy him a drink. He asked if he could bring two girls from the show he was in and I actually argued against it. I wasn't in the mood to meet any new girls or anything and just wanted to chill with my buddy. But, he insisted and I gave in because it was his b-day after all. He came by my place and we drove to the restaurant where the girls were waiting for us. I got in and saw them at the table and immediately noticed Shelby. Beautiful face, short and cute, gorgeous eyes, and a dashing smile. We sit down and suddenly I become lively. It had been a long time since I had been out with people. I had spent so much time the last month talking on the phone and being online after work and school. It was nice to get out again.

We all sat down and I just started talking and being outgoing like I used to be. Shelby and I hit it off immediately. We agreed on so many things and we clicked in a way I've never really experienced. We all sat at a small table in the bar area. She and I sat across from each other. Our eyes kept meeting. I tried aiming my words at Kyle or the other girl at the table. No such luck. Every subject I mention interests her and everything she says interests me. Noticing this, I mention that I am involved with someone. She mentions the same. This does not deter us very much though, as she complains a bit about the guy she's dating. Mentioning that he never says anything nice to her or even shows that he likes her. I'm appalled at this and start mentioning how I tell my girl she's beautiful all the time. I tell her she deserves better. In the back of my mind, I know that she deserves a guy like me who will treat her right. We continue to have great conversation until the girls leave. After they leave I yell at Kyle for bringing such an awesome girl with him and trying to distract me. I tried to keep my mind on Lizzy and the great thing we had going.

My mind kept drifting to Shelby however. Was it really that possible to click with someone that well the first time you meet? I thought back to girls in my past... I always had a good first day with them but then it would hit a wall the second time we met or something along those lines. I tried to just write it off as a chance meeting and knew I probably wouldn't see her again. The next night I went to see the show Kyle was in with Shelby and the other girl I met. I thought I might see Shelby there, but me and my friend Eric left at intermission to get food and came back well after the show was over. We found Kyle and he was with the other girl but not Shelby. We all ended up hanging out that night and had a lot of fun. I had a quick aside with Kyle and asked about her and he said she had gone to a different party. I figured it wasn't meant to be. As we all hung out that night, the other girl who was friends with Kyle brought some of her friends. We went to Mel's Diner and one of the random girls in the group we were with started hitting on me pretty hardcore. She put her number in my phone and told me to text her. I did and she kept texting back without really saying anything. I eventually stopped responding. Haven't heard from her since.

Eventually we all partied and went to bed. Good night.

The next day, after getting 4 hours of sleep, I went to class at 8am until noon. Got back and kinda passed out. Eric, Tristan, and Phil wanted to play basketball a bit later in the night and Kyle was going to a costume party after his show. Me and the guys played bball for a bit and then I went back home. I called Lizzy but she was sleeping. So then I weighed my options... I could stay in all night and miss a girl I who lived across the country and that I haven't yet met, or I could have a fun time with my friends. I chose the latter. I called Tristan and Eric and they brought these other girls (Sophia and Alicia) we knew over to my place. We played a few games of beer pong till about 1am. After we were done with that, they wanted to go to a hookah bar in Sacramento. I resisted, but they finally convinced me to go. As we were driving to Sac-Town, I remembered that the costume party was in Sac-Town as well, so I asked them all if they would be interested in going. I called Kyle and he actually answered for once. He told us to come by.

We got to the party, everyone was dressed up in cool stuff. I was feeling it. We walked up the stairs and met Kyle. I was looking for her. I knew she was there.

She was wearing a Lara Croft costume. She met me at the top of the stairs and was drunk. We had a very nice hug. During our awesome conversation at dinner two nights before, we both mentioned that we tend to have intelligent conversation when we are drunk. Remembering this, she told me I needed to get drunk so we could have our intelligent conversation. I took whatever shots I could. Some vodka here. Some whiskey there. I got very nicely drunk.

And believe it or not, we actually had an intelligent conversation. I used all the self-control I had not to kiss her right there. But we talked politics, religion, business, life... it was amazing. My friends were just staring at us, wondering why I was lighting up so much around this girl.

The only problem? The guy she was dating was there. They had been fighting that night and had to resume doing so for about an hour. I spent that hour getting Sophia and Alicia to make out with each other... don't ask me or Kyle how we got them to do that...

Anyway, at about 3am my friends were ready to go home. I wanted Shelby's number before I left. I wanted it regardless, but this whole issue with the guy she was dating was a good excuse to be there for her. I took her aside and talked to her for a bit. I gave her my number and told her to text me to make sure everything was alright. I wanted her to be okay and just go to bed.

We texted as Eric drove us all home. I got home at 4am and fell into bed. For some reason I called her. We talked for about an hour. We were still drunk and she was at the party.

"Why can't I just be with a guy like you?"
"Believe me, if I wasn't involved I'd date you in a second."
"Dammit! I can't believe I'm with a guy like him when I know a guy like you."
"We can't EVER hang out alone..."

We said goodnight. Saturday was over.

To Be Continued...
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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The Defining Phrase - Chapter 1: Complacency
11/14/08 at 07:35 PM by cassusriff
This is a story. A romance novel. A drama. A story of happiness and elation as well as disgusting actions and sad dispositions. As much as it may seem like it should be on a daytime soap, this story is actually just my life.

We start off on a Sunday afternoon in late September of this year. I was watching football, happily chilling in my apartment with my brother. I had been single for almost a year, dating a few girls here and there but not getting serious with any of them. I was happy. My brother, being the semi-youtube celebrity he is, was watching a video of another person on youtube that has quite a good following. I noticed the girl in the video and immediately found her attractive. My brother mentioned that he talked to her regularly and I said, half seriously and half jokingly, "give her my screen name".

He did end up doing that, and he gave me hers. Her name was Lizzy. She started watching and commenting on my much less interesting and less quality videos and it made me very happy. On this particular sunday I finally saw her get online so I decided to IM her for the hell of it. What ensued was an awesome conversation that lasted hours. We both found each other attractive and interesting. We continued talking as the days went on. We talked on the phone and the internet. We video-chatted and IMed and texted. It was a lot of fun and we started to get really close.

Now, this is the part where we admittedly got a bit too close. Lizzy was planning on coming to LA at the beginning of November, so I decided I'd drive down that weekend and meet her and see what happened. We marked this day on our calendars and were extremely excited. About 4 weeks into us talking and whatnot, we started to get way too deep into our feelings for each other. We initially wanted to avoid boyfriend/girlfriend and "I love you" until we met and knew for sure... but we kind of fell into all of that because we both were so infatuated. Despite my following in this blog and the people I've become friends with through this site, I'm still very new into the whole internet friendship/relationship thing. I've only once met a girl from online, she lived in Davis and we dated for a few weeks until she went crazy and stopped talking to me. Besides that, I'm a very outgoing guy who enjoys the internet but has a very very busy life otherwise.

So I don't know if it was the fact that we both had just gotten out of long relationships and were in need of reinforcement or if we just really wanted to be in a relationship again or if we actually were that crazy about each other. But we got to this point where it was just too serious. But we figured that meeting each other would qualify all those feelings.

Then things started to unravel. We started to argue about ridiculous things. We both were incredibly touchy about anything the other would say. Things were peachy most of the time... but at some point every day things would just go to a really bad place. Again, I figured that we were just getting anxious about seeing each other. And after all, at this point we were only about 2 weeks away from meeting. So I figured that even if things were going south, I might as well see how it all plays out.

But then I met her...

To Be Continued
Tags: relationships, life, story, love, girls
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Under The Same Sky
09/24/08 at 12:41 AM by cassusriff
I wrote these lyrics about someone special. My friend Jason is currently working on some music to it, so I'll post the song once we get it all finished! Enjoy!

Under the Same Sky

Oh you poor girls
You make me regret
The things you do to yourselves
I've hung around
With my lack of self
And I've taken your hits
But the shield is up now

You see, She came and saved me
She was the one who saw me clearly

And coast to coast
The sun is rising
Over here it's still the night
But she said,
Though we're worlds apart
We're still under the same sky

The parallels
The symmetry
It's uncanny
We're intertwined
We extend our vines
So imagine that we lie
Here tonight

You see, She came and saved me
She was the one who saw me clearly

And coast to coast
The sun is rising
Over here it's still the night
But she said,
Though we're worlds apart
We're still under the same sky
Tags: song, lyrics, relationships, love, girls, poetry, music, personal
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