In 2019, we are telling the story of a romance over the course of 9 months and 13 chapters. Each chapter will feature some combination of art, ice cream, cocktails, baked goods, and music. Each participant has been tasked with creating an element of the story inspired by the corresponding chapter. Thank you for checking out chapter four. Click here for chapter one, chapter two, or chapter three. The participants this month are: @lilbotany, @lilcheekyicecream, @min_liz, @theblankcanvasco, @AbbyShepardLoves, @gdollarbakes, @the_gobsmacker
Jennifer had always been a journaler. Even when there was nothing happening in her life, she’d made a habit of it, and it helped her think things through when there was something happening. Lately she hadn’t been able to describe her feelings for Nick in anything other than cliches. It was then she realized she might be in trouble. Good trouble, but still. Even her realization she was in trouble was cliche, and look, reader, I know this is a cliche way to write about a character wondering if what they’re feeling is love, but here we are, together. The thing about all her feelings sounding cliche as she wrote them down is they didn’t feel cliche to her. Every way she felt about him was new to her, exciting, interesting, terrifying.
Nick and Jennifer had had the “relationship” talk several months earlier after their fifth date. They’d been spending increasing amounts of time together, almost all their free time outside of work. Jennifer still relished some nights or mornings alone, which she’d invariably spend grinning moonily thinking about something Nick had said or done: the time he fell flat on his back while they were videochatting and they’d laughed for ten minutes, the time he’d walked into the wrong apartment while talking to her on the phone, the time she made him call the Senator’s office about a bill and he did and hated it. Jennifer was in the middle before she knew she had begun, and it was scary. She’d had relationships end in disappointment before, but she’d never been afraid of having her heartbroken. She cried and then smiled while writing in her journal one evening when she realized Nick could break her heart.
Nick was a bit simpler. Quite a bit simpler. Around the time Jennifer was writing in her journal about her potential for heartbreak, he’d been listening to music while walking home from work and heard the lyrics, “I never felt like this before, I say that every hour,” and that’s when he knew. 50 times a day something reminded him of Jennifer, and it was only good.
He didn’t need to hear Jennifer say, “I love you” to know for sure she did, and he just assumed she knew he loved her back. Nick assuming Jennifer knew how he felt about her, or food, or movies, or anything, really, would eventually become a problem, but he hadn’t realized that yet. We’re not there. Patience. The day after hearing that lyric on the walk home, Jennifer told him she’d gotten in a fight with her family about green vs white mint chip ice cream, and that was about all he needed to know for sure how he felt. He wasn’t scared. He was happy. He was calm.