Authors: Bethanie Armstrong
Years of Summer: Lily’s Story
By: Bethanie Armstrong
Copyright © 2015 Bethane Armstrong
All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. All characters are from the authors imagination. Any similarities to real people, places, or events is entirely coincidental.
No part of this book is to be reproduced without the author’s permission.
To all of those that have known first loves and then found true love.
There is always that one person who comes into our life and we don’t know why, but they had a purpose. When they are gone we realize they are not who they seemed, but our lives were enriched by their presence. Could we have been entertaining angels?
Summer, I love summer. It has always meant good times to me. My kids are out of school and we have the best time. Summer is a season of fun, vacations, and tons of family and friends time; no pressure to do anything, but whatever you want to do, because you have the time to do it! You never want summer to end.
The one problem, all things that have a beginning will eventually have an ending. Time can be so short. Not all things are forgotten with time. Even seventeen years later, I still wonder, occasionally, what might have been? My life now, though, is so much better, and more than it could have been. I am blessed. There are plans for each of us and no one knows where those could take you, until you get there.
I am happily married and have been for longer than I ever knew
. I have my four beautiful children whom I would never have known had things turned out differently. I don’t regret my life. I regret some of the things I did, but who doesn’t. We are not perfect, nor does anyone expect us to be.
My husband of sixteen years knows that; I could not live without him. He is the greatest man I have ever known, besides my Dad. My husband is the best husband and father. He puts up with my little quirks, and I have plenty of them, believe me. He does the sweetest things for me. He always has. There are times when I want to be so mad at him and then he’ll say something funny and I’ll laugh at him and then I get mad because I cannot stay mad at him. I am sure he does that on purpose. He has never liked to see me sad or upset.
He took me, even though he knew I was broken.
My heart was the Berlin Wall—built up to keep others out—but once he broke the first piece he kept chipping away until I could love him fully. He was very patient with me and still is. I love him more than I have ever loved anyone in my life. He is my one true love.
I did have a first love, though. My name is Lily. This is my story.
Part 1: Jace
College, most fun I have ever had. Sorority Rush and Frat Parties, cramming for tests, dorm-room living, and
; those were a few of my favorite things. I was your typical college co-ed. Knew what I should have done, but never really did it; had more fun than should have been allowed. Still I made it, but I could have done so much better.
I met someone then
I had never met anyone like him. He was a true southern gentleman, right down to the core, of course all of the fraternity were. Most of my college guy friends were in that fraternity. That is the way we started, the southern gentleman with a bouncer’s edge. The way we happened; it’s hard to explain.
There was this guy that I was engaged too, but he wasn’t good or nice. He was one of their pledges. The whole fraternity black-balled him if that tells you anything. The southern gentleman with a bouncer’s edge led the revolt.
At that time I didn’t know why, I didn’t know anyone knew about what happened that night in Chance’s room, besides his roommate. Suddenly I had an escort everywhere I went, but I didn’t know that was why they were there. I didn’t know the things that Chance was saying he wanted to do to me, but evidently they did, he did live on their hall. I thought he would get over it, but he didn’t like to lose.
* * * * * * *
Spring came, it was sunny and warm. Spring in Alabama was one of my favorite seasons. The first day it hit seventy degrees the quad of Main Hall was packed with guys and girls, mostly girls because it was the main girls’ dormitory. Many of my friends and I took advantage of the spring weather. I had brought a blanket with me and spread it out right in the middle of a sunny patch. I brought a book with me, but decided to watch people instead. The only problem, I wasn’t watching behind me. I was suddenly shadowed. I recognized that shadow and whipped around quickly.
“Chance, what do you want?” He had this angered look on his face.
“Lily, we need to talk.”
“I have nothing to say to you.”
“Well, I have a ton to say to you.” He bent down and grabbed my arm and tried to pull me up off my blanket.
I shook him lose. “Back off Chance!” He grabbed both of my arms then. “Let me go!” This time I couldn’t get loose. He pulled me off my blanket and let go of one of my arms and started pulling me away. I struggled against him and was all of a sudden flanked by two of the biggest guys in the fraternity. One was Chance’s old roommate Dave and the other was Jace
Chance immediately let go.
“No harm guys, I just wanted to talk to her.”
Jace corrected him. “The harm’s already been done, don’t come near her again. I already told you if you hurt her again I’ll be your worst nightmare. Do you want to take that chance . . .
I was dumbstruck. I had not told anyone what happened—I felt stupid because I trusted Chance. A betrayed glare flashed across my face. Dave was the focus of my glare and Jace and I got started on the wrong foot.
“Why can’t you mind your own business, Jace?!”
“He was trying to hurt you again.”
“Which you should have never known! I am a big girl I can take care of myself.” I glared at Dave again before I walked off.
I was hurt and embarrassed and Chance of course loved it. His smugness was off the chart. Anything that made him look like a “big man” he relished. I hated him; he made me sick to my stomach. I wished he would take a short leap off the tallest building. The thing was he would probably be fine; his big fat ego would probably cushion the fall. I wanted the earth to open and swallow me. Angry tears burned my eyes. I jerked my blanket off the ground. Here came Chance. “So, Lily, what say you and me . . .” I gave him a look that should have burned him at the stake if he was tied to one.
“Stay away from me!” I ran back to my dorm room as I heard my sorority sister and roommate, as well as my best friend, Chelsea, calling after me. “Lily, wait up.”
I could just feel Jace staring after me. I wasted that time I could have had with him. However, I was in no state at that moment to even think about that; although I think about it now and realize there are reasons for things that happen.
Tears streamed down my face, surprisingly I made it back in one piece. My tears were blinding me to say the least. I finally realized why I suddenly had escorts all over campus. The whole fraternity knew; I don’t know if they knew exactly, but I wasn’t sure. That just made me more self-conscious. I so wanted this semester to be over. I thought about quitting and picking up my courses back home at one of the local colleges, but again knew I was in no state to make that decision right then. Chelsea came into our room and found me lying across my bed soaking my pillow with my tears.
“Lil . . . Jace was only trying to help.”
Chelsea knew what had happened, because she was the one that had to come back and pick up the pieces to put me back together. I was a basket case the next day and sometimes I still jump at the slightest noise. She begged me to go talk to someone, but I felt too much like an idiot, because I trusted the wrong person. I was making it . . . sometimes. However, the sooner that semester was over and all that went with it, the better I would be. Chance was going to flunk out anyway.
He was a spoiled rotten brat whose
Mommy and Daddy
gave him anything he wanted. I had broken off our engagement. His mother even had the nerve to call me and ask me what happened, because she thought I was “good” for him. The next time I saw him, he had a new leather jacket. He had the audacity to come to me and show it to me and say, “Mom and Dad gave it to me. They felt sorry for me because you threw your ring back in my face.”
My mouth gaped open. He laughed, he thought it was funny. I was repulsed, because not only did he lie, but he made me look like the bad guy. All those thoughts rolled around in my head, as my stomach rolled with them making me want to vomit.
“I hate him, I hate him, I hate him! Why can’t he just leave me alone?” I beat my pillows, I wished it was his face.
Heaving sobs wracked my chest as I thought about all the lies he had told about me. He even tried to turn some of my friends against me, those that were not in my sorority. They never really knew what happened, until I told them. I’ll never forget that call.
* * * * * * *
. . .Sienna and Lynette were taken by his charm just like I was pulled in at the beginning. I say beginning, because the longer I stayed with him, the more of him came out—the true him—my fear caught me, though. He had hit me before because I wouldn’t give in. I thought he would try to seriously hurt me if I ever broke it off. It’s amazing how right I was. He kept on trying to get to me like he did that day on the quad; trying to force me to come with him.
Sienna and Lynette however, weren’t around him enough to ever see the true him, so he made them believe it was my fault. They called me one night, because he had gone to their dorm to get them to “help” him get me back. He must have told them the same lies he told his mother, claiming I had thrown his ring back in his face and gave him no reason why I wanted to end it. The phone conversation went something like this:
“Lily, what did you do to Chance? He came to us crying because you broke off the engagement and you didn’t give him a reason why. Lil, he is so sweet, why would you want to break up with him?” I could just see him in that room with his smug smile across his face. It made me want to hurt him.
? You have to be kidding me. He pulled you in didn’t he? Sienna, where is he now?”
“Asleep on Lyn’s bed.”
Yeah right! Asleep? Not likely.
“What do you mean pulled me in? Do you want me to wake him up so you can talk to him?”
“You know what, Sienna; I don’t care what you or Lynette do with him. You can shove him out your fifth story window if you want. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. If you believe him then that is up to you. How could you trust him over me, especially since we have known each other since junior high. I’ll let you go. Don’t bother calling back.”
I hung up, before the tears could give me away.
Chelsea just looked at me dumbfounded after that call. “Lil, you’re going to let them believe him, you’re not even going to fight for yourself?”
“Chels, what’s the point? They already believe him over me and they know me, and have known me since seventh grade.”
“Lily this is not like you. Usually you fight when someone lies about you, where is your fight?”
“Gone . . . I have nothing left to fight with,” as the sobs took their place again. “He took it all away from me. This is all a game to him, my life is a game to him. He always has to win. I am tired of fighting a losing battle. He wants to win, I’ll let him win.”
“Well, when Sienna and Lynette see you in class tomorrow, they will know the truth. You have the marks to prove it.”
“They still needed proof though, they believed him first. I’m done having to prove myself. I shouldn’t have to prove myself.”
The next day in class they saw the marks, and still had to ask what happened to me. I ignored them; Chelsea poked me hard in the back and wrote me a note . . . Lil, tell them. Tell them what happened. Evidently Sienna saw what Chelsea wrote on the note, because she wrote one back to me. Did Chance do that to you? I answered her note with one of mine. Yes, Chance did this to me.
Chance must have figured out that we were passing notes about him. He sat two seats in front of me and he also must have figured out what it was about, because he got up from class and left. He had not won this battle yet. My guess is he left class to plan his next move. I saw Jace three rows over from us and he waved, not realizing, since I didn’t turn my face to him, that I had a bruise over my left cheekbone. Chelsea had done an amazing job caking on the concealer too. Unless you were standing right next to me you never would have noticed.