And who do you think perked me up when I was feeling down and out about the Casey thing? Will, of course. Will was always there to pick me up, dust me off, and get me back in the game. Even though I'd rejected his ring, rejected his heart. There was not one bad bone in his body. Will was 100 percent good.
For a while, I did fine without Casey. Sure, I missed having someone to cuddle with at night, but I also enjoyed sprawling across my bed, sleeping on the right side, on the left side, where ever I damn well pleased.
I focused on work. I was managing editor of our school's yearbook. Yes, colleges have yearbooks, too. Don't knock on them. I have my dream job now, don't I? A little defensive, I know. Anyway, I focused on work. I focused on school. I'd applied for a prestigious NYC magazine internship program earlier that year, and the coordinators said I'd hear back by Feb. 15 if I'd been accepted. I knew the chances were slim because my college didn't even have a magazine program, and I'd be competing with college journalists from the University of Missouri, Syracuse, Columbia—all of the well-known journalism schools in the country. Fewer than 40 people would be accepted, others would be wait listed.
I didn't need to deal with Casey's drama with my mind set on a summer in NYC. I cleared my mind, and I waited.
The day before I was supposed to hear about the internship, which just happened to be the oh-so-dreaded Valentines Day, I was on my way out of my apartment to run an errand when I ran into Casey. He was standing at my door with a single rose and a bar of chocolate. I hadn't seen him since I'd told him to leave that night.
"I knew how much you hated Valentines Day, so I was just going to leave you this so your day wouldn't suck so bad," he said as he held the gifts out to me.
With that, the past month of efforts to pick myself back up went to waste. My heart thudded and I wanted to touch him. Wanted to pull him close and hug him. Wanted to smell him and kiss him.
No. No. No. I thought to myself. I wasn't going to fall again.
I took the gifts from him, and then wondered if he'd actually bought a bouquet of roses and given one to each of his girls. But hey, chocolate was chocolate. And I knew after seeing him, I was going to need some chocolate.
"So, did you hear back about NYC yet?" he asked.
"I was actually on my way out. Walk and talk," I said as I set his gifts on the floor in my apartment and closed the door on my way out. I walked a little ahead of him, just so I wouldn't have to worry about our arms bumping. I didn't know what I'd do if our arms touched.
"I'm supposed to hear back tomorrow," I finally said.
"Wow. How are you holding up?" he asked.
I wasn't sure if he was asking how I'd been since I'd seen him last or if I was nervous about the internship. I decided to go with the latter.
"Not bad. Staying busy so I keep my mind off it." Damn, that was a little more vague than I'd hoped for. He probably thought I was talking about him. But I guess it was the same answer either way.
I finally got to my car and he hung back while I opened the door and sat down.
"Well, thanks for the flower. That was nice of you."
"Yeah. It was good seeing you again. Good luck with things tomorrow. I'd love to know how it goes."
"Maybe," I answered with a shrug, and then closed the door behind me.
Then I called Nicole. She was an anti-romantic. She'd know what to say.
"He brought me a rose," I said when she picked up, and she knew exactly who I was talking about.
"A rose by any other name still dies in three to four days," she responded. She always knew how to put a smile on my face.
I didn't sleep that night. It wasn't the Casey thing keeping me up, although that bothered me a little, it was the anticipation of the acceptance or rejection email.
The next day I was a wreck. I checked my email on my phone every four seconds. Everyone knew it was the big day, so they'd all stop me and say, "Hear anything yet??" And I'd just check my phone again and shake my head. I tried not to get my hopes up. What if I got the email in class, opened it, and it was actually a rejection email? Or what if it was an acceptance email? Either way I'd start crying in class. I put my phone away until class was over.
I bounced my leg while I was seated, I tapped my pen, I looked like a sleep-deprived crackwhore. I needed a drink.
The entire day went on like that. After 7 p.m. I decided to give up. I wouldn't hear back that night. I tried to relax, but it was another restless night. I couldn't stop myself from wishing Casey were there to hold me while I tossed and turned. My bed was too big that night. I needed him there with his arm around me, calming me down so I could sleep. I wanted to text him, but I stopped myself. I could do this.
The next day was the same, only I looked much worse for wear. Leg bouncing, pen tapping, email updating. More questions, "Still nothing?" "What do you think that means?" "Do you have anything else lined up?" To which I'd answer, "No," "No idea," and "Not a damn thing."
When I pulled myself out of bed the next day, I saw the email sitting in my inbox and I almost threw up. This was it. This was the email that would tell me if I'd be heading off to the Big Apple for the summer or if I'd be shit outta luck, scrounging for a last-minute internship.
We apologize for the delay, but we need more time to make our decision. We'll let you know next week.
WHAT!? What kind of email was that? They'd had our resumes, clips, essays, recommendation letters, and cover letters for three months now. What could possibly take that long?
One week later, I was sitting in my Community Journalism class with my friend and coworker Rae. Our professor was droning on about a nearby town's newspapers when I saw the alert on my phone. One new email. Re: Internship Program.
I grabbed Rae's arm.
"I got the email," I whispered loudly.
"Don't open it!" she whispered back.
"I have to! I'm going to go crazy!"
She grabbed my phone from me and put it in her purse. She was saving me from crying in class. That class could not end fast enough. As soon as we were dismissed, we darted out of the classroom, down the stairs, and across the courtyard to our office. We flew through the doors screaming, "THE EMAIL IS HERE!"
All of my coworkers gathered around my computer as I logged into my email account. I'd need them there to help me celebrate, or to pick me up off the floor and wipe my nose.
We all held our breathes as I clicked open. We read it together out loud.
We apologize again for the wait, but we finally came to our decisions. We'd like to congratulate you on your acceptance into the summer internship program.
"AHHHHHH!!!" We all screamed and jumped up and down and hugged. It was a perfect moment.
In my excitement I ran outside and made three phone calls.
First I called my mom.
Then I called Will.
And then called Casey.