US: Chapter 3


Earlier in the week,
I mentioned that this story
would be woven in four parts.

So in theory,
this part should be the final installment to our story.


I also said that this section would be shorter...
but it's actually pretty lengthy.

But if there's anything you should have learned by now...
it's that I'm someone who breaks the rules.

Gird your loins, friends...
because this story just took a turn
and we dove headfirst into the uncharted land of love triangles.


May 5 - 12, 2006

For years to follow,
references to this week would make Lauren sick.

In a very literal way,
a knot would tightly wind itself up in the pit of her stomach
when her friends or family would question the timeline of events.

In so many ways, it was such an exciting time...
at last, they were finally together!

But in every other moment, 
it was obvious how terrible things really were.

Like the moments they would be laughing together in Tyler's car
interrupted by the beep of a text message from Dallas.

The phone calls with her parents 
to plan a luncheon after graduation
with her family... and her boyfriend's family.

Having to answer Tyler's sister's questions
about her boyfriend's plans for grad school 
over Tyler's birthday lunch.


Yes, it was all wonderful
until reality would remind them
that Lauren was still another guy's girlfriend.

Tyler was doing his best to stay calm and play it cool.

He wouldn't talk bad about Lauren's boyfriend,
because this wasn't about trying to make someone look bad 
and him look better.

Tyler knew the only way she could really let go
was if she could see how good they could have it...
and trust it would be worth untying the promises she'd made.

Editor's note: And as a chronic over-committer, 
there had been some big promises made.

And he tried to remind her that in the grand scheme of things...
stories like this really aren't that uncommon.


In fact, it makes for great material for grandparents to tell their grandkids.

For as calm and together Tyler may have appeared,
Lauren was a complete wreck.

Beyond the normal stress of graduating college 
and moving into the real world,
she was now an adulterer.

Well, not really...
but you wouldn't have been able to convince her otherwise.

She had cheated on someone...
and as wonderful as it felt to be with Tyler,
it felt really crappy to do so with such guilt.

Because the truth was,
Lauren actually really loved her boyfriend.

No, she didn't want to marry him.

She actually hadn't really wanted to date him for a while.

But after you invest so much time into a person...
you get the privilege of learning who they really are.

And most people, 
regardless of their compatibility for marriage, 
have really good things about them.

And Lauren's boyfriend was no exception.

He wasn't a schmuck.
He was a really nice guy.

She wanted him to have the best...
he deserved it,
but at that time, 
what he wanted most in life was her.

Up to this point, Lauren had happily obliged.

She wanted him to be happy...
and even if that didn't feel like a fairy tale to her,
she enjoyed the idea of letting him live one.

And while she loved her boyfriend for many reasons, 
Lauren had never been able to see him the way she saw Tyler.

So what did Lauren do?

She did what any girl would do in this scenario...

She made out with Tyler like it was her last week on earth
and then wept for the remainder of her waking hours.


Friday, May 12, 2006

The day before graduation arrives,
and Lauren needs to drop off her car at the airport
so that her boyfriend can use it when he lands later that night.

She's coordinated with her parents to meet at the airport
as they pass by on their drive in for graduation.

And, naturally, Tyler comes along.

Even though her parents have never met Tyler.

In fact, they've just assumed he's a dorky fellow who follows her around...
because why else would she spend so much time with another guy?

The drive back from the airport is loud and busy.

Lauren's sisters are harassing Tyler in a way that only sisters can do,
her dad pecks away at his Treo while peppering in random jokes,
her grandmother begins an inquisition on the religious history of his family tree,
and as Lauren laughs at one of Tyler's responses...
she catches her mother's eye in the rear view mirror.

Her mom just glances up, raises one eyebrow, and looks back to the road ahead.

And while nothing is said,
Lauren can feel her neck and face start to burn red.

Editor's Notes: Moms know everything. 
It saves a lot of time to just tell them the truth up front. 

Her boyfriend arrives in town late that evening,
comes by her apartment to say "Hi,"
and then heads to the house where he is staying with her parents.

After he leaves,
she calls Tyler 
and he comes to pick her up.

As they sit at a red light
and Ray Lamontagne's "Trouble" plays,
Lauren realizes how ridiculous this has all become.

By this time tomorrow, she will be back in Dallas
and might not see Tyler again...

As the light turns green, he squeezes her hand
and, for the hundredth time,
 she feels tears fill her eyes.


May 13, 2011


It's graduation day.

This day has been dreaded for a long time.

Lauren is not ready for the real world...
 not ready to leave college...
 not ready to leave her friends...
 not ready to leave Tyler...
and not ready to get engaged to her boyfriend.

This mark on her life's timeline has been one
she has desperately tried to resist for a long time.

But it arrives...


... and it passes.


And before she knows it,
Lauren is cutting into a spongey sheet cake 
from the grocery store up the street
 in front of her and her boyfriend's families.



Their families have finally met after three years of dating.

It's all going really well
... except for her brother violently spilling a venti drip 
down the graduation bleachers
and destroying her boyfriend's mom's white dress.


Normally something like that would stress a girl out...
but when you've been cheating on her son all week,
your guilt level is so far beyond a coffee spill-
 you most likely won't even flinch when you hear about it.

As the chatter buzzes around her
 all Lauren can do is sink into the couch 
and stare down at the phone in her lap
After lunch, goodbyes are said...

plans are made to meet for Mother's Day brunch tomorrow in Dallas,

and Lauren and her boyfriend head to her apartment one last time.


The apartment is already packed up and cleaned out.
All they need to do is pick up the last bits, head out,
 and start their life together.

For three years, they've been waiting to get here...
this day marks the beginning of what they had always talked about.

And as Lauren has explained to Tyler,
she owed her boyfriend this time...

He had, after all, moved his life to be with her.

In spite of everything that had happened in the past week, 
it was the only solution she could resolve that was fair.

But as he closes the front door of her empty apartment 
and wraps his arms around her...
something inside snaps.

She watches in terror as her boyfriend leans into kiss her
and is suddenly disgusted at the idea of kissing anyone other than Tyler.





* Do you feel awkward yet? Like you are witnessing a train wreck? 
Or watching a woman walk around with her skirt tucked in her pantyhose?
** I can finish this story in one or two more posts. Put your preference below!

49 comments:

  1. No, I feel like sort of like a fish out of water, now please toss me back in the bowl and tell me more.
    pve

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  2. Love your honesty. I feel like I'm watching a wonderful romantic comedy when I read this and can totally see it being a smash hit on the big screen! I'm routing for Lauren & Tyler... good thing I know the outcome! xo

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  3. TWO POSTS! I'm dying, this story is so great. Much better than working on a Friday.

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  4. Two posts! This sounds an awful lot like the train wreck that led to my husband haha! I dated a guy for 6 yrs and had it all planned out and then EVERYTHING went down hill quick like. A few months later I'm dating the guy who sat behind my boyfriend and I during psych class while we fought like kids haha.

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  5. Another vote for two! I see it and I can't look away!!

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  6. 2 posts! i mean 50... i want every detail (: go l + t !

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  7. Now that I just read the whole story in one sitting, I am dying to know the rest of the story but two parts could be a whole lot of fun. I am a big sucker for love stories :)

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  8. Lauren, your story is similar to mine actually. It sounds like a train wreck to me, because your story kinda takes me back to the beginning of mine and all those awkward feelings come flooding back! One more post please, because you need to share, and we need to hear how this 'story' got you to where you are - happy and in a great marriage! :) xx

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  9. OOh Lauren you are SUCH a good writer! This story feels like a movie ! Am willing you to get together even though I know you obviously do!! xx

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  10. I feel like I'm watching/reading a romantic comedy! As many posts as you need!

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  11. Lauren I am LOVING your story! So much fun to read since our time at Harding was short. I too was dating another guy at Harding when Mark and I started dating over Christmas break. Nothing like coming back to a huge bouquet of roses at your dorm when everyone thinks they are from the wrong guy and have even congratulated him on the great flowers...awkward!

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  12. Oh my goodness! A very similar but not as dramatic story happened to me. I soooo wish I could hop over to London so we could have a chat. I have guilt to this day.

    Even though I knew this was coming for some reason I am beginning to see why you were at first reluctant to share this story. It's crazy! Sigh, but the nosy person in me can't wait to hear more.

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  13. Two! This is so much fun! It's reading like a great romantic comedy! Seriously, I haven't even checked my work email yet - I came straight here to read today's part!

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  14. I vote for 2 posts, even though I can't wait to hear how it ends...not only could this be a book, but a movie!

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  15. Loving EVERY bit of this.
    We want more! We want more!

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  16. TWO more parts please! This is getting me through my law firm/associate attorney hell every morning! Where did you go to college?

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  17. Two! I want as much detail as possible - I don't want it to end! (Even though I know how it ends.)

    Honestly, don't Moms always know? My whole first year of college I dated a boy who I really loved but I was miserable. I spent months trying to make it work, and one look from my Mom on move out day and she knew how bad it was. Seeing her realize what was going on so fast made me realize it was over. Moms can always tell where our hearts are.

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  18. 2 posts!! This is awesome! A true love story! So romantic.

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  19. I wish you could see me right now: cup of coffee in hand, making sad and happy faces at my computer, and getting butterflies because I can totally relate to this scenario. I want to hear the end of the story, the suspense! I sorta love it though...

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  20. This story is crazyyyy. Like in a good way. My heart is breaking that you went through all this, ahhh the awkwardness! But I feel relieved that I know how it ends and that you followed your heart! What else could you do?!

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  21. No joke, Lauren, I woke up, sat in bed and read this on my phone before getting up! I love the whole thing...especially love your mother...moms ALWAYS know! Finish it in two. The suspense is killing me but thankfully we already know who you end up with, so it's a little more tolerable ;)

    *if anything is spelled wrong, blame it on my phone...it likes to make corrections I never catch!

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  22. Ok. So this makes me think of The Bridges of Madison county (on a college, unmarried level) where she is sitting in the car and she sees her lover at the stop light and she has this short moment to decide "do I leave my husband, a very good man. Or do I go with my hearts crazy love for another." And you sit and watch and you just feel so sorry for her b/c is a good woman, but her heart loves someone else. This is such a great story! (Ok, and you are not an adulter). Keep up the good details!

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  23. Two, because I don't want this series to end, but one because I wanna know what happpppppens.

    PS - I love that Tyler's bday lunch was at what appears to be a Chili's. I know this because I worked at one in high school.
    PPS - I graduated on 5/12/06. It's crazy to me to think that somewhere in the world at that time, you were stressing this much! It's almost good that we know the ending and that it all turned out happy. :)

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  24. I got home from Chicago last night and interrupted everything I was doing just so I could pour through your story- absolutely LOVE these posts...so romantic, so well written...I vote for 2 more so I can keep reading...adore, adore!! xo

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  25. These posts have been a morning routine for me at work this week! LOVE them...so romantic and totally has me squirming during the awkward moments! I vote two more!

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  26. I'm an impatient person- finish it up in one post! I can't wait to read the conclusion!!!!!!!

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  27. You just had me crying - on a London bus! Don't think I can take the suspense...but...two please!

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  28. Absolutely loving every line of this story. Your editors notes are hilarious and you are right... moms ALWAYS know.

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  29. two posts please. this is like a good soap opera... such a cliffhanger!

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  30. I agree, 2 more posts...we want all the details :)

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  31. oh my gosh, Lauren! I am totally heartbroken for you reading these posts! If I didn't know there was a happy ending, I'm not sure I'd be able to handle it! I can't wait to see how the rest unfolds! Two posts, please :) Even though that will take longer it means there will be more juicy details!! hehe

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  32. I vote 2 more, as well! Love this. You and Tyler were meant for each other. I still remember you calling me on May 14th (my first anniversary) and telling me all about him. I just knew you were going to marry him someday.

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  33. I am happy to know that this story and everything that happen ended with the perfect ending, go you!
    xo emily

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  34. Two posts! Actually, can we seriously have like 10 more? A book. I want a book! lol.

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  35. 2, 10, however many you want! I love this story!!!

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  36. Two!! I like to drag all great and wonderful things out as long as possible!

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  37. Two!!! And I love your editors notes! They're fabulous!

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  38. You are a great writer and I love your openness! I'm also a sucker for a love story with a touch of scandal.

    I vote at least 2 more parts so we get the good details.

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  39. Craig and I made the blog!! :) I will never forget that lunch, Lauren. I'm loving reading what was going on inside your head & heart at the time. I remembering wondering at that lunch, "How do they not realize that they're in love with each other?" Little did I know what had occurred two days prior. :) Love you Lauren, and I'm so happy you decided to follow your heart!
    Tara

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  40. OMG Lauren, all I have to say is WOW!!! This is quite a story! I just ready them all in a row and I'm sitting by the edge of my seat. I feel like I'm reading an amazing romance novel. I can't wait to hear more! You poor thing, you must have been so torn up inside. But I'm glad you made the right choice :)

    So fun learning more about you and so happy that you're telling this story!

    Have a great weekend, sweetie xoxo

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  41. This is so great! Ahh how I miss the drama of college at times! Now I've traded it in for drama like "can we afford the water bill" and "but I changed him last it's your turn." This is so juicy I love it! Think the old boo has found your blog and his reading this as I type? al;ksdfj;laksdjflka! This is so fun, at least 2 more!

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  42. Oh my gosh! Definitely a two parter! I love that you followed your heart too. And like @sarah948, I too woke up and immediately checked my phone to read the third installment. So glad you ended up with the one that you truly love and enjoying this love story so much!

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  43. 2 more please! I feel like I'm watching a rom-com. Love it!

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  44. I didn't get to read this the other day and am now catching up! It's Sunday morning here and I anticipated reading this today like old people anticipate the Sunday newspaper. LOVE it. I quickly scrolled down so I wouldn't see Part 4, so I don't know if there are 1 or 2 more parts yet. I am hoping I get two more "Sunday newspapers." Off to Part 4...

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