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      I still love you, Baby thatís the truth.


Disclaimer: All names and locations have been changed to protect the identities of the real-life characters.

Chapter 1: Expectations

I grew up with two loving parents who knew each other for almost their entire lives. I always tell their story. They lived on the same street in the Bronx, NY while growing up and my fatherís mother used to attempt to sell dictionaries to the surrounding neighborhood. There is no doubt she wandered over to the residence of her future daughter in law from time to time. I do not know much detail about my parentsí earlier lives or their initial courtship; however, I do know they met while attending high school. My father was a senior and my mother a mere sophomore. I remember my father mentioning that he did not attend his senior prom; but rather waited for my motherís prom a few years later in order to accompany her.

My motherís father died when she was only 16, and my dad was there through it all; assisting in anyway he could to ease the pain and loss of that magnitude. My auntís always remember my father being around. They joke he always had the newest cars and he even helped my youngest aunt with her homework; as she a good deal younger than my mother and father.

I do not know much about the dynamics of their relationship; my mother often tells me they did break up at a time, as many often due, but the beauty and significance of the story is that after 27 years of marriage, they are still together and have two children who respect them and appreciate all they have done.

A personís family can influence their lifestyle in a variety of ways. Ever since I was a child, I knew I wanted a wife and a family who I could love, and support. I remember my first crush as a young boy. Her name was Christina and she was the daughter of my fatherís childhood friend, best man, and most importantly, best friend. I would go to sleep at night and pray that one day I could marry her. Now, granted I was only a child, but this attitude seemed to last throughout my entire life, just with different girls. In 5th grade, I was smitten over Lisa. I would ask her to be my girlfriend multiple times a year, every year, until 8th grade, when I left my home in the Bronx and moved to Connecticut. I will admit; I fell in love fast. Well, I should further clarify and say that I thought I was in love many a time.

The beginning of high school was much of the same. I had many girlfriends for a few weeks at a time, only to loose them, often attempting to confess my undying love prematurely. Things continued like this for a couple of years until I met the only girl I have ever loved and this is where my story begins.

Chapter 2: Is this love?

I enjoyed the luxury of being in a prominent crowd in high school. I was considered generally good looking, and I unknowingly surrounded myself with the people who were regarded as the ďcoolĒ kids. I did want to be part of this crowd, but the people who I am still close with today are truly good men; men who I consider my closest friends. Our crowd was blessed with looks, athletic talent, intelligence, strength, and an attitude of pride. I mention this not to inflate my ego, but to set the stage for the upcoming tale. I generally heard rumors, as many due and on this particular day, there was a rumor two twins were going to be attending out high school. I was newly single and was interested to see who these girls were. I would see them walking in the hallway and was immediately drawn to her; her name was Courtney. Courtney was a very pretty young girl and I decided I would talk to her at some point in the future; maybe an interaction in the hallway, or quite possibly a dance.

I went about my everyday activities the same way for a few days and one day I strolled into history class and took a seat. I was looking around before the class began, and caught a glimpse of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She was wearing a purple shirt and she had long brown hair, and fairly dark skin. She had a big and beautiful smile and an exotic, captivating image. She looked so innocent, so quite and shy. Her name was Kaitlyn, the fraternal twin sister of Courtney; I couldnít help but laugh to myself and smile. Life is funny sometimes.

Chapter 3: The courtship

God bless Mr. Monti. Mr. Monti was my World History II Honors teacher. He was a nice man, with a few strange pet peeves. For example, he loathed students who wore hats in his class and he made students remove them immediately after the second bell rung. However, this man also enjoyed switching where people sat every grading quarter and yours truly was placed right in front of Ms. Kaitlyn during one of these particular quarters. It was the perfect opportunity to speak with her. I began easy; a little small talk and graduated to note passing. Every afternoon after lunch was like Christmas morning. I walked in ready with conversations in my mind that I could bring up and discuss with her. She seemed so intelligent and all I ever wanted to do was make her laugh so that I could see that big smile. Our teacher immediately noticed our connection and he would often make remarks about us talking in class. I like to think he knew our connection and decided he would rather see something special blossom than to hand out detention of a number of threatening comments.

I was absolutely taken aback by the way I felt about Kaitlyn. I thought about her day and night and I knew deep down that something was different about her; she was not like the others. However, this courtship did not come without obstacles. Like I said, I was in a very prominent crowd and I was fortunate to have parents that let me do what I pleased due to my exemplary academic record and responsible nature. Kaitlynís family was extremely strict and she never wanted to disappoint them. It also so happened that during this particular time period I was dealing with a juvenile mistake of mine. I was 15 and foolish and happened to enter the residence of the family of a friend of mine with by soon to be ex-best friend Ben. Ben later went back to this house and performed a robbery, for which I was also blamed for although I was not present. The student and his family were angry with me, and rightfully so; however, I was not a criminal. I did not steal one item and had no intention of stealing anything. In fact, I was not even aware Ben stole what he had the time we were there as I was outside when this occurred and was only in the house for a limited period of time. The details of my case should not be revealed in my tale, but at this point in my life, I had a very poor image.

I took the time after school one afternoon to explain this to Kaitlyn. I wanted to be upfront about it and I did not want to start off on the wrong foot. I think this is a major reason why our courtship lasted for almost 7 months. I would often ask her out. I went out to lunch with her at the local diner, we frequently talked on the phone, and I even attended her dance recital and brought her flowers. Still, nothing really matriculated until the following year. We were juniors now and unfortunately Kaitlyn was not in any of my classes. I almost waived the white flag of defeat after a summer or waiting, minimal discussions, and intense anxiety awaiting Kaitlyn to sign on to AOL. But then something wonderful happened; something most would call a sign. She needed to make a schedule change and she happened to be placed in my English class, 8th period. She sat behind me and she listened as I acted out my immaturities by making inappropriate comments to classmates and our teacher. She laughed, and told me when enough, was enough and I did it to impress her every single day.

Homecoming 2003 was approaching and Kaitlyn had not been asked yet. I had become friendly with her friend, Julie and I plotted when I should ask. I should probably clarify plot; I not only made friends with Julie, but with 3 or 4 other friends of hers and made sure they gave me insight, and of course put in good words on my behalf every chance they had. I asked them every single day; I am quite confident they were getting irked by the very mention of her name out of my mouth, but I was a man on a mission. Anyhow, it was 8th period and I had the green light; I got the nod from Julie that Kaitlyn was going to say yes to me. In one of the most intimidating moments to date, I walked Kaitlyn down the stairs, and asked her right there in the stairwell. She said yes.

Chapter 4: The relationship

I went to football practice a new man. The weight of the world had been lifted and I was praising God for the fortune he bestowed upon me. If memory serves me correctly, I asked Kaitlyn to the dance 3 weeks before it actually took place. The main reason for this was that I had received the scoop that an older gentlemen was pining her as well; he wasnít as cool as I.

I spent the next three weeks trying not to screw up my good fortune. I wisely picked my words on AOL chat with Kaitlyn. Whenever Slurpeee61 would sign on I would wait it out. I had a system; one day, I wouldnít IM her- she NEVER IMed me first. The next time she logged on, I would IM her, and I always kept the conversation flowing.

Homecoming arrived. I wore a blue shirt from Banana Republic that I still own to this day. She wore a black dress, with a pink band on the waist, she looked beautiful. I had my learnerís permit and insisted I drive to Kaitlynís home with my mother in the passenger seat and then from Kaitlynís house to the restaurant. Needless to say my mother was not thrilled with this decision, but it made for a memorable ride; one in which Kaitlyn laughed as I got scolded. That was another thing about Kaitlyn in my life, she made me happier. My relationship with my mother became stronger and less parent and more of a friendship-I think I understood the feelings I was experiencing and wanted to show I treated my mother well as could treat Kaitlyn.

This attitude was always on my mind and it remained with me the rest of the evening. I packed into a pickup truck and headed to prom and had the intention of asking Kaitlyn to by my girlfriend. This story has many ďsignsĒ as I like to call them and another happened this very night. I was in the ďbig brotherĒ program in high school. At first, it was an attempt to meet younger girls entering the high school (I know what you are thinking), and I ended up sticking with it. Now, for the 2003 year, I was responsible for the Ms. There was a girl by the name of Anna and she was very attractive. As it turns out, Anna found me at this dance while Kaitlyn was away and had asked me to dance. Now, this was extremely rare of a Freshman to ask a Junior to dance; however, to say yes was not even an option. I was there for a reason and the very next song (which the slow one I was waiting for) came on and we began to dance. Now, this is supposed to be a love story, but I cannot tell you the name of that song- all I kept thinking about was the words that were going to come out of my mouth and the fact that I was the luckiest man in that room. That is the funny thing about things like that, I can remember the song that was playing when my middle school crush was dancing with another boy at the 7th grade dance, but I canít remember the song I danced to with my girlfriend in the first minute of dating. Oh, by the way, Kaitlyn said yes.

Chapter 5 Does she love me back?

My friends have always described me as the guy who ďloves being in love.Ē I do love being in love, and do you know why? Because it is the most euphoric feeling that one can ever experience; more potent than any drug and more powerful than any force. Sure, there were highs and there were lows, but the highs never brought me so close to the moon and the lows were small prices to pay for the highs that served as rewards.

I wasnít sure Kaitlyn liked me as much as I liked her; and this will become a theme throughout this tale, but looking back, something happened in high school that never had before. Kaitlyn was not a very emotional girl, and I think that was reflective in the way she was raised and the attitudes of her parents. However, one night when I was volunteering at safe rides (I may have joined a club to chase girls, but I joined safe rides because I did not drink and I thought it would be fun while at the same time provide my peers with safe rides home after they had been drinking). Well, one evening I get a call and I pick up an old flame and her friends. Now, I told my mother, as well has Kaitlyn that I would not drive that night, but I told some fibs to my mother and I did not think it would be an issue to Kaitlyn. Well, it turns out it was a big deal-she heard I drove those girls home and she became furious with me. It was then that I realized maybe this was something special- maybe the caring was mutual and maybe I had found what I had been searching for, for years.

This was one of very few fights in the first few months of dating. We just did not fight. We saw each other everyday, and we saw each other once a weekend. Whether it was the movies, dinner, or both, we had fun and we had fun together. The feelings I felt picking her up for dates was the most joyous feelings I have ever felt. I never wanted to let her go, and I wanted to tell her how I felt, but I couldnít.

Chapter 6 Hooking up is hard to do

My mission in high school was to gain some experience with women. I felt relatively un-experienced compared to my peers and I always felt pressure to change this. With Kaitlyn, that wasnít really an issue. I often think to other girls who I have been with and there was always pressure; pressure to be ďgood.Ē Granted, we were both young and being ďgoodĒ was clearly not an option, but with her everything felt easy. It all happened at the appropriate time and in the appropriate circumstances (well for the most part-we did have some unexpected fun).

I remember one of the first times we were making out; I had gum in my mouth because I did not want my breath to smell bad. While kissing, the gum accidently fell out of my mouth and into her hair. We couldnít help but laugh and franticly try to get it out with my mother, while attempting to explain exactly what had happened. This is one of my fondest memories.

Chapter 7 Love

I had been planning my ďI love youĒ for months. I rationalized I would wait at least 6 months before I unleashed the big three words. However, different things were happening. People were beginning to have sex (including her sister). We were at a party and we learned of this information and Kaitlyn asked me if I was upset we were not having sex. Of course I was not upset in the least, I was honestly just happy to be with her. But this is how things happen, peers often dictate the pace of things and this situation happened with us.

Shortly after learning this information, I said I love you for the first time, and we did have sex for the first time, but the circumstances were not story book. Kaitlyn had a couple of admirers in high school, as did I. But I was an extremely jealous individual. I think it was more of fear of loosing this great girl than anything-no matter how I justify it, it was wrong and it often caused many arguments. Nonetheless, there was this younger guy named Kevin. He was in her class and before coming to my house one evening, Kaitlyn informed me she took her sister to get some dessert at a local place where Kevin worked. I was not thrilled to say the least, but I attempted to let it go. Later in the evening, Kevinís friend Hugh called Kaitlynís cell phone and it sparked a huge fight. I was nervous she liked him, and I even suspected her of cheating. After realizing I was wrong and overreacting and I told her I loved her to fix it-it was not the picture perfect release I had been dreaming of, but she said it back and we then continued to express that physically . I do not think I will ever have such an awkward morning again. The next day we went to play tennis and I do not think we spoke much for the first few hours. Looking back, it was quite comical and innocent-that was my girlfriend who I loved, I was happy- she beat me that day, she always did, she was the captain.

Chapter 8 Family Ties

I donít think my dad ever linked Kaitlyn. In fact, my best friend NEVER liked Kaitlyn, and it was he who got me into some trouble with her. Yes, I was in love, but I was still a 16 year old boy. When I first had sex, I wanted to tell all my friends, I wanted to be part of the club. Kaitlyn did not share this idea and forbid me to tell anyone. I told.

I told my friend Brian first because I knew he would keep the secret, and Kaitlyn seemed OK with this so I dodged a bullet. Still, every morning of that summer during football training my best friend Dean would hound me about the issue. Is he knew Kaitlyn came over the night before he would ask if I had gotten laid and I had to say know every day for about 3 months.

I should probably first take a step back, Kaitlyn did not want anyone to know because in her mind, she believed everyone would know and somehow it would get back to her parents. This was not a ridiculous theory because our town tends to absorb as much gossip as possible and spread it around. In order to keep our sex lives secret, I had to purchase condoms in the town over from us in order to avoid seeing familiar faces at the local supermarket or CVS. Further, I had to dispose of these condoms outside of my own home (which was also so my parents wouldnít find out). I did this my placing them in socks and disposing the socks in various garages throughout town. I look back and laugh at this behavior because it was comical, slightly gross, and typical of a young couple in high school.

Back to the story, one day I cracked- I told my friend about what had happened and I told Kaitlyn what I had done. She was furious and I was convinced she was going to break up with me (she threatened she would if I told anyone). However, we got passed it- life resumed, our relationship resumed and I fell more in love with my girlfriend.

Chapter 9 Warning Signs

Young high school kids often here the phrase ďShe/He likes you more than you like her.Ē I am sure not many people have actually heard there long term girlfriend say that to them; I have. During the Fall of 2004, it was college time. I did not want to go to college. Well, let me clarify, I knew I was going to college, I had great grades and was very focused on academics; however, I just did not want to leave high school. I loved high school; to this very day I loved high school. I had everything I wanted- I had great friends and a great girlfriend and everyday I was satisfied the way life was going. I wanted no part of change. My mother would sit me down in the family room with 20 envelopes of various colleges and an enormous book that rated these schools among various categories. Kaitlyn even made me a book with schools that I might be interested in (I should have taken that as a sign of kicking me out the door).

Kaitlyn was very intelligent. I may have assisted her in her writing assignments and helped her study for classes, but she put me to shame on the SATs. She had so much potential and not only was she intelligent, she was beautiful and personable. She applied to 13 colleges; she could not wait to go. During one of our discussions at night we had the ďcollege talk.Ē She told me she thought it was best that we broke up when it was time to go away to school. I could not believe she was serious- night after night we would go back and forth about the issue and I would beg her to stay with me, to give it a shot and see where it goes-she refused. After some time, I decided I would continue to date her as if we had never had the conversation, maybe that way she would realize how much she cared for me and she would want to stay together. I continued to take her out, tell her how much I loved her- to no avail. She would go on trips to visit colleges. I remember once she went to Notre Dame (her dream school) and she went out drinking for one of the first times. To this day, I am convinced I was having a panic attack- I could barley breathe and I was sweating profusely. I will never forget that night.

Things during the year were relatively good though. We fought and I had my jealous suspicions about her cheating on me- with Kevin, the guy who she visited at work before she came to my house, or Tommy, the older kid she visited at Notre Dame, or even Greg- the kid she met at a conference in D.C. Now, I am being extremely unfair because in her defense- I was very jealous and concerned, but as the story continues on, the reasons for my assertions may not be completely unwarranted.

Chapter 10: The Break-Up

I took her to her friendís house the night before she left.

Let me give you a background on these friends of hers. Kaitlynís friends were fairly reserved- not the most popular kids in high school (not that makes any difference, but I feel that they always resented me). Now, she always claimed that they did not like me because I took her away from them. This may have been a valid claim because my friends said that Kaitlyn took me away from them as well. This was true, but the point was I did not care. I did not care how much time I spent with my friends because I had different priorities, and I thought Kaitlyn did too. This information was not revealed to me until after college commenced but it is still something I think about. I treated Kaitlyn well, and I would always invite her out with me and my friends, but she never came because her parents were so strict and she felt obligated to honor her parentís wishes and become the ďgoodĒ child. So it is my contention, that she wouldnít have been partying much with her friends anyway. And another thing was I was always nice to everyone- I did not act above any of her friends and I spent time with them when she asked.

Back to the story- I took her back to my house briefly to say our goodbyes and then I drove her back to her house. I felt like I wanted to throw up the entire night, and as I said goodbye, I easily classified it as the worst day of my life- I lost the person who I cared most about, spent the most time with, and shared so many memories with. I called her the next morning to make sure she was awake; we spoke a little bit during the first month or so, but not much. My birthday was the worst birthday in years- my girlfriend was gone to school (single), my friends were all at school, and I was standing in front of my cake with my family surrounding me, almost in tears.

Chapter 11: College

So, I went to college. I attended the University of Connecticut in Storrs, Connecticut and she attended Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.

I hated the first months of school- I actually spent it hanging out with a couple of Kaitlynís friends in High School- that didnít help matters. I brought her up a lot, and I started drinking (I had not been a drinker in high school). I drank a significant amount on the weekends and tried to hook up with any girl who would have me- it was pathetic and I consider it a relatively low point in my life. I considered transferring numerous times to a ďbetterĒ school. I thought if I went to a prestigious, expensive school I would be able to impress Kaitlyn and her family and she would take me back- I was lost, there is no other way to describe it.

Fortunately, I met great friends. We had a group of about 10 guys. We went to the gym together, had class together, ate together, went out together, and played intramural sports together. I finally began to embrace college and everything it had to offer. I still drank and I still went out trolling for girls, but it became fun; it made other things not seem so bad. There were nights I got upset, in fact, I spent almost every drunken night fighting with Kaitlyn on the phone for hours. I spent additional nights fighting with her during the week at my computer. This is why people need friends- they were always there to pick my up off the ground. There were nights when they would find me at my computer crying, but we still remained friends and they tried to help me the best they could. I will say that the person who helped me most was my best friend from home, Dean. I think him, as well as my other friends from home were in similar positions in life. We had it all in high school, and most of us went to large schools- schools where not everyone knew your name, schools were you were no longer considered the best looking group of guys- it is arrogant to speak this way, but there is truth to it. We were just a couple of guys at a huge university, I was in Connecticut and he was in Virginia. He would talk to me many a nights and try to help me out- he heard my story over and over again and never failed on being there for me- I do not think I could have made it through without him.

Chapter 11: Betrayal

I became better over the months; I tried to find girls I could date, girls I envisioned a future with. I would find girls in class and try to strike up conversations. I was not very successful, but I was putting myself out there and I was trying.

Despite this minor progress, I still talked to Kaitlyn- and if there is one thing I have learned in life and love, it is never ask for information that you do not want to hear. I would ask her about guys she was hooking up with and I would ask about guys she liked. I would terrorize until I actually received the answer, and then I felt even more miserable. On one of these particular evenings, I found out she had a new boyfriend. I will never forget his name- Daniel Ryan from Pennsylvania, and his major was pre-medicine.

We bickered and bickered and on New Yearís eve we had a drunken conversation for hours in which she revealed she missed me and how much she wished I was with her. I was startled by this conversation, but elated at the same time. The months that followed were not the same, and the fighting slowed down.

Now, despite the fighting and bickering which continued well into the first few months of her relationship with Dan, I held my own. I was still having fun and I was doing well in school. I lived life with a chip on my shoulder; maybe I was not the perfect guy, who grew up in Connecticut and was the son of a couple of yuppies, but I prided myself on being the boy from the Bronx who worked hard and it paid off. I never had anything handed to me on a silver platter and I certainly never had a ton of money lying around to go to a fancy school. There is something to be said for a man who makes his own luck- my father did it and brought us to a beautiful home and life in Connecticut and I have always had a dream of taking it a step further and doing the same for my family. Call it jealousy; I call it pride.

It was this same pride that led me to believe I could get Kaitlyn back. Now, as you may recall, I had brief suspicions that Kaitlyn may have strayed when we were together (not real suspicions, but some). Spring break was approaching and Kaitlyn and I had been speaking in a non-malicious manner. She had mentioned coming to UCONN to visit a couple of her friends. Of course, I was ecstatic- I could not sleep or eat as I waited her final decision. Then, finally the time had come- she was on campus and I picked her up at her friendís dorm. We decided to take a walk to my dorm room- I had previously told my roommate he might have to sleep elsewhere for the weekend prior to her arrival, but I wasnít sure what would happen. There she was-in my room, my heart was racing. She was speaking, but I could not hear any words coming out of her mouth. I just wanted to kiss her, to hold her, just as I had months earlier. ďIf you donít tell anyone,Ē she said. That was all I needed.

This was a Wednesday; I picked her up from a friendís dorm room late that night and we spent the night together. She left the next morning, I missed her immediately. Now, I thought this may have been the last time I saw her, but lucky for me, she decided to come back Saturday. I told my roommate the news and set up a bed on the floor to create the illusion we werenít sleeping in the same bed. We went to a party that night, and walked back together; hand in hand. This may have been the happiest I had been in a while-it felt right, and it felt as if this could be the break I was looking for. She left that Sunday morning-I was sad, but a glimmer of hope remained with me. I will tell you that it did not last very long; I began to feel extremely uneasy and could not help but think she probably slept with Dan as soon as she returned to her school. I felt sick, I felt dirty.

Obviously, I was still in love so this feeling did not last for a lengthy period of time- I had a mission. I spoke with her frequently and as summer was approaching I had almost convinced her to break up with Dan. ďI am walking up to his room right now,Ē she said, and signed off the computer. This was it, I thought. I constantly called, I wanted to know the verdict, and I wanted her to come back to me. Unfortunately, they never broke up; she said I pushed her too hard and attempted to blame me for the fact that she did not break up with Dan and that we were not together. I was broken, I had given up.

Perhaps the hardest part about this whole situation was that I constantly heard from one of Kaitlynís friends that she could see herself marrying me. It was things like this that kept that glimmer of hope alive despite what Kaitlin did or said. I learned to suppress that hope, but I believed it has never completely left me.

Chapter 12: The New Girl

I had decided that I was going to date again. There was this girl in high school, her name was Giana. She was cute, outspoken, and I always took a few glimpses at her in the hallway. She was 2 years younger than me and had a crush on me in high school (nothing serious, just a crush). Well, one night I was at a party and I decided to retrieve her number and call her. A few weeks later, I called her yet again. I slyly apologized via instant message and used it as an opportunity to strike up a conversation.

Weeks went by and we would talk on line, and we even talked about going out on a date once I returned home from school. I believe I returned home from my freshman year of college on May 5, and on May 5 at around 7:00 I was outside Gianaís door to pick her up. She was wearing a white shirt and a jean skirt-she looked very pretty. I met her family and we went to a movie. I kissed her goodbye and left wondering if this was the next girlfriend. I own this movie, A Bronx Tale. There is a saying in it that a man is only allowed 3 great women in there lifetime; I truly think Giana was number 2.

I like to bet sports; so this analogy suits me well. When you look at two teams, one team may look better than another team ďon paper.Ē Well, ďon paper,Ē Giana was the perfect girl. She was smart, personable, sexy, and she was absolutely crazy for me. Unfortunately, that is not always enough.

We dated for 3 months- the physical chemistry was second to none, that was apparent from the very beginning. However, there was something missing for me. I made every effort to treat her as I treated Kaitlyn, and our relationship reflected that. I took her out to eat, to the movies, and we spent many weekend nights at my house watching movies. The one thing I included more in the relationship was going out with friends. I did this in an attempt to limit the harassment from my friends; but it was very difficult. Giana was a sweet girl, but girls donít like other girls, especially younger girls who they go to high school with, and my main group of friends had just graduated high school when I just finished my first year of college. Nonetheless, I prematurely said I love you to Giana, and shortly after I broke up with her.

Chapter 13 Kaitlyn, Again!?

It was around the time I broke up with Giana that I started speaking to Kaitlyn again. She came by my house one day, and we talked and talked, and I still do not know what the basis of the conversation was. I tried to kiss her, she I only received a small peck- she did not want to cheat anymore; it had caused her much heartache. Still, I could not figure out what she wanted with me; why was I always given a glimpse of opportunity and love, only for it to be taken away.

This would continue into my Sophomore year. Kaitlyn was home for fall break and we went out for a drive. My aunt was not home so I parked in her driveway and Kaitlyn and I spoke about us being together for hours; we kissed, we talked, nothing was accomplished- she went back to school.

The semester was flying by, I was talking to Giana again, I was still talking to Kaitlyn, and I did not know what I wanted. However, Thanksgiving rolled around and I found myself out to lunch with Kaitlyn once again. We went to the mall, and on the way home, she had spoken words she never had before. She told me she did not have any feelings for me anymore and she wished I would just forget about her and I having a future. Again, the throw-up feeling. I thought I had gotten punched in the stomach, the wind was knocked out of my lungs, and I couldnít breathe. I got in my own car and went home. I donít think I was capable of shedding anymore tears; or maybe I just was not that surprised. Kaitlyn and I stopped speaking.

Chapter 14: Giana Returns.

Sophomore year of college was intolerable to say the least. I had just broken up with a seemingly perfect girl in Giana, only to be rejected by my high school girlfriend. To make matters even more disturbing, I slept with a friend of mine the first night back at school in an attempt to shield all of the anger/loneliness. She was a good friend, and I took advantage of that for my own personal gain.

In addition to my own questionable actions, I became increasingly apathetic towards life. My grades were slipping and my roommate choice was beginning to be more of a nightmare than a promising decision to help bring me out of my funk. My two roommates Brent, and Zack were very good friends of mine, but Zack became intolerable to life with as the semester went on. Constant verbal harassment led me deeper into my apparent depression- that and leaving the television on while I was trying to sleep, and other little annoyances led me to despise my roommate (I am great friends with him today- goes to show you, sometimes you cannot live with some people).

As a result of these events, my grades started to slip and I started calling Kaitlyn again for advice, and when she was not available, I would often turn back to Giana. I even attempted going back to church in order to subdue my demons. This was how the semester carried on- I ended up finding a girl who lived in my building who was very into me, but she seemed extremely dramatic and the thought of dating her continually disinterested me. This led to one of many behaviors that I never saw myself doing. I had made out with her on a Thursday night, and went home on a Friday and slept with Giana- and out of guilt I told Giana. My buddy and I have a phrase when these sorts of instances happen- it means you are ďin a dark placeĒ and I certainly was- I finished the semester with a 3.6, my lowest GPA since one semester in high school).

So to welcome in the New Year (2007) I asked out Giana- of course I have been drinking- which has been the root to ALL of my problems, but that is a topic I would like to address later. We hung out a great deal during the break, but when it was time to go back to college, I did not want anything official, because I was still uneasy about her. There is this thing in the pit of your stomach; some may call it a gut- and my gut was always telling me Giana may not be the right person, but I always kept at it. Unfortunately, another part of my anatomy led me to deceit as I went out one of the first weekend back to school and hooked up with Kim - a fellow Ridgefield girl whose locker had been next to mine in high school. I called Kaitlyn immediately after to gain some support- knowing she had been in the cheating arena not so long ago in which case her boyfriend had been the victim and I the accomplice to the treachery. She just laughed- the next thing I could think to do was to call Giana and confess. In all my life, I never considered myself a cheater and I guess the only way I thought to vindicate myself was to confess immediately. To make matters worse, she was away with her mother that weekend who definitely heard the entire conversation. I felt awful, but to my surprise the next weekend Giana was willing to forgive me. We spoke often, and during my road trip to NC before returning home for spring break, we decided to give it another try. It was very odd going to see her parents again, but it eventually passed and we had a surprisingly smooth relationship; I went home often and she came up often. I think part of the reason I was able to get past all this was because she had awful boyfriends in the past. I was upset I was proving to be not much better, but I knew as a person, I could certainly try to make it up to her. It may have been that and a combination of me knowing how much she cared for me- to this day, I cannot totally shake the torment I put her though and the love I took advantage of- she is the nicest person I have ever met to this day and many times I do miss her.

Not all of my actions were completely unwarranted; Giana did things that made me uneasy- partially when she came to upon and practically forced me to say I love you- it was fine, but it led to a whole drawn out conversation in which she prevailed. And despite all my uncertainties, I actually cried when Giana told me she was most likely going to attend the University of Miami- what if I held her back from her dreams because of my Jekyll and Hyde attitude. To this day I cannot decipher if I made the right decision and I wonder if I had never met Kaitlin, or if I had gotten my head straight in time that I would have been able to appreciate the gift God presented me in Giana- I guess I will never know but one day I would love to find out.

The relationship was strong- it lasted into the summer- I went away with Giana and her family to Cancun and felt like a son- her dad even made a remark ďmaybe some dayĒ to the helped at the hotel resort. I went to Thanksgiving festivities, Christmas and New Years festivities. I was basically in the family. But it all seemed too much, I wanted to be with my friends a lot more, and I think I began to resent her for having me come to these family events- and I shouldnít have. Then my accounting career became the major catalyst for the events that would shake up my entire life. I was doing well in accounting and gaining somewhat of a reputation in the department as I was accepted into the honors program and committed to write a thesis. I was selected to compete in an auditing competition. At first, I did not ant to compete but when I saw there was prize money, I decided to take a chance. This is where I met Carly. She seemed bitchy at first, but the more time I spent with her, he crazy, care free attitude led me to take an interest in her. She was fun, good looking, and smart- perfect package. Giana suspected this early, and became particular concerned when I had a party with my team to celebrate out accomplishments (we won first place in NYC and earned a trip to Scottsdale, AZ). It was at this party I was flirtatious with Carly and invited her to stay over (I like to think I would not have been unfaithful again- but it didnít matter because she didnít stay). It was at spring weekend the same year that I told Giana I had wanted to hook up with Carly- again, brutal honesty in a dismal attempt to make up for my horrible thoughts and my uncertainties. But still, Giana stayed with me and I came home for school- I was preparing to begin my internship with a prominent accounting firm.

Chapter 15 The Summer that had so much promise

I had a feeling my first day of the internship was going to be special- but I was also dreading it. See, about a year and a half prior, I had attended a national leadership conference for my future firm. We had a dinner prior to leaving for this trip and we met students from the area who were also going on the trip. One of these students was Dina. I did not speak to her the whole night, but she may have been the most beautiful girl I had seen since I first laid eyes on Kaitlyn at the age of 15. I was shocked by her beauty and I never really thought about her after that.

I never thought about her until prior to arriving in Hartford that day. She walked in the door and she came up to us and we had the preliminary conversation of asking which offices we all were going to intern at. ďStamford,Ē she said. I immediately gained an enormous amount of excitement and anxiety- I feared the end of Gianaís and my relationship was getting near. I looked awful that day- my contacts were bothering me and I was forced to wear my glasses. Nonetheless, I held some conversations with Diana and it became quite apparent to everyone in the room that I was flirting with her. She immediately IMed me on our office communication system, which put me in an even worse position. I mentioned I had a girlfriend- almost to justify to her, and myself, that nothing was going to go on. I could barely even talk to Giana at night because I had so much guilt; so much shame- saying ďI love youĒ was like pulling teeth. After only 5 days of speaking with Dina, I had made my decision. I had not returned Gianaís calls and had snuck off to the gym when I returned home from training. The gym was a bad location, Giana also happened to be there on that Friday afternoon and I had anxiety disturbing my every thought. Finally, I had to take her outside; for the second time, I saw her cry and cry and I almost let it go and continued to stay with her- until I seemed to have spun it in such a way that she became furious with me- she became angry, decided she wanted to break up and stormed off in rage. I was sad- but I was relieved.

Work started off well; I slowly worked my way with Dina. It was like I was 15 again and in high school. I was starting with all the old line, with some new, mature ones of course. I spoke with her on-line, spent time with her at office events, and even was as bold to friend her on Facebook- and IM her on line (I know- it was desperate, but I had not felt this excitement in years and I had to capitalize). She was a tough one, I would often get angry with her actions or if she was being cold, and the minute I would ignore her, she would be the aggressor- the one to IM me. I was inadvertently playing my cards perfectly. I finally mustered up the courage to ask her to dinner one night after work. I made sure it was a Thursday so that I would not intervene in weekend plans and I made sure it was in Stamford, where she worked so that she would not have to travel anywhere. With the help of my parentís friends, who were Stamford natives, I chose a place and picked Dina up at the office. Of course, I never went out in Stamford before and finding the place was an adventure, but I played the cute card to the best of my ability. We spent the whole time talking- I had never met a girl who talked as much as she did and I did enjoy it- she was interesting, and did I mention, gorgeous?

We went to some of the concert held in Stamford that night and we walked, and talked for hours. I was fearful the date was being drawn on but I did not want it to end. Soon, she decided she wanted to head home and I dropped her off at her car- no kiss, but I was satisfied with the overall date. The frustration continued and I was unsure of when to ask her out again, if at all. Finally, arranged for me to go pick her up and go out in her town. I was looking forward to this all day and I was about to step out the door for the date when I received a message from her saying that she had gotten caught up packing and she could not make it for our date that night. I was upset, and what made matters worse was that I had to explain this to my parents- who knew I had a date. I still hold to this day, if you have something important going on, never make a big deal out of it, and NEVER tell your parents. Never tell anyone for that matter, but donít tell you parents because if they are like mine, they judge. They judge girls who make decisions like that because they would never cut off a date so soon before it was going to take place and they are right, but it still makes you feel bad, and itís going to put the girl in an awkward position if anything ever matriculates.

Now, I had mentioned that the gym was where I broke up with Giana. Well, Kaitlyn also attended this gym and we began to talk. I was spotted once conversing with Kaitlyn by Gianaís friends and received looks that I thought at the time would burn a hole right through my soul- that never happened, but another magical thing happened at that gym- Kaitlynís charm (or corrupt persuasion). She had mentioned that she was on a break with her boyfriend and I really did not make any big deal out of it- until the night that Dina cancelled on me. See, on that particular night, I was pre-gaming at my friendís house when I received a message from Kaitlyn that she was all alone in her house and she was scared because there were thunderstorms. She was reluctant to have me come over, but I paid my friend 20 bucks to drive me to her house. She let me in, we talked and although I had been drinking, I remember her saying ďhe (her bf), doesnít love me like you loved me.Ē It was a great feeling to be back in that house, back in her arms. She did not sleep with me that night, but we did hook up, and she refused to let me sleep in her bed, which I found strange. She made me breakfast in the morning and dropped me off at my friend deans house the next morning. He was furious because he had been the one to help me pick up the Kaitlin pieces in the past and he had a sense deep down that this summer romance wasnít going to last. In fact, he wasnít the only one- I knew my parents would share a similar feeling and that is why I kept this secret hidden for weeks, until I eventually had to explain my sudden Sunday night disappearances to walk with Kaitlyn in town to walk her puppy. Now, despite the doubts in my mind and the constant begging for Kaitlin to hang out with me, I was the happiest I had been in a very long time. I should have seen more of the signs though: she kept talking to her ex boyfriend, she would constantly defend him, she even ran into him in the city one night and he slept where she did (although now I suspect she slept with him), and she refused to see me, tell her family anything about our fling, or refuse to attend my family events. Despite all of this, I was smitten again. We talked all day at work, we went out to dinner, shopping, we even spent the night in the city at deans aunts place after he accepted her back into his good graces . The strange thing about all of this was that while having sex the first few times, she would ask if I loved her, request that I say it. She would often discuss our future together, until half way through the summer she said I was not allowed to continue that and would get very mad when I discussed the future. As the summer ended, things got worse- we got each other birthday gifts, but my birthday was the last time we were us, the next day we both went back to school- later to hear from her via a phone call that it was a mistake and she did not like me- further, at the end of my senior year, she told me she never wanted to speak to me, be a friend, etc. I had been hurt before, but this time it did not hurt as bad, I had senior year ahead of me (which turned out to be one of the best semesters) and somewhere in the back of my head I expected it. It hurt much later on- when the fun was over and I was once again alone.

I guess I cannot blame her entirely. I have felt that uncertainty and did many things to overcompensate. I used sex with Giana to mask my annoyances and uncertainties and I suspect Kaitlin did with me. I even told Giana I loved her when I wasnít sure- as Kaitlin did with me. Yes, Kaitlyn was awful, but arenít I awful? Arenít we both the same person? I guess what bothered me the most was she had her boyfriend back- I lost Giana and the thing was, I didnít really want to be with her. Kaitlyn treated me bad, and got the guy back in the end. In the grand scheme of things, fairness is a whole other topic of debate, but it can still bother me and make me feel bad, and it does.

Chapter 16: Is this me?

I entered my Senior Year, guns blazing. I hung out with a large group of guys with one goal for each and every night- girls. I went out every weekend, got drunk and tried to hook up every single night. Prior to my senior year I had only slept with 3 women in my life, at the end, I had reached 8. I was having fun and I was putting the past as far behind me as I could- except with the drunken messages to Kaitlyn that occurred on Thursday, Friday, and sometimes Saturday night. One thing my girlfriends did leave behind was paranoia. I got STD tested many times, and spent a great deal of money doing it. I am glad I am no longer continuing those ways. But, as one may expect, the first semester came and went, and I graduated early so that I could study for my CPA exam.

Now, up until this point, you may be looking at me as Joe Romeo the love sick child, but what about Joe Romeo the man. Well, I was a very hard working individual. Upstairs, there was a lot of emotion running around, but work calmed me down, I was raised to work hard and I developed this expectation that I would get the best grades and be the best at what I did. I graduated Magna Cum Laude with over a 3.8 GPA and I had solidified a job for the following fall with one of the top accounting firms in the country.

If this were a book about time management, homework, and determination, it would be a much happier, less interesting story.

Anyway, remember Carly, the blonde? Well turns out after our little flirtatious moment that night, we spoke as friends, and like me, she had dated a kid from work over the summer, and to my disappointment, kept dating this kid well into senior year. I had really thought I could go after her after Kaitlin had left me high and dry and I was not so happy once I found out she was still with the work kid. I was even less happy when I discovered she hooked up with a long time friend of mine, a friend who could have any girl he wanted. But, this was how my life was turning out- I canít complain really because she is a great friend, but I seemed to be collecting all these friends that were girls instead of girl friends. Nevertheless, we had a great time senior year and remain close friends.

As I stated earlier, senior year came and went and turns out, I passed all of my CPA exams and even met someone who I least expected.

Chapter 17: Remember me?

I worked at Stop & Shop for a good portion of my life, and in my travels there I hooked up with this girl named Aria, she was nice, Italian, and certainly a wild card, as they say. She had had sex young, got involved with drugs, and came from a troubled family life. I pursued her one winter just because I was young, and thought I could steal her from the kid she was currently dating, which I did (not to gloat). Anyway, she IMed me one night when I was home in Ridgefield before a CPA exam. She had said she was heading up to UCONN one night and would like to see me. Out of curiosity I said yes, and I went out night to meet her at the bar. When she made it outside, she was with, who I thought was her boyfriend at the time, but she said they had a relationship where they were free to hook up with other people. I thought this was a little strange but I kept talking to her during the weeks before my next trip home.

She was a strange one, and what made her even stranger was that she told me about all of her past- everything from drugs, to boarding school, to her tattoos, old boyfriends. It was almost as if she was getting it all out there so that we could start fresh and that was fine with me. She even said on multiple occasions she did not want to go far with me because she liked me; and despite all of her craziness, I liked her as well. She was fun, she was nice to me, and she gave the best BJ I have ever received. But, NOT to my surprise, she stopped talking to me once my friend Dean told her to stop if she wasnít that serious about me- which I guess she wasnít because she became cold, went away with her quasi boyfriend and then a month went by before I spoke with her again. However, she did come back, as they all do and we talked everyday, hung out, and had a great trip to the Bronx Zoo and I even slept with her the first time that night. Now, I am not a huge believer in signs, but I was awful that night- my parents were home and it was just awkward, one of my worst performances ever. The next day we stopped speaking and I really havenít heard from her since.

Chapter 18: Life Goes On

So now what? I am 22 years old, I still live at home, and I have one friend in town who works 7 days a week and it not as motivated as I am to go out and find women. I have a great job, drive a Mercedes, and think I am still fairly good looking.

I yearn for the days I felt alive, I miss the days when I pursued girls and they pursued me. I still regard high school as the happiest days of my life, but as I continue to reflect, I was really happy when I was pursuing Dina and Aria too. My friends have always said I love being in love, and I do. I donít understand who wouldnít. A girl shouldnít define you, but its night at home, alone that make you want to have someone. And the last few times I said Kaitlyn, yes my anxiety levels crept to high levels and yes, I wanted to talk to her, but I stopped. I donít know if I could ever forgive her, I donít know if she ever even loved me and I think that hurts the most. I dream about her most nights, and not dreams where there is lust involved but dreams where we are just talking, just being friends, just being us. I donít understand how a guy like her boyfriend retained her after all heís been though- I guess it could have been me too; I would have gladly stayed with her. There is something about her that is so loveable, but yet so mean and cold- it is very confusing. I stay away from her now, the texts have slowed down and I avoid places in town where she could be, if I were to see her with her bf (as I did at my brothers graduation) I donít think I can handle it. I hope I meet someone new soon. I hope I can wake up one day and just be happy- and I am happy now but I mean wake up with a big fat smile because I have someone who loves me.

Jason Alden: The Truth

Tell em all Iím on vacation,

Say I went to visit friends,

That you ainít heard or seen from me in quite a while,

When they ask you where Iíve been,

Tell em Iím out on the west coast where it donít ever rain,

And that Iím probably doing fine,


Just donít tell em Iíve gone crazy,

That Iím still strung out over you,

Tell em anything you want to,

Just donít tell em all the truth,

Yeah donít tell em all the truth,

Tell em all Iím out in Vegas,

Blowiní every dollar I ever made,

Tell em that I must be into something bad for me cause,

I sure lost a lot of weight,

Tell em Iím out on the road with some old rock and roll band,

Living like a gypsy king.


The truth is that Iím asking you to lie,

And we both know that it ainít right,

But if you ever loved me please,

Have some mercy on me,

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,

Tell em anything you want to,

Just donít tell em all the truth,

Yeah donít tell em all the truth,

I still need you,

Yeah thatís the truth,

I still love you,

Baby thatís the truth.


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