One month. And three days after the bonfire from hell.
college bliss was actually hell.
using my degree.
lonely I looked for his face in crowded places.
have anything figured out, let alone my feelings.
between two tall, dangerous, and handsome men – times two.
me how to survive trauma, proved things aren’t what they appear, and no matter
how much I didn’t fall head over heels he was always there for me.
taught me how live.
taught myself how to love.
to be able to take away my growth, my bravery, or my comfort again. Oliver or
not – I was standing on my own.
wait to leave Amherst, to only return a few years later as a professor at my
fire from hell acted like a bomb, detonating and throwing us all different
struggling to find our way back to each other while juggling life, love, sex,
a dad, but something was missing – Layla.
started my heart when we first met in college, lighting it on fire and branding
her name until she run away when things got messy. My son, Arsen, stoked the
fire in her absence.
always mine and it was time to prove it.
is a charm.
always ran away from everything when he showed up. We couldn’t be in the same
room without one of us being crushed under the pressure.
“Don’t freak out.”
away with a rude hand gesture, taking her place in front me, blocking out most
of the room in my vision.
being overly dramatic. Relax. Hey… hey, look at me.”
into Hunter’s deep, dark eyes that were engulfing me. His hand was on my hip,
pulling me into him and making the whole room disappear with one kiss—one
simple kiss. His soft lips pressed against mine for only a minute before he
pulled away, while his hand still cradled my cheek.
moved my face closer into his palm, and took a deep breath, as he said to me,
“Be brave, Layla.”
against the railing, pulling me into him again. I looked up, trying to look
anywhere else, but I saw Caden’s arms wrap around Oliver, squeezing him. It was
like he hadn’t even seen his best friend in a while. I wondered if I wasn’t the
only one that Oliver had ghosted.
him in a dress that showed the world she was proud of her sexuality and not
scared of it—a floral print, short, tight number, paired with heels. Her body
still hid the secret of being a mom. The teal ends of her hair still enacted.
Her hand dropped to her side like their hug stole away her favorite accessory:
Oliver’s hand on her. I looked away to roll my eyes, not one insecurity to
my drink, putting the empty glass down on the table next to me. Without
permission, my eyes stole another look at Oliver… except, this time, he was
headed straight towards me.
out of my skin with all the anxiety and nerves pounding through my veins, but
Hunter’s arm around me kept me still. Too bad he couldn’t provide oxygen with
heard his voice say.
chin up in a silent acknowledgment of his presence.
second best, huh?” Oliver growled at him.
straighter; his face was casually morphing into pissed off. He leaned into
Oliver’s space, just to rub Oliver wrong the same wrong way. “I fucked your
baby mom in college and now Layla, bro. Who’s second?”
himself, leaning back again, smirking wildly in his triumph.
promptly, feeling too overwhelmed. Too many feelings I kept locked up were
flooding back. “I’m gonna get another drink.”
keeping up with the biggest strides I could take in the ridiculous heels I had
chosen to wear.
run away every time I’m in the room?”
the words he let leave his mouth, I spun around on my heel. “Yes, Oliver, I am.
Why do you care?” I cursed myself for the lack of gusto in my jab.
grew up in Florida scribbling down stories from a very young age. These stories
were really just wavy lines filling the paper, but she knew each word, each
emotion, each character’s name, and there was no tricking her into forgetting
what each line signified. Just like her unconventional way of writing as a
toddler Elena is setting her own rules and just telling stories.Much like her debut novel, The Best Years, life certainly imitated art.
Transplanting from the South to the East Coast, Elena currently lives in
Connecticut with her soon to be husband, reformed bad boy.
Find her on her social media through Twitter at @elenamonroe, Instagram at
@elenamonroewrites, Facebook at @elenamonroewrites, and more!