All she wanted was to be left alone.
When they finally got together, it was everything.
Explosive. Epic. Delicious.
And then he found his calling. The military.
And she was proud. And jealous. She wanted him home. With her. Not half-way around the world where their relationship was defined by quick calls, video chats, and letters.
She knew it was wrong. She knew it was crazy. She asked him to choose.
And he did.
Falling head-over-heels in love was the easy part. Sweet. Sexy. Good.
Loving a man who is always gone, deployed, and proud to serve his country takes courage and sacrifice.
All she wanted was for him to stay.
STAY WITH ME is a story told in parts. We’ll hope you’ll stay with us as the story develops, and we encourage you to share STAY WITH ME with your friends.
On a cold and rainy day in early March, I kept my head down against a steady diagonal downpour and my eyes trained on the slippery sidewalk. I couldn’t afford another tumble, since I was only now recovering from my last one. Never underestimate the trickery of black ice, which seems to be prevalent in this part of North Carolina in the winter.
By the time I reached Starbucks, I was soaked and looking forward to a salted caramel mocha. I rubbed my hands together in anticipation of feeling the warmth seep through the paper cup’s sleeve.
As I approached, a gray-haired English professor type held the door open, poorly shielding a tattered copy of Othello inside his tweed jacket. “It’s really coming down out there, huh?” His green eyes sparkled behind wire-framed gasses as he ducked against the rain, hurrying to a late model blue sedan parked nearby.
“Thanks,” I called after him, wondering where he was hurrying off to. He must be about to teach an evening class, I thought.
Inside, I scanned the room, looking for Becca, and stared at her a full minute before I recognized her wavy blond hair and bright blue eyes, always smeared with inches of liner and globs of mascara. She was with someone. I sighed, annoyed, though I should not have been surprised. This was supposed to be study time, not make-out-on-the-Starbucks-couch time. Then again, with Becca, every time was make out time.
I stalked over and slammed my laptop bag on the side table, trying not to laugh when they looked up at me, startled.
He had gorgeous blue eyes, a wicked tan, and sun-kissed hair. Typical type for Becca. Probably pre-med or pre-law, student council president, future-valedictorian, fraternity social committee chair, and on the football and lacrosse teams.
“Oh, hi,” he said, smiling and scooting back so Becca’s full-mouthed pouty expression was visible. Whoa. Nice smile. Him, not her.
“Didn’t you say four?” I demanded, trying not to be distracted by the hot boy. “I thought we needed to study for African Studies.”
“We do,” she replied, clearing her throat and reaching for the spring-themed cup on the table in front of her. “Why don’t you go get your mocha, and I’ll say my goodbyes to Barry?” She shot me a hurry-and-get-the-fuck-away look.
“Super,” I replied, hoisting my purse on my shoulder and heading quickly for the line to order. I didn’t know which was worst, how cute the guy she was with was or the guilt I felt for even thinking it. He was totally not even my type though, so no Girl Code broken.
“It’s too early in the day for that kind of thing.” Someone was standing behind me, and I hadn’t even noticed.
“Huh?” I spun around.
“Becca and Barry.” He motioned to where my roommate was sucking face with a guy. “They should get a room. Put us out of our misery. Let us drink our Sumatra in peace.”
The way he looked at me — self-assured, matter of fact, hot as fuck — unnerved me. He ran a hand through longish black hair as I did my best not to notice how long his eyelashes were.
“You know Rebecca?” My voice’s pitch was a lot higher than I wanted it to be. He was dressed in navy blue jeans, biker boots and a gray hoodie. The hi-fi noise cancelling headphones, wrapped around his neck like a scarf, told me he was serious about music. And his smile? Infectious.
“Yeah. She’s dating my roommate, Barry,” he offered. “You might know him as the guy currently trying to examine your friend’s tonsils.”
Over the noise of the late afternoon crowd, Becca’s giggles annoyed the crap out of me. She could be so immature at times or basically any time a cute boy was around.