Monthly Archives: November 2010

Checking Out.

In late October, Austin and I got into a pretty heated fight (big shocker, I know). He was coming into town for Thanksgiving the following month and I told him it would be a good time for us to meet each other’s parents—my mom was coming in town to cook with me and he was going to stay at his parents’ place in town.

He didn’t think it was a good idea, saying that his parents didn’t like meeting people on holidays or some load of complete bullshit. It really pissed me off that he would be in the same city as me, but wouldn’t be able to find time to see me, or if he did, it would be on his terms. Although it hurt my feelings, it really helped me put things into perspective.

I was casually seeing someone new, and slowly pushing Austin out of the picture. And then, he sent me a Thanksgiving card that was completely odd:


And have a great Thanksgiving!

Holly Ann,

I hope this card brightens your day! is that a smile on your face? Good! These past couple of weeks I have been thinking. I know you are going through a lot of stress right now, so I’m gonna try my best to be support for you rather than a headache! I’m also gonna stop asking questions about your future! See, now aren’t you happy? Well one main purpose of this card was to wish you a happy Thanksgiving. I hope you realize how lucky you are to have a friend like me. I hope you truly are thankful this Thanksgiving! Ha ha, I couldn’t help it! On a serious note, I want you to know that I am truly blessed to have someone like you in my life, you make me laugh on my shittiest day! That means so much to me. You also put up with all of my bullshit. OK, enough about me and how much better you are! I hope this card has brightened your day, made you laugh, made you cry, brought you down for a second only to lift you back up forever…wow that was pretty cheesy! As you can see, I need some help writing, maybe you can start proofreading my cards! Well have a GREAT day Holly, you are an amazing and extraordinary person!



When Thanksgiving actually came around, I didn’t see or talk to Austin despite us being in the same city. I spent time with someone new. Months passed and I distanced myself from Austin—the more time went on, I realized just how wrong he was for me, but I hadn’t had my moment of clarity just yet.

In early February, Austin told me he was coming to Baton Rouge on behalf of his job. They wanted him to represent their company at the LSU job fair. I thought it was cool that he would be in town, but a previous fight we’d had came to the surface—both times I’d been to Dallas, I paid for the flights by myself, which was fine, but I felt like he needed to visit Baton Rouge on his dime.

He said I was being petty, that he was coming in town to see me—but in reality, he was getting a free trip and he was coming in town to represent his job. Regardless, he asked if he could stay with me and I said it was okay. I was still bartending and had to work happy hour the day he flew in town. He made plans to meet me at the bar at 7p.m., and have a few drinks before I got off work.

That morning, I wasn’t excited to see Austin. I was worried I had made the wrong decision in agreeing to letting him stay at my house. I’d already slept with someone new, who I really liked, and I didn’t want to mess that up. I didn’t even know if I wanted to see Austin at all.

But I kept my word, decided to face my demons, and go to work. Before I knew it, 8 o’clock rolled around and no word from Austin. He was an hour late. I still had one more hour of work left, so I kept at it.

But my mind started buzzing and before I knew it, my blood was boiling. This was a perfect example of everything our relationship had been since it’s beginning. Everything was always on Austin’s watch, no matter what. I was done. I was sick of being treated like shit, being second best to everything. I stared at the door, praying he wouldn’t arrive. When happy hour ended, I counted my drawer as fast as I could.

“On my way, don’t leave,” he texted.

Two hours late, and that’s what he had to say? I grabbed my purse, my coat, and ran to my car, hopped inside and sped home like a bat out of hell. He didn’t know where I lived, so once I pulled onto my street, I breathed a sigh of relief. I got inside my apartment, locked the doors, and sat in my bed laughing my ass off.

It was the greatest moment I’d felt in all of dating breakups. I’d finally felt the light switch. Austin called and texted me all night, to which I didn’t answer or respond. He was at the bar, with his suitcase, and nowhere to stay.

When my friends heard the story, they thought I was a little mean. But I didn’t care. Austin had treated me like shit for years and he finally got what was coming to him. With Austin, nothing I ever said resonated. So I had to show instead of tell. Keeping my mouth shut was the best thing I ever did for that relationship.

I didn’t talk to Austin for more than a year. One Sunday evening, he sent me a text message saying he wanted to talk. I was in love with someone else, doing great in my job, and had moved on. So, I agreed to talk to him.

We talked on the phone about our work and he asked me about my dating situation. I told him I was happy with someone new, and we’d been together for a year. Austin told me he just ended a six-month relationship with the woman he thought he was going to marry.

He told me this story, saying he went and dated a girl I told him to date—someone who didn’t cuss, was religious, didn’t drink, and wore clothes that covered her. They lived an hour away from each other, but spent every weekend together. Austin was ready to propose, so he took the last step—flying her to New Orleans to meet his family.

He was excited for her to see all of the things he loved about New Orleans: the food, the music, but most of all, the booze. But when the plane landed, she had other things in mind. She pulled out a list of antique stores and old plantation homes she wanted to visit. So that’s what they did. She even took Austin to get his photo taken, dressed in old clothing, her holding a parasol.

When it came time to visit Austin’s New Orleans, the French Quarter, she didn’t dance, she didn’t drink. Austin said he thought of me.

“We used to just laugh, Holly. We had fun. And she didn’t make me laugh,” he said.

Austin wanted a second chance. But I told him no, and offered him the best of luck finding someone just like me.


Broken People.


Hey you! Just wanted to say thanks for another great weekend. I have fun with you whether we’re out or just at home…because you’re that cool. I’m looking forward to another visit soon. I know things might suck now but I am certain time will help in a decision that will be the best for the both of us.

Thanks again!

Love always,

Holly Ann

In late September, I cried for the first time in a while over a fight Austin and I had. The misery was like none other I had experienced. It didn’t necessarily hurt more or less—it was just different. A huge part of me felt hurt, broken, and lost because I really felt like I gave Austin my best. I felt like I really tried to be good for him and do things for him, but in the end, I still wasn’t good enough.

It wasn’t good enough.

The first time Austin and I broke up, he left me because he didn’t have time. He wanted to work more. He said there was a certain level of comfort there. But what I knew of our relationship was one of the most comfortable, real relationships I’d ever experienced. After we broke up, I don’t know what really happened. It was my first real feeling of hopelessness toward love. Somehow, I was able to recoup and grow and move on from Adam. Then, there was Austin, who at first I felt came out of nowhere and I asked myself if this was a good time—was I ready?

I fell for Austin, hard. He did not feel the same. When he told me it was over, I was at a loss. Within one year, love had failed me twice, or rather, I had failed it. My sarcastic, witty side became bitter and unpleasant. Austin and I didn’t talk and I started dating someone new despite Austin still making calls for some reason. He said he didn’t understand why I hated him so much, but I just couldn’t be his friend—we hadn’t been friends before.

How we got to this point I was not sure. I was desperately trying to understand it all, but finding that much of it was beyond me. I was trying to move on and remind myself that he just never saw what I could offer him, he never saw me and that’s why he told me to delete him. But he said he loved me. There were so many maybes and so many possibilities that I just couldn’t sort them all.

He knew I was hurting and he was still being stubborn and trying to hurt me.

It really hurt when Austin told me to delete him and it hurt when he told me it was my fault and it hurt when he told me “I suck.” I didn’t get why he felt the need to hurt me three times, why not just one or none? Part of me thought he felt like the only way he knew how to get my attention or to get me to talk was to make me so angry that I had to call him.

In October, I was feeling better about the Austin situation since we talked about things. When we talked, we never really got anything solved, but I learned Austin didn’t mean most of what he said and he was just trying to get a reaction out of me. There was still a lot to be fixed with us, but I didn’t think I needed to necessarily be talking to him to get myself through it. It really felt good just to get an answer and to have a say in the way things were going. To spread the blame more evenly, I thought of some things that were of some use:

There was obviously a major disconnect between the things Austin and I did, or thought we did, for each other. I couldn’t seem to understand or appreciate the things Austin did for me. And vis versa, which in turn, created a large problem.

Austin and I both had very different goals in life. Most of the time, those goals didn’t seem to involve each other or even things that connected with each other—work, location, children, religion.

I just had to learn, by staying busy, that I could and would get over it. By “it” I meant Austin. It was not even about finding someone better, it was just what was right for me. I really couldn’t worry about teaching Austin a lesson or trying to prove a point to him—it wasn’t going to happen. Just because it didn’t happen didn’t mean I did something wrong, it just wasn’t the type of person he was.

Austin claimed that we were “friends” and I’d wanted it to be that way. I wasn’t going to tell him we couldn’t talk or anything like that, I was just going to have to use my own judgement. I still hadn’t saved his number back into my phone and I was planning to keep it that way. I hoped we talked some, but it was going to be different.

And I was done with Dallas.

That Feeling.

Toward the end of July, I had a bit of a meltdown. I hadn’t really talked to Austin much since I got home from Dallas. So I assumed he would never talk to me again. Everything he was doing I was applying it to my fear and I finally broke down. I thought about what the fuck I would do without Austin. What if we never talked? I really didn’t think I could do that again. He was such a big part of my life—even though we were so far apart. He was my best friend.

So there I was, sitting on my couch, moping, thinking about how miserable I’d be without him. Finally we talked and we just hadn’t talked because he’d been really busy at work. When I’d explained how scared I was, he reassured me that would not happen.

I wanted to move on so bad, but my heart wouldn’t let me. I had so much built up baggage and I thought that  was why we fought. I was so terrified of getting close to him, it was like I went through all the motions, but I was scared to put my heart in it. I knew we could be good together if I just shook the fears.

But I didn’t have it all figured out yet.

It was mid-August. I was in Texas, at the airport, on my way to Los Angeles for the first time.

The week before my trip was a roller coaster, as several men from my past contacted me for random reasons. I got a job offer at Duvic’s bartending and Guess offered me a job also—I accepted both, but had yet to work out the details. I also had a shift in the way I felt for Austin and my thoughts on moving to Dallas.

Everything all started when my mom came to Baton Rouge to help me move. Angela sent me some texts saying she was depressed and that her parents felt moving to Los Angeles was a bad decision—that she shouldn’t go because she needs to stop screwing up her life. So I told my mom about it and she started freaking out, saying why does it matter because I shouldn’t be moving anywhere just to be with someone and I need to find a job and do my own thing. So of course then I was pissed because I couldn’t even explain my side to her. So I call the only person left: Austin.

Needless to say, he didn’t make anything better. He said to go with what my mom said because it’s more important what you do from 9-5 then what you do afterward. He said if there were people he knew in Dallas then he would be miserable because he works so much and would never get to go see them. Basically, right then I decided to stop looking for jobs in Dallas.

I thought after we saw each other he would take things more seriously—that if I moved to Dallas it wouldn’t be just for work, it would be for him. I felt like if I moved there, Austin would just be like, “oh cool there’s someone I know here.” It would be different if the opportunities there were the same as elsewhere, but they really aren’t—maybe in Austin, Texas but not in Dallas. I knew there’s PR anywhere, but not for music.

I started to notice Austin wasn’t hesistant to tell me about going out and the girls he met. I knew my next trip to Dallas needed to be my last. If I kept going there it was going to be harder to get away from Austin and his bullshit. I was trying to make him out to be someone he wasn’t. I really wanted to tell him why I stopped looking for Dallas jobs, but I didn’t think I’d ever get the chance, simply because we never had talks like that. But if he didn’t care—then he didn’t care—and I couldn’t make someone care. My only hope was that things in Los Angeles went well so I could at least work toward something.

I’d flown alone many times before, but never to a place where I didn’t know anyone. I’d never been further west than Chicago. I boarded my plane, headed to LAX, and felt pretty relaxed on the large flight. We even got a meal since the flight was so long.

But as we started to descend, when the captain said we would be arriving at LAX in 20 minutes, the truth hit me—I was flying into a city where I knew no one. No one would be there to pick me up, I’d be staying in the hotel alone.

Thankfully, my luggage was waiting for me and I caught a shuttle to my hotel, which was downtown. I remember riding on the shuttle with my mouth hanging open—I was in total awe of the sights, the actual city that I’d seen so much on TV and in movies, riding on the Pacific Coast Highway.

I arrived at my hotel, a beautiful Los Angeles landmark, checked in, and gawked at the view from the room. I could see the entire city. I called Josh, the person I was there to see in the first place, and he told me the plans for the night. I was to meet him in West Hollywood at the Knitting Factory to see a band he did PR for. The facts were settling in for him, too—”do you know where to go?” he asked.

“Umm, no, this is my first time here!”

He told me where to go and to meet him at 11. I left the hotel and went for a walk, grabbed some dinner before coming back to the hotel to get ready. I caught the metro, unsure of where to get off. I spotted a few young girls in a seat near me and told them where I needed to be.

“That’s our stop, too. We’ll show you.”

I wondered where they were going—they couldn’t have been older than 13, riding the Los Angeles metro late at night. I figured they were going to a friends’ house for a slumber party. We left the train, walked up some stairs, right onto Hollywood Blvd. I was stunned.

There were lights! Mann’s Chinese Theatre!

The girls spotted the Knitting Factory and walked me inside—now THIS was cool. I saw evidence of old LA, the punk side of it in the big hair and white denim on the club-goers. Immediately, Josh found me and introduced me to his wife. I ordered myself a drink, and the music started.

Everyone I met was wheeling and dealing, handing out business cards, and finding my situation very unique—girl from Indiana moves to Louisiana, comes to California alone.

By the time the concert was over, I’d missed the last train downtown, so Josh grabbed me a taxi and I had rousing conversation with the taxi driver as he took me back to my hotel. Once I made it inside, I crashed—it was 4am in Baton Rouge.

The next day, I was supposed to meet Josh fairly early at his office, back in West Hollywood. Of course, I got mixed up on the metro and arrived late. His office was on Sunset Blvd, where they were taping an episode of MTV’s “Next.” Josh took me to Playboy radio, where one of his clients was set to do an interview—I remember the tattoo on her arm: Jack Nicholson peering through a broken bathroom door from his famous scene in The Shining.

While the offices at Playboy radio weren’t anything glamorous, I was jealous of their jobs. Hosting shows an hour-long, then leaving for the day, only coming in wearing velour track suits. After the radio show, we hopped into Josh’s BMW, and headed over to eat lunch at a burrito shop, where we talked some.

When I left Josh’s office, I wandered around West Hollywood for a bit. It was my last night in California and I wanted to make the most of the next day. My last day in Los Angeles, I got a call from Duvic’s wanting me to work that night. I told them I was in California, and they made a date for my first night.

I took the metro back to Hollywood and did the Celebrity Homes tour, walked the Academy walk, checked out the Hollywood stars on the sidewalk, and went to Virgin Records. Then, I had to catch my flight back to Louisiana.


Before my trip to Dallas, Austin and I got into another fight. We talked on the phone one day when clearly, we should not have. He was being a dick because I didn’t call him when he wanted me to. So when I said I’d let him go so he could work, he got pissed. It made me remember why we broke up and why I wasn’t always happy during our relationship.

My plan was to ignore him the rest of the day, but of course I didn’t. I told him I was excited about my interview at Duvic’s the next day—a job I’d wanted for a long time—and he said, “Oh my God, why would you want to work there? It’s trashy.” I was starting to notice a trend with Austin that he couldn’t just be happy for me. So then I unleashed on him saying that I wasn’t even going to answer the phone because he was such a dick to me the day before.

He, naturally, claimed he wasn’t and that I needed to chill out because I was just being a bitch. I said I was sick of hearing him complain about how much he hated talking on the phone because if he didn’t want to call me then DON’T CALL ME! He said I should realize how much he wanted to talk to me since he still called even though he hated talking on the phone. I said I didn’t want him to do anything he didn’t want to do, so he said he’d let me go and that was the end of that.

At that moment, I decided to limit the amount of time I talked to Austin, and headed off to work.

A few days later, I was packed for my big move into a new condo with two of my friends. Although things with Austin continued to be rocky, I was packed and ready for Dallas. I figured we just needed to see each other in person, finally.

My coworkers were advising me not to sleep with Austin during my trip. I agreed with them. I felt like Austin and I were both just waiting for one of us to find someone new. My plan was to just get to Dallas and have fun, while trying not to analyze everything.

I had a lot on the horizon: a trip to Dallas, a trip to Los Angeles—both would be telling of my future.

A week later, I was in the Houston airport, writing notes on a new pad of paper that had red chili peppers around the edges. I had just finished my weekend in Dallas and was waiting to get back to New Orleans.

After a fun weekend, I was very sad to leave Austin. I had been wrong about so many things.

I ended up really loving Dallas when I thought I wouldn’t really care. The whole trip was a reality check. I thought I wasn’t really going to be excited to see Austin or even sad to leave him, but I definitely was. We definitely have our moments—the good and of course the bad. I was so proud of Austin for moving somewhere new, finding a great job and a nice apartment. I was already trying to figure out when I could get back to Dallas.

We did so many fun things. Before I went on the trip, I was so worried about having a talk with him to clear things up. I was so worried about figuring out what the big picture was: why did he really want me to move there? Why did he call me? How did he truly feel? Did he love me? Did he want to marry me? But instead of having a talk with Austin, my time in Dallas answered most of these questions on their own. I may not have known if he loved me or wanted to marry me but I didn’t think he would do all of these things for me if he didn’t sincerely care for me.

The distance really sucked. We missed out on doing the little things together. As I thought about how much fun we had that weekend—we could’ve had that every weekend if we were near each other.

But we used to be in the same city and we didn’t spend much time together.

Of course, not every long-distance relationship can be “real” in that aspect. I felt like a lot of long-distance relationships were based on missing each other. Often the time spent together was short and blissful since both partners missed each other for so long.

But I thought a few things had changed about Austin. He was really sweet. He paid for everything and made me dinner. He opened doors for me.

Maybe that was just another thing that I had to leave up to time. Time would tell if LA was right for me. Time would tell if Austin and I were meant to be with each other. If I lost Austin, of course I would be devastated. But I had to remember that it all boiled down to reason. No matter what happened I could remember that weekend as a really great, fun time. It definitely was not a waste and I wanted to go back as soon as I could.

I got Austin some cards when I went looking for a notebook and pen, in the airport. I got him one that said “thanks” and the front had a giant frog wearing rain boots and holding flowers. I was going to send it to him the following day. The other one I got was sweet. I would send it out at the end of the week. There was a possibility that a lot of the things I wanted to tell Austin, but didn’t know how or want to hear his immediate reaction—I could tell him through writing.

There I was stuck in an airport, alone. My flight was delayed because of bad weather. I was tired and lonely.


peanut butter
muffin pan

Two hours later, on my flight home, I wrote my cards to Austin:


Just wanted to say thanks again for inviting me to Dallas. I had a great time with you—better than I could have imagined. I’m so glad I came, it was the most fun I’ve had in a long time. Dallas impressed me and I’m hoping to make it back soon.

Miss you even more than before.


Holly Ann

*     *     *


In my mind, it played out as follows: I’d arrive in Dallas, see you, have some fun. We’d talk and decide that the distance blows. I’d leave, unimpressed with the city and maybe wonder what would become of this relationship of ours. Because, after all, I was going to LA.

I was wrong. Instead, I really liked Dallas and was again reminded of how much I love spending time with you. I don’t know what’s in store for me in LA…nor do I know what’s in store for us. But I do know I won’t rule out Dallas any time soon.

Hang in there!


Holly Ann

Misery Loves.

Shortly after my 22nd birthday,  school and work were really taking up my time and energy, and I was really stressed out over my summer school classes.

But since I was so busy, I didn’t have much social time. Most of my girlfriends had boyfriends or didn’t have time or money to go out, which often left me hanging out alone. I fell into a rut of cooking myself dinner and then taking myself to a movie, before coming home to study. Sometimes, it was nice being alone, but I knew I needed some social interaction.

Austin and I were talking a lot and things were going well. There were only two weeks left until we got to see each other. I was really excited to see him, but I was scared, too. I loved talking to him on the phone, but I was being reminded of my days with Adam. Since we weren’t in the same state, we couldn’t do those little things together, like run errands or grab lunch. Austin and I were lonely, and I wondered if our miseries were just clinging to each other.

Austin had met a few guys through his job and was starting to go out a little bit. I wanted him to make friends, but I was curious to know if he was meeting girls and possibly sleeping with them. Although him and I weren’t exclusive, I didn’t feel like I was in a position to ask him about it. I knew there was no way I could smoothly ask, “Sooooo did you meet any cute girls tonight?” I knew it would only come across as jealousy, because it was.

At the same time, I felt in control since I wasn’t telling Austin about any guys in my life, because there were none. I started to worry that I was respecting Austin too much by not putting myself out there. But I was going to wait until our visit to see how I felt. He said he wanted to have a “talk” when I got to Dallas. Depending on what we talked about, I knew I didn’t want to be the one waiting on his calls and avoiding dates if he wasn’t doing the same for me.

The other part of the conflict was the whole me-moving-to-Dallas idea. I was extremely flattered that he was thinking about it, and even more excited that he was telling me. The problem was, I didn’t want to move to Dallas. I hadn’t been there yet, but I had wanted to live in Los Angeles my entire life. I had a job lead there and had been searching for apartments online.

The other half of the problem was premature, but of course I’d been thinking about it. If I couldn’t agree to move to Dallas, where would the relationship go? It wasn’t fair because I would be sacrificing my dream of living in Los Angeles, but I knew Austin would not see it that way.

I knew the best thing for me to do at that point was to stick to my original plan to work, graduate, move to Los Angeles and see what would be there for me. I thought Austin was a great guy, but I wanted to leave it up to fate.

That same week, I had a dream about Eddie and Paige. In my dream, they came into Abercrombie and said hey to me. Although that was pretty much the gist of it, it was a setback. It made me wonder why the whole thing with Eddie happened in the first place. I wondered what he was doing. I began to miss the fun we had together.

Summer has always been a hard time for me to be single. I dated Adam over the summer and then Eddie. I had many summer flings, including Zach. That summer combined with my extreme loneliness was bad for me. It made me desperate for company and it made me miss Adam and Eddie.

I needed to go on a date, bad. One night I asked Austin if we were still having that “talk” he mentioned the week before. Of course, typical Austin, said he never said we were going to have a talk, but that he was just going to convince me to move to Dallas instead of LA.

Later that night, Austin called me and we had a meaningless conversation. He had me on speaker phone for the whole conversation, which was annoying because I could hear myself talk but could barely hear him. He was making and eating dinner while we talked, which was okay, but it made me feel like he could barely fit me into his busy schedule, and I knew Austin was not that busy.

During our conversation, he started to get rude. Austin was making fun of me for organizing my closet and shit. Sometimes I seriously wanted to be like, look dude I am not the loser here. So out of nowhere he was like “well I have to go take the trash out so that means I have to get off the phone.” Like we were in the middle of a fucking conversation! So he can tell I’m pissed and his defense is that we had been on the phone for one hour. I was thinking wow, what’s it to you because you haven’t even been paying attention. So he said he’d call me the next day during his lunch and I just hung up on him.

I wasn’t going to answer my phone if he called me. Not to be a total bitch about it, but if he didn’t want to fucking call me, then don’t call me. Because I didn’t want to hear the fucking bitching. If you’re going to do something, then go balls out, don’t half-ass it.

A week later, I cried on my drive home from work. I felt like I’d cried so much that summer, but I couldn’t pinpoint why. I had several things pulling me down. I was still excited to see Austin, but my fears were growing worse. Whenever I had flown to see a guy, he’d left me. This had happened on several occasions, Adam, Nik, Gabe…

I couldn’t handle Austin leaving me. The weekend before, we went two days without talking—the longest we’d gone since he left, and I was devastated. The thought of never talking to him again was miserable. We’d grown really close in the last month. I felt really good about the way things were going; Austin was my best friend.

But I was still scared.

There were things I was afraid to tell Austin. I felt pressure to “go with it” since we were so far away and we were not dating. But my heart couldn’t just go with it. I was trying so hard not to fall for him, harder than ever before. I was so afraid of getting hurt from him, again. I was afraid of getting hurt by anyone.

Austin had already talked to me about his loneliness, saying he wished someone was there when he got home from work. But he didn’t just want anybody. He talked to me about moving to Dallas over Los Angeles. I laughed to keep my heart out of it, but I couldn’t lie, and say I hadn’t thought about it.

But his excuse was, “you’ll be closer to me.”

I couldn’t move somewhere that wasn’t where I really wanted to be just to be near someone who wasn’t my boyfriend, could I?

What I was most afraid of was getting used to Austin’s calls. We hadn’t talked everyday like that since we’d been dating. I just wished he’d tell me more, but I figured he was afraid.

I was too, but not of that.

I was still afraid he’d meet that Dallas girl, whoever she would be. I was scared the only reason he was talking to me was because he had no other girl. He said he didn’t realize what he had until he lost it, but who knew?

I thought the trip to Dallas would tell me a lot, so I need to stick it out until then, and we’d be able to talk it out in person.

Wave Goodbye.

After Austin graduated, I went on vacation to St. Thomas with my mom and best friend. Austin was still in Baton Rouge looking for jobs.

In mid June, I spent three days and nights with Austin. Thursday night was the first time we saw each other since I got back from St. Thomas. I really missed him. When I left for vacation, I honestly didn’t think I’d miss him, but I did. The three days we spent together were good, we didn’t even fight.

Austin was planning to leave for Dallas on a Friday. We planned to say our goodbyes on Wednesday. I didn’t expect to be as sad as I was. Ever since Austin and I broke up I battled up and down feelings for him. Some days I missed him, others I never thought about him. Some days I felt maybe I loved him. Others it was close to hatred.

There aren’t many things I found particularly intriguing or stunning about Austin. We fought more than I had ever fought with anyone. But I couldn’t get rid of him. But still, nothing felt worse than him leaving—I couldn’t have been more upset.

Austin made me laugh. He let me be me (or so I thought) and things were comfortable with him. There were some things that were wrong between us, but there was a lot that was right. At that point, Austin was the only man who’d ever really broken up with me instead of just ignoring me. After all the fights or disagreements he was still around.

Sadly, I was scared that when he moved to Dallas, he’d find someone else. She would be smarter than me and more girly and probably gorgeous. But mainly, she’d live in Dallas. And that’s something I could never offer Austin. He said he’ll miss me when he goes and I should visit him in July. However, I prepared myself for the worst—that being that he wouldn’t miss me and he would find someone else and we’d never talk again.

I never thought all of these feelings would come up. Austin was my last friend in Baton Rouge. I knew I’d be busy with work and school, so I thought that would help with the whole “missing” thing. There were things I wanted to tell Austin before he left, but I didn’t know if I should. So, I wrote him a letter:


I know you probably didn’t want things to get all cheesy when you left, but I really wanted to share some things with you. If I’ve learned anything about relationships, it’s to tell someone what you’re thinking before it’s too late.

As great as I may be with words, I’m horrible at expressing my feelings in person. So, the writer in me has probably been composing this letter for the past year.

I really want you to know, I really am going to miss you. No matter what I’ve said or told you, I will miss you being around! Anything I’ve said to make you feel otherwise is only a wall I’ve put up to avoid getting hurt again.

I couldn’t be more thankful of the relationship we’ve had: romantic and friendly. Although I habitually drop the “asshole” name on you, most of the time I don’t mean it.

Truthfully, of all the boyfriends I’ve had, you’re the only one who’s actually broken up with me as opposed to simply ignoring me. I do recognize the respect you’ve had for me and I’m really thankful for it.

As much as you might hate me for doing this, I can’t help but remember a few things. When my relationship before you was over, I’d gotten my heart broken for the first time by my best friend of five years. I thought things were over for me already.

But when you asked me out for dinner (in the stockroom) I was more shocked than ever. I didn’t know anything about you and didn’t know if we’d have anything to talk about. But it was one of the best first dates I’ve ever been on. What I remember most about those days are the small things: our Fat Joe song, carving our initials into the Caterie bar after doing shots of red snapper, the text messages, and our long phone conversations when we’d pretend to be exes and talk about ourselves.

Although things were good, I never thought we’d remain friends (what can I say, it’s not really my style). Most of my exes come back around, but I never put up with them. I guess I’ve got a soft spot for you, Austin!

But as sad as I am to see you go, I am really happy for you. I’m looking forward to hearing about your job and the new home.

By the time you read this, I’ve probably already shed a few tears and maybe even packs a bag for Dallas! But don’t miss me too much, Austin!

Looking forward to hearing from you and seeing you…

Love Always,

Holly Ann

I ended up rewriting the letter and giving it to Austin on our last night together, in Baton Rouge. That night, I cried when I left Austin’s house—ugly girl style.

The night was awkward and short. We didn’t meet each other for dinner until 8 and then we went back to his place and he was in bed, asleep by 10. As I laid there, with him asleep I couldn’t help but get upset for two reasons:

1. I took off work to see him tonight and he wanted to sleep?

2. Why do I think that way?

I am convinced I just wanted everything I can’t have. When I was at work I want to be at home. When I was at home or with someone I felt guilty for not being at work.

That was the last night I would see Austin for who knows how long and all I could do was be mad that I was “wasting” my time laying there. Why couldn’t I just be content laying there with him for one last time? I hated saying bye to people and I had to say bye to too many great people during the past month.

I didn’t know what to expect between Austin and I since we had never been this far apart. I didn’t know if he’d really call me or really want me to visit him once he got there.

I was so glad I wrote that letter. I left it by his bed since he was basically asleep when I left.

On Austin’s last night in Baton Rouge, I got home from work there were roses on my doorstep (3 red, 2 pink). There was also a thank you card with it and he wrote a beautiful letter inside. Of course, I cried like I had been for the previous four nights. But the things in the letter were very sweet and the flowers on my doorstep are something I’d always wanted.

I knew I’d miss Austin and think about him daily. But I also knew I was going to be okay.


Just two small words to express so much gratitude.


So this is it! I’m moving to Dallas! I still remember the time we went to Tsunami and what I had told you. I needed someone to be a backbone for me, someone to help me when I fall, someone to listen to my endless bitching! Well, months and months later, there you are. You have become that someone who I need. I can’t put into words all the bullshit I have put you through. For you to still be by my side is a wonder, in itself! Every relationship I have been involved in, I have learned something. But no relationship have I learned and gained so much from as ours. You have been there for me time and time again, even when you had every right not to be. Thank you Holly from the bottom of my heart. Dallas won’t be the ideal situation without you there. My dreams and ambitions take me far, I believe in myself and what I can do, and have no limits on achieving success. Thank you for being a part of these dreams and ambitions, you have helped me make them a reality! Please don’t forget what we have here, and I want a date ASAP for your trip to Dallas. More than anything, I will miss you!



Back to Texas.

After I cooled off from being royally reject by Eddie, I went back on my word and started talking to Austin again. Naturally, when my friends found out Austin and I were talking again, they were skeptical—warning me that all Austin wanted from me was sex, but I gave him the benefit since I cared for him and I didn’t think him and I had a relationship like that.

But I stayed over at his apartment one night when he wanted to have sex. I didn’t want to and he got pissed when I said no, it made me feel like he’d just been buttering me up the entire time. I honestly thought we’d been hanging out because he enjoyed my company, not to sleep with me.

I was confused. So I didn’t talk to Austin, and he didn’t bother to call me. I figured he was embarrassed, but I was waiting for an apology. I thought I was really into him when we were together, then he dumped me and moved on quickly. Then we start talking again, but also start fighting again. What was I supposed to do with someone who clearly didn’t respect me?

I knew I couldn’t even have a friend like that. I hoped it wouldn’t get blown out of proportion—I didn’t want him to graduate and move away without a better understanding of why it happened. Austin may not have even realized what he did wrong, which was a problem in itself. I just didn’t know why I felt so bad about the whole thing; I didn’t do anything wrong. I certainly wasn’t going to sleep with him out of guilt and I made it clear I wasn’t going to sleep with him at all. Austin made it obvious he couldn’t handle sleeping with me when we weren’t together. For that reason alone, I didn’t want to sleep with him. The worst feeling is knowing the person you just slept with regrets it.

I always ragged on Austin for hanging out with whores—but maybe that’s why he expected sex so easily. For about a month, Austin kept telling me he enjoyed my company, he liked me, and drunkenly admitted to loving me, but how could he honestly feel that way, but act completely different? It made me question his motives.

A month later, Austin was celebrating his graduation from LSU. To celebrate, we went out to dinner at the same place we had our first date. I gave him a gift—a pair of silver Prada sunglasses, along with a card:

Congrats, Austin!

I know you’ve been waiting and ready to graduate for a long time and I hope it’s everything you wished it would be.

The decisions you have to make are stressful, but always remember to do what’s going to make you the happiest. I know wherever you end up—you’re going to be great, you are so driven and hard-working. It will pay off!

Best of luck, in all that comes your way, Prada.

Thanks for all the great memories.

Love always,


Giving Up.

When Eddie didn’t call me the following day, or days after that, I knew it was the Adam situation all over again. I was confused and heartbroken.

But unlike my relationship with Adam, Eddie and I were always open with each other. It was clear how much we liked each other’s company. But if that was the case, why hadn’t I heard from him?  We were seeing each other, talking to each other and usually spending the night with each other everyday. I hadn’t seen Eddie in almost two weeks—since we got back from the trip to Indiana.

We’d only talked on the phone twice. I didn’t want to accuse Eddie of anything because I honestly had no idea what was going on. But that was the part that was killing me. Of course I jumped to conclusions and assumed he’s spending all of his time with someone else (ahem, Paige), but at the same time I felt like he wouldn’t do that to me.

I thought things were going so well, but when we did talk on the phone it was somewhat superficial. I hinted at “why haven’t we talked?” But he just kept telling me he was busy. I could only go off what he told me but I had always believed that you could never be too busy to call someone. Before our trip to Indiana, he would call me between work and school, but something had changed. I didn’t want to chase after him because it didn’t give me any satisfaction. I felt very unwanted and unattractive.

I really thought he was different.

However, I was afraid that if I gave up and stopped calling, he would just give up too and think I didn’t care and I did. I didn’t want to let him get away, but at the same time—I felt like he should be worried about me getting away, too.

Over the next two weeks, I called and sent him text messages—only some of them were returned.

I really wanted to have a serious talk with him, but he was ultimately ignoring me. I just couldn’t decide if it was necessary to make the effort, and try to get him to meet me.

If I learned anything from my breakup with Adam, I thought it was safer for me to back off.

I felt like something was wrong, but I also felt like I’d made enough of an effort. So I made the same attempt at not contacting him, like I did with Adam.

I needed someone who was going to want me!

I didn’t see or speak to Eddie for months. In January, when I returned back to Baton Rouge after winter break, My roommates and I went shopping in the mall. We walked by American Eagle and saw Eddie inside. We went in as a group and messed up a few shirts, acting like we were looking around.

Eddie walked over to us.

“Can I help you guys find something?” he asked.

“Nope,” I said.

And with that, he turned around, without acknowledging that we knew each other, that we’d slept together, that we’d even talked.

I knew Eddie had gotten back with Paige—my worst nightmare. Their situation was typical. Boy treats girl like crap, girl crawls back to him in tears. Boy gets huge ego.

At that point in my life, I’d never gotten back with an ex-boyfriend.

I knew people didn’t change, but I also understood a relationship was an investment. It was easy to go back with an ex because of the comfort.

Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem. I despised my ex-boyfriends because they were all just like Eddie—good at lying and putting on a sweet facade. I knew my relationship with Eddie was over, forever.

It was over for a reason.

My Music.

Once we arrived in Indiana, it was late. We got to my mom’s house, she met Eddie, and I showed him to my room where he could sleep.

The next day, we had plans to meet up with Sheena for dinner, drinks, and hopefully hop over to a comedy club. We had plans to meet Sheena at the Cheesecake Factory in Keystone. We got to the mall first, put our names in and took a plastic buzzer with us. I told Eddie I wanted to show him a store I liked—Restoration Hardware.

When we got to the store, he said there was one in New Orleans, but we went inside anyway. We looked around and Eddie bought a book. On our way back toward the Cheesecake Factory, we stopped into Sharper Image. There, I found these tiny electronic dogs that you could hook your iPod up to and they would play the music, but also light up and dance according to the song.

I thought it was the cutest thing. Without hesitation, Eddie bought it for me. It was white with black spots, and moved its ears up and down to the beat of my music. I loved it.

Our buzzer was lighting up and vibrating, telling us it was time to eat dinner. We grabbed each other’s hands and raced across the mall, making it to the restaurant in time to meet Sheena and grab our assigned table outside. It was a cool evening, but they had turn on heat lamps for us to stay warm.

I ordered a drink with my meal and was turning red by the second—Eddie was convinced I shouldn’t have been mixing alcohol with my medication, so I stopped drinking the pink slush.

Eddie had his heart set on us visiting a comedy club that night, so we hopped into Sheena’s car and headed out. But we got lost, and didn’t make it to the club in time. I felt horrible. We’d spent the evening just driving around. I wasn’t feeling well, but I still wanted him to enjoy our trip.

That night, I crawled into my childhood bed with Eddie. His back was turned to me.

“I’m sorry we didn’t do anything tonight,” I whispered.

He grunted.

The next morning, Eddie and I drove to Ohio to visit my dad and his girlfriend. We got to their house in time to head to the river for the annual balloon festival—a beautiful sight to see all of the colorful hot air balloons lined up along the water at sunset. There was food and live music, too. When Eddie stepped away from us, my dad said he didn’t know Eddie and I were dating—I told him I wanted to officially date Eddie, but his ex-girlfriend was getting in the way.

She had been texting him on our drive up. For the first time in my life, I looked through a boyfriend’s phone. I only read one text from Paige—she was begging him to talk to her, wondering why he was doing this to her.

When I read it, my heart sank.

At that moment, more than ever, I realized how much Paige and I were alike.

I remember walking across the bridge, from Ohio back into Kentucky, and my dad telling Eddie that he liked him more than he liked Austin.

But the three of us agreed, that wasn’t much of a compliment.

That night, Eddie and I were going to sleep at my Dad’s house. We all ate dinner together and sat down to watch Saturday Night Live. I was sitting on the couch, Eddie was sitting on the floor in front of me. He asked me to rub his shoulders.

“But…she’s sick,” my dad said.

Looking back, I didn’t realize how rude it really was of Eddie to ask me that, but I did it anyway. When it was time for bed, Eddie slept in my bedroom upstairs, while my dad blew up an air mattress for me in the basement. I tucked myself in, and was texting with Eddie. From the small glow of my phone I could see a giant spider nearing my bed.

I knew I shouldn’t go upstairs because my dad was probably wide awake, thinking I was going to sneak into bed with Eddie. I tried to put the spider out of my mind. But all I could think was that if I fell asleep, the spider would crawl on me and step into my open mouth.

I ran up the stairs and knocked on my dad’s door. He answered and I told him the scoop. As we walked back down the stairs together, I had never hoped so bad that the spider would still be there, in plain sight.

Thankfully, the spider was there when my dad came down the stairs. He killed it, I said thanks and tucked myself back into the air mattress. The next morning, I woke Eddie up, we ate breakfast with my dad and we were off to lunch with Angela and her mom.

Lunch went okay, but later Angela told me her mom thought Eddie was a little too flirtatious with our waitress. In all honestly, he probably was.


We ate, and hit the road toward Louisiana. Eddie was convinced we’d have enough time to stop at his parents’ house, so I could meet them. But, as the drive wore on and darkness fell, we were both tired and just wanted to get home.

We made it to Eddie’s house late and, for whatever reason, he didn’t want me to sleep over. So I got my bag, and got into my car. I will never forget Eddie standing in the street, darkness on his face, his hands holding his backpack straps.

“I’ll call you,” he said, turned, and walked toward his house.

He never called me. That was the last time I saw him for three months.

Trail Mix.

In September, I went to an LSU game with a few of my girlfriends. We thought it would be a great idea to wakeup early and throw back a few mimosas, since it was an afternoon game. But the alcohol and the heat made for a very unpleasant mix.

So I went home early, and was texting with Eddie while laying in my bed. He was on his way over, but was caught in traffic. Once he arrived, we fell asleep in my bed and awoke in time for dinner. He took me to Macaroni Grill, and afterward we went for coffee at Barnes & Noble.

We went to his house, watched Saturday night Live, and went to sleep. I felt so content, I remember sleeping well—on Eddie’s silky sheets. When we woke up the next morning, Eddie offered to make us breakfast. I slept while he milled about in the kitchen, mixing a recipe he was proud of—milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon to make French toast.

After breakfast, Eddie wanted to go fishing. so we packed his car with the essentials: fishing rods, bait, tackle, and a cooler, with giant Reese’s cups inside. We drove nearly an hour out to a fishing spot Eddie liked. But once we arrived, he wasn’t too interested in fishing anymore.

He drove me home. It was a Sunday evening, and when he dropped me off, I was bummed. We had spent so much time together, I didn’t know what to do with myself when he wasn’t by my side. I went upstairs and attempted to do some schoolwork.

Not even two hours had passed before Eddie called me, said he missed me, and wanted to come over. I was glad. When he arrived back at my house, he had his shaving kit tucked under his arm.

“I was gonna let you give me a shave, since you said you wanted to,” he said.

He was right, I had never shaved a boyfriend’s face, and I wanted to give it a shot. I thought it was sweet that he remembered.

So we went into the bathroom I shared with my roommate and I lathered up his face, making him look like Santa Claus. Trying not to laugh, I shaved a few rows, before he insisted on doing it himself.

The next Saturday, I worked a shift at the mall, where I saw American Eagle was handing out flowers to all of the girls that went in the store. I had plans to go out with one of my sorority sisters that night. As I was getting ready, Eddie called me and said he wanted to see me. I told him I was home, but I already had plans to go out with a friend. He said he was on his way.

I mentioned the flowers at the mall, and he said they gave them out at our store, too.

“It would’ve been nice if you would’ve saved some for me,” I said.

“Oh yeah?” Then, he hung up on me.

Not two seconds later, I heard a knock on the door. It was Eddie. When I opened the door, he was holding four flowers, each stuck in their own sponge of water, from the store.

“Yaaayyy!” I said, I leapt into his arms and gave him a giant hug. We talked outside for a while, then I went back inside to finish getting ready.

The next week, Eddie was leaving for a hiking trip with his friends. As a treat, I bought him some camping-friendly snacks he could take on the trip with him. It was going to be the longest time we’d had apart—we weren’t even going to be able to talk by phone.

He got back into town four days later and had to go to a work meeting, although I was complaining about not being able to see him that night. He said he would stop by after the meeting, even though it was going to be late. When he arrived at my house, I was fast asleep. But his call woke me up and I answered the door in my pajamas.

He was holding a cupcake he’d saved for me, from the meeting.

We went into the kitchen where we shared the cupcake. Keeping the lights off, we moved back into the living room, where I sat on his lap in the recliner. I had really missed him.

*     *     *

In late September, Eddie was super excited to buy a pumpkin. So we got a few, and carved them, leaving the pieces in the pumpkin. We filled our pumpkins with firecrackers, letting the loose pieces reveal the pumpkin face after the minor explosion on Olive Street.

Carving pumpkins was the only thing I truly loved about Halloween, and I remembered carving pumpkins one day after school with my first boyfriend, in high school.

That night, we displayed our pumpkins on Eddie’s front porch, putting a candle in them for the few passersby.

Eddie was ready to meet my parents. We’d been seeing each other for two months, but it felt like a year. Since we both had fall breaks coming up with school, Eddie suggested we drive back to the midwest and meet everyone. I was ecstatic! I called my family and told them Eddie and I were making the drive.

The first week of October, I came down with a sore throat. At first, it felt like I was coming down with a typical cold. But then, after a day of class, I was in some serious pain. I went to work at A&F, complaining about my throat. My manager sent me to the coffee shop for some citrus tea. It didn’t help at all, and I said I was going home.

I went to bed that night, hoping to feel better in the morning. But I awoke in the middle of the night and couldn’t swallow my own spit. I slept for the remainder of the night with a towel on my pillow, so I wouldn’t choke.

The next day, I told Eddie I was sick. In attempts to make me feel better, he arrived at my house with a gallon of cookie dough ice cream and a pizza. It was sweet, but I physically felt awful.

In the morning, I drove myself to the campus health clinic. When I approached the counter, I had to hold my throat with both hands to speak. They didn’t believe I was sick. I begged them to take my temperature.

When the thermometer marked 102 degrees, the nurse took me seriously. They insisted on doing a blood test. As much as I hate needles, and my own blood, I didn’t care. I felt like I was dying. After a blood test, the doctor took me in a room to tell me I had mono.

Mono? From who?

He told me I needed to rest, but they would give me a shot and some medicine to take home. Eddie and I were planning on leaving for Indiana that afternoon. When I left the doctor’s office, I drove to his house and threw my bags in his car. We hit the road.

“Umm yeah, so the doctor told me I have mono,” I said.

“Really? All of my girlfriends get that!”

I didn’t know mono was a lifelong contagious illness. But I was feeling better on my medicine, and Eddie promised to drive us the entire way.

Olive Street.

After work, we went to a restaurant just across the street from American Eagle. We ordered beers—I got mine on draft and he made a weird comment about how draft beer was cheaper and wondered if that’s why I got it.

It wasn’t.

During our conversation, it came out that I had a male roommate. I had just moved in with him a few months before.

“Are you going to be Mrs. Mackenzie?” he asked, thinking I was dating my roommate.

I laughed and said no, that we were random roomies. I figured this would’ve been a good time for him to come clean about his girlfriend, but he didn’t.

Nearly a week later, I had worked with Eddie a few times, but nothing was really progressing. One Sunday night after work, I was on the phone with Sheena, telling her about Eddie and that I was a little confused about his relationship status. During our conversation, I got a beep on the line—a text message.

“I have some black box if you want to come over and join me,” from Eddie.

I flipped out and asked Sheena if she thought I should join him. She said yes, so I got ready and got directions to his place.

He lived on Olive street—a name that already posted an image in my mind of what his house might look like. It was a small street, not far from the LSU campus. His house was nestled back from the street, behind a black wrought-iron gate. It had a porch, and was shaded with trees, but in the night, it just looked cozy.

When I arrived, he was the only one home—his two roommates were gone. He poured me a glass of wine and offered to give me a tour. I fell in lust with his home—it was a place I knew I wanted to spend hours. It was old, with hard wood floors that creaked under our following steps.

He took me up the stairs, toward his roommate’s bedroom—the master suite. At the top of the stairs was a bedroom, accompanying a bathroom that featured a white marble tub with black and grey veining. On our way back down the stairs, Eddie smacked at the wall—holding up a spider by the string of its recent web.

“Looks like a brown recluse,” he said. I cringed.

Back downstairs, Eddie showed me his bedroom. His bed was made, books were stacked neatly, and his desk was clean. He got on his computer to play some music. When the opening screen popped up, there were two log-in options: “Eddie” or “Paige.”


Their photos were scattered about the room, framed and looking like a happy couple. But I kept my lips zipped.

“Where’s your bathroom?” I asked. He pointed down the hall and I made my exit.

Once I got in the bathroom, I did a little snooping—sure enough, there was a makeup bag, some tampons, etc. Evidence.

I joined Eddie back at his desk and we talked about the music we liked; I was able to introduce him to a few new bands. We made our way back to the kitchen—a clean, white kitchen with glass-front cabinets and a stainless-steel fridge. Next to the kitchen was an open dining room, with a glass China cabinet. Inside it, were rare glasses and bottles of liquor.

“Ever tried Barren-Jaeger?” he asked. I shook my head.

He poured me a small glass. It was thick, and tasted like honey—with a bite at the end.

Eddie suggested we watch a movie, so we moved into the living room where there was a massive TV, with huge speakers. We watched this old movie with Angelina Jolie where she is pregnant and the baby daddy stabs her in the stomach, and then she rips off the fake belly. Intense.

We were laying down on his couch, about to fall asleep when the movie ended. I asked him if he would carry me to my car, because I was so sleepy. It was at least 2 am.

“No…” he said.

“Why not? Please?” I asked.

“Because. You can just sleep here,” he said.

My eyes were already closed. And he kissed me.

I stayed at Eddie’s that night, and when I left in the morning, I was pretty sure he would never call me again. I didn’t know the status of his girlfriend, and it definitely didn’t help that he was my manager. So I tucked it away in my mind as a great night, and left it at that, trying not to expect anything more.

But when I worked with him next, he said he wanted to hang out again. So I invited him over to my condo, to have some wine and meet my roommate. I raced home from work, ran through the place picking up random crap, and told my roommate I had someone coming over.

“Is it a hot guy?” he asked me, in a sing-song voice.

“How’d you know?”

“You’re all red,” he said.

So I was. Eddie came over, and impressed my roommate. When Eddie left, my roommate told me he thought Eddie was a great guy, and that I needed to keep him around a long time. Little did I know that I wasn’t going to have a choice.

My relationship with Eddie grew very quickly. We clicked in a way I hadn’t clicked with anyone else. And because of that, I jumped into things without a second thought.

*     *     *

I remember the night Eddie told me he had a girlfriend. He said he wanted to go to dinner, so he picked me up and we went to a little sit-down deli. I asked him what he was doing over the weekend and he said he had to changed the oil in a car, “for the gf.”

I was silent.

“What do you think about that?” he asked.

“What do I think about what?”

“Me having a girlfriend,” he said.

I told him I didn’t know what to think of it—that I wasn’t sure what was really going on between them.

He told me they’d been together for two years, and then uttered a combination of words I will never forget:

“It’s been bad for a long time,” he said. “Girls are crazy.”

Of course, I wanted Eddie to be with me, not her. But I also felt for her.

That night, we were laying in Eddie’s bed, and I asked him if she still had a key to his house. He said she did, and I was terrified she was going to bust in on us, sleeping peacefully.

Before I fell asleep, I thought about her. Eddie had made her out to be the enemy, but in reality, Paige was me. Adam did to me exactly what Eddie was doing to her, and I was the other woman this time.

The next week, I was in class when Eddie texted me that he wanted to surprise me. So I met him after class, out in the parking lot. He said he wanted to take me to lunch at a place that he liked. I was dressed in sweats, told him I wasn’t prepared for a little date. But he insisted we had to go, right then.

He took me downtown to a small pizzeria that was delicious. Afterward, we went back to his house. Once we arrived, his roommate told him Paige had stopped by and left a letter for Eddie. I felt dirty for being in the house, for having my car parked out front, for hanging out in the daylight hours.

But at the same time, I was falling quickly. I loved spending time with Eddie, laughing with him, and being in the company of his friends. Eddie didn’t read the letter—not in front of me anyway.

That night, Eddie said he would cook us dinner. I sat in the kitchen with my elbows on the white tiled counter, enjoying a glass of wine, while Eddie steamed crab legs, and stirred a pot of mashed potatoes. I was in heaven. We enjoyed our dinner watching a football game with his roommates.

Later that night, I remember finding a hat of Eddie’s—one of those furry ones with the flaps over the ears, and insisted on wearing it around the house. That day and evening remain to be one of my fondest dating memories.

New Territory.

In August, A&F was cutting my hours, so I looked elsewhere for work. Naturally, I decided to go to the dark side and put in an application at American Eagle. When I went to drop off my completed application, there was a hot guy working the counter.

His name was Eddie. He was just my type, average height, nice build, dark hair, amazing eyes. And he looked great in a baseball hat, my true weakness.

I dropped off my stuff and went back to A&F. A few days later, I got a call about a group interview. So, during a break at A&F, I went on the interview. Eddie was conducting it and he asked us a bunch of stupid questions—including, if you could have any superpower what would it be? For journalism reasons, I wished to be invisible. That skill would’ve come in handy for my dating life, too.

I got the job and had to attend a few team building sessions, where we stood in a circle and tossed around a loofah. Eddie was there, too, and I still thought he was so cute.

After the team building session, Eddie told me I was assigned to work with him at the new store that was opening across town. Within the next week, I started working at the new store. It wasn’t open for business yet, but we put up displays and unpacked boxes of clothes.

One evening, they assigned me to work on a jean wall, where Eddie was, along with another manager. When I approached them, they were talking about a recent camping trip Eddie went on.

“She didn’t want to go with you?” the manager asked him.

“Nah, she’s not really into that kind of stuff,” he said.

I really didn’t know who, or what, they were talking about, but I sat down and started folding.

Over the next week or so, I’d heard enough bits and pieces to figure out that Eddie had a girlfriend. I was crushed.

*     *     *

So, Eddie had a girlfriend. He never talked about her, but I had put the clues together at left it at that.

One Sunday night, I joined a few of my sorority sisters and their boyfriends at this bar that overlooked a swamp. It was at the end of a short pier, and basically stood as a metal shack. They served cheap beer by the pitcher, and handed out  metal buckets of peanuts.

The place was packed with people, some wearing washboards, ready to make their own music. Others were just there to dance.

We stayed, drank too much, and danced the night away. It was probably the truest Louisianan experience I’ve ever had, and one of the best times in my life.

The next afternoon, I had to work with Eddie.

He was telling me about this bar that overlooked a swamp and was in the middle of nowhere.

“No way! I was there last night,” I said.

“Really? How was it?”

“So much fun,” I said.

“Cool. Maybe we could go sometime,” he said. “Let me get your number.”

I gave him my number as I walked out the door, figuring he probably already had it since he was my manager.

Back at A&F, I was still working with Austin. He was talking to other girls, but I didn’t pay much attention—I was hooked on Eddie.

The next time Eddie and I worked together, he asked me if I wanted to pick us up some lunch, since he couldn’t leave the store. I said I would, took his money, and was on my way.

On the short trip back to the store, it started to rain, as in, a monsoon. When I walked into the store, I was soaking wet, and miserable.

“I sure hope you’re happy,” I said, handing over the bag of fried chicken.

“I’m sorry,” he said. We were standing in the stock room, so he grabbed a red and cream striped robe from the metal shelves and put it around my shoulders.

We sat in the back and ate the chicken, talking some too. When the shift was over, he asked me if I wanted to grab a beer. And so, we did.

Stupid Hat.

I managed to survive my time at work, even when Austin was around. He wasn’t dating anyone else, and neither was I. In June, he told me he wanted to take me to the Marc Broussard concert that I’d bought him tickets for when we were still together. I liked Marc Broussard, but I wasn’t sure how good of an idea this was going to be.

The concert was an hour away, so Austin wanted to stay the night—he said since I bought the tickets, he would pay for the hotel room. I told him to make sure he got a room with two beds.

He showed up at my apartment the afternoon of the concert. I came out of my bedroom, wearing a pale yellow sun dress and wedge sandals. He was standing there in jeans, some type of affliction crap t-shirt, and flip-flops.

“You didn’t have to dress up,” he said.

“Just tell me I look nice or shut the hell up,” I said.

This is when my hostility for Austin started setting in. Austin thought it was funny, but I was being serious. I drove us to Lafayette, where the concert was. We stopped at a nice restaurant for dinner.

Before we went inside, Austin threw a fit that the clock in my car wasn’t set to the right time. I told him I didn’t know how to set it, so he needed to get over it. He figured out how to set it, but he needed an extra set of hands. So I helped.

“See what happens when we work together?” he said.

I went into the restaurant. Throughout the dinner, he kept asking me why I hated him so much. I told him he was an asshole. When the check arrived, the waitress put it in front of Austin.

“See? Why do the waiters assume the guy is paying?” he asked.

“Because you are paying.”

We walked to the concert venue, and waited in line for the doors to open. Austin was wearing a straw fedora that made him look like a colossal douche.

Inside, we proceeded to get sloppy drunk. I thought I’d reached my limit when Austin came back from the bar holding a double drink for me, with a huge grin spread across his face.

We made it back to the hotel. There was only one bed. I made do, put on actual pajamas, and made a wall of pillows between us.

My 21st birthday was in July. Around work, I heard rumors that Austin was trying to set up a surprise party for me. So, when he invited me to dinner one night, I was fairly certain it was going to be a party.

I got ready and drove to his place. Where there was no party. He really was taking me to dinner. We went out for seafood. It was a nice dinner, and he gave me a gift—an iTunes card.


A few days later, Sheena came to visit and take me to the bars at midnight on my birthday. That weekend, she met Austin when he came over to play a round of beer checkers.

Things with Austin were okay, but I was confused on where we stood. We hung out constantly, were sleeping together, but were not calling it exclusive. Red flags all around.

In late July, he finally came clean and told me he had no emotional attachment to our relationship; it was purely physical. He reminded me that we were not dating, and he didn’t understand why I wanted a boyfriend in the first place.

We were laying in his bed, late one night, after just having sex. I was getting comfortable on my side of the bed, when he said it:

“Wow, I regret that.”

I got up and starting getting dressed, yelling louder and louder with each article of clothing. What kind of asshole says they regret the sex they just had, to the person they just had sex with? I left in the middle of the night, I didn’t care how psycho it looked to his roommate.

I felt so insecure.

All along I felt like Austin was the one who still liked me and that I was in control. But in reality, I had been falling for him harder than I did the first time. I still wasn’t sure if given the chance if I would get back with him, but  my feelings for him were strong.

Austin told me the only way to get rid of my feelings for him would be to stop talking to him altogether. I knew he was right, but didn’t want to write him off like I had so many others.

For whatever reason, I was still so happy to have him as a part of my life, even though he’d hurt me multiple times.

On the other hand, I was starting to realize just how selfish Austin was. Even throughout the course of our “friendship,” he was very controlling, questioning my whereabouts when I wouldn’t answer his calls or messages. But I was about to see just how controlling he could be.

Love Letters.

Austin and I didn’t go on many dates before we decided to be exclusive. Our first two dates went very well, and I remember wondering if things were moving too fast. I didn’t know if I was really ready for another relationship—I was still feeling the baggage from Adam.

But I felt like Austin and I had something good.

A few dates in, Austin took me to a nice sushi restaurant downtown Baton Rouge, overlooking the Mississippi River. He didn’t like sushi, but I appreciated him bringing me, as I loved it. I always felt special with Austin—he complimented me, took me to nice places, and let me order cocktails even though I still wasn’t 21.

It felt like a grown up relationship. During dinner, Austin wanted to have a talk. He told me he needed to be in a relationship with someone who was going to be there for him, be his rock. I felt flattered, and as cheesy as it sounds, I knew I could, would, and wanted to be there for him. After dinner, we went for a walk. I wanted Austin to be my date for my upcoming sorority formal, but he was going out-of-town for a landscape architecture trip. He said it would be okay if I asked someone else.

I did ask someone else, but got rejected. I didn’t go to the formal.

While Austin was on his trip out west, he sent me a series of postcards.

Tonto, National Monument {Arizona}:

Hey girl,

Greetings from Sedona Valley in Northern Arizona. The landscape out here is spectacular. I’ve never seen so much orange in my life! Well I miss you very much and I will see you soon.



Grand Canyon National Park:

Hey you,

Greetings from the Grand Canyon! What else can I say about this place besides unbelievable! You have to be here to really appreciate the scale! I think I’m ready to go home! I’m especially ready to see you! Talk to you soon!



Zabriski Point, Death Valley:

Hey Babe,

Just dropping another hello from the desert of Death Valley California. It is the longest point in the U.S. It is truly breathtaking out here. Everywhere I go on the trip. I wish you could be there to share the experience with me. See you soon!



Stanford University {California}:


Hope everything is going ok. I miss you soo much. Today we visited the beautiful Stanford University. The property around the campus is ridiculous! 1 bedroom—$1,900/month! Well talk to you soon!



Golden Gate Bridge {San Francisco}:

Hey beautiful,

Just wanted to drop a hello. I am currently in San Francisco and loving it! This city is full of gay (happy) people. It’s beauty is truly breathtaking! I miss you more than you could imagine! Talk to you soon!



Mammoth Mountain:


Are you getting tired of postcards yet? I hope not! Anyway, I am here in Mammoth, Calif. freezing my ass off. The wind chill here is like 15 degrees. Although the scenery is breathtaking, these people can keep their snow and freezing ass temps! I miss you sooo much.



I was flattered. I loved getting his notes in the mail—it was so sweet. I was falling faster and faster. After Austin returned from his trip, I wanted to plan a date for us. I felt like he had been great at making plans and taking me to nice places, so I wanted to do the work for once.

I told him to show up at the sorority house, but the rest was a secret.

I packed a cooler, picked up takeout from P.F. Chang’s {so many of my dating experiences are laced with orange-peel shrimp}, and got some of my of-age friends to pickup a bottle of Austin’s favorite—Jack Daniel’s.

I was scurrying around to pick everything up, I was running a little late. I was so stressed out trying to get everything together, that when Austin arrived, he seemed annoyed with me already.

We got in my car, and I drove him to a spot near the lake. I had a blanket, which I laid out for us, and unpacked the goodies. He seemed surprised, and happy that I remembered to get his sauce on the side, but it wasn’t the reaction I’d hoped for.

This often happened to me in my dating experiences—once I tried to be nice, I expected a nice reaction in return. I didn’t realize how much it hurt me until years down the road.

The picnic was nice, however, it was one of the last pleasant moments we would share together.

Toward the end of April, things with Austin got rocky. He said things with his family were tough, school was stressful, and he needed to work. Being naive, I figured he just needed some cheering up.

So I surprised him at work with something in my pocket—a pair of tickets to see one of his favorite musicians, Marc Broussard. Once again, his reaction was sub-par.

But I left it at that.

In May, my mom came to Baton Rouge to help me buy a car, and move into a new apartment. Although Austin and I hadn’t been seeing each other very long, it wasn’t often that a family member of mine was in town. I wanted him to meet my mom.

He seemed okay with joining us for dinner.

I was working a shift with Austin, when my mom came in the store to visit. I didn’t think it was a big deal for Austin to meet her then—we were scheduled to have the dinner later that evening. So, I introduced them.

Everything was fine. Until my mom left the store. He told me he was unprepared and I shouldn’t have introduced them. Austin didn’t join us at dinner.

I was sad and embarrassed.

Austin dumped me the next day. I called him at work and he told me he just wanted to work more. I was devastated. I was being dumped for Abercrombie hours.

I will never forget laying in my bed at my new apartment—new bedding and all. I was completely under the covers, crying. My mom was telling me it was okay, not to worry, I could do better.

The next week at work, they announced the annual tubing trip. I wanted to go, but I was nervous about being around Austin. I had been able to avoid most shifts with him. One of my coworkers said not to worry, that he would hang out with me the whole time.

Early that Sunday morning, we met at the mall parking lot to figure out who was going to drive with whom. My friend got in my car, and Austin came up to my window and asked me what I’d been up to. I told him some bullshit about seeing a movie and wished he would get out of my face.

He joined our manager, and two skinny bitches, and they all rode to the river together. Once we got on the river, I didn’t see Austin much, and I ended up having a good time.

But when the trip was over and we were all back at our cars, Austin was trashed. I left, and didn’t think much of it.

The next day at work, one of the skinny bitches showed up, even though she wasn’t on the schedule.

“Is Austin here?” she asked me.


“Aw man, we went to Hooters last night and I ended up leaving my cooler in his trunk. He is supposed to bring it to me,” she said.

I walked away. Watching Austin date other girls in front of me, or merely, “take them to Hooters” was really going to piss me off.

Fish in the Sea.

I was in the stockroom at work one Saturday, trying to reorganize clothes, when Austin came in complaining about a recent date he went on. The girl he went with worked at A&F with us, just like all of the girls Austin took on dates. His general complaint was a blanket fear of never finding someone.

Then he asked me to dinner.

I had been invited to a pity party. But I was nearly five months out from my breakup with Adam, and I knew it was time for me to get out there. It had been awhile since I’d been on a real first date—one where I didn’t know the person well. I hadn’t been jaded enough yet to hate dates {like I do now}, so I agreed. He seemed thrilled I didn’t reject him, and assured me we would have lots to talk about, but I didn’t know how true that was.

The next weekend, I was getting ready for the date in the sorority house, and my roommate warned me of two things. She said, “Holly, don’t get too drunk, and two, don’t go to The Caterie.”

The Caterie wasn’t the problem—it was the band playing at The Caterie. I had an innocent crush on the lead singer, but it turned gruesome once I mentioned it in a column, and gave his girlfriend a nickname. Since then, I wasn’t the most welcomed among fans.

But I was ready to head out, and Austin arrived at the house to pick me up. Once I got in the car, he said he knew where he wanted to take me—Bonefish Grill. On the drive there, we were messing around with his CD player. He had a few different CDs in the dash, and we randomly selected three songs to see how they might describe our approaching night out—an electronic 8-ball, if you will.

The first song was the remix of “What’s Love” by Fat Joe and Ashanti. The second was an Enya song. And I can’t remember the third—probably because the first song was the one most likely to describe the next few years I had with Austin.

We made it to Bonefish Grill, where there was a wait. We talked some while we sat outside. I remember being nervous we would have nothing to say to each other. He told me I looked nice, sort of.

“Thank you for dressing appropriately,” he said.

Once we got our table, I was completely impressed. He was officially wining and dining me—we ordered glasses of wine, so many that it should’ve been a bottle. And we each got decadent seafood meals, it was very delicious. To my delight, we did have a lot to talk about. Of course, we covered the bases: hobbies, school, family, etc. But Austin was daring and cut to the chase, asking me about politics and religion, too.

After we closed down the restaurant, Austin said he wanted to go someplace else. We drove by Duvic’s, a martini bar {that would be the next stop in a romance years later}, but ended up going to The Caterie.

There I was, a little too drunk for a first date, and in the very spot I was warned not to be. But I didn’t mention this to Austin, and we went to the bar. I lead him upstairs, hoping to avoid any run-ins with a very pissed off girlfriend. Once upstairs, we took shots of red snapper—premixed. It was disgusting. But we got beers and sat at a ledge near the stairs.

During our conversation, I carved our initials into the ledge: HP + AF. Shortly after, he drove me back to the sorority house, asked me for a second date, and kissed me goodnight. I stored the date away as one of the best yet, and went to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, Austin had sent me a text:

“Thanks for having dinner with me…and taking my breath away.”

I didn’t know it then, but I was hooked.