*If you missed Chapter 1 and would like to catch up, you can read it here.
A month or so went by. Remington and I were lazing in his room in his parents' basement looking through the summer course catalog. He, too, was planning to enroll in the junior college, though his path to get there was different than mine.
When Remington had been in high school, he had been, for lack of a better word, a punk. He was kicked out of two parochial schools before finally ending up at my rival public school. He turned 18 in April his senior year and moved out of his parents' house that day. He was living in an apartment with his friend, Brad, when he graduated.
He stayed out on his own for two years, working, partying, getting into trouble. Finally, he realized his life was going nowhere fast. Even though he dreaded the idea of going to school, he knew he would need to get a college degree to ever have a chance to make something of himself. So he swallowed his pride, made amends with his parents and moved back home.
A month before I met him.
As we debated whether he should take Comp I that summer or not, the phone rang.
"Hey, Brad. How's it goin'?"
Remington's end of the conversation was riveting.
"Huh. So what are you up to?"
Remington paced the 8-foot-width of his bed while he talked. (Some things never change.)
"Just hanging out with Jenn."
Brad said something that caused Remington to look over at me with a sheepish grin.
"I don't know if she would let me call her my girlfriend."
I smiled and teased, "Well, maybe you should ask." Secretly, I was surprised there was even a question. To be his girlfriend would mean we were dating exclusively. Which made it seem as though I could have been dating other guys while he and I had been seeing each other thus far. Me? With multiple suitors at once? It was so preposterous, I almost laughed at the thought.
But with him, at least the possibility existed. It hadn't with David. Remington and I were interdependent instead of co-dependent. He encouraged me to spend time with my girlfriends. I didn't have to justify where I was when I wasn't with him. This was different than my previous experience. Everything about our relationship was different.
With David, even though I knew it was silly to think it, I had been convinced he and I were truly in love, and his promise ring to me meant we would be together forever. Whether he followed me to Colorado for college or we dated long-distance, nothing could keep us apart. We were a pop love song.
I had no such immature notions with Remington. I knew I would be moving 600 miles away for school in year and a half. I was happy with my life as it was and decided to just take things one day at a time and not worry about it. It's not like I was ready to get married. My best friend and I had a Five Year Plan: Go to college. Meet Mr. Right. Graduate. Live on our own for a year. Get married. I wasn't about to start thinking of Remington as my future husband while I was still at junior college.
Not only that, but David and I had had instant chemistry. Our whole relationship was so... intense. Lust and envy, love and hate, drama, drama, drama. While I didn't miss the histrionics, I expected my feelings about my soul mate to be as extreme as they had been with him. I thought I would be overwhelmed with emotions.
I was definitely attracted to Remington, don't get me wrong. I got butterflies when he looked at me. I couldn't wait for him to call me every night. His kisses - well, I need to stop there before the keyboard melts. But the hormones of teen angst were my only reference point, and though they had resulted in real emotions, they were nothing like the true love I labeled them as. And from that viewpoint, my new relationship did not appear to be love.
And so, as I mulled it over in my head, I decided I didn't want to encourage him if I wasn't sure yet. So after he hung up the phone with Brad and asked me to be his girlfriend, I told him no.