The Memoir of Melanie Thomas

Chapter One

"You promise we'll be friends forever, even though Dad and Sheryl are getting divorced?" She held out her hand to him as they sat on the balcony under the stars.

"I promise, even though Mom and Charles are separating." He took her hand and then pulled her into a hug. She had always found such comfort in his hugs. He was warm and strong, and his arms held her tightly. They could have stayed like that for hours, and would have if not for their respective parents shouting in the other room. Melanie pulled away from him first and stared at the backyard. The large pool seemed so empty and forlorn, dried out, as it was, for the winter.

"Will I see you often?" She turned from the sad sight and looked into his miserable gaze. Carter's eyes were misty. He shrugged.

"I don't know. Mom wants to move us as far from here as she can." The simplicity of his shrug captivated—

The alarm suddenly rang shrilly in my ear. I sat up and cursed at the buzzing machine. Why was my alarm going off? Quickly, I shut it off and fell back on to my bed, only to be swallowed by the warm and comfy sheets. With a groan of frustration, I forced myself off the bed. There had to be a reason that I would be getting up this early, I just couldn't remember it. At early hours in the morning, my memory was always a little sketchy. I stared at my mussed curls and squinting eyes in the mirror as I turned on the light and tried to will myself to remember. Suddenly, my door opened.

"Why the hell is your alarm ringing so loud on a Saturday?" that was Agnes, my roommate. She glared at me through thick, round glasses. I smiled at her annoyed face and then froze. Had she just said Saturday?

"Saturday…please don't tell me that I woke up this early on my one day a week to sleep in?" I gazed over at Agnes, maybe hoping for her to say "April fools," or something like that, but she didn't. She gave me one more peeved look and stomped back to her room.

Agnes and I shared an apartment. We had been roommates in our first year of college and she kind of grew on me. I became her constant project. First, it was the education of modern music, but that was only the beginning. I couldn't help it if my passion for music was directed, "misdirected" in her words, towards oldies and Broadway music! Then she decided that she didn't like my modest fashion sense. I needed to wear something that showed more of my shoulders, or my neck. Luckily, I stopped her when she decided that I should wear a shirt that showed off my entire midriff. When we started our second year of college, we had agreed that we would rent an apartment together. So here we were, in our third year of college, and still friends, best friends actually. I smiled and decided that it would be useless to go back to sleep. The better idea was to walk down the hall to my boyfriend's apartment.

Joshua Arnold O'Brien was the love of my life. We had been dating since my sophomore year of high school and his junior year. That made us together for almost five years. In fact, our five-year anniversary was in two weeks. I had already bought him a small present, nothing fancy, but something I knew he would love. When Agnes and I started our search for apartments, we avoided moving into this one, Desert Springs, because Josh lived here. I didn't want to be too close to him, but not too far either. However, contrary to our, or more—my plans, there was no place that had a low enough rent or space for us. So here we were, living not three minutes from my boyfriend's doorway.

After combing my hair and slipping into a pair of sweatpants and a loose t-shirt, I grabbed the key to his door off my dresser and left to visit. The day had started out with a small hitch, but I figured that Josh could solve it. With a few kisses, and some breakfast, I could be properly awake and happy. There was nothing to imply that my day would soon be ruined. There wasn't even a sense of foreboding in me as I traipsed down the hall and opened his door. I smiled as I found everything dark. With a smile, I hoped that he was still sleeping, and then I could sneak up on him and see him sleepy. He was always so cute right when he woke up. I stepped into the kitchen and started the coffee maker. Josh was a monster in the morning. After I looked in his freezer and found some frozen waffles, I popped them into the toaster. Maybe if I brought a peace offering, he would be more partial to me this morning.

The strong aroma of coffee drifted through the air, along with the sweet smell of waffles and syrup. I piled the food onto a tray and walked slowly to his room. When I drew near, I froze, hearing his voice inside the room.

"You awake?" I assumed that he was on the phone and thought to barge in anyway.

"Yeah," a distinctly feminine voice answered.

"Want another go?" his voice was almost too soft to hear, but the walls were paper thin. I stepped closer to the door. Who the hell was he talking to?

"Sure," I heard her reply and swallowed my suddenly dry throat. There was silence for a moment and I thought that maybe I had imagined it all. Maybe I would wake up in my bed and it would all be a really bad dream. I took one fleeting step away and stared at the door. It couldn't be possible. Then a noise came from the room, the moaning of a woman and the quiet squeaking of Josh's bed. How many times had I heard it squeak as we made love? And now he was with another woman? Instantly, anger coursed through my body. I was rigid with rage. How long had he been cheating on me? Why was he cheating on me? It wasn't as if I didn't give him everything he wanted.

The tray I was holding crashed to the ground. I looked down at it with curiosity. When had I decided to let go of it? Josh's door sprang open. He was clutching a blanket around his waist and holding a baseball bat. I looked from the mess of broken glass and spilled food on the floor up into his eyes. He registered my presence and backed up a step. The woman came to the door and looked out. She had not grabbed anything to cover her body. I was jealous immediately of her curves and voluptuous breasts. I could see why Josh would find more pleasure with her. It took me only a minute to start to step away from him.

"Melanie," he said softly. I shook my head. How could he even look at me? How long had he been cheating? How long?

"Who's this?" the woman asked, her voice husky from lovemaking. I stepped further away from the couple. How could this be happening? Something inside me was suddenly gone, I felt dizzy. I don't know how I managed it, but I somehow stumbled out of his apartment and back to my own.

I slammed the door and leaned against it. This brought Agnes out of her room again. There was a scowl on her face, until she saw me clearly.

"What's wrong, Mel?" I shook my head, even as the tears filled my eyes. Agnes sat next to me, but didn't touch me. For a brief second, I was thankful. Then my heart broke. I sobbed suddenly and fell into my friend's arms. She held me and rocked us slowly.

"He's cheating on me," I wailed into her shoulder. "I don't know how long," I sobbed, trying to connect my wild thoughts. "But she's beautiful, with long legs and curves and big boobs. She's everything I'm not. Why?" I buried my head in her shoulder and cried. I cried and cried. Even when I thought that my eyes had run dry, I thought of him again and the wells sprung forth.

I didn't want to move. I couldn't do anything but stay there, in the dark of my room. I was safe there, away from the world. In my sanctuary, I could cry and scream and no one bothered me. It was dark and quiet and I liked it. I had everything I needed. My bed was soft and I was at peace. At least, that's what I wanted to believe. My heart was broken, torn to bits and trampled on. I couldn't even begin to know how to gather the shards of my soul and mend it. I was so in love with him. How could he have done that to me? Didn't he love me too? It felt like he was slowly destroying me, and everything I had worked so hard to become. When did he stop loving me? Unbidden tears welled in my eyes again. Would I ever stop crying?

The darkness surrounded me, calmed me, and nursed my pain. I heard him come by the first time. Agnes wouldn't let him near me and I was grateful. I never heard him come back again. That was all I was worth, one try. A knock at my door disturbed my thoughts. I curled up in my sheets, allowing despair to control me. The door opened, shining a ray of light into my room. The light burned my eyes and only caused me to sink further into my bed.

"Melanie?" Agnes stepped into the room carrying a plate and a cup. She set them on the bedside table. I felt the bed sag as she sat down. "You need to eat something. Eat my sandwich, will you Mel?" I turned to look at my friend, the best friend I had. How could I tell her that my heart would never mend?

"I'm sorry," I whispered as tears found their way to my eyes again.

"What on Earth do you have to be sorry for?" Agnes ran a hand through my tangled curls. "You've done nothing wrong." I nodded as she shook her head.

"I'm sorry that I loved him."