Face Time

lady_bookbinder: All hail the mighty Amanda! She has, in record time, banged out a five-page essay on this stupid short story and still has time to chat with her boyfriend before heading out for her birthday party!

fallingwaterrocks: I bow down in worship.

lady_bookbinder: You'd better. How've things been with you?

fallingwaterrocks: Nowhere near as good as they've been with you, apparently. Work remains hectic; they're rezoning this huge area near the bay and I've gotta be there all the time to help coordinate; my backup crew sucks. Doesn't look like I'll be getting over to the east coast anytime soon.

lady_bookbinder: I miss you. Thank God for the internet, huh?

fallingwaterrocks: Miss you all the time, baby. Any chance you'd come and see me?

lady_bookbinder: Not until I wrap this whole school thing up. Senior year is so busy; I swear if I make it through I should qualify for a gold medal. Scholar decathlon, or something.

fallingwaterrocks: …when do you graduate, again?

lady_bookbinder: :P like you aren't counting.

fallingwaterrocks: Well, happy birthday anyway!

lady_bookbinder: Thanks! Finally officially an adult, right? The big 2-1! The guys are taking me out for this monster martini…I don't really like martinis. Wish it were a big-ass Bahama Mama. Got your present, btw. Love it!

fallingwaterrocks: Knew you would. There's this great used bookstore by my apartment, and she orders first editions on request.

lady_bookbinder: Seriously though. You spoil me. Have I thanked you yet for the new computer?

fallingwaterrocks: Only every time we chat. Don't feel guilty; it's really a self-interest thing. If you don't have a computer, I can't interrupt your homework time and we don't talk so often. ;)

lady_bookbinder: Hmm, maybe I should send it back…

fallingwaterrocks: Don't you dare. Are things any better on that end…financially, I mean?

lady_bookbinder: Well, if you read my blog then you know that no, they aren't, but it's okay. Dad's so much happier at this job than his old one that I can't bear to bring up the fact that I'm footing more of the bill. I mean, he knows, but…I'm not gonna make him feel guilty.

fallingwaterrocks: How'd he feel about the computer?

lady_bookbinder: Please. My parents haven't even gotten over the fact that I'm dating a 25-year-old from San Francisco. It's a little humiliating when you're parents think you're prostituting yourself for some new hardware.

lady_bookbinder: *your

fallingwaterrocks: We are such grammar Nazis, aren't we?

lady_bookbinder: Why should IM be the only place an English and Creative Writing major ditches her hard-won vocabulary and perfect grammar?

fallingwaterrocks: LOL. Aren't they at least swayed by our romantic meeting?

lady_bookbinder: Ooh, l33t speak! I think Mom's still shocked by how fast I went from meeting to kissing. In the grand scale of my life, after all, that's almost unprecedented.

fallingwaterrocks: Oh well. Does it bug you?

lady_bookbinder: A little. Not enough to break it off with you because, if you haven't noticed, I really like you. But a little.

fallingwaterrocks: Well, if you need any help with that…you know all you've gotta do is ask.

lady_bookbinder: Thanks, but I'm not gonna rob my big time civil engineering boyfriend any more than I have to.

fallingwaterrocks: Afraid of being a gold digger?

lady_bookbinder: You have no idea.

fallingwaterrocks: You heard back from that correspondence course at Antioch?

lady_bookbinder: Ugh…yeah.

fallingwaterrocks: Good? Bad? You wanna talk about it?

fallingwaterrocks: Hello?

lady_bookbinder: Sorry, it's just…

fallingwaterrocks: Are they not gonna take you?

lady_bookbinder: No…that's not it. I got in.

fallingwaterrocks: Congratulations! This is great! You'll get your MFA!

lady_bookbinder: Jared, don't. I don't think I can afford it.

fallingwaterrocks: Your parents not gonna help you with the bill?

lady_bookbinder: They were never going to help me with grad school. I'm the only one of their kids who wants to go, after all. It's $32,500 for two years and I don't think I can earn that and do the coursework and pay rent at the same time. I'll have to take a break for a few years, earn some money and come back to it. At least I know I can get in.

fallingwaterrocks: Antioch is in LA, right?

lady_bookbinder: Yeah.

fallingwaterrocks: Well, don't take this wrong, but…why don't you move in with me? I mean, you wouldn't be able to matriculate anyway, but you wouldn't have to pay rent or expenses. My apartment's more than big enough for the two of us.

fallingwaterrocks: Don't thank me all at once.

fallingwaterrocks: Are you still there?

lady_bookbinder: Yes, I'm here.

lady_bookbinder: Just give me a minute.

fallingwaterrocks: Take your time.

lady_bookbinder: I don't think I could.

fallingwaterrocks: Why not?

lady_bookbinder: You know me…raised in a big-time Christian household. My Mom wasn't happy when Rachel moved in with the boyfriend she eventually married…it wouldn't bug me if we were just friends. I'd take you up on that in a minute! But…I really like you.

fallingwaterrocks: And you're afraid you'd do something you'd regret?

lady_bookbinder: Yeah. What if we…you know…and then broke up?

fallingwaterrocks: We've been dating for two years and haven't broken up yet.

lady_bookbinder: We haven't spent that much face time together. I've been to see you once, and you've come to see me three times.

fallingwaterrocks: But in between that we've logged so many hours of talking…I mean, we know each other. Really well. My own parents don't know each other this well after 32 years!

lady_bookbinder: Are things any better on that front?

fallingwaterrocks: No. And don't change the subject.

lady_bookbinder: I don't want you to think I've got a stick up my ass where sex is concerned, but it's a big deal to me. I want to save it for the man I marry.

fallingwaterrocks: I want you to marry me.

lady_bookbinder: What?

fallingwaterrocks: Come on. You should know me enough to know that I'm not afraid to do it. I love you.

lady_bookbinder: I don't know if I can do this right now.

fallingwaterrocks: Take your time. I just want you to know that I love you and want to marry you.

lady_bookbinder: Now I really couldn't move in with you.

fallingwaterrocks: Don't you want to get married?

lady_bookbinder: Yes…just not anywhere resembling now.

fallingwaterrocks: Why not?

lady_bookbinder: Jared, you're already established! You know, you've got your Master's and your career and your apartment and your life…I'm not done yet. I want to do things with my life…I can't just get married.

fallingwaterrocks: Marriage doesn't end your life, you know.

lady_bookbinder: I'm too young. If we get married, that means we could have children…I'd never have time to do my writing.

fallingwaterrocks: There are ways to prevent us having children right now, you know.

lady_bookbinder: I know, but you're missing the point! I'm just not ready.

fallingwaterrocks: Okay.

lady_bookbinder: I'm sorry.

fallingwaterrocks: It's fine. It's not like I was proposing, or anything. I was just trying to get you to feel that it wouldn't be a hideous sin to move in with me.

lady_bookbinder: I don't think that.

fallingwaterrocks: I'm not sure about that, Amanda. I think you're scared.

lady_bookbinder: …you're right.

fallingwaterrocks: Listen, you trust me, right? You could still move in and we'd wait as long as you wanted. You could get your Master's, have all the time you wanted for writing. My job is good; you'd only have to work part-time to pay tuition.

lady_bookbinder: Don't do that! You know how badly I want to get a novel out there.

fallingwaterrocks: This way you could.

lady_bookbinder: Why are you willing to do so much for me?

fallingwaterrocks: Did I mention the 'l' word? Cause that would be the reason.

lady_bookbinder: You did.

fallingwaterrocks: You don't love me, do you?

lady_bookbinder: I like you. I really like you. That's more than I've said to any guy. But…it isn't love. Not yet.

fallingwaterrocks: Right.

lady_bookbinder: You know how guilty I felt over taking the computer? Imagine how I'd feel if I moved in with you; taking up your space, your time, your money…and I didn't love you.

lady_bookbinder: Jared, please say something.