Author's Note: I've already produced this story as an e-book, but I still haven't received any feedback, and it would be nice to know what readers think of it. I value helpful feedback, not just for this story, but also for how it may better help me shape future stories, so be sure to dive in and tell me your thoughts. Thanks. There are three parts to this story.

New Note (6/18/17): I'm updating this story with two additional scenes and some cleanup of earlier scenes. I am also changing the chapter structure to make it easier to read in smaller chunks. These changes, in essence, alter the focus of the story somewhat to include not just a story but a theme, too. This will turn the original three-part structure into twelve parts. I'd still like feedback. Thanks.

New Note (6/20/17): Actually, I didn't like the ending, so I added one more scene to better resolve the story. Now there are thirteen sections. Enjoy.

PART ONE: Veni

"In Deep Smit"

When he briefly met Melissa at the university party last semester, Avery Ward collapsed from the wave of deep smit overpowering him. Whether those supercharged feelings surged into him through her laugh or her smile, he couldn't tell, but they hit his stomach full force with the weight of iron, keeling him over onto the backroom sofa. Melissa was enchanting from head to handbag, like an adult-sized pixie fluttering up from the depths of a mirror-calm spring. He couldn't avoid his eminent infatuation with her, or the punch to his gut that her telekinetic beauty had given him. And he didn't want to.

As he prostrated across the couch, nervous of the words filling in his mind, he resolved, somehow, to speak to her again before the night ended. After a violent season of heartbreak, he needed her intoxicating face to numb his pain and her warm touch, assuming she was warm, to bring him back to the living. Although she was woman, like the beast that had mauled him in August, she was also soft. For that, he had to believe in her sensibility—that her first sixty seconds of cozy amiability, before she had gotten that call on her cellphone, were genuine.

Therefore, once he finally found the courage to initiate the sequel to his interaction, his emotions were bushwhacked when he discovered she had left the party. He fell on the couch again, smitten not only by infatuation but by the cold, cruel hand of life. He even cursed the old hobo who lived in the fraternity house attic for his ill fortune, not that the hobo had anything to do with it; it just felt right.

Sometime later, when he recovered from his daze, Avery Ward felt the wave in his bowels sucking his nerves down into a whirlpool. He didn't know whether to cry or to puke. Fortunately, he chose to cry, since the party was still raging around him, and the frat brothers wouldn't have liked him vomiting in the crack between the couch cushions. He stayed there the rest of the night. A few people may or may not have sat on him at some point. He wasn't certain he cared.

The story might have been common fare for most guys his age, but a spellbinding of this level had happened to him only three times before—most recently with Allison, the girl who betrayed him. For the crush to happen again, with Melissa, he was convinced that she was special. But seeing that she had walked out of that party, leaving him bereft of a second chance to converse with her, burned into him a torment equal to the fierceness of a bloodthirsty bog monster, which he believed was pretty fierce. He was afraid he had been burned for the fourth time.

So he had to thank God for second chances when he veered into the condiment aisle of a ritzy supermarket several months later to find her shopping there, free of companion.