It’s Wednesday again!
Here’s the next installment of “Discussion of Differences” – Enjoy!
As she drove toward Will’s house after work, she spoke potential responses to Hunter aloud. She knew something would eventually bubble up to the surface.
Bethany parked in Will’s driveway and hustled inside – It was really starting to be autumn, with the crisp chill in the air. She kissed Will as soon as she crossed the threshold, and then excused herself to the bathroom. She had logged into the FlixelFlaxen before she’d left work, and was ready to reply.
Look – I completely understand how you feel. You know full well that Will and I were in a LDR before I graduated. I desperately wanted Will to come visit me every single weekend, but I knew – We both knew – that wasn’t practical. I personally don’t think it’s practical in your case, either. I think you should be as supportive as possible, though. Visit her every other weekend. It’s only six weeks until the end! You both can handle this, I know it. I want to help, but I want you to make the decision. Let me know what happens.
Hunter was gaming – as usual – when the notification beep interrupted his music. He paused the game and clicked over to the FlixelFlaxen. He’d gotten really good at skimming Bethany’s messages, so it took less than a minute for him to get the gist.
His response was lightning fast:
Thanks for your thoughts. I really appreciate it. You’re right, in a way. We both want to see each other every weekend, but I don’t think it will help anything. It is only six more weeks. I’ll see if she wants me to call her more often – Maybe that will help during the weeks that I can’t visit her. She definitely needs all the support that she can get. Thanks again – You’re a great friend.
Bethany smiled and went to sit by Will’s side, as happy as a clam.
As Bethany and Will settled into watching the newest episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” Bethany drifted off into dreamland again, visions of all things Europe dancing in her head.
The next day marked a week away from the next get-together. Since it was a Saturday, Bethany devoted most of the morning to writing everything down. She switched back and forth between the computer and her special Europe journal. After the first meeting, Bethany and Will had gone to Target the following week, and Bethany wandered into the stationery aisle. She scanned the journals and notebooks until Will heard her gasp. Bethany had found the ultimate 7-subject notebook. Yes, there are notebooks that go beyond the 5-subject kind now!
Bethany thought it was just perfect – There were actually enough sections to cover all the bases. There were six equal sections, one for each person, since Bethany was delegating roles for everyone. Then the seventh section was reserved for general planning, wish lists, doodles, photos – Sort of like a European Pinterest board, but on paper.
She knew that the Target in Chesapeake very likely didn’t carry maps of Europe, but that’s exactly what she wanted to do for the cover. Bethany had always been neat and clean with her school notebooks, so she was excited to be creative with this one.
Along with the journal, Bethany snagged a pack of colorful Sharpie markers and the multi-colored foil star stickers that everyone coveted in elementary school. She could hardly wait to get out of the store and head to Will’s to finish her masterpiece.
By the end of the afternoon, Bethany triumphantly declared her custom journal complete. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, she was able to print out a super-imposed map of the continent that was scaled to the precise size of the notebook cover. With the Sharpies, she boldly wrote THE GRAND EUROPEAN ADVENTURE in one corner, and then doodled around the other corners in different scripts. The final touch was the star stickers, meticulously placed on the cities that everyone had mentioned through their previous conversations – London, Paris, Nice, Madrid, Barcelona, Florence, Rome, Berlin, Stockholm, Vienna – The list appeared as if it would never end. She even ran out of stickers before finishing the list!
She couldn’t wait to start writing in it, but she was whisked away by Will to the bedroom for some overdue sexy time. It could wait, but not much longer. They would all meet up the following Saturday, and there was still so much to do and prepare.
Over the course of the week, Bethany carved out an hour every night that was solely dedicated to filling the journal to the brim. She wanted to fill every single inch, if at all possible. She made it like a scrapbook that had Pinterest and a travel agency come together. She was having the most fun, and she knew she would be sad when it was truly finished. She did decide early on to leave some space for everyone else’ input – It wouldn’t be fair otherwise.
However, she couldn’t wait for everyone to see it. She even tried to hide it from Will, but that didn’t work so well. He could tell that she was really excited, and that buoyed his spirits. For some reason, he was having an inkling that Saturday’s meeting was not going to be as stellar as Bethany and the others were anticipating.
He tried to mask it, but it wasn’t easy. Because he and Bethany had been together for over four years at that point, she’d gotten really good at being able to tell when something was wrong with him or if something was bothering him. After all, Will was one of the most easy-going people she’d ever met, so it wasn’t really hard to perceive when something was different.
Will finally came to the conclusion that he had to let Bethany know of his suspicions. He spent the first part of the week trying to rehearse what she was going to say, because he knew that Bethany would likely react really strongly. She didn’t take kindly to uncomfortable situations, and more so if they blew up in her face all of a sudden. He decided he would take her to dinner and attempt to tell her his thoughts that Thursday. He figured it would give her enough time to react to it and process it before the meeting took place. That was his hope, anyway.
Thursday night, they met at Will’s after work like usual. Normally, they went out to dinner as a couple on Fridays, but Will liked to pull a surprise every so often, to keep Bethany guessing. That night, they decided on Outback. Will drove, and even though he was holding Bethany’s hand and chattering like everything was normal, in his head he was desperately trying to formulate the right words. He knew this wasn’t going to go well.
After they ordered their salads and steaks, they were making small talk about work. They had mutually decided that their conversation about Europe would be minimal to none between the two of them. They agreed that they could talk about their own wants and wishes, but nothing that involved the group. It was all about fairness. Then, the conversation suddenly fell off a cliff, and Bethany heard Will swallow and breathe deeply.
“Will? What’s wrong? You look worried.”
He cleared his throat – It was now or never.
“Bethie, I am worried. I’ve tried to find or come up with the right words all week long, to try to tell you this carefully or gently. But, I’ll just be straight with you – I know that’s how you like it.”
It was Bethany’s turn to swallow. She instantly got nervous and edgy whenever Will was nervous – It generally wasn’t a good sign.
“Will, honey, I appreciate that. I really do. You know me so well. What is it? You know that you can tell me anything, right?”
Will nodded and bowed his head a little. He didn’t want to meet her eyes, but he forced himself to do so.
“Okay, here it is. I’ve had this inkling that this meeting on Saturday is going to be a disaster. I don’t know why or how or what, but that’s just my gut feeling. I don’t know what to do.”
Bethany’s eyes softened. She stroked his right hand with her left, and with her right hand, cupped his chin and kissed him.
“Sweetheart, I can tell you’re worried. I am too, a little bit. I think it’s because we’re going to start talking about the real details now. You know, the money aspect is a big one …”
Will nodded. He felt his gut untwist a little.
“The fun party planning period is ending. But, we’re all friends. We’ve been through some tough times already – Remember how worried we all were when Bill’s mom had that stroke?”
Will nodded again. He started to breathe normally again.
“Everything will be fine. If we do disagree, so be it. We don’t have to plan everything in one Saturday. Actually, we can’t do that. There will be many more Saturday meetings before the official adventure begins.”
Bethany smiled. Seeing her grin restored Will’s confidence and faith. He cupped her chin and kissed her longingly.
“Whew. I feel better. Don’t you?”
Bethany nodded vigorously.
“I keep saying it because it’s so true – Talking it out is the way to go.”
“Well, that was perfect timing. I think I see our waitress coming with our food. Let’s enjoy our meal and think about something else for a change – Like maybe having sexy time when we get back to your house?”
No one could wipe the grins off their faces.
By Friday, pure excitement took over. Everyone could hardly wait to drive up to LT. On the surface, it looked like a good change of pace. There were a lot of advantages – More places to hang out, the library was nearby if further research was needed, more options than pizza for food choices.
But, there were also disadvantages – Distraction was the main obstacle. Since classes were still in session, students were on campus, and the five alumni all had friends still attending the school. However, they hadn’t publicized their travels or meeting on social media for that exact reason.
Since the first meeting, they solely communicated via a group FlixelFlaxen message, rather than individual statuses and tagging all six people every single time. This way was also much more efficient than a group text. In terms of traveling, though, it was decided that Bethany and Hunter would be in charge of the main communications, and then Hunter would communicate with Bill accordingly. It seemed a lot easier that way, since they were three couples and all the communicating parties had to do was speak with their other halves to get the message across.
The excitement, along with a little bit of pressure, steadily rose as everyone converged on Farmerstown, Virginia, the home of the Lancer Institute. It was like a homecoming of sorts for Bill and Anabelle, and Will and Bethany. The campus was rapidly expanding, almost by the day, and Hunter and Lisanna assured everyone that they likely would not recognize most of Farmerstown and LT. They were right.
The other couples were in awe. So much had changed since Anabelle, Bill, and Bethany had graduated in 2011. A lot of the familiar stores had closed long ago, and new things were either in place or under construction. The biggest residence hall at LT was being prepared for demolition. They took a tour of the renovated art building and sorority dorm – It was astounding.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂