Author: Sarah Daltry
Cover Design: Shoutlines Design
18+ New Adult Contemporary Romance
"I’ve never understood a year. A year was always a measurement of something bad for me. A year in my father’s prison sentence, a year since my mom’s death, a year left of school before I could get far, far away from here. Now, as I look down the end of my college career, with only a little more than a semester to go, a year seems like something magical. It has been a year since Lily chose me, since she sat with me on the old swing set and made a decision that I was worthy of her. And every minute of the entire year has been better than the last."
You already know their stories: Lily, the perfect princess, always living someone else's life. And Jack, the broken boy, who had stopped believing in hope. Somehow, though, they found each other and what was one night blossomed into a love story.
Now, a year later, Jack and Lily are dreaming of the future. Despite all of his promises to himself that he would never be indebted to anyone, Jack makes a new promise - this time to Lily - that he will be there for her forever. But when life unravels for them, he starts to pull away, and Lily worries he's out of reach for good.
When Jack does the unthinkable, Lily is left destroyed. Is it possible to have a happily ever after? Does love ever really save anyone?
“What are you thinking about?” she asks later that night, when we’re curled up in my bed in my grandmother’s basement. It was late and I didn’t want to ride my bike back in the cold, so we decided to stay here.
“Nothing. The future.”
She laughs. “The future is nothing?”
I shake my head. “It’s so… big.” It sounds fucking stupid, but I can’t explain it any other way.
“Yeah,” she says, but I know she understands. One of the things I think no one, even Lily, gets about why I love her so much is that I feel both totally adult with her, and yet at the same time, a kid. My whole life has been this collection of events, where I’ve either been the victim of bullshit at the hands of other people and thus, never really given a shot at being a kid, or my own stupid attempts at being grown up, which generally led to terrible choices. With Lily, I feel completely normal. I feel like the big question of buying an engagement ring and also what kind of career I want are the worst concerns people have. I clearly have significant problems, but with her, I don’t. I’m just a guy, with the most incredible girlfriend.
“Do you ever think about ten years from now?” I ask.
She nods against me. “All the time. It feels alien, though. I can’t picture having a real job, maybe a house, being a wife…” Her voice trails off and I know she’s worried. I lift her chin and look at her.
“The entire concept of family is probably my biggest fear, Lily, but there is very little I wouldn’t consider for you.”
She shifts and sits up. “Really? I don’t want you think I’m asking. Not yet. But it’s kind of there, as, like, a hypothetical.”
If only she knew, I think, but I’m not ready to speak in certainties. “I know. A year ago, I stood in the parking lot of the café and I remember telling you I could never be your boyfriend. I was scared. I didn’t think I could be good enough for you.”
“You’re better than good enough,” she says and smiles.
“Thank you, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand what makes you think so. Still, I remember that night, and I begged you not to fall for me, because it was too late for me. And then there was Derek and all that mess and New Year’s, but as a hypothetical, I want to make you happy. Plus,” I add, “imagine the honeymoon.”
She laughs and hits my arm. “You’re a pig.”