The Art of Letting Go
by Anna BloomNew Adult Contemporary Romance
393 pages; Published September 25th, 2013
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it?
When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.
Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.
As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.
With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.
With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?
Holy shit! My head.
There are no words.
Just pain. Pounding. Pounding, pain.
Why? Oh why? Oh why?
Oh yes, that’s right. Champagne, Tequila, Beer, Wine.
That would do it.
Oh, God, the pain!
Water would be very good right now, but water means keeping my eyes open and using my legs, and I know that is going to hurt even more. Too much too cope with.
My mouth feels like the Sahara with no oasis in sight. I would do anything for an Oasis right now, or an Evian. Who am I kidding? I would do anything for tap water right now.
I wonder if I can crawl myself to the bathroom and just lay in the bath with my mouth positioned under the tap for an hour.
I wonder if the other girls got home okay?
I cannot for the life of me remember anything. I have just woken up in my bed. I am just thankful that it is my bed.
Wait a minute. How did I even get home?
I have no recollection of the walk across campus or the however many flights of stairs it is to the dorm, and I most certainly do not remember entering my room and getting into bed.
I am definitely in my room, so that is good. My unpacked boxes are still scattered around and I can see remnants of last night’s whirlwind dress-up scattered where I left them.
Wish I had not bothered.
I have just peeked under the duvet. I am also dressed, which I am pleased about, considering.
As slowly as I can manage without causing my brain to bleed or eyeballs to fall out, I sit up. I need to get out of the tangle of silk dress and cotton sheets, which are cutting off the blood supply to my legs.
Honest to god, I think my brain may be about to explode. There is a searing pain above my right eye, and a steady banging located in the back of my skull. It may be my brain attempting an escape.
Okay. That’s strange. There are three bottles of water lined up in a row next to my neatly placed shoes. Where the hell did they come from? Meredith, perhaps?
Nope. It's no good. I need to lie down again. I sat up way too soon.
The Fresher’s Ball
OH, FUCK! Oh no, no, no, no, no.
I can’t believe it! I have woken up and can now remember the Fresher’s Ball, in all its high-definition 3D glory.
This is all I can remember of how I broke every single one of my Uni rules. I am going to write it down and then I am going to forget about it until the day I die, which may very well be later today.
The Fresher’s Ball completely rocks, but this may be because I break the ‘No Drinking’ rule by consuming:
Half a bottle of champagne
Three tequila shots
Three bottles of beer
Three glasses of water (to keep a balance)
Two glasses of wine
Note to self: This amount of alcohol causes significant pain and memory misplacement.
Halfway through the evening, the room is spinning in an alarming fashion and I am using the wall as a support. I would like to move away from it and dance with my roommates, but I am scared that: A. My legs will fall off, or B. I will be sick. So instead I just stand and lean, sipping some more water.
The live band is great, though unfortunately I have to look at them through one eye. If I open both eyes, everything gets a bit blurry.
The lead singer is damn hot: tall and slim with a shock of dark hair and flashing blue eyes that I can see all the way over from my safety spot against the wall.
Ha ha! If I open both eyes there are two of him!
One eye, one singer. Two eyes, two singers. One eye, one singer. Two eyes, two singers.
I think he may be glancing in my direction, but cannot be sure. Maybe he is just working out if he needs to get someone to call an ambulance for me.
Oh no! I probably look like I am winking at him. I am such an idiot!
I decide to head back to the bar and get another bottle of water. Without a backwards glance at the stage—let’s be honest I am in no condition to be glancing anywhere—I make my way to the bar. Froebel college is an old mansion house made up of a rabbit warren of rooms that I stumble my way through until I find where they have hidden the bar. Once there, I attempt to communicate with the barman for a bottle of overpriced water.
Sipping my drink, I turn from the bar, but someone is blocking my path back to the exit. I look up and see a pair of blue eyes twinkling down at me.
Ah, pretty, blue sparkly eyes like the sky at midday. I appear to be completely at a loss for words. Again.
A dark head lowers to examine me closer.
“Ben,” he introduces, holding his hand out to me, his blue eyes crinkling.
On closer inspection, I see they are surrounded by the cutest freckles I have ever seen.
“Lilah,” I respond, taking his hand. I don’t shake it, I just hold it.
That is so not cool.
I hope I am not still looking through just one eye. “You’re the singer guy, right?” At least my tongue still works.
He flashes me a wicked smirk. “Singer guy, I am,” he replies, his hand still holding mine.
I have no urge to move away.
“You’re the girl in the knock out white dress,” he adds.
I have nothing to say to this, but he laughs all the same.
“Would you like to go outside for some fresh air?” he asks, leaning forward slightly and talking right into my ear. His warm breath sends shivers down my arm and various other places.
“I should find my friends,” I say. I don’t want to. I want to follow the blues outside, but there is a teeny tiny part of my inebriated brain that knows this may be a bad idea.
“Come on, Lilah.” He tugs at my hand, and my willpower crumbles like a sandcastle in the tide and I follow him without a second thought.
I Will Not Talk to Boys . . . Much
Hold on a minute. It gets worse.
Outside, he takes a crumpled packet of cigarettes out of his jeans pocket. I cannot help but focus on his hand sliding into the tight space of his dark blue jeans.
I am a dirty pervert.
He offers me one, and I automatically accept.
Well, that is a pile of Crap!
I have broken all four of my cardinal rules within twenty-four hours of starting Uni.
Well done, Delilah! I offer myself an imaginary clap on the back.
“I wasn’t winking at you, by the way.” I assure him.
“So you here as a guest or a student?” he asks, leaning in and lighting my ciggie for me.
“Student,” I reply, attempting not to slur.
He lifts an eyebrow at this.
“Yes, I know I am old!” I retort. I should just walk away but my legs are not responding to any command my brain makes. Apart from the one that instructs me to stand there like a dick.
“Hardly.” The blues hold mine.
“Twenty-five is pretty old compared to all the spring chickens in there.” I motion my head to the hall behind me full of dancing teenagers.
Motioning of head is not such a great idea. My vision is about 5 seconds behind.
“I’m twenty-five,” blue-eyed Ben informs me.
“So what are you studying?”
He is standing really close, very close indeed. I seem to be staring at his lips as he speaks, they are all I can focus on. Everything else is blurred or doubled.
I take a long drag of my cigarette.
“History,” I tell him, waiting for the laugh. None comes. “So, have you been with the band long?”
“Wow! That’s a long time.” It really is.
“Yeah, I guess.” He throws his cigarette away and I follow suit. He still does not move away from me. This guy obviously does not follow the rules of etiquette regarding personal space.
“You don’t recognise me, do you?”
Of all the questions I am expecting, this one is not it. “No. Should I?”
“I played at a Christmas party last year. You were there.”
I stare at the blues as he speaks; they are a little mesmerising. Let’s just hope I have my mouth closed.
I remember the band now, and I vaguely remember him. Well, not him exactly, but something about the colour blue. John had been a complete arsehole that evening, not leaving me alone for a minute. It had been suffocating and in the end we had left early. The evening was so bad I have forced myself to never think about it again.
“Sorry,” I offer. I kind of am.
“I think I prefer the white dress to the red.”
What?! He can remember the dress I was wearing nine months ago! I am about to say something . . . anything . . .
Then he is kissing me: his mouth warm and firm on mine.
WHAT ON EARTH AM I DOING?
It should be strange, but it is not as strange as you’d think. I automatically lean in and slide my hands into his black hair, pulling him down closer. His hand grazes down my back and over my left butt cheek. I am not complaining though. Nope, no complaints here. None at all.
Just like that my knees start to go. His arms slide around me holding me up and I think he may be chuckling, but I am not sure. It is hard to hear anything above the roaring in my ears.
This is the point I realise I am going to be sick all over a complete stranger I have just snogged.
“I think I should help you home,” he says into my ear.
“What? No way! If you think I am going to let you take me home so I will have sex with you, you’re sorely mistaken! I am not some gir—” My words are cut off by his lips. I try to protest but soon give up. It is not the most convincing protest I have ever made. I have protested more over cold toast.
“I am not taking you home so I can take advantage of you,” he says after finally pulling away so I can gasp a breath.
“You are really rather drunk and I think you should let me help you home,” he continues, a smile playing on his lips. He is probably right.
I can barely stand up, though I am not sure if that is through lack of oxygen whilst kissing or from too much booze.
“Besides,” he says with a twinkle of blues, “when I do have sex with you, I would rather you were a little more sober.”
I start to protest again but his arms lift me up and throw me over his shoulder in a very unflattering fireman lift.
“Where do you live, Lilah?” he asks.
To my immense surprise he just starts striding off across campus.
I try to think of ways to get down, but in the end just give up and stare at his rather tidy arse as my eyesight starts to go black.
This is all I remember.
So kill me now.
I can’t believe that I got drunk enough to snog a stranger, even a hot one. What a complete bloody idiot. I may never, ever leave this room again. Ever.
I am going back to sleep. Hopefully when I wake up I will realise that this has all been a hideous nightmare.
Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.
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