Chapter 1

My name is Jason Raymond Russell. I am 26, decent looking, and have a good job. It is Sunday morning and I'm having a second coffee while reading the Sunday paper. A large two column picture caught my eye. As I stared at the picture, my mind was lost in thought. Two years had passed since we parted and seeing the woman's face in the picture still hurt me.

Who could cause such a reaction, you ask? That is my story.

I was living and working in a small college town that had four colleges in it; I was 23 years old at the time. Two of the colleges were girl's schools; one was a state university, and one large business college. There were lots of pretty young coeds, what you might call a target rich environment.

One of my buddies was in between semesters and was working at our place to earn enough money to finish his education. Jim was also a member of one of the fraternities at the state school. He and I were each other's wing man on many a mission.

Our mission was to have carnal knowledge of as many of the young lovelies as possible. We were very good so our targets seldom escaped.

Jim and I were at a sorority mixer and having a great time. There was free booze, free snacks, and an abundance of coeds. I was doing a scouting mission to see which of the young ladies was to be the lucky one for this evening.

Let me say at that period of my life I was a bit of a conceited ass. In my mind, I was a god's gift to women. I had the moves, looks, and attitude to be successful with a lot of the college girls. I lacked the sincerity to have a meaningful relationship. At that time of my life that was okay though.

I spotted a likely candidate, a cute petite redhead, and was just about to make a move when Jim grabbed my arm. He steered me toward a group of girls standing off to the side of the party. They seemed to be watching but not partaking in the festivities.

In the middle of this group was an outstanding example of the desirable college coed. She was poised, well dressed, had a nice figure and her face was beautiful. I asked Jim who she was.

"That is Gloria Preston," he informed me. "She is untouchable. Gloria goes to Williams College (one of the girl's schools) and never dates the same guy twice. The few guys that have taken her out swear she is gay or a cold fish. None of them got as far as holding hands with her and you can't have her either."

"She's not gay," I told Jim. "Watch her look at the men as they walk by. She is totally checking them out. I think she is just very guarded and a little picky. She won't become too deeply involved with just any man."

"Wow, Dr. Phil, you have her all figured out without even talking to her," Jim laughed at me. "You are amazing sir. No on second thought, you are full of it."

"Do you know any of the other girls in that group?"

"Yeah, the blond is Donna Mason. She goes to UM like me. We had a couple of classes together," Jim answered. "We went out on a few dates but there was no real spark so we quit dating and stayed friends. Why?"

"I'm going to prove that Gloria isn't gay or a cold fish. Your part will be to introduce me to Donna. I'll take it from there."

"Okay, but you are wasting your time Jason," Jim warned me.

We walked over to the group and Jim said hello to Donna. After a short conversation with her he introduced me. I said hello and Donna introduced the rest of the group. There were four other girls, but all I remembered was Gloria. When Jim, Donna, and I began to talk, I would include the other girls, but not Gloria. I ignored her. If she joined in, I would listen and then turn away from her without an answer or comment.

As an example, when Gloria told me she went to Williams, I said yeah and went back to talking to Donna and the others. She was getting a little upset.

Jim and I said good bye to the group and started home. When we got back to my car Jim shook his head and looked at me.

"You sure made a great impression on Gloria. You didn't say a word to her and cut her off when she tried to join in. I can see your plan. You are going to piss her off so much that she will screw you just to get your attention. Great plan."

"Oh ye of little faith. My plan is working fine." I explained. "Look every guy Gloria has ever met has told her how pretty she is and tried to make moves on her. She is not used to being ignored.

It will get her interested. Gloria will begin to think; why isn't this guy after me? What's wrong with me? She won't be able to stand it, then Gloria will come after me. It's in the bag."

Jim laughed at me, and then said "good luck."

"Do me a favor; find out more about her for me. I need to know where she eats, gets coffee, shops and anything else you can get. Will you help me?"

"Sure buddy," Jim said, "I'll get the info from some of the sorority sisters and have the goods in a couple of days."

I thanked Jim and then drove home. Two days later Jim gave me a report. He told me all the things that I wanted to know about Gloria and I set my plan in motion.

Starting the next evening and every spare minute I had, I sort of hung around whatever place she was. If Gloria was at the coffee shop, I would go in and get a drink and leave. If she was at the sandwich shop eating, I would stop in and get something to eat. I would even try to be around when she was shopping. All this ground work went on for three weeks. It didn't happen every time or every day that she went out but it did happen enough that she began to notice me. That was the plan.

First contact came at the coffee shop. You gave and received your order at the counter. I was in line waiting my turn when Gloria got in line behind me. Turning around I nodded at her as I pretended to look behind her at something else. She smiled at me.

I looked at her again and said, "Hi, I think we have met before but I can't remember you name. I'm Jason Russell."

"I'm Gloria Preston. We met at the Delta Zeta mixer last month," she replied.

"That's right, now I remember, you were with Donna Mason. Sorry I'm not very good with names."

We both got our coffee and she invited me to sit with her. I hesitated, just for effect, and then joined her at a patio table.

Gloria gave me a little smile and said, "What are you doing Jason?"

"What do you mean?"

"Come on Jason, you have been damn near stalking me for the last three weeks. Everywhere I go there you are. The same coffee shop, the same diners, even at the mall, there you are. Don't try to deny it; it has happened way too much for coincidence. You're following me, why?"

I looked at her and then confessed. I told her that it was my plan to get her to notice me.

"Again, why?" she asked.

How much to tell her? At this point I think that truth was the best way to go. Well maybe not the whole truth.

"Gloria, I want to get to know you, take you out and spend time with you. I figured that every guy that met you fell all over themselves trying to get your interest. They would tell you how pretty you are, how nicely you dressed, and anything else to flatter you.

All of them were trying to get you to keep them for more than one date. I don't want to be just another guy to you. So I made this plan to peak your interest in me.

I felt that if I played it cool and didn't fawn all over you, I might have a chance to really get to know you.

"Jason that's maybe the craziest thing I even heard," Gloria responded.

"Yeah, weird huh? Well I won't bother you anymore. I'm sorry if I scared you so please don't be angry. I'm really not a psycho."

"I'm not mad, I'm flattered. No one has even gone to all that trouble just to get to know me. Usually, they ask me out and sometimes I say yes. They're all the same. They think I'm pretty and that's all they see.

Guys seldom see or want to know about my thoughts, my goals, or my mind. You're different. Here's my address, pick me up at 7:00, take me to dinner" she ordered as she gave me a card.

"Yes my lady," I replied with a smile. Mission accomplished.

That evening on my way to pick up Gloria, I had a talk with myself. Okay, I thought, you've got a foot in the door. Don't blow it by being like all the other guys she has dated and dumped.

Keep your head in the game, no matter how great she looks. Talk to her and pay attention. Make her believe you really care about her politics, philosophies, and goals. You have to stand out from the rest to keep her.

I pulled up to the apartment building and Gloria came out to meet me at the truck. Before I could get out to open her door, she jumped into the truck. We went to a little Italian mom & pop place that I found. It wasn't a college hang out and much more intimate. It was a nice time where we talked about a lot of different things and something strange happened.

The plan called for me to pretend that I cared about what she was into however as the night came to a close I realized that I really did care. This girl was amazing, at least to me. That was sort of a scary thought for a player like me. I wanted to see more of her and not just as a score. I really liked this girl.

We were sitting in the car in front of her place and I decided to come clean. I didn't know how she would take the whole truth, but I wanted this to go further. I thought I had to tell her everything.

"Gloria, I need to tell you something. What I said earlier today about not wanting to be just another guy was entirely true. However, at the time I said all that stuff it was an adaptation of my plan.

Now after spending the evening with you, I realize that the part about getting to know you and spending time with you is actually the truth. I just didn't know it this morning. I'm sorry I did that. I have found that you are much more than just a pretty face and I do want to spend more time with you. I guess I blew it. Thanks for going to diner with me and I guess I'll see you around."

I was totally dejected; I had found a girl that actually caught my interest and my schemes and plans had lost her. Damn, I am such an ass sometimes.

"My goodness, when you get to talking you just don't stop, do you" Nice speech, but what makes it nicer is I think you really mean it. Tonight you have been different than I thought you would be."

I looked at her, puzzled. "What do you mean?"

"I checked you out. You have a reputation in our little community, Jason. You're a player and a good one, according to most of the girls I talked to. None of them had any complaints, by the way, except that you aren't into relationships. I know you ignored me at the mixer on purpose. It was part of this plan of yours."

"Oh hell," I groaned.

"No one has ever gone to all this trouble to meet me and get me to go out with them. It is very flattering. Let's see where this takes us. No more bullshit though. Okay?"

So started our time together. Almost every night of the week we were together. It was a whirlwind of diners, movies, and college parties. During all this I developed real feelings for Gloria. I don't know if I was in love, but it was definitely more than a just a strong like.

We were going out so much that I finally had to cut back some. My bank roll just couldn't handle 20 to 25 dates a month. The third time I begged off on an invitation to do something with Gloria she wanted to know what was up.

"Remember what I said when we started dating? No bullshit Jason. What is going on? You've turned me down for three dates in the last 10 days. Tell me all about it," Gloria demanded.

"I'm sorry Gloria. It's a macho male thing. I just can't afford to take you out as much as we have being doing. I'm just a working guy here. My salary isn't very large yet. Right now it doesn't leave a huge amount after expenses. It's not that I don't want to see you; I just can't afford to take you out somewhere almost every night. I'm sorry."

Gloria took my hand, smiled at me and said, "You ass! You should have said something. We don't have to spend money every time we go out. There are museums, galleries, walks by the river, and more that we can do. We can spend some evenings at your place or my place and just watch TV. You don't have to spend money every time."

"I guess I was embarrassed by my lack of money."

"Tell you what, we will go out to eat or a movie or whatever twice a week. You pay one time and I will pay the next. The other nights we will do the free stuff and just spend time together. No arguments, that's the way it will be. Unless, and I just thought of this, you just want time away from me?" Gloria stated.

"No way. I would spend every night with you. I really want to be with you," I answered.

So that's the way it was. Shortly after that we were walking by the river one evening and the stars must have been aligned just right. We made love that night, right there on the river bank.

It was almost perfect, except for the mosquitoes. We really didn't notice the bites until we were in the shower at her place later. That was the first night that I stayed all night in her apartment. It wouldn't be the last.

The next morning I left Gloria in bed and left to go to work. My truck wouldn't start. I ran back up to the apartment to call a taxi and she asked what was wrong. I told her about the truck and that I was calling a cab. She said it's not necessary, that I could take her car and threw me the keys.

"It's in the basement garage in space 27. When you get off work run by your place and pick up some clothes and then come back here. You can shower and get ready here. It's my night to pick the place and my turn to buy. See you around 5:30. You better go, you'll be late." Gloria said as she kissed me.

I went to the basement garage to get her car. Hope it's not one of those little roller skates on wheels, but I guess I couldn't be picky right now. It wasn't a roller skate on wheels.

Parked in space 27 was a 1 year old Corvette convertible. It was even my favorite color for a Vette, candy apple red. I thought I might have the wrong car, but the license plate said "Glory 1". Holy shit!

Jim and the rest of the guys saw me pull into work in the Vette. He asked me about the car and I told him it was Gloria's.

"I admit it. You are the best there is, great one," Jim kidded me. "How did you get her car?

"My truck wouldn't start and she told me to take her car. I had no idea she even owned a car, much less a Vette," I answered him.

I was the envy of all the guys at work and walked a little taller that day. After work I met Gloria and we went to dinner. She told me to drive her car for a while as she didn't use it very much. Now I had a Corvette to drive. I basically moved into Gloria's luxury apartment. It beat the hell out of the dive I was living in.

We split the cost of the dates. It just seemed like every time we went to a fancy and expensive place to eat, it was Gloria's turn to pay. I'm not sure how she worked that out. She began to buy me presents. I tried to tell her it wasn't necessary but she said she liked to buy things for me.

Gloria bought me four or five suits so I could take her to the high class parties she was invited to. The suits cost about five hundred dollars each. Nice rags.

One Sunday afternoon while on a picnic, I told Gloria I felt uncomfortable accepting all the gifts she bought me. I also told her I felt funny letting her pay for all the fancy places we went to.

"Don't you want me to be happy, Jason?"

"Sure I want you to be happy, Gloria," I answered her.

"It makes me happy to give you things. I like going to the "fancy" places and I like going with you."

"Gloria, how can you afford all this?"

"I'm in school on a full scholarship and I have a small trust fund to pay expenses," Gloria informed me. "The fund isn't much, but with the scholarship it's enough to enjoy myself. Please Jason, don't feel uncomfortable. Let me be happy."

If I had been a man of principle I would have stopped taking her gifts, driving her car, and living in her plush apartment. Two things stopped me from showing those principles. One: I wanted Gloria to be happy and if made her happy to buy me things, I would let her. Two: I liked being pampered.

I was having a great time with Gloria. Not only did I get to drive a Vette, got really nice presents, and attend fancy places; I was doing it with Gloria. I was beginning to go past like and getting closer to love. This gal was everything I could ever want in a partner.

I thought some more about the car, the presents she bought for me, and the money she spent on our dates, I wondered where she got her money. I got on line and did a little research to get some information.

Surprise! Gloria had money. I don't mean just comfortable, I mean rich, go to hell, type money. Small trust funds my butt. It seems that her father and uncle owned controlling interest in the largest stock and pet feed company in the country.

According to the Internet, the company was worth in excess of 50 million dollars and Gloria is the only heir to the fortune. My girlfriend is an heiress.

It didn't make any difference to me as I was already falling in love with her before I knew about the money. If it didn't bother her it sure didn't bother me.

We continued living together, going out, and just having a good time for eight months. Then my world came crashing down around my head.

It was Saturday morning; I had finished my shower and managed to nag Gloria into getting up. We had planned a picnic with our friends for later in the day, but we didn't have much time to waste.

Being out pretty late last night, we had almost over slept. The door bell rang and as I finished putting on my jeans I answered it.

The man at the door asked, "Is Gloria at home?"

"Yeah, she's in the shower. Can I help you?"

"You must be Jason," he said. "Could you tell her I'm here please?"

"Sure, who are you," I asked?

"I'm John Sterling, her fiancé," he answered.

I ask him to come in and wait. That I would tell Gloria he was here. I tried not to show it, but I was stunned. Her fiancée? What the hell? I went into the bathroom to tell Gloria.

She had just got out of the shower and when I came in she grabbed and kissed me. Gloria asked if we could skip the picnic and go back to bed.

"Gloria, there's a guy named John Sterling in the living room. He wants to see you and he says he's your fiancé. What's going on honey?"

"Oh hell," Gloria responded. "Get dressed and take him to the coffee bar downstairs. I'll call you when I'm ready."

"Gloria, what the hell? Your fiancée? I think we need to talk."

"I know, but right now I need to get dressed. I will explain everything to you later."

I went back to the living room, told the guy what Gloria had asked and escorted him down the coffee shop on the main floor. I was stunned and didn't have any idea on how to react. He looked at me with compassion.

"I know all about you Jason, so don't start freaking out. Gloria's dad and I have known about her little romance for some time. We thought the time had finally come it put an end to it.

Gloria and I will get married, but she keeps delaying it. She has hooked up with three guys, including you, in the last two years. If it's any consolation, you have lasted twice as long as anyone else."

"Why do you put up with that? I mean she is your fiancée. Don't you care that she lives with other men?"

"Well, you're the only one she has ever become sexually involved with or moved in with. She must care a lot about you. That's why we decided to put a stop to your affair.

Look Jason, you seem like a pretty good guy so I'll give you a heads up. You can parley this break up into a large sum of money. I am authorized to offer you 5 thousand dollars to just walk away."

I couldn't believe it. They were going to give me a lot of money to dump Gloria. I stared at the floor for a minute. My mind was in a whirl, what to do? Before I met Gloria, being the player I had been, I would have taken the money and run. Trouble was I was falling in love with her. I would rather have her, money or no money.

My cell phone rang. It was Gloria and she asked me to send John up to her place. She said she would talk to me after talking to him. Gloria noticed my hesitation and said that she would only be 20 to 30 minutes and then we would talk. I sent John up to her.

I had to wait 30 minutes to find out if my life was going to be flushed down the toilet. It was 27 minutes later when John came out of the elevator. He walked over to me.

"I'm leaving Jason. Please consider the taking the money. You deserve it for what you are going though. Gloria wants you to come up now. Good luck Jason."

He left and I got into the elevator. Gloria was waiting with the door opened. She looked at me with a sad little smile and then hugged me. I didn't know what to do or what to ask. We sat down on the couch.

Gloria started with, "Jason, I'm very sorry. I didn't mean to mislead you or to hurt you. If nothing else, believe that."

"So I'm history, is that it Gloria?" I was getting both mad and scared.

"You were just supposed to be just a distraction for me Jason, but you sort of worked you way into my heart. I may even love you, but we have to stop this. I have to go home and do my duty to the family. Please don't hate me. I really have developed feelings for you. But it's time for me to go home."

I just sat there as Gloria started packing. She had one more surprise for me. She handed me an envelope that seemed a little heavy.

"That is the title and keys to the Corvette. I don't want it around. It would only remind me of you. The keys to the apartment are in there also. The lease is paid for another year, so you might as well make use of it. I know you don't want to take either, but please make use of them and think about me once in a while. Good bye, Jason."

So here I am, two years later, reading the society page about the wedding of the year. Gloria Preston and John Sterling were wed at etc etc etc. There were several pictures of the happy couple, except Gloria didn't look all that happy.

I still have the Vette but I no longer live at the apartment we shared. Two months after Gloria left me, I received a letter from the John Sterling. Inside was a check for 5 thousand dollars. I was tempted to cash it for about zero seconds but the check was sent back.

Across the front I had written "SEND GLORIA ... keep your damn money".

Gloria did her duty as she saw it. I hope she can find some happiness because I sure haven't been able to.

QUOTE: Life goes on.

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Story tagged with:
Romance / Drama /