Chapter 1: Bozo and the Brain
Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, NonConsensual, Drunk/Drugged, Heterosexual, Tear Jerker, Gang Bang, Anal Sex, Masturbation, Exhibitionism, Slow, Violent,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1: Bozo and the Brain - A dark romance that has the feel good aspects of a romance but is wrapped up in the pain, anger, and turmoil of two people fighting to rebuild their lives. This story deals with date rape and contains one scene that's not overly graphic, but some might be offended. That chapter is clearly marked.
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song and the song was exciting
There was a time,
Then it all went wrong.
– I Dreamed a Dream, Les Misérables
Summer 2003 – Brownwood
Zach Morgan stared and groaned.
There'd only been three females in his life that he'd given his heart to besides his mother. Two of them he'd asked to marry, both had accepted and both ended up leaving him. Now he stared into a pair of deep blue eyes that seemed to brighten even the darkest parts of his world.
Oh Lord, he groaned again to himself. This one's going to hurt me someday.
Shannon's curly blonde hair fell gently over her shoulders as she sat on the bathroom counter, staring at him. She smiled warmly as she watched his every move as though she was trying to memorize every contour on his face. Trying his best not to be distracted, he carefully finished shaving.
He turned so he could look straight into her angelic face and was met with a dazzling smile that melted him. She peered straight into his soul with an unreserved love that had brought him back from the pain of his past.
"Daddy goin' out?" she chirped.
Zach smiled at his little three-year-old daughter and dabbed some shaving cream on her nose. She squealed and giggled, her laughter drawing a chuckle from him.
"Yeah, Cupcake, Daddy's got to go out for a while and to have ... fun."
"I go too?"
"No, sweetheart, not this time. Besides, Gamma is coming over to watch you tonight."
Zach grinned and nodded.
"Ice ceam!" she squealed raising her arms up to him.
He lifted her down and watched her stomp down the hall singing, "Ice ceam! Ice ceam! I love ice ceam!"
Zach chuckled. At least she's more loyal than the last two loves of my life. Of course if I wanted loyalty I probably should've stuck with having a dog.
"Shannon?" he called after her. "Why don't you get Big Bear and go wait for Gamma on the couch?"
"Oh tay Daddy!" came her sing-song reply.
Zach sighed. Lord, she already looks like her momma.
She had the same curly blonde hair and big blue eyes like Susan. He wondered how much she'd be like her mother when she got older. Not too much I hope, he thought to himself, remembering Susan's well-endowed and curvy frame matched with her wild child attitude. He groaned knowing she'd be a father's worst nightmare!
He'd known it was a mistake, even from the beginning. He'd been out of college for a year before he'd started dating Susan Hollingsford. At 5'4, a brilliant smile, a long mane of curly golden hair, and curves that balanced her well-endowed assets, the twenty-two year-old party girl certainly wasn't unaccustomed to having plenty of male attention. But it was the laughter and life that poured out of those deep blue eyes that first drew him.
Soon they were an item and heavily into the club scene. Not surprisingly, she'd gotten pregnant during one night of drunken sex. He knew he cared for her but she wasn't ready to get married. However when she told him she was going to get an abortion, he panicked and proposed. Zach didn't know if it was because he'd loved her or if he was still holding on to some dream of a wife, kids, and a happy home. He suspected the latter since that dream had cost him his first love back in college. Now that same dream had caused him to rush into a toxic marriage.
Susan finally agreed to marry him after he'd pleaded and begged. They both tried to make it work at the beginning, but the pregnancy and change in lifestyle took a hard toll on her. A month after Shannon was born, she was back to partying.
With Susan clubbing and Zach staying home watching Shannon, it didn't take long before the marriage started crumbling. The fights got uglier and more frequent while whatever love they'd once had was being starved out. Soon he'd suspected she was cheating on him and the writing was on the wall. A few weeks later he'd confirmed her infidelity and the marriage was done.
The divorce was quick and uncontested. It was finalized only a few weeks after Shannon's first birthday. Zach got joint custody of Shannon. He'd been surprised Susan hadn't given him full custody since motherhood had put such a bite on her lifestyle. Perhaps she'd discovered a stronger love for Shannon or maybe it was guilt. Zach didn't know and he doubted if Susan did either.
As with most things in life, it was irrelevant in the end. Seven months after the divorce, he received a call telling him Susan and her boyfriend had been killed in a drunk-driving accident. Shannon was now solely his, but it was a responsibility he relished.
The sound of his front door opening startled him from his little jaunt down memory lane. A second later, his guest was announced.
"CUPCAKE!" his mother's cheery voice replied.
He smiled broadly as he heard his little girl squeal with delight, and envisioned the sight of his mother embracing her with one of her patented bear hugs. Shannon's giggles and his mother's laughter filled the apartment.
Zach smiled as he walked into the living room. Before him stood his mother, a tall, striking blonde in her mid-40's, who could've easily passed for a woman in her early thirties. Her slender build still filled out her blouse and jeans in a way that got her noticed by most men.
He felt a deep pride when he looked at his mother. Allison Morgan was one of a kind. Even after a nightmare childhood, a divorce, and then being widowed six years ago, his mother was still full of life.
Though she rarely talked about it, he'd heard enough stories about his grandfather to know he was an abusive alcoholic and womanizer. Zach had put together how his abuse and cheating had finally driven his grandmother to run out on her family, leaving his mother and his two uncles behind. Even with her childhood from hell, his mother had still been there for his grandfather when he developed Alzheimer's. She'd even put him in a rest home here in town so she could check up on him.
"Well, if my two favorite ladies are going to have such a good time, maybe I should stay home and join you!" Zach announced in a loud voice.
His mother's radiant smile disappeared as she gave him a stern stare with a raised eyebrow. Her smile might've been gone but the delight, dancing in her eyes, couldn't be hidden.
"Huh-uh, young man," she said, trying to keep the laughter out of her voice. "You're going to your ten year reunion and have fun, while Cupcake and I have a girls' night out!"
Zach burst out laughing when he saw Shannon trying to mimic her grandmother's stare at him.
"All right," he said, raising his hands in defeat. "I'll go, but I'd rather be getting a root canal!"
His mother snorted.
"It won't be that bad, sweetheart."
Now it was Zach's turn to look at his mother in disbelief. She looked at him innocently.
"What?" she said as the smile returned to her face.
"Mom, we both know Bree will be there tonight, right?"
"Honey," she said in a motherly tone, "I own a local diner; of course I hear all the local gossip. I know things only a day later than the beauty parlors or those old gossiping biddies down at Miss Vivian's Tea Room. I knew she was in town less than 48 hours after she got here."
Zach thought about the diner his dad had bought for his mother shortly after they were married. It was right across from the Mid-State Battery plant, where she'd been working. He'd renamed it after her, the Allie Cat Diner. His mother had loved it. It didn't take long before she had the old diner thriving again, catering to the plant workers, and to the rural community.
He turned his attention back to his mother's words.
"Funny, you didn't mention it to me."
"Why, so you could find a reason to not go tonight?"
Allie sighed. "Sweetheart, you need to face some of those old demons and move on. You don't want to end up like your grandfather, do you? Just go and show her what she missed out on and then get on with your life!"
Zach cringed at the thought of his grandfather. Over the past year all he did was sit in his wheelchair by his bedroom window, call out for Zach's grandmother, and cry. He didn't even recognize anyone any more. I guess karma really is a bitch, isn't it Grandpa?
"She's not the only one who'll be there," he said, conceding the argument. He was thinking of Kristen, an old classmate who he'd dated over the summer last year. She'd been the only woman he'd dated more than a few times over the last year-and-a-half.
Allie snorted again. "You mean Kristen James? Not to burst your bubble, Son, but after you broke up with her, she ended up dating Bree's older brother, Tommy. Last I heard she was very happy with the way things turned out."
They were interrupted by a tiny snort that sounded very much little a child blowing her nose. They both looked down at a smiling face, which was famed by a mane of yellow curls, with a giant snot bubble coming out of her nose.
"Oh my," his mother said, fighting back a grin. "We'll go get a tissue while you get out of ... oh no, no baby, not on your sleeve!
"All right then, we'll need to get you cleaned up," she said, smiling at Shannon.
Her smile faded as she looked at Zach.
"And you, young man, GO!"
The drive over to Brownwood High School took longer than expected, of course the fact that Zach drove past it twice didn't help. He couldn't help thinking back. Where his time with Kristen would've been considered a commercial and his marriage to Susan a music video, his time with Brianna Olsen resembled watching the complete Lord of the Rings trilogy ... extended versions.
The fact was he'd grown up with Bree.
Zach, along with his mother and his two-year-old sister, Ginny, had moved to Brownwood when he was five. His father had run out on them a year earlier, and his mother had found work at the battery plant.
Two years later, the most influential individuals, other than his mother, entered his young life. His mother married a man named Phil Morgan and Zach met Brianna Olsen. Phil became his new father and Bree became his best friend.
Almost immediately, Bree and he became inseparable. Their classmates quickly nicknamed them 'Bozo' and the 'Brain'. Zach's academic aptitude, his sandy blond hair, and pop-bottle glasses made him look like a nerd. Bree, on the other hand, was always loud and out-going. She had a face full of red freckles to go along with bright orange-red hair that rarely had a brush run through it. It resembled, on more than one occasion, Bozo the Clown.
All through grade school they carried those monikers but it'd bound them tighter as friends. The teasing got even worse when they were in junior high. He was thin and somewhat uncoordinated. Bree however had hit her growth spurt and shot up to her five feet ten inches, seemingly overnight. She soon towered over him, and with her braces they looked quite the pair. Of course that didn't matter to them and soon they were a couple.
Zach smiled, remembering those days. By the time high school had come around, the jeers he'd received about being 'Bozo's Boyfriend' began to disappear. Bree had started becoming a woman, a very beautiful woman.
He'd finally hit his growth spurt and had caught up to her. Still thin and somewhat awkward, he'd never been considered muscular but in time he did begin to fill out his frame. When they started their senior year, Zach had gotten contacts and had somehow made both the varsity football and basketball teams. Bree, on the other hand, had become one of the prettiest girls in the school and was even a Prom Queen runner-up.
Summer 1991 – Brownwood
"Mom!" Ginny yelled.
She stood with her hands on her slim, thirteen year-old hips. She was wearing her first bikini and was modeling it for Zach and Bree. Their mother answered from the kitchen.
"Zach's looking at my butt again!"
"Honey?" Allie said in a calm, motherly voice. "Stop looking at your sister's butt. It's just not right!"
Zach choked and turned bright red as Bree rolled with laughter.
"I wasn't ... but she..." he stammered.
"Well technically you were!" Bree said between fits of laughter.
"Dammit, she asked us to look at her!" he retorted.
"Besides the point!" Ginny said in a mocking sing-song voice as she skipped out of the living room and into the kitchen.
"Cookies!" she squealed.
"Zach, watch your language," Allie laughingly chastised him. "And the two of you better get in here before your sister eats all my freshly baked cookies!"
The pair jumped off the couch and raced for the kitchen. Allie set a plate of chocolate chip cookies down on the table and Ginny grabbed a handful. She looked at Zach with a smirk that let everyone know she relished her role as the annoying little sister. With her bounty in tow, she skipped off to her room, smiling.
"Why do you do that, Mom?" Zach asked.
"What's that, honey?"
"Embarrass me like that. I mean, I'm sixteen."
"Oh sweetheart," Allie cooed as she looked at her son with an intense love. "It's never to be mean. At least with me it isn't, Ginny I'm not so sure.
"It's just that you're always so serious. I want you to loosen up a bit and enjoy life. Of course," she said, smiling sweetly, "there's also the fact that you're just so much fun to tease!"
"Gee, thanks Mom," he said, trying to hide his grin.
"Besides, sweetheart," she continued, "we all know that it's not your sister's butt you can't seem to take your eyes off of!"
This time both Zach and Bree turned bright red. Allie laughed as she started to leave.
"Be sure to leave a few cookies for your father," she called out behind her. "If you don't, I'll have to think of another treat to give him when he gets home tonight. Come to think of it, there's no reason he shouldn't get two treats tonight!"
Zach shook his head as he looked at Bree.
"Just don't say anything and perhaps they'll go away," he said, grinning.
The couple sat quietly for a few minutes, enjoying the cookies, before Bree couldn't take it any longer.
"So," she started, "you like my butt?"
Defeated, Zach groaned again.
"You do, don't you!" she said, smiling evilly.
Then in a soft taunting voice she started.
"Brain likes Bozo's butt! Brain likes Bozo's butt!"
"Et tu, Brute?" he said, laughing.
They'd shared everything back then. They shared each other's first kiss, first date, and even lost their virginities to each other.
With a sigh, Zach remembered when he discovered the red curls that adorned her head were matched only by those hidden within her panties. The first time he'd seen her naked, it'd taken his breath away. He'd seen Bree in her bathing suit many times before, but to see her laid out before him, in the back seat of his car, was an image he'd remember for the rest of his life. He never got tired of thinking about the curves of her long body, how deep those freckles ran down her chest, and how they accented her small breasts.
They'd started making plans together for their future. They'd decided to go to State University down in the City instead of staying in Brownwood, and attending St. Catherine's College. When they started talking marriage, a month before graduation, Bree's parents intervened. They'd asked the young couple to give it a year before they talked marriage again. They were concerned because they hadn't ever dated anyone else but each other.
A bitter smirk came across Zach's face as he remembered. If they'd been engaged before they went to State University would things have turned out differently? Of course, he reasoned, but would it have been for the better or for the worse? He sighed realizing he would never know.
By the time they'd left for college, Zach and Bree had agreed to continue to date but not exclusively. Zach knew it would be hard, but he didn't realize just how difficult it would be. That first semester he'd dated several different girls. Bree however seemed to be with a different guy every week. She'd joined a sorority and relished her status as a social butterfly.
Each time Zach saw her with a different guy, he felt a piece of himself die. At the end of that semester it was obvious to both that things couldn't continue the way they were. With a grimace, Zach replayed their conversation in his head.
Winter 1993 – State University, the City
"Bree, I can't do this," he'd said, trying to hide the pain.
She'd looked at him with tears in her eyes. "I know," she whispered.
"I ... I know what I want," he said gently, "and what I want is you. I don't want to date any other girls, Bree. I love you, just you."
Tears began falling from her powder blue eyes as he watched her in silence.
"I'm sorry, Zach," she said softly and began to sob.
He tried to steel himself, to remain strong in front of her.
"Are you in love with someone else?" he asked, his voice breaking and betraying him.
Bree shook her head violently. "No. There's no one else. Zach, you know for sure what you want in life, but I don't. I know I love you, but not enough to get married. I don't know if I ever will but right now I don't want to settle down. I want, no, what I need is to experience life before I get serious about who I want to spend my future with. I know it isn't fair, but that's what I feel."
Zach nodded slowly. She was being honest with him, something he valued highly. They'd always been able to tell each other what they felt in their hearts, now just because it wasn't what he wanted to hear, he couldn't punish her for that.
The break-up was painful but civil.
Over the next several months, they tried to avoid running into each other on campus. He dated occasionally but tended to focus hard on his studies, while she continued with her active sorority lifestyle. For the most part they were successful, and the times they did run into each other that semester weren't too awkward or tense.
Things changed that summer back in Brownwood.
Zach was working at the Allie Cat Diner, like he did most school breaks and summers, when Bree came into the diner. It wasn't unexpected since her family owned several farms on that side of town. Also, her older sister, Donna, had married a guy whose family owned Collins Feed Mill, located not a thousand feet down the road from the diner. No, seeing someone related to the Olsen clan on a daily basis wasn't the exception but rather the norm.
He tried to ignore her without being rude but each time he glanced at her, she was staring wistfully at him. Then when his attention was on another customer, he'd turned and there she was. Her light red curls fell across her shoulders and seemed to frame her cute freckled face. Her jeans and t-shirt looked good on her trim figure and although she wasn't well endowed, Zach stared briefly as the swellings seemed to grow as she began breathing deeper. When his gaze finally returned to her face, she smiled knowingly and peered into his soul with her baby blue eyes. He was momentarily stunned.
If truth be told, he couldn't remember their entire conversation then. After she'd said 'I miss you' things got somewhat fuzzy. They began dating again that summer.
They were inseparable that next year at State. They were together at every study session and college event. The frat parties were the most difficult for Zach. Being around a lot of the guys Bree had dated that last year made him uncomfortable and jealous. She did her best to ease his concerns by rarely leaving his side at those parties. She would wrap his arm around her waist and press into him, making sure everyone knew who she was with.
In time he began to relax and enjoy himself. There was really only one group of guys he had a hard time being around, a small group of frat brothers led by Ty Whitmore.
Damn! Zach thought. Who the hell names their kid Ty? They must've known he was going to be an arrogant prick even then!
Ty was a six foot three inch, two-hundred ten pound, good-looking, rich boy from Boston. While Zach always thought he was a pompous ass, he could easily see why Bree had dated him. With his wavy brown hair, natural good looks, and muscular build Ty Whitmore was quite the ladies' man. It also didn't hurt he was rumored to be hung like a horse and an energizer bunny in bed.
Although they had a few run-ins at the beginning, Ty and his friends soon left Bree alone. At one party, she let them and any other would-be suitors know, very vocally, she was with Zach and only Zach. After that, Zach and Bree were treated as a couple even when apart.
He smiled as he remembered Bree's passion that night. She'd seemed to be on fire when they got to his dorm room. No sooner had he closed the door than she attacked him. The heat of her lips as they kissed only seemed to intensify as he clumsily tried to undo her jeans. With an impatient huff she undid them herself and let them fall to the floor as she quickly undid his belt.
Within seconds their naked bodies were entwined as they lay on his bed. They danced together, two young lovers trying to match the other's rhythm. Her softness, the taste of her skin, and the incredible warmth of her body quickly overwhelmed him. Bree's moans filled the small room and Zach smiled, knowing he'd receive several comments tomorrow from others on his dorm floor.
They ended up making love twice more that night much to their neighbors' delight or distraction. Completely spent, they enveloped themselves in each other and finally slept.
It didn't surprise anyone when Zach proposed and Bree accepted that next summer. What did startle some was when they got an apartment together. To say that Bree's parents, devout Catholics, weren't pleased was an understatement. However they loved Zach so there wasn't too much said.
The next nine months were like a fairytale for them. They studied, worked, partied, and loved like a married couple. Every night found them snuggled together and each morning they woke in each other's arms.
One highlight during that time was when Zach had taken Bree to go see a touring production of the Broadway musical, Les Miserables. She'd always loved the theatre and music, but Les Miserables was her all-time favorite.
For a short time, reality bordered upon fantasy for the couple.
Zach first noticed the cracks in their relationship that spring. Bree had become hesitant when discussing the wedding and was reluctant to make plans. He'd at first dismissed it as her getting cold feet.
What an idiot I was, he chided himself. The more she pulled away, the more I tried to hold her close. Like I had enough love for both of us to make a marriage work.
Things began to unravel when Bree postponed the wedding three months before its scheduled date. Zach was ashamed at how he'd reacted; he'd verbally attacked her out of his own fear and pain.
Still reeling from their fight, the couple suffered another blow just two weeks later. Zach received word his dad was very ill. Phil Morgan had been diagnosed as having an advanced stage of pancreatic cancer and the prognosis was very bleak.
Zach had spent most of that summer back in Brownwood, helping his mother at the diner. She'd hired a man, Hector Chavez, to help out as well. This had allowed her to spend more time with his dad but also provided some space for Bree and himself. With Bree staying in the City and Zach living at home, the couple had a chance to cool off.
Of course with Ginny there as well, Zach had little time to sit and stew about his current problems.
Summer 1996 - Brownwood
"Isn't that right, Zach?" his sister ask, breaking his concentration on the latest customer's order.
With an exasperated sigh he replied, "What?"
"My tits are too small aren't they?"
"Honey," his mother interjected, "they're not too small. Besides you're only eighteen and just starting college in the fall."
"Yes they are!" Ginny said, looking down at her own chest. "I think I need a boob job before I go to college."
"Don't worry, sweetheart, once you have a kid or two, then you'll be griping about how they sag because they're too big!"
Ginny snorted. "Kids? Only if I can find a husband who likes his wife flat as a board! Isn't that right, Zach?"
"Ginny, I'm not going to talk about your ... Hector ... help me out here?" Zach pleaded, looking over at the nice-looking, young, Hispanic man who was busily cooking on the grill.
"No hablo ingles," he said, not even looking up.
"Bullshit! I've heard you before. Now, help a brother out?"
Hector looked at Zach and then over at the two smirking women. He slowly shook his head.
"No hablo ingles."
Hector grinned as he focused his attention back to his grill.
"Well?" he heard his sister ask.
"Do you think I need a boob job?"
"Dammit Sis, I'm not looking at your tits, all right? So keep me out of this!"
Allie and Ginny grinned and he could see the mischief dancing in their eyes. Then both women burst out laughing.
Embarrassed, Zach stormed out of the kitchen and back into the diner only to be met by several smiling faces at the counter. He recognized them as regulars from the battery plant.
"You know, Zach," one said, laughing, "if you don't want to look at your sister's tits, we're willing to step in for you!"
"Gee thanks," he responded sarcastically.
"Sorry, sirs," came Ginny's voice from behind him, "but they're not on the menu."
She stared at them, daring them to make some comment.
"Now, of course," she began in a sultry voice, "if that dreamy Donnie Hill you all work with was to order..."
She stared at them innocently and batted her eyes. There was no doubt Ginny Morgan was a younger version of her mother. Zach tried to imagine an entire summer with the both of them and groaned.
Zach and Bree had spent the weekends that summer together, struggling to fix their damaged relationship. Bree having second thoughts about getting married was something neither one of them knew how to deal with. Slowly it began tearing their relationship apart.
By the time school began, Zach was back in their apartment and their lives resembled an emotional rollercoaster. Instead of a great last year of college, they spent most of their time bickering. The battle lines had been drawn with Bree trying to convince him to go to yet another party and Zach trying to guilt her into staying home.
The fights grew more intense and soon the accusations began. Bree accused him of trying to manipulate and control her while Zach accused her of wanting a playtime boyfriend with no designs on the future. As the tensions between them escalated, she started spending more time with her sorority while he withdrew and became more sarcastic.
The intimacy between them rapidly faded, along with the frequency of sex. In the bedroom, it resembled more of a competition than an act of love and passion. She seemed to desire mostly physical sex, hot and erotic, while he pushed for more romantic love making.
Then one Saturday night in November, things came crashing down. Zach winced as he began to relive the death throes of his relationship with Brianna Olsen.
It'd begun with another argument over going to a party. This one, as luck would have it, was hosted by both Bree's sorority and Ty's fraternity. Ty and several others had held their distance from Bree but Zach had noticed they'd been taking interest in the couple's problems. He had no desire to go another party and put on a good front to keep the wolves at bay.
"What do you mean we shouldn't go tonight?" Bree yelled.
"Dammit, Zach," she said, trying to control herself, "why do we have to do this every week? You know my sorority is co-hosting this party. Besides it's been planned for two months now!"
"Oh wait, another party? What a surprise!" he spat back at her.
"Don't get shitty with me, Zach. I'm so tired of it. Every time I suggest we go out, you want to stay home. It's like you don't want to have fun anymore."
"Bullshit, I just want to have fun with you and not a hundred of your Greek friends. Why do we always have to go out to have fun? What happened to just the two of us having fun?"
"That's not fair! I know things between us haven't been good for the last several months, but that doesn't give you the right to throw that in my face every time I want to go somewhere! Listen, if you still want to, I could make it up to you after we get home from the party."
"That's great! Bribe me with sex so I'll do what you want. What am I, Bree, your pet? If I'm a good boy you'll give me a treat?
"Even if I took you up on it, who's to say you'd even remember? Let's face it, sweetheart, you've been getting wasted at these parties."
"Well dear, why the hell shouldn't I? You've been moping around at them like a little boy pouting because he didn't get his way."
"I'm tired of always trying to put on a facade so nobody will know just how damaged our relationship is. I've seen the sharks at the parties watching, looking to see if we're as happy as we pretend. They're out there, waiting to see if there's blood in the water before they move on you."
"That's not true and you know it, Zach."
"Are you that stupid, Bree? You're beautiful and the only thing holding them back is the way you shot down Ty and the others in the past. But don't fool yourself, the first time one of them hits on you and you don't shoot him down, they'll be all over you."
"I haven't given them any reason to think I'm available and you're a bastard to even suggest I have!"
"I know you haven't, at least not yet!"
"Now you're sounding jealous and paranoid."
"Paranoid? No. Am I jealous? Yeah. I'm sick of fighting for this relationship alone! When are you going to fight for it?"
Bree was stunned. Her cheeks flushed dark red as her anger boiled over.
"You asshole! You act like you're the only one sacrificing. I've turned down plenty of things I wanted to do just so I could be here and listen to you bitch and moan about how little time we spend together."
"Well excuse the hell out of me! I'm sorry I wanted to spend more time with the person I love!"
"And I suppose I don't? Just because I don't want to stay at home every night and act like an old married couple? Dammit, Zach, we're twenty-two not forty-two!"
"I'm sorry this relationship is dragging you down so much."
"I didn't say that."
"Bullshit, you make it sound like being with me is like being in prison. Like I am trying to tie you down and steal your freedom."
Bree was silent.
Zach's face flushed as his voice grew cold.
"I'm sorry my love is such a damn drag to you."
"I didn't say that!" she screamed. "I'm so sick of this! I'm sick of you trying to make me the bad guy all the time. I'm tired of the guilt trips and I'm tired of this!"
She removed her engagement ring and slammed it on the table in front of Zach. Bree quickly grabbed her coat and went to the front door.
"Bree?" Zach shouted.
"To hell with all this drama," she screamed at him. "Don't wait up, I may or may not be back!"
She slammed the door behind her; neither one of them realizing that the dominos that'd begun falling would change their lives forever.
Zach hadn't slept much that night but the following morning was seared into his mind. He'd been sitting at the kitchen table, staring at Bree's ring when they entered the apartment.
Bree and one of her sorority sisters, Trisha, had come to get Bree's things. He'd noticed Bree looked like she was sick. He'd tried to talk to her a few times but she refused to even look at him. All she did was cry and mumble, "I can't ... I can't." He could tell Trisha was crying as well.
It took everything he had left inside him just to sit there and watch them pack. As they were getting ready to leave, he tried to speak to Bree one last time.
"Bree?" he said, his voice breaking. "I don't want this."
She turned away and sobbed. Then she picked up the last box, full of her things, and started for the door.
"So I guess it's over?" he said weakly.
Bree nodded her head and walked out the door.
He'd tried to contact her over the next several days until he began to hear about the party. Slowly he put together what had happened after she'd left their apartment. He knew she'd gone to the party and had gotten drunk. He also knew she'd ended up having sex with Ty in his room, since Bree was never quiet. After that the rumors varied, the worst being that she'd been gangbanged by Ty and about a dozen of his frat brothers. Zach was crushed regardless of what the truth actually was. At the very least, she'd thrown their engagement away and run into the arms of another man.
Zach never knew he could hurt so badly.
He staggered through the end of the semester, his grades slipping as he tried to regain some kind of foothold on his life. He saw Bree a few times on campus but she was clearly avoiding him. Ginny had tried to comfort him but with school finals and their father's failing health, it was hard for her to be there for him.
Mercifully, the semester ended and Zach headed back to Brownwood for Christmas break.
When he arrived back home, he found Allie supportive but distracted. Although her heart broke when she saw the pain her son was in, her first concern was Phil. He was deteriorating rapidly.
Zach and Ginny took over the diner for their mother so she could spend as much time with their dad as possible. Christmas Day, although warm and full of laughter, had a melancholy feel to it as everyone realized this would be the last one they would share as a family.
After New Year's Day, Zach decided he needed to talk to Bree, to understand what had happened. He felt his face flush with anger as he drove out to her family's farm. Slowly he began to gather himself so that by the time he drove up to the main house, he'd regained some of his composure.
As he got out of the car he noticed Bree was already on the porch, waiting for him. The cold night air seemed to set the stage as he walked up to the porch.
"What do you want, Zach?" Bree said, her voice catching with a tear already streaming down her cheek.
"What do you think I want? I want to know why?"
"It doesn't matter anymore. Please just go away."
Undaunted, he barked at her, "How could you just throw away what we had? And then go screw another guy that same night?"
She sobbed quietly then whispered, "It doesn't matter."
"Doesn't matter?" Zach exploded. "Years of us being best friends and in love and now it doesn't matter? So, how many guys did you sleep with that night?"
"Why? You want to know why?" Bree screamed at him through her tears. "Because I don't love you anymore, that's why!"
Her parents walked out the door as she turned to go back inside.
"I hope you rot in hell, you whore!" he yelled after her.
She pushed past her parents and ran into the house crying. Gerald and Priscilla Olsen stood on the porch looking down at the young man they'd always considered one of their own. Their pained expressions showed they were struggling with the situation as well.
"Zach, even though there's nobody out here within shouting distance," Gerald said in his baritone voice, "it's time to go home."
Zach saw the agony in Priscilla's face as she clung to her husband.
"We're sorry, Son," he continued, "but it's done."
The young man fought back his emotions as he staggered back to his car and drove away. Tears of frustration and loss began to flood his eyes as he realized he'd lost not only Bree, but all of the Olsen family.
That'd been the last time he'd spoken to Bree, his last conversation with his best friend and first true love. He wasn't sure if it was because he was needed at home or the likelihood of seeing Bree with someone else on campus, but Zach decided to stay in Brownwood that next semester.
Six weeks later, Phil Morgan died. The loss of the man he'd called 'Dad' for the past 15 years left Zach devastated. It only made matters worse that the only other father figure in his life had been Bree's father, and now that relationship was dead as well. There was no question, this was the lowest point in Zach's young life. He'd never felt so alone.
Zach heard all the local gossip as he worked that spring at the diner and soon learned Bree was dating Ty again. Ginny had brought more news when she returned home that summer. Bree was engaged to Ty. Zach knew then he needed to move on with his life. He decided to go back to school to finish his degree.
He took a deep breath as he noticed his death grip on the steering wheel. It'd been over six years since the death of his father and the breakup with Bree and still the emotions were raw. Now he sat in the Brownwood High School parking lot, staring at the front entrance. Draped over the entrance was a banner.
"WELCOME CLASS OF 1993!"
Slowly he began working up the nerve to go in and see people he hadn't seen in years. Taking a deep breath, he got out of his car and began walking towards the glass doors.
This is such a bad idea, Zach thought to himself.