Three Ways to New York

Ellie Narbarough is getting old. Or so she thinks. She wants to settle down and have a family, so when she finds the amazing Zachary online, she gets in touch. This results in numerous chats, and the pair agree to meet up. But when Ellie gets to New York and sees another side to him, she wonders if Zachery is really that amazing. As she tries to work this out, the not-so-perfect-but-still-great Anthony enters her life, and tries to help her along the journey to happiness and true love, but doesn't realize he is only making it more complicated.

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1. Falling in Love

Send. It had gone. And the best thing was that I still kept sitting there staring at the blank screen, feeling really happy.

It was my sister Cadence who had recommended the site – aroundtheworldlove.co.uk. At first, I admit I had been a little hesitant; to just come out of a long term relationship with a guy who had turned out to have done previous for GBH, who wouldn’t be scared? Fortunately, I escaped with just a black eye and bloody nose, but he wouldn’t have stopped if I had stayed with him and obeyed his threats. I remember sitting in the waiting room at the A&E, dazedly watching the odd person sit down and be called in, wondering if I would ever get over what I had seen. Considering I have had counselling for only 2 months, I feel so much better, and I’m finally able to talk to a guy without flinching and turning away.

As I scrolled down a list of men under the 25-30 category to see if there was anyone else available to talk to, it suddenly hit me that I wasn’t interested in any of these men; I only cared about the man I just messaged.

Zachary Edmund. That was his name. Zachary was a 28 year old catholic from Albany, New York; coincidently where my dad had moved to, just 6 years ago with his new wife Lynda. Zachery’s personal info said that he was an estate agent with two border collies called Bessie and Drunker. His hobbies were listed: windsurfing, movie marathons and painting, which fitted in perfectly with my love of water sports and modern art. Zachery was 6ft 2 with gorgeous, shiny, spiky brown hair and piercing blue eyes.

When I first saw his picture, all I could look at was his smile, big and broad. And when I went to bed later that night, all I could think about was him and his speckled, tanned skin and huge abs that peeped out of his tight, grey t – shirt.

Cadence definitely approved of him, making little purring noises when I showed her his pics.

“See? Aren’t you happy I made you join this site?” Cadence had cried. “I’m so happy that you’re moving on Ellie.”

So now we’ve caught up. I’ve just sent my first message to Zachary, who isn’t online yet. I’ve found myself checking every hour to see if he has replied, even though I know my phone will beep when he has replied.

Finally, after drinking 4 cups of coffee to stay awake, my eyes eventually gave in and I had to turn in for the night, but not before realizing how ridiculous I had been, working out that there was a  4 hour time difference.

A message came through 3:20 in the morning. Considering I am a heavy sleeper, I was awake in seconds, blurrily flicking through contacts until I came to the right one.

The message was from him, my Zachery, my knight in shining armour. This is what the message said:

‘Hi Ellie. My name is Zachary, but I’m sure you already know that, judging by the fact that you messaged me. If I had seen you on the site, I would have emailed you first, seeing that we have so much in common and the fact that you are so beautiful. When I first saw your picture, I was totally surprised that you haven’t got a partner.

I must say however, that I am terribly sorry about your past relationship. I felt angry just reading it, so thank God the nutter is locked up again.

I apologize if this is upsetting you, so I’ll cut to the chase. I’d like to speak to you again, but face to face. Do you have a webcam? I would suggest meeting up, but seeing as we are so far apart, this isn’t possible. Here is my Skype name: ZachEd18thSt. Please get in touch; I would love to hear from you again.

Zach x’

I could have cried, I was so happy. Clutching my phone to my thumping chest, I ran into the living room of the flat I was renting and dialled my sister’s number. After 3 rings, Simon, my sister’s fiancée answered crankily, “What time do you call this?”

“Hey Simon. It’s Ellie. I’m sorry I woke you up but I need to talk to Cadence. It’s an emergency.”

After a couple of seconds, another cranky voice came onto the phone, this one a bit more feminine.

“Ellie, what’s wrong? Simon said it was an emergency.”

“Cade, he’s replied! Zachery has got in touch and he wants me to Skype him! Isn’t this insane?”

“You’re damn right it’s insane! Are you telling me you called at half past 3 in the morning just to tell me that he got in touch?”

My sister’s voice was incredulous. I couldn’t blame her really. It was a terrible time to call, and after hearing Simon on the other line curse, I couldn’t believe how stupid I had been. I could have called her in the morning. What was wrong with me?

“Oh I’m so sorry Cade. I was just so overwhelmed and I forgot what time it was and I wanted you to be the first to know-”

My sister’s voice softened. “Ellie, Ellie, calm down. I didn’t mean to sound horrible. I’m happy for you, I really am. But you can’t let yourself be ruled by love. I mean, you did that last time, following your heart you said, and look how that turned out. You moved in with a guy who smashed his ex-girlfriends skull in.”

I winced at the memory of Matt, my ex, as he told me what he’d done, whilst he cried to himself and said he couldn’t let me live knowing such a secret, even though everyone knew what he had done. I had ignored all the signs, putting my own life at risk.

“Ellie? Are you still there?” Cadence’s voice rose as she panicked. It was one of her bad habits.

“I’m still here. I hear what you’re saying Cadence, but Zachery is so perfect. I’ll take it easy and talk to him for a while, but I’m not getting any younger. I want to settle down Cade, like you and Simon and little baby Joey on the way. I want to be happy, waking up every day to a gorgeous, perfect man, which is everything Zachery is.

I think, I, I want to go out and see him. I could visit dad and Lyn at the same time and stay with them.”

“What?!” Cadence screeched down the phone, her tone past incredulous; now she sounded scary. Her voice boomed through the flat, and I sat myself down on the sofa, pulling my toes up for warmth as I shivered.

“I can understand you wanting to go the New York to see dad. We’ve been planning the trip for ever. But I thought we were gonna wait until Joey was born. And as for you going to visit HIM,” my sister emphasised the word, “We won’t go at all if you try and stick to that plan!”

“Cadence, you don’t understand! Why are you so against me falling in love?!”

As soon as I’d said it, I clapped a shaky hand over my mouth. I knew the reason Cadence didn’t want me to meet him was because I didn’t know him and she wanted me to be safe. But I couldn’t help it. I was being ruled by love again, and that was just how it was. How I was.

There was silence on the line. “Cade?” I called but she was gone. I went to end the call.

“Ellie,” I put the phone to my ear again hopefully, but I recognized the voice as Simons again. “Cadence is starting to stress. It’s not good for the baby and she needs to calm down. She says she’ll see you in the morning.”

I nodded, the tears dribbling down my cheeks. The line had now gone dead. How could I have been so bitchy?

Turning the beige side lamp on the coffee table off next to me, I curled up the sofa, pressing the cushions around me and clutching my mobile to my chest again. Oh God, just let it go, I told myself, slowly placing the phone to the side of me. Zachery was just a guy I had heard of only 2 weeks ago; I couldn’t possibly love him. Cadence was my sister and I loved her with all of my heart. I picked up my home phone again and clutched that to my chest instead, imagining my sister’s soothing voice on the other end.

Slowly I shut my eyes, and thought of my family.

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