Even the craziest love looks hotter in bullet-points...
Barnes & Noble.com
Stephanie Haddad Fiction
Grace Shields is not your typical control freak. She's much more organized. But a career that's getting away from her and a sudden brotherly home invasion have her just a teeny bit more stressed than usual.
Enter Colin Kilbourne, a free-spirited musician with a knack for ruffling Grace's pristine feathers. And spilling coffee on all her work clothes. Grace has to find a way to become impervious to his mischievous charm and good looks or else she just might lose control over everything after all.
“Back to singlehood,” I sigh, lying back against the chenille pillows that Bernsie’s mom made. They’re soft and squishy, like little pink, puffy marshmallows. I love them. I’m staying right here. “Maybe I’ll take a break from my lists.”
Bernsie snorts in disbelief. And who can blame her? I’ve said this many times before and have yet to follow through. I can’t help my need for the lists, what they signify to me, and the control they help me exert over my surroundings. I’m drawn to the bulleted, numbered, alphabetized organization of thoughts.
I think more clearly with a list in hand, whether it’s picking which stock to buy or deciding what to cook for dinner. I’ve made lists comparing my top colleges, my top job prospects, my top apartment picks, my top TV shows, my top bridesmaid dresses just in case, and my top haircuts. That’s how I chose to attend Boston College, work at Creative Celebrations, live in this Brighton apartment with Bernsie, watch American Idol, keep a magazine clipping of that gorgeous Alfred Angelo gown, and request this adorable pixie cut from my list-selected hairdresser. Is it a lot of work? Sure. Is it worth it? Always.
Pro and Con lists are also ideal when choosing a boyfriend/future husband/potential father of my three hypothetical children. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. Apparently, Bernsie does.
“What was the problem with Mark? I can’t remember.” Bernsie’s started in on my dinner now. Chew, chew, chew. I glare at her. “Oh yeah, he did that annoying thing—What was it again?”
“Drumming his fingers on tables or putting the toilet paper on backwards? Both are pretty damn annoying, for the record.”
“He did both? Shit, Grace!” Bernsie says, wide-eyed. “What a loser!”
“Are you making fun of me?”
“Me?” Bernsie says, mocking offense. “Why would I do that?”
“Leave me alone,” I say, rising to me feet. She watches as I cross our tiny living room to retrieve the remote control from Coco’s toy bin.
“You know, Grace,” Bernsie says reproachfully, around a mouthful of my cold dinner. “Eventually, you have to give a guy a chance, without all those lists.”
I laugh at that ridiculous notion and turn on the television. Exhausted by our pointless argument, I decide to cue up this week’s American Idol on the DVR as a way to cheer myself up. It’s an effective tactic, especially since my favorite Idol hopeful, Rob Blake, is about to sing his third-round song. That black hair; those deep, soul-searching eyes; the wide-framed glasses resting delicately on the sleek bridge of his nose; those nice, tight, faded-wash jeans; that voice. I sigh, absorbing his male perfection, and wait eagerly for Simon Cowell’s ruling. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone sing “Without You” so beautifully in all my life.
“Shush!” I wave Bernsie away, then point emphatically to the television.
“Are we going to do this all season?” she groans. “Weirdo.”
“Shut it!” I hold my hand up to silence her until Simon finishes praising my imaginary boyfriend. Not only did he love the performance, oh no, he’s predicted Rob will make it all the way to the Top 12 finalists. So I’ve got a crush. So what?
When the commercial break interrupts my silent reverie, I let Bernsie finish her thought. “Fantasy men aside,” she says. “You know you’re never going to meet an actual man without negatives, don’t you?”
Still warmed by Rob’s flawlessness, I can’t be thwarted. I settle back into my seat, flipping open the top of my Diet Coke can. “And why not? I’ve met plenty of guys without positives.”