One year later…

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Morgan – One year after My Favorite Color is Your Something Blue

 

I’m buzzing with energy as I rip open another box—this one full of books—and my hands are eager to finish giving this once-drab dorm room its final dose of Morgan Whitney chic. My fingers curl around the pages of my beloved novels, each one sliding into place on the shelf like they’re destined to live there. 

I arrange Emmie Blackwell’s latest romance novel last, the colorful cover peeking from behind a brushed gold, moon-shaped bookend. It’s cool having a friend who publishes books. 

I step back, tilting my head, and admire the colorful gradient I created with the spines. 

“Perfect.” 

Next, I pull a framed photo of Will and me from my shoulder bag and place it beside a pale pink retro lamp on my desk. A smile tugs at the corners of my lips. Not long until I see him.

The final touch is the bed, so I toss my understated duvet over the sheets and fluff the throw pillows, adding pops of pink, blue, and yellow. 

I’m smoothing out the last wrinkle when my phone chirps from the depths of my jeans pocket. I dig it out, heart skipping a beat at Will’s name on the screen.

Will: Can’t wait to see you. I’m an hour out. 

Giddiness erupts inside me. I tap out a response, confirming our much-anticipated dinner plans. 

My phone rings, and Will’s picture fills the screen. I swipe to answer, pressing the phone to my ear.

“Hey, you.” I’m grinning so wide it might split my face. 

“Hey, babe. Voice text butchered my last response, so I decided this might be easier.”

“And safer.”

“Right. So, what are you up to? Did your parents hang around for a while after unloading?”

“Yeah, but they left a little while ago after helping me arrange the big stuff. Mom cried when they drove away. Even Dad teared up.”

“They’re going to miss you.”

“I know. I miss them, too. Poor empty nesters.”

“Or maybe they’ll turn your bedroom into a gym by Halloween.”

I laugh as I adjust the school supplies on my desk for the fifth time. “I really doubt that. You know, I was thinking we should splurge on a fancy dessert tonight since we missed out on celebrating properly.”

“Sounds like a plan. I’ve never been there, but I bet they have something enormous and chocolaty. Right up your alley.”

“Perfect.”

“I still can’t believe we’ve been together for a year.”

I flop onto my newly made bed, the springs creaking under my weight. “And now we’ll live in the same town. Finally. I’ve missed you. Like, a lot.”

His voice softens. “I’ve missed you too. Can’t wait to get there.”

Though I know he can’t see, I smile and clutch a pillow to my chest. “You’ll have to see my dorm soon. I finished unpacking.”

“Yeah? How does it look?”

“Really good. The bookshelf is my favorite. I just put Emma’s new book on it, front and center.”

“Cool. We’ll have to send her a photo. She’s having a rough time right now.”

“Uh, oh. What happened?”

“I’m not sure, but she didn’t end up moving into her dorm at OC. She wouldn’t tell me why. But her mom’s threatening to send her to Carlton Landing to live with Mema.”

“There are worse places.”

“That’s what I said, but she doesn’t want to go. I wonder what’s going on with her.”

“I’ll call her tomorrow to find out.” I glance at the time on my phone. “I better start getting ready.”

“Okay. I’ll see you soon.” 

“Can’t wait!”

We hang up, and I start counting down the minutes until we are finally face to face.

An hour later, I’m practically bouncing on the balls of my feet outside the cozy brick façade of Benvenuti’s, the restaurant Will and I picked for our anniversary date. It’s been over a month since I’ve seen him in person, and that’s about a month too long, especially considering our one-year marker came and went during that time.

“Surprise!“

Will’s familiar voice sends a thrill through me, and I spin around to see him grinning, his hand extended with a blue raspberry ICEE. “For you,” he says with a wink.

“Will!“ I squeal, unable to contain the joy of seeing him. I dart his way, and he opens his arms so I can crush him into a tight hug. He wraps his free hand around me, resting his cheek on my head. I snuggle in, inhaling the scent of his aftershave, a mix of pine and something warmly spicy.

When I finally pull back, I take the ICEE and look down into it.

“You won’t believe this, but I got you something, too.” I grab a cup of lukewarm gas station coffee I left sitting on a bench. 

He laughs outright as he takes it. “Great minds think alike.” 

“It seemed appropriate on the anniversary of these two meeting on the pavement.”

“Absolutely. And here’s to finally being in the same zip code.” 

We tap our cups together, neither taking a drink of the horrid liquid.

He pushes a lock of hair behind my ear. “Cheers to that. And to us. To every late-night cram session and coffee-fueled study group we’ll crush together.” His smile holds promises of shared tomorrows, and my heart skips happily along with them.

“I can’t believe we’re really doing this. College life—together.”

“Me neither. But hey, if we can handle a long-distance relationship, I think we can do anything.” 

His eyes go soft as his fingers brush my jaw. Like magnets, we move toward each other, and my eyelids drift closed when our lips meet. I stretch onto my toes as his fingers thread into the hair at my nape.

After a moment, I smile against his kiss as we try to wrap our arms around each other while holding the ridiculous cups.

He smiles back and delivers one more quick kiss to my lips. “Ready for that anniversary date?”

I nod, and he takes my hand, lacing our fingers together. We drift under the streetlamp’s glow and through the restaurant’s front door, our laughter mingling with the buzz of the evening crowd.

The hostess eyes our drinks with disapproval as she leads us to our table. 

I catch Will’s eye and shrug. He grins.

Oh well. 

Nothing can overpower the deep sense of rightness pulsing in my chest.

With Will’s hand in mine, his thumb tracing circles on my skin, everything else fades away. 

There’s just him, me, and the beginning of our next big adventure.


Thanks again for signing up! I’m so glad we’re friends.

And I’m excited for you to learn what’s going on with Emma in My Favorite Color is Fall. Don’t forget to find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Goodreads. And just so you know, Instagram is my favorite place to have bookish conversations. Hope to see you there!