February 26, 2015

Elizabeth's Story

by Jessica Knoll

Just a quick note before we get to today's post! You may or may not have noticed the new banners on the site, advertising Luckiest Girl Alive, which comes out May 12th. Or, more accurately, in ten weeks, three days, and eleven and a half hours—but who's counting, right?

It would mean the world to me if you would take a few minutes to click on one of the banners and pre-order the book. Someone in the comments section mentioned she snagged an advanced copy, and it was so exciting and meaningful to imagine an LSP fan reading Luckiest Girl Alive. Many of you have been with me for over three years now—I can't believe it's been that long since I started writing this blog—and I feel like even my best blog post on my best day still can't compare to my book, which I slaved away over and am so proud of. I am dying to give you guys something real, something that you can hold in your hands and hopefully feel compelled to gulp down in one sitting. Ani, the main character of my book, is a tough nut to love at first—just like Elizabeth. But she has an important, shocking story to tell, one that tackles a lot of contemporary issues I've grappled with in my own life and maybe you have too, so I hope you will give her a chance! She might even make an appearance in Elizabeth's story....

Next, click on the banner to the left—where you can actually read the first chapter of the book. This is not a test. You can actually read the first chapter of the book!

One last thing—I know some people have been asking me about how to read Josie's story from the beginning, because it's no longer loading on cosmo.com. I have tried myself to find it, and have been unsuccessful. I emailed my friend over at the site, and hopefully she will be able to figure it out for you. I will post details when I have them.

And without further ado, here is today's entry from our favorite bitchy friend with a heart of black gold!



"Miss, please step over to the right."

I glared at the female guard. She reminded me of Detective Roth, Campbell's old partner. She had a big clump of hair knotted into the nape of her neck and not a stitch of makeup on her homely face. Maybe they were lesbian lovers, these two. Though Campbell said to me once, snippily, "Elizabeth, very few women are as striking as you are." I started to smile but stopped when he said, "That doesn't make them lesbians. Don't be so goddamn ignorant."

"Why?" I snapped at the guard.

She didn't answer me, just gestured to a little holding area off to the side of the X-ray machine. I'd had to set down my Yves Saint Laurent Muse bag and full length sky-blue chinchilla coat on the filthy belt just moments before. "Do you have trays or something?" I'd asked, and no one had answered me.

The guard told me to remove my shoes and spread my legs. I dug deep and glared at her harder, gathering the 80s mob bitch realness I'd been trying to harness ever since Campbell had been arrested—I waltzed into the Upstate Correctional Facility for men in a powder blue full length chinchilla coat in October for fuck's sake!—but the guard remained unfazed. She waved her metal detector at my feet, back and forth, indicating that I open them. I kicked off my shoes and, with a heavy sigh, did as I was told.

Campbell had been charged with drug possession with the intent to sell—a felony, in New York State.  He had claimed, all those years ago, that he'd never been able to locate the package that Pat Denson and his friend threw out the window of their car. But witnesses had come forward, claiming he had pocketed the goods himself. The substance he was trying to sell was cocaine, not marijuana (God, why couldn't it have been weed?), making it a schedule II drug, which can carry a sentence of up to forty years. I couldn't even wrap my head around turning thirty in four short years—I'd turned twenty-six over the summer—let alone who and where I would be at sixty-five years old. Campbell would be seventy. I actually gasped and gripped the wall while the guard ran her probe up the inside of my thigh, as though someone had pushed me from behind and knocked the wind out of me. I couldn't wait that long to be with him. I would never make it. I already felt like I was dying. It had only been the tease of Campbell, on the sidelines, thinking, well, maybe we could figure it out, somehow, that had kept me going.

Bart and I had driven home immediately after the trial. I had stared out the window, at the dilapidated farm homes that lined Interstate 81. Sometimes all you could make out were their little chimneys, peeking out of the snow. I was suddenly furious. Furious that Campbell was being punished when all he was trying to do was get the fuck out of this two pony town. He'd gone on to make an honest life for himself. Which was more than the degenerates he'd sold drugs to could say for themselves. Pat Denson and his little partner in crime had gotten off. I heard the verdict on the news not an hour after we left Geneva. And what the fuck would Pat Denson go on to do with his life but date rape a few underage girls and mooch off his father?

"I'm going to pull over up here," Bart said, as we sailed past a sign for a rest stop. "So we can refuel and get something to eat."

"I'm not hungry," I said. I sounded sick. Like I had laryngitis or something.

Bart sighed. "It's for the best, Elizabeth. Brian Campbell is not a person you want in your life."

The scene outside my window slowed down, and not just because Bart was easing off the gas pedal to take the exit to the rest stop. I felt as though we were moving underwater, the pieces of the story I was putting together slowly floating into place in front of me.

"That sure sounds like something my fucking father would say," I said.

Bart's hands tightened around the steering wheel. "Elizabeth, please. Get a hold of yourself."

I leaned over, so I was right in Bart's face. "Tell me right now if he had something to do with it."

A vein in Bart's jaw ticked. "Of course he didn't. How would anyone even be able to orchestrate something like that?"

"Um, let me see," I began to count on my fingers, "first he could have gotten wind that Campbell was back in my life, was one of Peter's best friends." I counted another finger. "Next, he could have called up the Geneva Police Department, gotten some dirt on him." It suddenly occurred to me what Campbell had said about the new police chief: 'Not so good at burying his head in the sand.' If my father had gotten in touch with him, a guy with no tolerance for the shenanigans Campbell used to pull, I could easily see the two of them cooking up something. Producing these so-called witnesses who claimed to have seen Campbell pocket the drugs.

I sat back in my chair, breathing hard. "I'm so fucking stupid!" I screamed, not meaning to, surprising both Bart and myself. I had so much bottled inside of me, I had been keeping up appearances for everyone's sake but my own, and it was like when you release a little bit of air from a birthday balloon. Just that little puff, and suddenly that thing is flying out your hands, looping through the air, landing on the ground in a wet little heap after it's hissed out all its air. That was me. I was screaming and pounding the front dashboard, the side window. I tried to punch Bart as he swerved onto the side of the road, turned off the engine and made a grab for me, shouting at me to stop having a tantrum like some goddamn two-year old. And just like a two-year old, I eventually ran out of steam, and wore myself out. Once we got back on the road I nodded off. I slept the whole way home and then when I finally was home and collapsed into my bed, I slept for nearly eighteen hours straight. Who did I need to be awake for anyway?

- -

Campbell was already seated on the other side of the glass pane, waiting for me. He knew I was coming. I had been secretly writing him, begging to come visit for the last few months. I couldn't just show up. Campbell had to put me on the visitor list, and there was a whole approval process after that. For reasons that were unclear—maybe he didn't want me to see him like this—he had refused to do that. But finally, almost nine months after I'd seen him last, he had relented.

His face looked thinner and more drawn, but his shoulders and arms seemed much larger than I remembered. He had always come across like someone you didn't want to mess with, and I had the sudden, manic thought that he looked right at home behind the glass pane, filling out his barf brown jumper nicely. I batted it away. There was one last thread of hope, wound around my finger like a piece of hair, cutting off my circulation so that I could even feel its pulse. Maybe he had invited me up here to tell me he was getting off, or that the charges had been reduced. He knew I was getting married in less than three months. So he had called me up here to tell me to cancel the whole dog and pony show, because we could finally be together.

I picked up the phone. Campbell waited a beat before following my lead.

"Someone's been watching too much Scarface," he said, no doubt referring to my enormous and ridiculous coat.

"Where else was I going to smuggle in the contraband?" I reached inside and extracted the latest issue of Penthouse. Some has-been former child star was topless on the cover.

Campbell smiled, just a little. "That's not contraband, you know. We're allowed it."

I rolled my eyes. "I know. I was just teasing. The bitch guard in the front said I could leave it with visitor's security before I go."

"Very thoughtful," Campbell said. He looked down, at the ledge where he rested his elbow, only separated from mine by four inches of glass.

"I have to make this quick," Campbell said. "I only get ten minutes."

I swallowed back a small sob, wondering if anyone else had come to visit Campbell besides me, even if for just a measly ten minutes. He didn't speak to his mom, his sister was dead, and all his so-called friends, Peter included, had abandoned him since they found out where he really was. Who he really had been.

"And you never knew him? Not all that time you two were in the same town?" Peter had asked me, sort of suspiciously, when he had found out.

I blinked, innocently. "Peter, he was a townie cop. Do I look like the type of girl who hung out with townie cops?"

Campbell cleared his throat. "I wanted to tell you in person—I'm taking a plea deal." He looked at me then looked away.

My whole body stiffened, unsure of what it was on the brink of—celebrating or mourning. I didn't know if a plea deal was a good thing or a bad thing.

"It's eighteen years, with possible time off for good behavior," Campbell said, in a rush.

I did the math in my head. Campbell was thirty-one now. Okay. Fifty was bad, but it wasn't so bad. Richard Gere was in his fifties (at least he was back then). Maybe I could deal with this, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. And with possible time off for good behavior, it could be, what? Ten years? Ten years was nothing! I could just decide to be some fabulous single woman for the next phase of my life. I wouldn't become celibate or anything, God no, but I would just take care not to fall in love with anyone—

"Stop," Campbell said, and for a moment I thought I had actually run through this diatribe out loud, rather than in my head.

"Stop what?" I asked.

"Stop trying to figure it out. To see if you can make it work." Campbell sighed and rested his head in his free hand. "We can't make it work. It's...it's over, Elizabeth."

I glared at him, even harder than I had that bitch in security. "You give up so easily. It's pathetic."

Campbell raised his head. "I am not giving up, Elizabeth. Do you know what I'm up against, here? Fifty years." He made a fist, but he didn't have anywhere to pound it. "Fifty fucking years if I lose. And I will lose. They have eye witness testimony. The police chief is looking to prove himself, to make an example out of me. I don't stand a fucking chance."

"But is it even true?" I tried, feebly. "If you didn't actually take the package and they've just gotten these so-called witnesses to lie then can't your lawyer threaten to charge them with perjury or something?"

Campbell leaned back in his chair. He looked utterly exhausted. "What does it even matter if I took the package Elizabeth? I did what they're saying I did. I'm tired." He laughed a little. "I'm tired of running from my past. I'm tired of pretending I'm someone I'm not. I belong on this side of the glass, and you belong on that side. It's was never going to work, but neither of us wanted to admit it."

"That's not true," I said, "that's your own weird mindfuck you do to yourself. This barrier only exists because you think it does."

Campbell nodded, a little too enthusiastically. "How's the wedding coming together, Elizabeth?"

I opened my mouth and closed it, unsure of what I wanted to say. Why was he asking me about my wedding?

"Because if you really thought we could make this work, why go ahead with the wedding? Why not just call it off?"

Before I could answer, Campbell finished my sentence for me.

"Because deep down, you know I'm right. Deep down, you know there isn't a snowball's chance in hell for us, and you're looking out for number one, which you excel at more than anyone I know."

I shook my head, starting to cry now. I couldn't believe how ugly this was getting. "That's not true, Campbell, you know that's not true. I don't know. I'm scared. I'm scared to disappoint people! But I will call this wedding off right now. Right this very second if you want me to."

Campbell leaned forward. His eyes were wild and sad. "You're still not understanding, Elizabeth. I wanted you to come here so I could say goodbye in person. You shouldn't call off your wedding. You should be with Peter. I can't ask you to wait around for me for another twenty years. If I can't be with you, then at least give me the peace of mind of knowing you're with someone like Peter."

"But I don't love him!" I practically shrieked. "I love you!"

Campbell's mouth puckered up and his chin quivered. Quiet tears fell down his face, faster than my own. "I love you too. And that's why I'm letting you go." He lifted the phone away from his ear.

"No!" I was shouting now, at full volume. I knew the security guards would be at my side, in moments, for causing such a scene, so I shouted it again and again and again, in quick succession. "No, Campbell! No! Don't go!"

Campbell either couldn't hear me now that he had hung up the phone, or was pretending not to. He stood, motioning to the guard on his side of the glass that he was ready to go back to his cell. I screamed his name as he offered up his hands to be cuffed.

"Bye," Campbell mouthed to me, and then he was led away. There was someone at my side, telling me to get a hold of myself or I could be arrested myself. Get a hold of yourself! Everyone is always telling me. And I did, after that. I was good. For a time.





39 comments:

  1. Wellllll this just broke my heart

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  2. Noooooooooooo! You can't do that to us! Whyyy!

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  3. Read the first chapter of your book! It's sooo good. Already want to keep reading and for me, that is saying a lot!
    I'll be pre-ordering when I get home later! Well done!

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    1. Thank you! I know. I am generally mistrusting of books for the first couple of chapters. Especially after I've just finished something I really like and think nothing can compare. So it takes me a while to get in to the plot too. Happy this makes you want to keep reading!

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  4. Oh my god. I want to die for her. That was painful.

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  5. Hey jess if you google cosmopolitan bedroom blog josie. You will find them...http://www.cosmopolitan.com/sex-love/a10112/j-bedroom-blog/

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    1. Probably dumb question, but how to you move to the next post? I didn't see a next, or a drop down list of posts.

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    2. Mum it's not easy to navigate.. =/ I click on Jessicas name underneath the title. It will load everything she has writte. Thankfully it's sorted by date. Newest to oldest. Haven't found an easier way sorry.

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  6. Oh no, this broke my heart!! Please give us a happy ending for Elizabeth, I can't stand it - I really want her to end up with Campbell!

    How do we get an advance copy of the book (you mentioned a reader got one)?? I have pre-ordered it through Amazon but it says on the website it isn't coming out until May?

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    1. That reader works in a bookstore. The publisher typically sends out a couple hundred advance copies to members of the media and booksellers several months before the book actually publishes. It's so the media has time to plan their coverage, because they work with a 3-6 month lead time. The booksellers have to also plan their orders and have read the books ahead of time to be able to recommend them to their customers.

      And I get like ten copies to share with family and friends (and ho boy, did this spike some family feuds about who got a copy and who didn't!).

      So the only way to get one in advance of the pub date is to be in one of those two industries, or be related to me, ha! But thank you so much for pre-ordering, it means a lot!

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    2. Got it - thanks for the explanation! I remember when Josie's story ended how it felt like May would never get here so I am excited the wait is not that much longer!! I loved Josie's story and Elizabeth's even more so I cannot wait to read the book!! And I hope you are already thinking of your next story?? Thanks for all of the great posts!!!!

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  7. If your book is anything like this blog, I'll be addicted. So exciting for you to be a published author. Congrats!

    I keep wanting Elizabeth to get her shit together and NOT marry Peter, but I know she does marry him... so I don't know why I keep hoping for that. haha. I can't wait to get to the point where she gets pregnant.. is it Campbell's? I NEED TO KNOW

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    1. I know! I need to know too! Wondering about that has basically taken over my life and I read everything in this blog looking for hints haha

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  8. I'm so heartbroken! Damnit, Jessica!

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  9. Ordering your book and I haven't even read the first chapter! Will it make me cry? Please say yes!

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    1. I cried when I wrote the last line of my book—it was a combination of a sad/happy cry and also pure exhaustion :-)

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  10. Amazing post, literally just cried..

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  11. I'm on my phone and don't see any banners! I preordered on Amazon, but how do I read the first chapter? :-)

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    1. If you are on your phone, scroll to the bottom and you should see "view web version" -- that will get you to the banners.

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    2. Yeah, I'm an idiot. I looked for the "web version" option all over, but just didn't scroll down far enough. :-/ Thank you.

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  12. You move me as a writer! This broke my heart as if I was Beth going through this :( your amazing!

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  13. I hate Campbell, because he makes my heart break for Elizabeth. I was so hesitant to start this blog because of my deep seeded Josie driven hate for Elizabeth. And here Campbell goes, making me feel empathy for the psycho. Ugh!

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  14. Wow. This blog is too good! I look forward to reading about Elizabeth's story, even though I hated her in Josie's story. Thank you for sharing your talent.

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  15. Will the book be available on Kindle?

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    1. Yes, it's available as an e-book too. You can pre-order either the e-book or the hardcopy!

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  16. So happy to see the success you've gotten since you first started josie's blog. Can't wait to see the book.
    Am I the weird one, or do I still feel worse for Peter? He had said in Josie's blog that he had "cheated first" in their marriage, but the truth is, Elisabeth had BEEN betraying him from the jump. In her silly mind, she saw either Peter or Campbell. She didn't see the third option: NEITHER. That's why Peter ended up with a woman he didn't deserve to have to deal with, and Elizabeth later ended up a broken single woman with a baby that no one wanted to claim.
    Never forget that. She had a choice, in the end, to make things right, to get it together, but she didn't. I can't feel that sympathetic for her anymore. I almost did in the beginning, but she's 26 years old now, there isn't much excuse.

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  17. well but it sounds like peter is all up in another woman's legs too (even if he hasn't actually cheated yet) and this was also before the marriage....so he's just as scandalous right?

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  18. omg this was the saddest most well written post. It is such a romeo and juliet story.

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  19. This is such a sad post!
    And that's cool that your book's main character is named Ani :) it's one of my nicknames.

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  20. Hi Jessica!

    I've been reading following Josie and/or reading LSP for a year and a half now (just about) and love it!!

    I also snagged an advanced copy of your book and am SOOOOOO excited to read it!! I work at a bookstore too and I entered the break room at work and saw it sitting there, I literally threw myself across the table to grab it!! Words cannot express!!

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    1. Get it, girl! I love that you made a grab for it. SO excited for you to read!

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  21. I'm in tears. I never knew heartbreak until today...

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  22. Hey jessica ive been following lsp since its cosmo days. I would love to read your book. Is it possible to order it in india. Cos thats where im from pls lemme know:)

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  23. I'm completely in love with LSP and read the first chapter to your book as well. Im already hooked and pre ordered! You're truly one of my favorite authors and can't wait for the book!

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