A Scandalous Story of Love: The Beginning

Well I’ve been inspired a lot lately. Inspired by the calm we’ve been given in Gabby’s storm. Inspired by friends walking by faith. Inspired by a book called Crazy Love and another called One Month to Live. Inspired to be more transparent, passionate, and real. Inspired to leave a legacy. Inspired to live without regret.

Today my “Maine Man” (This is how Duff likes to refer to himself) turns 37 and I have recorded the beginning of our story as a gift to him. I am not writing this story because it’s perfect. Nor to demonstrate the ins and outs of meeting a suitable mate. I’m not arguing that we always made smart decisions that I want our children to emulate. I’m writing this story because after being together for 17 years I am still completely in love with this man. A man that God perfectly chose to complete me. I want our children to see how God worked through us in spite of ourselves. I want them to be familiar with the intricate details of how He crafted our story. How He called us, molded us, and shaped us into His image even before we called Him Father.

So, without further adieu, here is the first chapter of our story.

A Scandalous Story of Love: The Beginning

It was 1991. I was 18 years old and a freshman in college. It was orientation week and classes had not yet begun. I was enjoying my new found freedom and headed out to a dorm party with some of my girlfriends. We met a guy named Mike* from NJ over a few beers. He lived in the boy’s dormitory adjacent to our own and we decided to stop by his room later on to say hello. We arrived at his door and knocked impatiently. I had a cigarette in one hand and a cookie in the other. Mike wasn’t around but his roommate, who had stayed behind to get better acquainted with his new computer, came to the door. He reluctantly invited us in grabbing my cigarette and stamping it out with his foot before I entered. Disgruntled, I sat down on the bed which also served as a couch. I began nibbling my cookie to pass the time but was quickly scolded.

“Crumbs! You’re getting crumbs all over Mike’s bed!”

My first thoughts,”Who is this guy? He must be kidding,right?! What an anal retentive loser!”

Turns out his name was Duff and minutes later when Mike returned I didn’t hesitate to tell him exactly what I thought about this roommate of his.

“What is he doing hanging out in a freshman dorm room by himself, the first week of college anyway?!” and “I’m so sorry you got stuck with him!” and “You poor thing!”

On and on I went, sticking my foot way deep into my mouth until at last I paused noticing the smirk on Mike’s face.

“What? What is it I demanded?”

I quickly learned that Duff and Mike had gone to high school together. They had chosen to be roommates. They were not just roommates, they were friends! I retreated that night with my tail between my legs not realizing how many times I would reflect back on the humor of our first meeting.

Freshman year of college Duff and I would spend a lot of time “putting up” with each other because Mike and I began dating. By summer time Duff and I were pals. We enjoyed hanging out together. I loved to get the details about Duff’s latest relationship and I was always trying to find the perfect girl for him, you know someone kinda like me.:) We found ourselves in the strangest of situations together. The sunbathing niece and nephew watching thing. The late night ride in the back of a pick-up truck where we spotted a shooting star, and the 3 mile walk to get corsages and boutonnieres one chilly Friday afternoon . People began to question what exactly was going on between us.

“We’re just friends!” I insisted and sincerely meant it.

“Kell is like a sister to me.” Duff responded to the inquiries.

A short time later we became the focus of a heated debate about girls, guys, and friendships. Our college friend Andy presented his theory late one night to a circle of friends and suddenly early morning classes and exams lost their priority.

“Girls and guys CAN NOT be friends.” he commanded.

“How do you figure?” we inquired.

“Well here’s the thing….”, Andy began, “guys will only be friends with girls they find attractive, as the friendship deepens, the guy eventually wants more and either the girl is willing or unwilling, regardless the friendship ends.”

“Could he be right?!” we wondered. We searched for examples to disprove his theory.

“Well, I suggested, take Duff for example, he is just a good friend of mine and he will never be anything more.”

Andy quickly turned to Duff, “Would you sleep with her?”

“NO! Kelly is like a sister to me.”

“DO you find her attractive?”…… and so the inquisition began and ended in a stalemate as we all headed off to bed.

It would be a month or two later before we would ultimately discover who had really won the debate that night.

The week before Christmas break in college is always an intense one. We had many late nights studying for countless exams. We found ourselves exhausted but exhilarated as the week came to a close. Some friends fled immediately for the solace of home and others stuck around to properly celebrate the culmination of such a week. Mike fled while Duff, myself, and a bunch of our friends stuck around for one last hurrah. We decided to head into Boston for good eats and good brew. Once fully satiated the whole lot of us returned to campus and hung out realizing that come morning we would all be heading our separate ways for a month.

Then it happened. Another girl. Another girl came along that night looking for Duff. She wanted to talk with him. Alone. They went off into another room and shut the door behind them. Whoa! What was that feeling deep in my gut? Something like nervous nausea. My stomach was a flutter, my heart was racing a bit, and I felt a little anger coming into the mix. What was wrong with me?! Why did I suddenly care that Duff was hanging out with some other chic? But I DID care! I was jealous. That was the feeling that was suddenly consuming me. I had to intervene. I had to share my feelings before it was too late. I ran down the hall and began pounding on his dorm room door. No answer. How could I get his attention?! The phone! That was it! I ran back down the hall to a friend’s room and began urgently dialing his number. Brrring, bring, bring, brrrring,……come on Duff pick up the phone! I hung up and dialed again, and again, and again. Finally he picked up sounding a little exasperated, “What’s up? Where are you?”

“I’m next door.”

Duff still slightly irritated, “So,….. why are you calling me?”

“You weren’t answering the door. I need to talk with you right now. Meet me in the hall.” I begged.

I hung up the phone racing down the corridor back to his door.

Duff cracked the door visibly puzzled and still sounding slightly bothered by the interruption. The other girl peered over his shoulder with eyebrows raised suggesting that this had better be good.

“I need to talk with you alone.” I hinted.

“Okay.” Duff turned to face the source of my jealousy and she huffed brushing past me and never turning back.

We retreated back inside the room. I was pacing. I could feel Duff’s eyes upon me as he waited for an explanation. My stomach was in knots. My emotions flitted about between dread and excitement Why was I such a mess?! This was Duff. I was never nervous around Duff he was like a brother to me. Wait, that was it exactly! This could be the end of me. What if I spilled my guts to him, revealed the source of my irrational behavior, professed my love for him, and he simply replied but Kell I could never reciprocate those feelings your like a sister to me. AAARGGH! This could be ugly but here it goes

“Duff, I think I’m jealous.”

“What do you mean?….Please explain.”

“Well, I’ve never really felt this way before but when that other girl came looking for you and then you disappeared together I became an emotional wreck and I couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was that was bothering me and then it dawned on me, I was jealous! I was jealous that you were in here with some other girl, someone other than me. I think I have feelings for you….. I think I love you.”

I don’t recall Duff saying anything at that moment and yet he made it perfectly clear that he felt exactly the same way as he took me in his arms and held me for an obscene amount of time. We talked like that into the wee hours of the morning. Examining our feelings, our relationship, and our future. We were dancing inside with excitement. Filled with energy despite our sleepless night. Happy music playing in our heads and then the song came to a screeching halt.

The serenity that nighttime brings had deceived us. That was the realization we had when morning came. This wasn’t going to be easy. This would be messy. We could hurt a lot of people. We had an entire circle of friends that we’d known since freshman year that knew me as Mike’s girlfriend and Duff as Mike’s friend. We better take some time to think this through over winter break, sort through our feelings, figure out if this was even right. We swore each other to secrecy, packed our things, and left Boston for winter break.

To be continued………….

*Mike’s real name has been changed.

(In case you’re startled by this sudden attempt at writing or creativity let me explain. The idea for this love story came from the Pioneer Woman.
She wrote the amazing love story entitled Black Heels to Tractor Wheels which describes how she met her Marlboro Man.)


  1. Cindy Francis says:

    Alright, you got me. I’m hooked and ready for the next chapter.
    Have a great weekend.

  2. You’re good. How would you like to write for our Newsletter?

    • Kelly O'Melia says:

      Thanks for the encouragement. I’m completely outside of my comfort zone writing like this. Not sure I’m ready for the newsletter yet!

  3. Judy Binns says:

    Very funny! And I can’t imagine you now w/ a cigarette!

  4. Beth Glick says:

    Kelly I love it! I also love pioneer woman by the way….I own her cookbook. I can’t wait to read what happens after winter break! :) Keep writing!

  5. So, I am still up at midnight reading your blog! This particular story cracks me up for several reasons…but I was very excited to discover the source of your inspiration! I, too, have read that particular blog and was inspired to begin blogging. Unfortunately, graduate school has inhibited my creativity, and I have not actually began blogging. I am further inspired by this…it will happen! My best friend, Hope Blaylock (who also has a beautiful blog, check it out!) informed me I just HAD to read that very blog by Pioneer Woman. I love it! :)

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