Binding Arbitration is told from two polar perspectives. Below is the letter Aidan wrote to Libby after he saw her at graduation, it's the last thing that Aidan would have said to Libby, if he'd had the courage to deliver this letter to her.
I graduated today ... and so did you. I didn't know you were going to graduate, but that's because you never told me. Looking back, you never told me anything, you were one big mystery and maybe that was part of your allure. Maybe I wanted you so bad because I was never going to really know what was going on in your head, so I'd have to settle for your body.
But we both know it wasn't because I wasn't willing to listen, it was because you couldn't bear to reveal yourself. You hide behind whispered words and secrets.
I think you wanted to make me suffer and pine for you. All these months, you've been hiding somewhere nearby, away from me but right under my nose to prove once again you're smarter than me. All my suffering has been in vain because you were near at hand and could have staunched it. All my recriminations could have ceased, if you would have called or came to see me, face-to-face. You wanted me to suffer and hurt.
But I have never suffered more than I did today, when I watched in shock, as you walked across the stage with our baby beneath your skin. Your body carries part of me. A body I know as well as my own, a body so vivid in my mind that I could almost feel you breathing as you walked across the stage with your air of intellectual superiority. You are by far the smartest girl I've ever known, but you are also the cruelest. You walked down the aisle, and I watched your measured advance. You refused to look my way, and I know you knew where I was. I could feel your stoic determination not to crumble where I, or anyone else, could witness it. I saw it all, all your pain, and all of mine washed through me. What I wanted more than anything in that moment of insanity was to take you. I didn't want to be tender, I wanted to unfurl all my anger, and lust at you. And perhaps if I could keep from killing you, I would be able to be tender and love you the way you needed to be loved.
But I wouldn't touch you, when you hadn't spared me a stray thought in all these months. Could I speak a single word to you without putting my hands on you? No, so I stalked away. I wouldn't meet your gaze, though I could feel you begging me to do so from across the expanse of a parking lot. I didn't want to see you then, to know I couldn't have the one thing I had wanted more than my own happiness.
I didn't taste my expensive food at lunch. I didn't hear my father's speech about success. I didn't feel my mother's pleasure at my achievement.
I'd been bottled fed on pride since the moment of my birth. I've never had to swallow it in my life, and I didn't feel inclined to do so at the hour of your choosing. So I walked away.
I saw you after lunch on the square in the center of town tossing pennies into the fountain. It hurt me to watch how beautiful you were when you placed your hands on your stomach in reassurance.
Sooner or later, you're going to have to need me, and until you really need me for more than a conversation, we'll never be together. I hope your suffering and fear will finally make you humbly accept my love. Perhaps, if there is any glimmer of hope, you can admit to yourself that you love me too.
Even if Aidan had delivered the letter above, these are the words that Libby would have responded with.
I graduated today, too. You had no idea because you assumed that I was a cutter, a townie, a nobody and if I was just another cutter girl it made it easier to use me and then discard me.
You want my humility? My devotion? My love?
That's the problem Aidan, you always ask for more than you yourself are willing to give.
You say I didn't tell you things, that I kept secrets from you. Aren't you guilty of the exact same things? Have you told me who you really are? No, all you've ever talked about was going to the majors, being rookie of the year, winning a pennant. If I hide behind whispered words and secrets you hide behind ego and bravado. Why haven't you ever tried to see me as my own person, rather than an extension of some preconceived idea of what your life is supposed to be? No, I didn't attend a Swiss boarding school, or go skiing in the French Alps, or walk a runway in Paris, but am I so backwards that you are ashamed of me. Is who I am so unworthy?
Do you think I haven't suffered these past months knowing that the only string that binds your heart to mine is a tiny life growing under my ribs? When the doctor confirmed my pregnancy and asked me what I planned to do, all I considered was a way that I could do this without ruining your life. The doctor patted my shoulder and said that however I choose to deal with this would seal the fate of our relationship. If I aborted it our tie would be forever severed, if I gave it away I'd give away the only part of you that was mine, but if I kept it, I'd keep this one small part of you.
You think I don't love you? You should have felt it as surely as my breath upon your skin or my heartbeat racing against yours. But the strength of that love terrifies me. I'm afraid that I'll fade away into it and there won't be anything of me left that isn't a part of you. I'm too strong and have worked too hard to let that happen to me. You live in a world that is comfortable and safe, so secure that the silk lining of the cocoon would eventually smother me.
You had the chance to man up Aidan, but I won't beg for you to help me. You're free and I'm trapped, but I'm not a caged animal that will whimper for a reprieve. You go and play games, and sign autographs, and sleep with your adoring fans, but I won't sit in the stands and watch. I understand that you can't give me something that's over the limit of your emotional credit card.
I don't know how to love enough for both of us and I can't take a chance on never knowing if you wanted me for me or for the baby. I was an unwanted pregnancy, myself, and I know what it feels like to be an accident. I can't let the small life growing in me see that in your eyes, because I know firsthand the unspoken recriminations they will carry.
Remember me fondly or forget about me, but always know I'll fight for my child, because this isn't just a problem to be dealt with for me, it's one of many obstacles I've had to overcome on the road of my life.
If you want to know what happened to make these letters come about read Cutters vs. Jocks, its free on Amazon and B&N. If you want to know what is powerful enough to bring these differing points of view together again after years of separation read Binding Arbitration.
Thanks and happy reading,
About The Author:
Windy City writer Elizabeth Marx brings cosmopolitan flair to her fiction, which is a blend of romance and fast-paced Chicago living with a sprinkle of magical realism. In her past incarnation she was an interior designer - not a decorator - which basically means she has a piece of paper to prove that she knows how to match and measure things and can miraculously make mundane pieces of furniture appear to be masterpieces. Elizabeth says being an interior designer is one part shrink, one part marriage counselor and one part artist, skills eerily similar to those employed in writing.
Elizabeth grew up in Illinois and has also lived in Texas and Florida. If she's not pounding her head against the wall trying to get the words just right, you can find her at a softball field out in the boonies or sitting in the bleachers by a basketball court. Elizabeth resides with her husband, girls and two cats who've spelled everyone into believing they're really dogs.
Elizabeth has traveled extensively, but still says there's no town like Chi-Town.
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Book Description: Binding Arbitration
Through the corridors of the Windy City's criminal courts, single mother, Libby Tucker, doesn't wonder how far she's willing to go to save her son's life from cancer. The undefeated defense attorney knows she'll take her case all the way to the majors.
Libby pleads her case at the cleats of celebrity baseball player, Banford Aidan Palowski, the man who discarded her at college graduation, begging him to live up to his biological duty. Libby's worked her backside bare for everything she's attained, while Band-Aid has been indulged since he slid through the birth canal and landed in a pile of Gold Coast money. But helping her might jeopardize the only thing the jock worships: his baseball career.
If baseball imitates life, Aidan admits his appears to be silver-plated peanuts, until, an unexpected confrontation with the most spectacular prize that's ever poured from a caramel corn box blindsides him. Libby reveals his son desperately needs him and it pricks open the wound he's carried since he abandoned her.
All Libby wants is a little anonymous DNA, but Band-Aid has a magical umpire in his head who knows Libby's a fateball right to the heart. When a six-year-old sage, and a hippy priestess step onto the field there's more to settle between Libby and Aidan then heartache, redemption, and forgiveness.
* Two Virtual Book Tour Event Contests*
To enter the contest, click on the above link and leave a comment on Elizabeth Marx's Binding Arbitration Tour Page on Chick Lit Plus, to win a $10 Amazon gift card. If you purchase Binding Arbitration before April 2nd and send your receipt to Samantha@ChickLitPlus.com , you will get five (5) bonus entries!
* Book Contest Giveaway: Binding Arbitration *
Author Elizabeth Marx is giving away (2) ebook copies of Binding Arbitration on each blog during the virtual book tour. To enter the contest, leave a comment on the bottom of this blog post along with your name and email address. Two (2) winners will be randomly selected through Random.org number generator. The winners' names and email addresses will be submitted to Chick Lit Plus to be forwarded to author Elizabeth Marx, who will send the ebook copies. The contest will run until the end of Elizabeth Marx's Binding Arbitration virtual book tour on April 2nd.