Fourth Comings: What Ifs

This novel hinged on Jessica making a decision: would she say yes to marrying Marcus or would she turn him down, breaking up with the man who was finally, and somewhat permanently, back in her life.  So, I thought in this wrap-up, we could play a small game of What If.

What if Jessica had said yes

What would this novel look like if, immediately after the proposal, Jessica had said yes with Marcus kneeling naked on the floor of his dorm room?  The rest of the week would chronicle her move out of her apartment and into Princeton.  She’d write the journals as a way to remind herself everything she had to ask and tell Marcus about when he returned from his retreat.  They would chronicle her fight with her roommates about her bailing on rent, her finding a one-bedroom apartment a half of a mile from campus, and her decision to continue working at True while perusing a Masters degree.  Hope would agree to be her Maid of Honor, but during the wedding planning process would be in the same room as Jessica and Mrs. Flutie, and then the truth about the childhood love, the break-up conversation, and everything else about Hope and Marcus’s relationship would come out.  Because she was already stressed about planning the wedding her mother insisted on having (which she agreed to partly because she couldn’t disappoint her niece/flower girl), Jessica blows up at everyone in the room, throwing the ring and storming out.  She keeps their Princeton apartment because while living there, since she had already started working on her Masters, and the TA money was kind of nice.  With Marcus as not just an ex-boyfrined, but an ex-fiance, Jess assumes they are over for good.  She throws herself into a relationship with an older, pretentious philosophy professor, who never wants to marry.  They move in together the following summer.

What if Hope had told Jessica about her conversation with Marcus

and, of course, she also would have told her about their shared past.  Jessica would be furious, but would place all of her anger on Hope, storming out of their apartment.  She would cancel her trip to see Marcus, feeling not in control of the situation.  Instead, she would seek solace at Bethany’s house, where she was still the single girl with the great stories.  Jessica continues to stay at their beautiful apartment until she is Marin’s full-time, live-in nanny.  One night after drinking too much white wine with Bethany, she drunk dials both Hope and Marcus to break up with each of them over the phone.  Eventually, Bridget and Percy come to save her from herself, as they often must.  

What  if Jessica and Marcus had broke up in his dorm room 

and Jessica returned home to the apartment, so devastated that no one mentioned the bet and she never found out about Hope and Marcus’s shared past.  Jessica would not really be able to let go of Marcus, like she hadn’t years earlier, and obsessively check the Princeton newspaper for photos of him and try to eavesdrop on 18-year-olds in the city who looked like they may have taken the train in for the weekend.  Hope would confront her about this months later, and assure Jessica that Marcus, too, wanted to break up, hoping that the information would allow Jess to move on.  Instead, Jessica feels the break-up all over again and lashes out at Hope, causing the worst fight that they have ever had and prompting Jessica to move in with her now close friend and business partner, Cynthia.  The heiress enjoys the company in her expansive apartment, but feels sorry for her sad roommate who seems disappointed everyday when the mail comes and there is no postcard for her.  

But what really happens to Jessica and Marcus after he returns the notebooks?  We’ll start thinking about that on Monday with Emily’s first post on Perfect Fifths

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