Meet the Heroes from A Dozen Apologies: Elliott Weston

2014 January 30
by faylamb

A DOZEN APOLOGIES FINAL FRONT COVER (282x425)In case you haven’t gotten word, there’s a new heroine in town, and she owes apologies to twelve different fellows. Here’s the scoop:

Mara Adkins, a promising fashion designer, has fallen off the ladder of success, and she can’t seem to get up.

In college, Mara and her sorority sisters played an ugly game, and Mara was usually the winner. She’d date men she considered geeks, win their confidence, and then she’d dump them publicly. When Mara begins work for a prestigious clothing designer in New York, she gets her comeuppance. Her boyfriend steals her designs and wins a coveted position. He fires her, and she returns in shame to her home in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where life for others has changed for the better.

Mara’s parents, always seemingly one step from a divorce, have rediscovered their love for each other, but more importantly they have placed Christ in the center of that love. The changes Mara sees in their lives cause her to seek Christ. Mara’s heart is pierced by her actions toward the twelve men she’d wronged in college, and she sets out to apologize to each of them. A girl with that many amends to make, though, needs money for travel, and Mara finds more ways to lose a job that she ever thought possible.

Mara stumbles, bumbles, and humbles her way toward employment and toward possible reconciliation with the twelve men she humiliated to find that God truly does look upon the heart, and that He has chosen the heart of one of the men for her to have and to hold.

Today, we’re getting to know Elliott Weston:

bigstock-Children-at-school-classroom-32461277Tell us a little about yourself: where you’re from, what you studied in college, what you do now?

Well, my name is Elliott Weston. I’m a homegrown boy. Born in Spartanburg and raised on a dairy farm about 15 miles south of the city, a little place called Duncan. About the only thing I knew growing up besides cows was football. I played tight end for Byrnes High School Rebels in Duncan, and managed to get an athletic scholarship to the University of South Carolina.

I made the starting lineup my freshman year, but got hurt bad enough the following summer to end my football aspirations. As life often does, the tragedy turned out to be one of those blessings in disguise. You see, I loved everything about football. Since I couldn’t play anymore, at least not competitively, I worked summer camps. Taught kids. Found I liked it and they liked me.

When I went back to school in the fall of my sophomore year, I changed my major to early childhood education, with a minor in computer science. The next year I added an emphasis on speech therapy and special needs. I lost my athletic scholarship, so it took me an extra year to finish, what with all the extra courses I had to make up. But it was more than worth it.

After college, my football background got me on at Spartanburg High. The Varsity Football Coach there needed an assistant, so they stuck me in a ninth grade classroom, teaching social studies of all things. Let me tell you, social studies is the last thing ninth graders want to know about. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. The next year I landed a job at Woodland Heights Elementary School teaching special needs and have been there ever since. I also coach for the City of Spartanburg Youth Football League.

How did you meet Mara Adkins and what did you think about her when you first met?

Ahhh, Mara, so beautiful. She always looked like she’d stepped off a Paris runway. Had one of those bigger-than-life personalities you could pick out of a crowd. Her smile would light up my world. We were both freshmen at USC, and while everybody knew Mara, I doubt she had a clue I even existed.

That all changed in January after our football team beat Ohio State in the Outback Bowl. That’s when she and her friend, Jenny, “discovered” us football players. I couldn’t believe my luck when she singled me out. I thought I’d won the Heisman Trophy.

Mara always struck me as being a little guarded behind that self confident and gorgeous façade she presented to the world. I think she was afraid of letting anyone get too close, of being vulnerable. I sometimes wondered if she was maybe a little bit insecure. Sounds ridiculous, huh?

Mara did some pretty ugly things to a few guys. How did you feel about her when she broke up with you so publicly? How did you handle the embarrassment?

Have you ever had a pair of red-hot tongs shoved through your chest and into your heart? No? I didn’t think so. That’s about the only way I can describe how I felt that day, and it doesn’t come close to the real thing. I mean, I’d rather have my fingernails yanked out with pliers than go through anything like that again. From owning the world to having nothing, all in the span of a single afternoon.

I’d just come off a spectacular rookie year, what with winning the bowl game and being named to the All SEC Team. Coach Holtz had wangled an invitation for me from the Carolina Panthers. Mara went with me that August morning to their summer training camp. She was there when I went down in a routine tackle. She was there when I found out I’d torn my Achilles’ tendon. She stayed with me in the Emergency Room while they x-rayed and wrapped me up in a temporary cast. She went with me to the concert on Main Street that night where we met up with some of my teammates and their dates. But then she left me with a very public ‘thanks, had fun, but it’s time to move on now.’ She even patted my cheek before walking away.

I sat in the lawn chair for the longest time, thinking she was playing cute. That she’d come back any minute. I think my disbelief helped fool a lot of my friends because I didn’t look or act all that upset. She hurt me. Worse than tearing up my ankle and learning I couldn’t play for USC anymore. But I never stopped loving her. Even after learning I was just one of many in her playbook, I wanted her back.

Be truthful here. Did you every think of paying Mara back for the cruel game she and her sorority sisters played? If so, what did you think of doing? If not, why not?

I’d be a bald faced liar if I said I didn’t think about it. I was humiliated. She hurt me and hurt my pride. I wanted her to hurt, too. I thought about getting some of the guys to pull a similar game on her. Maybe launch a smear campaign to ruin her “ice angel” reputation. I even considered photo-shopping some pictures to smear her. In the end, though, I didn’t do anything. Bad as she hurt me, I couldn’t bear to hurt her.

What do you think of Mara today?

I’ve done a lot of growing up in the years since then. She has, too. I can’t help but wonder if things might’ve turned out different for us if we’d found each other a few years later. She was the first woman I said I love you to. Only time will tell if she’ll be the last.

Mara is even more beautiful today, if that’s possible, and I love the curves maturity has brought. She doesn’t smile as much now, but when she does her smile can still set a man’s soul on fire. And I think I was right about her insecurity. That vulnerable crack in her armor is little wider now. She’s learned some tough lessons. More than anything, though, he has a peace about her. Like she’s come to terms with life and knows her role now. What do I think about Mara today? The same as I thought back in college. She’s a special woman, one who will always hold a special place in my heart.

Mara’s reunion with Elliott is posted today at Write Integrity Press. His author isn’t being revealed because the project authors (and our fearless editor) believed it would be fun for you, the reader, to vote for your favorite hero. Voting will open at Write Integrity Press on the day the last hero’s chapter is presented, February 5. Voting will be opened until February 8. The votes will be tabulated, and the winning hero gets the final chapter in the novella when it is offered free on Kindle beginning February 14.

The authors hope you have joined in on the fun. If you haven’t, here are a few sights where we have been having the best time:

Mara’s Facebook page

The You Know Your Job is Odd When… Facebook page where we’re sharing funny stories, memories, etc., about odd jobs we’ve all had.

Update:

Have you read each of the hero’s interviews? If not, click on their names below. If so, do you have a favorite? Well, the time has come to vote for him at Write Integrity Press. The winning hero gets the last chapter in the book, and he also might just win Mara’s heart.

David Hansen

Dominic Cardano

James Green

Collin Tate

Chip Linton

Ted Rivers

Russ Farlow

Connor Martin

Derrick Howzer

Brent Teague

Remy Perone

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