I can’t believe it is finally the end of the quarter. It feels like I only just started college yesterday. Now here I am at the end of the year with only one more day left before I leave for home. It’s insane.
After getting up, I head into the bathroom to get ready. I also scan the counters just in case I left something. The last thing I want to do is to leave something behind.
I then head down the hall and have a hearty meal of eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Being the end of finals week, test scores have already been posted. I get on my laptop and print them out to read. It’s amazing! I’ve aced all my classes! I was very unsure about my math final, but I am so relieved to see the grade. I guess I got my 4.0 after all. I also owe Michael dinner. Michael! I hadn’t seen him since our last study session. After the whole break up with Kendal, I had kind of spent the rest of the week sulking in my room and ignoring my phone messages. I’ll bet Michael probably thinks I am mad at him again.
I decide to quickly pull out my phone and send him a text. “Hey Michael. I am so sorry for missing your calls. I just want to let you know that I am okay. Let’s hang out real soon!”
Coming in from the dinery, I see Christmas decorations throughout the hall. In the center, is a small bundle of presents. Looking ahead, I see Janice and one of her friends chatting by the Christmas tree and decide to approach them .
“Hey, Janice, what’s going on?” I ask.
“Apparently, Donna the dorm advisor, thought it would be fun to throw an end of quarter Christmas mixer.”
“Yup. I didn’t know about it until yesterday. I think it’s only for our dorm, but we can invite guests.”
“Cool.” My mind instantly thinks of Michael. Whipping out my phone, I send him an invite about the mixer. Since he hasn’t answered my first text, I don’t know if he will come, but it doesn’t hurt to try.
While everyone is arriving, I head up back into my room. I want to make sure everything is all packed and squared away.
I get into my room and look around. Everything I brought with me from home is now packed into my suitcases. I had originally planned to leave tomorrow, but I didn’t want the awkward run in with Abby. So I figured it would be better to leave before she did.
Clarissa, who was still sleeping, wakes up as I zip my suitcases shut.
“Could you be any louder?” She snaps as she slides out of bed.
“I am sorry. I’m just getting ready to leave.”
“You’re leaving? When?”
“This evening. Try not to look so disappointed.”
Clarissa scoffs. “Well at least I will have this room to myself for a bit like it was supposed to be.”
I roll my eyes. “Clarissa, would you give it a rest? No one care about your stupid room. If you wanted a room to yourself so badly then maybe you should go live in an apartment. I’m sure your dad could afford it.”
“Good point. Maybe I will do that. By the way, did you ever get that video of you at the club deleted? Oh wait, that’s right. It went viral.” Clarissa smirks.
“Well, Clarissa, how are things in the sexting business? I’ll bet your father would be so proud.”
Clarissa clamps her mouth shut and I leave the room with a smile on my face. Soon I will have to worry about her no longer.
When I get back downstairs, the party is in full swing. People are sitting around talking with one another, eating and opening presents. I smile looking at the sight. Everyone looks like they are all in the holiday spirit.
It isn’t until the party dies down that I notice Abby is here as well. I had expected her to be with the Tri-Fruhms like she had been for the past two months, so it is weird to see her at such an informal event. Regardless, I do my best to avoid running into her, but it is to no avail.
Soon we are the only two left in the room. Just as I am about to make my way upstairs, I hear her call my name.
I bite my lip and then turn around. “Hey Abby.”
“S-so how are you?” Abby asks shyly.
“I’m okay. You?”
“Fine.” Abby sighs. “Look, I know things are bad between us and I completely understand why, but I just wanted to say, congratulations.”
I look at her in confusion. “Congratulations? For what?”
“Being on the dean’s list. Kimberly Hawke gets on the list almost every quarter and she told me that she saw your name on it. I just wanted to say congratulations.”
“Oh, thank you.” I didn’t know I was on the list, but I wasn’t that surprised. I was a little stunned that Abby was congratulating me about it though.
“So, when are you heading home?”
I didn’t really want to reveal this information, but then again, I don’t want to be rude when Abby was here being so nice. “I’m heading out later tonight.”
Abby looks surprised. “Really?”
“Y-yah. I just really miss my parents and Judy, so I thought the sooner the better,” I lie.
Abby smiles. “That’s funny. I was thinking about leaving tonight too. I think I am going to take the Greyhound bus. It’s something I have always wanted to do.”
“Well, be safe.”
We stare at each other for a couple seconds not knowing what to say or how to react. I finally give her a friendly smile and then head upstairs to my room to get my things. I feel bad that things are the way they are with us. How I miss our late night chats on the phone and being able to run to her with anything. Things had really changed.
Back in my dorm room, I start moving my things into my car one by one. It takes about thirty minutes, but soon all my things are packed into my trunk.
With one last look at my dorm room, I leave, heading for the stairs. I wonder if I will have the same room next quarter. If anything, I hope I have a new roommate. Clarissa was definitely not the right pick for me.
After saying goodbye to Janice and promising to write over break, I head out through the front door to my car.
As I pass by the dorm building, I see Abby waiting outside with her luggages and bags. I am tempted to offer her a ride back, but I realize that I am not ready. I still have not forgiven her for what she and the Tri-Fruhms did. Maybe someday, but not today.
It’s as I am driving that I realize there is something I haven’t done. I didn’t tell Michael I was leaving! I do a u-turn nearly crashing into a mailbox and head over to his apartment. I have only every been here once or twice. I hurry up the stairs to his front door and rap upon it lightly.
“Lizzie,” Michael says when he sees me. “I haven’t heard from you in a while.”
“I know. I’m sorry. Things got hectic with finals week.”
“I figured. You want to come in?”
I then enter inside. It’s a very small space, but nice for someone who is living alone. As I head over to the kitchen, Michael laughs.
“Getting started all ready?”
I have a feeling he is referring to our bet, but I play dumb. “What?”
“Remember our bet? If you passed the test you owe me dinner? Well I know you ended up on the dean’s list.”
I laugh and head into the kitchen. He seems to have read my mind. “You got me.”
“So what will you be preparing chef Lizzie?”
“It’s a surprise,” I say, and I make a zipping motion over my mouth with my fingers.
I then get to work in the kitchen. I decide since I will be leaving in a few hours, I will cook something quick and fast. Lucky for me Michael has all the ingredients I need to make vegetable sushi. Within an hour, I am done.
“This is pretty good,” Michael says when we sit down to eat. “Ever considered a degree in culinary arts?”
I smile and shake my head. “I love cooking, but I don’t think I could spend my whole day doing it for years on end. My passion is in writing.”
“You know, you are going to have to let me read some of your stuff sometime.”
“You still in the writing club?”
“Not anymore…” I drift off thinking about Kendal again.
“Yah, I was meaning to ask. What ever happened with Kendal? You still seeing him?”
I swallow sharply. “No, I’m not.”
Michael pauses and looks at me. “You aren’t?”
“That stupid video happened,” I mutter quietly, but Michael overhears me.
“He broke up with you because of the video?”
“Yes. He thinks I’m some wild sorority girl.” I laugh. “I guess you were right with the whole “I’m not his type” thing. Only thing is, I am his type. I’m not a party girl. The only reason I went to that Stupid party was to make Abby happy. I wouldn’t have gone if I had known it was going to get that crazy.”
“Hey, the way I see it, he is missing out. You’re amazing, and if he can’t see it, he’s not worth your time.”
I blush slightly. “Thanks.”
“You know, I never really liked that guy.”
“No kidding,” I say, and I gather the dishes and take them to the sink.
We talk for another hour before I check the time and realize I should be heading back to Aberdale.
“You leaving already?” Michael asks.
“Yes. With everything going on, I just think it’s best right now. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier. I just decided today.”
“It’s okay. I was just hoping we could catch a few more of those film festival movies before you left.”
“Me too. But we can still do that when I get back.”
“You know, it’s funny. When I first ran into you, I didn’t think we would ever talk again. Now two months later we’re, well…friends.”
“Crazy things happen.”
I smile and nod. He is definitely right.
I twirl a strand of my hair with my finger. “Well, I guess I’ll see you in about a month,” I say.
I move toward the door, but then turn around and pull Michael into a hug. He reels back slightly and then wraps his arms around me. His arms feel warm and strong around my shoulders. I instantly feel the same sensation I felt when I first met him. My heart beings to beat fast and my stomach begins to tingle. What was this strange feeling?
Even as I slip on my jacket and walk from his house, my body tingles from where his arms held me. Could it be that I…no, I can’t think like that. This is what led me down that horrible road with Kendal. Right now, I need to focus on my studies. That is the one thing I can depend on.
Taking one last look at Michael’s apartment, I start the engine to my Audi.
“Goodbye Aberdale U, hello Aberdale,” I say aloud with a smile. I then take off down the street.
As I drive along, I smile as the night sky falls upon me. The stars are twinkling in the sky and the moon is shining bright. The radio changes and starts blaring “Home” by Daughtry. I laugh and turn the volume up higher, singing the last two verses aloud. “These faces and these places are getting old. So I’m going home, I’m going home…”
I load up all my bags and luggages on the curb at the bus stop. I am so proud of myself for talking to Lizzie. I had thought she was going to yell at me and tell me where I could put my compliment, but she didn’t. She acted so civil and just thanked me. I could even tell as she drove by on her way back home, that she was considering giving me a lift. I’m a bit glad she didn’t. The way things were between us, we would have spent the whole trip just sitting in silence and staring out at the road ahead or out the window. For me, taking the Greyhound was the best solution.
It is very hard for me to say goodbye to Brad. With what happened at his party a few days ago, I think Brad was hoping I would stay back an extra week so we could mess around some more. Not that I wouldn’t have loved that, it’s just…I miss my mom and Tommy. I hadn’t seen them during Thanksgiving because of the situation with Lizzie and now I desperately want to see them. I cannot wait a whole week. I need to see them now.
Feeling a chill, I slip on my jacket. No use freezing to death. After ten minutes, Janice joins me at the stop. Apparently she is catching a plane from the Aberdale International Airport to go back home to her sisters at Marina Beach. I have always wanted to go there. Sun, surf, beaches and more. I am so jealous.
Finally, the bus pulls up and it is time to load on. I probably won’t be getting home until ten or eleven, but at least I will be home with my family.
I take one more look at Arderson hall before moving toward the bus. I then place all my things in the luggage compartment and then climb aboard. Janice follows and we both take seats in one of the middle rows on the bus.
As the bus takes off, I slip in my headphones into my phone and listen to my playlist. The first song on the list happens to be “Home” by Daughtry and I turn it up. Yes, I am definitely going home.