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Discovering Me (Book 1 of Discovering Me Series)

By @ess1223

The World At Large - Modest Mouse

{Isabella}

The front door to the suite opened right into our shared living room. The walls were painted a crisp white. The large window against the back wall allowed the dimming outdoor light to seep into the room. There was a gray sofa and two matching armchairs arranged in a U-shape, facing the flat screen television. The living room itself wasn’t a very large space, but the way it was decorated made it feel cozy. It’s what I suspected an actual home felt like. I preferred it to the vacant palace I called my home in New York.

“We haven’t been back on campus very long. Why are you already back to playing that thing? Video games are going to turn your brain to mush.” A girl lectured as she stood in front of a mirror on the wall, correcting her hair.

“It’s not a thing. It’s a PlayStation. Video games have been scientifically proven to improve dexterity and brain function. I’m doing mental pushups.” The girl in the armchair retorted as she kept her eyes glued to the screen. Her back was resting on one of the chair’s arms and her legs were draped over the other.

“Uh – hi, I’m your new roommate.” I announced nervously after shutting and locking the door.

The girl at the mirror immediately looked over at me and smiled.

“Welcome to SMA. I’m Elle. That’s Sami. You go by Izzie, right?” She approached me.

“Does everyone here go by nicknames?” I joked as I shook her hand.

“You’ve entered a land where everyone’s desperate to make a name for themselves. Most of us have taken that to a literal level.” Sami replied from her chair, pressing a button on her controller repeatedly.

Elle nodded. “Eleanor is a name worthy of a career in politics. Elle is fit for an actress. Ellen is sometimes sprinkled in there for variance. My parents were on the right track. I just had to tweak it a little.”

“Let’s sit down and get acquainted.” She linked arms with me and led me over to the couch. I elevated my ankle by placing my foot on the coffee table. I put my bag of ice on it, before getting settled into my seat.

“Rudeness, pause the game and interact with other human beings.” Elle told Sami as she sat down beside me. 

Elle and Sami couldn’t be more different if they tried. While Elle emitted a sorority girl, beauty queen vibe, Sami was a guarded tomboy. Elle looked as if she was just ripped out of a teen magazine — her honey brown skin was flawless. Every hair on her head was perfectly in place. She was dressed in clothes that accentuated her tall and thin, but still curvaceous in all the right places figure. Stunning was the only way to describe her. She would fit into my world seamlessly. 

Sami, on the other hand, with the hood of her jacket on her head, cutoff shorts, beat-up converse, bleach-blonde hair and a small silver loop nose ring in her right nostril would raise eyebrows. People would question my sanity if I attempted to be that bold, even if I was being myself.

“You have no web presence. I was thoroughly convinced that you were a ghost until the boys brought your bags to our suite.” Elle told me lightly as soon as Sami did as told.

“I told her that was stupid. You’re just off the grid, which I thoroughly respect. It provides an air of mystery that is greatly lacking in today’s society.” Sami moved to sit in her chair correctly.

“I should warn you now. She goes on a lot of environmental, feminist, and anti-conformist rants.”

“I do. It’s only fair that I repay the favor. Elle goes into full fan-girl mode over celebrities, especially Everett Woods. She lives and breathes for fashion, thinks she knows everything and is the definition of a drama queen. I’m pretty sure her picture is displayed next to the word in the dictionary.” Sami shrugged. 

“Is this your first time rooming together?” I asked out of curiosity.

“We were roommates last year. Against all odds, it worked out. Don’t get me wrong. We bicker all the time, but it’s very sisterly. Morgan’s always here to break it up before it gets too bad.”

“We call her ‘Mom’.” Sami chimed in.

I giggled. “Where’s Mom?”

“She – “

“This is the fourth time they’ve called. It wouldn’t be so bad if we didn’t live an hour away from here.” Morgan exited her room with a frown.

Her dark-brown hair was pulled back into a low ponytail. Her dark brown tortoise print wayfarer-style glasses complimented her pale yellow skin tone. Her brown, almond-shaped eyes beneath them were kind. Her person style was far more neutral than the other two’s. 

“Hi, I’m Izzie, your new roommate.” I waved with a smile.

“Hello, I’m sure they’ve told you I’m Morgan. I’m so sorry for not being in here as soon as you came in.” She apologized sweetly and shook my hand.

“Sami and Elle kept me company. Are you alright?”

She sat down in the other chair. “My parents are very involved in my life. It’s my third year here, but they’re still calling to see if I’m all settled. I love them to death, but I wish they’d take it down a notch.”

“Dude, my grandparents couldn’t wait to send me back to school. I got one ‘did you survive the flight?’ phone call and that’s it.” Sami interjected.

“Aren’t your parents in like Haiti right now?” Elle asked in response.

“Yep. Saving the world, one place at a time.”

“Your parents sound really cool.” I said honestly. 

“They were even cooler when they let me and Juno go with them. My mom’s parents said it wasn’t fair for us to be homeschooled and travel all the time. Something about social skills. My sister’s in college now, but she used to stay with them. Unfortunately, I still have to during breaks when our parents are gone.”

“Why unfortunate? If you don’t mind me asking.” I pressed on. 

“Not at all. They took the news of my bisexuality really hard. You know, because who I’m attracted to directly affects them.” She stated the last part sarcastically. 

I nodded in understanding. “Families suck.” 

“Truer words have never been spoken.” She agreed. 

“Speaking of relationships, are you still dating Lucas?” Elle asked Morgan.

“Yes. We talked on the phone a lot, even with different time zones. I really missed him this summer.” 

“He’s her first boyfriend. The puppy-love, spend every waking moment together thing is a given, but they’re really cute together.” She told me.

“You think everyone is cute with their significant other.” Sami interjected.

Elle shrugged. “I’m a hopeless romantic. I love love.”

“Except for when it comes to you. As soon as the boy you’re seeing does something that gets on your nerves, you break up with him.” Sami corrected.

“I know what I want. Those guys were not cutting it. The moment I figure out that I’m not going to live happily ever after with a guy, I’m done messing around with him. My heart has to be in it.” She clarified for me.

“Do you have your line-up in order for this year?” Sami teased.

“No, you know it doesn’t work like that.”

“Ryan seemed interested.” Morgan said in a singsong voice.

“He doesn’t date. He hooks up. I refuse to be just another notch on his belt.”

 Elle turned to me. “You met Ry, right?”

“He’s handsome and knows it. Major player vibes. I’d be careful with that one.”

“Believe me, I know. We’re best friends, believe it or not. I love a good project, but I refuse to tackle teaching that boy how to have a monogamous relationship.” Elle explained.

“He seemed nice to have as a friend, though. They all do, even the one that hit me with his skateboard.” I replied.

Sami busted out laughing. “I wish I saw that.” 

“Excuse her. She’s the type of person that laughs when people fall down the stairs.” Morgan informed me.

“He did that last year!” She started laughing harder. 

“Milo’s relatively new, but he quickly made a name for himself. He’s a gorgeous accident magnet. He’s usually the sole victim of the chaos he causes. I’m sure hitting you was a one time thing.” Elle said. 

“How badly are you hurt?” Morgan asked, sounding genuinely worried as she eyed my ankle.

“Nurse Miller says that it’s a minor sprain. If I keep it wrapped, elevated and iced, I should be back to normal in a few weeks.”

“What did Milo say?” Elle pressed.

“‘Sorry’ like fifty times. He was skateboarding without his contacts in because his eyes hurt and his girlfriend hates it when he wears his glasses. –“

“HE’S STILL DATING HER?!” She interrupted, suddenly sounding furious.

“Anna?” I questioned, just to be sure we’re talking about the same person.

“She’s a – UGH! She thinks she’s the best thing that’s ever happened to this place, but she’s not! She’s a great dancer; I’ll give her that, but the whole world doesn’t revolve around her and she thinks it does! I did not ship that! They should not be together! Ask anyone!”

“I’m sorry. Elle tends to view other people’s lives as a live television show. She ‘ships’ people she thinks should be together, not all ‘shippings’ are permanent. Some only last a few months, even a semester. She declares the really strong ones to be ‘OTP’s or one true pairings.” Morgan explained to me.

“I’m never wrong.” Elle added.

“I hate that you’re right about that.” Sami grumbled. 

“She used to be Elle’s best friend.” Morgan informed me.

“She tried to make me her sidekick. I’m nobody’s second fiddle. My sole purpose for being around isn’t to cater to her. She’d get upset when I went off to do my own thing or stole the spotlight from her. She’s so controlling.” .

“And you’re not?” Sami looked to her.

“Take that back right now.” 

Sami rolled her eyes instead. “I’m sick of talking about Anna and boys. They’re so overrated. I paused Batman to get to know Izzie. Let’s do that do that.”

“What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know. Whatever you want us to know about you.”

“Um, I’m from Manhattan. I’ve been studying ballet for most of my life. Friends are the only thing I want right now. This is my fresh start. I want to make the most of it.” 

“Sweet. I hail from Portland, Oregon. I’m in the music department.” Sami replied.

 “Very cool. What instrument?” 

“I davel in different ones, but I auditioned with my cello.” 

“Awesome. Where are you guys from?” I asked Elle and Morgan.

“I’m a west-coaster like Sam, but I’m from Beverly Hills, California.” Elle answered

”I’m from here — Massachusetts. My family lives in Boston. I’m in the art department.” Morgan followed suit.

“Would you like me to help you set up your room? It’ll be hard for you to do it solo in your condition.” Elle offered.

 “You would do that?” I asked, unable to keep the sound of surprise out of my voice.

 She nodded. “You’re a dancer. You need your ankle to do what you love. Staying off of it will help you heal faster.” She stood up and offered me her hand.

 “I can pitch in too. With classes starting tomorrow, living out of boxes and suitcases is the last thing you want to do.” Morgan added.

 “I’d offer to help too, but I’d mess everything up.” Sami resumed her game.

 “She really would. Her room’s already trashed.” Elle helped me out of my seat.

“I prefer the term ‘lived in’.” Sami corrected, moving back into the position she was in when I walked in. 

“Sami’s messy; Elle’s very neat; and I fall somewhere in between. We’ll learn where you are on that scale soon enough.” Morgan added lightly.

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