Community Stories. Get Inspired, Get Underlined

Discovering Me (Book 1 of Discovering Me Series)

By @ess1223

Afraid - The Neighbourhood

[Milo]

I stalled. My flight to America got in late. She was a few feet away, but I didn’t call Anna. I spent most of the day trying to adjust to the new time zone. I would’ve avoided her until classes started.

“You’re not doing this.” Ryan barged in my room as I unpacked.

“I am not allowed to watch the football match? I have waited for this.” I popped another piece of popcorn into my mouth.

“Break up with her. Get it over with; give her time to heal.”

I looked over at him with an eyebrow raised. “Since when do you care about her?”

“Never and won’t. You do. Knock this out. I don’t need the help, but it’s nice to have you around as a wingman.” He leaned on my wall with his arms crossed.

“She hates it when I wear my glasses. My eyes hurt.” I rubbed my eyes beneath my glasses.

“Then don’t wear them. Even better, actually. You won’t back out if you see her start to cry.”

“What am I supposed to say?”

“We’re not dating anymore.” He shrugged.

I sighed. “You have never had a girlfriend. Would Finn and Nick be more useful?”

“I have and said something to that affect. Nick’s a total Mr. Nice Guy. Always the dumpee, never the dumper. Watson’s not affectionate; he’d lose patience with the couple thing really fast. I’m the best you’ve got.”

“And all you do is no-strings-attached flings.” I pointed out in reply.

“At least I’ve never had a girlfriend that’s ‘forgotten’ to call on my birthday.”

“You think she did it on purpose?”

“I know she doesn’t care as much as she’s claiming to.” He retorted boldly.

I was so sick of it, knowing in the back of my mind that most people were faking it because of who I was and being unable to trust my own feelings as a result. I found myself furious, mainly with myself, but with the whole situation.

I went to the far corner of my room. I stepped on one of side of my skateboard, causing the other end to stand up. I grabbed it with my hand. I pulled off my glasses and put them on my desk.

“I’ll be back later.” I walked out of my room.

He switched off my light. “We’re going to dinner at 5:30. Try to wrap it up before then.” He returned to his bedroom.

I jogged down the stairs of our dorm. I placed my board on the floor when I was outdoors. I used my foot to propel myself along the sidewalk. I was doing well to navigate and weave through the groups and individuals I passed on my way to McDaniel Hall. Well, at least that was the cause until I noticed a figure standing at the bottom of admissions hill, not paying attention. I had too much momentum to stop myself in time.

“WATCH OUT!” I shouted, in hopes of getting them to move before I crashed landed into the grass.

She looked in my direction instead. In a matter of seconds, I collided with her, causing her to be pummeled into the ground, onto her back. I got off of her as quickly as possible, not wanting to damage her more than I already had. She groaned, keeping her eyes closed, as she remained in the grass.

“I am so sorry! I forgot to put my contacts in this morning. I am sorry. I didn’t see you until it was too late. I am so sorry. Did I hurt you? If I did, I am sorry.” I asked frantically, unsure of what I should do.

She opened her eyes at the sound of my voice. I felt a little better, knowing she was able to do that.

“I think you need to shove another ‘sorry’ into that sentence. The million weren’t enough.” She joked as she slowly rose her torso.

 “I am so–” I pursed my lips together. “Are you okay?” I tried again.

She tilted her head to the side as she studied me. “Where are you from?” She asked instead of answering. 

“I think you may have taken a hit to the head. Do you feel dizzy?” I squinted to look into her eyes, checking for dilation.

“So you don’t have an accent…?” She asked slowly, momentarily looking over to the side.

“I am from Listonenia. Something must be wrong with you because instead of screaming at me for hitting you, you’re making jokes and asking where I am from. That is not normal.” I offered her a reassuring smile.

“I am tempted to yell at you, like extremely so. It would feel great for a second, but it would wear off quickly. You have already apologized. I can tell did not mean to hit me.” She shrugged and attempted to stand up.

“Here, let me help you.” I hopped up and offered her my hand.

She hissed in pain when she was standing. She shifted her weight around and groaned in frustration. She hit my chest in a small fit of fury.

“That is more like it. Keep going. I feel awful for doing this to you.” I egged her on.

“If you want me to keep hitting you, stop being nice to me!” She narrowed her big amber eyes at me.

The size of her eyes in combination with her other, petite, facial features made her anger oddly adorable, like watching a puppy work hard to perform a task it’s too small for.

“You want to hit me again. I can see it in your eyes. You are holding back. You should stop.” I retorted with a small smirk.

“Point me in the direction of the nurse’s office before I make the mistake of listening to you!”

“I can carry you.” 

“You’ve admitted that your vision is impaired at the moment. Letting you attempt to carry me would be another accident waiting to happen. Thanks, but no thanks.” 

“I am nearsighted. Objects that are far away are blurry. Objects in my face are clear. You can compensate for my poor distance vision by warning me of something ahead of time. This is a win/win situation.”

“Are you commissioning me to be your seeing-eye dog?” She crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow.

“Absolutely not. You are my seeing-eye friend.” I corrected with a smile.

“Really, what’s your friend’s name?” She replied sarcastically, knowing I didn’t know it.

I squinted as hard as I could and crouched down a bit to read her luggage tag.

“Isabella Hales.” I answered with a cheeky smile.

She fought off one of her own. “Izzie.” She corrected.

“Izzie.” I restated. “I am sorry we had to meet this way. My name is Milo De Luca. Why do you have suitcases?” I pointed to them.

“I’m transferring in late. I was trying to find the housing office. You injured me instead.”

“Please say you are in the music or art department, where the use of your ankle is optional.” I inwardly cringed.

“You’re just as unlucky as I am. I’m in the dance department.” 

“What year?”

“Junior.” 

“At least I will have two years to make it up to you. I am a junior and a dancer as well. I transferred in last semester. I know what it is like to come in not knowing anyone. I will call one of my roommates and have them take your stuff to your suite. I will personally escort you to Nurse Miller’s.” 

“Sounds like a plan, but if anything is damaged or missing, I’m holding you accountable.”

I removed my phone from my pocket. I called Nick.

“Hey, aren’t you in your room?” He answered almost immediately.

“No, actually. I was on my way to visit Anna. –“ I paused and glanced over at Iz, who was hobbling over to a nearby bench.

“There has been an accident.” I admitted sheepishly.

“Accident? What kind of accident? Are you okay?” He cried with worry.

“I am fine. I, um, I hit a girl with my skateboard. I need you to take her bags to her suite while I take her to the nurse.” I rubbed the back of my neck.

“How badly is she hurt?!” He cried in shock.

“Do not say it like that, you will –“

“That Miles?” I heard Ryan say in the background.

“She is fine, at least she will be. I am at the bottom of admissions hill. Meet me here. Do not tell Ry!” I blurted out quickly before he could answer him.

“Uh, yeah, be there soon. Bye.” He stammered in response before hanging up.

I slid my phone into my pocket. I went to the bench she was seated on and sat down beside her. She folded them hem of her cropped pants up to her shin. Her foot was on the bench. She was surveying the damage, touching her swelling ankle with her fingertips.

 “Let me check out this ankle.” 

She turned in her seat. ” Will you be able to see it?”She teased lightly.

“Tehe.” I deflected lightly as I took her ankle into my hands gently.

“Is it alright if I take your shoe off?” I looked over at her.

“I’ve got ballet toes. You were warned.”

“I figured. How long have you danced?” I removed her Converse and footie sock, placing them on the space beside me.

“13 years. I’ve dabbled in just about every style, but ballet is my specialty. You?”

“In my music lessons, they noticed I had a knack for rhythm; I started those when I was three. They decided to teach me ballroom dancing ahead of schedule because of that. My instructor was also the director of a ballet company. He said they could use boys. It was one extra activity my parents could tack on. I enjoyed it, but I stopped when I turned 13.” 

“Can I have your other ankle? I need a reference.” I requested after checking out the one I had injured.

She lifted her other one onto my lap. I was able to notice the slight swelling and bruising.

“Why’d you stop dancing?” She removed an elastic from her wrist and used it to put her hair up in a ponytail.

“It did not feel the same way. Nothing did. I stopped trying all together.” 

“Then why are you back at it?”

“It is a change. It feels good; it is like being reunited with an old friend. Things are different, but it is comforting to know we are still compatible if I try.”

“What instrument do you play?”

“Sort of off topic.” I returned her sock to her foot.

“Intermingled in a roundabout way. I’ve yet to release my randomness. It’s not nearly that subtle.”

“Piano.” I chuckled.

“Classic or jazz?”

“Trained classically, but I prefer jazz. Want to take care of your shoe?” I offered it to her.

She accepted it and retracted her legs from me. “Where is Listonenia?”

“Between Greece and Italy, in the Mediterranean Sea.”

“Very cool. Summer all year round. I’m sure you’re thrown off by our winters.”

“I had to buy and wear a winter coat for the first time when I came here in January. I saw snow in person. I almost froze to death. New life experiences.” I answered lightly.

She smiled. “I’m from New York. We get hit hard by both seasons. Spring and autumn are gorgeous, though.”

“New York City, New York?”

She nodded. “Manhattan. Bustling streets, skylines that take the place of stars at night, and plenty of ambiance noise. I can hear myself think out here in the middle of nowhere. I’m still deciding whether or not that’s a good thing.”

“Always been a city girl?”

“I mean, I’ve been away from it for vacations before. I’ve just never lived outside of it for the majority of the year.”

“Understandable.”

“So…what’s the real reason you’re not wearing your contacts? You’re too aware of your vision problems to ‘forget’ to put them in.”

I grinned uncontrollably at her wit as I rubbed the back of my neck in discomfort. “I slept in them on my flight yesterday. My eyes are still sensitive from taking them out after I woke up. I was on my way to visit my girlfriend. She says I look better without my glasses. You can figure the rest out.” 

“Did you really put society at risk because you wanted to look cute for your girlfriend?” She questioned incredulously in a light-hearted tone.

“In my defense, I have not seen her all summer. I got in late last night and I have been unpacking all day. It did not seem like that bad of an idea until I hit you.”

“I’m glad you’re acknowledging the fact that what you did was stupid.’” 

“I do not see a point in denying that. It definitely was.” I finally allowed myself to look over at her.

She was tying up her shoe laces. She flexed her ankle when she was done.

“How does that feel?” I asked.

“Not too bad. You can go see girlfriend. Your friend can show me to the nurse.”

“I will talk to her after I take you. I cannot leave a friend in need.”

 “You learned my name less than ten minutes ago.”

“Since when are friendships based on names? We share a special and sacred bond based on sight.”

“Yes, your lack of it.” She retorted immediately.

“Touché.”

“You’ve only been back for less than 24-hours and you’ve already managed to cause some sort of incident. You’ve gone too far this time. Instead of just hurting yourself in a freak accident, you’ve pummeled a poor, innocent girl into the ground. You should be ashamed.-” Finn’s voice pulled me out of our playful banter.

I sighed heavily and looked in the direction his voice came from. He sauntered over with the guys. Ryan was basking in all the attention he was receiving from girls. Nick looked apologetic.

 “– How badly did he hurt you, Miss? Would you like to sue for damages? I highly encourage it.” Ryan asked her overdramatically.

I narrowed my eyes at him. “Zip it, Ry. I am not that bad.”

“You’re right. You’re worse.” Finn fired back.

“Finn, Ryan, and Nick.” I introduced reluctantly, pointing to each of them.

“Why are you two here? I only called Nick.” 

“I came to laugh at you.” Finn replied.

“You’re not laughing.” She pointed out.

“Oh, I am on the inside.” He informed me with a small smirk.

I looked to Ryan for an answer.

“I wanted to personally welcome the girl you mauled to SMA. I need to ensure her that we’re all not careless jerks, who hit people with modes of transportation. –”

“I’m a junior in the acting department. What’s your name?” He offered her his hand.

I mouthed ‘stay away’. He deviously smirked in response. I shook my head with a grimace.

“Izzie. I’m a dance major in the same year.” She shook his hand in a friendly manner, not falling for his charm.

“RYAN! Oh my gosh! We haven’t hung out in forever. How was your summer?!” A girl suddenly cried.

“It was great. I’m happy to be back though.” He accepted her hug.

“I’ll see you around. Text me later.” She waved goodbye to him flirtatiously.

“I sure will.” He called to her lightly as she walked away.

“Who was that? She looks familiar.” He asked the moment she’s out of earshot.

“Alice Newport. It’s terrible that you don’t know the name of a girl you made-out with a few months ago.” Nick answered.

“I remember her face. That should count for something. I wasn’t the one that told people we hooked up.”

“It does not.” I pointed out.

“I was thinking one of you could take me to the nurse. He has a girlfriend. I don’t want to be ‘that girl’, if you catch my drift.” Izzie addressed my friends.

“I can take you, but no one would have looked at you that way if Milo helped you. He’s only helping a person in need. I’m sure Anna knows how to be reasonable when she wants to be.” Nick attempted to reassure.

Finn snorted and a dimpled smirk crept onto Ryan’s face.

“Shut your mouths!” I seethed.

They silently held their hands up in surrender.

“Listen to Nick. There is a reason he’s the only one I called.” I gestured to him.

Nick nodded. “One of Finn’s favorite past times is being amused by the misfortunes of others and Ryan won’t remember your name if you do anything with him.”

“Okay, game plan?” She requested.

“I am taking you. They’ll take your bags. What’s your hall and suite number?” I answered.

“McDaniel 310”  

“We will take care of this for you, Izzie. Don’t worry. Focus on getting better.” Nick reassured her as he picked up one of her suitcases.

“Thanks.” She smiled as she worked herself off the bench.

“Which way is the — ?”

I scooped her up in my arms without warning.

“You’re seriously carrying me?” She wrapped her arms around my neck to steady herself.

“I am helping you stay off of the injury I created.” I started walking in the opposite direction.

“Am I too heavy for you?” She asked, keeping her eyes on the path ahead.

“No, I worked to stay in shape this summer, not wanting to repeat the painful conditioning process I endured at the beginning of last semester.”

“Darn. It’d make me feel better about this punishment. Is conditioning really difficult?”

“Depends. Did you exercise at all?”

“Brisk walks and light yoga. I wasn’t able to train.”

“You will have trouble walking for a little while.”

“Thanks for being honest with me, Buddy.” She patted my shoulder.

I breathed a laugh. “I have no reason to lie to you.”

We eventually arrived at a one-story building on the other side of campus. She removed one of her arms from my neck and opened the door.

“Visiting me already, Milo? I thought I wouldn’t see you for at least a couple of days. What have you done this time?” Nurse Miller looked up from her desk with glasses resting on her nose.

“Good to see you too, Nurse Miller. I have managed to remain injury-free today. Unfortunately, I cannot say the same about Izzie. I think I sprained her ankle.” I carried her into to one of the examination rooms.

I placed her on the table. 

“I’ll have to take a look to be sure. How on earth did you manage to sprain someone else’s ankle? That’s impressive, even for you.” Millers asked as she washed her hands.

“I crashed into her when I was skateboarding.” 

“You’re not wearing your contacts, are you?” She questioned knowingly.

“No.” I averted my eyes.

“I get the feeling that things like this happen to you a lot.” Izzie looked at me as she removed her shoe.

“He’s a very talented dancer. I know he’s capable of coordination, but somehow, he always in the middle of an accident.” The nurse informed her as she pulled on a pair of gloves.

“I am not paying attention most of the time.” 

“That better cease to be the case. I could’ve been a casualty. Friends don’t hurt each other.”

“I will do my best.”

“You may have injured her and carried her in here, but you have to wait in the lobby while I treat her.” Nurse Miller pointed to the door.

“I will wait out here for you, Izzie.” I walked out and shut the door behind me.

I went into the lobby and sat down in one of the cushioned chairs. I removed my phone from my pocket. I clicked on Ryan’s name.

“Did you get her bags to her suite?” I asked when he answered.

“Yeah, get this – she’s with Elle, Sam, and Mom. They’ll fix the damage you’ve done, at least Elle and Morgan will, anyway. Sami’s stand offish the majority of the time.” He teased.

“I don’t think she’ll harbor a grudge. She’s pretty cool.” I rubbed my eye.

“I don’t know if you could see, Your Blindness, but she’s pretty cute too.”

“Don’t mess with her.” I warned seriously.

“I took the hint earlier. Pretended not to in order to get under your skin. You into her?”

“No, I still have a girlfriend.”

“For now. You’ll be enjoying your freedom very soon.”

I rolled my eyes. “I am not using her as a rebound. Being the new kid is hard enough.”

“Up to you. Anything else?”

“I probably will not be able to make dinner with you. This has put me behind schedule.”

“Figured. Keep it short and sweet. The less backstory, the better. She’ll talk you into staying together.”  

“You think I am easily manipulated?”

He sighed heavily. “Anna’s, well, she’s highly aware of her assets and uses them to her advantage at all times, especially in times of crisis. Being dumped will be a blow to her ego, she will salvage your relationship anyway she can, just to turn around and dump you in a few weeks’ time.”

“How do you know that?”

“Her ex-best friend. I filled her in on what you were up to when I dropped off Izzie’s stuff. Elle gave me the scoop, just as she always does. The girl knows everything. It’s impressive.”

“Yeah, and she also tells it to anyone who asks. I cannot have this spreading around and risk Anna finding out like that.”

“Elle’s staying in her suite tonight. All of the girls are. They are ordering takeout. They’re going to help Iz get settled and get to know her before classes start tomorrow.”

“That is nice of them.”

“Yeah. She lucked out that they are the ones that needed a fourth.”

“I did not know what Anna had done when we started dating. None of you talked about it. I finally broke down and asked Elle this summer when she asked if we were still together.”

“Yeah, well, Sam is a private person. She wanted to move on; we did what we could to help her do that as her friends. Rehashing would’ve fueled half-pint’s anger.” 

“You did not stop her from fighting.”

“She needed to take care of business. We kept her from getting expelled. We testified on her behalf many times. Finn’s a fun witness, very difficult and sarcastic.” He mused lightly.

“You know he cannot help it. It’s like breathing to him.” I smiled.

I heard the door open. I looked over at it. “Listen, I have got to go. I think Izzie has finished with the nurse.”

“Alright. Later.” He hung up. I slid my phone into my pocket and rose to my feet. She limped out of the examination room slowly.

“What 9s the verdict?” I asked.

“It’s a minor sprain. Nurse Miller says that I should be as good as new in a few weeks.” 

“I will make this up to you. I promise. I will be your personal tour guide. I will show you around and introduce you to everyone I know. We will only be doing conditioning for the first couple of weeks.” 

“Deal. First, I need to go to the housing office to get my room key.”

“As you wish.” I extended my arms to her.

“This is your punishment. I’m not helping you by leaping.”

“I can do this.” I used one arm to scoop up her legs and the other to support her back.

She put her arms around my neck. “Thanks, Nurse Miller.” She waved on our way out.

“Thanks for fixing this for me.” I added.

She smiled. “Be careful. I don’t want both of you in here later.” She called to us.

“I will see what I can do.”

The housing office was in the main building, right next to the site of her injury. As I walked, I named each landmark. I didn’t know the backstories of most of the people the buildings were named after, but I knew they were all American legends in their respective fields. 

“I — uh — what’s your name or names?” The man at the counter asked, looking between the two of us with an eyebrow raised.

“We’re here to pick up my key. My name’s Isabella Hales. Just to be clear, we’re not a couple. This isn’t a display of affection. I met him an hour ago. He hit me with his skateboard. I won’t be able to dance for a couple of weeks. He’s carrying me around as punishment.” She explained with complete seriousness.

He looked over at me.

 “This is strictly platonic. I have a girlfriend.” 

She nodded in agreement. “I’m his seeing eye friend.” She added with a playful smile.

I breathed a laugh.

“Right. Here is your key and temporary student ID, Isabella. You’ll have a permanent one after picture day, which takes place in two weeks. Welcome to Sella Moora. Hopefully you won’t be injured again during your time here.” He eyed us suspiciously as he slid the key across the counter.

“I might have to glue his glasses to his face, but I’ll get it sorted.” She replied as picked it up.

“– Time to go to my dorm.” She looked to me.

“Thought so.” I adjusted her in my arms.

“Would you prefer to give me a piggyback ride? It would be easier.” 

“No, I am going to stick this out.”

“You’ll drop me. I’m riding on your back.” She wormed out of my arms. She handed me her bag of ice to hold before hopping onto my back. I held onto her legs to better support her.

“I get the feeling that you are stubborn.” I mused as I started walking.

“What gives you that impression?”

“You have been calling the shots since this started. You answered all my questions on your own time, and you followed your own course of action in terms of my punishment.” 

“Why should I let someone else dictate my life?”

I smiled. “Good point.”

I resumed explaining our surroundings as I walked her to her suite. I truly felt horrible for hurting her. She was nothing but nice to me from the moment we met. Anna’s suite was down the hall, which made getting there safely not an issue in the slightest.

“Why has everyone signed their name tags?” She thought aloud as we passed doors.

“Tradition. The school puts our names on the door, we autograph them the way we want. Self-expression is a big deal here. Wait until you see what people do to their uniforms.”

“We’re allowed to alter them?”

“It is encouraged. They know what is expected of the school, but they recognize that we are different. It is really neat having that sort of freedom.”

“This place just keeps getting better.”

“Well, this is your stop.” I lowered her to the ground carefully when we reached the door with her name on it.

“I’d never heard of the name Samilla before I looked at my roommate packet.” She studied the red music note with Sami’s full name typed on. It looked as though Sami had etched out “lla” with a pen and used it to sign her preferred nickname much larger.

“It means ‘Earth Mother’. I was curious and looked it up months ago. Her parents are environmentalists. If you value your life, you will never break out her full name. It is always ‘Sami’ or ‘Sam’. She is small, but feisty. Do not underestimate her.” I instructed.

She giggled. “Got it. Why does that one have glitter on it? None of the others do, not even the other acting ones.” She pointed to Elle’s gold star.

“Personal touch, I am sure. She loves to decorate.”

She nodded in understanding. She removed a pen from her purse. She went to the ballet slipper with her name on it and wrote “Izzie”. Morgan was the only one that signed the same name that was typed.

“Thanks for the lift.” She turned to me when she was done.

“Thanks for not killing me after I hit you.” I offered her the bag of ice I was holding for her.

“It’s my first day. Murder’s a bit extreme.” She took it.

“It is more of a second week sort of thing, at least that is how long I waited.” I placed my hand on my chest.

“But seriously, accidents happen. Put your contacts in and watch yourself. I might not be so nice next time.” 

“Doubt that.” I smirked.

“You don’t know me. I could be hella crazy. New environment jitters are keeping it all bottled up.” 

“I guess I will just have to wait and see.” 

“At a later time, Romeo. I’ve kept you away from Juliet long enough.” She saluted me and shifted her attention to her door.

“That is one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, not a romance–“I blurted, wanting to stall for a little longer.

She looked over at me. I took that as I sign it was acceptable for me to continue.

“Romeo and Juliet were not really in love. He was high when they met. He popped pills with Mercutio prior to the party they crashed. Her dad was going to marry her off to a guy she did not want to be with. She wanted to choose her own mate. He was trying to mend a broken heart by jumping into a new relationship. They used each other as an escape from their problems. The moral of the story is not ‘be willing to die for love’. It is ‘think before you act’.” I further explained.

“Exactly.” She locked her eyes on mine. 

“Point taken. Good luck with your roommates.” I tried my best not to smile from ear to ear.

“Thank you. Tell yours I said ‘thanks’, as well.” She waved and shifted her attention back to her door. I slid my hands into my pockets and walked away.

I knocked on the door with her name on it. Her roommate, Rose, answered the door.

“Hey, Milo. Looking for Anna?”

“Yes, is she in? I probably should have called first.”

“Yeah, she was about to head to yours. It’s a good thing you caught her.” She stepped aside, allowing me to walk in.

“Which one is hers?”

“Second one on your left.” She pointed to it.

“Thank you.” I offered her a smile.

 I walked to Anna’s door. I knocked on it.

“Come in!” She shouted in response. I opened the door.

She was checking herself out in a floor-length mirror. I couldn’t see specifics.

“Rose, what do you think? I don’t know if I want to keep this one on. The white’s sexier.” She kept her eyes on herself.

“Is that what you are going for?” I replied as I shut the door.

She looked over at me, flipping her hair over her shoulder. “I was about to surprise you.” She purred flirtatiously.

Sort of seeing her, especially with her acting as if nothing had happened, made anger bubble up inside of me. I refrained from rolling my eyes and remained silent.

She strutted over to me confidently. She slid her arms around my neck. “You’ve been working out. I don’t know if your birthday gift will fit.” She leaned up and kissed me. I kept my arms at my sides and didn’t kiss back.

 “What’s going on, baby?” She poked her bottom lip out, pouting in a baby voice as she moved my arms to her waist. She made a point to ensure my hands were on her backside.

“You did not talk to me all summer, not even on my birthday.”

“I told you I’d be busy, silly. –“She returned her arms to my neck. “Besides, I knew you’d be with your family all day. It’s not like you could’ve talked.”

“All of my friends called or texted. You could have at least acknowledged it.”

“I wanted to celebrate with you in person. I bought you a gift, a giant cupcake, and a candle. I got all dressed up. I was going to come to your suite with all of it, maybe even show you a good time if you were very appreciative. You’re sort of blowing it.” She nibbled on her bottom lip and tilted her head to the side.

I sighed heavily. “Did you really out Sami?”

She scoffed and pulled away from me. “No, who did you hear that from?” She crossed her arms, immediately getting defensive.

“Elle.”

“Why do you talk to her? She’s literally crazy and totally jealous of me. It’s pathetic.”

“She is my friend. Stop it!”

She rolled her eyes. “She used to be my best one. I know her better than you do, hon. I didn’t ‘out’ the hippie-tomboy freak. I said she had a crush on me as a joke. People laughed. How was I supposed to know some of them would confront her about it? Like the next thing I knew, she was announcing she’s bisexual in the lunch room. If anything, I helped her. She got a girlfriend out of it.” She shrugged.

“I am done with this — you.” I stated firmly.

“WHAT?! Why?! It’s not even far-fetched that she’d be into me! All the guys are and she acts like one of you!” She cried in outrage.

“I should not have to articulate how what you did was deplorable. Everything is always about you. I cannot do this anymore!” I argued.

“I did all of this for you! You can’t break up with me like this!”

“Watch me.” I stalked out of her room.

“Is everything –?” Rose walked out of her room with a started expression.

“We broke up.” I told her on my way to their front door.

“You’re nobody here, especially without me!” Anna came out of her room, shouting.

“I like it that way.” I replied calmly. I walked out feeling as though a giant weight had been removed from my chest. 

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