Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Well I think it's pretty obvious by now...

...that I'll not be finishing this story in November.
Note to self: For next WriMo, pick something action packed.
I just don't have the time or energy to bang it out, and I like quality control way, way too much to not think about what I'm writing (most of the writing for this story really sucks, IMO). I don't plan on giving up on it though! Bad or not I do want to finish it. Not sure if it's possible for me to wring 50,000 words out of the plot as it stands, but at least the story could be wrapped up. That having been said, I'm thinking about committing to one update per week.
Knowing Andrew gets updated twice a week and I can (usually) actually get that done, so I don't think that this will cause a problem.
Failure sucks, but it can be masked.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chapter Nine

Abby ran up the stairs as fast as she could considering her slightly inebriated state and barreled down the hall to their room. She frantically grabbed the doorknob and twisted only to find that it was locked. Locked. That meant that Laura was out. Oh gosh, that meant that she probably hadn't been there to tell Abby's mom anything if she had called the dorm number first.

Abby turned and ran down the hall to the bathroom and into one of the stalls, slamming the door behind her. She just made it before she began vomiting, both of her hands planted on the back of the toilet to hold herself up. She didn't think that there was anyone else in the bathroom with her, but at that point she was almost beyond caring as her entire body heaved with violent, wretching coughs. Once her stomach finally seemed to be empty Abby staggered back out of the stall and leaned on the sink for a few minutes. She turned on the cold faucet and splashed some of the cool water onto her face.

She still felt slightly queasy, and she recognized that there was a slight chance that Laura had literally just left and therefore could have still spoken with her mother, but she very much doubted that. Laura liked going out early and staying out late.

After washing her face once more and rinsing her mouth out, Abby stumbled back down to her room and fished her keys out of her purse to unlock the door. Her head still seemed a little fuzzy, but it wasn't quite as bad as it had been while walking back. She opened the door and stepped into their room, flipping on the light as she did.

Abby closed the door behind herself and then just stood there for a moment, leaning against it. A glance at the phone revealed that the little red light was dark. No messages. That was a good sign. She dropped her purse on the floor and sat down on the edge of her bed. For the moment her stomach felt better and she had calmed down significantly.

"Geez, it would have been a pretty nice evening if this hadn't happened."

"You got sick."

"Yeah, but I don't think that was from the drinking. I think it was all of this crap."

Abby leaned back on her bed and closed her eyes, her legs still dangling over the side.

"I need to either not care that they find out about this kind of thing, or make it so they will never find out, because I can't do this again. I just can't handle it. Too much stress for me. I just wanted to have a good time tonight. I just wanted to hang out with Nick for a while and let him know that I'm not a complete dork."

"And you managed to do that I think."

"Yeah but I had to leave early, and it was going so well."

"Yeah well, maybe you'll get invited to another party some other time."

"Maybe. I hope so. I was really, really, really, friggin' nervous but I did have some fun."

It wasn't terribly long before Abby's lingering concern was overwhelmed by drowsiness and she fell asleep still fully clothed and on top of her covers. Her sleep was deep, but not without dreams, and certainly not pleasant ones.


The next morning Abby was startled awake by the blaring tone of her alarm. For a moment she couldn't remember where she was. When that passed a fresh wave of confusion rushed over her as she thought that it must be a weekday since her alarm was going off. Finally she connected with reality enough to realize that she must have forgotten to turn off her alarm for the weekend yesterday. A loud groan from the top bunk told her that Laura must have come home at some point during the night.

Abby slapped the top of her alarm clock and tried to sit up in bed. A throbbing pain stabbed through her head and she collapsed back down, clutching her forehead.

"What the hell! Geez, I must have a hangover. What the hell? I only had two drinks."

Abby sat up again, only this time a lot slower. She heard Laura turn over in the top bunk and she suddenly remembered all of the events of last night.

"Laura," she said aloud. Laura groaned. "Laura, did my mom call here last night?"


"Did my mom call here last night?"


"Oh, good, thank you."

"Sure thing, now leave me alone so I can sleep."

"Ok, I'm sorry."

Checking one more time to make sure that her alarm clock was actually turned off this time and wouldn't sound again, further irritating her roommate, Abby rose from the bed and moved to her closet. She had a crick in her neck from sleeping with her head at a weird angle and her mouth felt a little cottony. With dismay she pulled the top that she'd borrowed from Cathy over her head and held it up in the faint light that filtered through their blind to inspect it. The shirt seemed to be wrinkled but un-harmed.

Abby hung the top in her closet. She would wash and iron it later, for now she just put it away. After taking off her shoes and pants, Abby slipped into her bathrobe and grabbed her shower stuff. Now she could remember everything that had happened the night before and she she also remembered that her parents were going to be there around noon to take her to lunch. Right now her priority was definitely to not appear as if she'd gotten drunk last night to her mom and dad.

A shower, mouthwash, and some breakfast were in order and after that she needed to clean up her side of the room and then mess it up just enough to make it look like she'd spent the night studying. Shouldn't be a problem.


After her shower Abby felt a lot better than she expected she would. After a quick change of clothes, executed in the dark in order to not bother Laura again, Abby took her wallet and keys and left to get something for breakfast. She still didn't really feel hungry at all, but at least she wasn't still nauseous, and she figured that having something in her stomach might actually help.

As Abby sat eating some scrambled eggs and toast with strawberry jam she thought about Nick and wondered if he was cool with her leaving so suddenly last night. He seemed fine with it at the time.

"He did put his arm around me for quite a while when we were on the porch, and he held my hand for a little while as well. That's a pretty sure sign that he likes me I think. Maybe he'll invite me to a different party if his roommates and him do that kind of thing very often."

"You have to remember about all of this happening though and make sure that it doesn't happen again."

"Well I don't expect that Mom will be trying to call me every single Friday evening. If she did then I think I'd have to be honest with her and just let her know that I'm out with some friends and can't talk."

"Oh yeah, you think you'll tell her that, do you?"

"Well... Maybe not in those words exactly."

"What words do you think you will use then?"

"Oh hell, I don't know. It doesn't matter, I don't have to worry about that right now. I just need to worry about my school right now and making sure that I don't let anything slip about last night. Mom wouldn't be all that pleased with hearing about that over lunch I don't think."



Mom and Dad should be here any time now. I've cleaned up some and Laura got up and went to lunch with some of her friends. Haven't heard from Nick, but I don't know what I expected. I mean, it's not like he's going to call me or something. He doesn't even have my number. Of course my number is on Facebook, and he is my friend on Facebook, so if he really wanted it he could get my number. I guess it would seem a little stalkerish if he just randomly called me up though.

A little bit ago some girl from down the hall came by and was asking if I wanted to go to lunch. I've like, seen her in the bathroom but I have no idea who she is. I don't know, maybe I should be more open, but it seemed a little bit weird that she just decided that she would ask someone who she's never spoken to before to go to lunch with her. Is it just me or is that weird? Anyway, I told her that my parents were coming to see me, so I couldn't go with her. I guess if she asks again I will go with her. I have no reason not to, except for the fact that it was a little strange. I guess she was just trying to be friendly though, I can't hold that against her.

I suppose that if I'm going to be going out a little now and then I should probably think about getting some new clothes that are a bit more appropriate for that type of thing. I thought that I fit in pretty well last night, but I can't keep borrowing clothes from Cathy. Of course, I could really be getting ahead of myself here. I don't know that I'll be going to any more parties. I mean, I hope I will be, but it's not a guarantee. So if I go shopping maybe just get one or two things for now.

Oh, Mom just called; she and Dad are just getting into West Lafayette and they're going to pick me up downstairs. This is the first time I will have been off campus since I moved here. That was like a month ago. Man I really hate not having a car around, even if it's just one that I borrow from my parents. Anyway, gotta go.


Word count: 1,721
Total word count: 15,185

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chapter Eight

After a while just hanging out, and having very slowly finished her first drink and gotten started on the second thanks to Nick, Abby felt comfortable enough to actually move around the party a little. She was still not brave enough to jump right in and start talking to people, but she was able to grab a seat in the living room to join the small group of people watching someone else play a video game. Just about all of them were loudly giving tips and instructions, probably to the detriment to the players. After a while, Abby even got drawn into it, and when the players rotated and she was asked if she wanted a turn, she hesitated for a moment, and then went for it.

"Why the hell not?"

It briefly occurred to her that she might do horribly, but she pushed the thought out of her mind. It didn't matter. None of these people cared. They were there to have a good time, to to scrutinize her and her video game playing skills.

After a while Nick came by the group in the living room. He leaned over to speak to her over the music and loud conversation.

"Hey Abby, how's it going? Having fun?" Abby smiled up at him and nodded.

"I am having a good time."

"Good. I'm glad to hear it. Do you want to come out on the porch with me?" Abby felt herself blush a little.

"I think he does like me!"

"Sure, let's go." Nick smiled and took her hand to help her off the couch. He lead her back through the hallway and through the kitchen to the back door. Outside half a dozen people sat around on lawn chairs on the dark, enclosed porch. At least a couple of them were smoking and all of them seemed to have something to drink.

The night was warm, but not unbearably so and it was nice to get out of the noise for a little while. Nick sat down on a bench against the house wall and pulled Abby down next to him.

"What's up guys?" he said to the people on the porch.

"Hey Nick, how's it going? Who's this?"

"This is Abby. We have a class together."


For a while Abby just sat quietly beside Nick listening to him talk with his friends about random stuff. She felt warm all over and she realized that her thought processes seemed fuzzy and almost a little bit sluggish. She recognized it as probably being due to what she was drinking, but the smoke on the porch was also a little bit heavy and she wondered what it was exactly that Nick's friends were smoking. Soon she had a chance to find out.

The guy that was sitting a couple of feet from Nick lit up what looked like a fresh joint. He took a long drag and then offered it to Nick. Nick accepted the joint and took a couple of quick puffs before holding it out to Abby with a raised eyebrow.

"Oh shit. Don't take it. No, just take it. No, don't. Just act like you did it. Don't. You'll look lame. Can't."

"Um, no thanks. I'm...good for right now."

"Ok." Nick passed the joint back to his friend and took a drink of his beer. He draped his other arm around Abby's shoulders. For a moment she sat stiff, secretly delighted, but not sure exactly what to do next. Finally she took a sip of her drink and then leaned against him a little. She had begun to feel drowsy and sitting there quietly with Nick's arm around her really felt very good.

Eventually Nick decided that he wanted to go back inside and Abby went with him, leaving the smokers on the porch. Indoors the air was significantly clearer, but the noise level hadn't decreased at all and it seemed even louder after the relative quiet of the few people on the porch. Suddenly under the music Abby heard a faint tune playing during the half beat moments when the music lulled slightly and realized that it was her cell's ringtone. She pulled it out and experienced a brief moment of panic when she saw that it was her mom calling her. She wound her way as quickly as she could to the front door and ran out onto the grass to get away from the noise.


"Hi sweetie, how are you?"

"Oh hi Mom, I'm fine, how are you?"

"We're good. I won't keep you, I know you said you have a lot to do tonight. I just wanted to let you know that if it's still ok with you, your dad and I will be coming up to see you tomorrow."

"Yeah, yeah that's fine. What time do you think you'll be here?" asked Abby, trying her hardest to sound casual.

"Oh I don't know. Probably around noon or so. We could go to lunch together."

"Alright, sounds good. Guess I'll see you then."

"Excellent. You have a good night sweetie. What's all that noise anyway?"


"Oh that's just Laura watching TV."

"Oh, ok, well we'll see you later then. Love you."

"Love you too, Mom. Have a good night."

"Alright, bye."

Abby closed her phone and gave a sigh of relief. For a moment when the phone had rang she had, albeit illogically, thought that somehow her parents had found out about her going to the party.

"Oh gosh, what if they had decided to go ahead and come up tonight?"

For a moment Abby stood on the lawn and calmed her breathing. Suddenly another scary thought elbowed its way into Abby's mind. What if her mother had tried to call the dorm room first and no one had answered? What if she had called the room and Laura had told her that Abby wasn't there? Abby suddenly very much regretted blaming the noise on her roommate watching TV. Why the heck hadn't she thought to say something more vague? Oh gosh, oh no.

Abby's stomach was immediately sick again. She'd been found out, she just knew it. Her limbs felt heavy and she finally realized that she was drunk as the contents in her stomach roiled. For a moment she thought that she was going to throw up. She swallowed repeatedly and moved to the front steps to sit down. She leaned over and put her face in her hands.

"Oh gosh, they're going to kill me." By this point Abby was positive that her mom must have called her dorm room first and had probably spoke to Laura.

"Maybe she didn't call the dorm. Maybe Laura wasn't there even if she did. She usually does go out on Fridays. Just about always." She had to get back. She had to find out if Laura had spoken to her mother.

"Please, please, please..." Abby stood up and opened the door to the house. Nick was on the couch talking and laughing with a small group of people. Abby walked over and bent down to speak to him.

"Hey Nick, listen, I need to get going. Um, something came up."

"Yeah? Well I'm sorry to hear that. Hope you had fun," Nick smiled up at her.

"I did, I really did. Thanks a lot for inviting me. It was great hanging out with you."

"Sure thing. You going to be able to make it home ok?" asked Nick. Abby nodded.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. I'll be fine. Anyway, have a good night. I guess I'll see you in class."

"Yep, talk to you later," said Nick.

Abby slipped back out by the front door and began making her way back towards campus. The apartment building lined streets had long since grown dark and she walked quickly. She could clearly hear parties going on in several of the houses that she passed and for some odd reason she felt very vulnerable.

"You're fine, just get back to Windsor. You're fine. What do you think? Someone's going to rape you right on the street here?"

Her stomach still felt sick and her knees slightly weak. She couldn't stop thinking about what she might or might not find out once she got back to her dorm room.

"Come on now Abby, even if Mom and Dad did find out that you went to a party, what are you afraid of? What are they going to do? Ground you? You're in college now."

"I'm not afraid, I just...I don't want them to be disappointed. I guess I was a little bit stupid to go to this alone. I mean, nothing happened, but I suppose it could have."

"Well it didn't, so nothing to worry about. Lesson learned. If it's that big a deal then just don't do it again. Simple as that."

"Gosh, I hope they don't yell at me."

As she crossed State St, Abby very nearly stepped right into a car. The guy in the driver's seat, another student from the looks of it, yelled at her out of the open window.

"Watch where you're going you moron!"

Abby felt a flush rush up her neck and burn on her cheeks and she walked faster.

"Get it together Abby."

She cut between the buildings on campus and passed Beering and the parking garage on University Street. Ahead of her a group of about a dozen people had just crossed the street from Beering and were singing the theme song to "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" a cappella. The funny thing was, none of them appeared to be drunk.

At that moment Abby very much wished that she hadn't drank anything that night herself. She quickened her stride once more, determined not to debase herself so much as to start throwing up on the sidewalk. Oh gosh, did she wish that she had told Laura not to tell her parents where she was.

"I didn't know that this would happen. I couldn't have known. And besides it's not like I would ask Laura to lie for me anyway. There's no way on Earth. I don't want her to think that my parents still babysit me or something."


Word count: 1,705
Total word count: 13,464

Chapter Seven

Abby stood in front of the mirror in the bathroom for a good forty-five minutes just working on her bangs. They were suddenly too long where only a moment before they had seemed too short. She tried putting it up in a half dozen ways and rejected them all out of hand. She finally settled begrudgingly for leaving it down. She brushed her teeth one more time and then ran back to their room.

While she had been in the bathroom Laura had come back from dinner and was sitting on her bed, flipping through a magazine.

"Frick, awkward changing time," thought Abby. It was one thing to slip into PJs simultaneously, both of them facing different directions, if was a whole new level of discomfort to change clothes in the middle of the evening with Laura sitting there watching. Abby decided that she just couldn't do it.

"Oh for crying out loud, just change! Laura doesn't give a damn about what you do in front of her." Abby swallowed hard and pulled out the pair of black pants that she had decided on. She quickly slipped out of her jeans, silently blessing herself for the fact that she'd already changed into the underwear that she'd planned on wearing that night. She didn't look over at Laura because whether or not her roommate was watching her, she didn't want to look like she was embarrassed about it. Switching between her t-shirt and her borrowed top was relatively painless.

Abby stood in front of the mirror on the back of their door, and looked herself over. She ran her fingers through her hair to put it back where it was supposed to be and straightened her shirt. Not too bad. Not too bad at all actually. She turned and looked over her shoulder at her back and then crossed the room to fetch her jewelry box.

The thing was light wood with pink flowers painted on the lid and a pink faux velvet lining. On the front of each little drawer there was a tiny knob decorated with an even tinier rose bud. She'd had the box for almost as long as she could remember. It had been a Christmas gift from her grandparents when she was a little girl. As juvenile as it looked, Abby still liked it. But she didn't know if Laura would understand that it had sentimental value, or if she would think that it looked stupid.

"Screw Laura. It's my jewelry box."

After much deliberation Abby decided on a silver necklace with a crystal pendant and a pair of dangly silver threader earrings with tiny feathers hanging from the ends of them. She looked herself over in the mirror and finally added a couple of silver bangles as well. There, that looked going outish.

"At least, I think it does."

Abby turned around to find Laura studying her.

"Going somewhere, Abby?" she asked.


"Uh yeah, I'm going to a party actually."


"Yeah, some guy I know invited me."

"Well have fun."

"I'm sure I will, he's pretty cool."



"Ok Abby, you should shut up now," she thought to herself. "Looking less cool by the second here."

Abby turned back to the mirror to check her make up one more time. She glanced at the clock. She still had a good 20 minutes before she was supposed to leave. She sat down at her computer under the pretense of checking her email or something. Her stomach had suddenly begun to feel very sick.

"Why the heck are you so nervous about this?"

"I don't know! Does it matter?"

"Yes! Maybe it's a bad sign; maybe you should listen."

"No, I'm just a little jumpy because it's my first party. I'll be fine!"

Unable to force herself to kill any more time, Abby jumped up and grabbed her purse. She would walk slowly, or take a turn around the block if she had to, but she couldn't just sit here anymore doing nothing.

"I'm going now, see you later."

"Ok, have fun," Laura murmured, turning a page of her magazine.

"Thanks, have a good night."


As Abby walked East and South towards Harrison Street she tried to calm her nerves with deep breaths.

"Maybe I should call Mom after all. Someone should know where I am in case something were to happen."

"No, Cath knows, and besides, you have your cell phone. And nothing is going to happen anyway! You're just going to hang out with Nick for a while, meet a few people and then go home again. Simple as that."

When she finally reached the address that Nick had told her to go to she stood out on the sidewalk for a few moments looking at the townhouse. It was a bit further of a walk than she had estimated from the Google map she had looked at. She could hear music coming from the open windows and light spilled out onto the brief lawn like welcome mats. She swallowed several times to try and calm her stomach and then steeled her nerve and strode up to the door and knocked. It was a stranger who opened it, after a very long and uncomfortable wait.

"Um, hi there. Is Nick here?" The guy looked her up and down and then nodded. He waved her through the door with his beer bottle.

"Yeah, come on in."

Abby stepped though the doorway and paused to look around. The place struck her as a very stereotypical college student apartment. Seriously mismatched and conspicuously stained furniture was grouped around a large television that had several gaming platforms spilling from it, causing the entertainment center to look like some sort of huge, disemboweled beast. At least a dozen people were packed into the smallish living room and Abby could see more through a passage that presumably lead to the other rooms in the house.

She quickly swept the faces in the room looking for Nick and didn't find him. She turned back to ask the guy that had let her in where Nick was, but he'd already drifted off and joined a small group of people talking by the stairs. Abby decided that rather than approach any more of the strange people in this strange house, she would just take a look around and see if she could find him herself. She threaded her way through the shouting people all the while wondering why they didn't just turn the music down if they wanted to talk.

When she got to the kitchen she literally bumped into Nick who was just coming around the corner.

"Abby! Hey, glad you could make it! Find the place alright?"

"Yeah, yeah it was fine. Thanks for inviting me, I appreciate it."

"Of course I'd invite you! Now what can I get you to drink? We have beer and Smirnoff and some Mike's hard cider, and I think we've got some rum if that's your thing."

"Oh um..."


"Just something light I guess..."

"Haha, light? How about we start you off on some Smirnoff or a Blue Moon?"

"Um, ok."

Nick opened the refrigerator and handed Abby a cold bottle of something clear, twisting off the metal cap for her and tossing it on the counter. Abby noticed that it was already strewn with quite a few others.


"You've had Smirnoff before right?" For a moment Abby panicked. If she said yes and she hated it, what would she do? But if she said no... Well she'd look really lame. She decided to go for that. She forced a little laugh.

"Um, no actually, I haven't." She smiled apologetically. Rather than kick her out of the party immediately, Nick just laughed. He leaned back on the counter and folded his arms.

"Well take a drink!"

Hesitantly Abby did as she was told. Tipping the bottle up she let the liquid flow past her lips. At first the ice cold drink burned in her throat and all the way down into her chest, but then the burn seemed to diffuse and dissolve into a pleasant warmth that pooled in her stomach. For some reason she had expected that it would taste like beer, but it didn't at all.

"Well of course not; that was stupid. Not all alcohol tastes the same."

She took another sip. It really didn't taste too bad; tasted kind of like strawberry in fact. A glance at the label revealed that it was indeed "Mixed Berry" flavored.

"What do you think?" asked Nick.

"It's pretty good," said Abby, slightly embarrassed at how surprised her voice sounded. Nick laughed again.

"Well I'm glad you like it. Help yourself to any other drinks that you want. I think there's some chips and stuff going around if you're hungry."

"Thanks, I'm ok for now."


For a moment they stood silently looking at each other. Finally Nick spoke up.

"So, Abby, tell me something fun about yourself."

"Oh, something fun, well geez... Um, well, when I was 12 I busted out two of my teeth on our mail box. So I'm 18 and already have two false teeth."

"Really? That's what you choose to tell him? That's really sexy, Abs. Way to go."

Nick burst out laughing.

"Really? How the hell did you lose two teeth on a mail box?"

"Oh, I guess he did find it entertaining."

"Well we were riding bikes on the sidewalk and this little kid that lived next to us threw this big stick right in front of my tire. I probably could have ridden over it in hind sight, but I was going fast and I swerved without really thinking and just rammed right into the mail box post. The bike stopped but I didn't. I just flipped over the handle bars and smacked my mouth right into the box."

Nick grimaced through his chuckling.

"Well at least you got a good story out of it."

"Yeah, I guess there's that." Abby took another drink of her Smirnoff and smiled at Nick. She didn't know why she'd been so worried; she was really feeling very comfortable around Nick.

"This could be a lot of fun after all."


Word count: 1,704
Total word count: 11,759


I've fallen behind. I like Knowing Andrew better. I want to go back to Knowing Andrew.

Monday, November 10, 2008

In the words of Chris Baty...

"Enthusiasm dwindles, fatigue rises, and we begin squinting at our manuscripts, thinking, "This derivative pile of crap is my literary statement to the world?""

Chapter Six

"What are you doing this weekend Abs?"

"Oh, nothing much I guess. You know, same ol'."

"Yeah? Well me and your mom were thinking about maybe making the drive up to visit with you for a little while. Take you for a nice dinner on Friday, maybe stay the night in town there and you can show us around the campus."

"Oh well... I do have a lot of homework to do and I'm usually pretty tired on Friday evenings after classes and everything. Um, maybe you could come Saturday night or Sunday? Or maybe next week?"

"Well ok, if you don't want us there, we won't force ourselves on you."

"No, Daddy, it's not that I don't want to see you. I do. Definitely. Friday just isn't the perfect time.



So, my speech was today, and now it's over so I can get on with repressing it as soon as possible. I will say this: It was not my worst nightmare. Worst case scenario was that I'd stand up in front on the class, shaking like a leaf; completely loose my voice (so silently shaking like a leaf for those of you playing along at home), and then I'd pee my pants. That did not happen. I did not pee my pants.

I don't know what kind of grade a teacher can give for someone standing up and giving a speech consisting of nearly constant "Umm"s, but I'm betting it's not an A. Of course, the other people in the class are not exactly stellar orators yet either, so it's possible that next to the competition I didn't look completely horrible. Just mostly horrible. At least I didn't come right out and say "I'm so nervous." That's a dead give away if there ever was one.

And guess what! I get to give another one in another three weeks! I know, exciting right? I hate this stupid class. Speaking of stupid classes, for this engineering seminar thing we each have to pick a buddy who "doesn't look like you" (talk about really promoting not being stereotypical) and we have to go to some sort of diversity thing with them. They don't seem to really care what, just something. And we're going to each write a paper about how that person has a different view from us. Really? Really? What are we, middle schoolers?

Yeah, I know racism and bias are still a big problem in the world, but they couldn't think for a minute that going to some question and answer session with "someone who doesn't look like you" is really going to change all your dearly held beliefs on the subject if you do happen to be racist or sexist or whatever.


"Why don't you want to see me and your father, Abby?"

"I didn't say I didn't want to see you guys, mom."

"Are you embarrassed for us to visit you up there?"

"No! I didn't say that I didn't want to see you."

"Then what's the problem?"

"I told Dad, I have a lot of homework and stuff this weekend. It's nothing personal."

"Alright honey, if you say so."

"Mom, you don't believe me, I can tell."

"No, I just wondered why you didn't want to see us."


"I know."

"I have a calculus exam next week, and I'm just...busy."

"It's alright, Abby. Maybe we'll come Saturday or Sunday."

"That would work better. I really would like to see you guys. I mean it Mom."

"Ok sweetie. I just wanted to make sure that everything was alright. I won't make this into something that it's not."


Abby lay awake in her bed, unable to fall asleep for several reasons. Trepidation, guilt, nervousness, excitement. If she were to be honest with herself though, it was mostly guilt. She couldn't help feeling that she must have really hurt her parents with her rebuff, not to mention the fact that she had lied through her teeth to both of them. What if they found out? She really did want to see them, but she wanted to go to Nick's party too, and she was quite sure that she couldn't have both.

Tomorrow night at this same time she would be at that party. Her stomach twisted uncomfortably. She was excited, very much so, but she was also almost as nervous about this as she had been about her speech that day.

"That's ridiculous," she thought to herself. "I'm going to do this for fun; there's no reason to be nervous about it. If I didn't want to go then I wouldn't go."

Her stomach persisted in its protest, despite her best efforts at taming it with logic. She really did hate to meet a bunch of new people, and it was so uncomfortable to be in a group that you really didn't know at all. Specifically college students who might be doing all kinds of things.

She thought briefly that maybe she should ask Nick tomorrow what kind of party it was going to be exactly but realized that she probably couldn't come up with a better way to appear lame if she tried. She didn't really know how else she could find out what exactly this party would entail without looking like a complete dork.

"Oh well, it doesn't matter. I'm going." Again she felt slightly ill as she was reminded of how she had lied to her mom.

"I'm not doing anything really stupid!"

"Then why wouldn't you tell Mom and Dad?"

"Because they would worry."

"Because this is stupid."

"No, they just worry a lot. I'll be careful. It will be just fine."

"If you say so."

"I do."

Abby rolled over onto her stomach and pulled her blanket up over her head.

"Just shut up about it already, I'm going and that is the end of it."

"Fine, I just don't want you to have to live with regrets."

"I'm not going to; it's just a party!"

"That's what they all say."

"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"

"You do realize that if anyone could hear your thought process they'd think you were insane."

"Yeah, so what?"

"Just wanted to make sure you were aware."

"Thanks, thanks a lot."


"Hey Nick."

"Oh, hey there Abby. How's it going?"

"Pretty good. I gave my speech yesterday."

"Oh yeah? How did that go?"

"Alright I guess. I don't really like public speaking," said Abby with a nonchalant shrug.

"Yeah well, who does? Anyway, you going to come to the party?"

"Yeah, of course! I can't wait."

"Liar," whispered her mind.

As the class began, Abby fell to aimlessly doodling in her notebook, only paying the barest amount of attention to the short lecture. The fun part was yet to come: doing the 3-D sketches in the lab notebook. Behind her she could hear a girl attempting to have a whispered conversation with the guy next to her and completely failing at it.

She was going on and on about how she was going to get smashed that weekend, and the guy was laughing like the great big doofus he was. It really wasn't even a laugh. Calling it a chuckle insinuated that it was slightly manly. A giggle perhaps, or more appropriately, a series of stupid guffaws.

"Really people? You've really got nothing better to do with your lives?"

"Last week my friend John came back from Harry's and ended up puking all over our room. I don't even know how he found his way back, he was so friggin' drunk!"

"Ah dude! What did you do?"

"Nothing! What could I do? Hold back his hair? I just tried to keep him on his side of the room!"

At that point the girl who had started the fun discussion broke down into a fit of snorting snickers and even though they were at least a dozen rows back the professor paused right in the middle of a sentence and looked up at them. The girl managed, surprisingly, to pull herself together almost immediately, and after a long moment the professor continued, but not before giving the pair a stern look. As soon as he turned away from them again Abby heard them both break down into giggles, but fortunately for them, they managed to keep it quiet enough that the professor either didn't hear them or didn't feel it important enough to spare them another glance.

Mercifully after that they were for the most part quiet, and soon thereafter the sketching started and at that point there was a fairly constant murmur between people, so if they did begin talking again, Abby was able to tune it out.



Well classes are over for today and I've showered and had a little bit of dinner and killed just about all the time that I can, but it's still a while until the party. I guess I should probably spend some more time preparing for that calculus exam, but I don't think that I'd probably be able to concentrate on it at all right now.

I haven't changed into the clothes I'm going to wear yet because I know if I did that I would get them all wrinkly and probably manage to spill something on myself too. I'm talented like that. What can I say? Everyone has their little niche in life.

I just realized that I never told Laura that I'm going out tonight too. I think that by this point she thinks that I don't have any life and just stay here and study all night while she's out partying or something. Isn't she going to be surprised. I don't think I'll say anything. I'll just get dressed and put on my make up and stuff and wait for her to ask me what I'm doing tonight.

Upon contemplation I'm not really sure what that will accomplish, but I don't care. I wonder if everybody has this much trouble with their roommate? Is this normal? It's not like we outright fight all the time or anything, but we don't exactly get along. We more just barely live with each other really. Toleration is the watermark that we shoot for, not friendship.

So healthy. Just so great. The kind of relationship that will endure the tests of time and last for the rest of our lives.

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