The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Twenty

Before I knew it, my holiday break was over and it was time to get on a plane and head back to campus. As much as I loved my time spent with family, I was extremely excited to see Dani back at our dorm since she was spending the holiday break with her boyfriend, Saul, and his family. Guess things were also moving along well for her with her relationship and I couldn’t wait to hear all about it. I half-expected for her to be off with Saul at his place, but Dani was actually in our room seated on her bed with a pillow in her lap.

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“My sista!” I exclaimed and threw down my bag. “I’ve missed you! Tell me everything! You’ve been radio silent this entire time!”

Which was odd, by the way.

It wasn’t till I got closer to her that I noticed how swollen her eyes were. I immediately dropped my playful demeanor and rushed to her side. If there was anything that set me into full Mama-Bear mode it was knowing something was wrong with my friends.

Dani only looked down and mumbled incoherently. Her speech soon became riddled with her heavy sobs.

My arm quickly found its way to her back, so I could soothe her any way I could.

“Hey,” I whispered, “what’s going on? Was your trip no good?”

Dani snorted and looked up. “Alma, there was no trip.”

“Where were you then?” Heck, she could have come spend the break with my family.

“Visited family…”

“Well that’s good, but weren’t you supposed to go see—”

“Nope. Not once I found out he was fucking some freshman.”

“Woah, what. Hold on. WHAT?”

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Dani took her time explaining since she had to take breaks to sniffle and apologize (no matter how many times I told her it was necessary). She never caught him in the act. She never noticed anything pop up on his phone. Nothing. There was nothing that would be stereotypically assumed of a cheater. Saul actually approached her and said it to her face. The nerve!

She wiped her eyes and sighed. “He told me that he was seeing someone else and that he cared about her. He’d rather introduce her to his family than me. I mean,” She winced as the words were forming. “Is there something so wrong with me that he doesn’t even want to consider introducing me to his family? Why did he suggest it? Why did he invite me before?”

I placed my arm around her and pulled her in close before she started wheezing as her questions quickened. One followed the other till she was crying again. It was hard to see her like this, because Dani always carried herself in such a way that made her seem impenetrable.

We were only human.

For a while I didn’t say anything. I just hugged her and listened because I could tell she needed to talk. Sometimes it was incoherent, but it was her expression and I was going to be there for as long as she wanted me to be there. After a while she stopped sniffling and sighed slowly.

“Do you think there’s something wrong with me?” She asked quietly.

“Absolutely not,” I replied. “You’re a kind and courageous woman. You rock colored hair like it’s nobodies business and you’re someone your siblings look up to. You’re amazing. Things didn’t work out with Saul because—” I paused. “His head is so far up his ass he can’t see what a mistake he made. That only means that he’s not the guy for you, and that’s okay, because that means you’re going through the duds till you find that right person who treats you the way you deserve to be treated.”

She did her best to smile. “You mean like a ‘Sabin’?”

I shrugged. “Could be like a Sabin. You know, speaking of which, we were going to have a movie night. I figured you’d be out tonight, but why don’t you join us?”

Dani’s eyebrows raised. “Um, you sure? Aren’t you two going to get all naughty and stuff?”

I fought the blush and shook my head. Sabin and I hadn’t actually been quite that physical yet, but I wasn’t going to get into that.

“No,” I smirked. “Just movies and junk food. I have a lot of comedies lined up and B-Horror movies…”

“Mmm, I guess I don’t see why not,” Dani smiled. “Thanks, Alma.”

“What are sisters for?” I grinned.

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As much as I wanted to be by her side every second that day, I knew she needed her space as well. I used that time to catch up with what was going on around campus. The snow was light this year, so the ultimate Frisbee team was still going at it when they weren’t trying to have “epic” snowball fights. In the quad, there were always activists handing out flyers about the next events they were going to host. They were passionate and very free-spirited. It was awesome to see them participating in important events and speaking about circumstances that would affect many people.

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While I walked around campus, I took in all the sights of everyone returning to their routines, so naturally, I returned to mine. Like an instinct, I walked down the winding paths to my safe haven, the best place to get a damn good cup of coffee.

“Didn’t take you too long to stop by,” the barista laughed once I approached the counter. “Same thing?”

I nodded. “You can’t go wrong with the usual.”

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The conversations I had with the barista were always excellent. I never left without having a good laugh with them, even more so on that day when I was startled at the feel of a hand on my shoulder. Luckily I didn’t have a drink in my hand, otherwise it would have gone flying.

“Boo?” Sabin cackled. “Oh, you’re very jumpy before you have your coffee.”

“I thought you’d know that by now,” I smirked before reaching on the tips of my toes to give him a quick peck on the cheek. “When did you get in?”

“Late last night,” he replied. “Still on or movie night? I picked up the movies.”

Since I spent the majority of the morning with Dani, I failed to let Sabin know what happened, so once I got my drink, we moved to sit at a table. After I explained the situation, I watched Sabin’s expression soften. I didn’t know why I expected him to not be on board with the idea of having Dani with us. It was Sabin after all. The moment I introduced him to my friends, he was extremely friendly. He was a great person all around and it didn’t matter if he knew the person for years or if it was someone who he had just met. He treated everyone with equal respect. For a moment we sat in silence until I had a light bulb moment.

“What’s up?”

“Why don’t you invite Otto to join us?”

Sabin smirked and nodded. “Sure. I don’t think he has any plans tonight, so I’ll ask him.”

Now, I wasn’t trying to set anything up. I simply wanted good company for a movie night, but I guess I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t hoping for some sort of spark. Otto was one of the nicest people I had ever met. He was with Sabin for a long time. They had gone through a lot together, so it certainly said something special about him. I loved Dani like a sister, so I only wanted her to be happy. At least if Otto was there for our movie night, it wouldn’t seem so much like her being a third wheel.

Who knew, maybe the move night would prove to be the right distraction for Dani. If she ended up having a great time and making a new friend in the process, then how could any of that go wrong?

All I ever wanted was to know my friends were happy and if there was anything that I could do, then well…

I would do it.

[Author’s Note: To my readers in the good ‘ol USA: Happy Independence Day 🙂 ]

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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eighteen: Part Two

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We ended up at a small café not far from home. Sabin would be coming early the next day, so I didn’t have much time left for preparations. By that I meant: getting my family ready to meet him without asking unnecessary questions that could make Sabin’s stay unpleasant.

You know, nothing too crazy.

My younger siblings were becoming old enough to know when to suppress some questions that wouldn’t be appropriate, so they weren’t the ones I had to worry about. My main issues were with trying to figure out how my Dad would react. Mom let me spread my wings, but my Dad was something else. Not that he kept me from doing what I wanted, but he was looking out for me, or so he said. Especially when it came to people I was interested in.

Dad looked at me from across the table. We had gotten through the entire meal without actually having mentioned anything about Sabin. While he waited, I took my time to make sure that the food I consumed would stay down.

“You’re awfully quiet,” he mentioned.

“I know…”

“Know what? That you want to tell me something about your boyfriend?”

I stopped and leaned back in my seat. “Well, yeah, I guess. How’d you know? Did Mom tell you?”

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He shook his head. “It’s his first time coming here, so I figured you’d be giving me some information so I don’t blow a fuse.”

Funny how right he was.

“I already talked to Mom, because I really needed her to listen. You, though,” I paused, “Sabin isn’t like you or grandpa, or anyone else, really.”

Dad chuckled, “I’d say that’s pretty good news to me.”

I managed a weak smile. “Sure, I guess I could say that as well.”

There was no other way of doing it than to really jump into the fact that Sabin had PTSD, and he was much older than me. My favorite anecdotes of my boyfriend came flooding out of my mouth to help underline that fact that he was still someone I loved very much despite what he has gone through. I spoke so quickly and excitedly that it didn’t give Dad much of a chance to even react to the initial news. Sabin was someone I cared deeply about, but I didn’t want anyone in my family to shun him. We’ve all gone through great ordeals in our time, and we all got through it.

I just needed Sabin to be treated the same way. He wasn’t broken.

He simply lived.

Finally, I stopped to catch my breath and waited.

“Dad?”

He was quiet and that was what made me nervous. He was quiet for too long. If I knew my father, then he would have been making a scene about two minutes ago.

Still, nothing.

He finally exhaled sharply. It was painful to hear, but I prepared myself for whatever backlash I would get. Funny—backlash for loving someone.

“I see why you wanted to tell me in public,” he began. His hands were balled up into fists to the point I could see his knuckles turn white. “Wow,” he breathed again, “this is a lot for anyone to stomach. This man is how much older than you?”

“Almost 11 years.”

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“That doesn’t bother you?”

“No, it doesn’t.”

Dad leaned back in his seat and looked at me. His eyes moved slowly, studying each line of my face, as if trying to find a trace of uncertainty somehow hidden in my expression. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t find any of that. All that he would find was his daughter asking to give her relationship a chance.

“You and Mom are a few years apart, and look what that brought you!” My exclamations somehow struck a chord with him.

“Yes, we are, but neither of us have PTSD,” he sighed. “Look, I’m not saying that he’s an awful person, because I can’t say that. I don’t know the guy. I’m simply a father trying to protect his daughter from the world. It’s what parents do.”

I bowed my head because he was right. There was no reason to be upset over that, because he was a good parent looking out for his child. Out of the corner of my eye, I looked over to see if anyone was staring. Even if we weren’t yelling, anyone could hear what we were talking to. Would they also think I was crazy for fighting for my relationship with Sabin? I hoped not, because I needed someone on my side. I needed someone to understand.

“Are you listening?” Dad asked.

“Yes.”

“I don’t mean to sound like I’m scolding you, Alma. I just hope you understand what this is you’re getting yourself into. The man has his own battles to face, and regardless if he’s trying to or not—you will end up mixing into it all. That’s a lot to handle. Getting involved with someone from a broken home is one thing, but doing the same thing with someone who is suffering mentally after a traumatic experience?” He shook his head. “Have you thought this through?”

Even as he warned me I could still feel the warmth of my father. My heart was already heavy from worrying like a nut over all this, so I simply nodded. Yes, I had thought it through. Yes, I made numerous lists. Yes, I considered not seeing him anymore, but in those times that he was gone and not speaking to me, I felt like something was missing from me. It felt silly to say or even think, but I missed him terribly. Whatever he had going on in his life—I wanted to be a part of it. We were partners and I wasn’t going to step away from a chance of being a part of his life.

“Then that’s that,” Dad sighed. “We can only do so much, Alma. You know we’re only looking out for you though, right?”

“Yeah,” I responded. “So, you’ll be okay when he’ll be here for Christmas?”

Dad shrugged.

“Oh, come on!”

“Sweetpea, I will be as normal as possible, considering your mother is making mixed drinks. Her ratio of booze to mixer is killer.”

I rolled my eyes and reached out to grab his hand. “Thank you for this. I’m sure you’ll grow to really like him.”

He chuckled and squeezed my hand. “I’m sure I will.”

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eleven

Winter break for college students meant that finals were finally over and it was time to sit back, relax, and go back home to spend the month with family. I was eager to go back home since I hadn’t seen my family much since the beginning of the school year. I knew I missed a lot, because each time I would call or Skype with my mom, she would fill me in on all the different happenings in St. Claire. Now I had an opportunity to be part of these moments rather than just hearing about them through the grapevine.

My semester concluded with average grades. Well, three B’s and one A’, which to me wasn’t as well as I knew I could do. There was always next semester to really kick butt. Dani was in the same boat as I was, however her sorrow did not come from having average grades but rather knowing that she would be leaving Saul for a good month. Unless they would find a time to meet up over break, which as romantic as it sounded was close to impossible being that Saul’s family lived in Washington and we were all the way on the other side of the country.

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“I’m going to miss that big goof,” Dani sniffled in the taxi that was bringing us home from the airport.

“Aren’t you going to Skype and stuff?” I asked.

“Well,yeah, but you know that it’s not the same.”

I was going to say something about it being a good way to stay in touch over long distances and periods of time, but I knew that it wasn’t the communication that she was talking about, but rather the physical aspect of her relationship with him.

“Ah well,” I cleared my throat and gave her a pat on the back. “The Holidays will be over before ya know it. Then you’ll be able to get back to him.”

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While Dani’s mind was elsewhere, I looked out the window as the suburban area of St. Claire finally came into view. One by one, we drove by all the decorated houses. I always loved the holiday lights. All the bright colors illuminated the front lawns and even if the town was behind on getting an adequate amount of snowfall for that time of year, the feel of the holidays was apparent.

I said goodbye to Dani once we made it to my house and as the taxi drove down the street with my friend, I stopped to gaze upon my home. Bright lights were hung up along the roof and festive decorations were set out on the lawn. It had been quite some time since I saw that lawn, and it felt like it was ages since I saw those decorations. Not wasting another moment, I threw my bag over my shoulder and pulled my suitcase behind me until I got to the door.

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The door swung open and I was nearly tackled to the ground by my twin brothers. Holy smokes! Those little rascals were not so little anymore and their excitement to see me was truly appreciated.

I ruffled their hair with the palm of my hand and laughed only to end up coughing due to the cold. “I take it you missed me?”

“Yes! So much! Caius sleeps in your room all the time now! Old kitty!” Oren exclaimed while Jax huffed and puffed—trying his best to climb on top of us.

I smiled at the thought of Mom’s cat sleeping in my room. Caius had been with us for such a long time now, and even though I knew that he probably wouldn’t be around forever, it was nice that he was able to be around for everyone through all the years. We didn’t know how that cat was still going so strong, but who knew, maybe we had a super strong cat.

Unfortunately I knew the same couldn’t be said for poor Angelo, who had “run away to join his bandit brothers”. At least that’s what Mom wanted the twins to think. Normally she would tell us the truth, but over the years it had appeared that she had softened up a lot more. Well, for the sake of the holidays and the happiness of my brothers, I didn’t say a word about poor Angelo.

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“Thought I heard someone over here,” Dad said, walking through the doorway and straight towards me so he could embrace me. “Aw, pumpkin, good to see you. Was your flight alright?”

“Yeah. It was just fine!”

Before long everyone had come downstairs to greet me. I swore we were catching up more much before I even unpacked! My brother was maturing before my eyes and I admit I now had to take back any mocking comment I ever made about his facial hair looking like peach fuzz! Then there was Mom. She looked just as beautiful as ever. I was praying to take after her when I got older, then again I wouldn’t mind if I was more like Dad. I was pretty blessed with two parents who were aging like fine wine! Dang!

As much as I wanted to stay up with all of them and catch up, I knew that I wouldn’t last. The flight from school tired me out and the not so smooth ride in the taxi didn’t help either. I was ready to hit the hay in my own bed, in my own room. Tomorrow would be a day for catching up and reminiscing—a true Wells holiday tradition.

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“Good morning, sleeping beauty.”

After a quick rub, my vision was finally clearing up to see that Mom was moving my curtains away from the windows. “W-what time is it?”

“Sorry to break it to you, but it’s almost nine. I figured I’d wake you so you can come eat some breakfast.”

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I yawned as I sat up. “Who’s going to be here this year?”

It was rather funny. There was once a time when we spent the holidays together. All of us. That meant including all of my aunt’s and uncle’s, but now that everyone was starting families and moving away for jobs and overall better opportunities, such large family gatherings were becoming rare. Grandma and Grandpa were still there, so that was such a special treat for everyone. I couldn’t want to tell my grandparents about school. They were always such a great support when I talked to them about what it was I wanted to do with my life. On more than one occasion, Granny Attie helped talked me out of reconsidering my goals.

“Your grandparents, of course. They’re excited to see you,” Mom admitted as she moved to sit at the edge of my bed. “Aunt Arecia and her sons, and of course your Grandpa Greyson.”

“Really? It’s a for sure thing for Grandpa G?!” I exclaimed. Grandpa Grey was getting up in age, so his visits weren’t quite as frequent. He lived in a retirement home in Hidden Springs, so traveling was a bit much for him often times, but when he was able to visit us it was definitely a great time!

“You bet,” Mom smiled, “know what’s even more exciting?” She added and didn’t bother waiting for my reply. “We’re not hosting this year. Aunt Arecia really wanted full reign of Christmas Eve. Shuyin says he’s pretty excited. They’ve been cooking and baking for a while.”

“Auntie Arecia? Really?” I couldn’t help smiling. “She sure sounds like she’s full of energy.”

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Mom nodded. “Yeah…she’s in remission, sweet girl. Her treatment went according to plan and she’s been fighting so hard. You know, Alma,” she said, getting up from the bed, “you come from a line of really strong women. Maybe I’m not up there with the rest of them, or at least as high, but when I look at you and your siblings, I know that I did something right in my life. So if you’re every feeling down know that it’s in your blood to overcome even the shittiest of situations.”

“Thanks for the motivational pep talk,” I smirked.

“Hey—it’s all part of the job description, okay?”

Oh, it definitely was. If I had any intention of being like my Mom, I had to start memorizing her format for these lectures. No child of mine would  ever go without knowing they come from a line of fierce women!

I got out of bed not long after my chat with Mom. As much as I wanted to sleep the day away, it was Christmas Eve and I was not going to pass up a once a year opportunity to feast on Mom’s gingerbread waffles. It would be sinful! Downstairs, utensils were clanking against plates and my brothers were in the middle of a debate about a new show that they were obsessed with. It wouldn’t be long, I thought. Oren and Jax often wasted little time in dragging me into their little fandoms.

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“Alma! Alma! Good, you’re up! You can help settle a debate!” Jax shouted with half a bite of waffle in his mouth.

“Don’t listen to him!” Oren pouted. “Captain America will survive! He can’t die!”

Once again Jax finished chewing his food and raised his fork up in the air. “Yeah, right! I don’t think so! He’s going up against Iron Man for creating the Ultron program! I’d be angry!”

“They’re a team!” Oren shot back.

“Not anymore!” Jax hollered.

“Nuh-uh!”

“Yuh-huh!”

The back and forth banter of my siblings had me look past them to the end of the table where Kaden shrugged. “They got a hold of my Civil War comic.”

That. Explained. Everything.

Mom turned away from the counter with another plate of waffles. “Alrighty, settle down everyone. Captain America and all his buddies will be just fine. Let’s enjoy our breakfast before we have to really scramble and get ready. Aunt Arecia would like us at her house at five. And knowing us, we’ll have to leave extra early, okay? It’s going to be a long drive.”

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Dad came in sipping his coffee before he joined us at the table. “Which is why we’re all starting early with our coffee, right, kitten?” He paused for a moment, long enough to see Mom bob her head before speaking again. “This is nice,” he said. “It’s been a while since everyone was present around the table.”

That I could definitely agree with. For many months the closest that I got to have a family dinner was sitting across from Dani in the dorm’s dining room, while scarfing down a bowl of ramen noodles. So, being home was nice. Eating food that wasn’t full of chemicals and whatever else it had, was even better….

“Are you happy to be back home?” Dad asked, finally sampling Mom’s breakfast. “Sure hasn’t been the same without you around,” he chuckled.

“Yeah, it’s definitely nice to be able to sleep in my own bed. Super comfy. Finally.” I answered.

“Have you met anyone new?” Mom asked, only I knew in her cheeky tone that she wasn’t asking about friends, but boys.

“Hey! HEY!” Dad hollered, pointing his fork with a waffled skewered onto it at Mom. “S-she’s in school to learn, ya know! She doesn’t need some boy right now! Right, baby girl?”

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I laughed at his sudden protective response, but I shrugged. I thought back to the first party we attended, and then some of the others, but all that time no one really caught my attention. I really found no reason to go out and look when I had Dani to fill me in on all her romantic happenings. After hearing all of that, I just went about my own business. So, to calm down my Dad, and sadly disappoint my mother, I shrugged.

“Nah, I haven’t. I’ve been keeping to myself for now…”

And even as I said those words, I came to wonder if my entire college career would be just that…”keeping to myself”. I tried not to think about it too much, because there were better things to think about at that moment, like if I could manage fitting another gingerbread waffle into my stomach. Which I did, actually. With a few pauses.

“OKAY! Wells family, let’s get these dishes cleaned up,” Mom exclaimed after we finished eating, and giving Dad a playful smack on the arm. “Time to shower, get dressed, and head out! Our Holiday is just about to begin!”

 

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Ten

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Three months into my first year away at school and my desk was already littered with papers that needed to be proofread, turned in, and filed away. It was to be expected that we were going to be swamped with homework, but the reality always seemed much more intense than the expectations.

I heard Dani groan from her bed as her alarm beeped right on time: ten minutes before her philosophy lecture that evening. Our schedules aligned in such a way that while I was done with class, she was still stuck in lectures, and vice versa.

“It’s too late to listen to a professor ramble on about ancient philosophies.” She rolled her eyes and reached into the cardboard box on her desk, pulling out a granola bar. “Snooze fest. What will you be doing?”

“Um,” I smiled and turned away from my computer screen. “Well, why don’t you come by and take a peek?”

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She did just that and her face immediately lit up at the sight of Gia’s face on the screen. We both managed to have a free moment, so we simply had to Skype.

“Oh my god. I’d freaking skip this lecture and get in on this conversation, but I really need to ace this next test otherwise my Mom will probably smack me upside the head and never let me forget that they’re paying for school.”

“Understood,” Gia laughed. “Kick some ass, Dani, and text me later! We have to catch up!”

Gia was studying at a university in California, which was exactly what it sounded like. It was sunny, it was refreshing, but after all, it was still a university. It wasn’t a vacation. She was studying psychology and was already in the middle of picking out which school she wanted to continue with when she had to get her work experience in the form of research projects. That would probably involve using her fellow classmates as guinea pigs in studies about anxiety and depression when course workload increased. She laughed about that for a bit, however she leaned in close to the camera, so her face magnified.

“So, you—what about you? How are things going for you?”

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Those questions could mean many things, but if I knew anything about my friends, then I knew it wasn’t a question regarding how my studies were going. What Gia was asking about was my personal life, also deemed my “desert-like love life”. It’s not like I was upset about that. My nose was buried in my books and as far as I was concerned, the only evening companion that I needed was in the form of a thick business textbook. I wasn’t really focused on relationships and I wasn’t concerned that nothing was happening in that department. Hey, if I was supposed to meet someone while away at school, then it would happen eventually, right? Well, I liked to think so.

“Just doin’ my own thing,” I said. “Ya know, studying!” While Gia rolled her eyes and stuck her tongue out at the screen I took a moment to look at her background, which I finally found the right moment to comment on. “Well, if you’re looking for some juicy stories, I’m sure Dani would have something. I’m pretty sure she is starting a collection of all the numbers she’s been getting from the fellas, and even some ladies–not that I’m surprised.” My eyebrow raised–Gia finally spotted me eyeing the mass laying on her bed. “I suppose you have some eye candy in sunny California, hmm? Not trying too hard there to hide him.”

 

Gia’s face flushed, but it didn’t seem like she was expecting my assumption, which didn’t make immediate sense to me. “Oh! Him?No-no! That’s my lab partner for class. He’s actually waiting for this boyfriend to come for him. We’re going to the arcade later.”

“B-boyfriend?” I asked and she confirmed.

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“Yeaaah, he swings for the home team, but let me tell you it’s been super fun. And I do admit that I am enjoying my stay here. There’s so much eye-candy here, so I think I’ll have to snap a few pictures to show you and Dani. You know, to show you what you’re missing.”

I laughed because I knew Gia would do such a thing. She was a doll and I couldn’t remember the last time I laughed that much during the week. It had been a long time since we had seen each other face-to-face, but we were already planning out our first get together since starting school. She wasn’t going back to St. Claire for winter break since her family will be flying out to her, to spend the holidays with the family they have in California, but Spring Break was sounding like it was going to be a possibility.

Soon our conversation had to end because her lab partners boyfriend did end up showing up, which meant that Gia had to go. It was bittersweet, but I knew that it wouldn’t be long before we would finally see each other again. Ugh, I sure did miss her.

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While many students found sanctuary in the privacy of their dorm rooms, especially when their roommates weren’t present, I couldn’t say the same for myself. There was something about our room that just didn’t settle with me as being the right place to study. At least not when it came to serious studying. Finals were coming up a lot faster than expected, so I was beginning to bond much more with my textbooks at the library than at the dorm.

“Wells?” A young woman at the front desk asked. She appeared to have recognized me from the last four straight nights that I found myself stumbling into the quiet building.

“Back again,” I laughed halfheartedly. I mean, what else could I say? By that point I was sure the girl wouldn’t be surprised if I showed up with a sleeping back.

“The last study room is actually open right now, so you don’t need the key. And just so you know, the library will be open the full twenty-four hours starting next week for final exam preparation.”

As I acknowledged the announcement, I walked deeper into the building. The first few months at the university were spent avoiding this place like it was the plague, because we were too preoccupied with trying to “live life”. Yeaaaah, well living live away at school basically consisted of living without rules and curfew—basically, everything our parents probably wouldn’t let us get away with back home. However, after a few parties, several hangovers (which were caused by my own doing), and a few all-nighters trying to stay on top of our studies, we decided that it was actually time to buckle down and figure out our strategy to still have a great time and not kill ourselves over ten page papers on early modern use of some business tactics, or whatever it was that I had due that week.

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I flipped through my notes quickly while on my way to the study room only to notice that while the first two rooms were occupied by groups of sleep-deprived students struggling to finish their assignments, the third room was occupied only by two people who—let’s just say weren’t preoccupied with books on human anatomy, but rather trying to learn through experimentation.

My head was turned for a moment, to look over my shoulder. Was I just seeing things, or did I possibly stumble upon a moment that was just too good to be true? There was no one to see this but me. Damn. Who would believe me then? Oh wait–I almost laughed out loud. This behavior was typical for sex-crazed college students, wasn’t it? Ah, evening hormones. No thanks. The two people were so closed together that the mix of blond and green hair looked like a weird cotton candy swirl. Cotton candy gone wrong, in my opinion.

“Seriously?” I scoffed only until I did a double-take. Green hair? Wait–I delayed my walk to the room reserved for me, so I could get a closer look at who was inside that room. Curious and not wanting to jump to conclusions, I slid my phone out of my pocket and quickly send Dani a text. If I knew my best friend, she had it on vibrate and she never took longer than five minutes to respond when she wasn’t in class. Without fail, the two bodies soon parted only to reveal that the girl attached to that guys face was in fact Danika Lace!

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The rest of my time at the library was spent pondering about the identity of the mystery man Dani was making out with. I took a few glances at my homework, but trying to pinpoint that guys identity was proving to be a bit more rewarding in my eyes. Dani and I were incredibly close. I mean, we talked about everything, which included nitty gritty details of Dani’s love life. Hey, it’s just the type of friends we were. I’ve known about every boyfriend Dani ever had and each guy she ever had a crush on, so not knowing about this was definitely confusing. Was he new and she was testing the waters, or…I couldn’t even think of it, because it seemed so out of character for her. Was Dani trying to hide him from me?

What reason would she have to do that? It wasn’t like I was jealous. Then again, Dani wasn’t even really lying to me about her whereabouts because, as I checked the time on my phone, Dani was already out of her lecture. So this wasn’t her skipping class to suck face, but doing that after her class. Well then.

 

The confusion–and what I could admit was slight frustration– kept me from  getting any work done. I had to force myself to type out the remaining four pages of my paper for class before even thinking about leaving the library. I was hoping to come back to the dorm before Dani, but we would see how that would pan out. I couldn’t help my curiosity, okay?

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When I got back to our room I wasn’t met with the presence of Dani looking innocent when I knew she was not. My sneaky friend was still out of the dorm, so I made my weekly call back home. Mom loved hearing about my adventures at school, but often times she was just like Dani and Gia–asking me if I met anyone I liked. My Mom was apparently pretty interesting during her college days. So interesting that I wasn’t even told all the details, because Mom always ended up shushing whoever was telling me the story. Just like I told Gia, I told my mom that I was spending my time with my books rather than boys. Dad was definitely happy to hear about that part. My protective papa apparently wasn’t so set on the idea of me bringing a boy home for the holidays so soon. That was actually the next topic we brought up.

“Okay, sweetie, we’re mailing you the plane ticket tomorrow. Do we just send it to the dorm room and address it to you?” Mom asked while the additional rustling of papers echoed into the phone.

“Yeah.” I smirked. “That will be just fine. We have a mailbox in the dining room anyway, so they separate it. I can’t wait to come home. I feel like I haven’t seen you all in ages.”

“That’s because you haven’t!” Dad spoke up. “The boys miss the hell out of you.”

“I miss them too,” I admitted.

“Still getting along with Dani?” Dad asked with a chuckle, which then prompted him to trail off into a story about him and Uncle Reno’s first experience as roommates. Apparently Uncle Reno wasn’t too into the “no girls after midnight” rule. Yikes, that wouldn’t be too fun, but Dani and I were different. We were getting along great aside from what I saw that night in the library, but still, it wasn’t something to lose my mind over. Dani had a boyfriend in her life and the only reason I wanted to know about it was so I could be happy for her. That was it!

Our conversation carried on and eventually ended on the note of a promise that I wouldn’t miss my flight home for the holidays. That I could promise without hesitating. There was no way that I could miss out on Mom’s cooking and Grandma’s baking. Seriously? If heaven had a flavor it would be Mom’s pineapple baked ham and Grandma Attie’s  Gingerbread mousse cupcakes. Nothing could top it!

 

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The door creaked open and Dani finally walked into our room. Without missing a beat, I wiggled around in my bed and sighed heavily. “Sooo, my dear friend, how was your time studying in the library?”

Dani knew me better than most people, and often times I could say that she knew me better than my own mother. So when I asked her about the library, she knew exactly what it was I meant.

“I’m guessing you saw me, huh?”

“Got that right,” I said with a wheeze and helped myself to an upright position before patting my blanket–an invitation for her to sit down. “Girl, you’re keeping a new hunky man away from your buddy!”

Dani smirked, but I could tell that a subtle blush was found on her cheeks. Clearly it was something that actually touched her in a way that well, made her blush! Dani wasn’t an inexperienced virgin, I could say that much, but it was definitely rare for her to not tell me something like this.

“Everything okay? I mean, you know I’d only be happy for you, right?”

She nodded. “I was going to tell you, but you’re so busy with your papers right now that I was going to wait to tell you once you finished. Plus, I was going to bring him over this weekend so he can play some games with us.”

“For real?”

“Yeah…”

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“I don’t know what it is about him, Alma, but I think I actually genuinely like him.”

Hearing anyone else say that would sound a bit odd because if people are dating then it can be assumed that there is a genuine like for each other, but hearing Dani saying that meant a lot. She was never one to really date people for longer than a month. If she were to get a tattoo it would read Carpe Diem, because that was how she lived her life–seizing every moment, living in the moment.

“I think he’s actually boyfriend material, and the type of boyfriend I’d actually want to introduce to my parents. Can you believe it?”

“Well, what’s his name?”

“It’s Saul.” The way she said his name made her smile. It was actually really cute to see a man’s name bring a smile to Dani’s face. If I had to say so myself, I had a feeling that my best friend was falling for his Saul guy. As long as she was happy and he was good to her, then I didn’t have a problem with it. Frankly, I was ecstatic for her, because it was something new and it was something that she wanted to share with me.

“So you’re not too mad, are you?” Dani asked, noticing my silence.

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“Nah, I’m just thinking a little bit.”

“About what?” Dani asked, nudging me.

“About how I’m going to kick your boyfriend’s ass at Mario Party.”

[Author’s Note: Thank you, April for the photo-editing help!]

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Nine

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The first week at school consisted of welcoming activities and additional tours of the campus. Classes weren’t officially going to start until the following week, so this was our time to explore the area. You know, so we wouldn’t get lost on the first day of class, which I admit happened for a week straight in high school. As much fun as the activities were, Saturday came along real quick, which didn’t really entice me to keep absorbing historical information into my noggin. Like, for example, who was the creative man behind the Jameson Science Hall where we would be taking our mandatory science courses. Yeah, at that point in the week, we weren’t too fixed on that information when we were more focused on what outfits we would be wearing to the much-anticipated co-ed frat party!

Sorry, Alexandros Jameson—whoever you were! Thanks designing our Science Building! I’m sure the lecture halls are the bomb!

Once we finished with our final tour that morning, Dani and I were finally able to get back to our room. After a week living there, I had to admit that the generic dorm room was finally taking on some personality courtesy of the posters and knick-knacks that we brought from home. At that point it was no longer a plain ‘ol dorm room, but Alma and Dani’s humble abode for the next four years.

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Dani wasted no time in digging through her drawer while I plopped down on the bed, but the frustrated grunts and whines kept me from getting even the quickest power-nap. “Do you think I could borrow that top you wore for Gia’s graduation party?” Dani asked as she tossed the contents of her drawer onto her bed before moving to my dresser. “I need to ask Sofia or Claudine to send me the rest of my stuff….”

“Why not ask your Mom?” I muttered lazily, and turned my head to look at her. As she moved away from the dresser and to the mini fridge to get a can of soda, I sat up on my bed.

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“You think my Mom would willingly send my crop tops and short-shorts over to a place where there are boys? Honey Lace? Really?”

“Forget I even asked,” I smirked. It was always funny thinking about how different Dani was from her mother. If it wasn’t for her dyed hair and well, extremely prominent facial features that determined that she was in fact the product of Honey and Silas Lace, then I’d think she was adopted. Dani was finishing up her drink–her way of stepping back to brainstorm her next move–so I got up and fished out the coral top she was after. I had to admit that it looked a lot better on Dani than it ever did on me. Dani was a lot more full-figured than I ever was. She had curves and not to mention boobs! You know what I had? Mosquito bites. After shaking the thought out of my head, I glanced over at my dresser, doing the same thing Dani was doing: thinking of my perfect party outfit. Earlier that week, Dani suggested for me to wear everything from a crop top, which I only slept in, dresses, and basically everything that I’d never wear outside of our room. Maybe it wasn’t so much that it wasn’t my style and that I lacked the confidence, but it was our first party. I was only testing the waters.

The party scene in college was much different from the few parties I’ve been to where conversations are awkward, games are attempted and the flirting is abysmal. Funny only sometimes, but ridiculous for the most part. When we were ready to head out, Dani grabbed my arm and initially said nothing. After waiting for a few seconds, I rolled my eyes and asked what was the hold up.

“This is a college party, girl. We’ve learned this from the past: never show up right on time,” Dani declared like an Oracle for Party advice.

She was so right. Our first party back in high school was a hot mess. We showed up right on time and we ended up being the only guests for a good half hour. When we weren’t the best of friends with the host, it made for a much more awkward time. Learning from experience sure was a blast! Once you were able to look back on those embarrassing times without cringing. Ahhh, we were almost there.

We left a good half hour after the party “officially” started, so we managed to make it there just in time to meet a crowd of people walking to a large house, which we could only assume was the frat’s house. There were people of all ages there. Compared to the boys we had in high school, the ones here were all man. I mean, facial hair, muscles, skyscraper-like statures—these were the big leagues. I had to look over at Dani for a minute to make sure her mouth was keeping in her drool, but she was alright. In fact, she was already in the zone. She stood straight with her chest out and her pants pulled up to “give her booty all the support it could get”. Dani was hilarious and I found it amazing how different we sometimes were, especially with this type of stuff, but it was still nice to be included. Like the rest of the flock, we followed them into the house. Then, oh man, it got interesting.

There were lights everywhere and of every color coming from one room and then another. Disco balls, glow sticks, balloons—I didn’t even know where to start looking because I was honestly over-stimulated!

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“Holy sheeeeeeeeeit,” Dani clapped and grinned widely. “This is going to be hella amazing. Where do you want to go first?”

I shrugged. “Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m guessing it’s safer in a corner somewhere rather than standing in the middle of this living room?”

“You’ve got that right!” Dani linked her arm with mine and we made our way around. Her eyes were all over the place and I admit mine were as well. People were well into their conversations while clutching plastic cups and some people were already starting to dance. Wow, guess it didn’t take for the party to almost be over for people to dance. Ah, memories of my middle school dances never failed to haunt me. For a good while, Dani and I just people-watched. I mean, there was enough to entertain us, but I could see that Dani was tapping her foot impatiently, like a dog waiting to be let of its leash to chase a juicy looking steak that was tossed only a few feet away from its reach.

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“Hey, you don’t have to stick around,” I said as I nudged her. “I’m not going to dance just yet, so you go on ahead. I have my phone on me, so we can check in. Just,” I pouted. “Holler if you need me, okay? I’ll join you soon…”

Dani giggled and gave me a quick hug. “Sure thing, Alma! Don’t have too much fun without me!” She laughed.

I nodded. “Yeah-yeah! You know me! Now, go dance. Your booty is feeling the beat, I’m sure!”

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As I watched Dani head off into the crowd of people, I looked around the room. Once again, I didn’t really know what to do. Dancing wasn’t really an option right now, because I suppose I still had that middle school mindset of “I guess I’ll dance eventually”. And I guess it was because I wasn’t much of a dancer either. I was the type to chill around the table with the snacks, because nothing was more useful in getting out of a conversation than stuffing a handful of chips into your mouth, right? This was such a different scene! It was loud, messy, and just college crazy. I glanced at my phone and smirked. Dani had posted a status update on Facebook declaring that tonight was going to be spectacular. I agreed that it was, because it was a new experience, which makes sense why i even agreed to it. Plus, it was something that Mom never failed to tell me. Her words of advice never failed to include me trying to new things. Yeah, alright. As I scrolled down the images and text on my phone, the sudden whiff of cologne caught me mid-swipe. I looked up to find myself towered over.

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“Could I get you a drink? I noticed no one offered you one,” a man asked me. The baritone of his voice definitely took me by surprise, but I simply shrugged while I looked him up and down. He was tall and his eyes were such a bright color that made me grin involuntarily. Hello there, Mr. Handsome eyes…

“I take it that’s a yes?” He asked.

“S-sure! Yeah, but um,” I leaned in, “I saw you had lemonade? That would be just fine, thanks.”

He chuckled and saluted me after taking my order. “Girl knows her taste, I like that.”

The guy soon came back with two plastic cups and handed one of them to me. Wow, how cool was that? A college guy just brought me a drink, that I even watched him pour, but as I was internally freaking out, I noticed that he was still standing next to me.

“Um, thank you for the drink. It’s sweet and I definitely needed the boost of a little sugar rush.”

Wow, I didn’t realize how loud it was until I had someone trying to talk to me. At some points in our conversation I actually had to yell my replies for the words to reach him.

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He chuckled and took a swig from his cup. “Yeah, I feel ya. I’m Brian, by the way. You new here?”

I nodded. “Oh yeah. New to the school; new to the state—yeah, this is definitely different from St. Claire.” I took a sip from my cup and swallowed quickly before patting my chest. “And I’m Alma.”

“St. Claire? Nice. I’m actually from Sunset Valley. Not too far from there,” he said.

Phew—okay, Alma, I kept thinking. Don’t screw it up. Don’t do anything stupid. Just continue the conversation like a college student who can actually function in social situations.

“That’s pretty darn cool. My family is from there.” I said. Nailed it. Nice and calm.

We kept talking for a little bit more or at least long enough for him to get me two refills of my drink. Frankly, my drinks were disappearing quickly from my cup, but as long as it wasn’t empty, I kept going. I mean, it was fruity and pretty damn tasty. Mmm, was it Strawberry lemonade?!

Eventually I saw that his eyes weren’t focused so much on me, but on the crowd of girls that was inviting him to come dance, so we went our separate ways.  I wasn’t upset of course. In fact, I counted it as a victory! I made it through my first college conversation with a real college guy! I threw back the last three gulps of the juice in a single hit and swallowed hard before hitting the “dance floor” myself. The music pulsed through my body and I finally felt that I was allowing myself to let loose a little bit. Excellent party, I thought as I threw my arms up and swayed my hips from side to side. Excellent party for sure! I could see Dani from the corner of my eye and she looked like she was having a great time, but as I leaned down to try to pull off some “sexy” move, I was faced with the worst feeling of light-headedness. You know, the kind you get when you get up too quickly, but only this one made my stomach turn. This was ridiculous, I didn’t get back up that quickly to have my balance compromised!

“Ouchy,” I moaned, stumbling out of the group of sweaty bodies. Luckily, I managed to tip over onto a guy who was as tall as a freaking tree. WHAT WAS IN THE WATER OVER HERE THAT MEN TOWERED OVER ME LIKE FREAKING TREES?!

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“Woah there!” He groaned, clutching me by the shoulders. “Are you okay?”

I looked up at him and smirked. “My head feels funny.”

His eyes widened and he wrapped his arm around my shoulder. “Did you have anything to drink tonight? Did you mix?”

“Mix what?” I asked. “I was only given juice and lemonade. The guy gave my lemonade, the kind that I saw on the table.”

The man groaned and sat me down. “Now, I don’t think you’re drunk, because you’d be a bit more rowdy than you are now, but you’re definitely tipsy and it doesn’t seem like you’re too familiar with this.”

I nodded. “Just juice.”

“Sorry to break it to you, but I don’t think that was it,” the man responded and patted my head. “Why don’t you just sit here for a little bit and drink some water,” he said, motioning past me. Another man soon brought a bottle and handed it to him, who then extended it to me. “Slow sips, okay?”

“Um, thanks,” I said. After taking the bottle I looked at him, knowing damn well that my cheeks were flushed with shame. There I was advocating for people to always check their drinks and I was the one who had mine spiked with booze. Mom would’ve been so proud of me, I bet.

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“Are you here alone?” the fairer skinned man asked. True concern locked in his eyes when he saw me bring the bottle away from my mouth. “We could take you back to your dorm if you need…”

“No,” I admitted, feeling like a complete fool who for some reason forgot about the concept of hard lemonade. Seriously, Alma? “My friend is still dancing, but I’m going to hang out over here while I apparently sober up.I sure feel like an idiot, but thank you for this. I appreciate it.” I raised the plastic bottle to my face and sighed. “I appreciate guys like you who don’t just take advantage of a girl who has zero experience with parties like this…”

They chuckled and nodded. “It’s been a while for us too, so please don’t worry about it.” I looked over my shoulder, noticing the man who barely said a word to me pull his hand back, that he clearly wanted to use to pat me on the shoulder.

“Yeah,” he finally said. “It’s been a while, so just take care. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like they serve anything other than booze and water here.”

The two eventually left me on the couch, which left me feeling so fucking embarrassed. My first college party and I was stupid enough to think that they would serve lemonade. Unbelievable. Although as ridiculous as i felt, it was nice to know that at least someone was willing to help me out. Needless to say, it was definitely an interesting way to start my time in college. A big part of me wanted to shove the memory of that night into the darkest depths of my mind, but knowing me, I’d engrave it there instead. It would be a cautionary tale to tell my family some day.

“Of course this would happen to me, too,” I sighed, pressing the rim of the bottle against my teeth.

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“You crashing too?” A girl asked me. She didn’t look much older than me. Her nose was red, but sure looked a lot better than I did.Somewhat more in control of what she was doing while I was only tipsy and flying off the handle.

“Crashing?” I laughed. “No, more like settling down. Apparently the lemonade they serve here tasted funny because it’s actually laced with booze and not just made with some bitter water.”

“Oh, the hard lemonade?” The girl asked and bobbed her head. “Yeah, that’s the shit they bought at the liquor store just outside of campus. Figured you knew.”

Was that common knowledge? Damn. All we really had was wine, beer, and cider at home. Not like I really explored my options with alcohol.

“Never mind that.” She looked at me and held out her hand for me to shake, which I did. “I’m Neah, by the way. You’re a freshman too? Got one of those flyers that advertised this shit of a party as one crazy shindig of the century?”

After I shook her hand and introduced myself, I reached up to fiddle around with a loose strand of my hair before pushing it back into my hair wrap. “I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” I admitted. “Some eye candy, maybe?”

“Sure, I suppose that’s what some people go for. I was in the mood for a good party. Ya know, I was expecting something a little more hard, but it’s only some frat house. Not like they can get their hands on the good shit, ya know?”

Honestly a lot of it was going right past me, but it was nice that someone else decided to talk to me, without having me try anymore of that lemonade. I shuddered at the thought of Brian’s enthusiastic grin. What a fool I was. Aw well.

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Neah looked like she wasn’t totally there either, but somehow in her eyes I could tell that she genuinely cared about what she was talking about. I mean, I was now thrown into a melting pot of people whose lives were essentially part of a different universe that was now in the petri dish that was labeled “college”. There we were, two separate universes colliding in a single conversation over the ridiculousness that could happen in college, especially at parties such as the one we were in the middle of.

“That’s sort of what I learned,” she said, glancing at me to whisper, “from my own experience, that people will basically walk all over you and fuck you up if you let them. Hey, if you choose to party, go for it, but do it on your own terms. Everything I do?” She said, trailing off softly. “On my own terms.”

Before I even had a chance to ask for any clarification, I watched as Neah’s attention get drawn to a man motioning to her from the doorway. I wasn’t going to keep her, so I gave her a quick wave and thanked her for the short chat. Despite its brevity, it was nice to relax and keep my mind off the reality of what just happened. I was only human and Neah was right, it’s was just the kind of atmosphere that we were in where people were all about getting others messed up if given the chance. I smirked and leaned back on the couch, making a mental note not to ever do that again, unless, you know, I decided on my own that I wanted a drink.

“My god, there you are!” Dani called out, making her way out of the crowd of shimmying bodies. “Are you okay?”

I lifted the plastic bottle that had only a few sips of water left in it. “Still here and I’m alright. What, did word travel fast?”

Apparently she did, which meant that my little loose routine did not go unnoticed. Luckily, Dani read my mind and we ended up leaving the party a lot earlier than we originally anticipated. That wasn’t my fault either as it seemed that she wasn’t as pleased with the party as she thought was was going to be.

I totally agreed with on her that. 100%.

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“So that was something,” I admitted with a soft rub of my hand against my head. “Was it everything you wanted it to be like?”

“Well, aside from you almost getting fucking drugged by some tattooed jockstrap of a guy?” She groaned and leaned against the couch. The living room of the dorm room was open. We ended up leaving the party a lot earlier than everyone else, ans by the look and sound of it, everyone was either there or partying it up somewhere else. The worry was slowly beginning to dissolve from her expression, but then it looked like she wanted to smack me upside the head and then hug me. Eventually she just shook her head and bobbed her head against mine. “Just–thank god that you’re fine. Your mom would’ve killed me. Can you imagine? This is only the beginning. Can’t these assholes understand that no booze means no booze? Or maybe they’re all so drunk at the start of their own damn parties that they can’t tell the difference between water and vodka!”

“Not everyone is an asshole,” I smiled, reminding myself of the kindness of the two men who helped keep me from making a fool of myself.

“Yeah-yeah, guess you’re right.” Dani stretched out with her back against the couch and yawned noisily. “What do you say we go upstairs and play Mario Kart? I totally got Claudine’s copy!”

Grinning, I forced myself up from the couch and followed Dani from the room and up the stairs where the couch looked so incredibly comfortable. Way more comfortable than the cement-like couch they had at the frat house.

“Hey, time for that dance and then we can head back to the dorms? I totally snatched Claudine’s copy of Mario Party.”

I watched Dani move to the console while I tried to walk around and make sure what tipsiness was in my system finally cycled out. “So, you know your sister is going to kill you for taking her game, right?”

Laughing, Dani shrugged. “We’re in a different state! What’s she going to do, face-time me to death?”

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“So, we can cross that off our list,” Dani said once we were finally situated with a the controllers in our hands and the game illuminated on the TV screen. “I thought it would be a bit more fun, you know? Like, there was absolutely no eye candy for me tonight, which is a shame. Thought that would be the point of a fun co-ed fraternity.”

I leaned back against the couch and tossed a chip into my mouth. “So, I guess we can learn from this experience as well, huh?”

Dani laughed. “Uh, yeah. I can’t leave you alone, you can’t drink, and well, yeah, buddy system. Oh! And fat boys aren’t really that cute.”

My eyes rolled at the thought of how ridiculous that night was. If would have been just our luck for all of that to happen, and basically all at once. We were damn lucky that this wasn’t any crazier, otherwise, we wouldn’t have been playing video games, but probably passed out on the floor of that frat house. That definitely wasn’t a way that we wanted to start off our time at school.

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Although the night took a spin for absolutely ridiculous, I couldn’t have imagined it ending any better way. We were in our room, wearing comfortable clothes and chowing down on junk food while playing a game that Dani’s sister  probably whine about until Christmas.

“I’m going to kick your ass, Wells!” She declared, shoving me to the side.

“Yeah! You sure think so? Let me remind you that I passed my driving test the first time I took it!”

“I thought the instructor was telling me to stop because he was flirting with me, okay?”

I couldn’t help but laugh at our constant exchanges . Even when things got crazy, I knew Dani would be my partner in crime.

Through the good and the bad, and the inexplicably insane.

~*~Author’s Note~*~

Thank you for reading, my darlings! ❤ What did you think? Feel free to let me know in the comments section! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

ALSO I’d like to give a nice thank you to Shea for having her lovely creation, Neah, be part of this weeks chapter [: You can find her story here: Infatuated

Thanks, Shea!

and THANK YOU, EVERYONE! I’m not sure if you guys follow the legacy on the Facebook page, but this blog has hit 100,000 views and I couldn’t be more grateful! Thank you so much for your support! It means so much to me! Thank you!

Till next time!

Olga

 

 


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Seven

“What about this one?” Gia cooed from the backseat. “This place says they have a big discount for college students. Wow,” she squeaked. “We’re college students!”

“In like, three months,” Dani snorted. “Calm yourself.”

Gia stuck her head between the two front seats and leaned her head against me. I was in the passenger seat, looking at a similar list of stores. This was extreme coupon-ing on the go. “But we are basically done with all the important stuff. Now, we’re just hanging out in classes and going on trips and having picnics. I mean, last I heard, signing yearbooks and stuffing seven ice cream sandwiches in my purse doesn’t exactly count as school.”

“Holy fuck–you grabbed how many?!” Dani exclaimed, eyeing Gia in the mirror.

“Hey-hey! Eyes on the road!” Gia cackled.

“I suppose you’re right,” I added, patting my friends head with the newspaper. “I personally don’t like to think of it that way right now. I mean, how many more outings will we have before you go off to freaking–”

“Sunny California!” Gia exclaimed.

We laughed about it now, but boy was it hitting us hard. School was basically over, in a  week or so. We were participating in senior activities, but that was it. There were no more exams, no more assignments–we were basically enjoying a week-long graduation party with our class. Even though our year wasn’t over yet, the gals and I waned to spend as much time together as we could. It wouldn’t be long before Gia would be flying out to California for orientation and then basically just getting situated at her school. So as mundane as it sometimes seemed, we were going shopping…for school supplies.

“I saw Alister’s had a lot of cute bedding!” Gia announced, tearing out a coupon only to wave it in front of her. “Using this bad-boy.”

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“So, what did you Mom think of you going out-of-state?” Gia asked me as she pulled out a cart for all of us to share.

“Not much, I guess. She never suggested any local schools, but I guess that has to do with her own experience. Her Mom wasn’t really happy about her leaving their home town for school…” Then again, I thought, it wasn’t long after Grandpa Auron passed away that she asked. If Granny Attie was as close with her parents as she was with all of us, then I could only imagine the hurt she felt. One more person to leave her–even though in Mom’s case it would only be temporary.

“My Mom is going through like, an intense empty-nest thing. I mean, the twins are still there, but she’s making it seem like I’m abandoning her!” Dani added, yanking a pack of fruit snacks from the shelf. “Aren’t parents supposed to want us to go off and get an education?”

Maybe that was what was going on with Mom too, I thought. After all, she was making a habit of showing up in my room right before I went to bed just to talk. Even thought she wasn’t really vocal about actually missing me so desperately, she increased her dosage of life lessons.

Gia cackled. “Yeah, I guess. My parents are pretty a-okay with me leaving mainly because at any point, they can just get up and visit me. We actually have a summer home in California.”

The more we talked about it, the more odd I felt. We were graduating–this was no longer something that we just fantasized about, and I honestly didn’t now how to feel. I think the sheer awe of it was keeping me from showing the same kind of excitement that my friends were showing.

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We made our way through the maze of bedding, clothes, food,and all the other college essentials. I had my eye on a few things, but I wasn’t set on buying much of it just yet. I had a feeling Mom would want to help me out and to, you know, have some of that mother-daughter bonding. I think I would need it, because even now I had uneasiness beginning to creep up my back. Wow, this was happening much too rapidly. Although I wasn’t there to really shop around for supplies, I did have to pick up some toys for the twins, because today wasn’t only about hanging out with my friends. Oren and Jax were going to have their birthday party that afternoon. They were finally old enough where it was actually worth spending more money on a party seeing as they would probably remember it. They were debating between a pirate and dinosaur, and–Man, I even forgot. Either way, there was no exact theme settled on, but part of their presents included some new costumes for them to dress up in. Finally, Oren could be the city-crushing T-Rex he always wanted to be!

I was surprisingly exhausted after a morning of shopping with my friends. Who know lugging around a few toys and helping Gia pick out dorm supplies would be so draining? Anyway, I still had enough energy to go have fun at the little birthday party we were throwing for the twins.

Brushing the thought aside, I yanked my keys out of my bag and unlocked the front door.

“Alma!” Jax exclaimed.

I nearly threw the bag with their presents across the room when I heard him, but luckily I stopped myself in the knick of time. Jax was hanging out in his little red car that he operated with his tiny, chunky feet. He had the more ridiculous grin on his face, especially when he lead over the steering wheel with his arms extended towards me. Honestly with the way he was leaning, it wouldn’t have been much longer before he’d flip out of the toy car.

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“Holy lordy, little Jax! Are you that happy to see me?” I asked, blowing a raspberry against his cheek. “Did ya miss me?”

“Yes!” He giggled. “Where did you go?” He asked sweetly.

“I had to do some big girl shopping, but what are you up to, birthday boy?”

Immediately his previous grin returned and he began to bounce around. It was remarkable to see that kind of excitement from a little tot like him. Come to think of it, he wasn’t all that little anymore, but still it was fun to see and recognize that it was his birthday and not just some ordinary day. The twins sure were smart cookies. But as much as i wanted to spend some time with Jax, I knew that I had to get my presents set up in the backyard, as well as report back to Mom on my findings. So, I did what any sibling could in this situation:

“Little buddy, I have to go on a mini mission right now, okay? I’ll be back soon for your party!” I announced, giving him a quick pat on the head.

After shimming my way away from my brother and still keeping his present hidden (by some miracle), I quickly made my way to where I could hear my mother. However the closer I got, the clearer I was able to make out another voice in the mix. It was quiet, hushed, but it was there. After taking a look at the time lit up on my phone, I clicked my tongue.

Of course, I thought. We were only an hour away from the party officially beginning, but knowing out friends and family, they were generally all an hour early.

I walked into the kitchen, leaning in to plant the present I had for the twins on the counter where Mom had already scribbled and crossed off things off her to-do list for the party. That was when I finally saw who was sitting at the table.

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“Auntie!” I grinned happily and walked straight to her so I could wrap my arms around her lanky frame. It had been some time now since she started her chemo treatments, which was why she decided to shave her head instead of waiting for it to fall out on its own, but feeling her skeletal frame in each embrace—I hoped for that to never become a norm for her.

She looked up at me with eyes clouded with weariness, but she still smiled. “Hello, angel.”

“Hello, Mom! Nice to see you too!” Mom mimicked my voice from the counter where she was working on decorating the birthday cake. She looked over her shoulder only to smirk and stick her tongue out at me.

“Yeah-yeah, Ma!” I chuckled briefly before leaning against the table. “So, how’s it going over here?

Aunt Arecia brought the cup of tea in front of her to her lips, gulped loudly, and then cleared her throat. “Everything is just fine. But how are you? I heard you got into a wonderful school—Oh my, you must be so excited!”

Aw man, did Mom tell everyone?

And just as if she was reading my mind, Mom stuck up a chocolate frosting-covered spatula and waved it around. “I said nothing! It was your father!”

Scratching the back of my neck, I finally nodded and confirmed it. “Yeah, I guess I did. I can’t tell believe it—not so much that I got in, but that it’s coming up so soon. It’s funny how we spend all of our time wanting to get out of high school and to grow up, and stuff, but when it comes time to finally talk about graduating like a serious thing, then it’s–”

“Scary,” Auntie answered for me.

“Yeah, exactly.”

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“You know your mom was like that too. Well, more so when she actually moved out,” she said. I half-expected Mom to turn around to deny it, you know, like siblings did sometimes when trying to mess with each other, but she didn’t.

“She called me almost every night to talk, and of course I answered and stayed on the line for a good hour or so. Since, I’m such a great sister, of course.” She smirked and called out to Mom. “Isn’t that right?”

Mom finally turned around, wiping off frosting from her hands. Her expression was one of understanding. I could see myself in her, especially in the thin film of moisture that coated her eyes.

“That’s exactly right,” she said. “And look at how I turned out,” she chuckled to disguise the noise of her sniffles. “I got used to it, but I kept Arecia on speed dial. Best sister there is. So I would listen to her, because I was lonely and scared for a good portion of my first year at school.

Auntie nodded and pointed to the corner of her eyes. “Now-now, there’s no need for the waterworks, okay? We all made it.” She then turned to me and sighed. “What I mean to say is that it’s totally fine to be scared. Everyone is going to struggle, especially in college, but you’ve got our spirit, Alma.”

“Oh, you bet,” Mom added. “If the Wells have something special, then it’s the will to plow through shit like it’s nothing. Your Aunt is the perfect example. Our very own champ. Did you hear the chemo is helping tremendously?”

My eyes grew wide and I hopped away from the table with a wide grin on my face. “Seriously?! Oh my god! That’s amazing!”

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“Thank you, thank you,” Auntie smiled before pushing herself up from her seat, catching a glimpse of the commotion that was starting outside in the backyard. “I suppose we should get a move on, ladies? The yard will soon be full of kids and,” she rolled her eyes at the sight of her husband running around with Oren on his shoulders, “the big kids as well.”

She was right to say so as within the hour all the guest finally made it.

Plus, not like this day was going to completely be made up of my worrying about the same thing, like some sort of broken record, right? With Mom and Aunt Arecia working on getting the rest of the food ready to be set out, I picked up the presents for the twins and made my way outside where the party was truly underway. We had a slip-n-slide set up and the usual playground equipment that the boys loved. There were vibrantly colored balloons ties to lawn chairs and stationed all over the yard. It was really fun to see the party take on the personality of the little fellas.

“Wow,” Kaden called out from his seat in the grass, “we thought you got lost at the mall or something!” He joked, which definitely seemed to work for Claudine.

“Funny stuff, yeah-yeah, “ I said and placed the presents I had for the boys onto the pile that was gradually growing with each small bag and box that people brought. Dang, those little tots were getting spoiled this year!

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The party was in full swing as all the guest finally made it. My best friends were there, of course, so I had some people to talk to while munching on Mom’s homemade chips and salsa. A lot of the people there were actually friends of Mom’s and Dad’s. We had Auntie Raine, and even Dani’s entire family, which was really nice! Ever since Kaden started dating Claudine, I barely saw the other twin, so it was nice to see everyone hanging out here. In addition to friends, a good portion of family came over, and yup, that definitely included Granny Attie and Grandpa Crescendo! They’ve traveled so much, and we were so happy for them, but it was always so nice to have them over.  I had to admit that I owed a lot to my grandparents, as they, other than my parents, were the ones to encourage me without end. They never told me that there was something I couldn’t do. And look at where I am! Heiress to the family’s name and about to head off on a new adventure outside of St. Claire!

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“My sister is going to suck off your brother’s face soon, I bet,” Dani stated, biting into a chip. “Who knew they have all of these pent of feelings.”

Gia rolled her eyes. “Ladies, even I could tell that Kaden had a thing for one of the twins. Frankly, I was hoping it was going to be me, but,” she shrugged and sipped her drink. “Whateverrr.”

I nearly spit out my drink and slapped my hand  on the table. “What?! You like my brother,too?!”

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“Nah,” she smirked,” I’m just saying  that I wouldn’t mind if he liked me. What? Would that bother you, sister?” Gia giggled, reaching over to pinch my cheek.”I’m just kidding; calm down, okay? You’re turning purple!”

I had some things I wanted to say, yet my voice was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I was interrupted mid-thought when Mrs. Lace approached us.

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“Hi there, girls! Just wanted to come let you know that the boys will be blowing out their candles. Since the sun down for the day soon, we thought it would be a good idea to do it now.” She announced with her hands at her sides. “Come on, chin up, big sister!” She poked her cheeks. “Your brothers would love your support!”

Oh, if only she knew that my brothers weren’t on my mind, but the strange thought of well, Kaden doing anything remotely sexual. Ack!!! He was my brother! My baby brother!!

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The sun set much quicker, and by the time everyone was situated and the twins were snatched from their prior occupation of plucking grass out of the ground, the cake was ready to be marveled at. The boys were automatically in awe at how big their cake was. Being that there were so many guests for their party, Mom ended up making two different cakes. Chocolate–mainly for the boys, and caramel green apple for the rest. I admit I liked that one the most!

“I just wanted to say thank you on the behalf of the boys,” Mom said, bouncing Oren on her hip once she lit the candles. “This party wouldn’t have been as wonderful if it wasn’t for all of you being here. It’s so hard to believe that only a few years ago I was swollen like a bloated walrus,” she smirked and kissed Oren’s head before smooching Jax. “Now, why don’t we all  come together and sing happy birthday to these two little cuties!”

I watched my brothers laugh and squirm towards the cake. it was definitely difficult for me to hold back a wide grin. I mean, it was amazing that I was there when Mom found out she was pregnant. But now? Wow–I couldn’t believe how much they’ve grown. They were their own little people with the sweetest personalities. Mom and Dad sure looked happy each time we had a birthday that it was touching, although I didn’t blame them. It’s common knowledge that every parent wants to do their best to raise their kids well and to be happy, right? I suppose that I sometimes wondered how many birthday parties for my own kids I would be able to host, you know? Would they be just as fun as ours? Would I be just as proud as my parents are?

Well, that was a thought for another day.

I joined in with the rest of the family, cheering loudly when we finished singing happy birthday to my brothers. Jax and Oren didn’t waste their time in leaning in as far as they could once everyone broke out into cheers. Their heads were close together and they raced with all their might to blow out all of their candles. By some luck, they managed to make it to the last candle together. They looked so accomplished as they blew out the final candle. Mom and Dad snuggled them close against their bodies. Their happiness emanated from their smiles and it was hard not to join in. The joy was contagious. As it should’ve been.

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See, no matter what stress, what sadness plagued a family, or what anxiety there was in everyone’s lives–there had to have been moments where all of it paused, even if for a moment. My concerns could be tackled another day, I thought. Nothing at this point could stir me from  planning anything ahead of eating some tasty cake! Birthday parties were magic like that, weren’t they?

While we cheered the lined up for a piece of birthday cake, I felt someone poke my shoulder.

“So, have you finalized what your major will be in college?” Grandpa Grey asked.

Oh, dang it all, I thought.

 

 

 

 


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Poll Results #2: Our favorite sibling is…

The Results are in! In the second poll,I asked you, dear readers, who your favorite legacy sibling ha been so far…

Honestly, I can’t say that I’m surprised [:

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With 11 votes (out of 15), Arecia Wells won! It was nice to see the sweet boys place up there too ❤

But, honestly, I do think I agree with you all. Legacy siblings often don’t get as much attention as they deserve, so this is my way of giving them a bit of love ❤ Although they boys (and the others) didn’t win–they will be making they way to the Download page eventually ❤

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But honestly…it has been quite some time since Arecia made her grand entrance in the legacy. She captured her hearts of her parents, and even those who are no longer with us. She inherited the sun-lit eyes of her granny Ami, but that’s not all. She too inherited her drive to move forward in her life, because let’s face it–Arecia has NOT had it easy.

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She found out she was pregnant not long after her engagement, but I think it’s safe to assume that she grew up to be a wonderful mother ❤

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She married her sweetheart, Noel, but sadly had to face the pain of loss so early in her life when Noel slipped away in his sleep due to an allergy to his medication…

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But in every moment of sadness lies comes a spark of happiness. Although it may come later, it still comes. After losing her love, Arecia gave birth to Noel, named after his daddy. 

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And of course, we can’t forget the moment young Naota felt it necessary for judging his mother. He was a little stinker, especially when she was in such a fragile state. To move on after losing a loved one is insanely difficult, but…

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Sweet Arecia finally got her second chance at love when Shuyin came into her life ❤

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And even if her life is a little tough right now–we know that she is a strong girl and won’t let anything or anyone get to her. She has the strength of many generations of Wells women, after all ❤

But…Arecia’s life is not one of difficulty, but the full embodiment of Wells tradition–even though she may not be the heiress. She has a great love for family and tradition, and of course–she has always been there for her siblings, especially Isobel.

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Whether it was to comfort and support, 

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Or to scold as a mother would. <_< It sure was a blast seeing Arecia try to put Isobel in her place. Silly girl, all she wanted to do was pierce her nose! ❤

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But…getting to the point: Arecia has been through a lot and now it is her time to join you all in your games [: She is a deserving winner and I ask you nothing more than to take care of her for me ❤

For the content of her download file: You will find her saved as a library file, SO just drag and drop it into the Library folder and she will show up in your saved households/families! ALSO! The download is CC-free, so please feel free to change skins as need-be. I just tried to make downloading them a little bit easier for people who prefer games that aren’t Custom Content-heavy ❤

BUT WAIT!

There’s more!

Just like Isobel–I simply couldn’t send Arecia off on her own. Although she may not have the life she always thought she would have in the legacy, I thought that maybe you all could help her out….

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Included in the DOWNLOAD is also Noel Roth ❤ 

Again, thank you for voting and keep your eyes on the next post, as the next download will be the favorite Legacy spouse! And yes, they will come paired with their lady love ❤

 

Take care my dears! ❤ Next Legacy post shouldn’t be tooooo late. I blame University homework and work! >_< SOON!!!

Olga ❤