Welcome Back, Anna!

I was so close to my future than I ever was I could taste it. Finally, this was the last year of college before I’m thrown in with the big fishies, and I couldn’t wait. I drove myself to campus in my beat down car because I was so nervous about bringing my frantic mother. She couldn’t stop sobbing before I left as if she was never going to see me again. I couldn’t handle it! Relax, I’ll be coming back at the end of the school year.

Of course, I couldn’t have picked a better college other than UCLA in California. The professional and creative writing courses there are top shelf, not to mention the scenery. Helloooo, beach! Need I say more?

As I pulled up onto the driveway of my off campus townhouse, I noticed another car in the driveway. I was so excited to see my best friend, Chloe, that the luggage I was carrying felt like it weighed more than it should. I pressed on the door bell and waited only a matter of seconds before the door flung open. Cue the screaming and then the drop of one of my bags on my toe.

“Ouch!” I cried.

My friend’s scream of happiness turned into screams of laughter as she held her stomach and began to cry. Her long brown hair collected around her face as she bent down to steady herself.

“Your. Face. Was. Hilarious!” she said between suctions of air.

“Shut up,” I grumbled as I walked in dragging my bags (along with my foot).

After settling in and having our first drink, Chloe and I grabbed a few of our other friends and headed for the on-campus cafeteria, just to get a feel of everything again. Jodie was the athlete of our group. She had brown hair that came down to her shoulders and a tone build. Obviously, it goes without saying that she was always tanned from constantly being outside. Janet was the artist amongst us. She could paint anything and make it look like a masterpiece, and if her artwork wasn’t an indication that she was a painter, all you had to do was look a little closer; she always had some paint on her somewhere. She had dark skin and bits of blonde in her curly, black hair. Chloe was also studying a similar course as I, a communications course. I met her before college , and we were itching to get into the same one together. My longest and most trustworthy friend, I love her dearly. And then there was me, a dark-haired (what is considered raven) slender girl, with moderately-sized breasts and green eyes filled with ambition.

“…it was so amazing, I’m telling you! They know exactly what they’re doing,” Janet said. She was explain the details of her sexual rendezvous with an older gentleman while on vacation with some of her friends in Italy. “It’s true, the older the wine, the better it tastes.”

I knew what image everyone conjured up and we all looked at each other knowingly. Janet caught on and we all started laughing.

“Duly noted, Janet,” Chloe said. “Next time I’m Italy, I’ll know what to do.”

Chloe didn’t exactly have a good track record with men, but then again, neither did I. My boyfriend of three years dumped me for another girl. Everyone told me I should’ve known he was cheating on me. Kick me when I’m down why donchtya! It’s not enough he left me, but please, take a dig at my situational awareness too! After that I swore off men for at least my college years. Hey, I can’t be celibate forever!

After our little gathering, we all said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. Chloe went back to our townhouse whereas I drove to our local bar. I had been bartending there every year since the beginning of college and just needed to let Martin, the owner, know I was back and ready for more.

“I know you couldn’t keep away,” he said. Martin is an ex-MMA trainer who had short blonde hair and robust structure that looked like it was chiseled by Ares himself. He smiled, revealing a perfect set of straight pearly whites, and said, “They always keep on comin’.”

“I happen to know that I’m one of your favourites,” I said. “Don’t pretend you don’t need me too,” I winked. I’m not usually this flirty, but Martin and I have that kind of relationship that’s playfully honest. Especially considering how I started working here. When Martin found out my ID was fake, he didn’t say anything to anyone. ‘You’re one of my best workers, Anna,’ he said. We’ve trusted each other ever since.

He laughed. “So when can you start?”

“How’s Friday?” I suggested.

“Fine by me,” he said. “See you then.”

And that was the end of it. When morning came the next day, I couldn’t believe it was already time to get ready. I did my usual routine, trying to wear the cutest outfit I could find, and then headed out. We lived in an area that was dedicated to student housing but it was still a good few blocks away from campus; just above walking distance, and just below a road trip!

As I approached the campus, filled with bustling crowds all ready for their day, I heard a call behind me.

“Watch out!”

I turned around and some guy with a leather jacket and dark jeans was zoning in on me with his motorcycle. No helmet was on but I wish he did have something to cover that huge grin on his dimpled creamy-white face. I almost fell onto the ground as he swooshed straight passed me and looked back to snicker. I was walking on the road, but still, so was everyone else, and this road was next to campus! Even cars are going slower than him! I was so frustrated that I almost didn’t hear his friends call out his name as he parked his bike.

“Hey, Daniel!”

Daniel turned around after he lifted his leg off the bike and greeted his friends. He met eyes with mine and then grinned again, his friends were totally oblivious but the bystanders saw everything. Maybe they were just as reckless as he was.

I calmed myself as their voices began to fade and then completely disappear and went to my first class. I was almost late trying to find it but the school diary had a map that I quickly resorted to using. I was so lost! Thank God I arrived on campus early, otherwise I really would have been late. The classroom was spacious and had black chairs that faced computers, and a whiteboard that covered the wall all around the room. I took a seat closer to the back considering most of the chairs have been taken and remained sitting next to an empty chair. Hmm…maybe I’ll retain my privacy for most of the semester.

The professor was just beginning to introduce himself when suddenly the door to the classroom opened and in came walking my worst nightmare. Mr. Nearly-ran-me-over-with-his-bike-and-shrugged-it-off came waltzing in like he owned the place and stopped to scan the room. He laid eyes on me and then the chair next to me. Please don’t sit next to me, please don’t, please don’t, please don’t! I begged whomever was listening. Though I guess I must have been a bad person for most of my life as my wish wasn’t granted. He plonked his bag on the floor and then winked at me as he sat down. His brown hair looked noticeably shocked by the wind, but in a good way. I still managed to grimace, which only seemed to have made him chuckle, and then turned my full attention to the professor.

“My name is Professor Allen Prims, welcome to editing and publishing 101. For most of this semester you will be put into groups of two where both you and your partner will be working on a major editing project, apart from all the others, where you will design and publish your own magazine for publication to hand in at the end of the semester.” He began passing a stapled set of sheets around as he spoke. “What is going around is the criteria for all your assessments for this semester. Now please, everyone, turn to the person next to you and introduce yourself.”

I felt Daniel’s gaze on me but I didn’t bother showing the same acknowledgement.

“Congratulations everyone, you have just met your permanent partner.”

And it was like a rockslide crushing my insides as my eyes widened in shock. I turned to Daniel and he was holding his hand out for me to shake.

“I guess it’s your lucky day partner,” he said in a smooth and arrogant tone of voice and winked.

I closed my eyes in disappointment and sighed. Welcome back, Anna!

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