Chapter 4: On the Roof

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 69


I step through the open window of my bedroom after dark, clutching my phone in one hand, my journal in the other. 

Then I sit cautiously on the flat roof that extends over the front porch and take a deep breath, enjoying the slight breeze. It's only a week until the start of September, when the long, hot summer will start to ease into fall.

A huge oak tree with spreading branches stands in front of the house, its massive trunk touching the bricks that have turned the front yard into a parking lot. Several of the branches reach over the roof, with one scraping the shingles near my bedroom window. 

My phone dings, and I pull up a text from my dad, who is checking to see if I got moved in okay. 

He'd wanted to come with me. But he can't afford to take any more time off work. He used up all his vacation time and more when my mother was sick. 

Dad Im all moved in, I type. The house is ok, livable. Good thing I left when I did as me and the WW almost came to blows last night. One week under the same roof is way too much togetherness. 

I add an SMH emoji and hope my dad will get it.

My mom would have lectured me for referring to her mother, as I often do, as the Wicked Witch; she'd have said it was wrong, no matter how much Virginia Cooke deserves it. 

But my dad understands completely. Virginia has treated him even worse than she treated me.

My phone dings: Glad you're ok. Wish I could have been there. Take care of yourself. You better call me if you need anything.

I start typing again: I will. Im gonna be ok Dad. Plz don't worry about me. I add a couple of heart emojis and hit Send.

Then I notice I missed an earlier text from my best friend, Megz: So are you FINALLY Ikana fucking official?

Yup, I type, smiling. Im moved in (house sucks). I start classes tomorrow. Gotta also try to get the paper to give me a shot tomorrow. Wish me luck.

She responds immediately: U dont need luck sunshine. UR not like the rest of us. UR keegan rich as fuck crenshaw/cooke

She sends another text with a line of fist emojis that I'm not exactly sure how to interpret. 

I hate when Megz throws my family in my face. It's basically the only time we fight: when she acts like I have no struggles because my grandmother's the most powerful politician in the state. It's such total bullshit.

Another text dings: U there? Did I piss off the princess?

I decide to let her stew for a little while. 

She's probably sitting in her fancy dorm at OU, with a couple of hot guys already at her beck and call.

We didn't meet until our junior year of high school, when Megz transferred in after she was sent to yet another foster home. For a kid from such an unstable background, she's done pretty well.

When she found out she'd earned a full scholarship to the University of Oklahoma, we stayed out all night partying. I got grounded for it, of course. But it was totally worth it.

Megan Morgan manages to make the best of every situation. No matter what, she always comes out on top. 

But she still somehow finds reasons to feel sorry for herself.

Ok bitch stop ignoring me. Im sorry about the family remark. Jeezus you are so fucking sensitive

You'd never know to look at her that Megz has such a potty mouth. She looks like a delicately beautiful China doll. But she can swear with the best of them. 

The first time I used the phrase "potty mouth" in front of her, I thought she'd bust a gut laughing, the way people laugh when a child says something endearing. 

And then she let go with the most amazing string of f-words I'd ever heard. 

I once told her it was pathetic that someone as smart as her was so addicted to the overused, worn-out, boring old f-word, when there's a cornucopia of other fresh and potent words in the language just waiting to come out of her mouth.

"Did you seriously just fucking say cornucopia?" That's the only response I got.

My phone dings again. HELLO????!!!!!

I can't help laughing. Megz drives me crazy sometimes. But there's nobody I'd rather hang out with. She says the same about me.

I miss her. I could have gone with her to OU. We could have gone through freshman year together. But I wanted Ikana.

I send Megz a whole row of eye roll emojis. Then I put the phone down and blink away a couple of tears. 

It's ridiculous, to feel like crying right now. I'm finally here, at my dream school. I'm finally ready, after all the turmoil of the last couple of years, to make a fresh start.

So why do I feel like this?

I guess because it's all kind of overwhelming. And because I'm beginning to wonder if I can really do this. 

After I fought so hard to get to Ikana, what if I fail? What if I disappoint my dad? And prove my grandmother right?

Mostly, though, I think it's because I miss my mom so fucking much. She should be here for this part of my life. 

I stare up at the full moon and the stars and remember how she told me, while she could still speak, that she'd be looking down on me from above. 

A few more stinging tears run down my face.

And then, right on cue, like she knows I need it, Megz texts one of her standard lines. In all caps, of course: CALM YO TITS GURL

After a moment, another text: even from here i can feel you getting all tense. U are SO predictable. So again I say CALM YO FUCKING TITS GURL 

I laugh and wipe my eyes. "Thanks Megz," I say out loud, sending her a kissy face.

Then I grab my journal, pulling out the Mont Blanc pen I keep inside it. The journal and pen were a gift from my mom for my 14th birthday. I haven't missed writing in it even a single day since then. It's kind of a comforting routine for me now.

I doodle in the margins for a few minutes, pondering how to start describing the day that began with an early-morning drive through the rolling hills of eastern Oklahoma and is ending on the roof of a strange house in an unfamiliar town in the central part of the state.

A day that included meeting a strange cast of characters: Blue and Hunter. And Kendra, who barely acknowledged me as we passed on the stairs this afternoon. 

Drenched in some perfume I didn't recognize, she was wearing a short, swishy dress with sandals. 

She paused to look me up and down. "You're the new girl?" she snapped, then shook her head and kept going without waiting for me to respond.

Not exactly friendly.

I'm still doodling, but I'm not seeing the ink on the page. Instead, I'm back to thinking about Blue. Back to  wondering about him.

Where is he from? What has he seen and done in the military? How did he get those scars? How did he end up at Ikana College and in this house?

There's something about him, something that gets to me. And it's not just his cute face and rock-hard body. It's not just that he obviously has an interesting story to tell.

There's something more. I can feel it.

Even if I don't want to.

I try to steer my thoughts back to what matters right now: doing well in all my classes and getting a job at The Daily, Ikana's award-winning newspaper.

All the reporter slots on the paper are already filled. Just like with housing, I waited too long to apply. 

And those slots don't usually go to freshmen anyway, as I'd been told in a terse email from the paper's Editor-in-Chief, in response to all my phone messages. 

Try again sophomore year, he said.

But that's not part of my plan.

I still can't seem to focus on finishing the journal entry. I keep replaying my first meeting with Blue on the front porch. I keep smiling about it.

"Dammit, Keegan, " I growl. "Stop it."

I grip the pen and force myself to begin writing.

Submitted: December 22, 2020

© Copyright 2022 Emily Blaze. All rights reserved.


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