When Lightning Strikes

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 2 (v.1)

Submitted: September 13, 2011

Reads: 822

Comments: 20

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 13, 2011

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A/N: Hey there! I decided to upload a picture of Lorelei on the character pics, so you can check it out if you want! Anyway, enjoy! :)

I was aware of the rays of the morning light creeping into my room and my eyes fluttered open to read the clock: 5:30 AM.

Well it was no surprise – I had gotten used to waking up at sunrise in Paris. I had forced myself to wake up every day just to be able to slip out the hotel room and take a walk around the charming city and capture snapshots for my scrapbook.

After a few seconds of reminiscing, I decided to go out for a morning jog, just because it would make me feel fresh and motivated for the rest of the day.

I pushed myself out of bed, grabbed a tank top and a pair of shorts from my closet and tip-toed to the small bathroom, being extra careful not to wake anyone. It took me less than five minutes to splash cold water on my face and brush my teeth, since I was excited to go out and experience the serene morning. I quickly slipped out of my pyjamas and got changed into my running clothes, and once I grabbed my iPod, I was out the door.

It was the perfect temperature for a jog – not sticky and humid or cold and bitter. How lovely a summer’s morning was, I thought, as I stretched a bit on the front lawn.

Today was my first day back at college and I definitely did not want to start off on a bad note by having leg cramps. After my stretching exercises, I started down the street and swerved around the corner, heading in the direction of the park five minutes away. It was nice that a lot of cars weren’t driving about. I didn’t have to worry about being hit by one or the loud roars of motors.

It took me about an hour before I decided to run back home and when I did; I was met with relieved faces and a lot of scolding.

“Gracie, where have you been?!” Dad tried to sound stern and menacing, but I could sense the panic in him.

Aubrey, who was in her usual embroidered kimono, put a hand on dad’s shoulder. “Dad, calm down. Gracie’s here now and that’s all that matters,” she soothed.

He rolled his eyes in return. “So you’re saying if she’s just been attacked, it doesn’t matter because she’s here?”

I watched as Aubrey’s puzzled expression turned into a small frown. “Yes?”

Wrong!” Everyone jumped, and as he turned to me, I gulped. “Where were you?!”

“I went for a jog!” I defended myself. “Is that so wrong?”

Dad sighed and rubbed his temple (which was a well-known anger or stress treatment for him), so mom spoke up from behind him. “You could have told us then. We all had quite a scare!”

I shrugged, feeling a bit rebellious as I did. Don’t ask me why, but I’ve always seen shrugs as “I didn’t know everyone would get so worked up …”

“She’s right,” Aubrey agreed as she plopped down on the sofa beside me. I felt weak with relief that my sister was on my side. “Everyone’s getting too worked up over something so small.”

Mom looked at Aubrey with offence clearly showing on her jaw-dropped face. “I’m not worked up!”

At the same time, dad exclaimed, “You think Cece disappearing for a whole hour is small?!”

I didn’t like it when our close-knit family argued. My heart always tightened during the fight and sunk when one of us would walk away to blow off some steam, so I decided to stop this before it turned into something bigger. Knowing my father and Aubrey, they would probably blow up and stubbornly refuse to acknowledge each other for the next few days.

“Dad, Aubrey, can you please stop?” I then turned to my father and took a step forward to hug him. Embracing people was a wonderful tactic to make others more relaxed. There was just something about a simple hug which could brighten up anyone’s day. “I promise I’ll leave a note next time I go out for a run? I’ll bring my phone too.”

I felt him pat my head softly and his heartbeat calm down. It scared me when dad became really stressed, because he had high cholesterol. When things became really out of hand, he’d have small chest pains. Luckily though, he’s never had a stroke.

After I apologised, I had a quick shower to freshen myself and changed into a first-day-back-at-college worthy outfit. This meant a gorgeous chambray shirt I had bought in France, shorts and ankle booties. I then stuffed my messenger bag with my necessities: notebooks, pencil case, iPod and my packet of Hershey Kisses.

Mom persuaded me to eat some muesli with berries for breakfast, so I gobbled it down before my personal chauffeur came down the stairs in her office wear, with her tote bag in one hand and her phone in the other. College was nearby, so I didn’t have to catch the train or live in the dorms. Aubrey would drop me off and head off to work after. In the afternoons, I caught a ride with Ruby, who owned a snazzy little Peugeot.

On the way, Aubrey stopped by at Starbucks, because it was my morning ritual to drink a Caramel Mocha. There were exceptions however. Sometimes in winter I preferred their delightful hot chocolates and on a scorching hot day, my money was spent on creamy Frappuccino’s. When I was finally able to hold that Styrofoam cup in my hand after a five minute wait, a smile bloomed on my face.

Even though there was a small traffic jam on an intersection, we made it on record time. When I slid out of the car and hooked my bag on my shoulder, people stared at me. I couldn’t blame them – I had been in France for a year!

Mercer Community College was small and welcoming, so everyone was friends. A few acquaintances and classmates hugged me and said hello upon my arrival, happy to see that I was back. It was always the same question: “How was your stay in France?!”

But I was always happy to answer it.

When I reached the courtyard, I spotted Ruby talking with Lorelei, a girl who was majoring in the same level as I was – elementary education.

“Hey Lorelei,” I chirped, grinning as I anticipated her reaction to my presence. “How are you?”

She shrieked and caught me in a tight hug, making Ruby laugh at her eagerness. “Gracie! I can’t believe you’re finally here! I mean, I saw on Facebook that you were back but I never dreamed you were coming to college today!”

“Of course I would attend classes today. You just reeled me in,” I joked.

Lorelei slapped my shoulder playfully. “Oh stop it you! I know I’m irresistible.”

Ruby shook her head in amusement. “She hasn’t changed, has she?”

“Definitely not,” I agreed with a mock-serious face. “She’s still as conceited as ever.”

“That was definitely the type of compliment I was expecting on a Monday morning!”

I giggled. “You’re welcome.”

The three of us caught up a bit, and then walked off to our respective classes. English Composition II was my first class which was good, since it was one of my favourite subjects.

My day flowed by well, with teachers asking me about my experience in France, friends stopping by in the hallways to make small talk with me and taking down notes in.

When I poked my head inside the east lecture hall in the afternoon, everyone was sitting and chatting, waiting for Professor Bradley to appear. I took a seat in the middle row next to Dylan, another friend of mine - the only guy friend who my father actually liked. It took years for dad to get his head wrapped around the idea that Dylan and I would definitely not date, ever.

His father was also the owner of the ‘Lucky Scoops’, the ice-cream shop downtown where I used to work to pay for college fees, before I headed off to France. His father had also told me that I was welcome to come back and work when I arrived back. I would need the money, because I still needed a bit more to pay for college.

Oh, and that reason made my father favour Dylan even more.

“Bonjour, Gracie Grunge!”

I rolled my eyes as I took out my spiral bound notebook. Sometimes, he liked to call me ‘grunge’ because I was the opposite, with my golden hair, bright blue eyes and my love for pastel colours. “I see you haven’t changed at all.”

He grinned and put his arm around my shoulder, making me squirm in my seat. “I know.”

“Dylan … your dad still likes me right?” I asked, just to be sure that asking for my part-time job back wouldn’t feel as rude as I felt that it would be.

He nodded enthusiastically. “Of course! He thinks of you as his daughter!”

I took a deep breath. “Alright then … would it be prudent to-”

“You’d like your job back at Lucky Scoops?”

Heat crept up to my cheeks and I hurried to explain. “Well yes, I-I just …”

Dylan laughed, and my head snapped up to see what was so funny at a time like this. “You want your job right? No worries, G. You can have it. Every Friday right?”

“Well … I think I’ll start later. I just feel like I need to catch up a bit, you know?” I explained.

He nodded in understanding. “Whatever pings your pong.”

After a few seconds of staring at him strangely, I thanked him. He always had new statements up his sleeves. It was a bit odd of him, but it’s what made him Dylan.

Professor Bradley then entered the room humming. He opened up his briefcase and started to sort through a few papers, before finding the one he needed. As per usual, he greeted us and started to go on about this semester’s plan. I listened intently and jotted some interesting things down so I could be prepared, unlike the boy sitting next to me who preferred to space out.

A sudden mention of ‘student teacher experience’ made me perk up. I had done that a few times in the student exchange college program in France, but I was quite excited for this one.

“Work experience is first and will start in a few days. If you look at the noticeboard outside the common room, you’ll find a schedule. Don’t forget, this is a learning experience, but you’ll be marked on your performance by the professional teacher as well.”

I made a mental note to check the noticeboard and nudged Dylan so he would listen.

“What?” he whispered irritatingly.

“Did you hear that? Go and find the noticeboard outside the common room after class.”

He rolled his eyes and went back to doodling in his book. I sighed. When will he ever learn to use his ears?

I tried my hardest to pay attention in class. It was a bit difficult, especially with the bleak walls of the room and of course, the semi-loud snores coming from a certain someone. Although I felt guilty for being relieved about class ending, I wasn’t going to beat myself up over it. My father had taught me since I was small to pay attention in class and to love learning, so whenever I felt lazy, drained or bored, guilt liked to eat me alive.

When I walked out of the class with my earphones playing Mozart, I suddenly remembered the work experience that Professor had set for us. I could handle it right? Making friends with children was something I loved doing, ever since I started babysitting for extra pocket money when I was sixteen.

When I reached the common room on the south side of campus, I rushed over to the red noticeboard with papers pinned all over. I scanned the papers and finally, ‘Gracie Elwood’ caught my eye. I was to be starting next week at a local elementary school and working with Kindergartens. I beamed, because the younger the kids were, the more fun it was for me.

As I started to walk away, I realised how extra busy I would be. There would be college, work experience, my weekly Friday shifts and the planning of Aubrey’s wedding. To be honest, I didn’t expect that I would be submerging myself into many things after a one year stay in France.

After making my way up and down some stairs, I spotted Ruby sitting at a bench in the sunlight pouring over a textbook and made my way over. “What are you doing?” I asked, peering at the book curiously.

Ruby absentmindedly twirled a lock of her thick hair – something which she did when she was trying very hard to remember anything. The poor girl studied so hard. “Just studying for a modern history quiz we’re going to have soon.”

“A quiz? It’s only the first day back!”

She then turned to me with confusion on her face. “Well don’t the classes studying elementary education have work experience coming up?”

“How do you know?” I immediately asked.

Ruby’s lips twitched, as if she were going to smile. “Lorelei was complaining about it.”

I laughed. Well that wasn’t surprising.


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