To be accepted or to not be accepted...

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
Meet Morgan Riordan--straight-A science and math geek, ace long-distance runner, new girlfriend (to Mitchell Pangborn), unwilling family caretaker, and emotional avoidance champion. Morgan manages her life by organizing it, as logically as the periodic table. She can handle it all--so she thinks. The days are ticking by and she's waiting to hear from the only college where she's applied: CRU. Morgan feels that her life is spinning out of control--then, something occurs that truly blows it all apart.

Submitted: November 30, 2011

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 30, 2011



I like to run at night. No one is around me. No one hears my sneakers slipping in the loose gravel at the side of the road. Nothing is here to hold me back. My muscles don’t hurt. I float past houses, trees and cars. My mind is clear.

Cars slow down as they pass me. Two more miles left to go until I reach home. There’s a ghost coming up on my left. I can almost hear her breathe. I pick up the pace.  I know I can win; I will win. Well I’m pretty sure I can win. Chances are good.

To everyone else I’m good Morgan, daughter to Mackenzie and Angus Riordan, she helps out with the house without being asked, and she’s so smart too, she’s got scholarship written all over her, college recruitment material, runs pretty fast, she’s so good with her sister, why can’t my daughter or son be like her.

On the inside I’m ‘who cares’ Morgan, doesn’t care about her family, does whatever she wants, when she wants, she’s a total bitch, doesn’t help anyone but herself, thinks she’s all that, disrespectful, she’s going nowhere.

Run faster.

Sweat trickles along the side of my face and runs down my neck. The ghost is getting closer. Run faster. Push beyond my limits. I never want to stop. Keep going. I want keep running; past home, out of Widows Vale, out of New York.

I reach home, take a quick shower, and pull on old sweats and a couple pairs of socks. Its quarter before two and there’s no way I’ll be able to fall asleep, not with all of this crap running through my head. Insomnia isn’t completely a bad thing; at least I can get some things done. I wish this would’ve happened last year; I could’ve done better on my exams.

I go downstairs and finish the laundry. I take the clean load out of the dryer, move the wet clothes over into the dryer, and empty the hamper into the washing machine. I pour the soap in and set the dial to regular. I take the basket of laundry, which is full of dad and Mary-Kate’s laundry, upstairs.

‘Who cares’ Morgan mumbles that they need to start doing their own laundry. What are they going to do when I go to CRU, Cyprus Rhodes University in downstate New York; I can’t come home just to do their laundry. I’ve been waiting for a reply all year. CRU is the only school I applied to. I know I’ll get in. Good Morgan doesn’t mind laundry. It’s easy and soothing. I finished the laundry quickly. As I started walking up stairs with the laundry basket I heard the front door open, and a heavy set of keys being thrown down onto the kitchen table. Dad is home. I quietly jogged up the stairs, set the basket of clean laundry besides the staircase railing and jumped into bed. A few moments later dad poked his head through my door. I lay silently in my bed until I heard his door shut. I turned over, lying on my back, I thought of the things I still needed to do, and what I had to do in the morning. School, track practice, homework, tomorrow is Thursday, I don’t have work; and yet I have a full day ahead of me. Will I get even three hours of sleep tonight? Probably not.

The next morning I woke up 25 minutes to eight. Crap, I’m late. I pried myself out of bed and stumbled lazily towards the bathroom. Mary-Kate was locked inside. I knocked on the door and asked her to give me my toothbrush. I knew she wouldn’t just leave. My sister spent a long time getting ready for school, fixing her make-up and her hair. Me on the other hand I took at most twenty minutes. I got dressed, brushed my teeth, pulled my hair into a neat pony tail, grabbed a pop tart and a diet coke and headed out the door.

Mary-Kate and I headed out to school. When we reached school, I dropped Mary-Kate off at the front of the building by her friends and drove off to the parking lot. I had fifteen minutes before the bell rang. I turned off my car engine, and sat silently in my car. I laid my head against the steering wheel and breathed deeply. I heard a knock at my window. My head shot up and I saw Mitchell Pangborn standing at my passenger door. I unlocked the door to let him in. He climbed in, and stared at me.

“You do know we have like 8 minutes before class right?” I looked at the clock he was right.

“It wouldn’t be the first time today I was late.” I replied putting my head back onto the steering wheel.

He pushed my hair out of my face. “We’ve got to go.” He said opening his car door and reaching in the back seat for my backpack. He walked around to the other side of the car, opened my door and hung my backpack on the top of the door. I climbed out of my car, grabbed my backpack from him, and closed and locked my car. We walked into school. Bree, my best friend since second grade, and her boyfriend Cal caught up with us then ran past us.

“Better hurry up or you’ll be late,” she said giggling past us. Mitch and I started to jog into school and made it right before the bell rang.

While I was supposed to be taking notes about the history of ancient Greece I was staring out the window, watching the squirrels climb on the heaters.

Today’s classes went by super slowly. By the time I got to chem, my favorite class, I was ready to leave. I just wanted to run home and sleep until I got my admittance letter to CRU. I have to get in. There’s no way they won’t let me in. After what seemed like a lifetime the 2:35 bell finally rang and school was out. I headed towards my car to get my clothes for track practice. Mary-Kate came up behind me and told me she was going to her friend Jaycee’s house.

I walked back inside the school and went to the basement where the weight room was for practice. Normally we would’ve run outside but it was down pouring. I hopped onto a treadmill and started off slow. A tall thin football player, Matt I think, got onto the treadmill next to me. He looked at my screen; I was running at level 6 with 5 inclinations. He met my speed and kept looking at me. If he wants to race, I’ll race. I’ll beat him easily. I increased my speed all the way up to ten and he did the same. I saw coach saying something at us but I couldn’t hear him. I ran easily without any pain while I saw Matt was struggling to keep up. I smiled and increased my speed to as high as it could go. Run faster, Morgan. Just a little faster, push it.

“Slow it down, Morgan.” Coach ordered.

I’m flying. The faces around me blur. My left knee sends up a warning signal, my Achilles is screaming. I can feel fibers in my quads fraying. The muscles under my ribs seize up. I think my shirt is on fire.

“Morgan. Morgan. Morgan!” I don’t know who is saying that. How can they be standing so close when I’m running so fast?

“Look out, Morgan!” Another voice fading away. Another ghost.

The lights flicker. Coach yells in my ear but I can’t hear him. His hand slams on the stop button.

Ok so I might have, sort of, passed out a little bit when they dragged me off the treadmill. I just need a nap. A nap, some dinner, and a shower. No big deal. Just leave me alone. I’ll be fine.

When I got home I saw dad in the kitchen. I walked past him without saying a word into the bathroom. I strip and step into the shower. I lathered up with soap as if to wash my body of the sick feeling I had in the pit of my stomach. Then, I step out of the shower and comb through my long brown hair. I wrapped a towel around my warm, wet body and walked upstairs to my room. I didn’t even bother getting dressed. I crashed hard and wet onto my bed slowly slipping into a deep sleep.

The next day I woke up refreshed. I got dressed combed my hair and decided to leave it down today. Brushed my teeth and headed down stairs. Dad was sitting at the kitchen table flipping through the mail.

“Anything for me??” I asked eagerly.

“No, sorry Morgan,” I was about to get a lecture. I could tell from his face. “Your coach called me. You passed out at practice yesterday? Morgan I don’t want you to get too caught up with getting into CRU. I believe you will get in, but if you don’t I don’t want you to get too worried. You can always spend two years at community college then transfer.” I looked at him then looked at the clock. Late again.

“I know dad, gotta go. We can talk later. OK?” I said turning and running out the door. Today was normal. Coach understood when I told him I wasn’t coming to practice. He told me to sleep it off.  Instead I went to Bree’s house to work on chem homework. I got home at quarter to eight. I have time for a run. I lightly jogged around the neighborhood, which was about an hour before I went back home. When I did go home I took a shower, and went to bed.

The next day, Mary-Kate and I actually made it to school very early. I was sitting in the parking lot with Mitchell. I ate a pop-tart while he intertwines his hand with mine. Mitchell and I have been dating since freshmen year. We headed into school and he kissed me before I went into my first hour. I went through today on auto-pilot. While in chemistry I looked out the window and saw dad getting out of his car, walking up to the building. There is only one reason he would come here. It’s here. I walked across the room. Mr. Scaremelli didn’t even notice. I open the door, step over the threshold and enter the hallway. My dad is holding an envelope. The envelope. After all this time things are happening too fast. I’m not ready. I’m going to puke.

“This was stuck in a magazine from this morning.” Dad says. He hands it to me. The magic words glow in the upper left-hand corner: “Cyprus Rhodes University, Office of Admissions.” I open it badly, tearing across my name and address. As I read my eyes became wider and wider. “We regret to inform you…. Thousands of qualified candidates… not a reflection on your abilities… many opportunities elsewhere… sincerely.”

The need to vomit vanishes. I just died. My dad picks up the letter and envelope from the floor. He says something I don’t hear. He looks in the envelope. Maybe somewhere deep in that envelope are my registration instructions, financial aid package, and a handwritten note from the cross country coach. If dad says he told me this would happen. I will die again.

“I’m sorry,” He says and clears his throat, “It’s not the end of the world. You have other schools…” he said pulling me into a hug. He folded up the letter, put it back into the envelope and handed it to me.

“I have to get back to chem.” I said without any emotion as I opened the door and walked into the room without saying bye to dad.

At my table. I light the Bunsen burner. The thin envelope goes up in flames. The bell rings and I walk out quickly.

I went to my locker and spun in my code, 38-0-22. Jigglejigglejiggle. Nothing. Try again. Jigglejigglejiggle, damn it wouldn’t open. I tried again and nothing. If I weren’t trapped in a hall of bodies I could kick and punch or find a chair and smash it against the crap metal piece of shit until I was standing in a kindling up to my ankles and then the lock would tumble into place and the lock would Jigglejigglejiggle-open.

“Stupid piece of….” I started when I felt someone’s hands on my shoulders. I didn’t move. He turned me around and laid his hands on either side of me against the lockers. “I’ve been looking for you everywhere,” He says. “I know. I heard what happened in chem too.”


“You started a fire in chem class, Morgan. Everybody knows.”

“It wasn’t a real fire,” I say.

“You could’ve been hurt.” He said. I laughed. He pulls me into his sweatshirt, and I pull back, pushed him away with my finger tips and breathed in and out deeply.

“Don’t. I can’t be hugged right now. I can’t have all of this ‘It’ll be okay’ crap okay? Don’t be nice to me. I’ll scream. I swear.”

He shoves his hands into his pockets. I adjust the strap to my backpack on my shoulder and squeeze my chemistry book tighter until it hurt. He steps close again, slips his hand around the back of my neck. “Morgan.”

I shrug him off. “I meant it Mitch.” I look up not at his eyes because I know that would be the end of me, but to glance around the hall. Empty. I didn’t hear the bell.

“I can’t open my locker,” I say.

He steps around me and spins the dial, 38-0-22. Click-click-click. The lock surrenders and the door swings open between us. I throw my books in and slam it shut.

“I’m late,” I say. “I have to go.”

I walked down the hall and into the bathroom. I shut and locked the stall door behind me. I wanted to sit there until the end of school. When a faculty member walked in I knew I’d have to leave. I walked out and wondered the halls. Mr. McMahon and the art class were in the hall building something out of scrap metal. I sat on the floor and watched silently. I sat there watching as these kids built some kind of figure. The last bell finally rang and I ran home as fast as I could, leaving my car in the parking lot at school. When I got home no one was there. Mary-Kate went to her friend’s house and dad wasn’t home. I went into the bathroom, locked the door and took a scolding hot shower. I sat on the floor of the bath and cried my eyes out.

I got out, put on my shorts and a sweatshirt. I ran outside for as long as I could. I ran all the way into downtown. I finally stopped when I reached the border of Widow’s Vale. I watched as the sun sank down in a bright red and orange array of colors. I felt my throat close like I was going to cry again. I turned around and started on my way back. It took me an hour and a half to reach the school on the other side of town. I got into my car and suddenly began crying again. I laid my head on the steering wheel and cried for a long time. When I sat up again I jumped to see Mitchell sitting in his car in front of mine. He turned his car off and climbed into my back seat. He pulled my seat back so that it was lying down. He wiped my tears away with his sweatshirt sleeve and leaned in to kiss me. He pulled me into the back seat with him. We sat together, intertwined kissing until he pulled away. I laid my head against his chest and he stroked my hair.

“I’ll help you apply to other schools okay?” he said looking at me. I nodded and he kissed my forehead. I looked at the clock. Its 10:27. I need to go to bed, I don’t want to move. He shifted and we were sitting across from each other now. He looked deep into my eyes; I could tell he was worried; he didn’t let me leave until I settled down. I drove home and went to bed.

I am planning on spending the next few days looking at other colleges. Mitchell and I have been talking about starting this weekend. He helped me find three colleges in-state that seemed ok. We just had to fill out the applications and send in all of the necessary information. I can’t wait to be done with high school and done worrying about where I’ll get in. I just want to know. At this point it didn’t matter as much. I’ll get into one of these and after two years I can transfer to CRU. Everything will be ok. Everything will be back on track eventually. The next few months will go by quickly so I guess I might as well make the best out of it. I’ll only be a senior in high school once. I’m ready to take on the rest of my life head on. I look up at Mitchell and smile.

“When do you want to start?” Mitchell asked me, referring to the stacks of information and paperwork that had to be done.




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